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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, 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!

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Notes From RettaMichaels:

PlayMaker is written as a period piece. The lead character is writing his memoirs at the end of his career in this day and time. Please read it as such as I've really got no time to correct people for what is obvious.


Chapter Sixteen:

At the field house, I went in and on into Grant's office. He came in from the equipment room and said, “Your shield arrived. Mizzou said to keep it their compliments.”

I'm not signing with them.”

He smiled, “I wouldn't either!”

Grant, I need to speak. We need to get this settled.”

Ok babe.”

Let's go sit down where we can face each other.”

We went out to a bench and sat down. I lay out my sandwiches and fries on my sandwich paper. When it was all arranged, I looked up and said, “I'm sorry.”

I'm sorry too.”

I've been a horse's ass to you, but here's what I want and then, I want to tell you what I want. Ok?”


I want the car dealer. I'll pay for it, but I want it. If you don't want to give it, that's fine, but I'd really like to have it.”


Other than that, I'm not asking for a thing. I'm done with the arguing and I'm ready to go on.”

That's a big change!”

Things are changed now, I'm going to tell you what's new and then, I've got to ask you a question.”


I bought the buildings.”


I also bought the Angels.”

How much?”

Three twenty five.”

A bit steep, are you sure?”

Listen to what I got and what I have...”


I spoke with Tom Benson and he told me to offer ninety for the bare team. He told me to get stadium contracts if I was going to pay the one twenty.”


I told Mike to go for those and they told me one eighty. I countered and told them I wanted the stadium, the contracts, the royalties this year, and they told me three twenty five.”

Son of a bitch, you got the stadium too!”


Super deal!”

Ok, now, that's the football deal. The way it goes, I bought the team, and I can play quarterback but I can't afford myself for six years.”

Ok, that sounds terrible, but how do you feel about it?”

I'm fine with it as long as they don't make me sign a pro contract to play for nothing. IF I'm owner, I can play and pull money in as the owner, but that's an investment, right?”


So, technically, I can play high school football and pro football at the same time since I'm not receiving pay and am not under contract.”

He smiled really big. “Yeah, that's the loophole!”

Good, now, I'll probably play on Sunday over there.”


He's flying in tonight and we're signing here. He's agreeing to float a thirty day promissory note for the money with my signature. Mike vouched for it and that's what's happening.”


The reason I wanted to speak with you early is because it's going to be nuts here later. We've got the Redskins scouting in one booth, Tom Benson in another and the owner of the Angels here selling me his team, so that's definitely going to have a lot of tensions in the air.”

I agree.”

After I sign, I'm going to fly to Akron with the man to speak with him and get some pointers about running the team. I'd like for you to ride also.”


My next question.”

Ok, pop the question and I'll accept.”

Not that question, however I think you'll like this one.

When I spoke with Tom Benson, he said they need a quarterback back there. I think I fit that bill. He also said they need coaching and management staff in order to take the so-so team and make it great. I swear the first thing I thought about was asking you to coach.”

I've got a team.”

Grant, I know I'm a bitch to you and I know you are a passive aggressive fighter. I know you love me and I love you back. I know you wanted to go to the pros and this is the chance. I want you to have it and I'll play damned good for you if you'll do it.”

It means uprooting myself from here.”

It means following your dream.”

Yeah it does. Can I think on it?”

Yeah, it's going to be open for whenever you want it, but the next thing I've got to tell you is a bit strange.”

Ok, tell me.”

I told you Jared spent the night with me last night, right?”


Well, I took Rob over to the house and he made some comments about Jared. Jared came so I could see him and told Rob to tell everyone to not go near his house on Halloween.”


A bunch of those kids were planning on going there and having a séance and stuff. Jared was really pissed and told me to tell them what happened to him would happen to them if they went there.”

That's bad news.”

Yeah, but Rob started to get really hateful and Jared got pissed. He lifted Rob up by his collar and then showed himself as his old self to Rob. Rob pissed his pants.”

Oh man.”

It gets worse.”


Rob said it wouldn't do no harm to have a little prank on Halloween and Jared told him what all they did to him through my voice. It was way beyond brutal.”

Ok, I heard it was terrible.”

Well, Jared asked Rob if he and his friends wanted to die that way and Rob told him he didn't think it'd happen. Well, Jared got pissed and showed himself as the way he looked after they butchered him. It was gross.”

Did Rob get sick?”

He pissed his pants again and passed out. Jared dropped him on the floor and I wasn't in a real good mood. I mean, I had fifteen minutes to get to the pharmacy and Rob's got pissed pants and no clothes at the house.”

What'd you do?”

Jared told me to leave him and he'd clean up the mess. He said he'd dry Rob and he'd get his clothes taken care of.”

You left him!”


Oh man, is he ok now?”

Yeah, but no.”

What's that mean?”

Grant, Jared and I kissed. That kiss was way beyond intense. I'll tell you not even the one Sappington gave me compared.”

Ok, you've got history with him and a lot of emotions.”

You're not getting it. Rob and I kissed at the house and it was like kissing a cold fish. I licked his lip and usually that turns anyone on. With him, it wasn't anything.”


Well, at the pharmacy, we made the deal with Dolly and she took the check. It took Mr Owsley a few moments because he had that fireman in the back room.”

Which fireman?!”

Not the one you're supposed to meet, but his partner, or ex partner.”


They're exes who work together. They're partners on the truck, but ex partners....”

Oh ok.”

Well, the other guy likes older guys so Mr Owsley and him climbed several ladders in the back room and put out a lot of fires.”

Grant smiled, “That's sort of funny, sort of gross, and a whole lot of inspiration to me to know I could be getting it at that age.”

Yeah, it's sort of way cool.”

Did he get that refrigeration unit repaired?”

They took out the Buss fuse and ordered a new compressor. I'll pay for it when it comes in.”

That's good.”

Now, here's where it gets weird.”


Rob come into the pharmacy and right around the counter and kissed me. That kiss was Jared's kiss and not Rob's. I looked into his eyes and it's Jared's glint there instead of Rob's.”

You're telling me Rob checked out and Jared checked in?”

Yeah, I think so.”

You sure?”

No, but Mike noticed something different and asked me if Rob and I had already boinked. I told him we didn't, but I also told him I felt the connection in my soul I do with Jared because it's there now rather than being there with Rob.”

This is confusing.”

You telling me! But get this because I'm going to tell you one other tidbit which is going to just fry your gourd.”

What's that?”

Rob kissed me before he and Mike left and said, “Don't start the game without me.”

Oh fuck! Jared said that each and every game. He'd go to the bathroom and would say that before he went.”

Yeah, now you want to talk about someone nearly pissing his pants, I about did it then.”

What are we going to do if it's Jared and he's thinking he'd going to play?”

I don't know. He's got to realize he's Rob and doesn't play football.”

Do you think he'd want to play as Rob?”

I don't know.”

Grant looked at me strangely and said, “Stand up for a moment.”


You growing taller?”


Go over to the scales and lets see. You look taller.”

Grant, I'm NOT taller.”

Do it. When was the last time you weighed and checked your height?”

Never, it's always 4'10” and 98. Why check it?”

You've not been checking out at the gym?”

Grant, I never check it. It's always the same. I'm always going to be short and I'm always going to be tiny. Just face it and don't get my hopes up.”

Really, I'm not joking. Go weigh and check your height.”

Ok, but I know what I am. If this is you telling me I'm a liar any other way, I'll be pissed. I'm trying to bury this hatchet with you.”

Hon, I'm not calling you a liar, but I think you're finally filling out and filling up.”

I went over to the scales and put it on 98. I stepped on it and it immediately went as me heavier than that.

I just ate.”

I put it on a hundred and stepped back on. It said I weighed more, so I put the weight on over until it leveled out. “Ain't no fucking way!”

What's it say?”

A hundred and twenty three. That's twenty five pounds.”

I stepped off the scales and took them to zero. They leveled out and I said, “They're not off Grant, but I didn't gain twenty five pounds off what I ate.”

Check your height. I bet you've gotten taller.”

I stepped on the scales and did the height stick. It said I was at 5'4” tall.”

Oooh Hoo!!! I'm five inches taller!”

Five inches and twenty five pounds heavier. Let me see your pants.”

I never wear my pants normal. You know that.”

They're higher off the floor. You need to get new clothes.”

Grant, I can't afford them right now!”

Buy sweat pants. Wear those because I'll tell you now, if you are in your growth spurt, you're going to probably outgrow what you do buy. Sweats will gather up and bunch and will allow for you to let out the string.”

Ok, but this is dumb, I didn't even notice.”

Hon, you've been having aches and pains a lot. I didn't pay attention because I know I hurt a lot when I was playing too. It's just tonight, I looked eye to eye with you and it looked like you were up taller.”

You know that's going to be great for me playing now. I'll be faster and I'll really be great out there.”

You're not telling me I'm full of shit now. You're actually happy about this!”

Yeah, I'm not so short and so lightweight anymore.”

He smiled, “Come here.”

I went over and hugged him. “Grant, I love you, but it's not the right kind of love.”

I know. I realized it today when my dad was jumping my ass.”

I love him. I'm not giving him up.”

I won't let you do it. I want you in my life too and I want you to know if we're not together, it's still going to be me as a mentor.”

Are you going to coach my team?”

Not this year. Let me think on it and I'll give you a maybe on next year. Ok?”


How's it feel to own a football team?”

Great, I don't much care for their colors, but I'm not even sure what I feel about Akron.”

It's a beautiful city. There is a lot of history and wonderful food.”

I'll have to really do a lot of promotional press. You know that, right?”


Grant, I can play high school football, but I don't really want to finish school. My grandma and I had a deal if I had twenty million in the bank, she'd not make me go to college, well, I'm worth way more than that on paper, are you going to make me go to school?”

Finish this semester and fulfill your goals with the team. Give these guys your all, but my advice is to tell them the news tonight before the game so they'll be really excited for you.”

I can't. This is all about Jared tonight.”

Oh man.”

So much good is falling all around us right now. We've got scouts out the ass and we've got me owning a team and we've got me with Jared in a way, but with Rob. And we've got you coaching a pro team and now, what I've got to worry about is Chris punching me in the mouth when he finds out about Rob really being Jared.”

Do you think he'll notice?”

Grant, they've been best friends since I was six years old. Jared had phrases and sayings for everything. When Rob says one, Chris is going to think Rob's brain fucking him and Chris will come unglued on him.”

Would Chris handle it well if you told him?”

I don't know. It's weird because if I told him, then he'd not see it and Rob would be Rob to him. IF I didn't, then Chris will totally lose it when he thinks it's Jared.”

You need to talk with him.”

I gotta get Chris a job on that team out there too.”

He's too small.”

No, it doesn't matter what it is, but I want him there. We've been friends and we pull each other through everything.”

I know.”

Grant looked down and said, “Jake, can I say something?”


I love you. I don't think it was meant to be. I think we both realized it was wrong and I think it's good we found out. I'm not worried about what people know and don't know because to me, you're still going to get everything I own. I'm Willing it to you and that's already been told to Mike.”


Well, he doesn't know it yet, but I left it on his message machine at this office.”

Ok, we just talked and he was worried how this talk would go.”

It's going well. You can be a little hot head, but you're not so little anymore.”

So I'm just a hot head?”

Yeah.” he said smiling.

Grant, do some checking around and see if anyone else called me 'little Jeff' beside Mr Owsley.”

He called you that?”

Yeah, it sort of freaked me out. I mean, no one else called me that and I even made a joke about my initials being JAM instead of it even being my middle name.”

I've never heard anyone else say that, or call you that. I do know you were your dad's buddy and you went everywhere with him.”

One last question and then, I'm going to let it all rest. Ok”


Down at Mr Owsley's, did you ever get a crème fizz?”

No, that's your dad's thing with two nuts to make the drink clearer and blue.”

With whipped topping?”

Yeah, it come to you that way?”

It came to me when I was telling that fireman to order it when he went in to meet Mr Owsley. I told him if Mr Owsley brought it out with whipped topping on it, it meant you could get lucky with him.”


Yeah, and my dad got it with the whipped topping.”

