Play Maker
The Queen of Gay Romance”


This is my disclaimer for 2009 folks! As you know, I change them, so please read and smile!

This is a fictional character. I'll say that until I'm blue in the face and yet, someone will write to me and tell me I've got something wrong, or he/she is that character, or they're going to sue me because their client has a family member with that name.

I can put disclaimers on a story all day long and still, I get someone who is just about nuts who will do the above paragraph. It makes no sense to me, but apparently, there are people who take themselves so seriously they want to be a fictional character. Well to those of you who choose to be that way, go read someone else's story and be a fuck-tional character.

By the way, if you're reading this to jack off (Adam Curtis). I'll smile and you hold it in your hand and read until the end. If you've spilled a load (Edd Howes), I bet it wasn't reading a scene here! Everyone else who knows my writing is probably laughing their asses off right about now...I know I'm chuckling!

If you can hold it in your hand and type, then please BY ALL MEANS write me an email and send a photo of it. I want to see the man's appendage which can write, type, and just plain want to know it better!

If your appendage says it's straight, get a clue and get to a different site. If you're that confused, go to your search engine and type in Mental Health Help and seek the one in your area. Your appendage has my permission to cut and paste.

Just to make it an official disclaimer, if you're above the age of 18...great. If you're 118, super great...put a napkin over the keyboard and you won't get any drool on it. If you're under the age of 18, please find the off switch on your computer and press it. It'll make your day and mine a lot brighter. If you come back to this site when it reboots, please repeat until you lose interest. If it takes more than once, get a clue you dumb fuck!

Notes From Retta:

This story is written mostly as a retro piece. I intentionally made sure some prices were lower and I made sure the older stars were used in the piece. You need to realize this was written in the era of Bush I (around 1991). I did it from memory, so sue me if it's not completely accurate.

Chapter Ten:

The next morning, Grant and I awoke to the sound of birds chirping.

Jake! Wake up! We didn't set the alarm!”

What time is it?”

I don't know. It's broad day light and birds are singing.”

They sing even inside. It's not like they sing because it's day light out.”

Get up!”

What time is it?”

I don't know.”

Look at the clock, you're on that side.”

Oh sheesh, it's seven fifteen.”

Ok, it's not a total loss.”

Get up!”

Man, you're bossy when you get laid.”

He chuckled, “Hey, your turns coming and you know it.”

Yeah, so?”

I'll have you know my ass hurts.”

Good, you're a pain in mine.”

I'll remember.”

Do we give loaner cars at the car dealer?”


Good, they need to fix mine.”

It'll be fixed, you need to get up and get to your car and get the hell out of here!”

Sheesh, come with me to the shower. You act like I can't take a shower and get dressed in an hour.”

You gotta get Chris too.”

He's got a car. He doesn't need me to drive him anymore.”

He said that!”

Grant, friends don't let friends ride when they've got a better car than me right now.”

Your car's cool. It's just got a messed up hood.”

IS he going to pay for that?”

I imagine he will.”

Imagine? That's not a very positive answer.

Then call the school. Tell them I can't make it to work because I've gotta go piss off a mafia guy and tell him his kid's a fag and he fucked up my car. When the man comes off the ceiling, I'm going to have my car parked under his ass so when he lands, he feels all that plastic splintered go up his ass with razor sharpness.”

How about I fix your car?”

Grant, what's the guy got on you?”


Then the second you repair my car will be the second after you damage it. His son did it and if he's not going to repair it, his dad will. You and your friend both act like the man can't get angry and upset.”

He's not a nice man.”

So! I'm not an idiot. If the not-so-nice-man's son fucked up my car, he can get out that not-so-skinny-wallet and pay for my car to be repaired. Do you know why I know it's not so skinny? Because all the pussies in this town have trembled with fear when they've had to get their cars repaired by him.”

Jake, don't mess with him.”

Sorry, I'm heading there and then, I'll take my late at school.”

I got up and went to the shower. “You going to shower with?”

Oh man.” pause pause... “Yeah, you persuaded me.”

Yeah, you just remember no talking about trying to talk me out of it. You guys might think he's all about shit, but if he were real powerful, he'd not be in Hicksville, Missouri claiming he's about something when he could be about something in a bigger city.”

Please don't.”

Get out of my shower! You're not to talk me out of it. I'll get it done, scrubbed, washed, and repaired without your help. Ok?”

I started lathering up and had just stood out of the shower to dry when the phone rang.

Running naked through the house isn't so hot when it's slick hard wood floors and wet feet. I think I slid into every obstacle and nearly lost a nut sack when I made a weird twisting maneuver around the door jamb to answer the phone.


Jake Martin!”

This better be good if this is a telephone marketer. I damned near lost a nut sack running through the house trying to answer it.”

He chuckled, “No, this is Dan Carter.”

Oh hi! I was going to be by your office this morning.”

I hear my son messed up your car and you messed up his truck and his face.”

Well, yeah, but you forgot a nine hundred dollar phone in the mix up too.”

I heard about that.”

Good, now that you called, I don't have to miss the call on my busted up phone.”

I need to tell you I'm getting your car repaired.”

That's fine, but let me tell you how I'll work that. I own the dealer out there, so I'll charge you what it costs me. I'll do the phone that way since it's not really a nine hundred dollar unit. I get them free, so you're only going to be out the cost of the hood.”

No, you figure a hood will look different on your car if the paint is different, so you have them make sure the paint matches. And, Yes, I know you own shares in a phone company, but I need to know the total of the damages since DJ is going to work it off.”

Did he tell you I told him he could work it off for me?”

Yeah, he did. He also told me a lot of the details about why it happened last night and a lot of the names he called you. I'll tell you I'm not one bit happy with him in regards to it and he's going to be giving you an apology today. You're to call me and tell me you got that apology.”

I'll do that.”

Jake, he told me he's gay. My remark to him was asking him why he couldn't be more like you. Instead, we've got a mess and you're thinking bad about my family based upon what you know.”

Not really. Yeah, I did make some remarks to him, but it wasn't based towards you...well, it was, but not personally.”

He chuckled, “What's that mean?”

Well, I know you were someone I met last night. I'm glad you were there and I'm really happy you're supporting me. I don't mean to upset by going off what everyone else says.”

What did they say?”

Sir, have you ever saw that one movie Young Frankenstein?”


Your name is sort of like Brunhilda here in this town. People say your name and everyone gets really weird.”

He laughed a huge laugh, “And they say I'm mafia too, don't they?”

Yeah, and I'll tell you it doesn't matter if you are or aren't. What matters to me is I'm dealing with you one on one and I'm dealing with DJ one on one.”

Deej needs friends. I saw that video and I'm not one bit impressed. I heard you referred to them as the rat pack and you described them as rats fleeing a sinking friend and they were. You were there supporting a friend and you were there standing up for yourself. He was there trying to portray himself as something he shouldn't have been and now, it's gotten him in a bad group”

Well, that's more right than wrong.”

But, I need to ask you if he and you can build a friendship.”

If he apologizes and swears he won't ever let that word come across his lips again.”

If you hear it, you've got my permission to set him on his ass.

I told him I suspected a long time ago he was gay and I'll support him on that issue, but he's to be the best he can be and that means he cuts out that nonsense about what he did to Aaron.”

Well, that's gotta stop.”

Yeah, but I had a talk with Roger and Roger's had a talk with Aaron and all of us pretty much agree if DJ isn't pulling all that stuff, he and Aaron really like each other.”

Do you think it will work?”

Deej said he pulled that stuff to try looking cool in front of his friends. Well, those friends are history as of this morning. He's to tell them to get lost and I'll speak to their parents in not so kind terms if they insist upon staying his friend.”

Well, that'd be cool.”

He's gotta do it. It's about to cost him a lot more than what he wants to lose and that's a relationship which means something to him.”

I'll hold back my judgement on that issue.”

Would you give him another chance?”

I'll try, but the second he tried to dog Aaron out, I'll probably be in on him like white on rice.”

Good, you do that and while you're doing that, you be dialing my number so I can speak with him as soon as you're done.”

Ok, I can do that.”

Jake, can I tell you something?”


I'm not mafia. People think I am because I said I was one time when I was feeling vulnerable in a business situation.”

That's ok. Look at what you accomplished in life and let me add something without really upsetting you, ok?”

What's that?”

I told someone if you were mafia, you'd have to be rather pathetically joined to the family because you're out here in bumfuck and not in a city solidly connected.”

He laughed, “Oh man! I never thought of that.”

Well, just the same, I think you're good people. You're supporting me and I take you at face value.”


DJ is the same. If he apologizes, he'll get a second chance. The point got made what happens to people who mess up my car and I'm sure he's got a heckuva bruise from it.”


Well, what I need to say is take the truck out to the dealership and I'll get it fixed. He's probably got a cut seat from that glass in there and who knows what else.”

I've got a glass man looking at his truck today.”

Now listen! I've gotta right my wrongs too.”

You did. You got them not to press charges.”

Not really. I sort of made them afraid I was heading to Mexico because they were fucking up my pro possibilities.”

You serious about the Pros?”


Which team?”

