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

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

By the way, if you're reading this to jack off (Adam Curtis). I'll smile and you hold it in your hand and read until the end. If you've spilled a load, 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 Eighteen:

I went to the door and went down the steps. He was on the other side up on the ladder. “Dan, we're about ready.”


No immediate hurry, but by the time you've got the ladder put up and are on board, they should all be here.”


He came down the ladder and folded it up. He carried it around and over to the hangar. I went up the steps and to the cockpit. “Hi guys, we've got some people coming yet, but we'll be ready soon.”


You guys like this plane better?”

Yeah, it flies like a dream.”

Sorry about the mix up on everything being at different locations.”

Don't worry about it. It gave us some fly time.”

How far can this plane fly non-stop?”

From here, we can make it most anywhere in the United States. To go to Alaska, or Hawaii, we'd need to refuel, but it's a good plane.”

What about the 747?”

It can go most anywhere if you keep it filled with fuel.”

Yeah, of course, why wouldn't I?”

They didn't keep the other jet fueled all the way.”

That's dumb, isn't it?”

It's risky. It's counting something to be there when it could be gone.”

Well, don't do that while I'm at the head of this. I'd rather know we're going to stay up than down.”

He nodded and said, “You getting more pilots for the other planes?”

We're only getting the 747, aren't we?”

Nah, a little one is coming too.”


Your coach will need to go to scout people.”

I'd rather have a helicopter to fly to New York City from Akron than a little plane. Just the same, if it's already ordered, we'll keep it. We can use it for a variety of reasons.”

You're going to need more pilots.”

Do you guys know the best way to hire them?”

We'll put word out. We've got friends who've said they wish they had our gig. We can pass along the wealth.”

You're going to be flying a lot with me. I'll probably stay out there, but a lot of these people back here will be racking up the miles.”

Ok, so consider this airport a standard run for us?”

Yeah, unless there's a problem.”

Nah, it's a good strip. We just like to know if we're going to be making a lot of runs to different places, or to certain places.”

This is home base for me, but I'm not going to be here for awhile. If I change my mind, they'll be lucky, but I'm going to build my team.”

Your priorities are in the right spot.”

Dan came on and I said, “Ok, I'll let you know when they're all on board. I need to speak with him, he's my merchandising guy.”

We went into the plane and I sat down at the board table with him. “Here's what we've got so far about those products over there. These over here, we're still undecided upon.

When we get to the stadium, we'll go to merchandising to see what they've got. They might have different stuff, or they might have stuff which isn't as cool.”

He nodded, “You guys are hitting this professional. I like it.”

I said, “Dan, none of those Angels work. This is what I want.”

I handed him the sketch Rob did and he nodded.

I want it to look like a fist but an Angel. I know it's blocky and flat, but it's going to be nice if you could take the hightlights from this hawk and use it on the feathers for the Angel.”

He nodded and said, “Ok, what about your hawks?”

I like them. That one there is awesome. Now, about the word. I love that A on that one. I'd like to get that on as much stuff as we can.”

He nodded and smiled, “I came up with that and thought it was really neat.”

Well, it's a hit. Now, here's what else we've been working on. These are a list of words for our advertising and promotional materials. As you can see, we're playing up the word Fan.”

He nodded, “Fantasize' would be one when you're doing a sexy spread for posters.”


You're a good looking guy. You're going to have all sorts of girls begging for posters of you to put in their bedrooms.”

Ok, but you might see who makes Fanta soda. We could do some Angel drinks in Fanta size. That's what I thought you were meaning when you said it. I was thinking us being on soda cans.”

He smiled, “No, but that'd get us out there with commemorative cans of whatever to get people to collect.”

He reached over and said, “I like this one.”

What is it?”

It's a cigarette lighter which lights up when you pull back the Angel's head.”

That's cool, but do you think it'd sell?”

Yeah, lot's of people smoke and they'd buy this for a few dollars.”

Ok, but that Angel there is good. Don't let them just put any Angel on it.”

I won't.”

Jake, can I give you some pointers?”


The Angel is collected by a lot of people. We can do them in all sorts of picturesque scenes and have a lot of collector's items.”

Ok, like what?”

Have an Angel flying up high with a snowy scene down below. It looks like a nice picture of an Angel, but if you look below, that village has your stadium in it and it's lit up.”


I know I'm not your advertising person, but I've got several nice thoughts in mind like that.”

Ok, run with it and tell me what you've thought?”

We go to Alaska or someplace where it's winter and the mountains are beautiful. We can do a picture of the Angel flying and then landing on an evergreen. When it pulls back, you see the evergreen is at the stadium. Yeah, its' the combining of two things, but the viewer isn't going to care. You throw a Happy Holidays over it with your logo down below and it's going to make people think you're a good guy.”

Ok, but we need another one of the guys all wearing our jerseys without helmets or pads and us out having a snowball football game. It shows us being silly and then, it shows us making snow Angels. We stand up and get into formation for a team photo with us all saying Merry Christmas and that snow Angel turning into our logo, or our logo done in ice.”

Oh man, you gotta have that for your meeting. Have an ice sculpture of it with champagne flowing under it.”

Ok, that's cool. I've never drank champagne, but it might be decent.”

It's different. It's sort of like ginger ale mixed with wine.”

Hmmm, I like ginger ale.”

Soon, everyone was on board. I went to tell the pilot we were ready and he closed the door and got it locked. The steps folded in and then, from where I don't know, we had a flight attendant.

Where'd you come from?”

The office at the hangar.”

Ok, you sort of surprised me. From now on, could you be on the plane when we've got people here? We could've had our safety stuff out of the way.”

That's not required.”

Guy, each and every time this bird flies, you give that safety stuff. If I'm not listening, you come over and drop kick me so I do listen as you stand over me. There might be a time we need to know it for real and I want each and every person on here to know it.”


I'm not being an asshole, but I'm not all that comfortable on a plane. It's not real comforting with me knowing most people don't live when these things crack up and when you see how many wrecks I have, you gotta figure the odds are against me this is going to be any different.”

He smiled, “Have a lot of wrecks?”

Yeah, but my car gets wrecked even without me there, so go figure that out. I'm due for another car and that makes it the fourth in about a month.”


Yeah, so when you see me not listening to you giving that safety stuff, you drop kick me because I'll probably have you demonstrating everything so I know how to do it in the dark upside down hanging in a chair. I'd rather know it for actual than perfect scenarios.”

He nodded. “Other than that, here's the rules on this bird. I'm gay and if you dare go out of here and broadcast what I do while on here, I'll be sure you never get it said again....working for me.

Now, that guy over there in the blue shirt is mine. He's hands off unless it's my hands and if you ever see someone touch him while I'm not on here, you treat it like his life is in danger because it will be when I find out he's screwing around and while you're at it, you just throw that person touching him on out of the plane because it'll save me time of having to do it when I find out.”

He laughed, “Don't worry. You'll have my private number and I hope to have yours.”

Sure. Now, there's a list floating around here of what our favorite soft drinks are. They're not your normal things, so you'll have to get them while we're at Moberly. They've got them there.”

What are they?”

Aaron over there loves Double Cola. I'll tell you I don't mind it if there's nothing else, but it tastes like someone took two different kinds of soda which were left out over night and threw them together. The stuff is salty and I swear that's how they got the fizz back in the stale tasting stuff.”


Aaron loves it. His second favorite is Mountain Dew.”

Rob's and my favorite is SunDrop. It's good stuff and better than Mountain Dew all the time. If you sip it, you'll find out it's your favorite too when it's ice cold. Hot, that stuff just can't be done right.”

He smiled.

Other than that, I like diet Peach Shasta.”


Now, here's what I want you to know and for you to train whomever we've got working for us. IF I get a contract for Pepsi, there's never to be a Coke can left out here. IF they insist, you point at that door and tell that person they don't make enough to cost me that sort of money. I'm talking about millions a year for fifteen years on a contract, so do the math. That Coke can could cost me nearly a hundred million. It's not happening.”

Why not have a policy of no Coke on board.”

No, people like whatever. I'm not going to go that far. I mean, I like SunDrop, but others don't. They like Mountain Dew, so I'm not going to make them gag through a Sun Drop just because of that.”

What if you've got a Pepsi contract? Are you going to stop drinking SunDrop?”

No, the can's getting left in back and they're going to think I'm head over heels for Mountain Dew.

Just the same, I'm not going to want many people taking photos while they're on board here. It's rude and it intrudes on people's privacy. We're going to have both gay and straight couples and singles on here. I don't want any errant photo giving away someone's secrets.”

He nodded. “Ok”

Next item. “That bedroom in the back is off limits for everyone who flies this plane except Rob and I. As you heard before, if he goes back there with someone else, kill first and ask questions later. He'll know I'm not going to let anyone else back there with me, so he better not either. IF he needs that much privacy, he's got the wrong people on here.”

He nodded. “Ok, anything else?”

No alcohol and no drugs. Neither by us or by you. If you see it happening, you give me a call. I'll suspend that person from my team, or I'll call the pilot and ask him to take that person back to where they're coming from.”

A lot of people do drugs.”

Not on my plane they don't! If they do, I repeat, you call me and I'll suspend them when I get the call. There's not going to be a thing of them calling you a liar, I'll drug test them and we'll prove your word to me and them out off the team.”

Ok, I think I'll like working for you.”

What's not to like?”

Several things. One of them is me asking what happens if someone comes onto me?”

Uh uh. If they do it, you go up front to the pilot and you tell him to take that person back to where they came from and dump them out. You call me and I'll tell them I'm not keeping them on the team.

Now, if someone does come onto you and you want them, you do it on your own time. If it's Rob, you call me and know your own time is in the number of minutes when I find out you've taken him up on the offer.”

What if I get blackmailed over it?”

IF you do nothing on the plane, it's not affecting your job. IF someone else does something on the plane, it's their job. This plane isn't the field and it's not the locker room. It's a twenty seven million dollar ride and no one and I mean no one on my team makes that much a year to mess it up...not even me.

Now, if you get blackmailed by someone, you call me. I'll handle it. If someone comes onto you, call me, I'll handle it. IF a bunch of my players are on board and they've slipped bottles on here and are getting drunk, you go to the pilot's cabin and you tell him to take them all back from where they originated from before they were on the team and dump them. Once again, they don't make enough to buy this ride.

If that makes you think I'm serious about it, please understand I am. Booze, drugs, or whatever messes it up and bottles can be thrown and hit a window. These things suck everything out that hole when it opens up and I'm not going out without a parachute, so you know I'll do what it takes to make sure it doesn't happen.”

Ok, now, I need to ask about benefits.”

You don't have them?”

Not many.”

Ok, we need to make a list of what you want so we can get them for you.”

Can I wear more leisurely things while on board?”

I'll work on a different uniform with you if you don't like that one. I don't like the idea of you being in a jeans and t-shirt with the Dallas Cowboys on it when they're not paying your salary. SO, I'll work with you on it. We'll dress down to a point, but not all the way down.”

Ok, I've got some suggestions.”

One other thing and then I'll listen.”


IF you see anyone and that means even me, on this plane with jeans on with grommets on the pockets in the back, you go over and hand them a blanket and tell them to put it under them. These seats are leather and those things are sharp. IT doesn't take much to ruin a piece of leather and us having to replace it. A blanket costs but a few dollars. Some of these seats, I'd hate to see how much their replacement cost is.”

I could tell you that long sofa back there costs twenty one thousand for the bottom cushion. I worked for a rock star whose child used a permanent marker on one once. He had to wait two months to get it replaced.”

Then you understand why I'm the way I am about it.”

I understand.”

Go ahead about your benefits.”

I'd like to have a uniform with nice pants and a pull over shirt. It's comfortable and nice.”

Ok, that's a go, but watch the lighter colors and make me replace the shirts once every six months. When the darker colors are washed too often, they fade.”

I'll do that.”

While on board, you don't have to wear shoes. You can wear house shoes if you'd like.”

Ok, that'd be nice.”

This plane is getting remodeled. We're putting in a movie screen and some recliners. We want classic comedy movies, so everyone's laughing and having a good time with clean fun.

In regards to a cell phone. If you don't have one, let me know and I'll get you one. I don't know how I could function without mine.”

I'll need one.”

Your benefits other than that, I don't know. What do you make a year?”

Let me figure it out.”


I make nine dollars an hour.”

Uh huh, that's gotta change. I'll get you on at fifty grand a year. That's hog wash! We're demanding you have time devoted to us and we sure can't expect you to have that for nine bucks an hour.”


Do you have dental, eye, and health?”

Health, but it's not good unless I go to the team doctor.”

Ick, ok, we'll get you a decent plan. I'll also find you a dental and eye plan with prescriptions.”

He smiled. “Good. Can I have someone on there with me?”

Sure, boyfriend or girlfriend?”

Boyfriend. He works for another private plane based in Akron.”

He wanna switch over to us?”

He probably will when I tell him what I'm making now.”

If he does, then train someone for this plane and you and he tag team the 747. You can work together and have the same time off that way.

While I'm at this, do you live on us, or do you live off us?”

What's that mean?”

We better have some places for our people to live in that stadium. If we don't, then I'm screwed.”

You don't.”

Ok, well, let me look for an apartment block someplace and get it bought. We've got to have that so we can keep people working and write things off.”

We rent an apartment.”

Well, living on us means you live in one of our apartments. IF you live off us, it means you live in your own elsewhere. Since the team doesn't have that and the stadium doesn't have that, we're going to have to get it. When I've got it, I'll get you guys in if you want. It'll be covered and the bills will be also.”


It's something we gotta do. We're going to have players who just don't make it to where they're making a lot. I don't know why, but I tend to see everyone works for their pay around me. I give good and I expect better when it comes to employees.”

You're great by me.”

Enforce the rules and don't take shit. If you think I won't park a whole team in that 747, think again. That plane is going to cost me a whole lot.”

I imagine!”

Just the same, you'll see me flying with the team when I fly. I might own this plane, but you'll only see me using this when I'm with friends. With the team, I'll be on the big one.”

I'm hearing what you're saying. You're saying you're a part of the team, so you want to keep the team spirit.”

Right, but my attitude comes from one thing and that's this...A lot of people aren't getting the privilege of playing for a pro team. I'll not have a few idiots thinking they can disrespect the team in order to be a part of it. I'll fire the whole bunch and get all new if that's what it takes. It'd save me some money and it certainly isn't like I can't find good high school students who can't play.”

You're all high school students?”

Yeah, most of us are in the twelth grade.”

Your parents must be rich for you to be able to afford a team.”

My parents are dead. My grandma raised me until she too got killed. She invested really well their life insurance and left me with enough life insurance to have you wondering what she did in her spare time with the insurance man. Just the same, I'm loaded.

Some of those guys out there have parents who are normal. Rob's dad is the Prosecuting Attorney, but after hearing what he makes, I'd say he's normal too.”

They don't make a lot?”

Forty grand a year. A drug dealer could pay him off and he'd make some money then.”

That doesn't sound like a lot.”

IT's not. Fortunately, he made a lot of money representing me on the purchase of this team, so they'll never had to worry again.”

I heard you paid over three hundred million.”

Three twenty five.”


Let me give you a secret. That's cheap for what I got. That stadium is worth that much alone. This team is worth that much alone and that concession contract is worth a whole lot per year when you figure out how much they sell.”