I never knew. If he did, it was probably after me.”

Grant, let me tell you what I know. Ok?”


My dad loved you. He loved you way more than what you knew, but he had that gift I do and he knew when he was going to die.”

You told me all this.”

He loved you. You think my mom was first choice and you were left in the dust, but he had to make that decision in order for me to be born. I'm telling you this because if he would have had a lifetime pass to being old, I think you two would still be together.”

It doesn't matter to me. I loved him and I know now he loved me, so the blessing is he got me you. I'm not concerned with the past like I was and what matters is the future.”

My cell phone rang, I answered it. “Hello?”


Yeah, who's this?”

Tom, Tom Benson.”

Where ya at?”

We're preparing to land out here at the airport, could you send someone to come get us?”

How many?”


I'll be right there.”

I hung up and said, “Tom Benson's at the airport. He's got two guests and himself.”

You're going to get him?”

Grant, I gotta schmooze the guy. He's an owner and I gotta get seven of them to approve of me buying the team.”


That's their membership to the club or something. If you can't get 'em, I guess you can't buy the team.”

Huh, I never knew that.”

SO, I gotta mind my p's and q's and my t's and a's...all that other alphabetic stuff.”

Ok, I'll get things ready for them to be entertained.”

DO you have things special for them?”

Yeah, we put some little meat platters, veggie platters, and chips and dips up there.”

Man, will I get that if I travel all over the place?”

I don't know.”

You'd think I would if I put all that money out for jet fuel.”

He staying?”

I don't know. He didn't say and I didn't ask, but what's bad is I've got to spring it on him I bought that team when I was supposed to ask him if I was good or not so good.”

You're great.”

Yeah, but you might be biased.”

No, I'd tell you if you stank.”

Well, I gotta go get him.”

Before you go, I wanna hug.”

I went over and hugged him. He held it. He looked into my eyes and said, “I want us to put all those people together. I want the Redskins guy's opinion, and I want Tom's opinion, and I want the Angels guy's opinion. That way, you've got three opinions and you'd know you're real good.”

Ok, but do you think they'd been set up if we throw them together?”

No, but here's what I want to do. I want Tom and the Redskins guy to know we've got other people who are good.”

I'll do that, but whatever you do, don't put Sap and Jimmy Johnson out on the field. They've got careers and we're trying to get other people noticed.”

I'm not. They're in the hospital.”


I heard you did a number on Sap.”

Yeah, it was an accident I didn't do more. I tried, believe me.”

He smiled, “Good, I'm glad in a way.”

I gotta go. Do what you can to prepare Chris if I can't get to him.”

Robbie's not going to be in here is he?”

No, he's supposed to break up with the judge's daughter and then, he's coming to the game.”

Can I do someone a favor?”


Someone I know who has the hots for the judge's daughter?”


Good, he'll appreciate the favor and him knowing she's available will put him on top of his game.”

We need that tonight.”

Run the first one and do it backwards. Since you've said that, I've thought about it and that'd be the way to get into their brain.”

I'll do it. I gotta go.”

He nodded and said, “You want me to ride to Akron with you?”

Yeah, but I might have more than us in the jet.”

See how big their jet is before you ask a bunch of people.”

You think they'd own a little jet?”

Yeah, they're not big. Some only sit like seven people.”

I thought it'd be like a big one.”

No, they only do that for the whole team.”

I gotta learn these things.”

Well, run off and let me know what's happening when you know it.”

I'll do that.”

I went out the door and got into the Caddy. I was already happy I got it.

At the airport, I pulled up and saw the Redskins' jet. Over a bit, I saw the Saints' jet. It was prettier than the Redskins'.

I drove over and got out. The door opened and the steps came down. Tom got out and came over. Instead of shaking hands, he gave me a hug. I looked over his shoulder and saw Tootsie.


Hey doll, how are you!”

I'm overjoyed now!”

I heard you were being scouted and I told him to get you at all costs.”

I looked over and saw Marc. “Hi Marc, it's wonderful to see you too.”

He smiled, “Hi Jake.”

Well, come on...come on!”

We went to the Caddy and climbed in. Tom got up front and I helped put Tootsie in the back. Marc got in on the other side and I shut his door before getting in mine.

As I started to drive, my phone rang. “Hello?”

We're about to land.”

How many?”


Hang on a second and I'll be there.”

I hung up and said, “Tom, I need to ask an awkward question, but things have changed.”

What's changed?”

I bought the Angels.”

How much?”

Three twenty five. I got the stadium, team, and all their contracts.”

Good, I heard it was all for sale and I was prepared to tell you not to go over four for it. You got a helluva deal.”

I sort of talked him into coming tonight to sign and they're about to land. Would you mind terribly if him and a guest rides with us?”

Sure, no problem.”

I was going to beg you to scout our team and see if there's anyone you could be interested in besides me and to ask you for your approval for me buying it. It's embarrassing because I planned on telling you guys before they arrived but I didn't.”

Don't worry about it. I'm excited because you've got so much attention!”

As you see, the Redskins are somewhere. I've not met the guy yet, but I hear they bought a lot of nibbles for you all.”

He laughed, “We've already eaten.”

Well, let me know if you don't want them because they don't give the players anything. I'll get them for the guys.”

Tootsie laughed, “Take them, we're here to see you tear up the other team.”

I'm gonna. Do you remember DJ?”


He'll be playing tonight and Chris will be playing.”

I turned to Tom, “Both of them have been down to ride horses at their ranch.”

Tootsie laughed, “He calls it a ranch dad.”

Hey, it's a ranch. It's got horses.”

It's called a stables. There's no big pastures.”

Oh, so there's a difference?”

Yeah, one is for exercising horses and the other is for raising them.”

Don't you do both there?”

Yeah, but...”

My point exactly. It's a ranch!”

Tom laughed, “Toots, he's gotcha.”

Marc? Did you get that buggy thing fixed?”

Yeah, we put the spokes in wrong. That's why it wouldn't fit the hub.”

Oh, well, I tried. I'll have to see how it looks when it's done right so I can do that right the next time.”

Tom laughed, “You're going to be much too busy now. You're a team owner.”

Are you guys busy?”

Yeah, it's something different every day.”

Can I come down and watch you run yours? I mean, I won't steal your plays or anything, but I need to learn and I respect you.”

Each one is different. You'll have your own signature and style. I can show you, but the way I'd show you is what it takes to run the Saints. I'm sure if you went to the Cowboys, they'd show you entirely different and then, when you went home, you'd see the Angels are entirely different.”

Why do they do that?”

I'm not sure.”

So basicly, I gotta go in and see it running and then sort of figure out the way it's supposed to be ran on the fly.”

Yeah, or hire someone to do it.”

Not happening. A fool and his money are soon parted and a fool hires someone to do a job he can do himself.”

You're right.”

Well, for me, there's got to be some problems there when they can't afford a quarterback.”

Too many injured.”

Ok, so that means I gotta lay off and get bigger guys.”

You got it.”

Do bigger guys cost more?”

No, it's about seeing them play. They might be bigger, but they'd probably be slower, or more clumsy. It's hard to find a nimble big guy.”

Wrong, we got ours to be nimble.”

Your guys probably aren't that big.”

No, but what we did was we did reverse psychology on them. We weighed them down and had them wear bigger and more bulkier pads over Mae West life preservers and extra thick foam pads. We put water bags on their legs and then, we put sand packs on their ankles. Down their backs, we put fifty pounds of weights and then, they put on their uniforms.

What it got us is a lot of guys who were suddenly out there running their guts out and building up that muscle thinking they were slower, heavier, and clumsier. They got used to that and then, we took it off and they were lighter, more agile, and way faster. I learned it from watching Marc train horses.”

So your guys all do good?”

Yeah, but what's neat is they still hit hard like they weigh a hundred pounds heavier. What I mean is they spike into the dirt like they're supporting that heavy weight and they're pushing on those spikes like they're pushing that weight. It's made our offense faster and our defense super powerful.”

Hmmm, I'm going to like to see this.”

Grant did all the rest. I'll tell you that now. We had a different coach who was just terrible and we got rid of him. Grant came in and changed everything. If it's good, it's because he did it.”

I watched the Angels' jet land. “I hate those colors. That's the one thing which gags me about having them.”

Tootsie laughed, “What I tell you dad!”

Tom laughed, “She said you'd complain about the colors.”

Can I change them?”

My suggestion is to request the changes at the owner's meeting where you're to be approved.”

How does that work?”

It's real easy. We have a meeting and banquet once a month and each month it's held someplace new. You foot the bills for everyone on that, so be prepared for it all.”

Ok, how much does that run?”

My last one was almost two hundred grand.”

Man! What'd they eat!?”

It covers landing their planes, hotel rooms, food, gratuities, golf, entertainment, and so on and so forth. I've been to some which are just really expensive.”

I guess I gotta spend money like I'm rich if I can buy a team for that much.”

He laughed, “You just do it your way. You've got a beautiful city who goes all out up there.”

Yeah, but I don't know what they've done before and what they've not done.”

Ask around.”

I'll do that. Now, real fast, what should I have gotten with the team and what do I not get?”

They've got team assets. You'll have to check the asset roster. I doubt if he'd strip it at that price.”

Ok, I sure went into this in the dark.”

The jet stopped and I got out. “I'll be back.”

I walked over to the jet and they dropped the steps. I went up and shook the guy's hand. “Which one am I supposed to meet?”

Who are you kid?”

I'm Jake Martin. I bought the team.”

Play a joke on someone else kid.”

Hey, I'll laugh when I'm joking. If my money isn't good enough, you spool this son of a bitch back up and get the fuck gone.”

Hey! Lose the attitude.”

Sorry, I'll buy another team. Until then, realize I've got a suit against your team for lack of faith bargaining.”

Are you really him?”

I don't lie. I'm me and there's my driver's license if you want to check.”

He looked at it and laughed, “You really got that sort of money?”

Yeah, I'm borrowing the money though so I don't have to get into my stocks. If I do that, I can pay cash, but I can pay through interest in about a year.”

You're doing good!”

Yeah, now, do you have the contract?”

Here it is. You want your lawyer to look at it?”

He'll read it after I do. I'll tell him what's wrong with it and he'll know where you messed up.”

I went through the pages and got through it the first time. The second time, I folded over pages. On the third time through, I said, “I'm not paying that extra twenty million for that concession contract. It's supposed to be in it and I'll throw them out on their ass before I pay it.

The next complaint I've got is you got paid, I'm not paying you a monthly annuity if all royalties and rights are going to me. I'm buying them and no annuity will be paid.

Lastly, that down roster gets pared before I sign. You might have to hold them on it, but I'm not buying them. If I do, I sign onto their contracts like you did. Me being new, I can axe them and get by with it.”

He nodded, “You're a whiz kid. That was amazing.”

I'll have my lawyer pencil through those and I'll sign. You have the promissory note?”

I trust ya.”

I can't do business that way. Right now, I'm the proud owner of a Chevy dealer I bought for three million I don't have one deed, title, or anything for. I remodeled the place and the guy's jacking me. Now, if you need the cash, I'll get it, but I didn't rob the bank on the way over since I didn't have to. Now I see you don't have it, so I can't sign until it's available. I'll ask my lawyer to draw one up.”

That's fine kid.”

Now, one nit pick before I sign and then I'm done bitching. This jet is like damned old. It certainly can't haul a whole team, so I'm guessing you lease or charter, right?”


Who are you leasing through so I can cancel that contract? I'll buy a jet to get us a jet. If the guys don't feel like they've got their own seat and identity with the team, it lowers morale.

The same goes for buses. I'm glad I've got it in mind to buy four of them because you don't list them.”

No, we lease and charter. It's better on our taxes.”

It's changing. Now, who is staying in the organization and who's leaving?”

They looked around at each other and I said, “Ok, no one's staying. I guess I'll get a lot of people hired.”

Kid you don't get it. This isn't a take over, this is a buy out and you let us run it.”

Fuck you. Get out of my airport and be prepared for the suit. I'll take this with me so I can give it to my lawyer. IF it's in there, I'll laugh your ass into court. If not, then you find someone else who's an idiot.”

