“The Queen of Gay Romance”
This is my disclaimer for 2009 folks! As you know, I change them, so please read and smile!
This is a fictional character. I'll say that until I'm blue in the face and yet, someone will write to me and tell me I've got something wrong, or he/she is that character, or they're going to sue me because their client has a family member with that name.
I can put disclaimers on a story all day long and still, I get someone who is just about nuts who will do the above paragraph. It makes no sense to me, but apparently, there are people who take themselves so seriously they want to be a fictional character. Well to those of you who choose to be that way, go read someone else's story and be a fuck-tional character.
By the way, if you're reading this to jack off (Adam Curtis). I'll smile and you hold it in your hand and read until the end. If you've spilled a load (Edd Howes), I bet it wasn't reading a scene here! Everyone else who knows my writing is probably laughing their asses off right about now...I know I'm chuckling!
If you can hold it in your hand and type, then please BY ALL MEANS write me an email and send a photo of it. I want to see the man's appendage which can write, type, and just plain want to know it better!
If your appendage says it's straight, get a clue and get to a different site. If you're that confused, go to your search engine and type in Mental Health Help and seek the one in your area. Your appendage has my permission to cut and paste.
Just to make it an official disclaimer, if you're above the age of 18...great. If you're 118, super great...put a napkin over the keyboard and you won't get any drool on it.
If you're under the age of 18, please find the off switch on your computer and press it. It'll make your day and mine a lot brighter.
If you come back to this site when it reboots, please repeat until you lose interest. If it takes more than once, get a clue you dumb fuck!
Notes From 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 Twenty One:
The next morning, everyone woke up and rolled up their cots and folded them. We had everything piled on the buggies and hauled off to either where they belonged, or the laundry. Guys went and took showers and everyone began wondering aloud where we'd get breakfast.
Jan saved the morning by telling us there was a greasy spoon over a block. We gathered together and went. I think the staff there was a bit surprised when we all showed, but the food was sure good.
After we ate, we went back to the stadium. It was still way early around seven thirty. I guess our school schedule had everyone up at that hour.
Back at the stadium, Rob called the team meeting. We all gathered and Grant went forward, “Guys, you know what we're expecting today. Those of you who are Spartans, you know the drill. Expect Hannibal's team, but be expecting a whole lot of Columbia's tactics also.
We've not played Jeff City's school yet, so you've not known the toughest I think we'd be up against back home.
These guys are going to be tough. They're used to playing tough and they're used to the advantages they've got. They don't know us so that's our advantage. I think they'll be surprised.
What I expect of you is to hit low and to hit hard. Aim at their knees and go lower. If you take them out there, they'll know pain and they'll hobble rather than run. You can get up and run, but they won't. See to it their medical buggy gets milage and ours doesn't. IF you follow that plan, you'll not get to meet our doctor.
Those of you not on the Spartan team, the plan is to dig in and hit. Then it's to get down field and make yourself open so you can catch that pass. If you do that, you'll get open for Jake.
Jake, you see what you can do, but don't underestimate them not blitzing you. They know you're not going to have backup so you'll be a main target.
Guys, Jake can work without coverage. He's done it time and time again and he can outrun most everyone here backwards. Forward, he's way faster than any of you, so leave him be to get yourselves open.
Spartans, we're playing with advantages we've not known. I like it because we've got Aaron over there on offensive coordinator position. Jake's spoken with him and knows what he can do. What he does is he looks over the field and he sees who is hitting and who isn't on offense and telling us who is and isn't working on defense. When we see those openings, he'll radio them to me and I'll get them in.”
A lot of guys began smiling and nodding their heads.
Grant said, “Guys, we've not had a practice which gets us to jiving real well. That's understood and all you really need to know is our offense isn't much of an offense. Block, hit, and then get yourself open to get down field. It's that simple.
Defense. You know your jobs. Their offensive line isn't much and you've had similar sized guys before. Hit them and get in there to do your damage. Grab that ball and let them know you're serious.
The size of this field is identical to back home boys. It's nothing different and it's nothing you've not dealt with except the AstroTurf is a bit slicker than real grass. If you dig in, you'll get footing, but you can't count on spikes like real grass.
What I will say is if you raise your head before you've hit them, they most likely will lift you, throw you, and make their way over you. Don't let that happen and you'll be fine.
Since we've not operated as a team together and because everyone knows that, they're going to all think we're going to stink. I'll tell you those who are pros here, you know how to play with strangers because you've done it enough. The Spartan guys are learning it, but they've got familiarity with me being their coach and Jake being their quarterback. It'll work good because Jake's not going to ignore anyone. I'll tell you that now.
Speaking of Jake, he's pro quality. Any of you pros who doubt that, realize he got scouted and offered twenty five million by the Saints. The Redskins wanted him, and that should also tell you he's not just good, but he's great.
I'll tell you I was a quarterback and wasn't as good as him. He can aim at a nickel and hit it out here anywhere on this field from anywhere else on this field running in any direction. You'll see and you'll know he's the life blood of this team.
I'm not going to over preach the sermon. It's that simple with me. If you do your job, you'll see me nodding and that nod tells you I saw the job you did and I approve. If you see me pulling up a replacement and pointing, you get yourself to the side and off the field fast because you messed up. If you see me pointing and not grabbing someone, you just know I saw the stunt you pulled and we'll drill it out in practice.”
“When are we going to practice coach?”
“That's a good question. My suggestion is to have the Angels come to Moberly and practice at night after the Spartans. The Spartans have school and you pros don't. I own a motel and can get you flown in, and out for practice, but you'll have late practices. I can't think of any other way.”
I stood up and went over next to Grant. “Yeah Jake.”
“We need to speak a bit.”
Rob came up and I said, “Guys, here's what we need to say. A lot of you are going to be interviewed. Jan over there is going to have you positioned so no one is in anyone else's camera angle. If you move around, please realize you're messing up someone else's shot.
The angle I want you to go with this Spartans is to look at amateurish as you can. It's our edge. They're going to have their television on looking at you and telling their guy that's who they want their guy on and they're going to be studying you for nervousness and for signs of you being overwhelmed.
My advice is to do that. Show it even if you're not and you just look as bumpkin as you can so they think you're an easy hit.
They'll be surprised enough, they'll lose focus immediately. I'll tell you now they won't recover their composure until their coach regroups them at half time. By then, we'll have enough of a lead that they're not going to recover.
The Las Vegas odds are against us. I'll tell you that now. What they don't know is each and every one of you are not just good, but you're great. What you also need to know is Grant there has trained us to win this game already. It's a simple thing of us bringing it on in front of a lot more people...that's it.
One thing I want you to do is I want you to say hi to each and every person you know back home. IF you do that, you seem amateur, but you're also having every television on back home watching us and saying how they know us. It's goodwill and it's great for all those other amateur teams out there because they can identify and they can say, 'hey, I can do that and I'm better than that guy.'. They might be, but you see who I've got here and you realize you're here because you're that good.
You guys are going to be intimidated because you're going to be standing across from the great names you watch on television. Just remember that great name over there is there to knock you flying just as far as that lesser known name from other teams. You hit them hard and you make them realize each and every amateur would fantasize about making the hit you just did.
You're not playing this game for me. Yeah, you are, but you're playing it more for each and every guy who never made it to the pros and thought they should've.
I'll tell you the way it goes for the pros. I didn't know this until last night and I'll also tell you I instantly got pissed about it. Those scouts who scout you scout twenty guys for every spot out here. They'll tell you they want to have you for a call back and that's nothing but a try out with their team. It's heartbreaking because you're excited and your family is excited and you don't know what you faced until you get there and you see you're one of about twenty trying out for the same spot.
What ends up happening is one of you gets it and nineteen get sent back home. It sucks, it's not right, and it's just not good business. That's me speaking as a player.
As an owner, I get twenty of the best from around this country to put head to head to see who is the best and then pick that guy. What matters to me is he's the best and it doesn't matter if he's like that coach from Hannibal and is a complete bigot or not. I'll tell you if you can't get along with him, that's your issue. I'll also tell you that sucks louder.
My personal thoughts on this is you guys are lucky. You're who I want, but you've already made it. It's up to you to quit and it's up to you to work yourself off the team. You're here and there's only a few ways I'll tell you now I don't want you.
One way is to have me catch you bitching about anyone gay being on this team. If I hear it, you best know I'll tell you to pack your shit and get gone. We're a team, we're a family, and we're just not going to deal with it.
IF you think you won't be goaded into giving a stupid answer in an interview guess again. They're going to ask you if we give head in the showers. They're going to ask you if we're less than professional and they're going to ask you if we try to make you gay. That's their way to kick those of us who are gay in the teeth.
To those who are gay, don't be surprised if some blond is up in your face telling you such and such and so and so is cute and don't you agree. They'll do that just to get you to give an answer which will fuck you up. If you don't think so, you just be prepared.
IF you are asked a question about religious beliefs, or political affiliation, you refer that question to me. You're entitled to have an opinion off this field and away from this building. While you're on my clock, you're not paid to have that opinion in this building. IF I catch you doing that...well, there's the door and good luck. If you disagree with that, there's the door and good luck.”
I paused and looked at everyone. “Ok, now, as an owner, I'm going to tell you I'm proud of you guys. You've stuck it out and it's going to be the game which put us on the map for this season. What sucks is our schedule and our win/loss is already going to hurt us for playoffs. We'll make it to playoffs, but you've gotta work your asses off today.
The advantage of being a pro is we've got people for just about everything. We've got equipment down there for you to have your own damned whirlpool and massage. Use them. Play knowing you can have it when you're done.”
I turned to Rob and asked, “Am I missing anything?”
“Yeah, quite a bit.”
“Ok, sailor, get me back on the boat!”
He smiled and said, “Ok, I'm going to take up the slack and tell you guys who are the amateurs.