I see you're merchandising a lot.”

It's a lot and going to be a whole lot more. You're going to be amazed at what I can find to put my name on and what I can get this team's name on. I know I've already got a Buick Roadmaster coming out in a taxi cab version which is going to be flying our logo on the rear bumper.”


Let me give you a little clue. Ok? I can buy that car for thirteen thousand and hand it to a guy to drive for four years. In that four years, he'll pay me what that car is worth and I'll get advertising on it for that four years. To me, that same advertising is going to cost me a hundred thousand a year. Do you think I'd rather give the car away than pay for it six times through the ads?”

I didn't know the ads were that much!”

'Yeah, it's nuts. Just the same, I'm going to be buying a car dealer out there in Akron because they really make money.”

They do?”

I have one in Moberly which wasn't performing when I got it. Now, it's sold more cars in a month than it did in two years. I'm making money and it's all about knowing how to do it. If you've got money to invest, talk with me and I'll help you invest it.”

I don't. I only make nine bucks an hour.”

Well, that changes. Let me do something for you two and I'll make you millionaires. You just promise you'll work for me for five years.”


Ok, I'll make some calls and get you a town to put cell phone antennas up. You'll be amazed at those things.”

I'm not following.”

Cell phones require antennas to operate. In a small town the size of Moberly, it takes four of them to run the phones there. Now, the antennas don't cost much, so I'll get you a small town to have the towers in. You'll make money hand over fist and in five years, you'll be millionaires at least one time over. I'd say it's probably going to be seven times over, but that might be wrong.”


Yeah, I've got a friend named Raleigh who started with a bunch of towers and now, he's making like several hundred thousand a month. He's reinvesting some and the other part, he's building a huge house with.”

Oh man, that's gotta be nice.”

It is. I'm happy for him. SO, I'll get you guys going on them and you'll have a good nest egg at the end of the five years.”

I appreciate it.”

Don't worry. Heck it takes know how in order to make it, but once you've made your first million, you're definitely going to make lots more.”


What's your name?”


Glad to meet you Perry. I'm Jake. It's short for Jacob, but don't ever call me that. No one has my whole life, so it'd probably not get me to answer it.”

I stood up and went back to Rob. “I'm back hon.”

What was that about?”

Making the guy happy. He wasn't working for much except scraps and now, he's working for steaks.”


It's got us with an employee for at least five years and his lover coming over to work for us also.”

That's nice, where does he work?”

I don't know. Some other company has a private plane he flies in.”

So you're going to hire him and then what?”

Both of them go on the 747. They have the same time off and they've got each other more.”

That's cool.”

I gave them a raise and better benefits. They were only making nine bucks an hour.”

Ok, so you gave them a raise?”

Yeah, to fifty grand a year.”

That's a lot.”

Not really, Us keeping people who know us and are proud to work for us is what matters.”

Dad wants to speak with you.”

I hate this.”

Yeah, but let's get it over and then, we're finished with it.”

I went over to Mr Musselman and said, “Ok, what are his messages?”

First of all, he says he didn't lie to you. He says typical to form, you jumped to conclusions.”

I'm not seeing action and seeing his mouth moving, therefore it's all the same.”

He told me to take his name off your house and then told me to get you the Chevy dealer. He'll have everything over on Monday to put into your name fifty-fifty.”

I don't want everything else. I want the dealer and I'll pay for it.”

That's not the deal you made, so that's not what he's going to do.”

Jeesh, is that all?”

No, he says he's sorry you feel the way you do, but his life's moving forward. He hopes you can keep your word about coaching and he hopes you're not going to bear ill will if he brings that other guy on the team.”

First of all, it was my idea to bring him on the team, so there's no ill will except Grant's attempting to take more credit for what I thought up. Second of all, I'm not the one who he has to worry about keeping his word. He is. I know his feelings are upset because he wouldn't have said that to my face without being called a liar to his. Just the same, IF he does what he says he is, then I'll back off.”

He said he expects to see you in school on Monday.”

Not happening. The only reason I'd be there is for the team, but in order to do it, I've got to waste six hours a day of my time which could be spent building up this team. If they can work around all that until the end of the season, I'd forego the schooling and play.”

Let me think on it. I think the only problem you'd have if you played and missed days is the state finals and play off. IT's after the semester break. Everything else is up until then, so you'd have the days of absence accruing which wouldn't matter if you were quitting anyway.

Normally, I'd not suggest anyone quit school at all, but you've got enough going for you, I think it'd only hinder you if you stayed.”

Ask Grant if he's going to stop me from playing if I'm absent. If he does, then I'll apologize to the team and go ahead and quit. I don't owe Grant anything and really, those whom I owe anything are on this plane.”

He said to call him before the game.”

Uh uh, no way. He's not going to mess with my brain before the biggest day of my life. I'll call him now...technically, it's before the game.”

I went over and hit speed dial on my phone. “Hello?”

You said to call before my game?”

It's tomorrow.”

And I don't trust you're not going to try to mess with my brain before the biggest day of my life. You got your call's plenty of time to recover from what you've got to say.”

First of all, I never meant to make you think I lied to you. I intended on keeping my word.”

You did? Well it remains to be seen. I'm not backing off until I see it happen.”

I love you. I'm seeing how much I've hurt you and I don't want that. I'd rather just give what I said I'd give and let you know I intended on giving it to you.”

Grant, one thing I wanted from you, I can't even get unconditionally.”

I told him to give it to you.”

If you think it was the Chevy dealer, you're nuts. It was your love. See? You can't see it and you just won't get it.”

I do love you.”

Hang on, I'm about to start yelling, so I'm going into the bedroom on this thing.”

It's got a bedroom?”

Yeah, but you'll never see it. Absolutely no one but Rob and I are allowed to enter in here. I don't like it's on here and I'd change it if I could, but some things just can't be changed.”

Are you going to keep me on the team?”

Yeah, and for your information, it was my idea to bring that kid onto the team. You made it sound like you were trying to take credit for another idea I had.”

Would you let me have this one?”


If I get together with him, it's going to look weird my ex wanted him on the team. It'd look more romantic if I wanted him here.”

Ok. Do it. Just realize if you're trying to mess with his brain, I'll be there to make your world dark.”

Let me have my space.”

I will. Now, here's what I've got to ask. Are you going to throw me off the Spartans if I miss days?”

I can't keep you on the team. Their policy dictates you don't play.”

It dictates I don't play if I'm out of school for more than ten days in that last semester. In fact, it states I'll be held back a year.

Since I'm not going to be there next semester, the only thing which is affected is the state finals and championship.”

SO you lead us up to that point and throw us off a cliff.”

My hands are tied. My loyalties are to my future and not to my past. The Angels have to have me out there working on them. The Spartans stand with or without me.”

Play the games. If we make it to that point, I'll see what I can do to help you. Your circumstances are way different than anyone else has ever had on this team.”

Policy is policy. They'll tell you that.”

They were going to let you out for your parents trial, so it could be considered a part of that leave of absence.”

Ask, because I'm not going to be there on Monday.”

Why not?”

Grant, I've got to do merchandising. I've got to get ready for that meeting. I've got to get a team whipped into shape and a stadium made so I'm not sued. There's got to be fence installed around the stadium and I've got to go through and hire and fire employees. It takes time which that six hours a day would benefit me a lot more than being stuck in school.”

Would you home school and do your tests if I can arrange it?”

Yeah, I could take all those now and not have to worry.”

I'm going to work on that angle. It'd get us having you in the finals.”

Ok, just understand, I'm not staying away because of my anger towards you. Yeah, it's a part of it, but it's a decision which needed done.”

Your plate is full. I know that.”

Well, it's got to be. If I could do things different and have more hours in a day, I would.”

Ok, I'm pulling into the outskirts of Hannibal, so I'll let you go.”



Don't go back on 24, you'll have a wreck. Drive over on 36 and down.”


Be sure to get all of that kid's paperwork because that coach over there is going to really be hammering on his parents. They work for you at your factory, so you could use that to your advantage.”

The coach got arrested.”

Yeah, and they're going to let him coach the team until his disciplinary hearing. How much do you think he's going to attempt to get players to say his abusiveness is for their own good?”


You heard me, that's their argument. It's not going to fly, but it'll serve as a way for him to divide that town until it goes to trial and yes, he's going to be dumb enough to take it to trial. What you don't realize is the Prosecuting Attorney over there is going to lay in wait and let that man testify about all his deeds to every kid saying how it's good for his team before he lays out a whole bunch of charges.”


You might do everyone a favor and have cameras at all his future games until that's over. His anger will get one camera destroyed, but it'll be caught on tape and it'll demonstrate his thinking he can get by with anything.”

He basicly can on his own field.”

Wrong, this is on someone else's field and both your camera guy and he are on the visitor's side. He's going to think just because he's the coach of the visitting team, he can dictate who is on the visiting side. What you don't know is the Sheriff in that county has a disabled son and when he sees what was said on that tape, the charges are going to flow like water released from a ruptured dam.”

Grant laughed, “Ok, I'll do it.”

The guy has a problem. IT's called a God complex. He showed his hand at our game which scared him.”

I'm not following.”

You are built better. His complex got built because he's built better than anyone over there and his doctor compliments him on his body fat percentage and everything. When he had to face you and stare down at adversity, it started undoing him. Now, he's wondering about all aspects of his life. The man is a bit nuts.”

I'd say!”

No, get this because you'll see. He's got a daughter. She's a gift from God, but he thinks just because she's not a boy, it's a failing for him. Go figure it out, because it's dumb.”

Ok, it's sexist.”

It's not sexist when he's viewing it as HIS failure. He's saying he's not man enough. What happens is it's going to explode in that house and his wife is going to get a beating which ends the marriage. He needs intervention.”

Should we do it?”

No, I got told about intervening today. They don't like me doing it.”

I'll get off here.”

Cover your bases. If you don't get his paperwork, you're going to hurt yourself more than help.”

What paperwork?”

A letter of intent for the team. If you need one, you give me a call and go to Kroger's. They've got a fax and I've got the office. I'll fax you the paperwork to sign.”

Thanks for covering me.”

No problem. You're not understanding the vile nature of that man. He's worse than Riefsdel in a lot of ways.”

I hung up and then went out of the bedroom. Mr Musselman asked, “Things better?”

Providing he keeps his word, all is well.”

Anything I need to do?”

Yeah, it's going to take a bit of sneakiness, but it'll look legal.”

Care to explain?”

Come back here with Rob and I and I'll explain.”

We went into the bedroom and closed the door.

Grant's way out on a limb here. I told him to get a letter of intent for the kid to play for the team. In those letters he's having them sign, I'm going to have you fax a paper which gets him off the hook for being alone with the kid.

That coach over there is going to press every button he can and stir emotions. The parents most likely will quit their jobs over it and Grant's going to have some things said about him which aren't going to be good. With that paper saying the kid can travel with him and be authorized to have Grant be his guardian while they're together, it'll cover him.”

You need to warn him.”

It's threading the needle. He needs the relationship and he needs the kid on our team. The kid needs it because his future just doesn't go anywhere if he doesn't play.”

Let me get to going on that paperwork. Thanks for letting me know so I can have it ready.”

Rob asked, “What did he say?”

He told me everything your dad did except I got to throw my opinion back at him. He's going to work on doing some things so I can keep playing for the Spartans without having to go to school there.”

So you're going to stay in Akron?”

Yeah, I'm going to stay over here and get the offices right and the team going in the right direction. Then, it's my hope you'll be over here sometime too.”

He looked over at his dad. “Dad?”

You've got to finish school. Your mom said that.”

What about he and I living together?”

Weekends. You can fly over on the weekends with him. Until then, I want you to be home.”

I interrupted, “Hang on, let me regroup on that one because it just told me he's not going to be here during the week.”

Mike looked at me and said, “You're not thinking about that real clearly. He'd be out of school at three. It'd take an hour to fly here. That's four. He'd lose an hour fly time, that's five. Then, he'd have to leave by nine your time to make it back by ten.”

Wrong. He'd gain an hour flying back towards Moberly, so he could leave at ten.”

I'll speak with his mother and see. I don't feel good about it.”

Ok, at least it's an honest answer. I'll have to regroup mentally to prepare for us not being together.”

Rob looked shocked, “You'd break up over this?”

No, we'll have the weekends, but I'm not coming back except to play ball. That's it. I'll be there on Friday nights. Until then, I'll be in Akron working to get the team back together.”

You had me worried.”

Rob, we've been apart for thirteen years. I can wait another if we get to see each other on the weekends.”

Mike said, “Please let me speak with his mom. She might come up with another solution.”

How about next Friday. I'll come in and we can go out to dinner and talk. It'd give me a chance to meet her and her a chance to speak with me so I know it's something she'll do.”

He nodded, “You guys can have next summer.”

No, next Summer is law camp. I gave my word and we're living together to get that done. If not, then you bargained in bad faith.”

No, that's the deal and she knows it. I'm hoping she'll get used to the fact he's growing up. With some luck, you two will get your certificates and she'll see he's moved forward enough he's got what he needs in life.”

She said she wants me to have my senior year for the memories. She'd not going to let me get out of going.”

I nodded, “Well, I know I've got weekends, so that's what I've got to work with. I'm mentally prepared for that, so let's not haggle it out and make her resentful.”

Mike smiled, “She'll bend. I know she will.”

You know, my grandma bent a lot too, but she also held to what she thought was best. I've learned not to argue it because it doesn't go anywhere. IF she changes her mind, it'll be because she did and not us doing anything.”

He nodded and Rob said, “Well, I'll be here when I can.”

That's all I ask, it's half yours and that's not changing.”

We were told the plane would be landing in fifteen minutes. The steward came and showed us how to prepare for landing and believe me, I had pillows all over around where I was sitting. I figured if I was going to get jerked out of my seat, I'd have to have some cushions. Everyone else laughed, but I was serious.

When the plane landed, it felt like a school bus had blown out all it's tires at once. It decelerated rather sharply and I let out a yell. Everyone laughed, but a lot of things on the table were slid off.

We taxied up to a hangar and were told it was safe to get up and get ready to get out. We all prepared for our exit and the lot of merchandising things got placed into a box.

When the door was opened, I was first to get out. I'm sorry, but flying scared me. Well, flying doesn't scare me...crashing does.

At the bottom of the steps, we were met by a huge guy. “Hi, I'm Nate Clemons, I play for you.”

Hi Nate, thanks for coming. How'd you know we were coming?”

We were supposed to show up here. I guess I'm the only one.”

Well, I appreciate your greeting us. It's not going to be ignored.”

Is there anything I can get for you guys?”

DJ brought everything he owns like he's going to camp. He's got like four suitcases.”

He chuckled. “Do you have anything?”

Nah, I'm wearing these clothes and they're going to provide me with a uniform. If I need anything else, I'll buy it.”

He nodded, “My Suburban is over there. IF you want, you can ride in it.”

Thanks, are they sending a limo?”

Ummm, no.”

Ok, well, that's strike two. You're about to see me hit pissed off mode, but not aimed at you.”

He went on up and Mike came out. “So this is Akron!”

It's Akron without a limo. It's Akron without our players when they were told to meet us here. It's Akron and I'm pissed.”

