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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 Nineteen:

Back in the limo, we went to the civic center's entrance. Inside, we gave them our name and got led off a side hallway where we were taken up under the stage. We were shown an area to be seated and sat.

While we waited, numerous people all came over and shook our hands. Chris instantly perked up when someone got introduced to us and my reaction was generated by his response. When the guy had left, I turned to Chris, “Who was that?”

Running back for the team we're playing tomorrow.”

Oh, you should've introduced him as that. We could've gotten him on a good team!”

He's right over there!”

Ok, I'll be back.”

I went over, “Hey.”

Hi. You their new quarterback?”

Yeah, as well as co-owner.”

Really? Man, you're young!”

Yeah, but I couldn't help but wondering if you're interested in playing for us.”

That's not how you do it.”

What do you mean?”

You gotta have your guy contact my manager and make him an offer.”

Ok, I guess you're not interested.”

IT's not that, it's that I can't talk with you about it this way.”

That's dumb. I heard people saddled themselves with all those needless people who take their money, but I didn't actually believe it.”

You don't have a manager?”

Team manager? Yeah, personal manager? No. And, I don't have a publicist, hair or make up stylist, or nail person.”

Was that a dig fella?”

No, it's telling you if you sign a long term contract, you don't need a lot of needless people. You make more money for you instead of everyone else.”

We have to try making money. You obviously don't have to worry about it, but I do.”

Well, I would if I had to pay everyone's salary, so I guess half a football team on my back doesn't count. Just the same, if I didn't have the team, I'd still negotiate because I'd want to be sure one of those people I trusted got me a good deal.”

What do you make?”

Not a damned thing. If I made, it'd be twenty five million a year for fifteen years. I'd get that much in endorsements over a long term contract, so I'd be money ahead.”

What do you pay your backs?”

Probably at least what you make. I couldn't tell you because Rob's the person who knows that. He's the other owner.”

How'd you get your money?”

Ever heard of Intel?”

Is that over in England...some private eye thing?”

Nah, it's making computer chips for everything from computers to your refrigerator.”


Ever heard of MCI-Worldcom/Sprint?”


I own ten percent of the company.”

Man, you a rich kid?”

No, my parents died. My grandma invested the insurance money and now, I'm loaded.”

Ok, so you decided to buy a team and play football.”

Nah, I decided to go outside and throw a football around with Chris. He showed me how to throw it and I got to be good. Then, he showed me how to play tennis and I got to be good. By chance, he threw a football at me one day and I threw it back. The coach found out and as they say, the rest is history. Until then, I never even knew how to play the game. That was about three months ago.

Now, I'm a quarterback and they say I'm good. Scouts came and as luck would have it, I asked how much a team cost. My boyfriend's dad is a lawyer and he found us a team.”

You're gay?”


Man, don't let that out in the sport. They'll target you for sure.”


No one's gay in sports. It's all about the power.”

Ok, so I've got the power and I'm gay. You telling me a team will walk off the field rather than play me? OR, will they not be able to handle being beaten by a team with several gays on it?”



You have several gays on your team?”

Yeah, my boyfriend, DJ over there, his boyfriend next to him, and possibly one more who hasn't told me.”


You know we're all around, why not admit it?”

What sort of long term contract are you talking about?”

Hang on a second.” I turned and yelled, “Rob!” I went back to talking, “He'll be over in a moment. He knows those things.”

Rob came over, “Yes dear.”

How long of contracts are we giving for his position?”

How long does he want?”

He said, “My contract is up next February. Get me an eight year six million a year contract and we'll talk.”

Rob nodded. “Ok, what else?”


Benefits. We got houses, we got cars, and we got our fabulous city here.”

I've got what I want. Well, I guess if I move, I'll have to sell my house, but that's no big thing.”

I turned to Rob. “Let's throw in a house and get him one of those store fronts to sell his merchandise.”


Rob said, “Tell him.”

Out in front of our stadium is a bunch of buildings. Most of them are bars right now, but we're going to be moving those bars out. Instead, we'll have a building for our players each...or sometimes with a couple of our guys in it which sells your merchandise. Our goal is to have a whole plaza devoted to the team, it's players, and a good family outing when they come to the game.”

What's the catch?”

The catch is your store front is ours. The second floor is a dorm for homeless and you agree to allow homeless to be employed in your store as sales help, and as security.”

Ok! That sounds good.”

Other than that, we help you market yourself and get you endorsements. You don't pay a management fee and you don't pay rent. The only thing we ask is you be available to sign autographs at the games and not to bitch about anything when you're making a boxcar full of money.”

You can't stand that either, huh?”

Absolutely not. It's dumb when someone complains while nineteen people wait to take his job. It just makes no sense when his fans are watching every word he says and they're hearing negative stuff about him, the team, and whatever company he's out there advertising.”

SO, you're telling me to give my people the boot and sign on with you guys?”

Yeah, it's that simple. Give us a call when you're free and we'll pick you up.”

You promise?”

Rob reached over and shook his hand. “That's my handshake. I was told once by someone if my handshake is no good, neither is my word, and my signature. Since then, I've kept my word to people and it's good as gold.”

Are you guys going to need to know I'm gay?”

No, keep it a secret!” I said smiling. “We'll make lucky guesses.”

He laughed, “No, some companies won't let us advertise for them.”

Yeah, and the way it goes is if a company won't advertise using you, they're sure not going to advertise with...say Chris over there because he's straight. We're a team and we stand behind each don't drop the soap in the shower!”

He laughed, “That's funny!”

On our team, you're going to be a member of a family. You need to know going out, partying, and getting drunk isn't going to cut it for us. We'll have you sign a waiver of liability and a promise pact which states you won't go out and cause problems. IF you do, that was the last time because you're off the team. However, we have our own nightclub which will be up and running by the time you arrive. It'll keep our guys away from idiot and keep them from turning into them.”

He nodded. “That'd save a lot of problems.”

We like to think proactively rather than reactive. It's preventative to problems.”

Rob said, “One other thing, throughout the year, we're going to have lots of events where charities are the focus. One thing you'll find is we'll hold it on our plaza and not just one charity will hold center stage. We want to make kids the focus instead of charities. You'll be asked if you want to volunteer, but you're not required to attend.”

He nodded, “I like that. Can we suggest a charity, so it's involved?”


Good, that'd be nice.”

I shook his hand, “Well, it's been a pleasure.”

As soon as I shook his hand, alarm bells went through me. I handed him my phone. “Call your mom!”


Call her. Whatever you do, tell her not to answer the door tonight and tell her to stay in her bedroom. Someone's going to try breaking in.”

Rob said, “Call her, he's not wrong about these things.”

He took my phone and dialed. “Mom? Yeah, I'm calling because I just got told by someone to tell you whatever you do, don't answer the door tonight and to stay in your bedroom. He says someone's going to try to break in. I'm calling to tell you, but I'm calling Jerome and telling him to get over there.” He spoke briefly and then said, “I'm calling Jerome.”

He hung up and asked, “Can I use it to call my brother?”


He called and got his brother over there. When he hung up, he said, “Our neighborhood isn't so hot.”

Why don't you think about asking her to move to our apartment building. It's guarded and nice. Our apartment is in it.”

I'll do that.”

Rob said, “IT's thrown in. Don't worry about it.”

He smiled, “You know, I don't know how you did it, but if that's true, you sure helped.”

Tell your brother to call you back on this number. That way, you'll know she's safe.”

Ok, can I use your phone again?”

He used the phone and I turned to Rob. “We need to get our players phones. You might send him one also.”

You'd think they'd have them?”

A lot of people don't realize the usefulness of them.”

He hung up and said, “I'll stick close so the phone call won't disturb you guys.”

Don't worry. I'd rather know she's safe. My grandma was killed by people who invaded our home.”

Oh man!”

Rob said, “Hon, let's go back over there.”

Ok” I turned to the guy and said, “It was nice meeting you. When we're seated, I'll be sure to slip you my phone so when the call comes, you've got it.”

Before the concert started, we were taken to a small area off to the side of the stage. We were told we'd be ushered up on stage when we would be introduced.

The concert began with a huge blast of fireworks. It was impressive and then, the singing and dancing began. Each number was a huge production of stage changes and costume changes.

When the time came, the stage got dim and we were ushered up. Wend came out and said, “I'd like to sing a song. It's about winning and it's about your Akron Angels. <Huge Cheers---some boos> Tonight, we've got some of your new Angels here. Over here, we've got Jake Martin and Rob Musselman. They're your new team owners, quarterback, center, and they also happen to be lovers. <HUGE CHEERS>.

Over here, we've got DJ Carter and Aaron Rogers. They're also lovers. <Huge Cheers> And over here, we've got Chris Powers and Kit Blackston.


Everyone gave a huge roar of applause and cheering.

Wend said, “Guys, we've got a Tampa Bay guy here tonight who was thoughtful enough to accept our invitation. Let's give it up for Brad Jennings!”

A lot of applause came out and a whole lot of boos. I said, “Wend, can I see the mic?”


Hi guys, My name is Jake. I'm your quarterback and leading half of the Jake and Bake offense. Earlier tonight, we met 'the Boys' <Huge Cheers> and one thing you need to know is they're absolutely the nicest bunch of guys outside of our team. As a token of appreciation, they were given jerseys and made honorary Angels.

Now, because I know this will get cheers, I'd like to have you wait because I want to do something which will show you where are hearts are.” I paused and went across the stage. “Brad Jennings and us met earlier. He's a great guy and I'd like to extend the invitation for him to be an honorary Angel. <Lots of Laughter> I can only assume the laughter is because he's misguided and thinks Tampa is his home. Let him know his heart is in Akron and that's where his home should be. Brad, Welcome to Akron!”

Everyone gave a huge cheer and 'the Boys' all came out in their jerseys. The place exploded in cheers when they started singing.

Rob came over and said, “Brad, we're sorry if that embarrassed you.”

No, I feel good.” He said smiling.

Rob turned and said, “Babe, let's dance.”


We started dancing up on the edge of th stage and when the song was over, Chad came over, he spoke into his microphone. “Guys, I'd like to mention something. In all of our travels, we introduce a lot of celebrities, sports celebrities, and personalities. Occasionally, we have a situation where it's a bit uncomfortable like tonight where someone gets booed. Never have we had someone ask for the microphone and make it so the crowd cheers the person. I appreciate it. I appreciate the warmth, honesty, caring, and I appreciate you guys being yourselves in front of your fans.”

Everyone gave huge roaring cheers as we went back to our seat.

About three more songs and my phone buzzed/vibrated. I hit talk and handed it to Brad. He spoke and a huge smile went on his face. He gave a thumbs up and spoke a bit more. When he hung up, he said, “They tried and my brother was there. Thanks guys!”