Well, don't get down on me about this, but I'll explain it and then you can know.”


The Chiefs.”

Ok, that's a decent team, but why?”

They're close. I mean, I want to live here and keep my relationship, but I can't do that long distance.”

That's thoughtful.”

I need to get a jet or a helicopter, but I figure I can commute.”

They'll probably give that as a sign on bonus.”

Well, either way, I can afford it. It'll mean a lot to me to be able to come home and be normal.”

You realize your alone time won't be much, right?”

Whatever it is, I'll learn to sleep on a jet if I gotta. It'll mean more to me if I don't have to be apart.”

You're thinking this through.”

Yeah, but what I've also decided is I want to endorse everything possible.

I want it so when they have the phrase, 'name whore' in the dictionary, my face is proudly smiling by it.”

He laughed, “Why?”

Michael Jordan is making a fortune from his endorsements. Michael Jackson has too. I figure if a little white kid from backwoods county, Missouri can do it, then they'll have me selling everything. After all, the name of the game is to get as much as you can get while it's possible to be gotten.”

You're correct.”

What I figure is I can do it with some long term contracts. The companies don't like to think you'll go to the competition, so I'll sign with them if they make the deals right.”

When do you play?”

Friday night and really, you oughta come out. I mean DJ thinks you don't pay attention to him.”

He'd be right there. It's not that I intend on it happening, but I've got an ex wife who's not his mom and a daughter with her. I've let her dictate to me what my time will be with her and it's been at the expense of Deej. He told me last night he feels second best and that about killed me inside because I know it's right. SO, starting today that changes.”

All he's asking for is you to come to his games.”

Come to his games and to watch games with him on Sunday.”

Well, he'd probably be at Aaron's on Sundays, or over here. I mean, we all get together on Sundays and Wednesdays. You're more than welcome and more than welcome to bring someone with you.”

That'd be nice. You won't feel uncomfortable?”


I'm straight.”

Ooh, I don't know...that's a little too normal. I mean we're all gay and that might throw things off a lot.” I paused, “No silly, you're his dad! If you're not welcome, then I sure can't have other parents here and they're half the fun.

All that matters to us is you not say dumb stuff and your guest be of the same mindset...well, I don't mean you gotta bring a gay guy, but your date's gotta be someone who supports gays.”

He laughed, “Ok, I understand. I gotta great gal now and I know she's fine with it. Now, I gotta ask, do you allow drinking?”

Huh? You mean like anything consumable in the form of liquid by oral intake?”

He chuckled, “Yeah.”

Well of course. I mean, you've not had Grant's potato salad unless you've had a gallon of something to wash it down.”

Grant said, “When you get off that phone, you die.”

Well, I gotta stay on the phone for like forever now because I gotta die when I get off the phone. I prefer to die of old age, so can we stay on to meet that deadline?”

Uh, how you going to get to school and me work?”

Extension lines...lotsa extension lines.”

He laughed, “Yeah, that'd be fine.”

Well, Grant's pointing at his watch. It's telling me I gotta get to school.”

By the way, I know from a really reliable source you've got a new coach today.”

They didn't fire the tennis coach, did they?”

No, but I imagine he'll go when the other leaves town.”

Man, I liked him.”

Well, they're sort of a package unit.”

Yeah, and one really stank. I hope he cuts his losses and realizes he made the right choice.”

I sort of thought that myself.”

Who's the surprise coach?”

You'll see. He's gotta be called yet, but I think he'll take the job.”

Is he good?”

Yeah, he's been great for the team and everyone out there throughout the years.”

Great, but does he know football?”

He was quite good. You'll like him.”

I hope. Well, I'll see you Friday night.”

I'll be there.”

I hung up and said, “Ok, the good news is the guy was nice. The great news is he's accepting the news about DJ being gay excellently. The really great news is he's got a new attitude about being there for DJ and he's probably going to come to the things we throw on Sundays and Wednesdays.”

That's good.”

The super really great news is he said we're going to have a new coach by practice today and the guy knows football.”

Who is it?”

He didn't say, but he said the guy's not been called yet. He did say the guy is great for the school and team.”

That's good, I wonder who it is?”

I guess we'll have to wait and find out.”

Grant scrunched his forehead in thought. “I should know who it is. I mean, I've been there forever.”

The light bulb suddenly went off. “Ummm, Grant.”


Let me know when you figure it out. I gotta go to school.”

I leaned forward and gave him a kiss which would drop-your-socks-and-then-roll-them-back-up sorta kiss.

He smiled, “Thanks. That's enough to make me get through the day.”

I winked, “Well at least until practice, coach.” I turned and went out the door.


I laughed and got into the car. He couldn't come outside as he was sort of nude.

I hit the garage door button and backed out. The splintered hood looked terrible from outside, but it looked worse from inside the car. I drove and as I drove, I wondered if the hood would fly off from the wind it caught.

When I got to school, everyone seemed to make a beeline towards my car to see if the word was true. They all sort of stared and I got out. “Now don't mess that up! It's the latest thing they've got coming out on the new Corvettes. It's for those who want to go out and see if they can drive one in a demolition derby but are too worried about spending all that money on a 'vette to find out.”

Did DJ Carter really do that?”

Yeah, sorta.”

With his face? I mean, his face is really messed up.”

Where's DJ?”

Over by the door, the last I saw.”

I headed that direction. When I saw DJ, he smiled, I saw the big bruise on his forehead and asked, “Did you do that to my hood with your forehead? I mean, that's the rumor.”

He laughed, “You know how they talk.”

I heard. You ok?”

Yeah, are you?”

I will be.”

He looked at me, “I'm sorry.”

Now, it's all better.”

Have you seen Aaron?”

He's always here a little bit right before the bell. I figured you'd know that.”

Nah, I've not met him before.”

Well, the best way to do that is to go by and pick him up. I mean, he got that Jimmy, but he usually rides with his dad and that's why they don't get him here that early. If you bring him, he'll be here sooner.”

Thanks, I'll start doing that.”

Chris came over, “Did DJ and you really get into a fight and you throw him into your car?” He stopped and looked at DJ “You piece of trash. You fucked up his car!”

I said, “Chris, it's all better now. Be nice to him.”

Your car looks like shit!”

It's waiting on the parts.”

You really threw him that far?”

Nah, that's the rumor. The truth is he threw my phone and broke the hood. I served up a baseball and beaned him with it.”

You what!”

Yeah, so he's gotta be on the line otherwise who else will have that hard of a head.”

What was the fight about?”

Well, he and Aaron are boyfriends.”


Yeah, they're boyfriends.”

And you got jealous?”


Then why get into a fight?”

Oh Chris, I gotta take you to more of my fights from now on. You're way out of the loop.”

No, we're not going to any more fights because you'll want to take my car and I'll tell you now, mine has a metal hood.”


DJ laughed, “I see Aaron.”

He took off running, Chris looked at m and asked, “What was the fight over?”

DJ tried being an asshole to me. I sort of made him see it wasn't in his best interests to be mean.”

You know his dad's mafia, right?”

Yeah, I started off the morning speaking to him on the phone. We hashed out the deal about how he was going to pay to repair my car and replace my phone. Then, I sort of told him I expected to see him at all our family functions and to bring a date. He's cool with that and we got along great after that.”

You're cool with him being in the mafia?”

Hey, you've got a family, and I've got Grant's family, what's a few more people invited to family functions?”

Man, that's like gotta be many people. You'd run out of chicken.”

Let's pray they eat potato salad. If they do, they'll not be able to eat any chicken.”

He laughed, “Grant's going to shoot you if you make fun of his potato salad again.”

It was terrible dude!”

It wasn't that bad.”

Not bad! I mean, you put some salad with the potato when you call it potato salad. I mean, I saved some and took it to his mom and she thought I made it! When I told her Grant made it, she nearly had the vapors from shock.”


You know, that sort of thing where they gotta fan themselves and act like they're fainting on the sofa.”

Hey, she's old. It was probably real! I mean, that house is so friggin' hot in there.”

Well, I told her to try it and she did one smart thing. She said it'd probably glue her dentures shut. She gave it to Grant's dad. He was in a pickle because he thought she made it and he had to eat it and proclaim it good in front of her.”

Chris started laughing, “Oh man, you played a joke on him!”

Yeah, you should have seen the faces he made before he said it was the best he'd ever eaten. Then, he asked her, “What'd you put in it honey, it's different this time?' I'll tell you, you should have seen her come unglued. I had to duck and run for cover.”

You're terrible.”

Nah, he had to admit I finally got one over on him. But, he asked me never to bring Grant's potato salad to any family functions. Of course, you know what I'm telling Grant to make from now on.”

Chris laughed, “You're mentally deranged. I like that in you.”

He looked at me and said, “You got laid!”

Uh sorta.”

Dude, how do you sorta get laid?”

Well, with us, it's sort of like a two part equation. I do him and then, he's gotta do me for it to be a total lay thing.”

I can't believe you just told me that. I could've went the rest of my life not hearing it.”

Now, I gotta tell you, it's cool. All these times you were talking about titty fucking a girl, you should have been talking about sliding the weiner between the buns. That's where it's at dude.”