Let them have this one.” Rob said, “They probably feel their loyalties are with the other guy.”

Ok, but we're having a team meeting. IF they don't show, they're suspended. I'll call all of those guys myself to be assured they're told.”

Nate came out carrying two suitcases. DJ carried the other two. Aaron stood at the top of the steps smiling. “Aaron, we're going to ride in Nate's Suburban.”


I went over and opened the back cargo door. Nate said, “You guys are going to ride up front.”

Too many people. Let the older guys ride up front. I'll ride back here and have a little camp out.”

He looked strangely. “It's ok Nate, I've gotta give them this disrespect of me, but when I get to the stadium, I'm personally calling each team member and telling him there's a team meeting. IF they don't show, I'll suspend them until I can get my football team from home here to play. Then, I'll keep them suspended until my point is made they should see who pays the bills.”

The last owner isn't helping you any.”

No, but he's also realizing I'm about to start fucking him financially. I've got a promissory note which states whatever I've got to replace to bring this team up to standards will be taken from it. That means player's salaries too.”

His eyes got big. I said, “The dumb ass signed it. Not me.”

Oh man.”

He left it open for me to screw him. I'll do it if I find he's trying to do it to me on his way out the door.”

Everyone loaded up and Nate drove us to the stadium. When we drove on the lot, my mouth was open. Everyone was 'oohing' and 'ahhing'. The building was huge.

He drove around to the back and parked, “This is the player's entrance.”

I got out and looked around. Not one gate, fence, or anything kept fans from getting to us.

I asked Nate, “How many problems do you have with fans out here?”

A few get back here but they're real nice.”

We need to have a meet and greet area where we can do that where it's safe. This looks like a prime area which one shot would have to cause us to change security.”

Yeah, but we've been lucky.”

You said it and I agree. It's going to change.”

I went over and saw the sidewalk which went around the stadium. There was a small grassy area. “This looks like a good area for them to wait.”

Rob came over and said, “Inside the stadium. Keep the fans in there and our private lives out here. No errant eyes see anything.”

Ok, let's go in.”

We went in and entered a long hallway. Our footsteps echoed along it's length. I saw a security guard and yelled at him, he came and I asked, “Our you our guard or someone from a security firm?”

Security firm.”

Ok, thanks.”


First of all, had I been interested in getting in here and killing players, I'd be given free range. Second of all, you need an officer posted at that door. Third, I'll have someone there so we don't have to carry all this stuff to where we're going.”

I'll call.”

No, they know we're here. This is a part of our welcome wagon. They're about to see it's going to be the bus to hell when I'm done.”

Rob came over, “He's a guard, not someone to bitch at.”

Yeah, but he knows this stinks.”

The guard asked, “You new players?”

I'm a new player and the new owner. He's a new owner also. Does that tell you why I'm upset?”


It's going to change. Trust us on that.”

He nodded and went back into the room he had came out of. I saw it was a coffee area.

I turned to Rob. “You're going to have to loosen up on the leash. This has to be done my way.”

Ok, but you're stomping on someone who doesn't need it.”

I know but if he had shared his opinion, it would've given me a little to go on.”

You were ragging on him.”

And you were in there before I could get it over onto him it was ok to complain. I guess I'll have to be a hundred feet from you from now on so I can get it done.”

I'll loosen up.”

Thanks. If we don't pay attention to the small things, you'll see them become big.”

How small?”

Bugs in our food. Rat turds and mouse turds in our food. Mice and Rats in the merchandise area eating things. Them in the rafters eating power lines so lights don't work. It all costs us money.”

Ok, when I get a chance with you, I'll train in on it.”


The locker room is over here.”

We went in and I saw a man in an office. “Hi, what's your name?”

How'd you get in here?”

Walked in. As you can see, security's got to change.”

Fans don't come down here.”

No, let's hope they don't with pistols and machine guns. If they do, we're in a world of hurt. Now, I asked a question. What's your name?”

Jim. Jim Bourne.”

Hi Jim, Jake Martin. Where do you want the new players to put their things.”

Ummm, put them over there.”

Jim, where are the other team members. If they weren't told to get here, find their numbers and call them all in. IF they say they're not coming, you be sure to very clearly tell them they're on suspension until they do come in and sit in front of me to be fired.”

You're the new owner?”

Yeah, I'm glad you were told.”

I heard it on the news.”

Ok, well, there was to be a team meeting and practice. It was to be for when we landed. No one but Nate met us out there when they were told. Now, I want a team meeting and those guys to be told what I just said. I'll go out on the field and will practice until they get here.”

Tell them to show or be suspended until they meet with you and get fired.”


Oh-kay, but they're not going to like it.”

Jim, I don't like getting disrespected by people I pay. There's twenty people standing in line to take each one of them's spots. IF you don't think I can't get candidates to play, please think again.”

I'll get on it. You might want to call up to the office and get me player's numbers.”

Where's the office. I'll go up there myself.”

Up top. You'll have to be shown how to get there.”

Hang on, I need to bring some people with me. They're all going to have to need to know how to get there.”

I went over and said, “Guys, come on, we're going up to the offices. We've gotta walk.”

Jim and Nate showed us how to get to the elevators. At the elevators, we rode up to the office tower. When we got out, the wall of windows looking out was nice. On one side was the field down below and on the other was a view of the city.

Jim led the way and Nate hung back. We entered through glass doors and a woman was told rather quickly who we were. She smiled and stood up, “They're not here.”

What all got taken?”

Nothing which I know about.”

If there's any trophies or awards missing let me know. I'm told they're going to take them.”

They're back in the conference room.”

She led the way and entered. I stared at empty shelves.”

Ok, any photographs of what was here?”

Our handbook has them all.”

Good, I need the owner's number. He's about to get a call.”

I turned to Mike. “Do you want to call him, or shall I?”

I'll get him on the line.”

Tell him each trophy and award just cost him five million off the sale price. You tell him he's got twenty four hours to have these shelves loaded back up, or I'm pressing charges for theft, fraud, and taking it to the league.”


You tell that bastard I'm now officially madder than hell. You tell him when I see him next he best have me in a straight jacket with nothing able to be thrown. You just emphasize I'm taking it legal and we're going to see how low I can get this before he owes me money for buying it.”

He smiled. “Ok”

Nothing has a price on it. I'm going to price it and see if he's willing to pay it. IF not, he'll have them back.”

I went back out and saw the receptionist. “Who's the office manager up here?”

We don't have one. I guess I'd be that person.”

Good, you just got the job. I need to know where the player's phone numbers are and we've got to call them in.”

They're supposed to be meeting you out at the airport.”

Nate is the one who came. All the rest were no shows.”

You sure?”

I said, “Nate, tell her you were there.”

I was there, no one else was.”

She frowned, “They were called. I called them.”

Did you mention a team meeting or practice?”


Well, call them back and notify them they're suspended. Tell them they can make their way back here to give what is in the team's name back and I'll summarily fire them when they arrive. IF they'd like to keep their jobs, they need to give me three good reasons as to why I shouldn't fire and ten good excuses as to why they chose to disrespect me.”

She smiled and nodded. “Ok, I'll get on the phone and get them in.”

Jim over there will help.”

She nodded and said, “There's fifty eight of them. With Nate off the list, fifty seven.”

I said, “There's more than that. WE've got trainers, managers, coaches, water boys, and everyone on down the line who are members of this team. EACH one of them should be here for this meeting. Consider it a full staff meeting to meet the new owner who is damned mad.”

She looked serious. “It's going to take a while.”

Hand me a phone, I'll call.”

I turned to the guys, “You guys ready to start making calls?”


We all grabbed a phone in an office and started calling. As I spoke to guys, I laid out what I expected and didn't elaborate who I was. Withing thirty minutes, my list was completed. I looked over at Rob and he winked and pointed. I looked out the window and saw a rat on a rafter. I shook my head and went to the front.

The receptionist looked up at me and motioned, she put her hand over the mouth piece and said, “What can I get you hon?”

A shotgun. There's a rat on a rafter right out that window in there.”

Oh, there are a number of them.”

We need an exterminating crew called in for Monday.”

She nodded, “Yes Mr Baker, this is Jan from the front office. I've been told by the new owner to tell you since you missed the team meeting you're summarily suspended. He wants to meet with you to fire you and in order to keep you, you're to give three good reasons you want to stay and ten good reasons as to why you chose to disrespect him.”

She looked up and said, “IF he's on his way from the airport, is that a good excuse?”

Tell him I'll forgive it. Tell him we're waiting.”

She nodded, “He says he's waiting and you're excused from being suspended.”

She looked up at me and said, “They all got called and told you weren't paying them for the meeting.”

Tell him his contract states the meetings are considered a part of the meetings. IF he chooses to violate his contract, it's on him. I've got my lawyer here and we'll find our copies of all contracts.”

She spoke and then hung up. “The files are all in here.”

We went into an office and she said, “This is your office.”

Where are the keys for everything?”

Should be in the desk. He never used it.”


He never came in except on game days.”

Oh man, no wonder this team has no respect for owners. They don't know what they look like!”

You don't fit that mold either.”

Let's hope not!”

She chuckled. I said, “Jan, thanks. I need to speak with you and Chris, but he's on the phone.”

She nodded and said, “Most of them are.”

He's probably ordering pizza and probably can't find a thin one in the city.”

You like them thin?”

Thin as a cracker with lots of stuff on it.”

Oh dear, you're going to have a hard time of it here.”

I'll get used to it. I'll just have to think of it as a pizza cobbler.”

She laughed, “Well, compared to what you like, that's what it'd be!”

We went in to where Chris was. He hung up and said, “They're all assholes.”

They'll all be unemployed soon.”

Who are you going to get to play?”

We've got guys here. I'll get high school guys if I need to!”

He nodded.

I said, “Chris, this is Jan. She's going to be doing your job while you're back home. You two need to stay in communication.”

She asked, “He's going to be office manager?”

He's team manager.”

You're promoting me again?” she said smiling.

Jan, you've been doing the jobs, you might as well get paid.”

Women don't do those jobs!”

Why not?”

They don't. That's what everyone knows here.”

Well, you do. We'll see who else needs woke up to see things are changing.”

Chris said, “That coach there said he's not coming in.”

Ok, I'll tell Grant I need him here and send the plane back.”

I pulled out my cell phone and dialed.


I need you here tomorrow. We've got problems.”

I'll be there. I'm rather busy right now.”

Ask him if he could call some of his team and get them to come with you. I need players.”

How many?”

I've got DJ, Chris, Me, Rob, Nate, and Baker. Other than that, they're all getting fired.”

What the hell?”

They were called by Jan who is the receptionist/office manager/ and co team manager and told to meet us at the airport. They were told we were having a team meeting and practice. Someone called behind her an told them we weren't paying for the meeting. If they had thought, they would've realized their contracts state meetings and practices are a part of their contracts. Their in breach for a damned dumb reason.

Now, I've got a coach who flat our refused when he was called again. Chris spoke with him and that's what he got told.”

Chris spoke with him?”

We had to man the phones to call everyone in to fire them. They're coming in under suspension and they're being told they've got to give three reasons for me to keep and ten for why they disrespected me. I'll tell you that excuse of not being paid is going to only be one. I'll also tell you I'll throw their contract in their face and show them it's a breach.”

Ok, send a jet, I'll work on things from my end. This is rather short notice.”

I've got to see if we've got a 747 yet. If not, we're going to have to do something to get everyone here soon.”

I hung up and asked Jan, “Who would I contact to get a pa system out on the field?”

I'll get them down there. They're here because there's a game here tomorrow.”

Jan, contact several moving companies. Tell them we need them Monday morning. Tell them we've got to empty all these offices and get them down to the field. We're going to exterminate from top to bottom and all points in between.”

Ok, I'll get on the phone for that and get you a pa system.”

I'm not trying to disturb everything. I see housekeeping needed and I see lots of things needing changed. I'm someone who won't rest until I see it's righted.”

Good, I'll be happy working for you.”

Chris said, “You might as well give her my job. It's going to be a while for me to be able to do it.”

Would you play for me until I can get you in management here?”


You can't get paid, but I can make it good for you in a lot of other ways.”

I'll find a way for you to be able to do it.”

Rob came over and said, “Jake, put money into his account. Have him pay everyone to play. Tell him you need receipts of everything and not to give you those receipts until next Summer. It's going to mess everyone up next year otherwise.”

Ok, what about Chris being paid? Won't that mess him up?”

You can give him gifts. It's considered a friendship gift.”


Chris said, “Give me cell phone towers. That'd be the same but way better.”

Ok, I'll do that. It might work well for everyone.”

Jan came back in, “You've got exterminators, and moving crews. Anything else?”

Monday, we need those end zone carpets ripped up. We're ordering new ones.”

She nodded, “Ok, anything else?”

I looked around, “Dan?”

Chris said, “He went to merchandising.”

Ok, if you could get me a golf cart to run around this place, I'd be happy. Well, you might make it eight of them so all the guys have them.”

She laughed, “We've got carts downstairs in a garage.”

OH man. Why doesn't anyone know these things when we're walking!”

It's a big place. You know my number now. I'll get you things when you need them.”

We need to contact the press. I want some of them here when we're having the meeting. I figure if they're here putting the story out I want, nothing gets said out of context.”

Ok, I'll get on that.”

She left the office again and Chris said, “You needed her. She's got things moving.”

I know.”

Let's go get us some uniforms. I think it's going to look cool if I wear my jersey to school.”

I smiled, “We'll go to merchandising and get everyone outfitted. With the amount of free stuff you'll be taking home, everyone will have stuff.”

He nodded, “I want a steak sandwich. They're supposed to be good here.”

Yeah, I need to find out what I own here. I guess Jan would know.”

I went out into the office and over to Jan. “Yeah hon.”

I need to know if you'd take Rob and I on a tour here and tell us what is what. We also need to find out where the mansion is so I can get in there.”

The mansion is that building over there.”


That tower is your mansion. He tore it down and built a building. Then, he found out he couldn't do that, so it's called 'the mansion'. You own it.”

I gotta sleep in an office cubicle?”

No, the top two floors are your penthouse. There's apartments in there and fortunately, you still own them. He was thinking about seeing if he could sell them as condos but found he couldn't.”

Good. Are many open?”

I'll check.”

When you find out, tell the pilot to tell the steward on the plane he's got a place to live. I told him I'd find him and his partner a place.”

She nodded. “Is that a perc you're offering?”

Sure, if you need a place, look over yonder.”

She smiled, “I'll probably need it. I imagine I'll not have a happy home when I go there.”


You fired my husband. His job is the one I'm replacing.”

Was he any good?”

He wasn't bad.”

What caused us to lose money?”

And owner who wouldn't leave the money in to make money.”

Well, I've got no choice. I've got to pay for a team.”

He'd be able to help you manage.”

He needs to know the way it was ran is incompetent. I've got no assets lists and nothing to see if they're stealing me blind.”

Let me call him. Would you interview him?”

How much did he make a year?”

Seventy five.”

How much did you make?”

Thirty five.”

Tell him I'll hire him for fifty five and raise you up to split the job with him. If he'll take the pay cut and get me turned around with your help, I'll get you both raises when it's time for a review.”

So we run it together?”

