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Germs And Cards

Olivia Jeffries

Nathan was pacing the room. He was very nervous. He could hear his heart beating a million beats a minute. It felt like his heart was about to jump out of his chest.

Nathan Purell was getting ready to compete at one of the world's most popular pitch competitions. Nathan was a 21 year old pitch player from Missouri. Nathan had quite a large fan base. Every time he would walk out to the card tables at competitions, Nathan could hear fans chanting his name, but some people didn’t think he was capable of being a card player because Nathan was a germaphobe. Nathan could play pitch, but he had to have a bottle of hand sanitizer in arms distance from him.

“Nathan it will be alright, your amazing at pitch, all you have to do is go against four players,” Nathan’s sister Olivia assured him.

“But there are loads of amazing players here,” Nathan said.

“Nathan you’ll do great, and stop pacing, your running around like a headless chicken,” Olivia says. Nathan rolls his eyes.

“Your just saying that because your my sister.” Olivia rolled her eyes, and sat on the couch in the waiting room.

“I know your nervous but believe me you’ll do great,” Olivia said.

“Should I believe you?” Nathan says.

“Yes, because I’m the smartest in the family,” Olivia spoke with pride.

“Who told you that, the dog?” Nathan says snickering.

“Hey!” Olivia shouts.

“Would you two stop fighting?” The two siblings mom, Brigette, says while entering the room.

“Mom it was just a bit of fun,” Nathan sighs.

“You two need to be nicer to each other,” Brigette says, as she sits on the chair in the waiting room.

“Mom, your an only child, you don’t get sibling fun,” Olivia pouts.

“Ok, you have me beat there,” Brigette agrees. “Now enough chitter chatter. Nathan, you need to get to the competition.”

“Ok,” Nathan says as he stands up.

“Heads up,” Olivia yells as she throws a bottle of hand sanitizer at him. Nathan nods his head, and walks out of the room.

Nathan was headed to his first match against Hunter Avant. Hunter wasn't a very good pitch player. He had lost multiple matches to other players at previous tournaments. No one really liked Hunter. He was known as the person who always cheats. Nathan knew he could win this round.

“What's up germy,” Hunter shouted. Nathan had heard criticism like this before, so he blew it off. “Aw, germy are you to scared?” Hunter taunts. Nathan rolled his eyes and walked off.

Nathan sat down at the table. He made sure to apply hand sanitizer before picking up the six cards. Nathan collected his cards, and examined them. Nathan couldn’t believe it, he got a perfect deck. Nathan looked up and got ready to play.

In the middle of the game, Nathan saw Hunter pull a card out from his sleeve. Nathan bit his tongue and tried his best to keep quiet.

A few seconds after, the dealer screams,


Nathan was hoping Hunter had been caught. Nathan hated people who cheated at games. It was unfair!

“Cheating call on Hunter Avant. Immediate disqualification.”

Hunter stands up and yells “I wasn’t cheating!”

“Yes you did, I saw you pull a card out of your sleeve, you will be disqualified,” said the card dealer. Hunter huffed, and storms away.

Nathan was back in his room waiting for his next card round.

“Can you believe that guy cheated?” Olivia says, while playing goldfish with her best friend Lucy.

“I know, that was totally uncalled for,” Lucy responds.

“Goldfish,” says Olivia. Lucy picks up a card from the stack.

“You guys are always playing that game,” Nathan says while walking to the door.

“Of course, it’s our favorite game,” Olivia says.

“Well, I have to go to the next round, see you guys later,” Nathan says while walking to the door.

“Bye Nathan,” the two girls say in unison.

As Nathan walked over to the next table, he saw who he would be against. It was Liam Baker. Liam was a good player, and Nathan had been in competitions against him before. The two are tied so far in competitions, so this would be the tie breaker.

“Good luck Nathan,” Liam spoke as they sat down at the table. “ You too,” Nathan replied.