The pay today is thirty five grand. You don't make it because it'd mess you out of your amateur standing and high school playing. We'll pay your parents, guardians, and whomever to compensate you. You've all signed on that way and you've all been explained that.
During interviews, they're going to ask you things. You tell them you're not working for a damned dime. You tell them you're doing it for friendship and you tell them we're all a family and we're Spartans.
If they go further, you point at Jake, I, or Grant and you just zip your lip. They're goading you into a mess and kindly ask them to get off the subject.
IF they ask about Jake or I's pay, or anyone else's, you tell them you don't know what our wallets look like and it'd not look good with your hand in anyone else's pocket.
In regards to sex lives, here's what I would prefer you say. IF they ask if you're gay, you tell them we're all friendly and happy. IF they ask if you're straight, you tell them we're all friendly, happy, and available if you are available.
Don't tell who is with who and what whom is doing with whomever. They will ask, so be prepared to tell them anything else beyond that isn't their business. IF You think it is their business, then pull down your pants, turn around and bend over. Look alluring into the camera and tell them to come fuck you big boy because I'll be there to throw you off the team for anything including that comment.
It might seem we're defensive with this but ultimately, it's this...we're here to play football. That ball doesn't give a damn if it's a gay man, straight man, or even a woman touching it. It shouldn't matter to you if a man or a woman threw it to you.”
He paused and said, “The next line of questioning I'm sure you'll be asked is what you think about all the firings and terminations which happened. You tell them that's a management decision and you're just thankful to have a place to play.
Once again, Spartans, I'd go into the amateurish answers and making comments about never playing in a place this big before. You might even say you've never played in a city as big or as beautiful before. That'd be nice because it'd make those in Akron be happy to have you representing them here.”
He looked around and said, “Guys, I'll tell you right now Tampa is a team we can beat. At half time, if we're leading, you'll have that figured out when I tell you it's a team we WILL beat...but by then, you'll have it figured out.
As you've been told, it's going to be hard and it's not going to be without a price. You'll have to work your tails off to get this victory, but I'll tell you now, it's the hardest game you'll have ever played.”
Grant said, “You sure you want to tell them that?”
“Yeah, because it's a line of change. It's graduation day where we graduate into the pros and we pay those dues. All of them after this is easier because we've played this game.
It's like that first game from Junior High into High School. We were all nervous and we were all wondering what would happen to us. The guys were bigger and they hit harder. We're at another point where we're at the end of the line and there's no place else to go up from here.
They might play for other pro teams, but they'll never play this one game again.”
Grant nodded and smiled. “Guys, he's not lying. I'm glad he said it and I completely agree. It's graduation day and it's a day which is going to change your perspective about going home and playing on Moberly's field and on the Spartans, however what it will have done for the Spartans is it's going to make us get to state a lot easier and it's going to give us experience about playing Helias. After Tampa, Helias just isn't going to even compare....well, heck, after Dallas next week and after Indianapolis the next week, you'll look at Helias and just laugh.”
Jan said, “Guys, your new jerseys are down there. Your names are on them and your numbers are on them too. Look at those numbers and realize those are your numbers and no one else's on this team.
Jake, you're not sixteen. I'm sorry, but that number is retired. I got you 12 with is a very historic number. Joe Namath had that number and he was someone who was sexy and not afraid to say he wore pantyhose while playing the game.”
“Yeah, it kept his legs warm and him un-cramped. It kept the material of his uniform from chafing and hands which would grab sliding instead of grabbing, pulling, and twisting.”
“I need some.”
Grant said, “My suggestion is tights guys. They're white and they will also keep your package from flopping around while you run. The tights come in colors and they're cotton so your sweat doesn't bother you.”
“Ok, just get me something so when they grab, it slips.”
I said, “Guys, that's it for our inspirational speeches. Realize you'll be photographed, filmed, and wrote about. Realize anything you say will be held up there as a sword to come back and haunt you thirty years from now.
My advice is if you wouldn't say it in front of your grandma, then don't say it in front of them because somebody's grandma is going to be listening. She'll decide if she wants to buy little Johnny your jersey for Christmas and you'll get a portion of that sale.”
One of the pros raised his hand. “How does that go with merchandising?”
“Merchandising is like this. IF you have management who you've signed to do that, good luck. IF you leave it for us, we'll get you a store front and we'll push you just as much as we do me. I'll tell you now we've got some things up there for you guys already, but we don't have everything.
When you get a chance, go up and see how it's changed. If you think it looks the same as it did yesterday, realize it's not. It's been repainted in our new colors and it's damned nice looking.
In regards to things, our colors are changing as soon as I get to that meeting. You'll probably not see it until next season, but it's going to be approved. That Angel will be approved. A lot will be approved and the nearest glimpse you'll see of it is here on the field next time we play home because the end zone carpets and the center field will be replaced...well, for that matter, the whole damned field will be replaced.”
Grant asked, “Can Moberly have it?”
“Thanks. That's five million dollars we didn't have to spend.”
“I'll pay the five hundred thousand and get Spartan carpets for the endzones.”
A few of the Spartan guys were audibly showing their shock.
“Yeah guys, it's all expensive, but let me explain something which was explained to me. This carpet is one of seventy shades of green. They test this stuff for color against our uniforms so the whites stand out on the lines and our uniforms look better for television cameras. That's why we look so good and why they prefer to go with darker colors and white numbers. It makes skinny guys look like twigs, but fat guys look like they've been on Jenny Craig.”
A lot of guys laughed.
“They pay big bucks for this stuff because they can't afford a rip. It's something ridiculous per yard and if it gives us the advantage to play on it as the Spartans back home, then realize next year's team will have the advantage of already knowing it's a bit slicker and how to react to being hit on it.
I'll tell you I can run on it better. It's easier to run because it's perfectly flat. There's no little ridges or ruts and you're not likely going to get muddy on it during rain....well, if it rains here, we'll shut the roof.”
A lot of guys laughed and I said, “Guys, I love you all. A lot of you I don't know, but if you stand with us, you'll see we'll all fall for you before we see you fall yourself individually.
That's the way we are as a Spartan and that's the way I want it here. We're family and it's just that simple.”
I suddenly thought, “Guys, here's a tidbit of information. Up there are the jumbos. They're going to be bigger, but watch them. IF you're running in a touchdown, watch them because you'll be able to see if someone is on you and which way you need to dodge if someone's coming in to blindside you.”
Suddenly everyone was looking at them.
“Also, if you have a problem with someone, get to the side and tell Grant. He's got things at his disposal we don't have back home. He can get the official to do a replay and he can get them to watching for illegal blocks and face masks. Whatever you do, don't get caught doing that stuff because what we can do, they can do also.”
Grant looked at his watch and said, “Guys, in thirteen minutes, they're going to be letting in the press.
One thing I want you guys to do is to tell them about sleeping out here and camping out. It adds to the bumpkin side of it, but it also has every teenager out there wishing they could get the opportunity to do it also.
Now, let's get down and change out.”
We all went down to the locker room and I got changed. The uniform fit snug and I liked the way it fit on me. I slid my cell phone into my shoulder pad and made sure my helmet fit. When everything was on, I looked in the mirror and that's when I saw Dolly in the mirror.
“Hi! Don't you look like a sight for sore eyes!”
“Thanks, so do you?”
She smiled, “Jake, I am impressed. This place is just so big and to think little old me is going to be doing something worthwhile here is just amazing.”
“It's all a bit much, but I need to tell you even you will probably get interviewed.”
“It's all new. You're going to be over our new inventory and merchandise and showing our new colors for the first time to everyone. They'll catch wind of that and I'm sure they'll be up there wanting a glimpse.”
“Where's the shop?”
“Let me take you up there. It's easier for me to tell you than to show you.”
“Am I working it alone?”
“No, hardly. You're working it, but you're doing it as manager.”
“Between you and I, notice the people who do their jobs good and notice the ones you need to get gone. Whatever you do, keep your eye on the money.”
“Ok, are they stealing?”
“Not a lot from there, but beverage has a big problem and we didn't get a chance to inventory it yet.”
“I know we're paying for a thousand more kegs a month than we're receiving. I've also heard they take the stuff out the door and to their private vehicles at an alarming rate.”
“Put a guard on the door.”
“You need to get that done. I've got just a few seconds before the press come in.”
Grant yelled, “Guys, they're opening the press door. Get to the field ASAP!”
I said, “Come on. I'll get mobbed if I don't get you up there real fast.”
We went up and I used the shortcuts to get there. At the main entry, I pointed and said, “That's it there. I'll show you how to open the window and over there is the doorway.”
“This is nice!”
“Dan redecorated it last night. All this was a different color and everything yesterday. I really wish we had a picture of it before.”
“These are your new colors?”
“Yeah, they're neat, aren't they!”
“I think so. The Angel isn't here yet, but it's going to be different.”
“This is all nice.”
“The staff is going to have a time getting used to new prices. We lowered them.”
“You'll probably have some of them needing corrected about it, so don't be afraid to tell them...even in front of a customer.”
“The prices are those up there?”
“Yeah, those are the new prices. A customer should yell if they're overpaying for something and just be patient and tell the customer we're charging new prices which are lower. Be sure to credit the new owners for that decision.”
“Did you do that on everything?”
“Not in food service yet, but it's going to happen. Beverages have been lowered, so that's in effect.”
“Do you have plenty of change?”
“Yeah, it's all there. The guards do the till change for you and take them back to the bank.”
“Who watches them?”
“I don't know. I didn't get that far with Dan.”
“Ok, I'll watch them.”
I gave her a hug and said, “Hon, treat it like yours. I'll be paying you like it's yours, so don't be shy.”
“Ok, I didn't think about pay.”
“You're going to make enough here to easily retire in a year. My numbers I figure for you are going to be in the neighborhood of about ten million.”
“Jeesh! You making any money?”