Would you shut up already!”

Nah, now dude, once you go to the crack, you'll never go back. I mean, it's like all cool.”

Chris said, “All these times I talked with you, you're suddenly going to make up for them with me, aren't you?”

Yeah, I mean, haven't you ever thought about it?”

With a dude? Oh hell no! I mean, dudes got hairy asses. That's gross. A girl has no hair on the jugs man.”

Well, think about it.”

I'll get sick. It's like eating a nice pizza and coming up with a hair in it. That's just gross.”

Ok, but you're not knowing what you're missing.”

He said, “Jake, I love ya, but you take that side for me and do me the favor of hitting them all. You can wait until I'm dead to tell me about it and I'll be really really thankful.”

Ok, but you really gotta know.”

Now, I knew this line of talking was totally grossing Chris out. I also know it was extreme pay back for all the times he equally grossed me about what he wanted to do with the girl right in front of him, but I just couldn't stop myself from teasing him.

I said, “Hey, guess what?”

If it's another story about butt, I don't wanna hear.”

No, this one is way better.”

What is it then.”

They fired the coach. We're going to have a new coach.”


One guess, but I'll give you a big hint.”

What's the hint?”

If the new coach drops the soap, I'll be there.”


Who can teach you to score...if he taught me to score?”

I'm like lost. You got your self laid and you're confusing it into the conversation.”

Nah man, think about it.”

I'm trying not to think about any old dude dropping the soap and making me see if I can score. That's your ball park.”

Ok, it's my ball park.”

So give a better clue.”

You're blond, but he's really blond.”

You're still getting your sex life into the mix up.”

Yeah, so you're there but you're just not there.”

Ok, forget the hints. Just tell me his name.”


Nah, dumb ass, that's your sex life. Who's he new coach?”

Forget it. You'll see.”

Thanks a lot. You yank me around with all this and then you won't tell me!”

I told you. You're not believing.”

I'm to believe Grant took the job as coach.”


That's dumb.”

What's dumb about it?”

He's the mascot. You don't have mascots be your coach!”

They're going to have student try out for the mascot position.”

There's no student built that way.”

Right, but that doesn't mean it can't be someone who's anemic.”

Anemic? Talk about anorexic compared to Grant's body.”

Well, yeah, but I'm not lying.”

Ok turn around and I'll test you.”

Ok, but you'll lose.”

You got laid last night, right?”


You're trying to have me believe you beat up DJ Carter last night.”


And, you're expecting me to go to the football field and see your boyfriend being our coach.”


You didn't laugh once. Either you've gotten good at the lying thing, or the world had shut down and I've gotta wake up from this dream.”

It's not a dream.”

I have a red Camaro?”


Oh man, how are you going to handle it when he yells at you?”

I'll probably play ball.”

Or get really hateful and have him making us run laps until we're just not able to step another step”

Never gonna happen.”

How can you say that!”

First of all, he's older than us. Second of all, he'd run beside us and third of all, you know he'd pass out long before us.”

Later that day....

What the fuck man! You trying to kill us! What's up with that shit! HE's older! He's going to fall over dead way before us! Well dude, look around the field. It's riddled with the bodies of our team mates who are falling down.”

Your still here, so shut up.”

He's trying to get you to crack. So crack already!”

Never! I'll see him fall. Step it up a notch.”

What notch! I'm at the end of the notching post.”

Then fall out. When you do, I'll start sprinting.”

I'm here. Your supposed to not make me look bad.”

Your non stop blubbering is killing me man. Shut it up!”

Ok, then sprint. I'll keep up.”

I pray you'll fall back so I don't hear you boohooing about it.”

I kicked it into sprint. Grant stepped it up and said, “As team captain, you're supposed to think of your team.”

They're dropping like flies already. YOU'RE the one who forgot to bring them oxygen.”

My mom can outrun them.”

Yeah, but ask her to try doing it with potato salad in her system and she'll be dragging ass.” Chris said behind me.

Grant yelled, “Jeez, I made one mistake cooking for you and you never forget it!”

Forget it? I mean, man, who so ever made potato salad with knox gelatine and unpeeled potatoes really needs to take home ec. That stuff was the newest form of concrete.”

I smiled, “Grant, it was good. Your dad loved every bite. I swear.”

He chuckled, “Yeah, he told me he had the farts for a week afterwards. He told me to never bring it to his house ever again.”

Grant turned and looked around us. “Chris, your co-captain. Jake, you're co-captain, the last guy fell.”

Why'd you do it this way?”

I gotta see if you can outrun them. I figure if they can see you out gunning them, they'll know you're a lot more stronger than them.”

Chris said, “Co-captain?”

That's the best I can do. I know you and Jake could run laps all day and sometime, we've got to practice.”

Chris said, “One lap. We run it full sprint and I bet you he'll fall.”

I said, “Ok, you're on”

We went to high gear and I said, “Chris, you're doing this because you secretly want in his pants. Just realize you might get your thing off, but he's staring at your ass right now sizing you up to see if the can get that thing up your ass and how much lube it'd take.”


Look behind you, he's right behind you staring.”

Chris looked and I put it into high gear full sprint. Suddenly, I was forty feet ahead of him.


We went around and I got to the line and stopped. He came running up, “That wasn't right.”

Either admit I'm captain or it's co-captains.”

You had me paranoid.”

Nothing to be paranoid about.”

Uh huh.”

Then what is it?”

Have you seen what was flopping around in there?”

Yeah, up close and personal. It's amazing when it's hard.”

Dude, that's just not right!”

Yeah it is. I mean, not only is the guy built, he's got the total package. And I love him.”

Oh man, you had to say that.”


Do you really?”


Damn! You got it bad!”

I got it oh so good.”

Ok, I'll believe you but I don't want to think about it.”

You know you like it.”

No, seriously, I don't.”

Hey, I heard about every girl you wanted to titty fuck for the last ten years. Now you can hear about the one man I want to get nasty with and you better like it.”

Do you all get real into it?”

Like bangin the headboard into it? Or, moving the bed out from the wall four feet into it? I mean, we've done both. It was awesome.”

We heard the whistle for us to draw up together.”

Grant asked, “What's it going to be fellas? Co captains, or One captain?”

I turned to Chris. He looked at me and I could see he wanted it bad.

Captain. Chris will be captain.”

Chris looked shocked, I leaned in and said, “Don't say I never gave it to you in a way you couldn't give it back.”

He smiled, “Thanks.”

Grant smiled, “Ok, that's official. You guys see your captain and you know he outlasted most of you running. You also know he and Jake have been friends forever and you need to know they'll stand beside each other through thick or thin.

That Gentlemen is how I want this team. You fell individually, but you rose up and you're standing here as a group. Not a one of you offered to help your fellow man, and if you had, I would have stopped the running and told you your team didn't need a captain. You think about that because that's the last time I want you to see your fellow team mate fall before you're there to catch him and carry him to the end.”

I looked around and all of the pride I had in that win with Chris evaporated. He looked down too and said, “Man, I feel like dirt.”

Grant said, “Guys, you feel bad because you're thinking as individuals. You ARE NOT individuals out here. It takes you being a collective body and mind to be a TEAM. There are no prima donas here and there are no losers. You are ALL winners if you'd set your mind to that goal.

Now, I'm aware you had a coach you just lost. You lost him because he lost his direction. You lost him because he lost his team. He lost more than that because he lost focus. He was a loser because he didn't think as a part of the body...THIS BODY. The Spartans!”

I don't even know where it came from within me, but suddenly, I was doing a Spartan dance with a yell much to the sound of “Nun Guh”

A bunch of the other guys started doing the dance and we all went into a huddle. We joined hands into the center and started doing the 'nun guh' chant.

Grant came over and said, “What in the hell are you doing!”

We're making our bond. Either get in or be left out.”

Grant took a flying dive into the center and we all caught him with our arms. Our hands were still joined together and Grant took ahold of my shoulder. He began to stand upright upon our hands and then gained altitude.

That's right men, no one falls. Together, we'll soar to new heights. Now launch me!”

I yelled, “ON the count of three. Hut, TWO, THREE!”

We lifted and Grant was launched into the air. He came back down into Jared's arms. Jared sat him down and Grant yelled, “Out on the field to practice!”

Jared came over and said, “He's pretty light for being so big!” He had a huge smile. “You ok?”


Good, let's have a good practice.”

We went out onto the field and Grant yelled, “Were going to practice punt returns. Jake, I want a good clean return and I want you to catch it.”

He turned and yelled, “Scott, I want you to punt it. Do it game style because there's no such thing as practice when we're trying to be real.”

He ran off the field and Scott hammered it up the field to me. I saw it coming down and caught it. Four of our guys joined together and we blocked our way through their line. One, two, and three guys were passed, Scott was up ahead and I saw three of our guys go stiff armed to block him. I held back and let them block way. They cleared and I ran it in.”

I did my Hawk screech and then did the wing soar. When I was done, I ran down the field to Grant.

Excellent work guys. Defense, that was pathetic. You should have been giving it your all to get him. Would you do that in a game?!”


Then do it over and this time, I want a hundred percent. You don't hold back, because the next time I'll determine how many percent you held back and we'll have that many laps ran. Alright?”