Rob patted my leg and said, “Great. I'm glad that worked out.”

When the concert ended, we were taken back stage and introduced to a lot of people. Some were local dignitaries and a lot were contest winners from local radio stations. We felt fortunate because a lot of radio personalities requested interviews. I made appointments and agreed to have interviews tomorrow morning so they were pre-taped. Rob told them we had a booth to do those things and asked thm to be our guests at the stadium in the press box. A lot of people instantly accepted and a few were really blown away because the opportunity hadn't ever been extended to them.

On the way out of the VIP section, we were each given a set of CD's and five t-shirts of 'the Boys'. We were also each given a packet of the photos which were taken. I looked over at Rob and he nodded. He went over to their publicist and spoke. Before long, he was back over and we were ready to leave.

Back inside the limo, I said, “Chris, now you guys can go back to school and be really popular.”

Yeah! Look, they're autographed!” He held up the t-shirts and said, “Man, they got our sizes down too!”

I asked Rob, “What'd she say?”

She isn't giving up the gig, but she said someone whom taught her all she knows about the job is recently available. I've got her name, number, and salary.”


Way affordable.”

How much?”

Half a million a year.”

Giver her twice that and a place to live to get her. She'll make us that much money with goodwill.”

I was thinking along the same lines.”

We held hands and sank back into the seat. Soon, we were at the stadium.

Back at the stadium, we went in and then went out onto the field. My cell phone rang and I answered it. “Hello?”

Oh, I must have the wrong number. I was calling for my brother.”


Yeah. This is Jerome Jennings. I wanted to tell him he's loved and mom said she wishes him a good day tomorrow.”

Where are you guys located?”

Outside Mobile, Alabama.”

Would you guys like to watch him play tomorrow?”

Well yeah, but there's never enough money for that.”

How about I send you down a plane so you can come up?”

Not tonight.”

Ok, in the morning. It can fly you up and then, you can see him play.”

That'd be wonderful!”

And Jerome?”


I'm glad your mom's fine.”

Me too. I don't know how that happened, but the police said the guy was intent on killing someone. He kept saying he was going to hold her for ransom and when it got paid, he was going to kill her.”

Oh man!”

Yeah, so you tell him I'm sure glad he called.”

No problem. I'll give you a call so you can expect when the plane will arrive.”

About what time, do you know?”

In the morning early. I want him to know you guys are up here before the game.”

He'll not like it.”

Why not?”

He'll say we spent too much money.”

Nah, just tell him I flew you up. He needs to know he's got friends now who are going to treat him like family and his family like family.”

Good, he'll like that.”

I said, “Well, I'll call you in the morning.”


No! Thank you for being his family. He's a great guy.”

I hung up and said, “Rob, one second, I got to call the pilots.”

I called the pilots and told them we needed them to fly to Mobile in the morning. Afterwards, I hung up to find Grant standing there.

Hey! I see you made it!”

That plane is wonderful!”

It's nice, isn't it?”

Yeah, can I have a hug?”


I went over and hugged him. When I pulled back, I asked, “Are you ok?””

Sure, just a little melancholy.”

Over what?”

Seeing the stadium and realizing hopes and dreams lost.”

Lost?! Grant Oberling, look at your life and you see if you've got anything to be sad about. You're coaching this team and it's a position which is made for you. No, you're not quarterbacking it, but you're a sure sight closer to the dream than you were.”

You're not understanding.”

Ok, let's go for a walk and you tell me.”

We went out the front and he said, “Jake, do you realize why I threw everything into football?”


Because your dad left me. I can't say it any plainer than that. He left and I threw my all into playing. I was good, so it helped, but I wanted to have it take me just as far away from him and the memories as it could take me. Then, when he died, it set about dominoes falling which made me have to get out of the sport.

Now, you're in my life and together, we made it so I'm closer to my dream and I've got you and I've got love. No, it's not how I wanted, but it's going to be good.”

What about that kid? Did he come?”

No, but I did get some Spartans here.”

Why no one from Hannibal?”

Their coach. He said I was a child molester, so he called all his players families and told them not to come.”

Hang on.”

I pulled out my phone and called Dan. “Dan?”


Where ya at?”

Up above you about four stories.”

I need you to make a phone call. Do what you can to get something done with Hannibal's coach. He just denied his players the experience of playing for our team because he said Grant is a child molester.”

Ummm, I'll make a call, but you really ought to call Superintendant Wilson and ask her to make a formal complaint to their school's administration. Then, you need to file a defamation of character suit on the man yourself...not Grant, but you. That'd use your weight and your clout.”

Ok, thanks for the advice. I'm calling New Orleans.”

Hold up a moment! I didn't say I wouldn't.”

It doesn't matter. You're failing to realize one thing. If the man disappears, there's nothing to sue. IF the least he has done to him is broken arms, legs, and a jaw, then ...hold up....forget it...I'll can the man my own way.”

What's on your mind?”

Tomorrow, the national media is going to be here to interview me. I'll kindly say as owner of the Angels, we offered more high school players the opportunities to play, but their child molesting coach stopped them from playing. IF the man wants to lay the word out, he better be able to take it.”

If you do that, they'll want to know who it is.”

I'll tell them it doesn't matter, but the players and the coach know and when they find out the offer to play was real, they're going to be sick. I'll get off here now.”

You still want him hurt?”

Yeah, right after he sees what I just did to him on national television.”

I rung off and Grant stood there smiling, “You're terrible!”

Hey, I'll come out swinging for you. Now, what are we working with and how are we going to be?”

It's going to be a damned tough game. Had I had all of the Spartan team here, and had I had all the Angels, we'd be great.”

You've got all of the Angels here...all that's left.”

Don't get your knickers in a knot, I think you could've left me some good people.”

Man, I'll start our team meeting off by apologizing for your words and tell everyone we're not good!”

You know what I mean.”

Be thankful for what you got. It sure as hell beats nothing.”

Ok, why are we out here yelling at each other?”

You see those buildings over there?”


I own them. You see that tall white skyscraper there?”


That's my mansion.”


It's called 'the Mansion' because the dumb owner tore the mansion down to build that and didn't check to see if he could do it in the first place. He couldn't, so it's his mansion. I got it, so now you know the story.”

IS it nice?”

Don't know, I've not made it that far yet.”

What are you going to do with a bunch of honky tonks?”

They're getting thirty days notice on their lease and being told to get gone. When they're gone, we're taking the fixtures and moving them to Moberly for that speakeasy. Then, we're gutting those places out and making individual stores for merchandising us players.”

That's a good idea.”

All along that sidewalk over there is going to be black wrought iron fencing. We're going to have gates down there and when we're not playing, this place is shut. Up here, we're going to have tent things which are for people who tailgate. We'll have barbeque grills up here and it'll be nice.

Over there, the fencing goes along the sidewalk. IF you notice, fans can get to the employee entrance. I don't like that, so it's changing.

Behind us, those trees and bushes are all getting pruned. I want them to look like footballs, Angels, us player's numbers, and a player throwing a ball.”

That's a nice idea.”

Next spring, this place gets painted.”

It's brick!”

Yeah, and it looks like hell. So, we'll update the look and go with some paint. It'll look good.”


Grant, think about this...what would you do with a player who was so-so?”

Train him and hope for the best.”

Well, this stadium is so-so. So, I'm going to paint it to look like the best. I figure it's brick is the wrong color, but I'll paint the brick to look like brick of a different color and throw in come accent colors so it looks way more modern than what it is.”

It'll cost a lot.”

It'll be a lot less than the cost of rebuilding this place.”

What do you think of the place overall?”

It's a dump. Whoever said it was worth three hundred million didn't ask me what I'd pay.”

OK, why do you think that?”

The giant horseshoe pattern of it sucks. They should've just spent the extra money and made it a big donut. It would've been easier to get around the place.”

How much to finish making it what you want?”

I don't know.”

Anything else wrong?”

Yeah, throw out cheese crumbles. If a football is eating cheese, don't pick it up because it's a rat.”

That bad?”

Let's go up to the office. From my office, you'll see the rafters and see them real close up there. We were on the phone earlier and Rob pointed up. I looked and there sat several rats on the rafters.”


Yeah, so pray no one has one fall on them and if they fall, hope it falls on the Tampa team and they don't sue.”

You're terrible.”

Here's another thing. However tempted you are, don't eat the food here. Dan said he went into the kitchen and it smelled like rat piss in there.”

You can't feed people that food.”

Tomorrow, it gets shut down after the game. Until then, I gotta hope no one dies.”

That's gross.”

Well, I'm not throwing out tons of hot dogs and other stuff. Who knows, it might be nutritious!”

Ok, let's switch the subject. I feel ill.”

Ok, what do you know about Brad Jennings from Tampa?”

Good player.”

OK, is he worth six million?”

Yeah, it's probably a million more than what he's making now, why?”

His contract comes up in February and I'm getting him.”

How do you know?”

We saw him at a concert tonight and talked with him.”

You didn't speak to his manager?”


That's not how you do it!”

I know, that's what he said. Just the same, I told him to get rid of all his people and sign with us. He said he would.”

What else is he going to require?”

He needs a cell phone and he needs us to get him a house.”

You pay him a million more than he makes a year and you're giving him a house?”

Yeah, we got a bunch of them. If you saw what those other player's contracts look like, you'd be amazed.”

Like what?”

Ok, it's what's NOT in the contract which is amazing. Let's say I give you a twenty five million dollar contract. Now, you've got a manager, publicist, etc...etc...etc...which all want ten percent down. Ok, so you're already at seventeen and a half before taxes. Taxes take a little over a third, so wham, you got another six million off that. Now, you're at eleven...sounds like a lot, right?”

Yeah, but no.”

Right. You gotta divide that over the five years which means perfect playing for five years. If you get accidentally disabled, or whatever, you're not playing and only drawing maybe thirty grand a year. Some contracts don't even give you that!

Well, what this company does is we'll go sign you up for that fifteen million dollar house you just had to have. We'll also sign you up for that sixty thousand dollar Mercedes, and heck, we'll also get you that Lincoln which runs forty seven. Now, you're making a lot of payments out of that two million a year, but you still should make it, right?”

Yeah, but no.”

Right, so, what we do is we co-sign those loans. That means if you're a low down no count bum who can't or won't make your bills, I'm going to pay for your house, your cars, and even in this case, your food. The only thing I'm not paying for is your toilet paper.

So, you're playing and you're not paying bills and you're living the life of a big star and wham, I come on the scene. That would be fine HAD you came to your meeting and practice. You didn't, so I'm suspending you because it IS in your contract to be excuses, rain, shine, snow, or whatever.”

You suspended them?”