I went out of the jet and stalked across the tarmac. I got in and slammed the door, “The fucker just pissed me off.”

What'd he do?”

He expected me to buy and leave them all in the structure. I'm not a fool.”

Hang on a second. Let me look at this. Go over to that plane's engine and bump it with this car. They can't take off unless it's inspected afterwards.”


I drove over and hit the engine at fifteen miles an hour. It really gouged the hell out of the hood and lost a whole cowling. I backed up and Tom got out. “Come on Jake.”

I got out and pulled my cell phone. I dialed Dan. “Hello?”

Get to the airport. I probably just broke a federal law or something.”

What's going on?”

The Angels people just tried screwing me so I rammed their plane with my car. They can't take off now and I'm about to board their plane to play hard ball.”

Shit kid! I'm on my way.”

Call Mike Musselman and tell him to come. I want him in both capacities.”

Will do.”

We boarded the plane and Tom held out the contract. “Guys, this is my daughter's best friend. As you know, I take care of my family. He came out to the car and said he's getting screwed. He showed me where and I'll tell you now, he's got you by the balls.

First of all, for him to have this paper, it means you've got no other buyer. Second of all, since this says final draft, that means your lawyer doesn't know shit. Third, if he signed this as it is without the promissary note in this state, you'd find out he bought a team on paper and you don't get paid a damned thing because he doesn't have a note on it and you don't have a signature on a note.

Fortunately, he's honest. If it had been me, I'd bought the damned thing and then told you that you were screwed.

Now, we're at a checkmate here. I'll swear he signed it and you'll swear he didn't. I'll swear his car dealer notarized it and you'll say it couldn't have happened. We'll see-saw around until the owner's meeting and by then, I'll have all my people out seeing who you owe money to and we'll have a good old fashioned lynching in the board room.

SO, here's what we're going to do. You can fly this fucking plane as it is and take your chances, or you can sign this paper and take the firing, or you can play the game my way and get fucked out of your team. Shall we see which one I want to pick? Or do you want to make the right decision?”

I'm not repairing this plane!”

I wouldn't either.”

I held up my hand. “Guys, this is an old plane. You've got it appraised at fifteen million. It's damaged and can't fly. I'll knock off fifteen million from the sale price and now will sign for three oh five.”

That's three ten.”

Five for my being pissed off, but that just went to three because I got pissed again.”

Tom turned and smiled at me. “This kid is nearly a billionaire on paper from his stocks. He can afford this team. One thing you'll see is he's smart enough to play hard ball and win. I'll talk him into keeping the three twenty five on the contract if you'll sign off on it and vacate the offices. If not, then step off the plane because his lawyer is also the Prosecuting Attorney here in this county and I'm sure you're loitering...or something worse.”

I winked, “Worse. We had a bombing up in Jacksonville last night which is unexplained. I'm sure he'll hold them under investigation until court on Tuesday to suddenly realize your story checks out.”

The one guy said, “He's gotta pay our airfare back.”

Tom slapped out the contract and said, “Is it in here? No. So, that's not happening. Neither is taxi fare and anything else.”

The guy said, “I'll sign the damned thing.”

Not before my lawyer sees it.”

My cell phone rang. “Hello?”

Mr Musselman's voice came through, “What's going on?”

They're wanting to do this fraudulent. They tried to sneak the concessions out of the contract and they tried to keep in the widows and orphans. They tried to keep themselves in it and they tried to pass off an ancient jet as something worth fifteen million. I'm sure the other appraised values of everything are all inflated now and we're still haggling over whether or not you'll come out and arrest them for investigation on that bombing last night.”

Nah, the murder today should do it. I can hold three days without charges on that.”

OK, hurry out here because they're dressed real fancy. Be sure to put the snakish one in the cell with Mr Riefsdel. They should get along great.”

Ok, I'll think on it.”

I hung up and said, “He's going to arrest you on suspicion of murder. It gets you three days in jail without questioning and as an extra special treat, you get to be in the cell with Mr Riefsdel. He sliced and diced his son last night for being gay.”

Tom turned, “Huh?”

Yeah, he's a preacher and he can't possibly have a son who's gay. So, he cut, chopped, fileted, and gouged out his eye balls. Oh, did I mention he cut his feet down the middle and then chopped off his fingers so the kid had to dial 911 while standing up on those feet and dial without fingers?”

Tom turned to me. “I'll take the arrest if they DO put me in jail with the fucker.”

Tom, this is the same guy who had my parents mistakenly killed while trying to carry out a hit on me at the age of three years old...because I kissed his son.”


Yeah, three years old is old enough to put a hit out on.”

They going for the death penalty?”

Yeah, but if he doesn't get it, it'll happen on the front steps of the court house, I'll guarantee you that.”

Tom turned, “Guys, sign the fucking paper and get out of the organization. While you're at it, I want a twenty five year non-compete clause in it where you can't work for any other organization in the league. If you do, we'll shut them down.”

Keep the three twenty five on.”

I went through the contract again. “Which one of these addresses is the owner's mansion?”

It's not on there.”

It goes on there. IS the coach's house on here?”

It's a part of his contract.”

Tom said, “Bullshit. Get it on there.”

I sat down and penciled out and wrote in. When I got to the assets, I asked, “Where's the itemized list of assets for the player's locker room and company vehicles? Do they not even have a Cushman to haul players off the field?”

That's under the assets of the stadium.”

I'm buying the stadium. Why aren't their assets on this list?”

Tom said, “Because their bookkeeping is shit and they're losing money hand over fist due to theft. They can't list what they have as assets this week because it's probably gone next week. They probably rent everything because it's all been stolen. My suggestion is to invest in some chain link fence and put it up around the place and then invest in some surveillance cameras to see what's walking where.”

If I fire everyone, how fast would I have to get everyone hired?”

Let me see their schedule?”

He looked at the schedule and said, “You're home this weekend. After that, you're gone for three weeks. I'd fire on Monday and have the three weeks to secure it and get new people in there.”

I nodded. “Ok, I need the addresses for the owner's mansion and the coach's house. What I won't have is the assets of the owner's mansion and that house.”

Put down it's assets are appraised at five million. Put the coach's house having assets worth a hundred thousand. If they steal them all, you can sue for that because they signed it into the contract.

Your advantage is you've got a promissory note which can be devalued. If they take assets, it comes off the note's value. It's leverage you need to be assured you got what you paid for. And yes, you're correct in noting their bookkeeping sucks. I'd change firms and I'd get an audit done so you know what you've got and don't have.”

I'll get the audit done in this month so I can write it off that note. If I'm valued more than the note, I'll take the loss on the taxes for this year.”

He nodded and said, “This kid knows more about bookkeeping than you guys apparently. He's surprising me.”

I run a car dealer. They get pretty creative with how they keep a car on the books. I can sniff out a loser in a stack of them.”

The guy stood up and said, “Tom, why are you here?”

I'm here for the same reason the Redskins are here. I came to scout him. I got here and before we pull off the tarmac, you called to tell him you were landing. He tells me he bought the team and asks me if it's ok with me if I ride in the same car with you. I agree and when he came off that plane pissed, I knew you'd tried to pull one over on him. So, I told him to ram the plane because I know it'll have to clear an inspection before it flies.”

I said, “Guys, I gotta play a game. We can flap jaws here all night, but it's not my priority right now. I've got to do paybacks for my friend being disrespected and that's what matters to me right now.”

Come on Abe” Tom said chuckling. “You're going to see him kick some ass.”

We went out and climbed into the car. It was loaded to the max.

As I was driving out of the airport, I saw Dan's car pulling up. I lay on the horn and stopped. He rolled down his window and I yelled, “See if you can get that engine fixed on the jet. I've gotta go play a game. They're agreeing to terms I can sign on now, so we'll be fine.”

Let' me know because I know some folks out there who could be a real help to you.”

I'll tell you because we've got to do a complete audit and get a new bunch of people hired.”

Check and see if you're paying anyone who isn't working for you. If you are, you've got mafia on board. I'll clear them out.”

I appreciate it.”

I pulled off and Tom said, “Dan the Man.”

Yeah, he's a nice guy.”

He's nice when he wants to be. When he's mad, he's not so nice.”

He's going to do a lot of merchandising for me.”

You sure you want that?”

Yeah, we understand each other. He knows I don't put up with much after I beat up his son.”


Yeah, I served a baseball off his forehead. It put him down.”

Tom laughed, “Man!”

Dan said he liked my style. Ever since then, we've called on each other regularly.”


He helped with that bombing last night out north of town.”

What was that about?”

The mechanic who murdered my parents tried to play hard to get. We kidnapped him and then blew up his garage in order to make it look like a suicide.”


Yeah, I got my answers and got him several more murders to go to be charged with.”

He gave them up voluntarily?”

I sort of took a hands on approach to him. He sang like a canary.”

When we got to the school, I pulled up to the field house and said, “Guys, I'm taking you in and introducing you all to the team. They need to know I share the wealth and if they're good enough, we've got enough scouts here tonight to give them hope.”

Tom smiled, “Ok, but hopefully no one will want the Redskins.”

They for sale?”

Tom smiled, “No”

Damn, I could'a gotten another one!”

He chuckled, “Friends don't let friends buy teams.”

I laughed, “You should've told me before I committed myself.”

You weren't that good of a friend yet. Now we're family.”

Damn dad, why didn't you tell me!” Tootsie said laughing, “I nearly had my brother a new other.”

I laughed, “Toots, can you imagine Christmas in a house with us in it together?”

Tom really laughed, “Perfectionist decorating. My God.”

Marc said, “Jake decorates at our Ranch as he calls it with the equipment. He says things should be parked so we can put bales of hay on them and make them look appealing.”

Tom chuckled, “Marc, if you get him happy, let me know. I know she's happy, so that's what matters.”

My eyebrows shot up, “Toots, I think you got approval there.”

Approval isn't hard to get. Getting him to walk down the aisle is where it's hard.”

We'll get it.”

We got out of the car and went in. Inside the field house, there were all sorts of fellas walking around in various states of undress.

Guys! We've got guests on deck!”

Everyone turned and one guy said, “Son of a bitch! You're Tom Benson!”

Chris laughed, “Nah dumb ass, that's Jake. He's the new owner of the Angels.”

Tootsie laughed and went running over to Chris. “Hey babe!”


Yeah hon, I got my daddy to come up and watch you all play.”


I said, “Guys, tonight we've got scouts from three pro teams. This guy and this guy are from the Angels.

Tom, Tootsie, and Marc here are watching with eyes for the Saints. Somewhere around here is some scouts for the Redskins, so play your hardest, play your best and make not only Jared proud of you, but all of these guys interested in you.”

Did you really buy the Angels Jake?”

I've got the contract, but it's not signed yet. It'll be signed as soon as I get some of the dead weight off it.”

Can I come work for you?”

Talk to Dolly tomorrow down at Owsley's. She's going to be over concessions. If I can, I'll gladly hire you guys on and haul you out so you can throw some peanuts.”

Chris laughed, “I'll throw my nuts alright! I'll throw them out of whack looking at a broad's hooters!”

I laughed, “Chris, Penny is going to crush those nuts.”

We broke up.”


She said all I was interested in was making out.”

Well, talk with Grant, we got another lined up for you.”

I need to talk with you about that Jake.”

Ok, do you wanna do that now?”

Nah, it can wait.”

Chris, you're going to Akron with me maybe tonight. Ok?”


Well, we've road tripped together, I thought we'd take a sky trip. Besides, I wanna see where I can use ya out there.”



Mike came in the door and said, “I'm here finally. I ran out there and Dan told me I missed you.”

Yeah, here's the contract. I penciled in the changes, but Tom helped me. What we need is a promissory note for the three hundred and twenty five million and then, we need a clause in the contract which states if the assets don't come out to being that, we discount the note to reflect what we bought.”

They agree with that?”


Chris looked at me with bulged out eyes. “What the fuck did you get for three hundred and twenty five million dollars dude!”

As soon as he said it, everyone started passing the rumor along like wild fire.