He's out the door. You're in. I'm not going to demote you to bring him back in. Besides, you've got seniority on him now so if anyone goes, it'll be him.”

She smiled. “I'll call him.”

You all need a place to stay?”

No, save it for new players.”

Ok, tell him I need him for his phone dialing abilities because I've yet to start on what I want done.”

She chuckled, “He'll try pawning it off onto me.”

Sorry, his job is now beside you. As I see it, your chair out there is now empty. We'll get someone, but she's not going to be a switchboard operator.”

I'll call him.”


He went over and dialed, “Rick, he wants to see you. I'll explain it when you get here. Yeah, now get to moving!”

She hung up, “He wanted to know if you were considering on taking him back.”

I fired everyone because they were all looking to me as having drills in their hands and I saw a sinking ship.”

I understand. It's a bit hard to know when you're outside.”

All I had to go on was that contract he had me sign.”

I never got a copy of it. I don't know what it looked like.”

I'll get you a copy. When you see the clauses I added on, you'll see I opened back up the bank vault to not have to pay as much as I did.”

You paid three hundred and twenty five million, right?”

Yeah, but the clause states anything not here I need to be here in order to run the team gets put to rights and it comes out of that sale price. Now, I'm going to put fencing up around this place and get the losses out the door with people stealing. We've got to get a guard on that back door and we've got to have an inventory control person there being sure nothing goes back out.”

That's a wise move.”

That inventory control person is going to be sure things get here we pay for. If not, then we're not paying for things not delivered.”

She nodded, “Good, I've heard both. I've also heard you're paying for the players to have food delivered to their homes and since it's been implemented, it's went up almost eighteen times what it started being.”


It was something like seven thousand dollars a week when it started. Now, it's in the neighborhoold of two hundred thousand dollars a week.”

Man! That stops.”

It's not in their contracts, so it can stop.”

I turned around and saw Rob in the file cabinet. “I need to get those contracts. We're going to lay them out and have me go through them in front of them. I'll tell them what I can and can't do. Then, I'll go through the books and see what they're receiving. If it matches up, they're ok. If not, I'll either go ahead with the termination or fine them. Where's the bookkeeper?”

It's done by a firm.”

Call and tell them I need them here now. IF they can not, or will not get someone here, you tell them I'll be shopping for another firm on Monday. Ok?”


I need to see books in order to know what's going on.”

You know what to look for?”

Hang on, let me show you what I can do. It's a natural gift, so know it's something I'm not in school for.”

I went into the office and said, “I need contracts hon.”

They're on the desk. I've got old accounting ledgers up until July first. Their year started then.”

Ok, what's it look like?”

That food bill is extremely expensive.”

It's stopping. They're feeding the team by delivering food to them and apparently, they're feeding anyone and everyone who wants to the add to the list.”

It's nearly ten million a year.”

Yeah, two hundred grand a week.”


It stops. I'll provide a friggin' cafeteria here for them to eat and bring their family. It's sure not going to cost that.”

Don't give them a thing. With what they make, they can afford to buy their own groceries.”

He pointed at another line and said, “I don't know what that company is, but it's getting paid just about as much.”

Jan said, “Liquor man.”

I said, “Rob, it's stopping. I was told to open our own night club for just the players and tell them either to go there and have a good time, or take a suspension when they get in trouble off premesis.”

He nodded, “We've got to get an addendum to their contract for it to happen.”

I'll either get it, or they'll be found in breach and fired. If playing means something to them, they'll sign. If not, I'll tell the press booze means more to them than the team.”

You're bringing in the press?”

Yeah, Jan's got to call them, but I want everyone to know I'm not messing around. If they want to play the team as the bad guy, I'll show the press who the bad guys are.”

Ok, walk a fine line there.”

I am.”

I saw the guy setting up a microphone down on the field. “Jan, tell him I need some tables for these contracts and the players to interview to get back on the team.”

She smiled, “I like the tactic. You get what you want and it's hard ball all the way.”

If not, it's going to be hard to get on another team in the middle of season. They might think they've got me over a barrel, but I'll shut down our season before I give an inch on this.”

Rob handed me the contracts. “Here's the books, I'll bring them. We better get down there, there's already a bunch of them in the locker room.”

Ok, we'll get started.”

We went down and when we got to the field, I said, “I'll go get them. They need to know it's going to be held out here.”

I'll sit here and have someone bring us a pitcher of pop.”

They don't have SunDrop.”

They will next year. Right now, their contract is with Coke.”

We getting a good deal from them?”

Standard. I think we could do better.”

Ok, thanks. By the way, I love you dude.”

I love you too. Do you know that's the first time we've said it to each other?”



I feel like I say it all the time to you.”

Me too. It's something our hearts don't need to verbalize.”

I went to the locker room and went in. “Guys, don't dress out. We're holding the meeting on the field.”

Everyone gave me a look and I said, “I'm Jake Martin. I bought this mess. The meeting is on the field. I'll make a sign telling everyone else who decides to show where to go.”

You're not going to get many.”

When I start shutting off loans, utilities, and all that food and booze, I bet I get your attention and theirs. When padlocks start hitting gates to estates and cars start getting repoed, I bet everyone finds a way to hoof it down here. That's when I'll tell you to get those shoes off as you're not a part of that contract any longer and ask you to crawl to where I can get security to get you out. Now, does that sound like I'm playing?”

Man, I might as well leave.”

When you do, leave that necklace. I've got a purchase order upstairs for it telling the jeweler he's getting paid for it since you didn't have the cash. Also, when you go outside, you'll see that TownCar is on a wrecker. You're three months back on the damned thing and I'm co-signer. Now, goodbye, I'll tell the press you were fired for lack of interest and plenty of bills.”

Man, I'm joking.”

I'm not! You choose to disrespect me at an airport before you even know me?! And then, you let me find out this whole place is an ode to how many bills I've got to pay to a bunch of ungrateful jerks who can't meet for a team meeting nor a practice!”

We're not getting paid for it.”

It's in your contract. IF you don't think I know your contracts, then call your lawyers because that stunt just got you all in breach. I'll fire before I give one inch.”

Another guy said, “I'm getting to the field. It sounds like he's only interested in firing people.”

You're right. I've got high school players on their way to replace you. They sure don't cost me as much and they'll sure appreciate it more.”

You can't do that!”

I can't? The loophole is big enough to shove a football team through. As long as I don't pay them, they're amateur. As long as each one of their names has a missspelling on the roster, they're non-people. Do you think I can't? You call your lawyer and he'll tell you not to fuck with me because he just got out conned.”

I went to the office and said, “Guys, for those about to leave, bring each and every thing I'm paying for back and you won't be charged with fraud or theft. IF anything is damaged and you choose to throw big screen televisions out on the parking lot, you better see I don't find a serial number to the things.”

I wrote a sign out saying the meeting is on the field. I held it up. “It's simple, but if you damage it, it's five million off your contract before I sign you back on. That goes for everyone.”

I stuck it on the door and said, “The contracts and the books are on the field. I'll be waiting for those who want to play ball.”

I went back up to the field and saw some of the press there. “Hi guys! I'm Jake Martin. That hot guy over there at the table is my partner Rob Musselman. We bought the team and I'll be playing quarterback. The reason you're being called down here is because in buying the team, I called a team meeting and practice. Out of the entire team, two players showed...Nate Clemons and Baker. All the rest were no shows and apparently thought their contracts didn't require them to show to team meetings and practices. THAT put them in breach.

I'll tell you now there are things on my accounting books which puts most of the team in breach. Am I looking for things to breach them on? Not really, but I'll not be told I'm an idiot and spoken down to by someone who I'm paying ten million a year to who thinks he can't be replaced.”

You're playing quarterback?”


Where've you played before?”

Moberly Missouri high school. Last night, I got scouted by the Redskins, Saints, and the Angels before the Angels' owner came back and tried scuttling the valuables, trophies, and awards from the offices. For that, he' facing being docked five million for each award or trophy if he doesn't return them. For that, he'll face charges and league suspension requests from me.

I paid three hundred and twenty five million for this team. I've got the money and if you think not, see who owns a good percentage in Intel, MCI Worldcom/Sprint, and who also owns a lot of other stock. You'll see I can afford it.”

What's your goal with the team?”

To turn it around and make it a winner. Right now, I've got to see if I can turn around the ship I bought, or if I've got to go back to port and build another because those guys over there are all on suspension right now.

You folks are welcome to listen to how it plays out. I'm not hiding anything and you're going to be privy to how this goes. You know how it goes when they sign a contract, but you don't know how it goes afterwards except you hear when they play. Now you're hearing how it is when a team has been used and abused by it's players.”

Give us examples.”

Ok, say you were on my team and I tell you that rather than going to the grocery store where you'd be mobbed and your wife will have the brand of Kotex she uses put out there, I'll tell you I'll buy the groceries and have them delivered. Sounds good, right?”


Ok, now it'd be good if they left it at that, but we went from a normal bill to nearly ten million a year in payouts. Now, I know what you're thinking because I am too...”who in the hell buys that much food!” I'll point at them and say they've been feeding anyone and everyone who wants to add to the list. Now, do I pay it? Or, do I tell them the gravy train is over and I'll find another way to see they are fed.”

Why feed them in the first place?”

That's what I'd like to know, but the only thing I can say is without food, that seven million a year being paid out for liquor will get them juiced quicker.”

What!” A woman asked.

Yeah, the team has been providing all the liquor they want to their houses. Ask me how dumb I think it is, and I'll tell you the bar just shut.”

No wonder they're always in trouble!”

And ma'am, that stops. I'm a member of this city now and I'll not have my employees out here terrorizing it's citizens. It's about me seeing I do no harm and make it better for everyone.”

Can you play ball?”

Hang on, I'll show you something.”

I turned, “Baker!”


Come on over.”

He came over smiling. “Bake, say hi to the press. They're about to see our new offense.”


Hi, not huh. It sounds like you're neanderthal if you go huh. I know Hi-eee sounds like someone grabbed your nuts, but that's what we gotta say.”

He smiled. I turned and said, “Folks, this is the Jake and Bake offense. He runs, and I throw. The challenge is to see if he can outrun me throwing.”

I said, “Bake, go to the other end zone and I'll throw it to you. Ok?”


I said, “Folks, he and I have never played before. He's going to be just as surprised as you. I'll be back to help you raise your jaws up off the floor.”

I ran out and into the other end zone. Bake turned and I sent him a missile. Suddenly, all the guys on the benches were quiet.

I said, “Ok, here's the next thing. Rushing. I'll do a 50 yard rush, you clock me. If it's five seconds, you're wrong. If it's less than five seconds, you gotta give me ten push ups for each tenth of a second less than that five. Ok?”

Rob said, “Go!”

I ran and at the fifty yard line, he said, “Three point nine, you slowed down.”

I'm not used to being on astroturf. It's slicker.”


I ran over to the press and said, “That's a hundred and ten pushups you guys owe me.” I smiled and said, “Yeah, I wouldn't do them either. You gotta be able to type out the story and report them.”

So you're going to be the new quarterback and Baker is going to be your lineman.”

Well, we'd be creamed if we don't get some other guys, but I don't know if they want to play or not. Let me go out and hold the meeting and I'll see what we've got. Wait around because you'll soon find yourself introduced to the new Angels and you'll be seeing a lot of faces not staying on.”

I went over and started calling names. When the guy got up there, I scanned his contract and then, scanned the accounting books. I handed him the addendum about public nuisance and asked him to sign. IF he signed, he had to go and tell me why I should keep him. IF not, he left. IF he gave me excuses which were anywhere near plausible, I kept him. IF not, he left.”

Afterwards, I asked Rob, “How far down are we?”

We've got a team but we sure can't have injuries.”

Ok, you and everyone else are in, right?”

No, I didn't count us. We've got breathing room, but you're really putting us down.”

No, Grant's on his way with more players, so you'll see we're going to be fine.”

I went over and said, “Well, that's our team. We've got some coming who are amateurs, but until I showed you what I could do, you thought I was amateurish too.”

You going to sign more people?”

I'm going to ask you to put a public call out to anyone who's interested in playing. You tell them to come to the stadium and try out. I'll hire based upon what I see.”


Yeah, but you tell them I'm really wanting to see if I can get some older players who've lost their contracts because they're skilled. It doesn't mean I won't hire people off the streets at all. Just let everyone know I'm giving everyone a chance.”

You'll have thousands of people lined up outside.”

Well, I know a bunch of guys who won't get another chance. They're down packing their things right now and my lawyer is filing paperwork with the Sheriff to take back homes, cars, and everything I can to cut my losses.”

One woman said, “I'm taking it the team made loans for them?”

Yeah. It's dumb, but smart from a banker's point of view. He knows the guy has a contract, but he also knows he's got no credit. If the team signs with him, it's to cover the cost of things if he doesn't make payments. With these guys and the owner being in debt, no payments got made and I'm the one who has to cover it. I'll pay it, but I don't like it one bit.”

So you're stuck with a bunch of castles and cars.”

And a team which is skeletal. Oh well, the Buckaneers think they'll win tomorrow and the odds makers will have us getting beat, but I'll give you a on my side.” I winked and smiled. “You'd win.”

We can't bet!”

Man, go down to the corner tap and see if you can get someone to do it...well, that's like stacking the deck against you because they've gotta be our fans, right?” I said with a big smile.

I've gotta go!” One guy said, “I know everyone is going to be against you because they hate this team.”


Yeah, it's got the lowest satisfaction rate in the league.”

Well tell them the quarterback is gay and see if you can up the odds. If they don't give you ten to one, then you're getting screwed.”

He took off and the lady chuckled, “It doesn't matter to me you're gay. You might want to not advertise it because you'll lose a bunch of fans.”

I'm out to gain fans based on my abilities. It's like me coming up and telling you that you'd be a good reporter if you weren't a woman. Well, it's based upon your abilities and not upon who you sleep with and what you wear. I tell people who I sleep with because as a woman, you can't hide it either.”

Ok, so you WANT people to know?”

Yeah, and here's why. IF I hide it, there's going to be one person out there who will want to blackmail me. I'll have to pay and that's sure not happening. BUT, you'd probably be right in me going out and having problems. There's probably a lot of guys out there who think because I'm smaller, I'm safe game to try beating up. I'll tell you now, as good as I throw a ball, I can throw anything and tag them in their forehead.”

She smiled. “Good thinking.”

Besides, when I go out, I'll probably have some big guys nearby. They'll want to be assured I stay healthy enough to play and get us to the playoffs.”

Do you think you'll make it that far?”

Yeah, don't you?”


Ma'am think of it this way. Look at the Angels as a bird. She's beautiful, she's classy, and she's been trying to fly with a bunch of dead weight strapped to it's ankles. Now I've cut it loose and she's about to really soar.”

She stood up and said, “I'm excited. I'm not into football, but you've hidden nothing. You've made us feel like we've got a front row to how it is and it's that honesty which is going to really get people to thinking you're way different.”

Thanks. Now, do me a favor. Up there is a sky box which is for the press. Please come to the games and report from a woman's perspective. Tell them what you see and what it's like. Then, go to the locker room and pat a few butts if you want. I'll tell you now some of them are gay, but a lot of them are straight.”

Which ones are straight?'