Both men sat down at the table and Nathan put on his sanitizer. The card dealer gave them both six cards, and Nathan collected his cards. He didn't have a perfect deck this time. He frowned, he was afraid he would lose. Nathan looked up and saw Liam sneeze onto his sleeve, and pick his cards back up. Nathan’s breath hitched in his throat. Liam looked at Nathan after he realised what he had done.

“I’m sorry dude,” Liam says apologetically.

“Its ok,” Nathan said.

He got out his hand sanitizer and put some on.

“Can I have some?” Liam asks, putting his hand out.

Nathan nodded his head, and put some on Liam's hands

The card game went on, and Nathan could admit this round was harder than the last. Nathan and Liam were tied right now. They both held their breath, as they put their cards down. The men looked down, and Nathan was in shock. He beat Liam.

“Good game Liam,” Nathan said shaking Liam’s hand.

“Good game Nathan, hope you do well on the next games” Liam said.

“Thanks dude,” Nathan says with a grin. Liam smiled, then walked off.

Nathan was walking down the hallway to the waiting room to have lunch with his sister and her friend. He had bought three sandwiches. As he was walking down the hallway, Hunter rammed into him and Nathan dropped one of the sandwiches on the ground.

“Watch it germy,” Hunter spoke through gritted teeth. He smirked, then picked up the sandwich and put it in Nathan’s hand.“Here ya go germster.”He walked away snickering.

Nathan was in shock. He quickly threw away the sandwich and ran back to the waiting room. Nathan barged into the room and slid down to the floor.

“Nathan what’s wrong?” Olivia and Lucy ask worriedly. Olivia noticed he wouldn’t have his right hand anywhere near him. She quickly ran to her backpack and pulled out hand sanitizer.

“Give me your hand,” she said. She put hand sanitizer on his hand and walked away.

“Do you want your sandwiches?” he said slowly, as he started to regain equilibrium.

“No, I’m good, you can have it,” Olivia says, with a reassuring smile. “You can have mine too,” Lucy says with a smile

After the sandwich incident, Nathan was beginning to get nervous again.

“Olivia, I don’t think I can do this,” Nathan’s sighed. “ Listen to me Nathan, you can do this, you are going to win, ok?”

“Ok,” he muttered.

“Go get em champ,” she said, while clapping him on the back. Nathan smiled at his little sisters comment, then walked to the card table.

Nathan sat down at the table. He looked up and met the eyes of his opponent. He was met with a red haired girl. She had freckles, and was quite pretty.

“Hello,” the mysterious girl said.

“Hello,” Nathan replied.

“My name is Faith,” she says.

“Nathan,” he replies, shaking her hand. They heard the card dealer announce the round was going to begin.

“Good luck Nathan,” Faith says.

“Good luck Faith,” he says, and sits down at his side of the table, putting on his sanitizer.

Nathan picked up his six cards, and analyzed them. He had few good plays he could do, but they weren’t perfect.

Nathan looked up to the sound of Faith coughing. Nathan’s heart began to beat faster. She coughed again, but not into her into her arm, but right onto the cards. Nathan quickly pulled out his hand sanitizer, and applied some. He did not want to touch the cards. He gave himself a pep talk and continued the game. Faith continued to cough, and Nathan's collar on his shirt was getting tight. Nathan reapplied hand sanitizer, and continued with the game. As the game went on Nathan was was winning by a few points. Nathan and Faith were both nearing the end of the game. As Nathan and Faith laid down there last cards, Nathan looked down at the cards, and the crowd cheered with happiness. Nathan had won the round

“Good game Nathan,” Faith says.

“Good game,” he says. They shook hands, then Faith walked away from the table.

“Ok Nathan, you only have one more person to go against, and it's the last player,” Olivia says.

“You also get a break in the middle of the game,” Lucy pipes in.

“Do you know who I'm up against,” Nathan questions.

“Tristan Cleanwell,” Olivia said, while playing another card game with Lucy. Nathan spits his water out.

“Nathan!” Olivia shouted.

Lucy laughs at Olivia’s sudden gesture.

“Tristan Cleanwell?” he says.