Chris, go down to the other end and say it a little louder so I'm not paying fifty billion down there.”

You really paid that?!”

I bought the team, stadium, contracts, concessions, and everything. Basicly, that's the turn key operation for a football team. I hear it's a steal.”

Dude, do you realize that's insane?!”

Yeah, do you realize I'll have it paid off in not much time?”


Yeah, it's something like sixteen months to pay off. I can't take a salary for six years, but that's cool.”

Why not?”

We've got to up the rosters full of healthy guys who can hit hard...I wonder where we can find them all?”

All the guys suddenly went into hyper drive getting dressed. Toots laughed, “Jake, you need to get dressed out.”

You want to see me naked?”

Your skinny ass is too little.”

I'll have you know I put on twenty five pounds and five inches. I'm not skinny and I'm not little anymore.”

She smiled, “You are taller!”

Yeah, I'm real happy about that.” I said getting misty eyed.

She came over and hugged me, “Hon, it had to happen sometime.”

I thought it'd never happen. It's a shame my grandma never saw it.”

She's seeing it. I'm sure she's watching you play.”

I let go of her and went over to my locker. I stripped off totally naked. Toots came over and said, “Wear this. I found it and thought of you.”

I turned and looked. It was a hawk pendant in shiny silver with turquoise eyes. “Oh man, that's beautiful!”

I'm worried about the chain, but as you know I saw it and thought of you.”

Thanks, I'll put it on and never take it off.”

They might frown upon it out on the football field.”

The loophole is it's got to be a cross. I'll get a cross soldered to the other side. It'll clear that way.”

She smiled and nodded. “What's with the bruises?”

A teacher this morning beat me up. Her diamond from her ring caught my eye. That's why I'm wearing eye shields tonight.”

Good thinking.”

Sis, I know you came over here to gaze at my pecker. It's not working.”

Nah, I came over to tell you my dad finally approved us to get married.”


Yeah, Marc wants you to be his best man.”

Oh man, I'll do it. It'd be an honor to get your wedding ring stuck on my finger.”

She smiled, “You dare and I'll tear it off myself.”

How about the ring?”

She gazed down and laughed, “Brother, you're packing down south!”

Not as heavy as my dad. He had nine.”

Damn! How long's yours?”

I don't know. When I walk around it rubs my shoe laces and makes me think I'm going over railroad tracks, but it gets dangerous out on the football field if I see a hot guy and it gets stomped on by the spikes.”

Man, you're so full of it.”

Yeah, but it's fun.”

Where's your new guy?”

He's not in here. He's out in the stands.”


Yeah, my lawyer is his dad.”

Then he's hot.”

Yeah, he's sizzling hot.”

I put on my pads and then put on my uniform. “You're not wearing anything?”

Nope, you'll find out there they tend to squeeze, pull, poke, and stroke it if they can and that's before we leave the huddle.”

She laughed, “Your guys are going to shoot you!”

Tom came over, “You about ready? He's got that contract done.”

Yeah, but I didn't want it to be now. This is supposed to be about Jared.”

Chris came over and said, “Do it. You're making us proud letting us see your dream come true.”

It's all of us' dream. We can all do it if we put our hearts, and minds into it.”

I slid my jersey over my pads and Toots pulled it down in the back. “Babe, you're getting better and better looking all the time.”

You say that to all the guys after you've seen their peepee.”

She smiled, “If you were straight, I'd have your baby.”

If I was straight, I'd be there happy to get you that way.”

Come on, you'll have me crying.”

I turned and Grant yelled, “Team meeting!”

We went over and I saw Grant standing with a folding table. Everyone gathered around.

I went up and said, “Guys, tonight is about Jared. Yeah, things are going on with me which takes away from that, but all these people here were told tonight is about him and yet, they still came. They came because they wanted to see our team fight through sadness, depression, loss, and poor sportsmanship the likes they've never seen before.

In short, they came to see us beat that teams ass and hand it back to them with a note which states we'll never take the loss of someone as special as Jared lightly evermore.

You all knew Jared and you all knew his smiles, jokes, and his kind words were what helped keep us on an even kilter. You all knew the abuses he suffered and you all knew he faced it proudly and died while trying to write a statement pointing blame for my parent's murder at his own. He died for that and I'll tell you I'll be forever in his debt.

Before we leave tonight, I want you guys to know it's about humiliating the other team. It's about poking fun at their coach when he yells, screams, demeans, and goads his players with words and taunts. When we see that, let's all stop and take the time to laugh. Is us laughing at that coach, but it's Jared laughing at the pain his parents dished out.

Jared told me he died because he didn't cry. He told me his dad went from mean to vengeful because he wouldn't cower down to his abuse. The man went from a belt to a knife and he used it in every way imaginable...and yet, he never cried. He told me to tell you he's proud to be a member of this team and he said he'd try to be here.”

I looked over their shoulders and said, “Jared, come forward and let them see you.”

The room got quiet and I saw a movement to my right. Soon, I saw Jared's faint presence come forward and as the guys saw him, they gasped. He came up and he held up one finger.

He says we're number one. He wants you to play like you're playing for God because what you just saw was a Blessing he was given in order to make you guys believe in his being in Heaven.

His parents tried taking it and that other coach tried taking that, but as you see, no one can take him away from us. He's in our hearts, minds, and he'll live with us forever.

He's asked me to sing a song. You know and I know he's laughing his ass off right now because I can't carry a tune in a bucket. If you can, and know the words, please sing along. It tells you he's got wings. It tells me I've got wings on my helmets. It tells him we still care.

I'll Fly Away

We all sang and when it was over, not a dry eye was seen.

We all stood up and the team all gave each other hugs.

Grant came forward and said, “Guys, this is the scout for the Redskins. As you can see, he's crying. I'm not to give his name, but this is he.

As you know, Tom Benson is over there. He's scouting for the Saints. His whole family is crying.

Jake and his guys are from the Angels. Jake doesn't cry easily and Jared's probably someplace pounding his pads because he got it done tonight.”

A lot of guys laughed,

Jake didn't want this signing to take place right now. I'm requested to do it...NOT because it will interrupt anything but because Jake's playing in their game on Sunday and they need the press to announce it so the odds makers and everyone can have a fair shot of not losing their asses.”

Mr Musselman said, “Right here, here, here, and here. Then, over here, there, and down there. I'll use my official signature over yours and it keeps me from having to get a notary.”

Tom said, “The contract stands since I'm President of the league.”

I stood up and said, “Guys, this is our triumph. Of all the teams, we were given Angels. Ask yourself where Angels rest in Heaven and you'll find out where. Jared got them for us and I'll tell you now, he's forever a Spartan here as his number is retired, but he'll be forever an Angel as that number's also retired.”

I signed the contract and said, “I want a copy of that and I want each and every member of this team to have a copy. It's for us all and it's where dreams come true.”

I stood up and said, “Guys, if the Redskins say you're good, or if the Saints say you're good, know you're not half as good as I think you are in here.”

I went over and hugged Chris. “Chris taught me football. He taught me to throw and without his friendship, I'd be nothing.

Yeah, I'd be a rich nothing, but I'd still be nothing. Grant over there is our coach and you know I love him. Without his guidance, I'd be nothing. Between the two, you know I appreciate those who believe in me. I believe in you, so let's give them more than they bargained for... a good old fashioned whipping which sees us never having to hear that fucking cannon. LINE UP!”

We all lined up at the door. Grant went out and I heard the other team being announced and the cannon blow.

That's the last Cannon tonight guys!”

When I heard us being called, I nearly tore the door off it's hinges going through it. I ran and when I went through the paper door, I went into forward flips down the entire length of the football field. When I got to the end, I picked up a ball and threw it the length back up the field through the uprights. It wasn't until then I allowed myself to look at the crowd.

The booster committee had went overdrive tonight. What it cost them, I do not know but every seat was taken and every person was wearing a t-shirt...some in blue, some in grey, and mostly in white. The entire stands spelled out JARED in huge letters with people's bodies wearing shirts.

I saw it and instantly went to my knees paying homage to the crowd. The crowd was going nuts. They were on emotional overload.

At center field Chris came out and along with me, we did the coin toss with the other team. I said “Guys, whatever happens tonight, remember your coach had the option of letting us mourn privately. Now we're going to do it publicly because it wasn't allowed.”

Chris said, “Come on Jake. We're returning.”


We ran off the field and they did the Star Spangled Banner. As a salute, our team had practiced a helmet wave and point towards the flag. We did a left face and faced the flag with our helmets over our hearts. It was pretty impressive when you saw all of us guys do it together.

After the announcements, our team went out to return. They punted and we got the return down onto the thirty yard line. I ran out with the offensive line and we got the ball put into motion fast. Their line sort of staggered when they were hit so hard and I went around them doing a reverse run at full bore. I took it in and the stands went wild.

I ran off the field and Grant was all over my pads as were a bunch of guys. Our punter went out and easily got his field goal. Score 7-0

Their team got the ball and our defense annihilated them. AJ went around their guys and sacked their quarterback hard. The ball came loose and Shanks picked it off and took it up the field for another touchdown. The extra point went good and the score was 14-0

All in all, every play we played was far superior than they were. I stopped counting when my yards thrown went over a thousand and my yards ran went over three hundred.

At half time, the score was 71 to 4. The announcer made the announcement Grant was publicly challenging their coach to a weight lift off and a set of weights were quickly carried to center field. Grant came out, stripped off, posed, and did full repetitions with full weights. He stood up and his body glistened with the astounding proportions of his muscles. Their coach declined and received boos for ten minutes.

Right before our team took to the field again, word came in from the official their team had forfeited. Grant declined and told them to meet us at center field.

We went out and lined up along the forty five yard line. Our guys knelt on one knee with our helmets on the ground in front of us. Grant took the PA out to the field and made the announcement.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Hannibal Pirates have forfeited the game. I've declined the forfeit until they come out and do it in front of you, our visitors, our team, and our students.

They need to come forward and explain to us why they would not do so prior to tonight's game and instead of a postponement.

Please don't leave because we're asking quite simply that their team pay respects to Jared as all of you when the video of his life in photographs is played on the jumbotron.”

Coach Bringer came out onto the field and took the microphone.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I apologize on behalf of my team for wasting your time in your moment of loss. My team would like to offer it's condolences and submit a forfeit.”

Grant went over and took the microphone. “Sir, you yourself denied the postponement. You said several expletives about our team needing the mourning period. We worked out this through our pain and loss and we gathered up the strength to make it a battle cry.

We're not going to humbly sit by and take the forfeiture without insisting your team come onto the field and pay respects to our fallen player.

If you can't, or you won't, you and your team are offered stay for the evening in our jailhouse when your bus is pulled over. Each and every student, yourself, and your bus driver will be held without bail and without charges for twenty four hours.

If you care to pay attention, at the gate over there is our police force and our Sheriff's department. Standing at the edge of the field is our Prosecuting Attorney. The choice is yours.”

Bringer took the microphone, “I must protest.”

I stood up and went over to them. “May I see the microphone please?”

Grant handed it to me and I said, “Tom Benson, would you please come down and represent the New Orleans Saints football team please? And would the scout from the Washington Redskins please come down?”

I turned to Bringer, “Sir, these gentlemen came to scout our players and yours. They came because word quickly got out due to your unsportsmanlike conduct. Our players benefited, but I imagine your players will most likely not be afforded a scout one to attend your game.

As you see, word gets out in the football community. I've been told ESPN is filming up in the booth.

I've been told they're here because of the news announcing my purchase of the Akron Angels, but they're seeing you attempting to promote the sportsmanship to your team via nationwide media. It makes us look better and it makes you look worse. Get your men out here and watch the video and stop your self grandiose flatulence.”

I'll go get my team, but I do so after protest.”

Sir, would you protest if your player had gotten beaten, hacked, and dismembered by his parents? Or, would you ask for him to be respected?

You disrespected him and you denied our moment of mourning. We'd like to humbly protest your even having us out here, but as you see, we overcame and we made it.”

I put the microphone down and the stadium erupted in cheers. The other team entered the field and came out to line up across from us. I went over to their quarterback and hugged him. “Please watch my friend on the monitor. He was a great guy.”