Grant whistled and ran off the field, Scott kicked it and this time I caught it at the forty yard line at a full run. I had a guy on me and did a lateral pass to Sojo. Sojo ran it forward and I ran up to block him. A large guy came at me and I stiff armed his face mask. His head snapped back and he turned away from me. Sojo ran it on in.

I went back and patted Wenkler on his pads. “You ok Wenk?”

Yeah, I didn't expect you to have so much force.”

It's real.”

I figured that out when my head about landed in the end zone.”

Grant came out, “Guys, you've got returns down. Everyone gather around.”

Everyone gathered and Grant said, “The punt return is where a game's spirit is made or lost. If you take it on in, you'll have a psychological advantage. They know that and they're going to try doing it to you also. Never underestimate the psychological damage an opponent can do to you. You might be littler, but you can strike hard. You might be bigger and sack their quarterback. It's all about that advantage. Never hold back from using it and you won't be sorry.”

Grant paused and said, “Guys, a lot of you know I went on to college and played. They kicked my ass because they got the psychological edge. What you don't know is I got them back.

Now, I'm going to tell you a game where I got that edge. You see how it got used and you'll know I intend to get you there.”

He paused and said, “A lot of you know I'm gay. I'm not hiding it and you sure as hell shouldn't hide it here. What you don't know is some girls are drawn to that because they see us as being changeable.

What I did was I had a gal friend who had dated a lot of the players on the opposing team. WE talked and I asked her to tell me what the quarterback of the opposing team was built like below the belt. She thought I was hot for him, so she told me.

The next game, I went out on the field and we had me there to pick the coin toss and him. He was full of bravado and the referee tossed the coin. It landed and he called heads. It came up heads.

I looked at him and said, “It's a shame that silver dollar is bigger than your nuts.” He looked at me and I said, “Grade A small cup man, that tells me there's nothing down there.”

Well, the guy walked away and I knew I was in his head. He kept looking at me and I knew it was working on him. Well, I saw him staring at me and I held up the tips of both of my thumbs together and he stared. That's when I pounded my fists together like I was meaning to crush his nuts.

What's funny and ironic is the very next play when he was out on the field, our guys sacked him and I guess they really hammered his cup. He had to feel the jar of it and when he got up, he hobbled off the field. He stared at me and I hammered my knuckles together.”

A lot of the guy laughed.

Now, I'll tell you this. I waited and I knew they were into a drive. He stared over and I hammered my knuckles together. He, of course, thought I had a contract with our defense upon his nuts. What he didn't know was it was all a psyche out on his part.

Of course, he protected his nuts and our guys disrupted that drive and later, we won the game. All because of that psyche out.”

He paused and said, “I'm your coach. I'll tell you I want an edge. I don't care how you get the edge, but I want it. IF you've got family in that other town, I want to know. If you hear anything about that other team, I want to know. I want to know if one of their guys stubbed his toe last night because that'll mean he's protecting that toe from being stepped on. If I find out, you best believe I'll be telling all of you who he is and what toe to aim for. I want him to be off that field so they're down to their second string. It means and edge and it means an advantage for you.”

We all shook our heads yes, and I asked, “What if we can't get the goods on them?”

Jake, you're at an advantage. The second we go into a game where we don't know squat, I'm going to have the announcers start plugging you played tennis there and you beat such and such and so and so. I want them to know we already beat them on one field and we'll do it again. Hell, for good measure, I'll probably even have you go out and have a half time thing of seeing if they can out throw a football up against you. It gives us the edge and when we've got it, we'll have them where we need them.”

I nodded, “Good, if you need, I've got my tennis trophies. You can use them if you need them.”

Nah, what I want is for you to remember who the little trophies came from and if we play them, I want you to go out and tell them their trophy sucked, but you'd do it all over again just to beat them again.”

The guys laughed, Grant added, “Guys, here's what I won't do. I will not jack you around. That means I'm not going to fake you guys out and deface our school property in order to have you guys thinking it was the opposing team doing it. A lot of coaches will do that stuff to try psyching up their team, but all it does is gets horse shit on their school steps and green dye in their showers. However, if you can come up with some really good ideas, we'll have them put to use and we'll do all we can to make them sorry they messed with a Spartan.”

Jared raised his hand. Grant said, “Yeah Jared.”

Coach, I think we should have a pep rally the last period of our classes on Friday when we've got a home game. It'll fill our stands and it'll make all of our school real involved.”

Grant nodded, “Good plan Jared, but I'll go one better. How about we have a pep rally for every game and we provide fan buses to go to those away games so we take our crowd with us? We'll fill our stands there and their team will see we're real supportive of our team.”

Everyone smiled and started cheering.

Grant said, “Guys, the school administration is going to be behind us because they know you guys are special. They know this year is our year and your record already has us three and oh.

Tomorrow's game is home. It's against Hannibal and they've got a lot of people to pick and choose from in their school. They pick the plow boys from the farms and they use them as their front line. Does that mean anything to me? No, it means they're bigger, but that also means they're slower. You're littler and your quicker. I'll tell you a big guy will fall just as far as a little guy. They both fall DOWN.”

He paused and said, “I'm going to give you a tip. John Bringer is their coach. I know the guy from college, but I'll also tell you something.”

He paused again and said, “John Bringer is a bigot. He yells, curses, and screams at his guys and he has them feeling like dirt. He'll degrade his guys on the field, at half time, and after a game all the way home. A lot of his guys won't ride that bus because of all the ways he treats them.

What I want is you guys to pay attention to who he yells at and give that guy support. You lay it on thick and I want you guys being really supportive of each other and that guy. I want them to wish they played for us and I want them to see we're nice people.”

He smiled, “Now why am I telling you guys this?!”

I stood up, “Because their coach will see us as coddling them and he'll ride them more.”

You're right. It's a mindset and it's an advantage. If that player thinks you're better than his own coach, he's not going to hit as hard. If he doesn't hit as hard, you can move him where you need him and get through the line. If you do that enough times, I guarantee you they'll give up defense to us and we'll score points.”

I stood up and said, “Guys, I need to forewarn you about something.”

Grant looked at me and I said, “Hannibal brings a friggin' cannon with them to their football games. It's loud and it's used as a diversionary tactic because it's sudden boom will shake the whole stands and have us afraid of it. IF they think we're afraid of it, they'll try to make those touchdowns in order to get that edge. They prepare with the thing, so they're used to it. We need to know it's going to happen and we need to be prepared.”

Grant said, “Oh man, I'm glad you brought that up. Here's what they use guys.”

He ran into the field house and came out with a bunch of huge fire crackers. “These are M-80's. It's like an eighth of a stick of dynamite and it's loud. They put it into the cannon and they try to startle. I'll throw a couple of these and you'll probably hear car alarms go off.”

He lit one and threw it towards the track. It hit and all the guys jumped.

Grant smiled, “Guys, that's their tactical advantage. Now, what's our advantage?”

I looked at Chris and at Jared and shrugged, Grant said, “Guys think.”

I was really thinking. He finally said, “Guys, this is our field. They have to set that thing up where we tell them it's ok. It's got to be out away from the track and it's got to be aimed away from the the crowd. Now, you guys think about it and you tell me what a cannon has which makes it vulnerable.”

I guessed aloud, “Their people who light the fuse?”

Grant said, “Think again.”

Jimmy Johnson asked, “What's it made of?”



No, but I like that thought.”

Someone else said, “It's on wheels?”

No, but you're thinking right. I'll save you time so you guys can see how I hope to gain an edge.”

He paused and said, “Each cannon has an opening. If you guys could get someone over there with seltzer bottles or a clown crew who can shoot water into that barrel, the fuse will go out in the moisture down that barrel and it'll be useless as a tactical edge. If you can think of something better, then tell me.”

DJ said, “Coach, foam sticks to the inside. If they try dumping out water, it'll dump out. With foam, it clings to the inside of the barrel and makes a big mess if something explodes in there.”

Grant smiled, “Soapy water. We need a lot of soap in the water we spray at that cannon and it'll turn their cannon into a giant bubble squirter. They'll shoot it off and a giant bubble will appear and then, our people will start laughing.”

Chris said, “Coach, we need about three guys dressed up as clowns who will run out on the field with a gun that shoots out the word “Bang”. Our people will laugh and they'll lose their edge. We can have one of the clowns hold his ears and have another cover his eyes and the other can pretend to pee his pants.”

Grant smiled, “Guys, that's amazing! We need that because it'll not only make our people laugh, but it'll make their people laugh too. They won't be able to get back that response and it'll piss that man off further.”

I asked, “Can we have our clowns mimic his yelling and behavior? It'd make him see he's being an idiot.”

Grant nodded, “Good thinking. We could have the clown go out and pretend to be kicking dirt at the guys shoes and then, we can have another of our guys run out with a broom and pretend to sweep off his shoes. It'll be cool because we're saying a lot through comedy.”

Jared said, “We need the good guy clown to be dressed as a Spartan. We want to demonstrate the good guy is us.”

Grant nodded, “Ok, let's see if we can get people involved.”