“Yes,Tristan Cleanwell, but that doesn't give you an excuse to spit water on me!” She yells.

“Olivia, shush about the water,” he says.

“Hmph,” she says while crossing her arms.

“Your such a toddler Olivia,” Lucy laughs.

“Shush,” Olivia pouts.

“Tristan Cleanwell is one of the best players in the world,” Nathan says.

“He’s not better than you,” she replies.

“Yeah right,” he says as a worker walks into the room.

“Nathan your games is about to begin,” the worker says.

“Ok,” Nathan replies. The worker walks out of the room. “Come on guys, we need to get to the last match.” The two girls stand up, and follow Nathan out the door.

Nathan walked out to the card table. He looked into the crowd, and heard a boy talking about how Nathan wouldn't win. Soon after, he saw Lucy holding back Olivia from running up to the boy. Without warning, he saw that Lucy wasn’t able to hold back Olivia. Olivia stormed up to the man, and started yelling at him.

Oh no, Nathan thought to himself. He saw Lucy run up, and apologize to the man, while grabbing Olivia, and running her to a different part of the crowd. He loved his sister for being a little protective of him, but sometimes she can go a little overboard.

Meanwhile, he looked away from the laughing crowd. Just then, he looked up, and met eyes with Tristan Cleanwell. His palms began to feel sweaty, as he weakly smiled at Tristan, and collected his cards. At first, he went to put hand sanitizer on, but as he picked up the container, to his horror, there was none left. He started to have a headache, the world around him was spinning.

“Are you ok Nathan?” asked Tristan. Nathan’s headache was pounding more and more in his head. He tried to calm down by taking deep breaths, and closing his eyes for a few seconds.

“Can I take a quick break?” Nathan asks the card dealer.

“No, sorry the game has begun, and it has to be thirty minutes before we can give the players there mid game break. Nathan’s heartbeat quickened its pace. He looked out into the crowd and met eyes with his sister. She could tell how worried he was, she gave him a sympathetic smile.

Afterwards, Nathan turned back to the table. The cards in his hand felt like he was holding onto the inside of a garbage can. He felt like he was going to be sick. His stomach was doing flips, while he tried to make his first play. He was so caught up in his mind, he put down a card that gave Tristan two points, and Nathan zero. Nathan mentally face palmed himself at the realization of what he had done. He tried to focus on the game and play the right card, but every time he put down a card he would still have no points.

“Time for break,” the card dealer called. Nathan stood up, and quickly rushed to the waiting room. He searched the room from top to bottom to try to find hand sanitizer, but to his luck he couldn’t. He heard the slight sound of knocking on the door.

“Come in,” Nathan called, while going threw his backpack. He turned around, and tried to focus on his younger sister.

“Nathan?” Olivia asks.

“Yes?” he responds.

“Are you ok?” She asks.

“Olivia, I don’t think I can do this” he sighs.

“Nathan you can do this. I know you don’t have your sanitizer, but you can still do this,” she says.

“How can I do it Olivia?”

“Do what I do sometimes. Meditate. Relax, and calm your mind. Just focus on the card game,” she says.

“I think I can do that,” he says.

“Ok, now let’s get going, we don’t want you to be late for the rest of the match,” she says.

After his chat with Olivia, Nathan quickly walked to the table remembering what his sister told him. He sat down, and looked out into the crowd. He saw Olivia and Lucy in the crowd cheering for him. He smiled then looked back to the card table.

He picked up his cards, and remembered what his sister told him to do. He took a deep breath. He focused his mind on the card game. His heart rate began to slow down. His breathing began to go back to a steady rhythm.

Afterwards, he began to play, while doing what his sister told him to do. He soon realized that he was winning. A smile grew on his face at the realization.

I could win this, he thought to himself. He wiped his mind of every negative thought he was thinking, and focused on only the card game. He was very close to winning, and he didn’t want to lose his shot.

He and Tristan put down there last cards, and the voice coming from the crowd, which he could recognize as his sister, screamed, “he won!” Nathan couldn’t believe it, he won the tournament.


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