Sure. It's bullshit we had to do this to you guys.”

My coach embarrassed him on ESPN. If your coach doesn't think this wasn't broadcasted in it's entirety, you need to understand I spent a million dollars on that opportunity.”



He turned when the lights dimmed. The first photograph was of Jared and I laying face to face on a sheet naked. “That's me on the left and Jared on the right.”

We went through the photographs and as the photos came up, I narrated them all. When the final one came up, I said, “That's Jared, our friend, team mate, and fellow citizen.”

The lights came up and I went over to Grant. “Your microphone.”

Grant took it and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Our Quarterback and co-team captain Jake Martin will be playing on Sunday for the Akron Angels.

The reason he can do that is he bought the team and didn't sign himself to a contract for money. It nullifies the professional and amateur aspect of the high school conference and the league guidelines. It allows him to play as long as he doesn't receive payment in kind. Please support him in his future endeavors as a team owner.”

Tom Benson came out to the field and took the microphone, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm here scouting on behalf of the New Orleans Saints football team. I'd like to announce the performance Jake Martin and the Spartans put on tonight before half time is more than what you'd probably see in most professional games in their entirety.

Had Jake not gotten onto the Angels, I'd be offering him a position with our team. I would like to also announce our interest in several of your players who will be contacted soon about another audition down at the dome.”

The Redskins scout came down and said, “I've got permission to state on behalf of the Redskins if Jake hadn't taken his previous position, he'd be offered opportunity with our team.

Both Tom and I watched the game up in the booth and we both wouldn't be telling untruths if we said we were scared for our teams to face this team out here, or on our own fields.

They're amazing, and they're awesome with the amount of pride, strength, spirit, and support they've got in each other, from you, your boosters, and your local media. It's rare we find this amount of talent on our own fields much less from a high school level. I've also been told there will be letters going out to show interest in some players.”

The whole place erupted in huge roars.

The man stood there and when it was over, he said, “On behalf of my team, my management, my coaching staff, trainers, and my players, we'd like to state we're appalled, outraged, and disheartened by the conduct from the Hannibal team led by their coach and we'd like to informally reprimand them.”

He handed Grant the microphone and Grant said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, my businesses are shut this weekend in mourning for Jared. We kept the employees working so you could see we as a community feel the loss, but inside, we're still alive and standing united. Please drive safely and with care.”

I went over to the quarterback again and said, “Guy, let me see your hand.”


Let me see it. I'm in fear for you.”

What's this about?”

I took his hand and said, “When you get home, do NOT drive home via a road named MM. If you do, you'll be injured severely”

You got to be kidding me!”

Chris came over and said, “Dude, if he said it, you best believe him. I've seen him do it too many times with it coming true. If you dont follow it, he'll insist upon going to visit you in the hospital.”

I can't drive any other way to my house than MM!”

Can someone else drive you? Or you stay overnight with someone?”

Hey, I'm going to have it bad enough on the bus trip back home. I sure don't see anyone wanting to give me a hand.”

Can I give you a ride home? It means that much to me. If you don't, I'm afraid for you.”

Chris said, “What are you seeing?”

Someone's going to run him off that road. There's an old drive in movie theater there and down towards the back is a small playground and amusement park with rides.

You drive in there and they shove your car down into one of those rides. Since it's made with pipes, the ride becomes dangerous when you hit it with your car.

One of the pipes enters your temple and the other enters your chest. It collapses your lung, but the brain injury is what I'm seeing could be life threatening.”

I turned to Chris. “Normally, I see death or I see them living. It's like he's in a coma forever.”

Chris said, “Guy, your life is worth it. Please reconsider.”

I'll tell my coach I'm staying over here. He'll throw me off the team, but I'm not going to die for him or anyone else.”

I turned to Grant. “Go be with him because that coach is going to be physical with him and throw him onto that bus.”

I'm on my way.”

I turned to Chris. “Get our guys and go stand guard for him. The moment that coach goes physical with him, it's kidnapping. I'll get John to stand by to arrest.”

On the way across the field, I was met by a reporter. “Come with me, I need you to take photos of something when it happens.”


Their coach is about to get physical with their quarterback.”

Where at?”

The quarterback is refusing to ride back due to the coach's threatening manner. The coach is about to physically abduct him and throw him onto that bus.”

I'll be there.”

I ran over to John, “John, come on!”


Their bus.”

He came with me and when we got to their buses, we stayed back. I saw the reporter and showed him where to stand to get the best angle. He stood there and John said, “What's going to happen?”

Their coach is going to be physical with the quarterback. He's going to physically abduct him an throw him onto the bus against his will. That's kidnapping and child endangerment as well as abuse.”

OK, I'm watching.”

The quarterback was standing there speaking with the coach when all too suddenly, the coach wheeled around and slapped him. He then lifted him by his arm and threw him on the bus. The reporter's strobes were flashing and John was already running when our team got there.

Their coach leveled off kicks and punches at our guys and got drug off the bus. John came over and cuffed him. The reporter said, “I've got it all! There's sixteen shots of him slapping, dragging him, and throwing him onto that bus.”

I went onto the bus and told the driver. If you roll, it's kidnapping. Don't make this a case against you.”

What's going on?”

If you didn't notice, the coach just got physical with that player. He assaulted him and threw him onto this bus.”

I went back and said, “Come on, this bus isn't rolling with you on it.”

Someone said, “Jake, you don't know what you're messing with when you're messing with our coach.”

I know what I'm messing with. He just became a former teacher, coach, and member of your faculty. Abuse against a child disqualifies him for any position working with a child anywhere.”

How so?”

Are you aware one name called is considered grounds for abuse? I'd say each of you have been abused repeatedly by the man. This guy here doesn't NEED to make a statement to the police. The reporter got photos and the cop was there to witness it.”

It won't stand, he'll get help.”

Not in our jurisdiction he won't! Our judge is my best friend's girlfriend's dad and the Prosecuting Attorney is my boyfriend's dad. So, ask me where that man is getting any chance of interference and you'll see he's already had numerous infractions made to the state without his knowledge.”

You serious?”

All the footage from the game was recorded with sound. As you saw, a camera was over there to televise the game.

What you don't know is it was there to record each slur the man said and to whom it was stated. One is too many and from what I heard, they've still not gotten a list of them all compiled.

Won't it be amazing when the camera who was here to film his undoing is saving any of you guys from having to give one moment's testimony?”

You're serious!”

Yeah, the state can and will pick up charges if it's bad enough. When one man systematically does it to almost each and every student on your team, that's more than enough.”

I went off the bus and saw Rob, “Hey Babe!”

What you up to?”

Saving someone's life.”


Their coach was about to endanger his life.”

Ok, you about ready?”

I gotta get changed out. Come on in.”

We went into the field house and he went with me over to the change out area. At my section, Rob stood and congratulated me on the game, albeit brief. He smiled and stared at my body while I got naked and then took my towel to go shower.

When I got back, Rob was staring at Chris and Chris was glaring at Rob. Chris looked at me and said, “You've managed to piss me off good enough I'm done with our friendship.”

I couldn't tell you.”

You couldn't tell me you're pumping your boyfriend full of Jared's sayings!”

You're not getting it Chris!”

What am I not getting?! I want to bust him in the mouth and my best friend is sleeping with the enemy.”

Completely naked, I took Chris by the arm and led him to Grant's office.

Why are we in here?”

I need to speak with you.”

There's nothing else to say.”

One thing and then, you're going to apologize all over yourself.”

I doubt that asshole.”

Robbie is Jared. Now, I don't know how, but I left Robbie at the house with Jared because Robbie passed out after seeing him and when he comes to the pharmacy later, he's got Jared's twinkle in his eye, he kisses like him, and he's saying Jared's sayings.”

Are you sure?”

You're the fourth person to notice. Now, does he notice himself? I don't know but Grant and I were really afraid how you'd handle it.”

Why didn't you say something?”

Yeah, that'd sound real nuts. If I told you and he didn't do anything, I'm nuts. If I don't tell you and he doesn't do anything, all is fine and you hate him because he's Robbie. If I don't tell you and he does something, then you're pissed and I can hope to explain it.”

So you think it's him?”

Yeah, but I don't know if he'd know or not. I think it's Jared merged with him.”

Who else knows?”

His dad. I don't know if his mom knows or not, because they went there after the pharmacy.”

Chris asked, “What did he say to make you think it was him?”

My face crumpled, “Don't start the game without him.”

Chris turned to me and said, “You remember how he'd tell me my chest hair was nearly as long as my dick and I needed to start eating more spaghetti. That was only something Jared said. He said that even before we had chest hair.

Well, I come over and see him and decided I'd be nice. I held out my hand and he said that. I felt like I'd been slugged.”

Chris, how do you ask someone you don't normally like if there's someone inside them you adore?”

Is that what you see in him?”

No, Robbie was someone I figured I would have to change. We kissed and not even his kiss was good.

At the house, I saw Jared and he kissed me. When he kisses, it'll set your soul on fire, so I definitely know the difference. Well, after he came to the pharmacy, he kissed me and it was Jared's kiss and his twinkle in his eye, his sayings, and it's something I can't ask him about.”

I understand. Can you ask Jared?”

Remember when I called him in front of the group and he was so faint?”


He wasn't ever faint before. He was real clear. Is that because he's in Robbie? And one final thing which will blow you away...”

What's that?”

The difference in them is like this. I think of Robbie and I call him Robbie. When Jared's involved, he's Rob.”

Chris looked agonized. “I'm going to end up being friends with him. You know that? I'm going to hate him and I'm going to love him and it's going to totally weird me out.”

I know. I was afraid of telling you.”

I wish you had.”

If I had and he never did it, wouldn't you think I was nuts and just saying it to try to get you to like him?”


Well, now you know and you now know why I swear my world has changed.”

What do you mean?”

Before this happened, I was ready to fight Grant for everything. I wasn't ready to share everything with anyone and now, Grant doesn't need to give me a thing and I'm getting everything put into Jared and I's name...I mean Rob and I's name.”

Chris smirked. “You're going to do that at a major moment and let the cat out of the bag.”

I probably will. That's why I need you with me.”

I don't know what you'll want me to do out there, but I want to thank you for thinking of me.”

It was easy. You would've did the same for me.”

Rob came to the door. “Are we going to stand around and rub noodles, or are we going to get out of here.”

Chris looked at me like he'd been shocked. I noticed because I heard it too. I said, “Rob, we need to ask you something.”

I am, I know, and if you can't keep a secret, shut your pie holes.” he said with a smirk.

Chris said, “You know!”

Yeah dumb ass, now do I run around telling you I'm him and he's me and get you to beat me up? OR, do I let you figure it out?”

Chris let out anger with a snarl, “I was ready to end my friendship with him over it! I hated Robbie's guts and I felt he'd put him up to it in order to get me to like him. Now I gotta like him and it sucks!”


It was easy to not like him. He had the perfect girlfriend, lived the perfect life, and judged everyone.”

Well fuck you bud, now he's got the perfect boyfriend. You going to not like him over that?”

Chris smiled, “His boyfriend isn't perfect.”

What's wrong with me!”

He's got that one chest hair right there which is too long!” he said yanking a chest hair.

I looked down and was surprised, “Chris?”

Un huh, I'm not falling for that.”

No bud, come here.”


I've got chest hair, I'm five inches taller, and I weigh twenty five pounds more.”

Yeah, you finally hit puberty.”


I don't know it's been within the past month.”

Why didn't you say anything?”

How do you tell your best friend that shit. “Hey bud, your ass don't look so much like a girl's no more. I might not fuck it today.”

You really thought that?”

You were little like a girl. Now, you're nearly as tall as me and you're getting the Vee to you like a body builder. One thing about it though is you've got awesome legs.”


Yeah, you don't notice it, but I do because I'm bigger. You've got frog legs.”


Hold a frog up and his legs are perfect muscles. You've got those and the muscles cut in right below your ass.”

My ass perfect?”

Nah, I keep getting it confused with your face.”

So I need a shave!”

Let Rob shave it. And yes, I damned near called him Jared myself.”