I can't tell you that. Look in the showers and if they drop the soap on purpose, you know that's not a keeper.”

She laughed, “You're hilarious.”

I try.”

I turned around and saw a guy come on the field. “Hello?”

He nodded and came over, “My wife called and told me to get down here.”

Your name?”

Rick Smith.”

Hi Rick, hang on a moment.” I turned to the woman and said, “I appreciate you being here. I need to get him back on as a manager. Excuse me.”

She smiled and nodded. I said, “Ok, Rick, let's go for a walk.”


We went up and out the front door of the stadium. I said, “Rick, do you see what we've got here?”


A three hundred million dollar homeless shelter. Do you know why?”


Because there's not a fence in sight keeping anyone out and that door is open nearly twenty four hours a day. Inside, we've got places to eat, sleep, piss, and breed. If you don't think so, take a look inside and you'll see rats big enough to carry away a football.

What I want is a fence around this place. I want a fence over there which keeps our parking separate from the fans out here. I want a wall put up which stops a bullet so a fan's not standing there taking shots at our exit.”


Out here, I want this place painted. Yeah, it's going to have to wait, but I want it looking like it's brand new and I'm NOT going to pay fifty million to get it done. If need be, I'll hire kids to do it with spray cans and I'll have kids put up fence. They'll work cheap and they'll not put up with mafia telling them not to work for me.”

We don't have a problem with mafia.”

I'd say not! I heard about that. So, what I'll tell you is I know some characters who will keep me out of that limelight with them, but I definitely want to know some of them.”


Let me tell you something. I know if someone bugs me I can go to them and things happen. I know my hands aren't dirtied and I know all it takes is me asking and them getting a nice seat in the house. Will I do it? Faster than you can get me a cheese steak sandwich from that place over there.”

Jan said you've got to talk with me about some things?”

Yeah, because I'll tell you now I'm hiring you for one reason and that's because she was going to have to get an apartment over there if she took your job. That's bullshit. So, I'll hire you back, you'll have marital harmony and you'll do that job together. What you won't do is you won't use her as a secretary because if I see you are, I'll put you out the door in a flash. She's got seniority on you now in that job and she knows how to do it. So, you get a pay cut and she gets a pay raise and together, you make the same as what you two made previously. Ok?”

Ok” He said sounding unsure.

The difference is this...I gotta come off as a hard ass in order for you to see I'll take you out before I fuck with you. If you understand that, you'll understand I'll be nice from here on out and you'll get percs out the ass and gifts I give to friends. However, if you fuck that woman on anything, I'll treat you like an in-law and her like family.”

Who's taking her spot?”

No one. She asked the same thing because she feels you don't know how to dial a phone. I'm not hiring a receptionist to be your switchboard, I'm hiring one to represent this team and do it in the best light.”

You've got to have someone up there.”

Rules are made to be broken. I figure in a glass house, shit gets broken really easily. IF you're sitting in a glass office and you see someone up there standing waiting to talk with someone, you can get up and walk out there and see what they want. IF not, I'll be in my office and just as soon as I get through going out to speak with them, I'm going to see why Rick's ass couldn't leave a chair!”

You're going to be working here?”

I'm owner. Believe it or not, that office was built for a reason. Believe it or not, when I go into that office, the losses stop. Do you think I can pay for this company with what I save a year making cuts? I already cut nearly sixty million, and I've not even got to concessions and merchandise!”

You gotta replace players.”

Yeah, I'll do it and I'll fill a team with a bunch of good players who make seven hundred and fifty grand.”

Not happening.”

Rick, listen, you see that guy over there?”


Go offer him seven hundred and fifty grand to come into this house and play ball and see if he doesn't shit his pants. He'll stink you out of the place making you see stained drawers, but he'll be in there in a flash. The ten million dollar contract, to me, is for someone who is already proven to play ball. That contract will be given to keep them. What you don't know is I'm going to have a five year lock on that man at that seven fifty and he'll think he's delirious with happiness.”


Ok, look at it. Today, I got a bus load of mansions. I got a train load of used cars. I've got that guy thinking he's making more than he's ever made in his life and I've got me knowing he's happy at the seven fifty this year and he'll think he's great next year at a million. The next year, I'll get him for a million and a half and at three the year after. On year five, I'll give him five million. Do you realize I just got him for five years at less than twelve million? Well, bucko over there is going to be happy because I'm going to have him in that mansion and I'm going to have him with six cars out front. He's going to be happy because I'm giving him that house and those cars to drive and keep if he makes it to the end of that contract.

Now, what did I put out for him?”

Whatever the cost of those houses, cars, plus twelve million.”

Wrong. I didn't put out a damned thing because if you think that man didn't make me money, you're an idiot. Bucko over there doesn't have advertising royalties, he doesn't have contractual attachments, and he's not got a publicist, agent, manager, and makeup artist all sucking his dollars away. No, he's going to have that the next contract when he goes to someone else. So, you smile and you tell Bucko over there he's great and we'll take him to the bank.”


Rick, it's a business. It's a game, but it's a business in which I'll play like a game. Today, I stacked the deck. I kept those I can use and I got rid of those who tried to use me. I got rid of the people clogging my doctors and I've gotten rid of a lot of things which just plain cost me money.

Tomorrow, we play a game. When the game is over, you're going to stand there and stagger because I'll tell you it's going to be won by us...the underdogs, and that score is going to be 42 to six. I'll show you DJ over there will have a black eye and I'll have a bruised leg, but I'll tell you now, that game won will have shown you and everyone else who doesn't think I can't tell the future they're wrong.”

Can you?”



You need to play your cards right because she's already keeping score. You fuck like a bus driver from hell. You stop before she gets off. She keeps score and she's to the point she's ready to give you the boot. Today, she was there. She wants to blame it on you, but that's because she thinks it's a failure if she give up. I'll tell you if I was with you, the second you told me to go down on that thing without that bush trimmed, I'd go down with a Bic lighter and sing “You light up my life” while you howled along. Now, if she's got a bush which bugs you, you trim it up for her. You do the face dive to glory in it because I'll tell you now, you'd do it into your girlfriend Mandy who lives over in my apartment building and as soon as I see she's not on my payroll anywhere, I'm throwing her out.”

Oh man.”

Yeah Rick, your wife loves you and you're a piece of shit. You're nuts are in the vice because I know this shit and I know Mandy with the prompting of a roll in the hay with one of my players and a boob job, she'll gladly testify against you at your divorce hearing.”

Don't say nothing.”

I haven't, but you need to realize I'm not an idiot and the reads I do on you come back to me and tell me if you've made them different or if you're up to no good. And, if you think I've got someone tailing you, you need to think about this...I read past, present, and future. I don't read thoughts, but those three. I'll tell you no one knows about you sitting up on top of that bridge when you were fourteen and why you were there. I know and I also know your dad finally found peace at the bottom of that bottle when the liver ruptured. Your mom who trucked ass out and left you, is in New Jersey working in a bar called Shep's. She's a nice woman and it haunts her to death she left her kid. She thought she was getting rid of the beatings and rape sex, but it's still haunted her to celibacy.”

Oh man.”

Your future, is with Jan if you don't fuck it up. Your future is with no one because the moment you fuck it up, you're going to get fired and you're going to drive to Shep's. Unfortunately, on the way, you're going to pass the grim reaper at the toll booth and he's going to see Jan's not in that car. He's going to send a Amoco oil truck your way and needless to say, your last thought will be what I told you about getting a lube job and going.”

So don't mess it up.”

You're an idiot. If that's all you got out of what I just told you, you're an idiot. I'm telling you that you've got a woman who loves you who is wanting to go home and bang your hairy nuts off to see if it's changed. She's been saving a negligee for a moment like this and she's wanting to rekindle. You give her the big o to the point she's climbing the walls and that woman will suck through a forest that thing you call a dick.”

Trim the bush?”

Damn dude, listen to me. If I gotta tell you more, I'll be in the fuckin bedroom. You go out and you get flavored shaving cream. You go home and you tell her it's the start of something special. You trim her and you dive. She trims you and she dives. You come up for air and you fuck. You cum and you keep fucking like your marriage depends on it because if you roll off and light that Kool, I'll be there to stuff it up your ass.”

You can do that stuff!”

If you call shoving a Kool up your ass 'doing that stuff' baby, I'll do your stuff. Jeez!”

I turned around and said, “Rick, get me a fucking fence out here. Get me a landscaper who will put in some trees in the shapes of our players numbers and footballs and you get me a banner up there which advertises Jake and Bake and yeah, you put up there it's for Angels because if we beat Saturday Night Live to the punch, they'll not put it out in front of twenty million people.”

Ok, anything else?'

In four weeks, we're coming home here to play. By then, I'll have been on Saturday Night Live. I'll have been on Leno and I'll have been on with Regis and Kathy Lee. People will think I'm hot and they'll think I'm a star. Women will love my ass, and gays will be begging me to show my chest and stomach one more time.

What I'm saying is we're coming home in four weeks. I want anyone and everyone in this city who is about something to welcome us home. I want to shake hands with these people and I want them to finally get my ass on a parade float for Thanksgiving. I'll do all that because Ben Franklin didn't put the turkey as our national bird and will be proud to represent this team.”

Man, you're more interested in playing, aren't you?”

It's all a game. I'm playing free in order to play because they told me I couldn't afford me. Now I can and you're going to see me keeping my salary at zero. It's good for publicity and it's damned shrewd to the tax man.”


Yeah, so let's go back in and while you're at it, why in the hell do we have those sorts of covers on the lights when it should be footballs? It looks like a friggin' socker ball for chrissake.”

Anything else?”

Not until Spring. Then, we'll seal the lot and do a lot more with the paint. One thing I'm going to want is some permanent structures out here which have tent tops and barbeque grills so tailgating isn't stuck out at people's vehicles.”

What's that point?”

IF people can ride the bus here, they get to be a part of the festivities out here. It brings comraderie amongst the fans and it gives us a way to play it.”

Is that all?”

No, hell no! With tables and tents out here, we can have rummage sales!” I said rolling my eyes, “ What the hell! Do you believe that?”

It sounded like a good idea.”

A good idea to slum down this neighborhood further and make all those shops over there become a thing of the past.”

You against the neighbors?”

No, they're great. Sixteen bars across the street sending us their drunk so they can empty out and get a better crowd while we're playing is great. I mean, we're out to help our neighbor and they're out to help us.”

You own those buildings.”



Then give them thirty day notice they're out of here. I'll not have some kid being subjected to that in order to come enjoy his weekend visit with his dad.”

Man, that's cynical.”

No, cynical is all the drunks knowing dad by name and slapping a brewsky in his hand while little Johnny gets to figure out why mom divorced him.”

A bunch of empty buildings aren't going to look good for the neighborhood.”

No, that it wouldn't. So, lets put our players faces on them and sell their merchandise with their favorite food in there. I could have my favorite SunDrop soda with my barbeque ribbette and Rob could have his SunDrop with his favorite moonpie s'mores.”

Huh? A moon pie is a S'mores!”

Nah, it's not hot. A moonpie s'mores is a moonpie thrown in the microwave for fifteen seconds. It gets all gooey and fresh.”

We went back in and he asked, “Ok, is there anything else you want?”

Security. You get me security in here so people see guards. I'm not talking about security like that man hiding out in the coffee room in the basement, but standing up here and asking for identification and reasons why someone is in here.”

That's a bit paranoid, don't you think?”

Hmmm, John Lennon probably would've appreciated having some security outside of his condo who were a little paranoid. Don't you think?”

Ok, I'll get security.”

One last thing and I'm doing it severely just to fuck with you, ok?”


You need to see if someone has the cologne name fagrance R.”


If you AREN'T in it, it's not in you. That's like this team. IF you aren't in it, it's not in you. You're not a member of the team unless you're working. So, be a member.”

I'm not getting it.”

DO me a favor, go get some flavored shaving cream. At least you'll make Jan's day.”

You don't want me to work today?”

Do what I asked and that's it.”

I turned and took off. I turned back around, “Where do I get golf carts?”

The basement.”

What door?”

Over on the other side.”

Ok, anyone there?”

Should be, it's the maintenance area.”


As I walked away, I was thankful I didn't have to spend too much time with the guy. I pitied Jan, but really thought Grant would like him.

I pulled out my cell phone and called Jan. “Yeah love.”

Call the maintenance people and tell them to wheel me a golf cart this direction as I'm heading there. I figure I won't have to walk far if they just drive.”

Rick done?”

Hon, I really like you. I hope you don't mind if I can't stand him.”

He's a great guy. He's probably just nervous.”

Everything has to have a reason and be micromanaged for him to realize it's already been done for him when he's told to do something.”

Let him stay on the team.”

I'll keep him there, but the second you say he goes, he's gone. If you say it in jest; don't, because he'll already be gone.”

You really don't like him?”

He's going to come up and ask you if I'm serious or if I'm strange. You just look really serious at him and say, “He called me asking if I cough up a fur ball after sex.” He'll get the point.”

You didn't!”

Yeah, I sorta did. I mean, the man is a pussy. I don't know how you like him but I swear if you'd just go the other way, you'd be happy.”

No, gay guys don't do anything for me.”

How about butch females, I mean you got a wimpy male, so it'd be a step up.”

She laughed, “Don't, you're killing me with that.”

Ok, call maintenance about the cart. I'll get off here. I've already walked about a mile down here.”

It's not that big.”

Who in the hell designs a space like this as a giant horseshoe? It's dumb.”

It's supposed to be genius architecture.”

Nah, dumb is more like it.”

She laughed and hung up. Soon, a cart came whizzing up. “Thank God, where do I get these things?”

Let me show you.” He wheeled around and took me down to their garage.

Ok, keep all these juiced up because my people are going to really be using them”

They won't fit in the elevator.”


Don't put it in the elevator. You'll get it stuck.”

Who did that?”

Someone a long time ago. It jammed the doors.”

The handicap spirals are cool, right?”


Good, I'm dying to try it out going downhill. I bet I could really get up some speed.”

The wall is hard down at the bottom and the brakes aren't that good.”

Ok, it sounds like you've done all the fun stuff, what's the best stuff to do?”

The slide ride across the girders.”

Show me.”

We gotta go up top.”

We went up on the golf cart and went through a door. Suddenly, we were out in rat land. I turned and said, “When they get rid of the rats and mice, show them that door. I know they're out here.”

Yeah, just wait until you're out on the field and some get in a fight up here. They'll knock each other off on you.”

Let's hope it's the other team.”

No way to differentiate to them. All they know is they're going to try to claw what they can in order to live.”

Man, that's cool.”

Over here is the slide ride.”

Ok, show it to me.”

It's an emergency thing to get out in the middle of the roof. IF the roof gets stuck, it lets us go out and see what's holding it.”


What's neat is it's tension is for when the roof is open. If it's shut, the tension is slack and it allows you to go to the floor.”

How fast?”

Fast fast. You won't hit the floor, but you''ll go close.”

Try it and show me.”

Ok, you sit right here and straddle this bar.”


Now, you push out and when gravity happens on the cables, you'll pick up speed.”

He went out about twenty feet and the cables went down. As he crept out, it picked up speed and the cable sagged more. Soon, he was whizzing down the cable and it was sagging more and more until it was nearly to the Astroturf of the floor.”