“About five times that...and that's just my half and not Rob's. And yes, that's just off merchandise and not food service or beverages. The numbers off that are just staggering.”
“Man! I had no idea.”
“It's a huge operation. Well, I better get back down there.”
She smiled and said, “Kiddo, you give 'em hell.”
“I'll be doing that. You just be prepared for the noise of the crowd when the Angel bites...and be sure to listen to the customers in case they want something we don't have. We're getting a lot more stuff and will have it in time for the next home game. The new colors are all going to be next season.”
I left out and went down to the field. Along the way, I had a goodly number of reporters who were all wanting to ask questions.
“Guys, I gotta get to the field. They're doing interviews with a clipboard to keep it fair.”
I got upset looks but I didn't care.
At the field, I was whistled at by Rob with him pointing to a spot. I got there and asked, “Who's first?”
“Ok, go ahead.”
“I need some photos.”
I sat on a stool and some shots were taken. I stood and took a ball. I did some poses with my helmet off and told the guy to take photos during the game with my helmet on.
He asked, “You ready for the game?”
“Yeah, I'm excited, but I'm ready. It's a big day, but I'm sure it's a big day for you too.”
“No kid, I've been through it all to often.”
During the interviews, I got asked my age, and all my stats over and over and over again. I was patient and more often than not, I got to tell everyone hi back home several times.
When it was time, I got yelled at to go to the press booth. I looked at Rob and asked, “You getting told to go up there?”
“I don't know who's up there, but unless it's my parents, no one is that special they can't get down here to interview me.”
Jan came over and said, “The network has a setup up their for their pre-game show. They've got a backdrop and all that. Those guys can't come down because their contract states they've got to have the pre-game show up there with the backdrop.”
“Anyone else getting asked to go up?”
“I don't know.”
“It's not fair they get treated better than anyone else, but I'll go since it's probably live or something.”
“No problem hon, tell them the next time we expect them to have a backdrop down here on the field where all the guys have a chance.”
“I'll do that.”
“You having problems with the press about what we discussed?”
“No, they're fine with it.”
I went up to the booth and went in. The guys were talking and as soon as they saw me, they told me to come onto the set. I got a mic placed on me and quickly shown a spot to sit.
“So Jake, how's it feel to be playing ball for your first time?”
“Wonderful. It's a dream of mine which finally happened. It would've been a dream come true for some others had it not been for their child molesting coach.”
“We extended the invitation to their coach after he got arrested for abusing one of his players. The man accused my coach of molesting me and told his players families it'd happen to them too if they came.”
“Yeah, I'll tell you now, my coach is my guardian. Nothing unwarranted has happened and for all concerned, he's not even my boyfriend.”
The two announcers suddenly looked like lightning had shot up their asses.
“Guys, I'm not hiding it. For me to hide it would be to empower someone with blackmailing me. With the money I've got, that's not happening. I might not like to display my personal life like that, but I'm sure not going to pay someone to keep it quiet.”
“Can I do something while I'm thinking of it?”
“We're in sore need of a new stadium. Anyone out there who knows a designer, please give our offices a call. I'd really like to have it sooner than later so if someone has a design which is world class Olympic and able to hold a hundred and forty thousand, please give us a call.”
“That's quite a huge complex you've got planned!”
“I'd love to have a mall and a whole lot more suites. We came into this stadium last night and instantly didn't like the design. It doesn't make sense and rather than remodeling it to get what we want, we decided to go ahead and get a designer. The problem is I just don't have a clue which way to go about that.”
The announcer smiled. “You certainly got America's attention with those numbers!”
“I hope. We're going to lower the cost of season passes and we're going to make it more special for their price of admission. I want seats which are recliner comfortable with a drink holder built in and a headphone jack so each fan can hear what's said over the roar.”
“That makes sense.”
“It's about our fans. Most of the time, these places are built with the idea of shoving as many in without thought as to what the fan will endure while here. Usually, there's too few bathrooms and usually, they've got someone yelling and selling in their way when that big play gets made and I certainly expect to make this place yell today.”
“DO you think you can hold up against them?”
“No, I know I can surpass them. Holding up against them is what they'll have to be doing against us. Our team might be smaller, but these fat guys playing against us just aren't going to run that fast. Me, I'll get them to lumbering my way just to show them our game of keep away is just a bit better than theirs.”
“What do you have they don't have?”
“A coach. Players. Pride. Strength of character. And, a can do/will do temperament which gets things done.”
He laughed, “You sure got the confidence!”
“It's about getting attention. You guys see the odds against us and realize you're probably talking to a dead man.
You're probably thinking I'm trash talking but you're not realizing I'm an Angel. I was nearly extinct and now I'm back and more prouder than ever.
Right now, our numbers are down, but we're sure as awesome as we've ever been. I'll stand here and tell our fans it's changed and they can comfortably kick themselves out of those chairs at home and move the coffee table because they're going to be standing and yelling for us when it's time.”
“DO you think you'll make that happen?”
“Think? These guys bought cases of beer and unless they're counting on missing some action, I'm telling them to drag the cooler in the living room because no one's even going to want to go to the bathroom.”
“We'll have commercial breaks.”
“Well, I guess you guys will, but for me, it's about five hours until the next bathroom break. If you've heard of the proverbial Russian race horse, you'll see why I run so fast!”
They all immediately busted out laughing.
“You're little Jake, do you think that'll be a hindrance?”
“Nah, a month ago, I was five inches shorter and twenty five pounds lighter. I'm faster now and my muscles already have me used to stretching my legs out and putting them down to get that speed. When I need to rush, I'll be ready.”
“DO you think it'll be a rushing game?”
“On our parts, yes. On Tampa's side, I'd call it moseying.”
He laughed, “Ok, we'll see. Are you afraid of getting hit?”
“Nah, I can run faster backwards than they can forwards. If they catch me, it's because I already got rid of the ball. By then, I'll be happy to give them a breather.”
“As an owner, what's your biggest challenge?”
“Do you want an honest answer to that?”
“Theft. I have employees who treat this place as their personal bank where they can withdraw sums which are staggering. I've also got suppliers which charge for things which just aren't profitable. I'll certainly work through it and I'll certainly say adios to a bunch of them.”
“Is that why you fired most of your players?”
“Most of my players got fired because they forgot one simple fact...I had their contract in my hand and I wasn't about to get told I'm not paying them to show up to practice or for a team meeting.
I called a meeting and they didn't show. I called a practice and they didn't show. When they got told to come in and get suspended for missing that meeting, they thought it was a joke. They listened when I told them they were being fired for that missed practice.
What you guys realize is there's a thousand hopefuls out there who would gladly step up to play in one of these guy's places. I'll gladly audition anyone and hire them on if they're good enough. To me, loyalty is to the dollar bill which is getting lifted out of my back pocket, not to the player who is kiping it.”
“Players were stealing?”
“No, my players are playing today. All my unemployed were either stealing, or they were forgetting not showing for a paid practice or meeting is the same as stealing. So, I fired them.”
“So that's what that was all about?”
“Yeah, I won't get into other things, but it was a mess. We had guys with bad attitudes on steroids which just didn't pay their bills. We co-signed houses off their contracts and were making those payments while they were out here beating up our citizens and being regular jerks to all involved.
Rather than go buy Pampers, I threw the babies out with the bathwater and got fresh.”
“Whew! You don't mince words.”
“A lawsuit happens when they can prove something. I've got a battery of lawyers who are all waiting for them to attempt to beat them. I know we'll get sued because that's how it is, but I'll gladly show the press a player's contract when that suit happens and let them see paragraph and line what they were paid for and what they either took, stole, or just plain didn't do.”
“You'd be that open with us?”
“It's all a matter of record. To me, a contract isn't a holy grail. I'm flying without one, so it doesn't matter to me if you see one, or not.”
“I'd sure be interested in it.”
“Let me say this. IF someone is dumb enough to file suit and there's a lawyer out there dumb enough to think I won't open it up and show you guys.
Then you guys know when the suit gets filed, I'll have that contract open. I'll have notations on the contract which got the man suspended and fired, and I'll have all that available so you can see exactly why they got fired.”
“We were told you fired people on the injured roster.”
“Yup, they got fired by the guy on his way out. I suggested it because I told him I wasn't buying a bunch of people on welfare.
For me to keep them on, they gotta work. For me to see them working, they gotta be on the field. The rosters were full of injured and a goodly number of them were on that roster for quite some time. I think they found it easier to get a little paycheck than a big one.
Well, it was easier for me to buy the team without them than it was to do it with good conscience with them.”
“SO you're not apologetic about it?”
“Listen, I'm a teenager. If I'm sick, I'm expected to get well and go to school. IF I'm too sick to go, they keep me out and I miss enough I get held back. That's school.
For you people out there in the work place at a factory, you realize if you've gotta sprained ankle, you go to work. Well, these guys piss and moan about it and they get thirty five grand a year. To me, that slaps you working guys in the face and it's sure spanking my ass in the pocketbook each time they grab a dollar they didn't earn.”
“You can't cuss Jake!”
“We bleeped it.”
“Well, Joe out there knows how I feel. He'd lose his job if he didn't show.”
“Their contract stated they get to be on the roster until they got well.”
“My contract to buy said they weren't there. IF that's an issue, please understand Tom Benson was there and he ok'd the contract. Him being the President of the League this year, I'm sure he would've told me if anything was illegal, or just plain stank. I sure know we had a lot of write in addendums on the contract.”
“You going to open that contract?”
“Sure, hang on, I'll go get it.”
“Wait until commercial. I can't believe you'd willingly let us see it.”
“Why not? It basicly states I bought the team for ninety million, this stadium and all the rights, royalties, merchandising, and all it's sub businesses and assets for the rest.
All in all, it came up to three hundred and twenty five million. However, there's a rider there which says if I find assets missing which are needed to run the team, then I get to buy those and take it off the sale price.