It's going to be weird.”

Rob said, “My dad knows something is way different. He says my voice is lower and I'm not as hyper.”

Maybe he'll associate it to your new love?”

Can I say something and you guys just not puke?”


He has a perfect life. Mom is perfect. She cooks cookies and has them out on the counter. I didn't know if I should eat them, or not until she told me they were my favorite and she made them just for me. SO, I chowed down.

I went up to my bedroom and how they didn't know I was gay is beyond me. New Kids on the Block posters, Football posters of hot guys, and all sorts of things on lilac walls...lilac!”

Chris smirked as he continued. “His sister is nice and she gives him hugs! He has all his clothes put away, it's all put away neatly. It's all perfect, and even his books are in alphabetical order on the shelves which are neat, nice and nothing is out of place. IT's like he either has a professional maid service, or he's insane.”

Does his mom do it?”

I asked if someone was in my room and got told I knew no one ever went into my room.”

Grant came in and said, “Hey Rob.”

Hi Uncle Grant.”


Rob said to me, “He's my uncle. My dad married his sister.”

I turned to Grant and said, “You couldn't tell me?”

What's to say?”

Hey, your lawyer is my brother-in-law and I'm keeping it all in the family' would have been nice.”

Did it affect his performance?”

It would've curbed my tongue! Now you know your sister climbs the walls during her orgasms!”

Grant smiled, “She's a lucky gal. Are we going to Akron?”

Are they still here?”

Outside waiting to speak with you. I told them you dress slow.”

Man, I'm surprised Tootsie isn't in here bitching at me.”

She wanted to come but I told her most of the guys were naked.”

There's no one in here!”

It worked!”

Tell them I'll be right out.”

I looked in the mirror and stared at Rob, “Rob, you know I love you, don't you?”

As I've always loved you. I waited, but it got to be too hard.”

What happened?”

He was going to commit suicide. He'd tried this morning and was going to later. When I intervened, they decided I could merge into him and his soul could go back out into space.”

Is that why your image was so faint in here?”


Did you get broke up with her ok?”

Yeah, she's great. I told her we had someone who's interested in her, but she said she had someone in mind.”


I looked over at Chris and said, “Bud, I'm sorry.”

That's ok, she's beautiful, but she's probably not the one for me.”

Well, let's go to Akron.”

WE went out the door and there were five news cameras there. Everyone's asking questions and I held up my hand. “Guys, one question apiece and then that's it.”

What do you hope to gain by buying the Angels?”

I've already accomplished it. I get to play pro football. If I suck at it, I know I did, but I got the chance.”

You spent a lot for the team. Can you afford that?”

It's not your typical milk money. My stocks and investments are returning very well. The dividends and interest will easily pay for the team in a matter of months.”

You're realizing you're telling us you're nearly a billionaire?”

Yeah, that was your third question?”

DO you always play that good?”

My team plays that good, but tonight was a personal issue. Our friend's memory was disrespected and we chose to use it as a battle cry. Now their coach will think twice before he disrespects anyone again.”

Complaints about his sportsmanship are flooding in all over the country and the story is bleeding into the main stream media, what would you like to see happen to him?”

I'm not counting that as your last question because it's about someone other than me.

In regards to that man, I'd like to see him do jail time. He laid his hands on a student and we're not living in the days of a teacher cracking a whip in order to make us learn. I'm sorry, but the only job which comes to mind with that description is lion trainer. They can yell, scream, crack whips and people still think it's uncivilized.

Their team's performance reflects a “Eigore phenominon”. They bend over, cower, and don't do well because they're already afraid of that beating, therefore they get beaten. They'll probably be leery of a good coach who treats them well, but they seem to be a great team with lots of potential.

Their coach seems to be someone who was probably raised that way. He only knows abuse and getting his way, therefore he doles it out at a smart clip. Where he got stupid is all of our scout films showed him being abusive, therefore we knew we could easily get you guys to film it. He's that comfortable with doing it and thinks it's his right.

Next question please?”

Your team seems to have fared well with the scouts, are you happy about that?”

Greatly happy. It speaks well for our skills, qualifications, and our coach. By the way, I've got dibs on him as a coach for the Angels if he takes the job. What I'm happiest about is this scouting session is probably the first where three teams showed up at once to scout an individual and came away with multiple interests.

Now, am I happy about the fact I'm going to be playing against guys I know are trained to beat me? No, but I'm ecstatic good came away from this for them.

Go ahead and ask another since that was about my team.”

You mentioned your parents were killed, how do you think it's affected you?”

When they do a life story on me, they're probably going to title it, “The person death built” since so many have died around me. My parents were killed, but recently, I've had my grandma murdered by escaped convicts and then my best friend murdered along with his sister by their parents. If those don't scar, I'll be amazed.”

DO you think they've scarred?”

This is the last question, Grant's holding up his watch...not just pointing at it anymore.

Am I scarred? Yeah, am I working through it? Oh yeah. Am I feeling more settled than I ever have been? Yeah. Buying this team is like the pieces of the puzzle just fell into place and now, it's completed. I know what it looks like and although it's got ridges and seams where all the pieces were, it's back to being whole. That's something I've not had since three years of age.”

I turned and said, “That's it for tonight, I'll speak after the game on Sunday.”

I went over to Grant and he smiled, “Your first press conference.”

Yeah, it was sort of cool, but a total surprise.”

Tom Benson was standing there and he said, “Jake, if you need me to fly your people to Akron, I can.”

I don't know. Did they get the jet repaired?”

He shrugged.

I said, “Let me call Dan and see?”

I dialed Dan's number and he answered, “IS the jet repaired?”

Yeah, you're good to go. There's some denting on the cowl, but it was an easy repair. I'm a bit worried about a support on the engine as it might be bent, but it's good otherwise.”

Tell the crew to wait and we'll be out there. I'll speak with them and see what I need to do.”

Ok, how'd the game go?”

We won by a forfeiture. At half time, it was 71-4.”


A lot of the team have offers and interests in them. That's really good.”

Really? How'd DJ fare?”

Two touchdown passes and an interception.”


They were so lousy, he asked to play defense to see if he could do anything over there which was a challenge.”

OH man! I missed it!”

I'm sorry.”

No, he knew I would've gotten emotional and didn't want me to be seen blubbering.”


I could make a living crying at funerals. I don't know why, but it's like the waterworks turn on at sad circumstances.”

That's nothing to be ashamed of.”

I know that, but to be honest, I didn't even know him and that would've seemed strange for me to be bawling harder than everyone else.”

Well, don't ever feel like it's unmanly around me. I appreciate you telling me, but most everyone was crying tonight. We'll be right out there.”

Do you need me to stay around?”

Nah, go and enjoy Brenda. Tell her hi, by the way.”

I'll do that.”

I hung up and said, “Guys, here's the deal. The plane is fit to fly, but he's got a concern. Rather than risk it, I'm going to speak with the pilots and have them fly on to wherever we can trade it in and get a better one. I'll not have us killed flying in it in an attempt to save money. Now, if you'd like to fly in it, feel free, but Tom's offered to fly you home and that's great with me. Just remember I'm not going to allow you to scuttle the team without taking it off that note.”

The man nodded and I said, “Great.” I turned to Tom, “Thanks for helping me and advising me. I'll be in Akron on Sunday even if I've got to crawl there.”

I've got another jet. Would you like to use it?”

Yeah, how long does it take to buy one?”

Not long, what do you want in one?”

One big enough to haul the team and fly our colors. I guess I'll need a smaller one like yours.”

Mine is a thirty three passenger business jet. It's longer, but it's way more comfortable. Anything smaller is too cramped.”

Nice, do you know where I could get one?”

I'll call the man on the way home. Is it ok if I give him your cell number?”


I'll do that.”

Grant said, “Rob's got a car and Jake's got a car, we can get all of you to the airport in one load.”

Chris said, “I'll ride with Rob. I want to get acquainted with him.”

Rob nodded and smiled, I said, “Ok, those riding with him, load up and those coming with me, I'll get you out there.”

Grant smiled, “Jake, can I speak with you for a moment?”


I went over and he told me, “Kit is going to wait at Denny's until eleven. You need to get Chris over there.”

Who's Kit?”

The judge's daughter.”

Really! She's interested?!”

Yeah, I spoke with her. She came to me and asked about him.”

Good, I'll get him over there.”

Where's his car?”

It should be here. I think he's wanting to be close to Jared.”

You mean Rob.”

It's confusing. Everyone's doing it.”

Be careful.”

I'll try. Did you get a call?”

No, but Sunday night.”

Ok, I worry about you.”

Don't be. Can I sleep at your place?”

Yeah, go on over.”

I don't have the key.”

It should be unlocked. He was there last and unless he spirited a key, it's open.”

You need to watch that.”

Nah, between he and I, I think we could sense if anyone attempted anything. Besides, tomorrow, I get the other house.”

You excited about that?”

Yeah, gobs. I'll see you in a minute. I've got to get them out there and Chris with his girl. I have a good feeling about them. Then, Rob and I'll be home.”

You going to feel strange with me there?”


I walked off and got into the Caddy. When I pulled back, Toots said, “He loves you.”

I know, it's not right, so I can't think about that.”

It's in his eyes, and in his whole way he carries himself around you.”

Please switch the subject, I can't think about that.”

Ignoring it won't go away.”

Toots, one loves me and treats me terrible while he's doing it. The other loves me and treats me like gold but isn't the person who he is normally.”

What's that mean?”

I looked in the mirror and said, “Guys, what I'm going to say isn't a figment of my imagination, ok?”


SO far, four people besides myself has seen Jared in Rob. Jared and I loved each other since we were babies and I just know him, his smell, his mannerisms, his sayings, and all the way down to the way he kisses. With Rob, earlier in the day, it was Rob. Later, it was Jared inside of Rob. I could tell, his dad could tell, Chris can tell, and Grant can tell. It's weird, but Jared is in him. I know it. So, I'm loving someone who is inside of someone. His spirit and soul is there, but the body is different.”

So run with it!” Toots said smiling

I'm afraid. Do I run with it and ten years down the road he wakes up and the light in his eyes is gone and his kiss has went flat and it's all terrible? Or, do I get him for eternity?”

Tom said, “Man, I see what you mean! It's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde.”

Yeah, I'm in love with one, but the other is who everyone is mistakenly saying his name. It's weird because one is dead and it's going to make everyone think we've cracked.”

Marc said, “My advice is to go for it. Yeah, you might wake up with the other some day, but then again, you might not. It's better to have loved and tried than to have never loved at all.”

Toots said, “I agree. You seem more complete. Your stars are aligning and I'm really happy for you.”

I said, “Ok, subject switch, I need to ask you a question Tom.”


How do we act if my team is playing you. I mean, if we were up in the booth together, I know we'd be great and we'd jibe each other, but when I'm out on the field, I get a war like personality and I don't want to dare say anything which might offend you.”

It's sports. I know you're a good person and that's that. We're two people who own teams. Leave the personal out of it and just speak of the teams.”

Ok, it was worrying me. I view you as a mentor and really want to carry that forward.”

He smiled, “Thanks. Do you realize you have a way about you which has everyone wishing you were their son? I spoke to several people tonight and they all said, “Man, I wish that was my kid”.”

I've heard that before. It saddened me back then because I was on the search to find out who my dad was and what he was like. I was thinking more about what I'd lost instead of what I'd gained.

Now, I look at what people think of me and accept the compliment with pride in knowing my grandma did right and I'm doing it right also. For that, all I can say is thanks.”

He smiled, “See, you've got the personality and words which just tone yourself down and make yourself seem better, and more humble.”

Toots smiled and patted my hand. “Babe, he's saying you're my brother after everything. Welcome to the family and don't be a stranger.”

Oh, I can't. Now, do you know what?”

What's that?”

I've never played football in a stadium or even been in one. I own one and haven't even been in it. Don't you think that's weird?”

Tom laughed, “Let me tell you something. My advice is to go over tomorrow afternoon and stay the night in it. It's so big and overwhelming, you're going to be awed by it. If you sleep out in the middle of the field, you'll get an aspect of what it's like for size and dimension and will know it when it's quiet.