Man! How do you get it back up?”

Push that button by the box.”

I pushed the button and it was like the tension went up on the cable. As the cable rose, the slide cart came towards the side. When it got to me, I got on and pushed out. Soon, the cable sagged and the cart started to speed up and the cable began to sag more. It was cool because it was a controlled free fall.

When it got to the floor, I lifted my feet and got down until my butt was rubbing the Astroturf. I got off and he said, “That's the best ride in the house. No one knows about it except you and I.”

Keep people from this spot tomorrow as I'll make my entrance that way. It's cool.”

Your insurance company would eat us alive. They'd insist you weld that door shut in order to keep people from doing it.”

Oh, well, tell the rat people about those rats up there when they come.”

Ok, I'll tell you it's best to use a pellet gun. It beats baits because you know they're dead when they fall. With baits, they get sick and fall...and you don't know when that's going to be.”

Well, we want it to be sooner than later. Not tomorrow soon, but within the next three weeks.”

I'd go with a lot more bait than normal since it's going to be empty in here.”

Thanks. Let's go get another golf cart from here so I know the shortcut to get there.”

It's over there.”

He pointed to a corner and I said, “Lead the way.”

We went to the corner and he showed me a doorway. We went through it and down some steps. It lead us right to the door for the carts.”

Man, that's a whole lot faster.”

Here, use that plug in and plug it in when you park it. I have a feeling you'll want one at your office.”

And at the door I come in over there.”

You should park over here. It's right out to the street and is always empty.”

I need to get a car for here, but show me where to enter.”

We went out and I saw the entrance in between two evergreens. I said, “Man, this is way good. I'll be parking here.”

Those steps gets you right to the parking garage for carts and then you're good to run wherever.”

I appreciate the pointer. Now, do I get a key from you for that door, or someone else.”

It's never locked.”

Ok, just don't have it locked the day I come in that way.”

He smiled, “It'll be open.”

We went in and I got on another cart. “Thanks.”

He waved and I took off. When I got up to the main floor, I went over to merchandising. I parked and saw Dan. “Hey Dan.”

Hey kiddo, you got rats.”

Yup, they're on the schedule to be evicted.” He threw out something into the middle and I said, “What's that?”

Rat damaged. Some are small holes, others are bigger holes, but it's all damaged.”

Ok, we total it up and take it off the sale price.”

Yeah, but some of this stuff is four years old. It's not moving.”

Write it all off and let's get it out of here.”

I'm glad you think like me. It's the best decision you could make.”

You have a moment?”


Come on, I wanna show you something.”

We went out and I got on the cart. “Where'd you get the cart?”

I'll show you. It's easy to get there once you know where.”


We went to the main entrance and I had him drive through the doors as I held them open. When we got outside, I drove around the lot and said, “You see those bars over there?”


They're shut in a month. I'm pulling their lease and closing them. I own the buildings it seems.”


Start thinking about individual players merchandise and make stores exclusively to them. I want this whole area out there to be a fan mecca for the Angels.”

Nice idea.”

We're changing this out here. There's going to be fencing put up so people just can't roam over here and there's going to be a pass key identification system for us. I want us to slide the key through to enter, otherwise, the doors will be locked except on game day.”

You sound concerned.”

Come on, I'll show you how easy it is to access this building.”

We went around the end to employee parking.

Remember this?”


Employee parking. This is where your favorite football star goes in and this is where the lunatics can blow you away.”

It needs to change.”

Oh, don't stop there because it gets better.”

We went around the sidewalk and into the maintenance parking.

This is maintenance parking. We can park here because it's the fast trip to the golf carts. Through that door and you'll be in the golf cart garage.”


Feel free to park here because that door is open twenty four – seven.”


Yeah, even if we locked the doors, they'd keep this open. You tell me if I want to kill me, how I'm going to come in.”

You need to get them on the pass key thing too.”

Yeah, but get this because it gets weird. With a pass key, all you have to have is a pass key to slide through the slider and the door opens. Yeah, it stops ninety five percent of the people, but the five percent who want to kill me are going to know if they use a manilla envelope and a copy machine, they can get a pass key of their own and not have to worry.”

Ok, so up the security.”

Yeah, that's already been ordered. I'm telling you that area out there needs to have a gate. It needs to discourage people from parking out here who don't belong. The same goes for employee parking. And same goes for the regular parking lot when it's not game day.”

You sound irked.”

Yup, I'm planning on camping out on the fifty yard line tonight. I'm planning on doing it with a few of my friends. How do you think I'm going to handle it when I see about two hundred homeless people coming in and sleeping with us.”

Are you against the homeless?”

No, I just don't like it when they could mess up my security.”

Ok, so create something for them.”


Each one of those buildings over there has a second and third floor. Create dorms for them to stay. Make them a little place they can call their own. Give that to them and you'll have true blessings.”

You gotta help.”

I will.”

They can't interfere with the customers downstairs.”

Make the front door to the upstairs be the emergency escape. Put up a back entrance and use that. One thing you COULD do would be to hire them as your security. Give them a job, a sense of purpose, and get them to protecting the places and you'd have a good situation.”

Ok, we've gotta work on it.”

You're going to have Halloween here within a week. Then, it's Thanksgiving and Christmas. Any plans for decorating?”

I'd love to, but I don't know what they've got here.”

Let's go in and ask the maintenance people. They should know.”

I parked and we went in. I saw the guy I spoke with earlier and said, “Hey, I need to know if they've got anything for Christmas decorations?”

Some, but not many. They decorate the entrance and that's it.”

Ok, could you show us what they've got?”

It's in this room over here.”

He took us to the room and opened it. He snapped on the light and Dan said, “Ok, is this it?”


Dan turned to me and said, “It's not much, but it's a starting point. You need to concentrate on this.”


I want you to be a destination for the holidays. I want everyone to think of Christmas and instantly have your city say to other people they don't know Christmas until they've seen your stadium.”

Ok, Where do we go with it?”

Homeless people. I'm sure we'll find some who were in the construction trades. We can get them to building gingerbread houses, toy soldiers, huge packages with lights all over them, and of course Santa on the roof. BUT, I want your whole building being lit up like a giant present with an Angel coming out in lights. It's like it's a present which opens itself and give itself to the fans.”


It's not hard to do. What it takes is a lot of rolls of mylar. I can get that, but we need to have the mylar stitched and grommeted so it can be held together with ropes. We can suspend it from up top and then run the ropes down and make each strip of mylar be fastend to the one next to it. If you do that all the way around, you've got a giant package.”

Make it gold with a white ribbon...that's the team colors”

He smiled. “Ok, gold with white ribbon. You'll want the Angel to be in white lights.”

I'm not following on the Angel part.”

Ok, it's really the easiest part of all.”

Ok, tell me what it is.”

You know those giant balloons they have in the parade?”


One of those. Rather than have gas fill it, you've got a bunch of fans down below which all turn on at once and blow the thing up. One moment it's not there and the next, you've got an Angel hatching out of the package with mylar fluttering up into the air on fans and making it look like its really coming through.”


Now, to get the lights, you put the Angel inside out and you stitch fasteners inside so the strings of lights will go in there. You put the lights in and it's lit.”

Ok, that sounds neat.”

As you know, there are tons of ways we could have the Angel. We could have it with wings spread, standing tall, with it's face lit, or however.”

Hang on, I want to ask something different.”


This is going to be way out there, but I'm seeing it and you need to bear with me because I know what I want, it's just me describing it.”

I can wait.”

I want a huge blow up football. One the side, I want an Angel in lights. I want it to look like the wings are flapping and it's going for a dive. Then, I want it to say, AKRON ANGELS.”


I want those letters to spell out in a fast sequence so it's looking like it's being typed on a typewriter. Maybe we could do it in quarter second intervals for each letter. It'd take less than five seconds to light up the whole thing, but it'd all be on timers so the Angel goes flap flap, flap flap, flap flap, flap flap, dive.. that's five seconds. Then it's dark and it spells everything out in five seconds and holds for one. So, in twelve seconds you've got all that happening and it happening five times a minute. The traffic on the interstate can see it and no one's eye is distracted for too long.”

How big of a football?”

As big as the dome. I want it as tall as the building. I don't want it to be structural, or solid, but I want it to be able to be undone and folded up like a tent. I want it to be packed away and not take up a bunch of space. BUT, I don't want a windstorm to take it down and blow it over that interstate. That'd be terrible.”

Let me see what I can do. I know I can't get it for this year, but we can for next year.”

Can you get the ball done in the bronze brown?”

Sure. So, you want gold mylar with white ribbon and a bronze football.”


That's no problem. I'm going to have to see what we can do about those lights. They've got fibreoptics, but I heard CocaCola paid a million for a sign with them.”

IF we gotta, we gotta. At least it's a way of us decorating the building.”

You don't have a problem with that?”

No, not at all. Don't cover up fire escapes, and we'll be fine. Just help me get a winter wonderland with trees out there with lights, and a village and lit packages. It'll look good.”

How about other sorts of lit signs like old cars, trucks, or whatever.”

How lit?”

How lit do you want it?”

I'd like to have a truck with it looking like it's all lights with the wheels looking like they're going around. I'd also like a train with cars full of toys, and maybe a jack in the box, and a teddy bear.”

He smiled, “Ok, we'll do those.”

Lots of fake snow. Cover the ground in blankets of the stuff. Put underlights so it glistens.”

Ummm, Jake, I hate to tell you, but this really isn't my specialty.”

Oh, ok, we'll have to get someone.”

I'll help, but I think you're doing great. How'd your meeting go?”

Ok, not well, but well.”

What's that mean?”

IF I don't have us playing and don't get some other players, we're really going to be praying for no injuries.”

DJ already has permission.”

I hope you say that after tomorrow.”


He'll have a real shiner.”

Is he going to be hurt bad?”

No, just that, but the good news is we'll win.”

What's the score going to be?”

Forty two to six.”

Man, I gotta call that in and bet like hell.”

Put a hundred grand on it for me.”

You can't.”

Hey, if you do it under your name, that's cool.”

Let's see what the odds are.”

It's going to be terrible. I bet you they have us being beat way worse than that.”

Let me see your phone.”

Here. Just remember a hundred grand for me.”

He called and spoke to someone. He said, “Eighteen to one odds against the Angels. Ok, could I put a bet on that?” He paused and said, “That's a whole helluva lot.”

I nodded and then, he said, “Ok I want to bet a hundred and ten thousand on the Angels. Yeah, I'm good for it.”

He said, “Hand me your Mastercard.”


Your card. They want your card.”

If I do that, I'm out of the fucking league!”

He's a player. He doesn't want to use his card. He'll be out of the league if you find it worth your while to report him instead of pay him.”

He said, “They're getting approval.”

Would they need approval to take my money if I lost?”



Someone came on and apparently they weren't good. He handed me the phone and I said, “Ok, this is Jake Martin. I'm underage, I own the Angels, and I'm the quarterback. I'm betting on the game and if you're going to put me out of the league on this, I'll bet a million.”

Where'dya get the money kid?”

I own stock. You wanna piss test too?”

Kid, ya gotta smart mouf.”

Well, if you were taking my money, you'd sure not have to check to see if it was good. I guess you don't like me having confidence in my team.”

I heard you got stupid and fired the team.”

No, I got smart and cut all the dead weight. I left those who want to play and just enough to keep us on the field. Yeah, we're the under dogs, but do you have any stats for me down there?”

No, that's why the odds are so against you.”

I can throw three twenty easily, run a fifty in three point six as of this afternoon, and rush more than you'd ever want to know betting against me.”

Kid, I'll take your bet and bet the same beside ya. I like your confidence and I like your ability to scare the piss out of me with that sort of money. If you lose, you gonna pay?”

If I lose, I'll promise you I'll pay before I jump off my building. Does that tell you how strong I feel about this?”

Ok, would you like to up the odds?”


Ok, get me some specifics.”

Let me think, the score will be forty two to winning of course. I'll have a sore leg, DJ Carter will have a black eye. I'll have thrown for more yards than I've ever thrown so far, so that's over a thousand. And I'll have rushed for seventy eight yards. DJ will have a touch down and Chris will have a touch down and Rob will have a touch down. Baker will have two touch downs.”

Anything else?”

You want more?!”

He laughed, “I'm writing this down to get odds against it all. Right now, I see the odds at over five hundred to one all that will be.”

Cool, I can pay off the team. When you gonna pay me?”

Two weeks. It'll take two weeks.”

How are you going to pay me?”

Bank draft from Vegas.”

They'll barbeque me!”

You paying off your team with it?”

Yeah, some of it. They'll owe me a lot of money if I win that much.”

So will a bunch of people.”

Well, what do you have for odds we'll make it to the playoffs?”


Playoffs. We'll make it to the playoffs, but we won't win.”

What place?”

I'm seeing a big three. Can you come in third?”


Well, we'll come in third.”

Any other predictions?”

Nah, I'd win too much money and you'd never take a bet from me again.”

Now how am I gonna get money from you if you lose?”

I'll fly it to Las Vegas. You're out there, right?”


Ok, I'll fly it out there. When I get there, I'll call you. We'll meet and have coffee. Then, I'll come back here and jump off my roof.”

He laughed, “Kid, you're a little wop trapped in a kid's body.”

Yeah, it keeps trying to get out. I gotta teach my dick to tie my shoe laces it drags so low.”

He laughed and said, “Ok, I'm taking this bet because I know you're a kid and you can afford it. How do you know Dan the Man?”

We're friends. He's a real sweetheart.”

Yeah, you tell me another.”

Do you wanna speak with him again?”

Nah, but call me if you win. I'll be glad to speak with ya.”

What if I lose?”

If you lose, we'll speak, but I'll never bet beside you again.”

I laughed, “Ok, you just wanted to win some.”

He chuckled, “Bya kid.”

I hung up and said, “Nice guy.”

Jimmy the Greek.”

I thought he was Italian.”

He laughed, “Yeah, he's Greek.”

He sounds Italian.”

When you see him, you tell him he's Greek. He'll laugh.”

Why is it everyone doesn't think you're nice?”

I'm not nice.”

Yeah, tell me another.”

We went out into the hall and he said, “I'm taking a buggy up front. I need it for that throw out stuff.”

Save that stuff back because Chris is probably going to take it home.”


I'll meet you up there.”

I went out and drove around. It was hard opening the doors and getting the cart through, but I made it. From there, the drive to merchandising was easy. I pulled up and went in.

Dan came in and said, “What ya staring at?”

I'm seeing gold slatted walls with a white ceiling and bronze brown up around the ceiling and down here under the counter. That back wall is white and it's more like cork because it's got jerseys with pins stuck in them to hold them up.”


Out here, we've got things hanging from the ceilings which look like cut off jerseys. The bottom part with the numbers show, but it's jersey material.”

OK, that sounds neat.”

Back there, we've got the jerseys in tubes. They're rolled up and put in clear plastic tubes. There's bins with lots of tubes in them and they're in numerical order. Our punt guy's number is first and then mine.”

Sounds neat, easy, and a good way to do it fast.”

Yeah, you're going to have a problem with the ball caps. They keep falling over. We'll finally have a metal rack which makes it easer.”

What sort of rack?”

Long. Let me draw it for you.”