If you're sharp, you suddenly find the sale price and begin discounting like a mad man. That's why I bought a 747 and another jet which got me a hundred mil knocked off and that's why security items here get added on and that's why I'm getting all sorts of other things and changes made.
It takes off that price and by the time I'm done, I'll be in the ballpark of around a hundred and eighty million.
Yeah, I'll have put money out of my pocket for that big price, but the price of this is going down from that staggering sum.”
“So you didn't really get it for that price?”
“No, it's discounting from that big price. The owner agreed to it and left it open which a normal lawyer would've ran from, but I saw a big enough loophole, I put two jets, four buses, a semi, and a lot of vehicles in through it.
They thought they were scuttling it, but eventually, all of it's replaced and off that price they gave to the press. If you ask me, I can sure spend money to get the price lower and then write it all off.”
“Sweet mother of Jesus, that's why you're doing it!”
“I've got thirty days to get it done. Now, look down there and you'll see Astroturf which is getting changed. Does it need changed? No, the logos aren't what will be the new logos, so it gets changed now instead of later, I can discount that five million and write it off.”
“Kid, who's your lawyer?”
“Michael Musselman, he's our Prosecuting Attorney back home and he's great in both jobs. His son is my partner in life and in business, so it's all relative...forgive the pun.”
They laughed, “Jake we're at commercial.”
“Hold up, here's your mic. I'll go get the contract.”
I ran out and up the hall and into the office. Inside, I went to the file cabinet and got the contract. In a flash, I was back. I was a bit out of breath, but they were shocked, “You're back already!”
“Yeah, it's not that far to the offices.”
“That's got to be five hundred feet each way!”
“Yeah, blame poor design. When we build a new stadium, that office is going to be an elevator ride up from the employee entrance instead of where it sees a corner and some traffic.”
“Is that why it's there?”
“That's my guess. The view of the river is over there. I'd rather look at it.”
“We're back on in three...two...one...”
“We're back with Jake Martin and in that break he just ran to the office some quarter of a mile and got the contract. I'm holding it in my hand and it's a lot smaller than what I'd normally imagine it to be.”
“Me too. There aren't any asset lists in it. As you see on the back page, I get to discount anything missing from anywhere which would normally be as an asset for a property.”
“You got quite a bit of real estate with the purchase price.”
“Yeah, we basicly own this plaza and several blocks around. The city and I've got to have a talk about it for when we build the new stadium because of it's size compared to this. I'll probably need all that space for the new one.”
“Yeah, we want a mall, shopping, theaters, lots more merchandising space, arts, and leisure. It'll probably cost a billion dollars, but it's sure going to be better apt to be used by the citizens of the city instead of this building.”
“What's your goal there?”
“My goal is to not waste money heating a place like this. This building is open twenty four seven and it's only used for games once a week, or so. With the new one, it'll be open and used every day and hopefully, the stadium will make it so we can have field and track events as well as a lot of other events.”
“You have that sort of money?”
“Yeah, you gotta demonstrate you've got it in order to buy and you don't need the money if you get a loan. I got that promissory note for thirty days, but didn't need to get it. When it's time, I'll have the money stacked to get everything built and you'll see it's done debt free.”
“A lot of it is sponsorships. It's amazing at how companies will write stuff off...just to get mentions. I'll certainly hold my hand out to get some.
By the way, if you want me to endorse your products, give me a yell. I'll do everything except feminine hygiene products, so don't be afraid to put my face on your product. I can't imagine my face being there.”
I looked over and the announcer was choking on laughter.
“Folks, I'll keep talking, he's about to lose it.”
He fell out of his chair laughing. His guffaws were loud and uproariously funny. He got up and said, “Jake, your honesty and freshness is what we need.”
“What are you looking for in product promotion?”
“Anything really. What I do want to state is I want a long term contract...like fifteen years. I'm playing here for that long at least and I expect to give a company my endorsement for that long.
I'd rather have that than having me worried out on the field about my Sprint contract coming do and them shutting off my phone. That's not happening since I own a lot of that company, but it was used as an example.”
“You own a lot of the company?”
“Yeah, well, it's a lot but not gobs. Gobs is way more than a lot. A lot is ten percent, so when you're signing checks folks, look at ten percent of it going to me. I'll sure smile in thanks.”
“Yeah, it pays real well.”
“Yeah, and I managed to sneak in a Sprint commercial, so you know I'm good! So if you want your product promoted, I'm your guy!”
He laughed, “What's your goal overall.”
“My goal is to have Akron love me and know I'm here to love her right back. She's the only girl for me, but there's a lot of guys in it. Other than that, I'll tell you I want product promotion to the point when 'name whore' gets put in the dictionary, I'm there proudly smiling next to the definition.”
He laughed again real long. “You'll get it. You have more phrases than I've ever heard kid.”
“That's me from Moberly, Missouri. Over there, they've got a lot of sayings. A lot of great people and a lot of great teachers in their schools...I'll take those A's now ya'll!”
He chuckled, “So you're still in school?”
“For now. I'm trying to work around it, but the Angels are priority and Akron is my gal. If I gotta move this direction, I'll do it, but only after football season back there. Now all I need is to have Jordan call and I'd have a back up quarterback.”
“He's a real nice guy. His family is great too, I hear.
He was offered the position, but his family got afraid because of their coach. Their coach beat him up because he spoke to me and that's it. It's bad because his family chose to believe that lying child molesting coach instead of Grant when he went to recruit him. He got given my number before he went home, so I hope he calls.”
“You like him?”
“Nice guy. I gotta boyfriend, and hey, I don't even know if he'd go that way. Just the same, I don't cheat on anyone.”
“Good to know.”
“Well, your guy is holding up his hand saying we got five minutes until the game. I'm sure you got a commercial or three, but I'd sell that beer if they wanted me to...I mean, I'm too young, but I'll play football with a Clydesdale, or ride one in a commercial.”
“You'll probably get lots of calls.”
“Let's hope. That'd be fun.”
The camera switched and did close ups of him. A guy came over and took the mic off. I took the contract and ran back up the hall. I put it back in the files, and then ran down the hall and on the elevator on down to the basement where I went into the locker room.
Grant turned and said, “Where have you been!”
“Up doing interviews with the pre-game show.”
“Oh, did it go ok?”
My phone rang in my hand. “Hello?”
“This is Jordan. My parents want to know if you still want me?”
“Yeah, get to the airport. Bring them and be ready to play. The jet's waiting.”
“Yeah, we'll talk after the game.”
“You'll be here in time for either third or fourth quarter, so get a move on.”
“Thanks, we'll be there.”
I hung up and smiled at Grant. “He's on his way.”
“Yeah, now that was hyping from hell. I made that pre-game show a long drawn out commercial to get him.”
“He's on his way?”
“With his parents.”
Rob came over and said, “Get your jersey off.”
I leaned over and he pulled. It came off and then we pulled my pants off and my shoulder pads.
“You don't have time for tights!” Grant yelled.
“I do too. Heck, it don't take that long.”
Rob handed me tights and I kicked off shoes. I shucked jock, pads and everything and sat on a bench to get the tights on. With Rob's help, they were easy.
Getting back into the pads were fast. The uniform pants going over was a bit of a chore, but once they were on, I had my shoes back on in a flash.
He smiled and said, “I'll carry your pads and top.”
“Thanks. Give me a kiss.”
We kissed and Grant said, “Time to hit the field.”
We went out and as we were exiting the tunnel, we were getting filmed. Out on the field, I ran to the end and Grant yelled to the camera man, “Film him!”
He held up his thumb and I went into flip after flip all the way down. At the end, I picked up the ball and threw it to the other end's uprights. It netted and that's when I went to back flip after back flip to the center of the field. I turned and leaned over. Rob put my pads on and I stood up. He looked into my eyes and said, “I love you.”
“I love you too babe.”
He helped me with my jersey and we got me in order. Once my helmet was on, I realized the roar of the crowd. I turned to Rob and asked, “Has it been this loud?”
“I just now noticed.”
We went out and 'the Boys' stage rolled out. Our guys lined up and did the helmet salute. When 'the Boys' began singing, the crowd went into a huge roar and us on our team down on one knee...we were lined up one man for every five yards.
After 'the Boys' were done singing, the crowd roared again for quite some time and their stage folded itself up and rolled to the end again. We went out and did the coin flip and we got the punt. I ran off the field and stood to the side by Grant.
“Kiddo, be prepared for anything.”
“I am. It's going to be easy.”
“I saw it all. Chris is getting first one as he showed me how to throw.”
“Good looking out.”
“With my career, it's going to be a good trivia question.”
“No, I can't even hear this crowd.”
“Maybe it's this helmet, but to me, it doesn't even sound as loud as Moberly.”
“Good, less distraction.”
Our defense had them pinned in no time. When it was time to go out, I looked over at Bake. “You be prepared to run!”
I said it loud on purpose so it'd be heard by Tampa. They took the bait. When the ball was hiked, our guys hit low and it was apparent most of their line wasn't expecting it.
I ran back and saw Chris moving out forward. He cleared his guy and his guy turned towards me. I looked left to right and then back at Chris. He had about twenty seven left when he turned and I threw it and did the hawk screech.
The crowd roared and Chris caught it perfectly. I ran towards the side and the roar soon went to a fever pitch when he went into the endzone. Chills went up my arms, and I went off the field.
Grant was smiling and said, “Good job!”
I ran over to the bench and stood on it. I took my helmet off and waved to the crowd with it. The roar went up again.
Chris came over and hugged me, he took off his helmet and hugged me again. Tears were streaming down his face and said, “I love you bro.”
“Did you look at the clock?”
“Yeah, it's dead on.”
“Great. That means we're rich.”
“You think of that at a time like this?!”
“Yeah, you're safely in the history books and so am I. What the hell else is there to worry about?”
“Nope, not paid enough, but greedy just doesn't fit there.”
