At some point this past summer, before the football season started, I was typing out the last couple chapters of my recently released mystery thriller, A MAN OVERBOARD. The story's climax takes place (or rather took place now) on October 17th. So this scene that I was writing is on the evening of the 17th. My character walks down into his den and flips on SportsCenter. In writing this scene, I quickly checked the Monday Night Football schedule to see what the last football game would've been. Denver and San Diego. Hmm... Now, this was in the summer while all the talk about Peyton Manning was still one of the top stories every week. How was he going to perform? Would he be ready? Would he be a bust? I went out on a limb and made a prediction, though a prediction guarded and protected by creative license...so there was no real danger in getting it wrong. But in my little scene, my character, upon turning on the TV, becomes immediately inundated with more talk of "Peyton Manning's fourth quarter comeback against the Chargers."
On the 17th, which was two days ago now, I realized that it was the date of my book's climax and I began composing a tweet about it. I was halfway through the tweet when the realization struck me. I'd gotten it right. And not only right but dead right. In the months leading up to the game, I secretly imagined how great it would be to actually have my scenario come true, but figured that the chances were pretty slim. But I was looking forward to watching the game just to see. It'd be fun to watch if the game looked like it could swing that way. Well, I watched the first half of the game completely ignorant to what I was watching - that this was the game I'd been thinking about for the last three months. The Broncos were down 24-0 at halftime, and I popped in a movie. When the movie was over, I put the game back on just to see how it turned out. The game was still on and the Broncos were down 21-24. But there was enough time left, and I knew they were going to win. You don't shut a team out in the second half and score three touchdowns just to come up short. And so I watched the Broncos beat the Chargers in what was "one of the biggest regular-season comebacks in NFL history." Unfortunately, I wasn't enjoying it as much as I should have, because I was still completely clueless that this was the game - that game.
So I'm in the middle of my tweet, and it hits me. "Wait a sec!" I get up, run to my shelf, grab my proof copy of A MAN OVERBOARD and flip to the back of the book. And read my prediction with a smile on my face. "Nailed it!"
It's not very often you get to predict something like that. I guess it was kind of gutsy using a real NFL game rather than just making up some random fictitious match. But, then again, how many people would really have noticed either way? And now that the game is over and the book is out, most people will just read the scene in full appreciation of the SportsCenter commentary but completely unaware that it was written before Peyton Manning took his first snap in the regular season donning the orange and blue.
Hopefully, this NFL prediction is the only thing that comes true in the novel. Though the more I watch the news (which I can't really stomach anymore), I'm less and less optimistic that something akin to my fiction could show up on my TV screen one day soon. I mean, I just woke up to read the headline: "U.S. Congress introduces bill ordering FEMA to conduct 'mass fatality planning'" And I've already known about "Department of Homeland Security buying up enough ammo to wage seven-year war." You can click on the link, but as you'll see, the MarketWatch announcement is no longer there. But that would be 450 million rounds of .40 caliber hollow points acquired by an American domestic task force. That's almost two bullets for every man, woman and child in the US. Along with the ammunition (that isn't used for target practice or on the battlefield - the use of hollow points is a breach of the Geneva Convention), DHS has also acquired tens of millions of dollars worth of bullet-proof roadway checkpoint booths featuring level-3 bulletproof glass, and assault vehicles (I've also read that they're cabling off the shoulders of many roads, making it impossible to pull a U-turn...but that's just something that I read). Also, the U.S. government has purchased $400,000 worth of potassium iodide pills...the kind of pills you take to avoid damage to your thyroid in the wake of radioactive fallout. Put these recent developments in line with all the Continuity of Government legislation that's been passed over the last twelve years (some of it Bush wouldn't even let Congress see) and you begin to wonder... What is our government getting ready for? Zombie apocalypse? 12.21.12? Civil war? Martial Law? WWIII? But I digress... this post is about much more important things, like being able to predict comebacks on Monday Night Football!