I fired them. These fuckers had nerve to tell me I wasn't paying them, so they weren't showing!”

Oh man!”

Yeah, so I suspended them for not showing out at the airport when they were told and then, I fired them for not showing to the meeting. I'm repossessing the houses, cars, necklaces off their necks, phones, credit cards, and whatever.”

Oh man.”

Yeah, so the odds makers out in Vegas hear this. They find out and suddenly the odds are like eighteen to one we're going to lose.

I'm willing to drop a hundred grand, but then I find out if you get specific, they up the odds. Well, I tell them a lot of stuff I see and they give me odds of five hundred to one, so I drop a million on the game.”

You didn't!”

Yeah, I did!”

Jake, you'll get us thrown out of the league!”

Grant, first of all, you gotta get caught. Second of all, that bookie took a bet like that from a teenager. Third, he bet beside me the same exact thing.”

You're going to get yourself killed.”

Nope, I trust him.”

Jake, let me tell you something. They're good about taking your money, but they're not real good about paying you that much.”

IF we win 42-6 and I throw for more yards than ever and rush for seventy eight yards, and if....IF....DJ, Chris, and Rob all get touchdowns, and IF DJ gets a black eye and I get a bruised leg, then I get half a billion dollars and the team's paid for.”

And every fed in the nation is all over you.”

Nah, he's reputable.”

How do you know?”

Dan bets with him.”

Oh man! I can't believe this!”

Grant, don't have a cow man! We're going to win! I saw it all!”

You're not supposed to bet on that stuff!”

Yeah, but I told Rob and we apologized for that, but that's what I did.”

What happens if you lose?”

I take a million and go out to Vegas. Jimmy the Greek and I meet and I pay him. That's that. He said he'll bet beside me, but he's never gonna bet beside me again if I lose this one.”

I don't blame him. You'll probably both be dead!”

Nah, they only kill you if you don't pay. I'll pay.”

He looked at me and shook his head. “Jake, you've done a lot of things which are way out there but this one tops the cake.”

What's it to you? It's my money and if I win, the team's paid off. If I lose, then what? I'm out a million bucks? Hey, I'm fronting loans on houses and paying the things off so the way I see it, I'll break even on this mess.”

You're half a billion in debt!”

The team cost three hundred and twenty five million. All those houses put me up another hundred million and then, take a look around you, all this I want done is going to cost a lot. Furthermore, players don't come cheap and I gotta go buy some someplace.”

You gotta hobble through until next year. You had your quota for this year.”

Ok, I'll make it. Just stand by me and manage this without getting too many of us hurt.”

You think it's all so easy. Do you realize you'll probably lose two in the game tomorrow?”

Nah, just DJ with that awesome shiner he's gonna get.”

And probably massive brain trauma he's not going to report.”

Grant, I love ya, but you gotta have some faith.”

Any other good news you gotta tell me?”

Yeah, I forgot to count the cost of those jets into things. That's another hundred million.”

Jake, are you going to slow down?”

Yeah, unless another team comes up for sale.”

You can only have one.”

Yeah, and Chris can have one and you can have one and look at your little investment group. They can have some and soon, we'll just be playing amongst ourselves and everyone's making money.”

It's not that simple. You can't do that.”

Probably not. They'd want me to play on their team and run bets for them and I told Rob I wouldn't do it anymore.”

Thank God for small favors!”

Dude, did you hear about that new medicine called Prozac?”


It makes you not have panic problems.”

I didn't have them until you came into my life!”

So, it's a rather sudden thing. You need to see a doctor.”

He looked at me and just busted out laughing. He looked around and said, “This has all been a joke. You flew in my dad and someplace, he's around here laughing his butt off, right?”

No, but I wish you'd brought him. I really missed him yesterday.”

I know you did. It really bothered you.”

Yeah, but I'll tell you what, Grant, from now on, that's not happening. If it does, I'll send a jet out there and have them come here. We can eat breakfast and I can do my interviews and whatever.”

How many of them have you had?”

Local media today. There were about eight of them here. There was a real nice woman and then a bunch of others. Tomorrow, I've got a lot of national media and local television media. Papers gotta be in there somewhere, but so far, it's went real well.”

You sharing credit with the team?”

Yeah, I'm trying to give them the tri-tone spiel.

First, I've gotta be an owner and second, I've gotta be a quarterback, and then, I've gotta pass it along to the other team members. It's been great because Rob's been there for the first part and I've thrown the ball and ran for them and then, Chris and DJ and Nick and Bake were all there.

I introduced Bake and we got the Jake and Bake offense thing started. I even cracked the joke about Angel flavored, so it'd not seem like Saturday Night Live was coming up with it.”

I'm surprised you're going about that good.”

Rob and I had a talk. He explained to me about being able to laugh at myself and play things off as a joke. I'll do it because it gets us a lot of free press.”

He's right.'

So, I'll be their clown up to a point and I'll be their little sexy boy up to a point and I'll do what I gotta to get them on our side.”

What's up with the sexy boy thing?”

They wanted us with our shirts off. Chris took his off and had his wife beater on and Rob lifted his, but I took mine off as did a slow strip while doing it. Then, I turned around and gave them a butt shot in my jeans.”

Ok, so they're going to try doing something with you as a hunk.”

Probably. IF it sells tickets, great. If not, then I sure hope it sells merchandise.”

You gotta get yourself a poster up there with your shirt off. Tomorrow, it might be a bit cool for you to show yourself with your shirt off.”

How and when?”

Ok, when you first come out. Normally, you do the flips down the field. How about you do that with your shirt off and have your pads off to the side.”


Then, have Rob help you put your pads on. Have him do it slow and sensual with adoring looks into your eyes.”


I'm a child molester who was out after you. IF you're showing the world you and he are a couple, it gets me off the hook.”

Ok, I'll do that. You just remember I do you all sorts of favors and you treat me like shit.”

Jake, I've got all my deeds coming into Mike's office tomorrow. That Chevy dealer is yours.”

Ok, how do I go about changing the name?”


I want an Angel Chevrolet. I'd really like one out here, but if I've got it there, then I can order our cars from there just as well as here.”

Ok, it's yours, but it sort of messes Jack out of it.”

Jack didn't care. He hasn't cared. He's great about it and if you'd asked him, he's been fine with me owning it since we made the deal in front of him.”

You sure?”

Yeah. Do you wanna ask him?”

No, we'll talk sometime. I just don't want his feelings hurt.”

Jacks about to get the biggest endorsement and best sales for most any Chevy just wait.”

I noticed Rob is wearing Jared's numbers.”

Yeah, DJ about had a cow, but now he believes.”

What's with this 'had a cow' phrase you're using?”

The Simpsons” It's a show on t.v.”

I think I've heard of it.”

The kid is way cool. I wish I could skateboard like him.”

Well, don't be killing yourself until the beginning of next season. Right now, we don't have a back up for you.”

What caused you to strike out with him?”

I'm not sure. I got there and it was like his parents were scared of their shadows. Yeah, I know he was nearly killed, but they side up with the guy who probably ordered that and seem to not really want to give me a listen.”

Well, send Sap and Jimmy Johnson over. They'll have him pimped and fucked over before you can blink.”

You still gotta make statements on them.”

They know where I am. I'll make a statement when I'm back there. Until then, I gotta get this team whipped up into shape.”

Let's go back in. I wanna get the guys acclimated to the stadium.”

Can I do it and you not think I'm trying to kill them?”

Doing what?”

There's a ride which is real cool. It's scary, but once you've been up there, you realize this place isn't all that big. It looks big, but it's an illusion.”

It's big.”

Come on, I'll show you and then we'll show them.”


We went up to the little door. When we went through, he said, “Oh man! This is too high.”

Look down there. It's not that far.”

It's got to be seventy feet.”

Maybe, but watch this.”

What's that thing.”

It's a little cart. See, when I get on, it'll take me down there.”

What's it for?”

When the dome opens, it might get stuck. The maintenance guy goes out on this and sees where it got stuck. He rides this thing out there. When the dome is open, the slack is tight, so it stays up near the ceiling. When it's shut, those cables go slack and you can ride it down to the AstroTurf.”

You're going to ride that thing?”

Yeah, watch. Now, you see that button up on that box there?”


Push it when I get down there and it'll pull it back up. Then you can get on. All you do is creep out and as the slack makes it go lower, it picks up speed...soon, gravity takes effect and you slide down.”

I don't like this.”

It's cool.”

I crept out and then it went down. I went down and got to the turf. I got off and he pushed the button. Several of the Spartan guys came over and asked what it was. I told them and they all wanted to try it but remarked about how high it was.

Grant got on it and the guys said, 'Look at coach! He's actually doing it!”

Grant slid down and the whole time, his eyes looked like saucers. He had a death hold onto the handle and when he got to the turf, he got off. I said, “Now look up there and see how far it looks.”

He looked up and I said, “Looks a lot further up than it does down, don't it?”

Oh man, it does!”

See, it's an optical illusion. From down here, it makes you look like a daredevil but from up there, it doesn't look far at all.”

He clapped his hands and said, “Guys, come on with me, we're going to do this.”

He turned and smiled. “Thanks. It's going to get them over how big this place seems.”

No problem.”

They all went up and Chris came over. “You know you're an idiot, right?”

Yeah, but if it has them thinking they can do anything, it'll have them knowing this field isn't any bigger than the one at home and this building is just a fancy covering for that field at home.”

You're right, but that thing up there is just scary.”

The first time is but after that, it's nothing but fun.”

Just pray one of those rats don't decide to ride along.”

You gonna try?”


Ok, but you don't know what you're missing.”

I know what I'd be missing if I didn't get to to be with her the rest of my life.”

You will. Just play your cards right.”

You know your advice is messed up but it works.”

The look on your face if I asked her what she was, was priceless. Then, when she asked you, I know you were screaming inside you don't do wood!”

I was, but then I saw the symbolism in it and it made she and I closer.”

She handling things good?”

Yeah, her parents and she have talked. I think Grant offering to have them ride out was good.”

It's nothing but a big overnight field trip. If they don't understand that, then they'll never get rid of her.”

I'm going to get her a pre-engagement ring.”

Good. Do you need a loan?”

No, I'll get it.”

Does it have to be a diamond?”

No, I don't think so.”

Let me give you a ring from grandma. She'd love you having it and knowing you were that serious about a girl.”

You think?”

Yeah, she loved you like a grandson, so I know she'd approve.”

You don't have to do this if you don't want.”

I want to do it. I love you dude.”

I love you too.”

He looked at me and said, “Jake, do you realize that's the first time I think we've said that to each other?”

Yeah, but I mean it. You're like my brother and your parents are like mine and you know grandma loved you like one of hers, so that's cool.”

You're not going to get weird on me now, are you?”