“There's no feeling like it.”
“I know. Now we gotta get one for the other guys.”
“Bake is after him and then me. DJ is after him and then, we have you again, but you step out.”
“Yeah, I forgot.”
“It gives us a little controversy. It makes it good to pull our fans with the team thinking we got fucked. Just remember to do a good job acting.”
“I'll do that.”
I spit out my mouthpiece and said, “Now I can speak without lip readers figuring out what I'm saying.”
“Jeez, you think they'd do that?”
“In a heartbeat. We need to hire them ourselves.”
All in all, the game after that went exactly as it was planned. When DJ got his black eye, I was over to him in a flash. I saw the hit which hit him and I would'a sworn his head was knocked off.
He lay there and his hands were on his face. I knelt over him and then Grant showed, DJ smiled and said, “I'm ok, how's it look?”
“Damn man, it looks like your face was in a train wreck!”
“Good! Let me walk off and show the crowd.”
“Go stand on the bench.”
He ran to the bench and stood. When he waved his helmet, the crowd roared again. Until then, I hadn't paid attention to how packed the stands were.
When he came off the bench, I said, “Get a load of how full these stands are!”
“You never noticed until now?”
“That's the first thing I noticed. The noise is deafening.”
“My helmet must have good sound blocking in it.”
“When it's off, it sounds loud. When it's on, it sounds quieter than Moberly.”
“Oh man, that'd be nice.”
“I'll get it for you guys.”
By the time Chris' step out happened, we were at a fever pitch with the crowd. His step out happened and him running it on in was once again deafening. When he got called on the step out, he came over and said, “Man, they gonna do that!”
“Son of a bitch man!”
“You gotta say that to the cameras dude. They gotta feel your pain.”
“Let's get up here and get these fuckers”
We went on up and went our into our fourth down and lost it.
When we went off the field, our guys were all hugging. I hugged with my helmet off and then went over to the bench and stood on it. I put my hand to my ear and pointed to the score board. The crowd who was watching me gave a huge roar and then, it went up to fever pitch. We'd intercepted and had just taken it in. I looked at the score and saw the forty one to six.
Chris came over smiling and said, “One point.”
“Pray he gets it.”
“He will. He was saying how easy it was to kick here.”
We watched and saw the ball go through. We hugged and instantly, I was back on the bench holding my hand to my ear and pointing at the score board.
I hadn't realized it, but the tears were already streaming down my face. Someone got the shot of me smiling, crying, and the scoreboard in the background. It's still on my wall at home today.
At the end of the game, the place was pandemonium. The crowd rushed the field and Grant yelled, “To the locker room!”
I made it about six steps when a bunch of guys all lifted me high. I was surfing them and had no choice. I began signing autographs and somewhere in the mess, my helmet disappeared.
By the time I was able to get to the edge, I'd already signed a hundred or so autographs and thought I was going to have to do it until midnight. Someone shoved a microphone in my face and asked, “Jake, how's it feel!”
“It feels like a billion dollar day! Akron, I love you!”
“You do realize your team just beat some terrific odds.”
“I feel bad for Chris. He got robbed, but that's the way it goes. I guess he stepped out.”
“It's by the smallest of errors.”
“Well, if it's able to be seen, they got us dead to rights. How was the rest of the game?”
“Amazing! I think this is the most excited we've ever seen your crowd.”
“As long as they don't go out and riot, I'll be fine. I understand their jubilation, but you do realize we've got some FANtastic Fans.”
“Anything else you'd like to say?”
“Yeah, Mr and Mrs O, I love you and IHOP next Saturday for sure.”
“Who are Mr and Mrs O everyone refers to?”
“Oh, they're Coach Oberling's parents back in Moberly. He's my guardian, so they're just like my bestest grandparents after my grandma. We eat breakfast together at IHOP each Saturday and they make it special for me.”
“You'll not be practicing Saturday?”
“Probably in the afternoon, but given the choice of them or not, I'll choose them each time. Besides, keeping my word to them is what matters.”
“Jake, you're player of the game, how's that feel?”
“They do that?”
“Yeah, I think you're going to be voted player of the week.”
“What's that pay?”
He laughed, “You get a nice check to give to the charity of your choice.”
“Anything with disabled children. How about the Special Olympics. That'd be nice.”
“You gotta be voted yet, but that'd be real nice.”
“Well, I really need to get to a whirlpool with my name on it, besides, these tights are just about to castrate me.”
He laughed, “You wear tights!”
“Yeah, it keeps everything close instead of all over the place, plus it keeps hands which pinch and squeeze from grabbing and twisting. You know these big guys give huge indian burns to your legs when they get you down.”
“I didn't know that?”
“It's all about intimidation. Fortunately, they didn't get to intimidate me too much today.”
“They sure didn't.”
“By the way, Danskin, your tights are great.”
I turned and went down the tunnel to the locker room. Inside, I had already removed my jersey and was removing my pads when someone came up and put a microphone in my face.
“Jake, could we get a few words with you?”
“Sure, keep the camera neck up because I'm getting naked from the neck down.”
“How do you feel knowing you guys turned the team around?”
“I feel great. It was a group effort from a lot of our entire team.”
“You're voted player of the game, how does that feel?”
“It feels great. I'm glad to hear it, but the real player of the game would be our coach or Chris. Both of them did tremendous jobs.”
“Is it true your coach and you are romanticly involved?”
“It's not true. Rob and I are. Grant is my guardian. I love him, but Rob gets greater devotion. I know who started that rumor and he's a child molesting coach back in Missouri.”
“Care to elaborate?”
“He knows who he is and if his school system sees fit to keep him on after what he's done to his team, that whole town ought to go out and lynch him.”
“You're not elaborating.”
“Let me say this on the record. The man was caught on film beating up a player. He was caught on film calling them names which if a politician did it, he'd be voted out real fast.
That's all on the record, but when it comes to name calling, he wants to throw things out which are unfounded and untrue. IF he'd like to do it in a public forum, I'd really appreciate it so I can get my lawyer to level of a suit which would make him regret his words.”
“You won't elaborate anymore than that.”
“No, the message was conveyed and I'll elaborate more if he chooses to put his life's work where his mouth is. When that happens, I'll certainly be happy to sue to get it. And yes, just like this game today, I'd be considered an underdog, but I'd come out on top.”
“Las Vegas is stunned by the odds you overcame.”
“I imagine. Maybe next time they'll listen to me when I tell them I'm going to win.”
I pulled off my tights and hung them up. They were caught in the camera shot.
“You wear tights?”
“Yeah, cool huh?”
“Joe Namath wore pantyhose.”
“Tights breath and are cotton. They absorb sweat whereas pantyhose makes zits, you see?”
The cameraman lowered the camera and I said, “Man, let me know when you're giving the world free shots! I might wanna pose some day for Playgirl and you're giving away the goods!”
“Jeesh kid, that all you!”
“It was, but now it decided it's gotta pack and get home.”
I grabbed my towel and wrapped it around me. “Unless you wanna see the showers, that's where I'm heading.”
“Thanks for the interview Jake.”
I walked off and smiled a bit.
Grant came over and said, “They were live and that damned man just got your pecker in the shot!”
“Well, his problem.”
“Oh yeah, you being underage and him doing that wasn't cool at all.”
“Don't sue 'em.”
“I'm not, but they sure probably made everyone glad they were recording with VCR's.”
“Man, I probably got a famous dick now!”
“You going to be in the whirlpool?”
“I'm taking my shower and then getting in. Then, I'll take a great massage. Do we have a sauna?”
“The new stadium will.”
“I'll meet you at the whirlpool.”
In the shower, everyone was patting asses. Chris came over smiling. “Thanks bud.”
“No problem. Where's Rob?”
“Already dressed and out of here.”
“I'll have to call him. Was he upset?”
“Nah, said he had business pressing.”
We showered and headed to the whirlpools. I got in mine and sank to my neck. When it kicked on, the world went into a nice quiet realm. After fifteen minutes, I was back out and laying on the massage table. The masseuse pounded me and got me to total relaxation. Afterwards, I grabbed my phone and dialed Rob
“Hi, Danoza is pissed, but he said he'd have it all here on Tuesday.”
“Ok, I'll make a call to insure he does.”
“You calling out there?”
“Not yet, I'll call Dan and get him to call.”
“Ok, how are you?”
“Tired, relaxed, and happy.”
“Me too. I think we need to get to the mansion and sleep.”
“I'm not sure what we've got over there.”
“Me neither, where's Jan?”
“No idea. I'll find her.”
“We need her with her own phone.”
“Well, I'll see you in a few.”
“Great. I'll be here in the locker room. Did I mention I got the most famous pecker on television?”
“They were doing a locker room interview and I warned him I was going to get naked from the neck down so they should keep it from the neck up. Well, the camera man kind of got enamored with my schlong and pointed the camera down.”
“Yeah, it was live and I guess Grant had a phone call before they left the locker room. He was over asking me if I wanted to sue. I said no.”
“I don't blame ya.”
“It's sorta cool. I'm glad I hadn't been cold.”
“I'll see ya in a moment.”
I hung up and called Dan. “Dan?”
“We won, you wanna call him?”
“Sure. You know you got us rich, don't you?”
“Yeah, he should be rich too. How are you doing?”
“It's a mess. The clean up is going to be terrible. We got it all out of there and now all we need to do is to get the tank apart.”
“How's that going to get out?”
“We gotta lift the roof there and lift it out. It's going to be expensive.”
“You have quite a bit of money to work with here.”
“We'll talk about that. When are you all coming back?”
“The team is coming back tonight. I'm staying here and doing interviews. Are you at home?”
“Did you record it on your VCR?”
“I wanna copy...especially of the interview afterward.”
“They had it live and interviewed me in the locker room. I got naked and the camera man sort of did a body shot of me showing me in all my glory. I've got the most famous pecker in the country now!”