For me, the dome is amazing. It's big and it's just quiet when it's not in use. When it's in use, it's just noisy and the roars of the crowd fills it to make all that sound fills you up and make you sense it's more intense than it'd be at an outdoor field.”

I'll have to go over. When we've got it locked down, I want Rob and I to go over and go through it completely. It'll be nice for me to make it feel like home.”

Tom said, “Can I give you some advice?”


As the new owner, the city is going to hold it's breath about seeing how you are with them. My advice is to spend every available moment there, walking around touring everything, getting to know the people, and letting them get to know you.

If you do that, you'll get them on your side and you'll have fan appreciation the likes of which you'll never be able to lose.”

Ok, I'll do that. It'll be neat.”

See, you think it's neat whereas someone old and stuffy would look at it as something they just wouldn't dare be caught dead doing.”

I laughed, “Well, by the time I'm old and stuffy, I hope I'm like Auggie Busch was and have the world loving me. If they see me out there supporting my boys like he did, we'll be a great team.”

Tom said, “Jake, your ability and talent is amazing. I knew you were going to be good, but from your entrance on that field doing those flips, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. That stunt right there got you that twenty five million a year I would've paid. When you got to the end and threw that ball back up the field and through the uprights, that solidified the deal. I can't think of anyone who can throw that far.”

So you're saying I'm good?”

I'm saying you're great. I'm saying when you get on the field, you're going to have your team waking up to become a contender which is going to be overpowering.”

How do I keep the momentum going?”

You won't. That's what's going to be hard about it. You'll have teams which just click together and when someone leaves it's like they took the life with them. My suggestion is to find every way in the world to entice Grant to Akron and have his coaching be what keeps you on the crest of the wave.”

I'm trying. He said he's going to think about it, but I really would love to find someone for him who would completely make him happy.”

A face flashed in my mind and I said, “Son of a bitch! I've got him!”


That quarterback from Hannibal. His face just flashed in my mind. It just told me he's the person for Grant.”

Isn't he a bit old for him?”

He wasn't too old for me.”

At the airport, everyone got out and I went over to the Angels jet. I climbed on board and saw the pilot. “Guys, do you see that jet of the Saints?”


Can you fly one like that?”


Where do we get one like that?”

The last one I saw was in Las Vegas. I imagine they've got one out there.”

Would you fly this out there and see if we can trade it for that?”

You'll have to have the title to this one and us authorized to do the deal.”

Tell the person out there I'll send them the title of this one when I get it. Tell them to appraise this and let me know what it's worth. Then, tell them to tell me the difference and I'll get them a check sent. If they refuse, ask them to test flight that new plane and get here to pick me up. I'll fly back out there and complete the deal.”

You need to have a team manager authorized to do all that. You'll be running all over the place doing these sorts of things if you don't.”


I'm not trying to tell you how to do your job, but that's what they do.”

Thanks, I didn't know. I'll get one. Does he need his own jet?”

No, you're usually in Akron and he's running around. Since you're living here and you don't have one, I'd suggest you get one who lived in Akron.”

What does a team manager do?”

Manages the team, signs pay checks, makes sure you look good and you're not dealing directly with unhappy players, or whatever.”

Ok, I'll have to find someone.”

Do you still want us to go out there?”

Yeah, now, do you guys have enough money to go?”

He smiled, “We've got a business credit card. You should have one too.”

I don't.”

Your manager would give you one, but you fired him.”

Man, I sort of stubbed my toe.”

No, you did good, you got rid of the people who cost this team money and they know it. I think in one full move, you saved the team.”

I'm glad you approve, do you think the players will?”

Those who aren't on the disabled list are going to be ecstatic. Those on the list are going to find themselves unemployed, but there are a number of those who've been using their disabled checks as welfare. They saw they didn't have to work in order to get a check. Now they're going to see they won't have a job anywhere.”

I was told to axe them. I'm not sure how it applies, but I guess I'll learn.”

You're only allowed to have so many on your team with only so much paid to the team. You outsmarted them by taking no pay but now we're down in numbers so you're able to get new talent who will make us all better.”

Good, I guess my big test will be when I see the guys and play with them. No, we've not had any practices, but hopefully, they'll accept me.”

Tonight, they got a chance to see you if they paid attention. If they didn't, I'm sure word went through to everyone you were playing and you'd just bought the team. Only the brain dead will not know by tomorrow you're the new owner.”

Do you think I did ok on the deal?”

You did fine. The Stadium is worth what you paid. The team is worth what you paid. Both are down right now, but if you get us some excitement, you're going to see those seats fill and your income take off.”

What's the most popular country station in Akron?”

I don't know. I'll find out.”

I need to call the most popular country station and the most popular rock station on Monday when everyone driving to work. I might start doing interviews tomorrow night for television news to get the excitement going.”

You would do good to keep the team out of the bars and putting them into schools. They've got a hard reputation about going into the bars and fighting.”

I'll have a team meeting about that. I don't think I can legally stop them from going into bars. I mean, they could suddenly start playing cat and mouse games with me on it. What I could do is tell them the next police report I get for fighting involving a team member, I'll put the team in on a Friday and Saturday night practicing and running laps. I'll have them practice on Friday after I'm done here and can get there. Then, on Saturday, I'll be there running them until they can't run anymore.”

You'd do that and lose them on Sunday?”

They don't realize it, but the one who is responsible is going to be suspended the rest of the season already. They can think I'll do it to everyone and just might.”

What's that mean?”

Let me think about this and get a phone call out. We'll see if I'm smart or just plain dumb.”

I dialed my phone and called Chris' phone. “Yeah.”

Call the guys together, but you go to Denny's.”


Kit is there and she wants you.”


The guy she told Jared she was interested in was you. Grant spoke with her and she told him she'd be at Denny's until 11:30 waiting on you.”

Ok, why are we calling the guys together?”

I'm thinking about taking them all to Akron and playing them on Sunday. I figure it'd show the team out there I'll take no prisoners if they want to be stupid.”

What's going on?”

Ok, in my dream of playing pro ball, how many times did you hear me say I wanted to be a drunk and fight in bars when I made it?”

None. Is that what they do?”

It sounds like it. Now how dumb is that?”

All of them?”

No, but on Sunday, I'm going to tell the team we're going to suspend those who are the known bad boys. They can ask for trades, but if I can't trade for someone whose priorities are right, I'll lay them off.”

That's a lot of money down the drain.”

No, it's called tough love. I'll show you I'll be tough on you rather than loving you into a car wreck which kills a bunch of people. They're already known as bad boys and out getting into fights, so why wouldn't I want to get rid of the bad press?”

I don't blame you.”

I want a zero tolerance policy for miscreant bad behavior. If someone's in a bar and they're in a fight, they can say all they want the other guy started it, but if they were in a bar in the first place, they were in the wrong location for that wrong timing to happen.”

That's sort of a tough call. You were at the snack shack and by your guidelines, you'd been thrown out.”

Ok, so what do I do?”

I don't know because a lot more goes on with our team than we know. A lot of our guys intimidate others into not saying anything. With no report made, it never happened.”


Yeah, I know about it, so I know it happens.”

Well, are you ready for what I want you to be for the team?”


The manager.”

Uh, no.”

Why not?!”

The manager is the jock sniffer. He's nothing but a glorified water boy. That's dumb.”

On a pro team they're not! They're the guy who runs the team. They pay the guys, they take care of discipline and they see those who are injured are really injured and are getting the medical care they need.”

The coach does all that.”

Not on a pro team. The coach coaches and the manager manages. It's like Jack's job at the car dealer. He runs it and takes care of all the different parts of it.”

That's cool.”

So, do you want to try that?”

I'm not going near a jock.”

I wouldn't either. You might get so into it you'd slip and smell butt crack or something.”

You asshole!”

I've gotta get off here, but if you were the manager right now, I'd be sending you to Las Vegas.”

Oh man, titty city!”

You had to be breast fed.”

Mom said I wasn't.”

I bet you stared at her and wished then.”

Gross dude.”

It's a fixation with you. I think you miss the nipple.”

I'll get out of here. You gross me out.”

Skip the chili and cheese fries. They make you fart and that's not what you want on a first date.”

Do you think Rob would mind?”

No, not at all.”

Ok, I know Jared wouldn't, but I've got to think of two people when I think of him.”

I'll get off here. We're getting a new jet.”


You will probably get your own, however we'll travel a lot together.”

That'd be cool.”

Well, you get Rob to take you to Denny's. I'll be there shortly.”

I hung up and said, “Guys, thanks. Tell them to call me if they need me to handle financials. I'll be upset if they don't do the deal, but I'll understand this time.”

You're not doing it through invoice and all the proper paperwork.”

Does that cut down on all the losses for the team?”

Not really. Most of the losses are from the back end.”

So buy fencing and guard the hell out of what enters and leaves the place?”

Yeah, make the employee entrance with a turnstile that can't allow anything to be carried out. I saw a woman removing mops, brooms, a sweeper, and a mop bucket with a ringer one day.”

That doesn't sound like much.”

About two hundred dollars for one day isn't bad to you I guess, but to me, that multiplied by all the employees is horrendous to me.”

Man, I never thought about that. I'm glad you called me on it.”

Loss is loss. It doesn't matter where it is or what it is, it's loss. Now, another thing you need to do is to take a look at the refreshment services portion because they don't keep track of keg beer and the keg returns like they should.”

Ok, I'll get on it.”

And lastly, my advice is to clean everything out of all the rooms and exterminate really good. The place is infested with almost everything imaginable and you're lucky you're not inheriting a lot of lawsuits over it.”

Will do.”

I got out of the plane and said, “Safe flying guys.”

I went over to the Caddy and saw Grant. “Wanna go to Denny's?”


Rob's taking Chris there and we've got one too many cars involved here. Either I can ride with him, or I can take you to the school and get your truck and then take my car to the restaurant to let Chris drive, or I can take the Caddy home and walk up there. One way or another, Rob's got his car there already, so that's what's going on.”

Can we talk for a few moments?”

Sure, let's leave here.”


We drove out and then went to the roadside park out on 24. We pulled in and he said, “I want the job coaching. I don't know what the challenges will be, but I want it.”

Good, now what happened to that quarterback from Hannibal?”

We put him on a different bus.”

Grant, I pulled him off the bus because he was going to be killed when he got home. Now, do you think that changed their mind because he wasn't on one bus?”

What do we do?”

Use this phone and call the police over there. Tell them to go to a Hwy MM and be prepared for some bump and run driving later at the drive in movie theater. IF they tell you that you're nuts, you tell that man to tell his officer to go into the drive in and find the monkey bars and drag them away because that will be what kills that kid when his car hits them. IF they don't do their job Grant, it's because you put him back on the bus when you should have been looking at your future lover.”


He's probably dead now. Make the call. I guess I didn't stress hard enough he would be physically in danger. I guess I didn't tell him a pipe to his brain and the other to his chest would be physically harmful to him!”

Why didn't you just say it?”

Because if you tell some people someone's going to kill them, they totally zone out and go meakly to slaughter. Look at what Jared did and you'd see he did just that!”

Oh God!”

Make the call. I'm not meaning to step off in your butt, but I was stressing things for a reason. Obviously, you just didn't care because it was someone else's team member.”

Grant made calls and before I knew it, he was talking ninety miles an hour to someone. He hung up and said, “They think I'm full of shit.”

Ok, last ditch effort. My suggestion is you dial the kid's house and tell his parents he's in danger.”

I don't even know his name!”

Jordan Everett. “

How do you know?”

Jordan...a pretty name from a Back Street Boy. He's prettier than the BSB. Everett. I don't know anyone by that name, but the joke of you climbing Mount Everett like the mountain was funny.”

Ok, so where would he live?”

He can't get home unless he goes on MM. I'd call someone over there and see if they know the town well enough to see where that'd be.”

Ok, hang on...let me think. They've got a taxi cab company over there.”

Call information.”

He called and got the number for a taxi company. I asked to speak to the dispatcher.”