No, if it wasn't Rob, I know who'd it be, but he's got someone.”


You didn't see all the eyes and attention he was giving me tonight?”


That Chad.”


Yeah, but that's cool. I sorta really dig him in a way. He's got someone and I got Rob, so that's fine, but we'd rip some sheets off if we didn't have them.”

Don't tell me that stuff.”

Now, you know you'd do it if you had the chance.”

With that guy? No dude, that's your territory.”

I didn't mean that. I meant with Kit.”

No, it might get that way, but I actually think about making slow love with her.”

Oh man, save that stuff for like when you're eighty. Do the woodpecker thing on her and let her know she's been made love to.”

Not happening. You do the woodpecker thing on Rob and let him know you did it.”

I smiled, “Not tonight. We'll be out on the fifty yard line.”

Jake, you really think we can win?”

I know we'll win. You'll get a touchdown as will Rob and Bake.”


The score is going to be 42 to 6. I'll have thrown for more yards than ever and I'll have rushed for something like 78 yards. DJ over there will have a helluva shiner and I'll have a sore bruised leg.”


Yeah, I bet a million on the game today and when I win, it'll pay for the team.”

You didn't!”

Yeah, I did!”

Dude, you're crazy! That's illegal as hell, haven't you heard of Pete Rose?”

Pete Rose didn't bet on football! Damn, you're dumb!”

You can't bet on a game you're playing in.”

You can't play on a team you bet against. He bet against his team. I'm betting we'll win.”

Who'd you bet with?”

A guy named Jimmy the Greek out in Vegas.”


Yeah, he's a big time bookie or something.”

Damn dude, if you lose, they're going to kill you!”

I'm NOT going to lose. You keep forgetting that part. How are they going to win with that low of score?”

Dude, I hope you're right.”

I know I'm right. Now step out of the way because one's coming down.”

We stepped back and the sled came in. The guy hopped off and got up. He looked up and said, “Man, that was intense!”

But don't it look a lot further up than it does down?”


Well think of this and you'll understand it. This field is the same size as the one back home. The only thing different is this big building over it. If you realize this building seems big, but it's not really that big, then we'll win tomorrow.”

You're right!”

Yeah, so now the only thing you gotta get used to is this AstroTurf.”

What about it?”

No cleats and it's slicker than real grass. BUT, you remember this game you play tomorrow because when we play the state finals, you'll have the advantage of having played on it where most of the other teams haven't.”

He smiled, “Oh man, you're making it seem like we're really going to state!”

We are! So, just realize when you play tomorrow, you're playing against pros. The only difference between them and the plowboys back home is the fancier paychecks they make. That's it. They hit just as hard and they run just as fast, so just realize you're now in the pros.”

I am, aren't I!”

Yeah!” I said slapping his shoulder. “And guess what?”


Tomorrow, we're going to beat Tampa Bay's ass!”

You think so?”

They got one good player and they think just because they're playing high school kids they can slip in their lesser players than normal. What you'll notice is they'll see us get the first touchdown and realize we're seriously good. By then, we'll have the momentum.”

Oh man!”

Yeah, now you want to know something you can psyche them fuckers with?”


You tell them while they're up here, their old lady is down there in the sun fucking her bodyguard thinking of ways to take that ten million dollar mansion. He'll be so twisted in his head, he won't have a way of getting it out. He sure can't tell you your old lady has a body guard and thinking about tricking you out of your mansion yet.”

He smiled real big. “Oh man!”

Yeah, then when you get to the third quarter. You lift your shirt and show him bandaids on your nipples. Then you tell him the jersey does that when it's cold but Tampa probably wouldn't do that to them.”

What's that do?”

It gets his head thinking about every ache and pain in his bones. He starts thinking it's due to it being colder up here and suddenly, he's moving slower. By then, it's the third quarter and of course he's moving slower, so he'll think that's why.”

You're right!”

Yeah, but towards the last five minutes of the game, you tell the dumb ass you bet his bodyguard has his old lady's nipples that sore about now and he'll go offsides trying to hit you. We'll get a penalty and it'll totally mess up anything they've got.”

He laughed, “Oh man, I'm going to so get into that guy's head.”

Yeah, but just be careful because if you're up against a guy named Brad, don't show him your nipples and tell him that stuff.”

Why not?”

He's gay. He doesn't have a girl in Tampa and the bodyguard sure isn't fucking her and he sure don't have a mansion there. It's in Mobile and it's called his mama's house.”

What do you have for him?”

He's the best player they've got. I've already got him agreeing to sign for next season. Do you think he's going to try sacking me when I'm going to give him a million more than what he's making now?”

You're sly.”

Chris said, “Man, you're so full of shit, it's terrible. You told him that?”

Yeah! It worked, so sue me!”

You actually did that. I can't believe you!”

It's true though. Next season, he's coming over to us.”

Cool. I like the guy.”

He's nice, isn't he?”

Yeah. If all of the pros are like him, it's not like I imagined it. He's just like an older brother.”

True, and with the exception of having some really big bills, and incomes barely making those bills, that's all they are is older versions of us.”

Another guy came down the line. He let out a scream as he built up speed and by the time he got to the turf, he had his eyes shut and really was letting his voice dump out his toe nails. He stopped and got off. He fell down on his knees and said, “Oh God! Oh God!, That was scary!”

Guy, it's not so bad!”

Not bad! Man, I'm afraid of heights!”

Oh, well, don't look up there then because...”

He passed smooth out. Chris and I caught him and I said, “Man, Chris, how do we explain this. Each time that guy thinks about looking up there, he's going to pass out.”

We carried/drug him over and lay him down. Those of us down there chuckled and Chris said, “I can't understand them getting all that into debt.”

It's all about thinking they've got to live the life. They think they've got to have the fancy house with the fancy car and all the fancy things.

Heck, you see what I bought back home and to me, that's fancy enough. It's plenty big enough and it sure didn't cost a million.”

No, and it's right down the street from Kit.”

Yeah, and it's an amazing house. Just remember that when you guys get to making the fancy money and you'll be fine.”

The guy said, “Will I make that much money?”

Yeah, if you stay. If not, then you won't. Tomorrow's game is probably going to make you more than what your dad makes in a year.”


Yeah, where's he work?”


In the shop?”


Ok, so you'll make about what he makes in three years.”


I said, “Chris, each guy's making thirty five grand tomorrow. Right?”

That's what Rob said.”

Oh man!”

Yeah, so think about it fella. We've got forty games in a season. You're making that and it's not taxed.

You want a Lincoln, it'll take you two games to make that much. If you want a fancy house in Moberly, it'll take six games. BUT, if you want a fancy ten million dollar house, it'll take you two years to make that much.

To me, it'd make sense to buy that fancy house in Moberly and a Lincoln and put all the rest in the bank. Right?”

Oh man! I could have it so I wouldn't have to work in a factory.”

Guy, play with us and I'll get you a scholarship to college if you don't stay with us until you retire. You'll be whatever you want to be.”

He got a far away look in his eyes and said, “I could be a Dentist.”

Yeah, Chris thought about being a Dentist when he was in the sixth grade. Then he stopped wanting to drill and fill in their mouths and went to their tits.”

Chris smiled, “You're terrible!”

The guy smirked, “That was funny.”

Don't lay your tool on a girl's tits when you're a Dentist. It might drill a milk well or something.”

He laughed and Chris said, “Jake, shut that shit up! He'll tell Kit and I'll have to be in the dog house.”


He's Kit's cousin!”

Oh, so you're going to be Chris' cousin in law, huh?”


Yeah, Chris is over here talking about pre-engagements and all that. How do you think her mom and dad are going to take to him?”

They'll like him.”

I hope so, he really likes her. He's actually talking about slow sex and the last time I heard his talk about that was when he got his dick too sore from jacking.”

He laughed and Chris said, “Jake dammit!”

I didn't mention anything about you making a mountain out of a mole hill, now did I?”

I turned to Kit's cousin and held out my hand. “What's your name Kit's cousin?”


Hi Matt, just hang with me. I'll get you the goods on your cousin in law. By the time I'm done, you'll really know all the details.”

Chris gave me the evil eye.

Hang on Matt, Chris just gave me the evil eye. That means his feelings are hurt. Do you want to know what you do when his feelings are hurt?”


I went over to Chris and licked my finger. I stuck it in his ear and said, “He hates that, but it sure gets the evil eye off you.”

I took off running and Chris chased me. I ran back and said, “See!”

Kit came over and I said, “Hi Kit, you didn't tell me we had our favorite little cousin on the team?”

She smiled, “Let me know when he gets here and I'll tell you.”

Oooh, Matt, you going to let her say that?”

She's nobody's favorite cousin either!” he said laughing.

She smiled at him and said, “You looked cool sliding down that slide Matt.”

You oughta try it.”

NO!” said Chris, “It's dangerous.”

Chris, just tell her no mother of your future children is going to do it and get it over.”

Shut up Jake!”

Chris, all you gotta do is get on one knee and say, “Will you” followed by “Marry Me” and she'll tell you she's not a preacher and your hand already consummated everything.”

Kit started laughing and said, “Just wait Matt, that one was pretty good.”

Chris looked at me and I said, “I'm sorry Chris, I know you like her. I'll behave.”

Thanks. It's a little too late.”

Kit came over and rested both hands on his shoulder. “You ok?”

Yeah, Jake's just being Jake.”

I said, “Well, Chris is only Chris when he's...”

Jake, shut up!”

Oh...Ok Chris. Why don't you go over there and let Matt and I get acquainted. I'm sure he's got secrets to tell too.”

Kit said, “Matt, you don't say anything!”

I'm not. Your checks still clear, right?”

He smiled and she glared at him.

Matt, I'd say when their kids give us the evil eye, it's going to look like what they just gave us sort of mixed, right?”

Yeah, sort of like a constipated billy goat.”

I laughed and Chris smiled. Kit said, “Matt, you really NEED to be quiet. I'm not the one making those weird noises in my bedroom.”

I said, “Kit, those weren't weird noises! Matt was just learning about how not to stick things in the Hoover!”


Chris busted out laughing and Matt's face turned red. Kit laughed and said, “Matt, welcome to the club. If Jake's joking about you, it means he likes you.”

Matt smiled and said, “Thanks Jake.”

No problem little dude. Next time use Crisco.”

Chris started laughing and Matt said, “I didn't use the vacuum cleaner!”

Ok, whatever you say. You just told us it was another appliance, but I was trying to get you out of it gracefully. Kit's curling iron and you are probably not going to see each other again.”

He started laughing and Kit said, “Jake, that's so wrong! I'll never be able to use it again!”

You look lovely without it hon.”

She smiled, “Jake, you tell that to all the girls.”

I do!”