“Oh man, they're in trouble.”
“Probably, but I bet that's not an instant replay!”
“It probably is, but it's probably getting everyone to wearing out the tapes.”
“They'll swear I run so fast because I got three legs.”
He laughed, “How's Deej?”
“Wonderful, he got hit hard and that black eye looks like a train hit his face, but he's lucky it wasn't a broken neck. The way his head went back, I was worried.”
“I'm not sure. He either hit higher than he intended, or something, but it'll be on instant replays.”
My phone beeped. “Let me call you back. Someone's trying to call me.”
“Ok, thanks for calling.”
I hung up and answered, “Hello?”
“Kiddo, you're loaded.”
“Hi Jimmy, you're loaded too!”
“Only us for that much. I nearly had heart failure on that one.”
“It was awesome wasn't it.”
“Kid, they had your interview up on the big big screen here afterwards when they did that cock shot. You should have heard this place. It was like they held their breath and everyone went, 'Son of a bitch that kid's hung!”
“Bullshit, I saw it and I'm not queer. That's just too fuckin' much!”
“My dad was longer.”
“Sheesh. He had to be part stallion.”
“No, but he was better lookin' than me.”
“I doubt that too. Everyone is saying you gotta be the most famous kid in the world right now.”
“Was that before or after they showed my pecker?”
He chuckled, “That was before. That shot there easily talked all the rest into it.”
“Did I get player of the week?”
“I don't know, but could you imagine if we'd bet on that?”
“I never thought about it.”
“Do you want me to bring your dough out there?”
“Nah, do you guys have a place to put it out there until I get the contract on a new stadium?”
“I'll find a place.”
“See what you can find on this former owner, I want him watched because the guy bet me the team and all his worldly possessions on the same bet.”
“Yeah, I bet a bunch of stock to him putting the team and all his worldly goods including his clothes. He says he'll pay on Tuesday and walk out of here naked and hail a cab. I wanna make sure he doesn't ditch assets and screw me.”
“Let me make some calls. I'll see he doesn't, and I'll see he doesn't have any takers if he tries.”
“I appreciate it.”
“You scored like a bandit today, didn't you?”
“Well, it couldn't have happened to a nicer kid. I'm sure the rest of the country was just as happy. You had that one announcer crying when you stood up there crying and smiling.”
“Yeah, I think a lot of us were. We were so happy for you.”
“You gotta helluva career, your throwing was just out of this world. I know this place groaned when they saw you do those flips and that first throw. Then when you did those back flips, they were already throwing down their slips.”
“Well, I told them in the pre-game show we were good.”
“You did, I was worried there, but you were great. You had this place in stitches.”
“Yeah, I know one old timer spit out his drink when you said that one.”
“That man said they bleeped what you said, but he didn't.
These people out here said you were more than honest about that contract and were all saying that man gave away the team with that contract. You saying what you did showed us you really knew the loopholes. Your lawyer probably has the world calling him tomorrow.”
“It'd be nice. My lover is going to be a junior partner in the firm when we get him studied up on the law.”
“You studying with him?”
“Yeah, we're going to take it together. I won't be a lawyer, but I'll certainly be good with my contracts.”
“You weeded out the idiots. I'm proud of you on that. If their lawyers fight you after what you said, they ARE idiots.”
“I think so.”
“I'm seeing on the screen the mayor there is already saying you're getting the key to the city?”
“What's that open?”
“Nothing, it's symbolic. It tells you that you've got the city's heart.”
“Good, I like it here.”
“It's pretty there.”
“Well, I've gotta get off here. I'm about to fall asleep. I'm laying on the massage table.”
“Oh, well, give me a call and stay in touch.”
“I'll do that. Once again, I appreciate everything.”
I hung up and looked over
“Yeah bud, are you?”
“Yeah, I'm relaxed. I gotta get up from here and don't wanna.”
“Your face looks terrible.”
“How'd it happen?”
“He shoulder pad flipped on my face. How it got into my helmet, I don't know, but that's what got me.”
“Man! I saw your head snap back and I thought you'd broken your neck.”
“Yeah, you'll probably be real stiff tomorrow.”
“Hopefully, this massage and that whirlpool will relax me out of it.”
“The new stadium is getting a sauna. If we had one here, you'd really know relaxed.”
Grant came over, “Jake, we gotta talk.”
“The network. They're wanting to speak with you about that camera shot.”
“Huh? I didn't do it!”
“They're afraid you're going to sue.”
“What the hell for?”
“They wanna beg you not to sue.”
“Tell them to not worry about it.”
“I did, but they got a guy flying in to speak with you.”
“You sure he don't wanna see the goods?”
“Yeah, they're worried because you're underage and they know you've got a lawyer and lots of money.”
“Man, why don't they just listen?”
“That's the way they are.”
“Did Jordan get here?”
“The fucking airport had them circling up there.”
“Man! Did he make it ok?”
“His parents and he are out in the other room.”
“Oh, I guess I oughta get up and go speak with them.”
“On his way down.”
“Ok, you handle that other?”
“I just spoke with him on the phone. They're going to keep it on account out there. I imagine there's enough there I probably own the casino.”
“If not, you should.”
“They said they had it on the big big screen when that shot got made. He said the whole place is envious now.”
“Well think about it. We now know of a way to get people's minds off the game when we really screw up now.”
He chuckled, “I'd say the network is going to never do a locker room shot again.”
“Who was that interviewer?”
“The guy talking with you?”
“He looked familiar.”
“His brother does the morning show during the week.”
“Oh, that's cool.”
“Well, get up and let's go into the other room.”
“Alright, I gotta get dressed.”
I got up and went to get dressed. I changed into 501's and a button down which I folded up my sleeves. I left it unbuttoned down two on purpose because it looked cooler that way.
When I got on my shoes, Rob came in. “The network brass called up there, they're sending down their President to beg your forgiveness.”
“Ok, but I'm not worried.”
“I know, but they are.”
“We gotta go into the next room with Grant. You ready?”
“His parents are here. We gotta assure them we're ok with their baby.”
“Nah, their coach caused this. Now it's up to us to get it settled.”
“What are we offering him?”
“Same as everyone else. He'll make thirty five grand plus bonuses. The bonus this week is us splitting that cable company's sale price amongst everyone else.”
“That could be a lot!”
“Yeah, but they're worth it. Besides, we'll have that same share.”
“Did you talk with that man out there?”
“Yeah, it's on account out there for us to take when we want it. Until then, it'll draw interest.”
“The mayor is giving us the key to the city sometime.”
“Yeah, I guess they think we're good for their image.”
“Man! That's going to be nice.”
“Do you wanna fly home on the 747 or the little jet?”
“The little jet, the 747 won't land there.”
“Oh, why not?”
“The runway isn't big enough. I already checked.”
“Damn. We'll probably have to make two trips.”
“Probably. I think we'll have the city out there to greet us when we get home.”
“I gotta stay here. I'll have interviews and all sorts of stuff.”
“Oh man. I hate that, we'll be split up again.”
“Hon, see if you can fly home on the second load. It'd give us some time together.”
We went into the press room . Instantly, I saw Jordan. I smiled. “Hello!”
I turned and said, “Hi Mr and Mrs Samuels, it's a pleasure to meet you. My name is Chad Martin and this is Rob Musselman. We're the owners of the Angels.”
Mr Samuels shook our hands, but Mrs Samuels withdrew hers. I looked at Rob and said, “Strike one.”
Deciding to pursue it further, I said, “Mr and Mrs Samuels, we asked Jordan to play for our team over here because we think he's good enough.”
“Will he get top billing?”
“No ma'am, I'm in that slot. I do promise he'll be my relief if he's chosen.”
“Then there's no reason we need to speak.”
I turned to Rob and said, “Strike two.” I then turned to Jordan and said, “Jordan, perhaps you'd like to tell your parents what was discussed in Moberly. You might go into detail about being assaulted by your coach.”
“That didn't happen!” Mrs Samuels yelled.
“Ma'am, that's strike three.
Personally, I don't care now whether Jordan plays on our team or not. Rob's not said his comments, but I'm going to remain calm and tell you you're full of shit. I'll also tell you when that assault comes to trial, you're going to see video of it happening and about a hundred photos of it happening because I had that many cameramen lined up.
Coach Bringer assaulted your son verbally and physically. He attempted to demean your son by trying to say it wasn't anything.
IF I beat you and threw you onto a bus which you didn't want to go on, that'd be kidnapping. IF I turned around and then said I was entitled to hit you, that'd be stupid. IF your son and your husband chose not to believe it because a man who did that assault contacted you and told you he didn't do it, they'd be fools.
Your son obviously has told you it happened. Your press over there has obviously shown it happening and I'm sure you've had some press asking you your opinion on it. IF you demeaned your son by siding with that monster, then your opinion abused your son. It's that simple.
Obviously, I don't give a shit if he plays for our team now, or not. Obviously, I'll tell you now I'm going to sue the shit out of John Bringer for his statements about me being sexually assaulted by Grant Oberling. I chose the higher ground and offered Jordan the position because I thought better of your family than I did of Mr Bringer's. I'm sorry to have wasted your time.”
I stood up and said, “Jordan, I'll get you a check for the thirty five thousand I promised. It'll be in your name since I wouldn't give your family a fucking dime of it. You didn't play, but it is your time, however if you cash the check, your chances of amateur play are over. It's your choice.”
Rob said, “Mr Samuels, you shook hands with us. I think you can have an effect on this situation. I'll tell you now if that refused handshake was about us being gay, we withdraw our offer. If it wasn't, then you find the reason and you let us know. I'm going to leave the room and let you discuss it amongst yourselves.”
Rob stood up and said, “If Jordan plays and goes pro, will he be on the second string forever?”