Hello, this is going to sound weird, but I can see the future. Tonight, a kid is going to be hurt and killed out on MM. He's on the football team and some of his team mates are going to do a bump and run on him in the old drive in over there. There's some jungle gym bars in there and those are going to go through his windshield.”

I believe you kid. Now, do you know when?”

One fourteen is when he will die. I'd say if you had someone, anyone there patrolling up and down that road, you'd have someone who could stop him from dying.”

I'll do better than that. I'll park my cabs out at the entrance and exit of the theater. There's no other way in there.”

You tell the drivers that kid will be scared and need protecting and those football players bothering him are going to have murder on their mind.”

I'll tell them.”

What's your name so I can thank you publicly.”

Don't worry about it. I know you're legit. You know things about that place out there which I'd forgotten about.”

I've never been there and don't know the place at all.”

Come over, I'll be happy to show you where it is.”

I'll do that sometime. Do you have a television?”


Turn it to ESPN and see if they're running my interview. If they are, you'll be able to recognize me.”

What's your name?”

Jake Martin.”

You're on there now. You're a football player?”

Yeah, we played Hannibal tonight, but I bought the Angels. When you get that kid in your car, tell him I want to speak with him about having him come to the Angels. He can be my back up quarterback.”

I'll do that.”

Here's my number.”

I gave it to him and then, I got off the phone.” I turned to Grant, “Grant, I had to trust him. Now he's willing to put his life down for that kid.”

You mean that?...about having him be your back up quarterback?”

Yeah, I gotta hope he's good, but you gotta make it so you can make time to be with him. I know you two are compatible so we'll run with it.”

You're being great about this.”

I love you. Now, I need to get to Denny's so I can get with him.”

Go by Denny's and I'll drive your car to the house.”

I'd appreciate it. I'll have him drop me by home.”

He's not staying?”

I told him you and I were finalizing things. He asked, but I told him tonight wasn't possible.”

You didn't have to do that.”

Yeah I did. He's the future but without the past wrapped up with you, it unravels and comes back up in the future.”

You thinking I'll be bad for you then?”

Grant, I trust you've got your shit together. If you sabotage me, I'll say I tried and fire you. That's it. I somehow feel you're going to start moving forward too and you'll be one of the best coaches in football.”


Hold me up and I'll hold you. I'm giving you your accolades now because I think it's true. I'm not going to lie about it in order to be fake.”

I know that.”

Well, start living it.”

I started the car and started to drive to Denny's . As I drove, we talked.

What's your focus right now?”

We've got to get word out to our team I'd like for them to go to Akron and play ball on Sunday. I figure if I can do it, they can too. It'd definitely would send a message to the team out there I'll give people their dreams by taking away theirs if they've forgotten what theirs was.”

What's that mean?”

I got told we've got some bad boys on the team who are like DJ was. The difference is they do it in bars and seem to get by with it. I'd rather let them know I'll suspend the whole team rather than keeping bad players.”

Not all of them are doing it, right?”

Right, so what I think is we gotta find the bad apples and get rid of them.”

We could trade them.”

It's trading a bad seed off to potentially get a bad seed. I'd rather take the loss and plant it in the desert. Once it dries out, it'll realize it's going to be a long time before it's productive again...if ever.”

We'd have to have parental permission and they'd most likely not give it.”


They're kids going up against professionals.”


They're not as good.”

I'm sorry, but your coaching is good enough for the pros. My playing is good enough for the pros. So, I think all the rest is a cop out.”

IF they get hurt, it's going to be bad.”

If they win, it's going to be wonderful. IS it always a negative with you?”


See, even that answer was negative. Turn it around to positives and I'll start paying attention to you and so will the Angels. You can do it, I know you can.”

You ready to work on a team like a pro?”

I'll stand up next to you until you fall. You know that.”

I wonder if this will change.”

I think it's going to get better. Now, what's up with Bates?”

Why, what'd he do?”

I know he lowered his ass tonight several times to put his crotch on my hand.”


He's a perv. I made fun of him the first night and since then, he's been off center. Now, he's back on and he's turning that second he has my hands between his legs into a sexual assault.”

I'll get him back out of there.”

Get Rob on the team. If he's Jared, he'll play good.”

Mike would kill me.”

It's Rob's decision.”

I turned and went into Denny's. When I got out, Grant came around and said, “I'll see you at the house. Have fun.”

Yeah, I'm on a date watching Chris eat sunny side up eggs by licking them while staring at that girl.”

He wouldn't!”

He's probably sent them back to be reheated several times. He's probably asking for white gravy to be put on them.”

You've got an over eager imagination.”

When they give out awards on that, you'll see I come in second to Chris. Did you hear him call Las Vegas 'titty city'?”


Yeah, that's what it is to him. Now, what's his fixation and I'll give you one guess as long as it comes in pairs.”

Grant laughed and then started the car. I went inside and everyone's head turned. I got a lot of high fives and hugs. By the time I made it over to their table, I'd ordered and had already gotten my drink handed to me.

Hi guys!”

Chris smiled and said, “Jake, meet my girlfriend Kit. Kit, this is Jake, my best friend.”

Hi Kit. He should've introduced you to me first, but I'll teach him etiquette some day.”

She smiled, “He's cute.”

You can thank the tree he keeps running into when we practice football. It's responsible for molding him in it's own image.”

She laughed and I looked around the table. Rob was pinned in by Aaron and DJ.

You two back together?”


It going good?”

Aaron nodded. “Yeah, Deej knows you'll kick his ass.”

Guys, I want you all to play in Akron on Sunday. Do you think you'll have problems getting parental permission?”

Playing pros?” Aaron asked


Ummm, do you think we could do that?”

Yeah, as long as it's not for pay. I mean, if the Angels happens to donate everyone on the team a pizza party, a new Nintendo, and a new pair of shoes, then we're cool. I can't pay you anything, but I can donate to the team.”

Some probably won't do it.”

Well, those who won't will profit just like you who can. It's all up to you guys. Now, do we call the phones and see? Or do we let it drop and me deal with my team the best way I can.”

DJ asked, “What's wrong with your team?”

DO you remember how you were at the snack shack?”


I've got a bunch of guys on my team who are like you except the snack shack is a bar and they're beating up people a lot.”

Suspend them.”

I don't know who all it is. Rather than wait until people are hurt, I'd rather tell them all to sit out and wait on those who want to play to come forward and tell me they want to play. Those who are guilty are going to try to slink off into a corner and they'll go drown their sorrow in that next bar. When the fight happens, I'll tell the police they're suspended and I'm not bailing them out.”

Someone still gets hurt before you do something though.” Kit said.

Yeah, you're right. Now how do I get beyond that?”

She thought for a moment and said, “Have a zero tolerance policy. If they violate that, it's out the door.”

I thought about that, but when DJ and I had our problem, he violated it and I got sucked in. With the zero tolerance policy, Aaron, me, and DJ would've been off the team.”

Who was wrong there?”

DJ” said Aaron.

DJ nodded and said, “That's all under the bridge now.”

Yeah, because I'll kick your ass if you bother him again.”

I'm not.”

I said, “DJ, you're good enough to play in the pros. I know it. Chris is too. Everyone thinks just because we're young, we're not able to play in the pros. All the pros are is a higher level. I think we can play there.”

Kit asked, “What's your biggest worry about playing pros?”

It's not playing which worries me. It's the interview when I'm asked if I'm trying to turn the Angels into the Storks by bringing in babies to play pro football.”

Her eyes with big. “Oh man!”

I can't think everything I do is going to be viewed as good by everyone. You gotta realize I basicly just got rid of all our old and infirmed players. That out here in society is like going and killing everyone in nursing homes and the group homes. People are going to see me as cutting expenses in any manner as I can just to pay for the team.”

Why's that?”

The dollar amount is what is going to wake up everyone. It's the most anyone's ever paid for a team in history. Now, did I get a good deal? I think so. Tom Benson thinks so, and my pilot thinks so because the stadium is worth what I paid for the team.”

So you sort of got a buy one get one free thing.”

Yeah, except the team is what is viewed as no count and the building is. I've got to convince everyone what they think is wrong and I got two super values for one low price.”

Rob said, “Guys, you gotta let me out. He's sitting over there alone and I'm hemmed in here.”

I smiled. “He's realizing I'm over here talking about MY team and his name is going to be on it too.”

Rob's eyes went wide, “What!”

We're a couple. If you've not told everyone, that's on you. I'm in it for the long haul and Chris already knows it. You should know it too, so let's stop pretending and start being that couple.”

He smiled, “I told everyone, but I wanted you to confirm it.”

Well, I did.”

I looked over at Chris and said, “You need to realize we're going to be busy doing promo work for the team out there. I'd like to speak with Kit's parents about it, but she can be making money being beside you as a spokesperson.”

She leaned forward, “By doing what?”

Chris and I've got to load up in the jet each night after practice and go to Akron. When we get there, we've got to go around and be seen shaking hands and putting our faces on the team. Rob will be with me, so that's not an issue.”

Why me?”

Because Chris is the team manager. IF I put a guy with him, he's gay. If I put his girlfriend with him, he's straight and since you're giving up valuable time, you should be making real good money doing it.”

How much?”

I shrugged, “It depends. You've got to have nice dresses, perfect hair, clothes, and jewelry. People have to see you as a positive for him and for our team. They need to view you as an up and coming young couple there and they need to really see you with some damned nice stones on your finger and your ears.”

Chris said, “I can't afford that.”

I'll front you the loan if you want to make that pre-engagement ring a mother of all rings.”


Kit, tell him.”

People are going to see us and think I'm just your squeeze. If I don't have a ring on my finger. Girls will think you're available and will make lude remarks and I'll have to come back forgetting what we've got.”

I said, “The bad side of that is it'll probably be player's girlfriends and I'll have to tell you to bring them on the carpet because of their girlfriend's rude remarks. It'll blow up and I'll end up firing them and eventually, you'll realize you lost Kit over some dumb bitch's remarks fifteen years ago and you're now forty, fat, bald, and lonely. You'll have gold chains, more hair and zits on your ass than on your head when you were a teen and dropsy dick is a common side effect of your lifestyle of chasing lude women's remarks.

And just when you think you couldn't have hit any lower, I'll come over to your house and you'll be eating breakfast out of a Meow Mix box walking around going “Here titty titty!”

By this time everyone was rolling on the table laughing and that's when I got a tap on my shoulder. I turned around, “Here's your food honey, it doesn't come out of a box, but I can get you a tall glass of fresh...squeezed....milk...if you want one.” ma'am, I brought my own bull.”

She smiled and winked, “Well milking the bull is more fun!”

Everyone laughed and I chuckled, I turned around and said, “The moral of the story Chris is girls like big rocks on their finger. It slows them down and works faster than a ball and chain around your ankle.”

I got kicked under the table. “Hey, someone's kicking me!”

I looked under the table and said, “Who's got what in their hand! Hand check!”

Everyone raised their hands and the waitress came over to the table. “What's going on, we having a stick up?”

Uh, no, my bull sort of got hard.”

Everyone laughed and Rob's face got red. Chris said, “I gotta do an I.O.U. For a pre-engagement ring and then, we go hob nob around town. How long do I gotta be pre-engaged before the engagement?”

I don't know if it was a mutual mindset amongst the group, but everyone said, “Two weeks” at the same time. Chris said, “Man, I won't have the pre-engagement ring paid off before I gotta get in more debt for the engagement ring!”

I said, “That's just that, wait until you're married. It's like that all the time.”


Notes From Retta:

This story wouldn't be possible without a good person by the name of Wes. Fortunately, he downloaded it while it was still able to be gotten on the Google Groups site.

For those of you who know, my Google Groups site is shit. Please don't get that confused with “the shit”, but just plain shit.

It seems I can upload a chapter to the site and it will promptly lose the thing. When you go to click on it, you will get an error message which states the page you've navigated to is no longer available. Needless to say, I'm not please because their customer service sucks.

I'd lost the first twenty five chapters of the story, so without Wes having them, I'd be fucked. Thankfully, he had them, so he gets a great BIG HUGE Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

From My Keyboard To Your Heart,


Copyright Notice - Copyright © 2009 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 – 2009 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.