I drew it and said, “It's simple in plan, but that's the easiest way to store a bunch of them without them falling over.”

He nodded and I said, “Dont go for those visor things.”

Why not?”

Ink bleed. Something about them has the ink fading and bleeding off. People will sweat and the ink will be gone before they've even left the building.”

Ok, those are out.”

Those Angel lighters you showed me are going to be incredible sellers. Get about eight times as many as you planned on ordering.”


Also, get Jared's number 78 and make a jersey for him on there. On the back put a photo of him on them. We'll make a park from the proceeds and have a moment in each game where it's like the seventh inning stretch which is Jared's moment....otherwise to become known as Jared's john rush.”

He laughed, “Ok, when's that going to be?”

Between third and fourth quarters.”

They're not going to let that be legal.”

You'll be amazed at how we'll pull it off. Grant will call a time out and burn one. The lights will go down and Jared's image will go up on those screens. We'll have his video play silently and we'll burn out the time out for Jared.”

He smiled, “That'd do it.”

Every game we'll do it even if the game is close.”

You loved him?”

More than you know.”

Why'd you end up with the Musselman kid?”

I leaned in and said, “He came back in him.”


Robbie was going to kill himself. Jared came and the souls traded places. Now it's Jared's soul in Rob and he's Rob now instead of Robbie to me. Ask DJ and anyone who knew Jared and they'll tell you it's Jared.”


Everything's the same.”

Man, he loved you enough to come back?”

Yeah, that's why I gave him half the team. If it had been Robbie, there'd be no way.”

I'm glad you explained it to me. I would've been wondering the rest of my life.”

Someone would've told you.”

I paused and said, “What's up with concessions?”

I went in, looked around, turned around, and walked out. I'll deal with it when those people are out of there.”


Don't eat anything from there. I can smell mouse piss something awful in there.”

We gotta shut it down!”

Let 'em have it tomorrow, but after that, it's gotta be washed out with fire hoses.”

Ok, why aren't you shutting them down?”

Have you ever seen the volume of food they cook?”


Thousands of pounds of quarter pound hot dogs. Thousands of pounds of hamburgers. Boxes and boxes of bags of chips. Hot pretzels by the rack fulls.”


Yeah, and someplace in all this, they're going to be cooking up nearly five hundred pounds of popcorn.”


Yeah, it's the cheapest stuff they sell and they box that stuff in a conveyor line up there.”

I'll have to see it when it's all good.”

You should have those boxes changed. They've got boxes which are a circus motif. You sell enough to have your team on there and a team photo.”


It's all memorabilia. Some kid can take that box home and cut out that photo. It can go on his wall and serve as a reminder when he got to see you play.”

Or DJ play.”

He smiled, “You know, I'm really proud of you. In one game, you're getting all of you kids in a game.”

Aaron's not playing.”

Find a way of getting him out on the field in some aspect.”

Let me see. He could be a water boy or something.”

Ok, what I want is all of you kids and us old farts out there for a photograph before the game starts.”

Ok, we'll do that.”

My cell phone rang. “Hello?”

Where are you at?”

Merchandising with Dan.”

I'll be right there. DO you know who's here to sing the national anthem tomorrow?”

No, should I know?”

OH man, get down here.”


Have you ever heard of 'The Boys'?”

The gay boy band?”

Yeah! They're here.”


Out on the field right now practicing.”

I'm on my way.”

I hung up and said, “Dan, gotta go, hot gay singers on the field.”

I took off and he said, “What am I, chopped liver?”

Nah, straight meat. This is stuff I can see.”

I went out and saw Rob. I went to him and put my arm around him. “Hey babe.”

Hey yourself. I've been up tearing up the files and you've been out spending money I hear.”

Yeah, you'll love it.”

HE smiled, “I missed you.”

Me too. WE gotta catch up.”

He looked at the stage they had set up and said, “Do you think they'd take a picture with us?”


I want to have it up in our office.”

Are we paying them?”

I think so.”

Well, we'll see if we can get a picture.”

Chris came over and said, “Guys, I don't see what's so hot about them.”

They're gay and open about it. No one cares and even straight guys like them because they know their girl is going to think they're so cool because they like them.”

So I won't be thought of as gay if I play the cd in my car?”

No, just mix it up with some Barry Manilow and Elton John. You'll be ok.”

He smiled at me, “Buddy, I'll be killed.”

Nah, you'll be in touch with your self....probably in more ways than one.”

She likes them. Look at her over there!”

I'm looking at you over here looking at her over there.”

She's sweet.”

Sweet, the way you're drooling, I'd say it was more than that.”

We need to talk sometime.”


I put my hand on Rob's arm, “I'm going to go talk with Chris. Tell Kit he and I are talking.”

Sure babe.”

We walked off and he turned to me, “Jake, I'm going to say it, but you need to shut me off if I get too mushy.”


First of all, she's hot. Not hot in a way which would make my mom cringe, but hot in a smart kind of way. My mom's going to love her.”


We talk and we connect on levels which has me interested in what she's thinking on a lot of levels. I hate to say it, but I find myself thinking about what she thinks before I mention something. It's not about looking at her boobs, and it's not about looking at her beauty, but it's about looking at the way she looks at me when she talks and how deeply she feels about things. Then, when she asks me something, I know she really wants to hear what I've got to say and what I think about something.”

Ok, that's cool.”

Cool! It's amazing. I just told you I don't look at her boobs when she talks man!”

Ok, so you might be going gay. Do you find you like lace more?”


Well, if lace comes up and the color purple, we've got to talk. It could be a Prince fetish, but most likely it's a Donny Osmond flashback and you really need to just quit the chicks.”

Man, I'm falling for her deep. I mean, I'm wondering how I could've been so stupid for so long and now, I say that, I know you're thinking I'm just dumb.”

Chris, it's called growing up. You're finally realizing you're more than a breeder and she's more than breedable. You're finding you could talk with her and fall more and more for her than you even imagined.”


Here's what you need to do. You need to start holding hands when you talk. Softly caress and let her know this is more than a friendship and it's more than a relationship in which you're going to be gone when you graduate. Let her know you want time with her not in moments, but in years and decades. Let her know you want to see her smile when you're young, but when you two are old too. Let her know you'll hold your babies and let her know you'll be there to love her with all of that and more.”


Ok, maybe I put the cart in front of the horse.”

Jake, I've already felt all that. I don't know how she feels. It's scaring me because she might not like me.”

She likes you. Girls don't say it in the same way. You're expecting her to just say she feels the same way. It doesn't happen like that.”


Yeah, guys fall for a girl faster. A girl falls, but it's like different.”

Ok, tell me how.”

Ok, a guy falls like wood. He gets it, it's up there, he realizes it's because it's over a girl and she's still there because she knows he has it. SO, he's like, 'OH, she must like me so I'll fall in love with her!'”


Well, that's because the blood is flowing from your big head to your little head. You think it therefore it's real. It could be but the girl is different. Here's how she thinks.”

Ok, wiseass, tell me how it is for a girl.”

A girl is different. She sees your wood and it's like one second, she's a butterfly and she lands on it. “Oh, I believe I just caressed your knob!” so she flutters off and then, she comes back and she's like a cat. She purrs and she's over there rubbing against it and then, she disappears. Then, when she realizes you're still around, she comes over and she looks like a lovely little bird and you think, 'Oh, what a lovely little bird.' You stay quiet and she's sitting there and then, wham. Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, you find out she's a woodpecker and she's pounding the hell out of it.”

Throughout all of this I was talking with my hands and when I did the woodpecker, I frogged the hell out of him repeatedly.

You son of a bitch!”

Now, don't lose your wood because here she comes now.”

You're going to get it.”

Then you're gay and you need to let her know.”

Bullshit. That wasn't funny.”

I thought it was.”

What were you guys talking about?”

The mighty power of the woodpecker and the amazing totem pole.”

Rob smiled and Chris rolled his eyes. “Don't believe him, he's got wood on the brain because he's seeing those guys out there.”

Oh really? Which one do you like Jake?” Kit asked with all sincerity.

The one the blond is singing to is the one I notice. He looks like Rob, but not as cute.”

Rob smiled, “Nice save!”

I thought so.” I turned to Kit, “So tell me, would you consider yourself to be a butterfly, tiger, or woodpecker?”

She thought for a moment and said, “I'm not sure. There are times when I think I identify with the Tiger and the butterfly. Which do you think your personality reflects Chris?”

I smiled and asked, “Well?”

It depends, you're right. The butterfly some days and the tiger some also. When I'm on the field, it's the woodpecker.”


I went over to Rob and said, “Let's go for a ride in our buggy.”

Chris asked, “Where do you get them?”

You see that door over there?”

No, where?”

Over in the corner there is a door. You go through it and down the steps. You go out that door and you're at the maintenance room. Inside are the carts.”

Cool! Do you want to get one Kit?”


They went and Rob said, “They'll take a photo with us if there can be two.”


They've already heard about you.”


Word's going around Vegas you're a hot ticket.”

Word is going around Vegas we're going to be slaughtered.”


Yeah, the odds against us are staggering.”

Like what?”

Eighteen to one.”


Yeah, it gets way better than that real fast if you want more on the game.'

Like what?”

Do you want to know what I did, so I can just go ahead and be told I shouldn't?”


I bet a million on the game.”


I bet a million. The odds are such that I figured it'd be way cool. But the way it went was I told them what I predict and they put it all into odds.”

Like what?”

You, Chris, and DJ get touchdowns. The score is 42-6. DJ gets a black eye and I get a bruised leg. I throw for more yards than ever and I rush for something paltry like seventy eight.”

They took odds on all that?”

Yeah, it's like five hundred to one!”

Jake! Do you realize that that would be?”

Yeah, it'd be the team paid off.”

It's illegal!”

Yeah, but what are they going to do, arrest me? First of all, I'm underage. Second of all, I'm a player. Third, I'm an owner, and yeah, I'm right.”

You could lose the team!”

I won't. If I do, I'll give it to you and walk away.”

I don't want the team. I want you.”

You've got me and you've got half the team, so don't worry.”

I can't believe you'd gamble.”

If I lose, I lose a million. If I win, I pay for the team. What's the problem?”

A million is more than some people see their whole lives.”

Yeah, and if I win, it's more than what I could've paid in six years, so let's hope I'm right.”

He shook his head, “I know you're right. I can sense it.”

Well, be happy for me.”

Don't do it again. That just had me feeling really weird.”

I know, but it was like they were challenging me.”

You could be taken away. Don't you realize it?”



Oh, well, this is it then. I don't want to lose you.”

Ok, but you should think of these things.”

I was thinking about paying off the team.”

I know, but...”

Rob, don't ride me on it. I admitted I was wrong and that's that. That's the second time you've rode me on something today. I love you, but I'm not going to constantly be sorry for something I mess up. I'll admit I'm wrong, I'll try harder and that's that.”

Ok, I see you're upset.”

Not now, let's just not do that to each other.”

Ok, what did you do today?”

Went outside and took Rick there. I found out I like Jan but can't stand Rick. I came back in and told Jan I like her, but can't stand Rick and then, I found out where the buggies are and went to merchandising.

There, I found Dan and we went outside. I showed him all of our buildings and told him what I want with them. We got stuck on housing the homeless and Christmas decorating and then did security. We got him a buggie, went back to merchandising and then, you called.”

Did you go to food services?”

No, and don't eat there until it's fixed.”

Why not?”

Dan says he smells mouse piss there. He says it's bad and I know it's bad.”

Did you see those rats?”

Yeah, did you see me slide down that slide?”

No, what slide?”

Oh, come on, I'll show you.”

We began to walk and as we walked I told him about the Christmas decorations. He was interested the more I talked.

When we got to the little door, I opened it and went through. He came through and said, “Oh man, this is too scary.”

You see that little thing right there?”


Well, it's a slide. They use it to unstick the dome if it gets stuck opening.”

SO you slide on it?”

Watch this. It's cool.”

I don't like it up here.”

Ok, then meet me down at the field. I'll slide down and show you how it works.”

You what?”

Yeah, it's way fun. I've already done it once.”

Please don't tell me you've risked your life doing that?”

What risk? It's easy and safe. I didn't die.”

How does it work?”

Ok, you see that box there? Well, that button reels it in. The way it goes is if the dome is shut, that line is slack. If it's open or partially open, it's taught and you can go acros that cable over to that other catwalk over there.”

That's far away.”

Yeah, but can you imagine being out in the middle with a camera shooting a photo from up here? It's like way cool.”

So, how do you go to the field?”

Let me show you. When I get down there, reel it back in and if you want, you can ride it down. If not, go through the door and ride the buggie down.”

You're really going to ride down on that thing?”

Yeah, it's fun.”

Where are you going to land?”

You see the thirty five yard line out there?”


About there.”

Ok, I'll watch you and reel it in, but I'm not riding down.”

Ok, I'll wait for you so we can get our picture.”

I took the cart thing and pulled it in. I got on and crept out. When I was out, the line began to sag and it went down. I went faster and at the field, I did the butt slide thing again. When I got off, everyone was staring at me.

I stood up and said, “He won't do it.”

I watched Rob reel it in and then go through the door. Chris came over and said, “Do you realize that's totally insane?”

No, it's safe. I've done it twice and not died.”

Don't do it again. Look how high that is if you fell.”

If I fell, it'd be over and I'd not feel a thing. I didn't fall, instead, I slid. It's cool.”

Jake, normally, I'd do things with you, but that is just too dumb.”

Kit came over and smiled, “Jake, thanks.”


He told me what you said. I want to thank you.”

No problem.”

I looked at Chris with a look of What did I say? He smiled back.

They walked off and then Rob showed up. He came out and looked up at the catwalk. “Man, it looks further away from down here!”

Yeah, but Chris just told me I'm insane.”

Was it fun?”

Yeah, now did it look unsafe?”

No, not as bad as bunge jumping.”

See, but they're all upset thinking I did something which could've killed me.”

I wouldn't do it because I'd be afraid of peeing my pants.”

Nah, we don't want that again.”

He laughed, “Stop it!”

Hey, those peed pants were the best ones you had. It put us together.”

Some guys came over and held out their hands. One guy said, “Hi, I'm Wend. This is Jordy, Niles, Bandy, and Chad. We sing.”

We all shook hands and I said, “Hi, I'm Jake and this is my better half Rob. We play football.”

Chad said, “You throw a football amazing. They showed you on television last night.”

Which throw?”

I don't know. You were playing a game and it was your highlights.”

Oh, well we won the game. Let's go over here and I'll show you some throws.”

They looked sort of not interested but Chad was. They walked with us and when I got to the ball wagon, I said, “Ok, here's the way this goes. When we come out on the field, I do hand flips end over end all the way down the field. That's to get their attention and to get to the ball wagon. Then, I throw the ball and do a hawk screech.”

I threw the ball and it went down and sailed through the uprights.

Man, that's awesome!”

One of the guys gave me a look like it wasn't anything he cared to see again.

I said, “Here, you guys throw one.”

Chad took one and threw it. It went about twenty eight yards. The guy who was looking like he wasn't interested said, “I can throw further than that! Heck, what he does isn't much either.”

You don't think so? Throw and see. He's got power in his arm which is amazing!” Chad said.