“No sir, he'll have times when he'll play quite a bit. I'll also tell you his chances of being traded onto another team would be better and his chances would increase significantly. With us, his foot is in the door. Without us, you get to go through the try outs they have and see if Jordan can pass muster.”
Rob came over and said, “Come on.”
We went through the door and Rob said, “Jake, you let your feelings ride too close to the top.”
“No, I don't bullshit people. You know as well as I my verbalizing those strikes were warnings to them I wasn't going to let it continue.”
“Holding his parent's opinions against him?”
“I did you. You might've wanted to ride with me, but ultimately, he's underage and you were. IF we've got to wait until he's above age, I'll have someone else on the team.”
“Why do you want him?”
“I see he and Grant together.”
“Is that the only reason?”
“He can play but not many are even going to consider playing second to me.”
“True, but why him?”
“He's an option which gets us a backup without the pay we have to do right now. We're blocked by buying talent and have to work around it. That's our only recourse.”
“Ok, what now?”
“We go and get him a check written on behalf of the organization. We pull the shot like we called it and let them see if they want to play ball, or not. Right now, I don't rightly care.”
“So, you'd deny Grant's happiness over his parents?”
“We're gay and they're bigots. That was strike one. Strike two is we're liars, as is their son. They'd choose to ride with a coach instead of their son's abuse and we're not even going into what happened out at that drive in.”
“Let's go back in. I want to get into what happened at that drive in.”
We went back in and sat down. Rob said, “Mr and Mrs Samuels, we're going to be a bit honest here. Jake here can touch a person and get their past, present, and future.
He saw what was about to happen to Jordan and he had the press there to photograph it so it'd get your coach fired. He also saw Jordan getting bump played in his vehicle by this team members and them attempting to kill him. He saw what happened and he chose to intervene.”
“But he didn't get hurt!”
“No and that's because Jake called some people over there and got them there. He knew Jordan was going down into the drive in and they chose to set up an ambush for the people chasing him. They did that and those guys were too busy having their vehicles threatened and damaged to inflict anything on your son.”
“So it was you guys who saved me?”
I turned to Jordan, “It was members of the taxi cab company over there. You noticed taxis at the entrance and the exit and you probably weren't aware of anyone else who was out at that hour. They are and they were believing Jake could see the future, why else would they have been there?”
Mr Samuels said, “Jordan's truck had a crushed bumper. Coach Bringer called and said it was because Jordan got upset with his players and one of the boy's dad was going to be suing us for damages.”
“Well, when that happens, I'll hire the lawyer and represent you guys. When it happens, they're going to have a lot of witnesses who will come forward to see them at that drive in.
When it happens, I'll have the burden of proof on them instead of Jordan, so you can safely bet we'll win in court. Did Jordan explain to you what happened?”
“Yes, but it was his word against all the others.”
“Sir, you owe him an apology. I can't even imagine what he must feel knowing the people who are supposed to protect him let him down.”
Rob shot me a glance and I looked away.
Mr Samuels said, “Jordan, I'm sorry.”
“That's ok dad. I didn't even know who the other people were.”
I said, “Folks, your coach is the biggest source of the problems on that team. IF you think Jordan will be playing on that team without problems and threats to his physical well being, you're nuts. Well, you'd probably believe that since you'd rather put your son into danger than believe he's right.”
I turned to Jordan and said, “I'll cut you a check. My advice it to cash it since your days with your team are about over. At least let the last few days you're probably alive be happy ones.”
“How dare you!” Mrs Samuels yelled,
“How dare you lady! Your son has approximately fifty witnesses and tons of video and photographic proof and we're all liars.
Mr Bringer routinely yells, curses, and screams at your son and you call that sportsmanship? He bullies, hits, and nearly kills your son and you choose to believe him. I'm sorry, but had a coach touched me, I'd have all sorts of people coming out of the woodwork and stomping the man's ass.”
“Your coach has sex with you!”
“Ma'am, who said that? Coach Bringer? And you believe him?
Well, I'll tell you this. The night my grandma was killed, Grant Oberling slept in the same bed as me. He held me and comforted me because I got the privilege of seeing my grandma laying in a pool of blood and apprehending the men responsible. I got to get there in time to catch them, but not stop them. You think about that and you think about trying to sleep afterwards. IF you don't need someone to hold you, you're more stronger than me.
In nights since, I've had a lot of stress, night visits from the dead, and problems with people trying to put me in a home, question my sanity, and take all my inheritance. Grant Oberling was there to help me and counsel me. IF that's being molested, then how many times have you two done the same for your son?
I'm suing Mr Bringer because of his words stating that I was molested by Grant. I'll tell you sex didn't happen in that bed. I'll swear it on a Bible and I'll testify convincingly in court. You best believe when I'm done, Mr Bringer will lose the case.”
Mr Samuels asked, “Do you deny your coach is gay?”
“I'm not confirming or denying it. Who he sleeps with his his own business and who he makes love to is also. It wasn't a part of him taking me as his ward and my sexuality wasn't a part of his prerequisites either. IF you would rather see your son become a ward of the state and have all his worldly goods and yours sold at auction instead of having someone step in and protect him, mentor him, and love him, then you two have issues. Grant Oberling did that for me, and I'm not going to deny that.”
Rob said, “I think it's down to a question. Ultimately, in my opinion, it's down to one question. Do you folks think playing on a team where the owners are gay and in a relationship is going to be something you'd not want?”
I interrupted, “You need to add this because all those players in there are expected to do the same. IF you can't do an interview where we're not a team and we're not supportive of each other, then I'll tell you now Jordan will be sent packing. It takes a group effort to build a team and this isn't about individuals.”
Rob nodded and said, “I completely agree. That needs to be said.”
“What will he make?”
“That's up to Jordan. IF he wants to sign on, then he abides by terms of the contract. IF he chooses to go contractless, then it's a different set of circumstances.”
“What's that mean?”
“Mrs Samuels, I am working without a contract. I do so because playing on my high school team means something to me.
Because I play without a contract, I make the same without taxes taken out....thirty five thousand a week. In that, the team markets and promotes me and I get the full benefit of those profits. I don't have to pay management fees and I don't have to pay lawyer fees and so on and so forth.”
“How much could that be?”
I turned, “Jordan, come here.”
He came over and I said, “I need to see.”
I put my hands on his temples and said, “Ok, the merchandising is going to average a hundred and sixty thousand a week. The pay will be around sixty thousand and that will be until he's signed to a contract next season.
At that time, he'll sign on for five million for a year to year arrangement, but because you folks insisted upon a lawyer, manager, and agent, his net proceeds are around a hundred thousand a game. Because of that, he had to pay for his own merchandising and that was around seven thousand a week.”
“Why don't you handle merchandising after that?”
“Here's the reason. In our sport, sometimes the team promotes better left alone. If too many people stir the kettle and want to slice the pie, then the team has no incentive to push anything.
I'll gladly show you what I've got planned to push him, but in the end, the decision is ultimately you guys.”
“You just don't want him to compete against you!”
“Angie, please, you're not helping Jordan here. Quite frankly, I think these guys are about to wash their hands of us and when it happens, I can't say it's because of anything Jordan has done.”
I said, “Sir, would you please walk with me? I'll show you what we're offering, but you're quite correct, the interview was over and only because Rob and I know Jordan is vital to our team and has no future in football after this meeting do we even try.”
I stood up and said, “Jordan, leave Rob with your mom and go out onto the field. I think you'll be impressed. Your dad and I will come after you in a moment.”
“Mr Samuels.” I stood up and motioned towards the door
We went out it and up the hallway. I said, “Sir, I'm not trying to be a hard ass here. I think his best interests would be better served if you see what we're offering and then leave it to you.
If we have to count on your wife, what I just told you will be what he receives.”
We went up and I went into the merchandise counter. Dolly was standing there, “Hey hon!”
“Hi, how was it?”
“We sold like you wouldn't believe. I can't believe the sales we had. I sent drawers of ten thousand down so often I lost count.”
“Good, how are we doing on stock?”
“People are begging for your jersey. My suggestion is for you to order ten times what you're planning on ordering because you'll definitely sell them.”
“This here is Mr Samuels. His son is the back up quarterback if we can get him hired.”
“You've not mentioned him.”
“Remember the quarterback from Hannibal the other night?”
“How's he doing after his problems?”
“He's doing fine. His mom refuses to believe he was assaulted and called names.”
“He's Jordan's father.”
“Do you think your son didn't get assaulted?”
“I don't know what to think.”
She turned to me and said, “Get him away from me. I'll lay the bastard on his ass. If the man can't believe it happened and a witness who saw it happen, then he needs to get the hell away.”
“Ma'am, what did you see?”
“When? When the man was cussing your son loud enough I could hear it across a football field? Or, when I saw your son get struck on the other side of the football field? Or, when I saw him get beaten and lifted by one arm and thrown on a bus he clearly said he didn't want to ride? Because I'll tell you now sir, I saw all that and I heard it with my own ears.”
“You'd testify to that in court?” I asked.
“In a heartbeat and point to that coach as the one who did it all.”
I turned to Mr Samuels and said, “That's not why I brought you here. I brought you here to show you what we sold today was what we had in stock. As you see, since I just bought the team, none of us new guys got to have merchandise pushed.
If you didn't hear her, she said she sent trays full of ten thousand dollars to our safe room so often she lost count. I'll have her call down there and I'm sure we could get a total.”
Dolly looked at me and said, “Is that the number above the phone over there?”
“Yeah, I guess. I know it's not to the offices upstairs.”
“You might want to speak to them, I doubt if they'd tell me.”
“You're merchandise manager. If they don't tell you, we've got problems.”
“Ok, I'll call.”
She went over and dialed. “This is Dolly, do you have a total for me?”
She nodded and said, “Thanks, I'll pass it along to Jake.”
She hung up and said, “Six hundred and seventy six thousand dollars. He said they had odd change, so it's probably someone giving out too many quarters.”