I said, “Aaron doesn't play football, do you think he'd be up for being one of them?”

Grant nodded, “Could be. What about Robbie Musselman?”

Someone said, “Now there's a clown.”

I smiled, Chris said, “Coach, Robbie might be the one portrayed as the bad guy. No one really likes him much.”

Grant's forehead frowned, “Ok, well, lets think of other things we can do.”

Jimmy Johnson said, “Guys this is stupid. It's a lot easier than that. IF we do all the scoring and they don't, that damned cannon doesn't get shot off. You need to think about that because you're all pretending they're going to be winning.”

Grant nodded, “Thanks Jimmy. I'm glad someone saw the error of our ways.”

He turned and said, “The game tomorrow night is going to require a lot of short passes and a lot of running. If you guys can get to the end zone, Jake can get it to you, but it's going to require getting through their guys.”

Grant said, “Guys, here's one thing I want you guys to practice. Our offensive line needs to be out on the field and we need double our defensive line out there.”


You heard me, both first and second defensive line out on the field.”

Our guys lined up and then Grant said, “We're going to practice with the offensive linemen being double teamed. Offense, it's your goal to not let them through. Defense, you know your job.”

I felt immediately vulnerable. Not only was Grant telling them to play a hundred percent, but he was stacking the deck against me....well, against our whole offensive line.”

I yelled, “Huddle!”

Grant yelled, “What the hell!”

Time out!”

He smiled, “Ok, I didn't make the rules there wasn't time outs.”

We huddled and I said, “Guys, here's the plan. He's double teaming us to see how well you guys can hold the line. Now, if we're fighting tough opposition, they'll get through, we know that. So, what do we do?”

Hold the fucking line man!” Jared yelled.

Jared, you'll wear yourselves out. If we do that, we'll hold it for two maybe three quarters and then, we'll suddenly have me being sacked because you guys are plumb worn out.

If you want my opinion, I think we need to let them through and get you guys down the field. I can run back and throw that far, so it's an option. What do you guys think?”

Chris said, “It's an offensive strategy which they'd learn our defense to their offensive would be to have Jake be the last line. IF we're running down the field, then he's got a lot more options and that team will suddenly start being leery of us all letting them through because we'll have a higher score.”

Jared looked at me, “I'm going to protect you.”

Ok, all the rest of you guys go forward. Ready! Break!”

We went forward and I said, “Ok, on three.”

The ball got snapped and the line immediately let them through. I ran back and got nearly to the end zone before I saw Jimmy Johnson very clearly opened. I threw it and then stepped back into the other end zone.

One of their guys yelled, “Safety!”

I said, “You're lying!”

Bullshit man.”

Ok, I'll call an instant replay. Besides, Jimmy Johnson just ran it in. IF I stepped back before it was thrown, you're right. If I didn't, I'll step off until you run ten laps.”


You heard me. Video doesn't lie. You willing to wager on it?”

Fuck no man, I've ran enough today.”

Well, just the same, I want you to see that video tape. I know what I did and for your confidence, I'll have you see it.”

He smirked, “You that sure?”

I'm so sure, I'll run that ten laps with your fat ass on my back. Now, You want to carry me around?”

Seth Conners stepped forward, “Don't do it man. I saw him. He released it and then stepped back.”

The guy said, “I want to see the video tape.”


I went over to Grant. They want to see the video to see if I went into safety before I threw. I didn't, but he doesn't want to wager.”

His eyes told me he knew the story. He instantly said, “Ok, full defensive line step forward.”

I went up the stairs to the booth. I saw the guy up there and said, “We need a replay of my footwork on that last play.”


They said I went safety. I know I didn't.”

Oh man, you were in. You threw it and stepped back.”

You know it. Some of them knows it. BUT, one of them doesn't. Let's show it over the scoreboard and prove to them they can have confidence in me.”

He backed up the tape and said, “Ok, it's about to show.”

I whistled through my fingers. Grant turned and I pointed at the score board. The play began to replay and it clearly showed I threw it and then stepped back.”

Grant nodded and said, “Ok, now look at that yardage thrown. That's nearly a hundred yards. Defense, you owe me a push up for every yard he threw. Give me twenty now, and then, I'll take twenty until we have it worked off.”

Oh man!”

I went down to Grant, “What's this about?”

This is about me possibly being told to request a replay. No, we don't get video replay, but if you get to the pros, they'd be penalized for that bum call and I'd have egg on my face plus get one of our replay calls wasted. They need to know I'll hold good calls made, but I'll penalize for bad calls.”

I said, “Ok, but that's not right.”

As a team, we all suffer. Don't be complaining because if this were a normal practice, you'd be doing push ups beside these men.”

I dropped and counted off twenty. I stood up and said, “Offense, drop and give him twenty.”

Grant smiled and shook his head. Chris came over and said, “What for!”

He's making members of our team pay for their bad call. He thinks because we're the offense, we're not a part of their team and they're not a part of ours. If we're a team, it doesn't matter who they are, they're a part of us, so we stand beside them.”

Chris turned, “Give him twenty!”

I went over to Jared. “Damned good blocking.”

Thanks, I'll be there for as long as it takes. I've waited thirteen years, I'll wait another thirteen.”

Don't do this to yourself.”

I'm not. It's been done to me by those I love. First my dad, and now you.”

Ok, but we're staying close.”

How close?”

We'll see. You gotta get your statement in yet.”

That's not an issue. You've got my loyalty.”

I know. I can feel it.”

We went out onto the field and Grant called everyone back in.

What was that offense?”

Chris stepped forward and said, “The best offense is a defense. If they're going to go on the offensive playing defense, we're going to go on the defensive playing offense.

Jake made a point of us being worn out by the third quarter if we tried holding a line clearly overpowering us. He's right. Rather than hold that and get nowhere, we decided to let them through and get the score which gets us that psychological edge.”

You're giving up the line!”

No, our line was there. Jared protected Jake, but Jake knows he can outrun them and we can run the other direction. He proved it and he also proved he can throw and get that edge.”

Grant smiled, “Ok, that's a good plan but don't fall on the swords too easily. You could have your quarterback hurt, and then your plan would stink.”

He looked at his watch, “Guys, call it a day. Tomorrow is game day, so take home your clean home uniform and wear them over white shirts to school tomorrow.”

Everyone clapped and ran to the locker room. When we got there, we grabbed towels, stripped, and headed to the showers.

DJ came over into my portion of the shower.

Well, first of all, let me describe the shower stalls so that doesn't sound bad. There are four shower stalls with twelve heads per stall...six on each wall.

As I said, DJ came over into the portion where I was. “What you guys doing tonight?”

I looked over at Chris and said, “Unless Casanova has a date, Thursdays are Chris' night for our friendship.”

Oh, I was wondering if Aaron and I could do something with you guys.”

I looked at Chris. He shrugged, “I've got a date with Penny. She knows it's Jake's night, but she wanted to meet him and us go to the movie together.”

I nodded, “IS it ok if he and Aaron come along?”


Because if he doesn't, his old crowd might try persuading him to go to the snack shack. I'd rather not have him back there.”

Chris nodded, “Is that the problem?”

Yeah, they're bad news. If he stays away from them, he's not inclined to be playing into their stunts.”

Ok, if that's the case, we might as well see if others want to go. You can still meet Penny. It'll be less formal and she'll get to know everyone away from the house parties on Sundays and Wednesdays.”


I turned to Jared, “You coming along?”

Can't, my dad wants us all to get new shoes. If I don't come along, I have to wait until Christmas.”

Ok, you know you were invited.”


I got finished with my shower and DJ stepped out with me. He nodded and I saw Grant staring at us while talking on the phone. I smiled and went towards my locker. DJ said, “Thanks.”

No problem. It's our contract of friendship. You hold your end, and I'll help you hold it.”

He went to his locker and I got dressed, Conners came by. “Jake, that was a good call. Sappington over there knows he messed up, but he thought it was cool of you to have your guys drop and do them with us.”

We still owe him seventy seven.”

Yeah, he'll never forget it either.”

You probably should know he'll probably pick those moments when we're worn out our worst and call them...and Lord help us if we lose tomorrow night. He'll call us out in the field afterwards and have us do them.”

He looked at me shocked, “He'd do that!”

I'd do it, so I imagine he'd do it.”

Man, remind me never to have you for a coach!”

I'm going to the pros. You'll never have me for a coach unless you're way old and in the pros.”

He laughed, “Not me, I'm going to be a farmer.”

Well, prepare to go to college.”

What the hell for?!”

Grant and I are paying anyone's way to MACC who wants to go.”


You heard right. We just told the school board last night about it. It's still being ironed out, but I think we've got it figured anyone who wants to go is going to get that ride.”


Anyone who wants to go to MACC. We're not paying for anyone to go to Harvard, but we'll pay the way for anyone to go here.”

That's cool. What about the people who don't make good grades?”

The key to that is no grade requirements to qualify, but when you get to college, you've got to pull a passing grade. We're not going to pay for someone to be a college drop out.”

Do you know how expensive that could be?”

Yeah, several million a year. Together, we've got that sort of interest income coming in.”


Yeah, my grandma invested really well.”