The guy hauled back and threw. It went thirty two yards.

I nodded and said, “Thirty two yards. That's ninety six feet which isn't bad. Chad's wasn't bad at eighty four feet.”

Niles said, “Man, how'd you throw so far?! I thought it'd be easy!”

I said, “Come here and I'll show you.”

I went over and got into my duffle bag. I got out the tennis racket and the baseballs. “This is my tennis racket and these are baseballs. Early last year, I was little and couldn't win on the court. I decided I had to serve aces in order to win, so I got some baseballs and went to practice.”

Bandy asked, “What are aces?”

Aces are serves which you serve one ball and it does what it's supposed to do and the other person can't return to make a volley. If you do that, it gets you a point. If you volley, it could take the advantage to your opponent.”

Oh, I don't watch tennis.”

You oughta. The guy's asses are hot when they're playing.”

I threw up a baseball and hit it. As I hit it, I did the hawk screech.

Man, look at that!”

Yeah, that's power. It's a spin and it's what got me the ability to throw that ball that fast. You see this tennis ball?”


It'll show you the spin I put on it.”

I threw it up and hit it. It sailed away and when it hit the grass, it spun to the left.”

Man, I saw that!”

That's the trick shots I used from the spins. I spin them and I can get it to go where I want except for one spot on the court. As much as I try, I can't get it there.

Just the same, as you saw, I got a spin on the ball. With a football, if you throw it with as much spin, you'll get a rifle effect where the thing spins faster and you'll get it to fly further. That's what makes it not wobble and be more accurate.”

I pulled out a marked football. “This is my new toy I've been practicing on. It'll show you the spins I put on the ball.”

I threw it and everyone said they saw the spin.

I said, “Guys, as you saw, I do tennis shots which are tricks. It's deadly accurate and it's used to intimidate my opponent. Now, watch this.”

I hauled back and let it loose. It flew to the goal post, hit it, ricocheted, and hit the other goal post and wobbled in.

That's called accuracy. It's called me making people sweat, but in order to win these games, I've got to be sure when you're at a certain spot, I'm going to get it to you even though there might be two other sets of arms reaching out for them. If you're where you're supposed to be, I'll get it to you.”

Chad said, “You're playing tomorrow, aren't you nervous?”

No, and I'll tell you why. You see this field?”


It's the same size as our field back home. It's the same size as your field at your high school and as everyone else on this planet. It looks bigger because of the color of the carpet and all these seats. They have all these seats because people want to come and watch me win.”

Yeah, it's like us when we're in concert. It's going to be loud. I can't imagine being accurate when you've got all those people around.”

You're wrong. Here's why. Do you sing the same in the shower as you do on the stage?”


It's the same for me. If I'm throwing it to my friend Chris, or if I'm throwing it in a game, it's the same throw. Out here, there's people and it's going to be loud, but I know it's the same stadium as it is today when it's quiet.”

Ok, so it's all in it's own perspective.”

Yeah, you all just saw me slide down that slide. It looks way up there, right?”


Well, Rob and I think it looks not real far when we're up there. He was amazed by how different it looks from up top than it does down to.”

Jordy said, “I understand, we built that stage of ours and it looks like it's way up there when you're looking up, but from up there, it looks like it's not so far down.”

That's a nice stage, how easy is it to move?”

Real easy. It's our stadium stage. It folds up and can move to the end real easy. They'll fold it up here in a moment and move it. You'll see it fold up and wonder how it all gets put away where it should go, but what it is is a bunch of hydraulic rams and a lot of pulleys and stuff. When it all works, it moves things really fast and a lot of things move at once. We've got to be careful and keep a close watch because something might get hung up and rack the whole thing.”

Niles said, “We need to do that picture so we can get to the hotel. We've got to be in concert over at the civic center in a little over an hour.”


Yeah, this is us performing tomorrow because we were in town. It worked out good.”

I turned to Rob. “Do you want to see about going to their concert?”

Sold out, I checked.”

Oh, well, maybe some other time.”

Chad said, “Guys, if you'll let us introduce you up on stage, we'll get you in.”

I asked, “Could you get all of our friends in too?”

Sure, they've got to sit in their own area, but that'd be fine.”

I said, “Let me call. Won't this be just too much. They'll go home to school and tell everyone they saw you guys while they were out here. They'll be like king of the school.”

Really?” Niles asked

Yeah, you're really popular. I think it's neat because everyone knows you're gay and yet, they still make you popular. It says we've come a long way.”

Well, you're opening doors for us in football by being gay and open out on the field. Not many do that while they're still playing.”

I don't know. I've not paid attention to it. I just sort of figured there were gays everywhere.”

There are, but they don't come out about it as much.”

Rob dialed the phone and handed it to me, “Chris.”

Hey Chris, we're invited to their concert.”

Really! OH MAN!”

Hey, easy on the ear dude!” I paused and then said, “They want to introduce us up on stage and then we've got to sit in our own little section, so if you guys want to, get everyone together and we'll have to hurry so we've got our jerseys on and look good enough for all those people to be wanting to come watch us play tomorrow.”

I'll get everyone called. Ask them if they'll wear some Angels jerseys in one of their songs.”

I'll do that.”

No, now! I'm here and can get them to them real fast.”

Ok, but pick ones of which we've still got players.”

Hang on, but you ask.”

I put the phone down and said, “Chris wants me to ask if you'll wear some Angels jerseys during one of your songs.”

We'll do it to “I've got a Winner in you”

I blushed and Rob chuckled. Chad said, “You guys are laughing. Why?”

Rob laughed and said, “We were out on the field a few weeks ago playing when he came up from behind me singing that song. Now mind you I'm bent over like this and he's ready to take the ball. And he's singing, “I've got a wiener in you babe”

Everyone laughed. I blushed because it was true.

I'm sorry guys. It was funny because we're staring face to face with some really big guys and I'm singing the song gay style and those guys are chewing on their mouth pieces growling and looking fierce and I did that. It tells you how intimidated I was of them.”

You don't get intimidated by them?”

Nah, you saw me run. I'll tell you I can run almost as fast backwards. Well, come here Chad, I'll show you.”


We went to the line. I said, “Run to the fifty yard line. Tell me when.”

He yelled “Go”

We took off and I ran backwards. I could tell he was really giving it his all. I pulled away from him and go to the fifty yard line. I patted him on the back and said, “Nice effort. I know it's embarrassing.”

You're super fast.”

Let me give you a hint. If you don't focus on trying to go fast and instead focus upon getting away from the big guy behind you, it's like adrenaline kicks in and you suddenly go faster.”


Yeah, knowing how to turn it on and off is where it's at. When you're out on the field afraid of getting crushed by those guys, it happens, but knowing that when they get you down, they're most likely going to pound you in the balls, you gotta run in order to escape it.”

Wend said, “Man, they do that?!”

Yeah, they do a lot of stuff. It's not nice out there, but it's sure nice when people take notice. Well, it's like your singing. You know when you walk amongst your fans, they pull, poke, and hug you. Well, those guys do the same out there. Just think of you guys falling under a pile of your fans and you'd feel what it would be like...except some of them don't want to see you get up.”

Chad said, “Oh man, I'll start paying more closer attention to see if I can see it.”

Chris came down and handed guys jerseys. He said, “Guys, thanks. Kit absolutely loves you and I think you're cool. IT's going to be amazing to say we got to see you at school.”

DJ and Aaron came down. I asked Chris, “Are the olds going to go with us?”

Nah, Grant called and they're going to fly out to pick him up. Dan wants to get Brenda if he can.”

We can send the plane back tomorrow morning if they want?”

Grant's got some football players coming. He thinks he's going to have a mix of both teams.”


Rob said, “We need to call and get a car sent over. You might ask Jan if she can get us one.”

I should have a whole parking lot of them someplace!” I said pulling out my phone.

Wend said, “Guys, we need to get our photo taken with you so we can go.”

Oh, I'm sorry. Who's taking it?”

Our publicist is up there.”

Ok, let's get that done.”

On the walk over to center field, I called Jan. “Yeah hon?”

We need a car. Any ideas?”

Limo or other?”

Limo to take us to dinner and to their concert.”

I'll have one brought around. How soon?”

About half an hour.”

I'll have it.”

We need our jerseys so we can be introduced to their audience at the concert. Who has those?”

I'll get them. We have someone down there getting those for everyone.”

Tell them we've got a plane full of people on their way who will be playing possibly.”

Ok, I'll tell them they're on over time.”

I appreciate it.”

I hung up and said, “Ok, our jerseys are ready. They'll bring them up.”

We posed for photos and had a whole bunch of them taken. Their publicist assured us we'd have copies of them delivered.

Afterwards, they all gave us hugs and I noticed Chad gave long hugs to both Rob and I. Jordy smiled demurely, but gave us longer hugs than the other guys also.

They left and Rob said, “Our jerseys are coming!”

I smiled, “Yeah, look at that!”

We were handed our jerseys and when Rob got his, it was 78. Chris gave me a look and I looked at DJ. He saw the number and froze.

I said, “Honey, that's Jared's number.”


Ummm, it doesn't get played here.”

He looked around and I said, “Either tell them or put the jersey down.”

Chris said, “Tell them. They're all friends.”

Rob turned around and said, “Guys, I need your attention. This is a one time shot, but you gotta look when I tell you.”

DJ spoke through his teeth. “Rob, you're an asshole. Anyone who would want to play Jared's number is an...”

Rob said, “I'm him.”

He showed himself as Jared and then went back to being Rob in appearance. Aaron passed smooth out. DJ caught him, but he went pale as a sheet. Chris laughed and Kit looked startled. She asked, “How?”

I said, “Robbie wanted to commit suicide. He tried and I saved him. Later, yesterday afternoon, he showed up when Robbie and I were at my house and he did that. Robbie peed his pants, and passed out.

Jared told me he'd take care of Robbie and would dry his clothes. I had to go buy the buildings downtown, so I left. That's when they did the soul switch. Robbie's went to Heaven and Jared's found a body where he and I could be together and be in love.”

DJ said, “So Robbie is Jared?”

I said, “DJ, this is going to be confusing, but I call him Rob now. The two are separate. Robbie had his soul and was an asshole. Rob has Jared's soul and is a nice guy.”

I thought I was getting along better with him. Now I know why.”

Chris said, “I knew because Rob was saying some of the same things to me and cracking the same jokes as Jared. It really pissed me off and finally, they had to tell me. It all makes sense especially since he knows only some things Jared would know about me.”

Aaron came too. “I saw Jared.”

Yeah, he's in Rob now.”

Oh! So I didn't see a ghost then.”

No, you saw Jared's soul in Rob.”

Oh man! How do you feel Jake?”

Great, I've got him when I can have him. I feel like I'm on top of the world.”

IS that why you and Grant broke up?”

No, Grant and I broke up for a whole variety of reasons, but it wasn't over Rob.”

Rob said, “Grant is a nice guy, but when he's with Jake, he's abusive mentally to him. I didn't want to believe him, but now I've seen it.”

I quickly said, “Guys, Grant's a great guy and as long as we're not together, it seems to work better for us. Maybe it's the age thing, but I don't know. I think it was our personalities. What I do want you to know is he's probably going to have another guy when he gets here, so let's be nice to them. Ok?”

Chris nodded. “I'm fine with it. If he's not mean to you, that's great.”

Kit said, “So Robbie is gone and Rob remains.”

Rob said, “Kit, that's why I wanted to break up gently with you. I know he was using you for a cover and it bugged him. What's strange is there are some feelings still inside me from him and I know he thought of you as a dear friend.”

She nodded, “I liked him a lot too except when he was so spiteful.”

Aaron said, “Man, this is all strange. I'm happy the way it turned out, but it wasn't good.”

I went over to Aaron and said, “Well, DJ told you what he felt and it's better right?”

Yeah, and the second he goes back to being hateful, I call you and you come running.”

I'll do more than run. He just better know that's not acceptable.”

Dj smiled weakly. “I'm sorry. I was wrong. I now know how much he means to me and I'm trying to demonstrate it all the time.”

I nodded. “Good. I'm supportive.”

Rob asked, “Why does it matter that you're supportive?”

Because Aaron is a friend of mine. DJ was his lover and mistreating him. I noticed it and DJ chose to get physical with me. Not only that, but a lot of damages were done. We sorted through it and then, he started to do it again. Aaron was nearly suicidal. We intervened and DJ got way worse. Now it's better, but for them to be together until trust developes, it's got to be us watching over and protecting them both as friends.”

Rob looked up, “You guys can't do it on your own?”

We're trying, but I'm glad it's got us being checked on. It makes me feel loved by my friends.”

Ok, I didn't want your privacy walked on.”

It's not.”

I patted Rob's hand. “Thanks, I'm glad you're checking up on me too. I realize you're not caught up on everything, but it's going to be where you will be soon.”

He smiled, “I'm sorry for making you feel like I'm butting in.”

No, you're quite fine. I like it you're getting involved.”

He nodded, “Ok, let's get this show on the road. We've got jerseys and a plan for the evening. Where are we going to eat?”

Everyone looked at each other and I said, “I've wanted some of their cheese steak sandwiches they're famous for. They're also famous for deep dish pizza.”

Aaron said, “I'd like the sandwiches.”

Rob said, “Let's take a vote. We can eat one tonight and the other tomorrow if you'd like. Who's for cheese steak sandwiches tonight?”

Everyone voted for the cheese steak sandwiches, so we went to the employee entrance and found the limo waiting. We got in and asked the driver to take us to the best cheese steak sandwich place in the city. He took us to a little restaurant and dropped us off.

We went in and found it wall to wall with people. We gave our orders and Rob paid with an Angels' credit card. The person at the counter noticed and instantly gave it back. He smiled and said, “If you're from the Angels' your money is no good here.” He turned around and yelled, “Angels order up!”

I looked around and instantly saw people staring. He asked, “You guys being scouted?”

Rob said, “No, he and I are owners and we're all players.”

Oh really!”

He turned and got on the pa system. “Akron Angels fans, give your players a round of applause.”

I instantly heard a thunderous round of applause.

What are your names guys?”

Rob said, “Rob Musselman. I'm center. He's Jake Martin, our quarterback. This is DJ Carter, our back. Chris Powers, a back. And Aaron Rogers, he's our field coordinator.”

Aaron looked surprised and I leaned over to Chris. “What's a field coordinator?”

I dunno. Sounds important...probably a dressed up name for something.”

It sure made Aaron happy.”

I said, “I'm gonna go around and shake hands. Let me know when it's ready.”

I went around and started introducing myself. When people found out we had a new quarterback, everyone was instantly saying it was about time. I got clear to the back of the place when I heard, “Jake, your order's ready.”

I laughed, “Now they tell me!”

Everyone patted my back on the way forward and what was even more funny was a number of women were suddenly showing cleavage even with their boyfriends close by.

At the front, I got my sandwich, drink, and chips. The sandwich was huge! I was expecting a sub like Subway. Instead, it was longer, way thicker, and with gobs of steak, cheese, vegetables and goodness.

We ate all crowded around a standing table. There weren't any booths, but as people exited, they all patted us on the backs and wished us luck tomorrow.

When we were finished eating, I went over to the guy at the cash register and gave him a tip. “Thanks, it was the best I've eaten.”



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.