Another guy came down the line and slid to a stop. He hopped off and said, “Man, that was cool!”

I said, “Chris, stand here and give the spiel about the field and the building and all that. I've got to go see if we're going to have something to sleep on out here.”

I walked off and Matt said, “Hey, wait up!”

Come on lil' dude.”

Where ya goin'?”

I gotta call Jan. We're supposed to sleep here, but I don't know if we got anything to sleep on.”

Why are we sleeping out here?”

Well, you don't gotta, but I want it to be a thing all the new guys do with all the old guys on their first night here. It makes us stronger as a team and it gets us not to thinking this building is huge.”

Why don't you want us thinking that?”

Because right now, Matt, these stands are empty. Tomorrow, you'll see eighty thousand people in here and it'll be loud when they all cheer.

You'll hear that roar and you'll suddenly forget everything. If you think of it as a building and that's it, suddenly, those fans all roaring aren't going to matter to you when that guy is staring you down across the line.”

Ok, now I get it.”

You see, that roar is our cannon. When it's in their stadium, it's their cannon. They cheer for us and they don't cheer for them.

Next week, they'll be cheering for the other team because we'll be out on the road. We'll have to get the crowd over onto our side and that's pretty easy when we start playing better than their team.

They'll know we're all high school players and they'll all suddenly jump up for us and cheer.”


It's us being the underdog. If a Yorkie fights a Great Dane, you expect the Yorkie to get the shit kicked out of it. When it suddenly is down under that Great Dane making it howl because it's got it by the nuts, then you're cheering for it because you know that little dog's got balls the size of boulders to even take on that fight.”

I see what you mean.”

To each and every team in this league, we're the Yorkie. We see them as the Great Dane and MOST people would think they're going to lose the fight. I'll tell you now, I'll be the teeth of that Yorkie any day because I know those teams all got a set of balls. I'll find it and when I do, they'll go down.”

Who are we playing next week?”

I don't know. All I know is tomorrow, we're playing Tampa. For all I know, next week might be Dallas or someone.”

They're good.”

And we're the Angels. We're just as good and you're just as good as one of their best players because I like you.”

I like you too. You treat me like someone and not like a little brother or anything.”

You're a friend.”

Does Chris really like Kit that good?”


She likes him. I'll tell you now she's acting more herself than she ever did with Robbie.”

Well, Robbie's acting more himself than he did with her too.”

You and he are really boyfriends?”


You ever worry about what people think?”

No. The reason I don't is because there are only two people who really mattered to me what they thought. That was my mom and dad. They knew about me even back then, so I know the only thing they want for me is to love and to be loved.”

Ok, I wasn't judging you or anything, I just wondered.”

No problem. All I expect from you as my friend, is you to be there and to stand up for me if anyone says anything. .

I don't expect you to fight a fight for me, or anything, but I expect you to tell me if someone says some shit. I'll front them and you best believe if they're saying some hateful stuff here about me when I'm paying their salary, I'll sure see they're saying it out there without me paying their salary.”

We went into the locker room. I went through and heard the shower running. As we passed, I saw two people in there. I saw movement and of course, my attention was drawn to wondering who it was. I saw it DJ and figured it'd be Aaron.

We got through and went into the outer dress room where the press was supposed to stay. Matt said, “Man, I never thought he was gay!”

Who? DJ?”

No, Terry Samuels.”


That's who was in the shower.”

Hang on.”

I went back and and went into the shower. DJ looked up and I said, “You've got about three seconds to be out on the field asshole.”


When you're with someone, you're with him. You sure as shit aren't fucking someone else while you're with him.”


I turned to the other guy and said, “You, get up on the turf and don't let me catch you with him again. You got me!”

Jake, it's not his fault.”

It takes two to tango. IF he didn't know about you and Aaron, you sure as shit should've told him.”

Jake, man!”

DJ, you've pulled all sorts of vicious shit on him. That's the final straw. I hope this was good because it sure cost you a lot.”

I left the shower and went out to where Matt was. “We need to get back up on the turf.”

We went through a door and out into the hallway. I went through another door and said, “This is the shortcut up to the turf.” We climbed steps and through a door. It led out into the stadium.

I turned and saw Rob, “Rob!”


We got problems coming up on the turf.”

What's going on?”

DJ. He and some other kid were just in the shower getting it on.”

His eyes got big and he said, “Ok, it's a problem. Now, how we handle it is how we gotta handle a personnel problem.”

Personnel problem?”

Yeah, two people working for us aren't getting along. One might not know it yet, but he sure will the way you're huffing and puffing.”

You handle it as a personnel problem. I'll handle it as a personal problem. One friend of mine is screwing around on another.”

Jake, you gotta pull back from it.”

Rob, you handle it as a personnel problem because you didn't go to the hospital when one was going to kill himself over the other one. You didn't have one think he could lay his hands on you because he was caught dogging the other out. You didn't have your car fucked up by that person, so for me, it's personal.”

I turned around and walked off. “Jake!”

Rob, handle it. I'll handle my friend. IF you can't deal with that, then you find someone else to pull that shit on because I'll sure not handle it as a personnel problem if you pull it on me!”


I saw Aaron, “Aaron, come on dude, we gotta go talk.”

Forget it, I know.”


DJ and Terry.”

You know?”

Yeah, but I'm ok.”

You sure?”

Hey, I promised my dad I'd be fine. We talked about it and we talked with Dan. DJ and I agreed on one more try and if it didn't work, then that was it. My dad and I figured it'd be a week, but hey, we were wrong.”

I'm more concerned for you.”

Jake, I'm ok. I promised myself I wouldn't get emotionally close to him until I was sure he had changed. He didn't, so I'm not close.

To me, he's an ex who screwed around. To me, he violated what we had to go get something else, but guys do that to girls all the time. Why should I think they'd not do it to guys too? So, don't worry about me. I'll find someone else and what I know is you're a friend.”

It pissed me off.”

I know. It does that because you're not that sort of person. Neither am I. But, to me, DJ fucking around is like Grant dogging you out. You draw the line and eventually, you cut the line and let them drift away. You've done that, so it's the same thing with me.”

You wanna talk?”

That's what we're doing?”

Grant came over “Jake, we need to talk?”

Yeah, we do, but I'm talking with Aaron right now.”

I know. Promise me you'll speak with me first when you're done.”

I will. You got your cell?”


Good. I'll call.”

He walked off and Aaron said, “You two are going to make good friends, right?”

Yeah, I'm not letting him in close enough to bother me. IF I do, that's on me because I let him too close.”

I understand. I'm still there where I'm probably not going to speak with DJ.”

Ok, just don't do anything, ok?”

I'm not. That stupid stuff was the last time. This time, I realize I matter more than he ever did to me.”


Go speak to Grant. He's probably worried you'll beat DJ up.”

I probably should have.”

You could've hit Terry a few times for me and I would've let you.”

He's going home. I'll not have him on my team.”

Let it rest. He's drawn into a mess just being with DJ.”

I know. I'm tired of looking over DJ's shoulder and babysitting him.”

Tell him that. Even more so, tell Dan that. Dan is the person who DJ listens to.”

Well, I need to go speak with Grant.”


I'm sorry Aaron.”

It's not your fault. You tried and tried more than anyone.”

We'll get you someone who won't do that.”

Not yet. I think I just want to see what life's going to be like doing what I'm doing now.”

Well, you've got a job here for as long as you want. Don't let him come in between it.”

I'm not. I like this job.”

What is it?”

Sort of a tactician's job mixed with play master. I'll be the one telling you which play would run best in a given situation.”

Someone does that?”

He laughed, “Yeah, they do it in the pros.”


Personally, we can see from up high and see if a person in the back is reacting differently than you're accustomed. IF they are, we can tell you and you can have a heads up on it. OR, we can give you plays which get you to out maneuver him.”

Ok, tomorrow is a passing day. I'll run very little but our guys will be able to break free. Keep Bake in mind because he's the one who is on my right. Chris is on my left and he's easy to throw to, so when you see the guy on him slack off, be sure to let me know.”

Any others?”

Rob. He'll be center. Most of the time, they'll leave him be because they'll know I'll run back from him.”

Ok, so when they run away from him let you know?”

IF I go right, and they run away from him, then let me know they leave him open when I go right. IF they do it if I go left, then let me know that. The object is to totally let him have it when that's the best way.”

I'm getting it better.”

You probably have an advantage when you're up high, but us being in communication will rely on other things I'm going to be requiring you to see.”

I'll learn it.”

Good, you'll be an advantage I'll have.”

That's the plan. Just remember they've got a guy who's trying to see the same thing from their defensive perspective.”


Defensive coordinator. That's the guy who tells their defense when you're being left open by your line. If they see that opening, they'll use it as a gateway to get in and sack you.”

Man, the pros cheat!”

No, they use things to their advantage we don't on the high school level.”

Ok, we'll have to stay on guard for them.”

Jake, my job is to see and tell you when they're trying to take advantage of something. It's also to tell you when someone's being slack and letting that gateway open.”

So you've got a tough job.”

I got to see each play as a slow motion and see when and where someone is switching up in micro details. I'll do it, but no one and I mean not even DJ will be in my head when I'm doing this job.”

I don't blame you. I wouldn't want anyone even sitting near me. They might sneeze and mess me up.”

They'll have me in a booth with headphones on and that camera up there watching everything.”

Oh man.”

Just remember the other guy for their defense is watching the same camera I am.”

We gotta supply it to them?”

Yeah, and they have to supply it to us too.”

Ok, but we sure never thought of this on the Spartans.”

No, but we will now that I know how to do it. I'll be up there trying to do the same thing without a camera.”

OH man.”

Once I learn how to do with the camera, I'll know how to do it without.”

Ok, let me know if you need me.”

I'll probably sleep close to you and Chris tonight.”


I went down and looked for Grant. I was just pulling my cell out when he was there. “Come on.”

Where we going?”

Down here.”


We went down to the locker room and into the coach's office. “As you know, we've got a problem.”

We don't have the problem. You and I both kept our zippers shut when others were concerned.”

YOU're upset and I'm upset. Rob's handling it like it probably should be handled, so my focus is to keep you out of it.”


We can't spare him. IT's that simple. IF he's off the team, that hole is open and someone less has to go in who REALLY has no clue how to play that slot.”

How hard could it be?”

Hard. It takes a special breed to play over there and true to form, DJ is doing what a lot of them do.”

What's that?”



That slot is in everyone's line of sight. He moves to make everyone think the ball is in play and tries to get them to move. What it is, is pushing the envelope to see what he can get by with. As you see, he does it in his personal life too.”

Well, it just cost him a boyfriend.”

Yeah, and it just cost us someone off the team.”

Terry Samuels, where does he play?”