What'd she put you in?”

Cell phones, computers, and some other stuff.”

Oh man!”

Yeah, but don't treat me like I'm rich. Heck, I've got to make it through high school in order to make it to the pros.”

He smiled, “Still, it must be nice.”

It's nice, but it's a big weight around my neck too.”

What's that mean?”

Think about it. You've got Bush in the White House. Savings and Loans are in a mess, and we're trying to sock away that much money to have on hand to pay the college. If our savings and loan goes under, we're sunk on that until we get more money caught up.”

Oh that'd suck.”

Yeah, so we've had to give the college a bunch to prepay for this year's batch and still try to have our deposits under a hundred grand with those which are insured. The second it goes over that hundred grand, we've got to roll it to another account. It's a tedious mess.”

So it's like playing in a rain storm with mud and rivers when we were little.”

I nodded, “Now I know where you lived! You lived out back of our house!”

Yeah, we moved. WE now live out on the highway just south of the Tara Plantation house.”

Nice, I know they built houses out that way. I've got the car dealer across the road.”



Oh man, I thought Grant had that.”

He did, but he sold it to me. As you can see, we're about to go into our new building.”

You've been doing a lot there!”

We're going into a low price non competitive pricing structure.”

What's that mean?”

Well, the sticker price on the window is suggested retail. That's not what the dealer pays for the car. In a lot of circumstances, it's like 40% less for the dealer. What we're doing is adding on fifteen percent of what we pay and then putting them out the door at that cost.”

I'm not following.”

Ok, let's say we pay ten grand for a car. The sticker would say it's fourteen. We'd charge you eleven and a half and that'd be it. You don't try dickering us down and you take the deal.”

That's pretty straight forward.”

It saves people money, but what you don't know is we're charging that same fifteen percent on the cost of our parts, tires, and whatever else we've got out there.”

SO you mean if I need a transmission in my car, I pay fifteen percent on the top of what you pay and that's it?”

Yeah, that's installed price.”

Find out what a tranny costs for a '76 Nova. I've got one out there which needs one. I've been saving because I knew it'd cost a whole lot to get it installed.”

I'll do that, or you could by calling our parts department and tell them you're needing a tranny installed. They'll probably have to order it, but it'd be in next week some time.”


Yeah, they don't take long at all.”

Oh man, this is so amazing. I thought I'd have to wait until next year at least!”

Nah, all you gotta do is advertise for us when you can by telling others about our good deals.”

No problem man!”

He took off and Grant smiled at me, “I heard that clear in here. Sell those cars!”

I laughed, “Just drumming up business.”

That's the way it goes. I like it.”

I went to his office and said, “What do you want for dinner?”

Something light. I know we're going to have a real big supper tomorrow night.”

Why's that?”

Your new friend Dan Carter just invited us to the booster club dinner.”

Aren't you a member of that?”

I was, but I never went to their dinners. Now that I'm coach, I guess I've gotta.”

So you're eating a big dinner tomorrow night and I've gotta go stag.”

No, you're invited too.”

Nah, not unless the whole team's invited.”

He smiled and nodded, “I gotta decline then.”

No, go ahead and go.”

Nope, I made an example and you're holding yourself to it. If I'm going to be a member of the team, I've got to hold myself to it also.”

Call him back and see if the whole team is invited. It'd be cool for us to show the guys there's a club they can belong to after we graduate.”

That's a good idea!”

He went over to the phone and dialed. I stood at the door and asked, “Has anyone left yet?”

No, not yet, why?”

Important team announcement maybe.”

What's the 'maybe' with that?”

Grant's calling to see if the whole team was invited to something. If so, we've got to attend a dinner before the game tomorrow night.”


Grant yelled, “Guys, team meeting!”

Sappington smiled, “You think that maybe turned into a positive?”

I'd say it did.”

Everyone started to form at the meeting area. Grant came out and said, “Everyone gather around.”

All the stragglers gathered and he said, “Guys, I just spoke to the booster club president. Many of you might not know what the booster club is, but it's a club of former players and graduates of our school who decided to band together and raise money for the teams.

Well, the booster club invited me to go to their dinner tomorrow night and I had to decline because the team wasn't invited. I called them back and they extended the invitation. So, after practice, we've got a dinner tomorrow night and then we've got the game. You'll have to find rides amongst yourselves, but I'll see what I can do to get everyone a ride. It's going to be held at the Ramada Inn's conference center and buffet.”

A huge cheer went out. And Grant held up his hands.

Guys, this is a courtesy of them extended to you. They want you guys to know they're there so when you graduate they might be able to have you on their membership roles.

Let me say I mentioned earlier about us having buses going to games and those buses are going to be covered by our boosters. They do those sorts of things so if you're ever asked to contribute, or sell tickets to the booster banquet, please do so. It helps you and helps our school as a whole.”

I asked, “They do a car wash, right?”


Tell them Reilly Chevrolet will be proud to host the next car wash and we'll donate the facilities to their fundraiser plus pay them for the cost of washing all the cars out there.”

Grant smiled, “You're ruthless on that!”

Hey, it gets customers on my lot.”

Grant said, “Guys, in case you've not heard, Jake's the owner of Reilly Chevrolet. You might look to him if you're considering a new, used, or parts for your car. He's got some great deals going.”

Conner said, “He's getting me a transmission installed for two hundred and seventy nine dollars! Everywhere else, they wanted almost eight hundred dollars.”

Several guys were immediately interested. He explained the deal and I smiled at Grant. I said, “Guys, let me explain the pricing policy of our dealership. It's real straight forward, so you'll see it's not a fluke he saved money.”

I explained the deal and several asked, “Can we get Ford parts installed there too?”

Yeah, you'll have to pay what we pay plus fifteen percent, but the installation will be included.”

One guy said, “Oh man, my dad's got a truck with the front wheel portion of his four wheel drive out. He said it'd cost too much to fix. I'm going to tell him and check it out!”

A lot of the guys laughed, “Now we know why he's got a 'vette. He got it cheap!”

Yeah, I paid less than the cost my grandma paid for my Camaro down in Columbia for it. It's real reasonable when you see how cheap they get them.”

Do you do that for everyone?”


Oh man! My grandpa is looking for a truck.”

I smiled at Grant. “Well tell him to come and check us out. We'll order to suit and it doesn't take long to get them in. The trucks are made in St. Louis.”

Everyone was really excited and all walking out talking amongst themselves. Chris came up to me, “Thanks.”

What's that for?”

That's the most excited I think I've ever seen these guys.”

Let's hope that excitement carries over to tomorrow night and those guys don't eat so much at that buffet they're stuffed and can't run.”

Do you think we ought to tell them to limit themselves?”

No, the second they over eat and get knocked around, they'll upchuck all over the other guys and that'll be an edge for sure.”

He laughed, “Oh man.”

Grant yelled, “Jake!”


You and Chris doing your thing?”

Well, we're doing it, but a few guys are all going along. Do you wanna go with?”

Nah, I've got a date with my parents. I make it a point of seeing them on your night out with the guys.”

Ok, tell pops I'd like to see them at the game.”

They might. I can get that one box up there now and it'd not be too cold for them with heat on in there.”

That'd be nice. Do you think they could make it up those steps?”

I don't know.” he said sounding unsure.

How about we get some of the guys and give them a lift up there. It shouldn't be too much of a chore.”

Nah, that'd be imposing upon them.”

Hey, they might have grandparents too and need the use of that room up there. It would attract us more viewers.”

I'll tell them. The most they could do would be to turn us down.”

We need to make that room up there a sort of VIP suite. We could get them complimentary drinks and popcorn.”

He smiled, “That's thoughtful.”

Hey, they're my peoples!”

He laughed, “I'm glad you like them.”

They're neat. I'm not sure which one I like more. Both of them are neat.”

They're going to ask when they get to see you again.”

Tell them we've got a Saturday morning date at IHOP. They like that because they get to see a lot of people telling me a good game and they get to be a part of the hoopla.”

He smiled, “Ok, I'll tell them Saturday is your day with them.”

Saturday mornings. I have to go to the dealership in the afternoon.”


I looked around and went over. “Can I have a kiss before I leave?”

Nah, not here. I don't want it to cost me this job.”

Alright. I understand.”

He looked at me a little uncertainly. “You ok with that?”

Yeah, I know this means a lot to you and I now know that rule. I'll play by it with no objections.”

You sure?”


Ok, I was worried.”

Don't be. This is for you and I know you're in your element.”

It's a lot of fun for me. It's something I always thought about doing.”

Good, I hope we win tomorrow night.”

We will, their team sucks this year.”

You had me worried.”

I had to worry the guys to make them not think it's a sure thing.”


I told a white lie out there today.”


I told them we'd not be playing games on the guys by pulling dirty tricks. I'll use clean tricks as my strategy. That way if a dirty one gets played, we'll know it's really that team.”

What sort of clean trick?”

Oh, I better not say. Otherwise, you might give it away.”

No, I can be a part of it and help get them onboard with it.”

Well, I've thought about saying I talked to certain coaches and they said to me they think we're going to be an easy win against them.”

That'd be decent. I could help fire them up doing that.”

