"Honey, can you run out for some bread?"
Tactic number one: ignore. Mark kept his eyes peeled to the screen as if he hadn't heard his wife's request.
Tactic number two: plead. "But it's the middle of the Ghana Germany game. Can I go when it's over?"
Sheila frowned. "The rest of the food will be out any minute. Isn't this why we have DVR? Can't you pause it?"
Moments later Mark walked up 22nd Street, cursing under his breath. He looked around him – people's windows were open. He'd have to avoid hearing any loud cheers or shouting as any errant word could give away the action of the match and ruin the rest of it for him. But how could he shut himself off from the sounds all around him? Ghana had only just tied the score at 1 – 1 when he'd left the house.
At the market he was careful not to make eye contact with anyone. While he doubted that shoppers were, say, following the game on their smart phones and/or chatting about more recent play than he'd seen, he didn't want to take any chances. He paid for the bread and began his walk home.
Then it happened: a man stepped out from a row home and Mark's gaze fell upon the man's shirt, a shirt that could only belong to a Germany fan:
Without thinking, his eyes moved from the man's shirt to his face, only for an instant, and Mark started to panic. What was that expression? Certainly not elation, but not downright depression either. Mark looked at his watch and saw that twelve minutes had passed since he'd left his house. How much could happen in twelve minutes? A lot. A lot can happen in twelve minutes in a match. That Germany fan in the Mertesacker shirt looked defeated. Ghana must've taken the lead. No, maybe he just looked stoic. No, perhaps he stepped out to catch his breath because he'd recently been screaming with unbridled joy. No. No, no, no!
"Sheila, here's your bread." Mark practically leapt past her and back onto the couch, fumbling the remote as he reached for it.
"Come on Mark, keep calm."
"Keep calm?!" He turned to his wife. "Are you in cahoots with that Germany fan down the street?"
Sheila had no idea what Mark's question meant, so she sighed and decided to use tactic number one herself. She ignored him.