He's little, he's slight, guess where he plays?”

My job's taken.”


So he could really lay DJ out with a kick.”

Or fuck up his leg and never make that shot when it matters.”

I like Dan, but I'll tell you I can't stand DJ anymore.”

Well, find a way because we need him.”

Next season, he's off the team.”

Next season, if he's demonstrated he's good, we probably couldn't afford him.”


Yeah, so think about that. One thing I'll say and that's that you did good picking that bright of gold. Us wearing it will catch people's eyes and him moving will certainly catch someone's eye.”

Ok, let me go so I can go treat him like the piece of shit he is.”

Let him be. He's got to live with himself.”

I'm letting him be. That's the key to letting someone know I'm done with them. He'll be amazed at how I'll let him be.”

Jake, that tone had a double edged sword to it.”

You are on probation. If you don't keep your word, then consider DJ practice on how I let you be. Little talks like this just won't happen because I'll let you be.”

We gotta talk.”

Grant, you don't understand. I talk and you don't listen. You talk and talk and talk and I listen...but, you never do what you talk about. Prove me wrong and I'll take you off probation. Prove me right, and I'll listen to you with the little song by Fleetwood Mac going on in my head, “Tell me lies tell me sweet little lies, tell me lies” because that's what I'll be thinking the whole time you're wasting your breath.”

I'm sorry I let you down.”

You're sorry I finally had to draw a line in the sand and cross it. I think you would've been content on continuing to play the game. Maybe you should look at DJ as a potential lover, that way you and he could just mess with each other's heads.”


Grant, I loved you. I loved you, and I loved you some more. Loving someone is believing them. I'll tell you now, you're at that edge of the cliff where either you fall off and I never believe you again and we hash it out in court, or you keep your word.”

We're back to that.”

We never left it. You might've left it, but for me, we're still there. I asked for one thing and that was because you sold it to me.”

I made clear afterward it was a lie.”

Yup, but you made witnesses who were sure made to believe otherwise. Think about what they'll say in court because I'll sure have them in there testifying as to what got said.”

I'm giving it to you.”

I'll believe it when I see it. Now, we're back out there on the thin ice which swallowed us up. I've got to trust you this one final time, but thats' it.”

He looked at me and stood up. “Ok, we'll work through tomorrow and then, I'll prove you wrong.”

That's the only way it can be. It's messed up because when you're proving me wrong, you're proving me right. I hate it because it's the winning of a war which I can't stand. I lose you, I lose what we had, and I lose the respect I thought I had in you because I wonder how far back it went and I wonder if this is based in what you dealt with in my dad and passed along to me. OR, do you do this in all your business dealings and that's how you make your money? Either way, it doesn't bode well for what I think of you.”

I'm sorry.”

Let's hope it improves. That's all I can say.”

Give DJ a chance.”

Not happening on a personal level. I'll play him as a player, but if someone throws out a Bic and sets him on fire, I'm telling you now I'm not pissing on him to put him out. I'll probably stand there and laugh.”


I'm out of here.”

I left the office and went out into the hallway. Instead of going to the field, I went up to the merchandise room. I went in and Dan had a ladder up and was totally transforming the place.

I took liberties and hoped this gold would work.”

IT's amazing!”

Thanks. IS that bronze good enough?”

A bit too brown, but if it had more bronzish streaks in it, it'd be fine.”

Ok, I'll get some lighter bronze and put streaks in it.”

I went over and said “Dan, there's a problem and it's not with you.”

What's going on?”

DJ. He just got caught screwing around on Aaron. I caught him so don't think it was a figment of someone's imagination.”

With who?”

A teammate.”

How's Aaron?”

Totally zoned out and blasé about DJ saying he didn't think it'd last, but is surprised it didn't take a week for him to do it.”

Poor kid.”

The poor kid is DJ. I'll tell you now, I respect you, but as for a friend, it's done for me. I'll pass the ball to him and I'll try to make it to the end of the season because we need him, but I'll have someone hired next season so I don't have to have a cheating piece of shit on my team.”

His lips pursed. “He never learned it from me. I might've been a lot of things in this life to him, but I sure never cheated on anyone.”

I know and you're proving to be a helluva friend. I don't want what I feel for him to creep in between us, but I can't respect him.”

I'm losing more and more for him all the time. He's a bully. He's a domineering asshole. He's cheating. And, he's gay. If you look at it, it's like he hates his fellow man and I'm wondering if he's striking out because of something I did to him.”

I think he tries to get by with what he can because people let it happen. With me, he knows it just isn't happening. With you, I think the same. With Rob, Rob's down there trying to be Mr Professional manager saying it's a personnel matter instead of a personal matter. Well, if he wants to go that way, it's a sexual misconduct matter so it should have him fired.”

I'd use it.”

You're not understanding. I was just told because I fired everyone, we need him and we really need to pray he doesn't get hurt this season. And, I was told if he performs his job with skill, me thinking I'm letting him go at the end of the season is doing him a big favor because I probably couldn't afford him anyways.”


Yeah, so he goes elsewhere and he wreaks havoc on their team. That's my secret weapon!”

Pretty pathetic, isn't it? I get the pride of calling him my son.”

Well, you've got pride and that's in your own performance. I sure am satisfied with all you've done and are doing.”

He smiled. In his eyes, I saw a glint. “Jake, you don't know it, but your compliment means a great deal more than you know. It's interesting because I'm finding a creative outlet here which is relaxing and satisfying way more than what I own back home.”

Well, you've got a lot of it to do here with us if you want it because we've got all those buildings over there to do.”

Yeah, I'm thinking about that. I've got a lot of things going on in my mind which is really going to be neat.”

Good, Now, do you want to know what my guideline is about that project over there?”


Talk with me about mine and that's it. When you do the others, consider it to be a blank check for whatever you want to do, but talk with them about it and realize whatever you want to do is the ultimate decision because if they come to me, I'll tell them to sit down and shut up.”

I appreciate it.”

You need to know this and I'll tell it to only you and Rob. IF someone doesn't lose their manager and all their points on their merchandise sales, I'll not sell their stuff even in here next year. They can go up the street and have a store, but it'll come out of their money and it'll not be on my turf.”

Ok, that's a bit tough, but I understand.”

I'd rather give someone their money they've got coming than to be told what I'll sell for them and what goods they'll sell. If you find yourself being told to go in and throw away a bunch of good merchandise and rip out a store, know that's what happened in a contract. I'll put those people to outer Siberia before I let them earn a penny off me.”

I understand, it's a business and it's about them eventually having to realize you're really giving them the best deal.”

I'm a player's owner, I think. I'm for them and not for them having to have a manager and all those people in order to make money.

What some of those people fail to realize is when I tell someone I'm paying six million, I'm paying six million and that's it. I'm not paying for their people and I'm not paying for their brand because I can sure find quality people who won't require all that.”

Don't budge on it.”

What's funny is I know I won't have to. I've got someone signed who is coming on next season without all that.

Rather than fucking me out of a mansion through the back door, I'm giving him one before he enters the front door. I'm also paying him a million more a year than what he's making now, but ultimately, he's making gobs more because he doesn't need all those extra people.”

Good, who is it?”

Brad Jennings.”

I'll start trying to get merchandise bought up for him so we've got a store open and things in here before he makes it here.”

Let me get the ink on the contract, but I like that about you. I'll work with you in that exclusivity because it is going to benefit us.”

He smiled, “Jake, what am I making here?”

What do you want to make here?”

I don't know. I thought about a percentage, but then I thought that was too high for someone doing a one time job. We're talking about a continuous job, so that changes things.”

Ok, let's put it this way. Can you get all this stuff in here?”

Yeah, the things I don't have, I've already found where they ordered it and who the supplier was, so I'm getting their catalogs sent. Those who I couldn't reach today will be called Monday.”

Good. Well, there's your mark up there selling to us. But, a supplier wouldn't come in and do all, I want you to have a cut in the sales here.

Personally, I don't know who works in here, but I sincerely hope they're fired because they sure weren't here and aren't here.”

Can I hire who I want in here and over in those stores?”

Yeah, but I'd like for it to be homeless people if possible. OR, disadvantaged people.”

I'll do it if I can train them. You need to know this person who works in here has to be a tough willed soul.”


You've got five minutes in between halves to come get something. You've got one person hurrying their best and fifty people who are all standing ther with their money in hand screaming at them for being a slow retarded motherfucker or so and so. It's hectic, demanding, confusing and of course, you've got one idiot who wants to give you a ten and swear he just gave you a fifty.”

Who are you going to hire?”

Someone who's not afraid to hop over that counter and crack a head. Someone who will treat kids like they're the best thing that ever walked the planet, but will also tell their dad to go fuck himself if he wants to say something stupid.”


Street kids.”


They train damned good and they're sweet to everyone, however if someone gets stupid, they'll be trained to get damned stupid real fast.”

Ok, do it. I don't know where you'll find them, but find a bunch of them because I sure want them working our concessions.”

Nah, concessions is a whole other ball of wax. First of all, it takes someone with military background to cook that much food. It takes military precision to get that many hotdogs packaged that fast.”

Can we make a machine to do that?”

I'll look into it because I'm wondering if there isn't one already.”

IF not, look into getting someone to design one. If it costs too much, I'll have it done anyway and start a factory which sells prepackaged hotdogs with the buns someone can throw in the microwave.”

The bun cooks faster than the meat and would get soggy.”

Yeah, but let's get off that. What I'm seeing is a machine which has a bunch of little troughs. A paper doily slides down and a guy puts a bun in it which is open. It goes down and the hot dog falls on and then a package of mustard, ketchup, relish, and onion fall on. It goes over and the doily gets squeezed where it's like a taco. It gets slid into a paper sack and gets zoomed over to a plastic basket which can be stacked and put into a hot room where all the rest of them stay a perfect temperature.”

Bun gets soggy.”

What did I do wrong?”

You didn't store it upside down. If it's upside down, the hot dog drips juice into that paper instead of the bun.”

Ok, so it'd work?”

It'd work, but you need to know that same process would work for hamburgers and for pretzels. It'd even work for corn dogs.”


We need a robotic thing which does a drink.”

Nah, we need sodas in a bottle which chills at thirty five degrees and doesn't freeze. It needs to be plastic or something so we can throw it and it won't shake up.”

Not happening.”

Well, it's a thought. Other than having someone carry a dispensing thing on them, I don't see how they can carry that many cups.”

If I were building a stadium, you'd see how I'd do it because there'd be a drink stand every fifty feet to where someone could get a drink and pick up eats real fast.”

We need carts and carts reloading carts. It'd take a lot of manpower, but without ripping up floors and putting in fountain soda lines, we're not getting it done. WE sure as hell can't put them overhead with the rats we've got up there. It'd rain soda down all over everyone.”