I've been thinking about a few things.”

What's that?”

Why don't I tell you later. It might not be good to bring up now.”

I hate that.”

I know, but you might need to think things through before bringing them to me too, so I'll understand.”

Ok, but you'll tell me, right?”

Either way, I'll tell you.”

Good, I don't want you holding back from me.”

I'm not. Well, let me explain it to you and then you can see.”


I sat on his desk and he looked down, “Don't sit on the desk.”


It's something my head coach at college wouldn't allow and afterwards, I found out he ate his lunch on his desk and didn't want to eat off where people's butts had been.”

That's understandable. I apologize.”

No, it's respect for the position. I still respect it as a player and want my players to respect it if they should go into athletics.”

That's neat. Do you think some might?”

You're going to possibly go pro. That's going into athletics.”

But I could never be a coach.”

Yeah, you could. Some universities give honorary degrees to players of notable stature. If you're given one of those, you could be a coach with no problem at all.”

That'd be interesting. I never thought about that.”

Well, it's a thought. I don't want you to rule out anything.”

Is that what you wanted to talk about?”


Ok, bring it up.”

Well, here's what I was meaning about that delay thing.

Let's say I've got an idea about something and would like to do something for someone. BUT, I've got to think about it before I bring it up to you because I'm not so sure if I should do it, or not. IF I think it's a good idea later, then I bring it up. If not, I ask you to let me think it through and then I tell you what that was and why I talked myself out of it.”

Ok, so that's what it's about.”


But two minds are better than one.”

Yeah, but you're more generous than me. I don't like bringing things up to you because it's something which could have us wasting a lot of money.”

Ok, I'll wait and let you think it through.”

Well, this one is already there, so I might as well get your viewpoint on it.”

I'll give my opinion.”

Cell phones. I know they're expensive, but do you think we could get the team them?”


I was thinking we could give them to the guys and we'd have a built in line of communication to get important messages to them. Just think, had we not caught them at the door, we could've called them and passed along the message.”

I don't mind about giving them phones. They're free. It's the cost of using them. If we pay the bill, they could use them for everything and call all sorts of those sex lines and things. It'd be expensive.”

I know, but do you think they would donate the cost to our team?”

I'll call. I need to get another phone anyway.”

You need to do that rather fast.”

I'll call Raleigh. He's got phones. Then, all it will take is for them to put my number over to that phone.”

There ought to be an easier way.”

There should be, but it takes them punching it into a computer. Raleigh's closest store is in Columbia, so that's a bit far to drive.”

Call him from this phone. I hate the thought of you being unprotected.”

We need a video tape for my car. I'm running without one.”

Go get one from Wal-Mart. Do that before you do anything tonight.”

Ok, I should get several in case I'm caught in this position again.”

Ben called to tell me he and Sherry are going out on a date Saturday night.”

The DFS woman?”


I didn't know her name.”

Yeah, you kept referring to her as the DFS woman. I think you even referred to her by that in front of her once.”

I probably did. I'm beginning to like her.”

It takes time.”

I'm not real sure about seeing that shrink at all.”

You might like her.”

I might, or I might end up in a worse position because of her. By the way, Sherry was supposed to start coming by and speaking to me while I was waiting on the guys to go out to the field. She didn't do that.”

Well, she's probably got emergencies too.”

Oh. Well, I'll see her when I see her and won't if she doesn't show. It's only for about twenty minutes at a time, so that's not long.”

You should make time for them.”


You've got time.”

If I make time, someone else has to pay for that time. My schedule is full.”

See if she'll come by the gym.”

Ooh, that's not going to be nice. We're all sweaty and my sole goal is to get you in the hot tub and into the suana. Usually, I'm hard as a rock at that time, so that's not going to be good.”

She might like it. She might want to work out and that'd be fine. You two could do some together.”

You trying to get rid of me?”

No, but I'm trying to tell you there's time you could do it.”

I'll think about it.”

Ok, that's all I ask.”

He smiled, “Scoot.”

No, I've got to call Raleigh.”

Ok, then scoot.”

You trying to get rid of me?”

No, mom said supper is at five forty five. That's in five minutes.”

Oh, I'm sorry.”

No, this is a priority. Make your call and then let me go.”


I made my call and Raleigh said he'd drop a phone by the house. I left and then went to Wal-Mart to get the video tapes. Once I had them, I put on in the recorder and then, drove to the house. I was pulling up just as Raleigh was heading to his car.

Hey guy!”

How's it going!”

Fine and you?”

Wonderful, I just got Amarillo and Midland Texas.”


Business is growing. How's it for you guys?”

Most of Colorado. Some of Wyoming and Yellowstone. They're still paying for themselves, but it's not going to take long before we're in the black.”

Ask them about overseas.” he said winking.

What do you know that I don't?”

I heard they're about to open those markets. If they do, it's going to be an explosion.”

Oh man, that's an awesome possibility.”

My wife has asked me to get dibs on Paris, France. She wants to be able to go there and write it off as a business expense.”

I wonder...Oh man, I'd like the whole of Australia. It's a big area, but I really like the things I've seen about down there.”

You should be able to get it easily.”

Not really. It's all through Grant, so whatever he wants to do.”

Tell him they're about to expand. I did hear it from a real legitimate source and he said it's about to happen real soon.”

Did he mention about how soon?”

He said he wants the profits to go through the roof in the nineties. He said he's making deals with an agreement they're making for digital rights across the board around the world. It's something to do with digital rights for movies and all sorts of radio, television, and all that.”

Ok, so when's that to take effect?”

I don't know but he said he could have people with those markets and investing so when it's opened, they could go right into them.”

I'll tell Grant. It'll be later, but I'm sure we'll be safe from that decision tonight.”

He laughed, “Yeah, but you were smart about Colorado.”

I had no idea the number of interstate highways they had out there. We went along those every thirty miles and in every town above the population of two thousand.”

That's a significant area.”

Yeah, but there's still dead zones. Grant has a grid of how much it'd cost to get a complete coverage, but with mountains and things, it's sort of not in a thirty mile pattern. In some instances, you've got to have a tower five miles apart from each other because of land masses in between.”

Why's he doing that?”

He said some day the customer is going to be tired of having limited coverage and he might as well invest in full coverage now while it's cheap instead of later when it could be more.”

Well, he's right about that. I might start buying towers for Paris just in case so I've got myself thinking I was pretty smart and got in before the costs went up.”

I'll tell Grant. We might do that too since all those towers being ordered at once is likely going to have the prices raise.”

You're right. I never thought of that.”

He smiled, “You've already got me a thousand units through your dealership.”

Hey, Grant wanted me to call and ask, but I can run it by you.”


Our football team. He's wanting the guys to have phones but wants the company to donate them. I'm not sure they'll go for it, but you might be able to use it for a write off if you donate them.”

How many?”

We've got forty guys on the team. Some have phones already, but most don't.”

That'd be two grand a month for the fifty a month plan. I'll do it if they promise to pay their overages.”

When can you get me the phones?”


Ok, I appreciate it. It's going to really be something for them.”

I'm looking at it this way. If I get them a phone and their parents see how easy they are to use and how convenient they are, I've got forty paying customers reimbursing me for that investment. It's working out that way.”

It's nice. We should see if they'd think about an unlimited monthly plan. I'm always right up to my allotment. Although my phone service is free, I don't like going over.”

Mine's free too and I'm about living on mine. Hey, I heard Bill Gates is thinking about a phone which is like a computer. That's going to be really incredible.”

It would, but I bet he's got an investment in them someplace.”

Probably does.”

Wouldn't that be the shit if we went to the shareholder meeting and sat at the same table with him?!”

You go to those things?”

Yeah, they throw a nice spread and pay for it. I went this past summer and it was up in Chicago. They paid for my airfare from St. Louis and when I got there, they had me in my own hotel room which was real neat.”

Your grandma didn't go?”

No, she thinks they showered too much stuff on her. She thinks that about Apple too, but now they send me that stuff.”

What do they send you?”

Come inside, I'll show you what I've got left. I give the stuff away because they send like five things of each.”


Yeah, you want one of these computers you carry with you?”

Oh man, I saw them, but I heard they're really slow.”

I think they are, but I don't carry one because I'd be afraid of dropping it and who can find a phone line to hook into.”

They should get a cell phone hooked into it so it's completely portable.”

Maybe they will some day, but look at those computers over there. They're cool, but all I have is some games on it. You're welcome to one of those too.”

You've got a bunch of them.”

Yeah, if you think those are outrageous, you ought to see the basement.”


I'm telling you if they make one model, I get five of them. IF they make another model a week later, I get five of them. It's stupid.”

Can I have several of them?”

Sure, take all you want. I've got a stack of them in the basement.”

You should donate them to the school or something.”

Nah, they would all be playing games on them, but that encyclopedia thing they've got is real neat.”

Wow, your's looks nice.”

That's last year's model. Those over there are this year's. I've given up on trying to switch over because it's a real pain putting everything in over and over.

Here, there's some programs. All you do is put those into them and they run. Bring them back when you've got them loaded in as someone else might want one.”


No problem. Heck, it's helping me get rid of them.”