He laughed, “No, we sure don't want that!”

I want us to find a way to get a cheese steak sandwich on our menu which is cheap.”

That's what I was going to discuss with you next. What do you want to charge for prices?”

How much are they getting for things in here?”

Shirts are fifteen dollars. Hats are six. Pennants are three, and those Angel lighters are three.”

Is that a fair price?”

I think the shirts are higher than hell. I think t-shirts should be ten and jerseys should be fifteen, but they've got jerseys at twenty five.”

Lower the prices. How much are the jackets?”

That one is seventy five. That leather one is two hundred. That parka is a hundred and twenty.”


I know. Now, do you want to know what wholesale is on these things?”


That light jacket is eighteen dollars with all your stuff on it. It's expensive, but I'm checking into seeing where I can get it cheaper. That parka is twenty six dollars and that leather jacket comes from Isreal and is fifty four dollars.”

Ok, how do we do that?”

I'd say double and round up.”


Eighteen doubles to thirty six and rounds up to forty. They're saving thirty five, so it's a lot better. That parka doubles to fifty two and rounds up to fifty five. They're saving forty five dollars. That leather is fifty four and doubles up to one oh eight. With the round, it's one ten. That's a savings of ninety dollars.”

Ok, how about a rain poncho, umbrella, and sunglasses?”


For when people go outside.”

Put it in their store. You can have your name, logo, number, and team insignia on it. You can go with cheap rubber rain ponchos, or nice cloth ones.”

Oh man, the price is probably terrible there.”

Not really. I'd have both, but if you're not real outrageous on your pricing, you could get a cloth poncho out the door for fifteen or twenty dollars.”


An umbrella is the same. Cheap is a dollar and expensive is five dollars.”

Which way do you think we should go?”

It's up to you.”

I'd tell you to go with the expensive, but I'm not a fan who's trying to get the most for their dollar. For me, it's about what lasts longer and that's fine, but some of this stuff will probably last longer than the player.”

How about I go with both for you. I know you're going to be around and I know you're concerned. If we price the nice low enough, I think it'll move and I know if we price the cheap cheap enough, it'll move.”

I want my stuff out there to be two different things. It sounds bad, but I want the team stuff and a line of black and blue Hawk merchandise. With the Hawk stuff, you don't have to go with the team logo and all that.”


See who makes Levis and see if I can get a cheaper black jean of theirs. If not, see who makes a knock off of theirs which is black and has comfortable denim. The key feature is denim which feels good instead of being so rigid.”

Stone washed?”

No, just better lighter and more comfortable. Do you know how those denim shirts feel when they've been washed a bunch?”


That feel, but in heavier weight for the pants. I want someone to put those things on and say, 'hey, these are my most favorite pair of pants'...and mean it.”

They'll mean it. I already like the sound of how you want them. Can I get a black denim shirt like that?”

Yeah, but don't go all cowboy. I like the no sleeves look on a hot guy with muscles. Hell, I like black jeans on a hot guy with muscles. Well, for that matter, I like black jeans off a hot guy with muscles!”

He laughed, “Man, I never saw that coming!”

I'm sorry, I just went downhill there. Well, you know where my brain is about that.”

I stood up and said, “I appreciate you taking the time to talk. I imagine all is settled down there, so I better get back.”

When you guys are done with him, send Deej up this way.”

I'll do it.”

I went out and into the stadium. I went down to the field and out on it. I saw Rob and asked, “Well?”


Where's he at? In the shower finishing what he started?”

He pointed towards the ball racks. “Grant's punishing him. He's not to disrespect his showers again and he's certainly not to perform sexual misconduct again in our employ.”


You need to let me handle things.”

I did.”

You did by going around and speaking with everyone.”

Ok, listen. Somewhere along the line you're discounting my role in this. I appreciate you stepping in, but when you step in and I get drop kicked out, think again.

Furthermore, as an owner, if you're going to employ people, you're going to let them do their jobs. IF I've got to learn it, then you sure as hell need to also.

You want this to be a personnel issue, then it's that. HE's on this team until the end of the season, but he's sure in the hell off it when it's over. I'll not hide that and if the punk wants to walk, so be it. He's lucky that I didn't beat his ass, but the next time it happens, you best bet I'll let fists fly and then bring it to you...where a friendship doesn't matter.”

Friends matter, but this is business.”

A team manager is hired to work. We've got two. Let them do their job. We've got a coach who is to do HIS job. Apparently, you were so worried with what goes on the field that you totally discounted what supports me off the field. I'm sorry, but I can get around throwing him a pass. I'm sorry, but I think you could do the job he does with just as much skill. Apparently, someone's been selling a bill of goods making everyone think he's so fucking good he's beyond replacement, but I bet you I can and will get it done if needed. That's an owner talking.

As a player, I'll totally ignore the cheating fuck but the next time I see him busy in the shower. As a player, I'm going to beat his ass so I don't have to stand in anyone's cum while I'm showering there.

Oh, that's a health issue...excuse me if I get VD on my toes because with the way he's fucking people, Lord knows it's going to happen!

As a friend, he's done. It's that simple. You can either take that to the bank and like it, or not. The second you think I'll double with the cheating bastard, then try me. You'll go out with him alone and IF I catch you getting fucked by him, I'll beat your ass first and then KILL him. You got me?”


So, that's my position on the whole God damned thing. Keep your eyes open as an owner because he's replaced at first opportunity. With players like him, we'll ship him to our enemies. He'll sure cause enough carnage there before they throw him out.”

He smiled, “You're cute when your pissed.”

I'm pissed because a friend let me down. I'm pissed because a teammate let down another teammate down...ME! I'm pissed as an employer because this is a fucking mess I got me in and I'll sure as hell gotta get me out of it. I hardly doubt the last player in his spot fucked in my showers!”

Ok, let it go now.”

I'm letting it go, but if you're going to be a manager here, I sure better see this in his personnel file when I look at it. And if you think that's not an owner speaking, then you best bet if I was absentee and saw it all over ESPN, you'd get a fucking call!”

He looked suddenly scared. “Oh man.”

Yeah, people are waiting for us all to drop the soap in the showers with us being they can laugh while they fuck us out of that money. That fucker took it upon himself to fuck with our team's reputation.”

I see why Grant is so down on him.”

Where's that other squirrel?”

Down in the locker room.”

Get him up here. If his ass wasn't grilled like DJ's, then I want to know why!'

Grant's doing that.”


What's going on between us?”

I'm tired. When I get tired, I get bitchy. I was feeling good because I had a new friend on this team and then had to totally ignore him over this. I need to ask a question and then, we'll leave it be.”


Team managers, we've got two. We need to have them here when we're here.”

Right now, they're not here because I didn't think we'd need them. Normally, we'd not be here. Normally, we should have our butts over in that owner's suite. From now on, when we're having this team sleep over, we're going to have every member of the team here. We need to get it into the contracts, but we've also got to look into some special things for everyone also.”

Like what?”

Hon, I don't want everyone thinking all we do together is work together. There are more things to do building a team than this. It's basicly letting everyone know they're a part of a unit and we're a family. I depend upon you, you depend upon me, and together, we depend upon everyone else sort of stuff.

I don't care if it's hiking on a trail, or if it's riding a rollercoaster, or if it's flying to Belize, but I want us to do it as a unit. We need that stuff in the contracts.”

Ok, we'll learn this as we go along.”

I know and I know this is only our first day. Now, what do we do next?”

My suggestion?”


It's going to piss you off.”

Try me.”

Go speak to DJ as all three. He needs to know exactly how he stepped in it because you sure are explaining it better than me.”

Do I gotta?”

Not as his friend do you gotta, but as his employer and team mate, I'd say he deserves it.”


I went up and said, “Deej, come on over here.”

What's up?”

First of all, I'm not here speaking as your friend. For me, that's over. You fucked around on a friend and violated a friendship where I was trying to keep you on an even keel. So as friends, fuck you. You ruined it, so that's it.

As your employer and owner of this team. I'll tell you I'm pissed. If I had anyone to replace you with, you'd be packing with a sexual misconduct charge followed up with the league of a charge of endangering the health of my team by doing that shit in the showers where I and your teammates have to step. Now that shower has to get bleached because Lord knows what's in there.”

What's that mean?”

It means if you've got a disease, and I've got athlete's foot with cracked toes, your cum gets in there and I've got AIDS if you've got it. IF you've got the clap, I get it. Rob gets it because I spread it and he thinks we fucked.

Just the same, Johnny faithful could be faithful to his wife and get it and suddenly she's divorcing him because of it...go just wrecked another home.

As a team mate, I'll tell you, you let us all down. You've caused discourse and fucked up harmony in our ranks and that's based upon what happened period.”

You're blowing it out of proportion.”

Am I? Do you THINK ESPN would blow it out of proportion if they got wind of this! Do you think another team would hire you if they reported it? And, as an owner who wouldn't be here, how fast do you think I'd request your being fired if I heard that shit on ESPN?”

Oh man!”

In high school, you can fuck around with whoever you want and it flies. IN the professional world such as this, it doesn't fly.

Now, on a personal level, as one gay person to another, I'll tell you EVERYONE is watching the gay owner who has tons of gay guys on his team to see when he's going to fuck up. That probably happened by me keeping you on the team.

I'm going off what Grant wants. I'm going off what Rob wants, and I'm going off what is best for this team. I'll tell you I fucked up by firing the person you replaced. Personally, I bet you that man didn't fuck in my showers.

Now, on an more personal note to you. I got told by Grant that my personal wish to see you off the team at the end of the year will probably happen anyways since if you do your job great, we probably can't afford you.”


You can name your ticket. I'll tell you it's probably ten million or higher since most all these positions top out at that. However, I'll also tell you I just told Rob if this incident isn't reported in your file, I'll demand to know why.”


Listen. I don't know that punter. I'll tell you I've never dealt with him and until tonight, I didn't know him. Now, I sure don't think highly of him, however just to be sure you're not pulling your shit again, I'll be there to see you don't strong arm, bully, or pull the same shit you pulled on Aaron.”

Keep out of it.”

Too late. Go to your dad. He's waiting. Your off my team. I just got out of it. I'll play a fucking dildo since you seem to be up everyone's ass.

Now, is that what you want? Because as your owner, I'll certainly fire your ass and put you out on ESPN as to firing you for that reason.”

What if I play my best and don't fuck with anyone?”

What's my assurances?”

I don't know.”

Well, figure it out and see. As your friend, you let me down. I don't trust it not happening again since this seems to be a thing you insist on doing.”

I don't know why I do it.”

I do and Grant does. You push the envelope and that's the job you're hired to do. In doing so, it's now in your nature to do it everywhere you can. However, had you been my lover, you'd be facing me with a tennis racket and you with some sore nuts.

I think that's what you need. You need someone who won't tolerate it and you need someone who will knock your ass flying when you try it. You manage to find these kids who think they deserve that shit and unfaithfulness is a part of the male gene.

I'll tell you now, I told your dad and he's pissed. He says you never got it from him, and he sure never showed you it was acceptable. Is that correct?”


Deej, do you realize that man is up there working his ass off to make me happy so he'll look good in my eyes? DO you realize when I gave him a compliment, he teared up because it meant so much to him?

I'll tell you he's done miracles up there and he's making he and you millions because I'm giving him percentage points in that money because of it. He knows that, but what matters more are the compliments.”

He doing good?”

Yeah, he's doing great. And, I'm so impressed it's just got me stupified and handing him more responsibilities.”

Like what?”

Food service. I know if he can do that with merchandise, he sure can do it with food. I know what he expects and I know he'll get it and people around here will suddenly be buying food rather than puking in thinking they ate rat shit.”

It that bad?”

If I didn't have to worry about eighty thousand fans walking out, I'd throw all that food out and not serve a thing. IT's that bad.

He says he can smell rat piss in the kitchen and that's while everything's cooking. I'll give you one guess where it's coming from? I'd guess it's coming from where the food's cooking.”

Oh man.”

SO, it's got to be shut down and cleaned out and done in three weeks. That means tons of food inspected and put someplace while we clean freezers. That means all that equipment stripped, powerwashed, disinfected and removed to the hallways so I can get to that floor and get them to strip everything from the ceiling down and not only bleach it, clean it, and power scrub it, but spray it with bug killer and rat poison it.”

I've not seen any.”

If you think something is a football. Check to see if it's got a tail and eyes. They're that big up in the rafters. Rob and I saw them up there when we were making calls. He pointed and I was instantly, pissed, worried, and wanting a shotgun to start blasting.

What I pray is no one pops champagne and shoots a cork skyward because if it kills a rat or knocks it off, that fucker is going to come down clawing, biting, and pissed. We'll have a stampede and riot and I'll be the laughingstock of a nation.”

It's not your fault.”

Deej, it's all my fault if I know about it and don't stop it. Personally, we should have the game out on the street because that's the safest place until we're sure nothing is in here which will hurt anyone.”

I'll do better.”

I loved you. You were my friend who loved Aaron...I thought.”

I do love him.”

That's the problem. You don't. If you did, you'd not do that to him.”

I don't know why I did it.”

I do. You're afraid because you want someone to love you and you want that close bond. BUT, you built it wrong with Aaron and when you saw him distant, you chalked it up and tried to build it with someone else wrong again.

I'll tell you it won't work with Terry because he won't knock you on your ass. I'll tell you he'll put up with it like Aaron did and that's why you pick those guys.”

I picked him because he wanted to.”

Well, try someone like Brad on for size. He's gay.”


Yeah, and he'll be here next season and he'll knock you on your ass if you try it...not only that, but I bet you his brother Jerome will and his mom.”

You know them?”

No, but I saved his mom tonight and his brother Jerome was the one who did it. He went over and stayed with her and the dumb ass who was going to try killing her came anyway.”

Oh man.”

Yeah, so if you can keep it in your pants long enough, you'll be around to have someone who might have you. He might overlook your past track record and he'll probably love you like you need loving. He'll also probably do what needs to be done.”

I thought for a second. “Give me your hand.”


I want to read you. I'll see who it's going to be and I'll see what we need to do.”

I'll give you my hand, but this is nothing fresh.”

You're damned right about that!”

I took his hand and read. Not much was coming. I put my hands on his temples and got flashes and images. “You have a blockage in your right testicle. It's painful. It needs checked, but it's not harmful, or fatal. On Monday, our team doctor will be able to do something with it.

I'm seeing an older man. He's tall. Damn, he's good looking. He wears a suit and is really clean cut. His finger nails are manicured. Son of a bitch! HE's got thousand dollar shoes on!

Oh man, you're lovers. He loves you. Man oh man does he love you. God, the things that man does with his throat muscles would make a Twinkie factory go dry.

His name is Edward Rails. He's from Toronto. You meet him in two years at a hockey game. You go there for some Gay Games and you're playing tennis.

You play football for us and you play for us. We get through this and we get you complete ...oh man, you tell your dad you guys need to move out here. His factory, oh man, next Thursday, his factory explodes!

There's a metal tank. IT's huge. It's next to a brick wall and the comprssor which pumps it's liquid from it vibrates it. The metal has vibrated next to the brick for so long it's worn through. The liquid has been seeping under the tank and weakening the supports. It ruptures, explodes, and falls. As it falls, it's spilling contents....what is it? I'm seeing a hazardous placard and I'm seeing it's like a sealed top...Is there such a thing as Hydrogen Flouride? No, ...what is it? It makes acid...a strong acid cloud in the fire which is flammable and caustic. Fire fighters die. Many people die. They find people will die from breathing the fumes months after for no reason. Oh man, it's something he mixes to spray, to make the foam sticky? I'm so lost in here. It's hard to breath. It's hard to read with the cloud.”

I looked up and said, “Man, get to your dad and I'll get to Grant. We'll call the fire people and get over there. We've got time to stop it, but if they do a fire hose in there, they'll die.”

I'll go get dad!”

I pulled out my cell and dialed Grant. “Hello?”

You need to call home and tell the fire people and all the emergency people to get to Dan's factory. There's metal tank in there that's like several thousand gallons of some liquid which is going to blow and cost a bunch of lives on Thursday.”

What's going on with it?”

There's a pump. It pumps out the liquid and vibrates the tank. The tank was placed too close to a brick wall and has worn through. It's leaking under and eating away the floor and supports under it. It's going to vibrate and rupture. When it does, that liquid will eat through the supports and cause it to fall through. That liquid will hit the pump and catch fire which will spill it all throughout the place, but the caustic cloud will kill firefighters and a lot of people.

Whatever you do, tell them water makes it become acidic and eat away that much faster. Tell them they pump in by truck and probably will have to pump out by truck but that pump vibrating will cause it to rupture that much faster.”

Oh man!”

DJ is going to get Dan. He needs to get home, but you gotta call them and get them over there to get a handle on this. It could mean they have to evacuate a lot of people.”

I'll call.”

I got it by reading DJ. You tell John and he'll believe you.”

Ok, I'm calling now.”

I hung up and Rob said, “You read him. From what I gather, something's wrong?”

Oh man, it's bad. We can save people, but it's bad. Let's hope they don't screw up because it'll go bad in a bad way fast.'

What is it?”

An acid tank. It's several thousand gallons and has worn through. It's leaking and eating away the supports under it. It's like on the third floor, so when it ruptures, it'll spill and hit the pump which will cause a fire. As it all spills and falls through, it's burning and it's causing a death cloud which kills firemen and people.”


No, on Thursday, but what you don't get is it's a tricky house of cards. That pump vibrating is what causes it. IF they use it to pump out that tank, it'll cause it to vibrate and rupture.”

Oh man, it's damned if they do and damned if they don't!”


Dan came running. “Ok, tell me about it?”

It's a metal tank on the third floor. It's got acid or something in it. It's next to a brick wall and the pump vibrates it. The vibration has caused it to rub the brick and wear through. It's been leaking and it's been going under the tank and eating away the supports under it.

On Thursday, the whole works gives way when it ruptures eats through, spills and hits the pump and catches fire. It all falls through the floor on fire releasing a toxic cloud which kills lots of people.

What's bad Dan is if they use that pump, it'll vibrate and cause the rupture sooner...causing it all to happen faster. They've got to pump it out, but they've got to reinforce that floor and not use that pump. It's got to be gentle because that rupture is already like almost three feet long.”

I just filled that tank. It's some caustic shit!”

Well, I told Grant who's calling in the authorities in order to get over there and make it safer. They can do it, but it's like unbuilding a house of cards.”

Ok, I've got to fly back fast. Can you get me a plane?”

I'm calling now.”

I pulled out my phone and dialed. “Yeah”

I need a plane ...the fastest we've got to fly Dan back to Missouri. He's got a problem at his factory which could kill lots of people. Will you do it?”

Yeah, I'll get him there and fly on down to Mobile. We'll use the little Lear. It's the fastest.”

Let me see if I've got a limo or something to get him out there to the airport.”

Call Jan. She can get it done fastest.”


I pulled off my phone and dialed. “Hello?”



I got an emergency. I need to get Dan to the airport fast. Our pilot is ready, but he's got to get back to Missouri fast otherwise a lot of people are going to die.”

I'll be right there.”

Thanks hon”

All I heard was the click.

She's on her way.”

Ok, I appreciate this Jake.”

No problem. We'll get people up there to finish. What needs done?”

Nothing much. Just put the cash register back and that's it. All the other, I can finish when I get back.”



Love ya dude....that's about twenty one million a year job from what I saw.”


Your percentage. We go nationwide with HAWK apparel. We make it an acronym which stands for Happy Assed White Kid apparel.”

He laughed, “Thanks Jake, I needed that!”

Love ya dude. Go save your ass back there.”

Love ya back.”

He turned and took off.

Rob said, “Well, you're a hero again.”

Nah, I'm a softy. I'm staying friends with this jerk.”


Rob, he's got a nut which has a blockage. Do we play him?”


DJ said, “You said the doctor could do it on Monday. You said it doesn't need surgery. Could I get a doctor to do it in the emergency room tonight?”

I asked, “Isn't he going to be here tomorrow? It's game day?”

He should be.”

Get it looked at tomorrow Deej. Just make sure it's your nut he's stroking.”

Hey, I know who it is now, I can wait.”

You better, that guy is fine!”

Who is it?”

A business guy in Toronto. They meet at the gay games in a couple of years.”

Was that all you saw?”

For him?”


He plays for us. We hire him on at a fucking fortune and he meets Mr Rails. Dan makes a fortune with our stuff out there and he gets me my HAWK clothes going.”

What's the clothes like?”

You know those denim shirts which are real soft?”


Imagine a black one that soft and black jeans that soft.”

Oh man, those are going to be nice.”

Yeah, when you're out of them stud!”

I'm out of them now!”

You're not out of everything.”

Not tonight.”

I know, but we gotta get to bed.”

No stuff to sleep on.”

Hang on”

I dialed maintenance “Hello?”

Jake here, is there anything in this place which we can sleep on?”

Disaster preparedness has cots, blankets, pillows, and sheets.”

Where the hell is that?”

Down here on ground floor.”

Would you get us some and bring them up to the field?”

How many of each?”

Twenty of each except for cots. That should be fine.”

I'll have it there.”

I appreciate it.”


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.