Some people would die to have one and you've got a bunch of them.”

Hey, I could give them to the football players!”

He laughed, “Yeah, they'd all be joining the team because some mad millionaire is on the team sharing all this stuff.”

To me it's clutter. It's like those phone calls you get on the phone offering to sell you things. Just when you think you've got them leaving you alone, another batch comes.”

You should donate them to a charity for Christmas, or something.”

I might do that. It's sure a headache.”

So is their shareholder meeting neat?”

Yeah, I met the owner and his friend. His friend is also an owner, but he's sort of a wacko guy. I mean, he's like so smart, he talks way up here and the other guy sort of translates for him.”

How'd your grandma know to invest in those?”

She said she liked the names. That one company Intel is real amazing. They make the chips for all these things. She thought it meant she was smart if she bought a lot of their stock. It was a smart move because they're really advancing things.”

So you own a lot of all those?”

Yeah, and a lot of other things. One of the companies is a company which makes all these keyboards for them all. None of them run without them, so she thought it was a good move.”

It sure was!”

That's what she did was she saw that Intel company as making a lot of things for all the companies. They do and they're fine, but they're rather stingy with their things they give away.”


Yeah, but that's ok, they make a lot of money.”

I'd like to see about investing in some of those.”

I think that phone company is the way to go myself. Everyone already knows what a phone can do and it's like a luxury to have one away from your home. With it getting cheaper to use, everyone's going to use them.”

We're talking about that too. Some of the other companies are trying to get into the business, but what I've heard is they want to rent space on our towers. It might, or might not happen, but what I know is we're the largest there is right now, so they'd have to compete against us.”

Well, that's still a nice thing. I wonder if they pay royalties.”

No, I heard it's like a set monthly fee. He's trying to make it real high so we're paid from that rent even if they don't give the royalties.”

It's still a lot of money.”

Yeah, but with us not getting royalties on it and them possibly driving the costs down, it'd be us making less money overall.”

He ought to make it a penny for each phone call paid to us and then, if it explodes, we're making a lot anyway.”

I'll tell him. It doesn't sound like much, but you'd be right. It'd be a whole lot.”

They need to remember there's got to be a return on the investment for us to put the towers up.”

Just remember if those companies come in, they'd put up towers and our company would have to rent space on theirs.”

Oh, well I'll tell Grant so we can definitely have Australia covered.”

I'd just go with the populated areas there. A lot of their areas aren't populated.”

Do you think they've got a lot of land for sale?”

Maybe, but I heard the best place to go for land is Brasil.”


It's like a dime an acre down there. A hundred thousand gets you a million acres.”

So for twenty thousand, I'd get like two hundred thousand acres.”


Oh man, that'd be nice. I could put a little house out in the middle of it and a runway and go hide away from everyone if I wanted to.”

He laughed, “You'd not do that, would you?”

In a heartbeat, I would. For me, it's not about the money, but about being safe and not having people bother me. I wonder who I contact about that?”

Check with their embassy. They'd be able to tell you who to contact and get you into those sorts of things.”

It'd be nice to buy a lot of land anyway. I could say I've got millions of acres at different places around the world and it'd be real cool.”

A lot of people down there are making their land into plantations.”

Like slaves and shit?”

No, like for fruits and things.”


Think about it. Out in California, they had orange groves and their population expanded and now it's all houses. People still want to eat oranges, but they tend to forget they're knocking down thousands of those trees to build houses. So, they plant them down there because the population is little.”

Oh, that'd be cool. I could have orange trees and all sorts of things.”

Just remember the further down you go, the colder it gets. It's like exact opposite of up here. If you go up here, it gets cold. Down there, it's down.”

Oh, I need to pay attention more to all that.”

I'm surprised you didn't know it.”

I remember things but I tend to forget where things are. I do know Brasil has coffee and a lot of bananas and things.”

You're thinking of Costa Rica.”

Nah, I know Brasil has those things. Look at those Juan Valdez commercials. He's over there in Columbia, right?”

Yeah, that's right next door to Brasil.”

I ought to see about getting land there. It's not much of an investment and it'd give me security.”

While you're checking, see if Australia has cheap land. It'd be nice to own a beach front piece of property where it's like the coast of California without the expensive houses.”

I wonder if their houses slip off the hills there.”

They probably can build them far enough away if they own a lot of land.”

That'd be cool. It'd be like a huge front yard with the ocean off yonder.”

Yeah, you're getting it now.”

I'm getting it. I'll get that phone number and let you know.”

He laughed, “You're serious about this!”

Yeah, you're forgetting most of all my people got killed by someone. If my closest neighbor was like a hundred miles away, he'd have to come a long way to take a shot at me.”

You think you're in danger?”

There's still a guy here in town who's responsible for my parent's death.”

Oh man.”

Yeah, so he might decide to come clean things up with me and I'd be in a world of hurt. I'd rather be safe someplace where he's got to come in by air to get there.”

I guess I'd be paranoid about all that too, if I was in your shoes.”

Thankfully, I've got enough money to not have to worry about it. If I get to investing.”

He nodded, “Well, I better get to going.”

Yeah, I gotta call the company and get my number switched over.”

Call their technical people. They do things faster.”


I went to the phone and he carried computers out. In less than ten minutes, I had my number switched.

I called Chris. “Hello?”

It's me. I'm ready now.”

It's about time.”

Dude, I got a lot of news. I'll tell you.”

Cool, but you need to get a move on. We're starving here.”

Ok, who all is there?”

Just Penny and I. I thought they were meeting at your house.”

Nope, no one here but me.”

Well, you might stop by the snack shack and see if DJ is there.”

I'll call his house. His dad will have his butt if he's at the snack shack.”

He wouldn't be, would he?”

I don't know. If he lied to me and took Aaron there, I'm going to be pissed.”

What's up with that?”

He takes Aaron there and treats him bad. When he's not around his friends, he treats him good.”

Like how?”

Aaron was made to stay in DJ's truck. I went over there and DJ tried telling me to get away from the truck. I went, but I called Roger and then, I called the policeman John. That's when DJ thought he'd play tough man and break my phone by throwing it. Then he threw me onto the hood of my car and I started serving baseballs. The first one went to the back window of his truck and the second one went off his forehead.”

He deserved it.”

Yeah, but he went home and came out of the closet to his dad. His dad was cool with it and made him stop going there. Roger agreed if he was good to Aaron, but if he's went back there, DJ's gotta date with baseballs.”

Call his dad. Get him in trouble that way.”

I'm afraid of what he's doing to Aaron. They've already had sex like nine times.”


Yeah, I'll fuck your brains out, but when you're around my friends, I'll treat you bad shit.”

Call his dad.”

Ok, I'll be there.”

The movie starts at seven. I'd like to have eaten by then.”

We will.”

Sit down, not fast food.”

Ok, let me off the phone.”

I hung up and called the Carter's. “Hello?”

Why aren't you over here?”

Aaron's not coming.”

So you couldn't call me to let me know?”

He wants to break up.”


He said he's wanting to get with someone else.”

Well fuck. Ok, let him be with someone else. It's not like there isn't someone else out there for you.”


Dude, play the field. DO you want to go to the movie, or not?”

I don't feel like it.”

Your dad there?”


Put him on. I don't want you going to the snack shack.”

I'm not.”

I know you won't. If he knows, he can spend time with you. That way, you know you're around good people.”


Don't thank me, put your dad on.”


The line went silent.


Dan, he said Aaron broke it off with him. He wants to stay at home, so I wanted to see if you were spending time with him.”

Yeah, Brenda's over and we're watching television.”

Ok, tell her hi and thanks.”

No, thank you for caring.”

No problem. I just got paranoid about him going back around those people.”

I understand. I think we're in safe territory with him.”

Well, I've got to get off here. I thought I'd call since he never called me.”

He tried. Your cell phone still isn't working.”

Oh, I just got another one. It's working now.”

Ok, well, I'll tell him it's working now.”

I appreciate it.”

No problem.”

I hung up and went to Chris'.

Play Maker


Notes From Retta:

To those who have been patient and have waited for the chapters to be posted, I would like to Thank you. If you'd like to see the upcoming chapters, please email me and I'll send them to you. I've already given a lot of people the chapters and have no qualms about sending them if you'd like to read them sooner.

Thanks for your interest in the story.

From My Keyboard To Your Heart,


Copyright Notice - Copyright © 2008 by RettaMichaels

The author, RettaMichaels copyrights this story and retains all rights. This work may not be edited, changed, or duplicated in any form, media [ known or unknown ], without the author's expressed permission. All applicable copyright laws apply. RettaMichaels does NOT give editorial consent in order for this to be published. If it is deemed unpublishable in it's context, permission much be granted before publication or changes occur.

Trademark Notice – 2008 by RettaMichaels

“From My Keyboard To Your Heart”,”'Retta”,“RettaMichaels”.“Retta”,“Rhett”, and “Rhette” are all Trademark of RettaVonnMichaels L.L.C. None of these trademarks may be used, or authorized without consent.

Disclaimer: All individuals depicted are fictional, and any resemblance to real persons, locations, or incidents is purely coincidental.