“Ok, did you spy anyone stealing anything?”
“No, they're real honest. I did find one forgetting and doing multiples under the old price, but I imagine it was him being used to memorizing that price in multiples.”
“Ok, great. I'm glad to hear it.”
“Are you going to have new merchandise next time?”
“Absolutely. Be prepared for a several million dollar day.”
She smiled, “I think that'd just be in your jerseys.”
I turned to Mr Samuels and said, “Come on, I want to show you what we've got out front.”
We went out and I saw the perking lot. “Sir, this is our parking lot. Over there is that white building. It's called the mansion, but it's a skyscraper apartment building I own.
All these buildings are mine. Tomorrow, those bars are all getting told to vacate in thirty days. I don't want to have bars when I can put in players merchandise as individual stores and get fans coming to shop and spend time here as a tourist.
Soon, we're going to build a new stadium. It'll be a mall and an arts center as well as ball stadium. It'll have a complete sports complex and will play out to many different events. I'll spend what it takes to get it built because I know the fan who comes here will be more apt to drop more money on our players merchandise.
As you saw, that merchandise in there is only for those without management contracts. I refuse to handle someone else's goods in a store where I pay the rent, heat it, and hire the help. Excuse me, but I'm a little selfish when it comes to that.”
“What's life going to be like here for Jordan if he plays?”
“You've got options. Because he's underage, and because he's got no reasonable hope of playing high school football without being hurt there, I'd tell you to sign him to a contract with us and let us have guardianship of him. He'd be home during the week, but on the weekends, he'd be here and he'd be my backup.”
“Why sign guardianship?”
“To be blunt, if you came with him, I'd be fine. IF I have to deal with your wife, I'll tell you now you can stay in Hannibal and I'll be content in never dealing with her again.”
“That's not a good thing to say.”
“Sir, your wife is a bigot. She clearly doesn't like gays and the only reason she's sitting there now is because she knows the payday is good for your son. She's willing to let him slum with us to get something out of it, but you're failing to realize if I'm paying a paycheck to someone who is viewing me as a hood rat, I'll tell you to go home.
Personally, I don't think you've got anything against gays. You might, but I don't think you do. I think your son will come to you one day and wanna talk, but I think your wife will run him off.”
“What's that mean?”
“Sir, let's speak hypothetically. Let's say I'm your kid and I've got a mom like her and I've got a dad like you.
I see you letting mom be the one who protects the door and I know you're less of a bigot than her. So, when I want to tell you there's not a chance in hell I'm going to date a girl, or marry one, then it's not likely I'll have that talk if mom is there guarding my talking to you like a pit bull. I'll walk out that door and get just as far away from you guys and take my chances I can make it without you.”
“You saying my son's gay?”
“I'm saying if I were your son and I was gay, that's what I'd do. I'm not telling you he's gay, I'm not telling you he's straight. I'm telling you communication with you as your son is non-existent because of your wife. IF that doesn't tell you that you're about to lose him, then you really need to wake up.”
“I'm not getting what you're trying to say.”
“Sir, let me say this as blunt as I can. Do you remember the Flintstones where Fred sets out the milk bottles on the front porch and then sets out Dino. And then Dino goes in and sets Fred out?”
“Well, right now, you and your wife are setting Jordan out on the steps. That's happening and I see it. There's going to come a day when he's going to be out making a life and he's going to have his own house and his own life.
When HE puts things outside, I think you and your wife will probably be put out next to the trash. There's no nice way to say it, but you and your wife's actions have clearly shown you just don't want to believe him and would rather choose to believe everyone else. When I'm telling you things you don't want to hear, you choose not to hear me either.
Well, I'll tell you now, that contract your son signs with those lawyers, managers, and agent taking fifteen percent each of that five million are going to be fucking your son.”
“You would rather us sign away his rights to you!”
“Sir, I'm giving his merchandising on top of that five million. I'm not taking seven hundred and fifty thousand from him three different times. No matter how you slice it, dice it, cut it, chop it, hack it, or mince it, that's two and a quarter million before taxes. After taxes, that's going to be a million seven and that's got to last him for our forty games in that year.
Because your son went that route, he's responsible for his own merchandising. That means those stores over there don't get to display his goods. That booth in there doesn't sell his shit.
You find your own place and you find your own goods and you license my team's logo from me. I'll tell you that patch costs you a dollar and I'll tell you the second it doesn't get put on any of his merchandise, I'll sue the shit out of him.
IF you think I'm planning on using him, then you really need to check the books I've got on my net worth. I'll tell you today I went over a billion dollars and am worth nearly two. I imagine I'm worth that, but it depends upon my stocks having a good day, or a bad day. Five million to me just doesn't amount to a whole helluva lot.”
“Why do you want him?”
“He's a soul in danger. You just don't hear it. I think you'd rather not hear it and then sit there in front of the cameras when he gets killed and tell everyone you just didn't know anything wrong was happening. Well, I'll stand there and call you and your wife a couple of lying bigots.”
“You're saying he's in danger?!”
“Sir, yes. IF you can't hear me saying yes, then you're an idiot. He's going to go to that football practice because you and she tell him to and he's going to be beat to death and stomped to death on that football field. IF you don't believe me, you and she go stand there and watch it happen. I'm sure you two could make up excuses as to why they did it to him after you witnessed it with your own eyes.”
“Because he's gay. Because I stood up for him to that coach and how dare he let someone else get their coach into trouble. It's called a wolf pack mentality and they're the wolves. He's the lone bitch wolf who just got kicked out of the pack. They'd kill him before they let him back in.”
“So he's gay.”
“Yeah, and you're over there thinking he deserves to die. She's down there thinking she's perfect and her son makes her less than perfect because he's gay. I'll tell you to your faces, it's not his fault. He's him and you're you.”
“I can't speak to you.”
“I know that. Have a nice flight. I'll get you tickets because my plane only flies members of my team.”
“You'd not even give us that decency?”
“What decency? You slicing twenty one thousand dollar leather on my sofa in that plane? You fucking up an eighty three thousand dollar toilet? Or, you going back into the bedroom and having your son jack off in that bed so Grant could be accused of molesting him. Well, let me tell you none of those games get played.
You three catch a cab, you three buy your own tickets and wait for the flight to take you to St. Louis, and then you three get your own taxi to Hannibal.”
“I knew this was a waste of time.”
“Sir, your son's getting a check for thirty five grand for not playing in a fucking game! If that's a waste of your time, believe me, I've wasted my time for considerably less per hour.”
I turned and went in. I went to the stadium and said, “Jordan, I'm sorry, but I'm rescinding the offer. Come up to the office with your parents and I'll write you out a check.”
“Your mom is a bigot, and your father is deaf and blind when it comes to hearing things about you. He'd rather not believe than listen to what I just told him.”
“What'd you tell him?”
“Ask him, I'm not going to go into it further.”
“You don't want to give me a chance because of them!”
“Yeah, it's out of my hands.”
He ran up to me and said, “Would you please tell me what you told him?”
“Sure, I'll tell you because you might be able to save your own life.
First of all, I'm paying you for your time today. You're going to go home and they're going to tell you to go to practice and beg them to take you back, or else.
What they don't know is your team is going to kill you out on that field tomorrow night. They're going to beat you and stomp you and as you're dying, your parents are going to be over there watching and realizing I told their stupid asses the truth.”
“Because of me standing up to your coach. It's not even your fault. It's on me, but they're pissed because your parents are going to let them know you guys came out here.”
“Why won't you hire me?”
“Your mom's a bigot. She refuses to accept Rob and I and your team mates being gay and between you and I, she's not going to accept you being gay either.”
“Yeah, but don't try telling your dad because he's got his head shoved so far up her ass, he's strangled each time she takes a step.”
“I could've told you that!”
“Well, I tried to tell him to get him to give you a chance. It's just too much for his little mind to accept. Your mom has just totally shut you out and to be quite honest, she only listens to him when he really puts his foot down.”
“I know, so there's nothing I can do?”
“Go and tell them what you want. Go and tell them the only way I'll hire you on is if you are signed over to Grant's custody and under my management contract.
Tell them you'll come home and get your things and move back out here, but your days of school there are over. Do that, and you'll save your life. If not, then go catch a cab, get a flight, and go home to die. I wish you the best.”
“There's no other alternative?”
“Not that I've seen. I've tried and I've tried, but when I can only deal with a closed minded person, I can't make change.”
“Hang on, let me go tell them.”
“Jordan, tell Rob to leave you three alone. Tell him to tell you guys I'm giving you fifteen minutes to be out of here unless that change is done. IF they do it, then you come back out and I'll get the paperwork for you to sign now...we're not going to let them even be trusted to change their mind later.”
He ran down the tunnel and I turned to see Grant standing there. “Jake, you now know what I went through.”
“Well, they now know I'm at the end of the rope and am willing to let it go. IF he goes Grant, he'll die. I know that. There's no other futures than what I saw.”
“He's boxed in?”
“Those choices are where it's at. No one cares to believe enough to intercede...not even the school superintendent over there.”
Rob came out and said, “Jake, there's only one hope.”
“I know. What happens if you do it?”
“If I do it, they sign him over and lose memory of who he is. He's out of their lives and when they're asked about him, they don't recall him.”
“It has to be that way?”
“Do we have permission to go that far?”
“I don't know. Should we see?”
“Call my grandma here. She'd give us the advice we need on this.”
He turned and said, “Come as we need to seek advice.”
Grandma came and said, “There's no advice to offer. The choice is you two's. The elders know the predicament and they concede both have dire consequences.”
“What's the lesson to be learned?”
“Their lesson refuses to be learned. They dissolved their contract to be here. His contract to be here would be dissolved also since they didn't learn their lesson.”
“If we save him, are we going to have repercussions?”
“His lesson plan would change. It might be for the best.”
“Ok, I'll agree.”
Rob said, “I'll be back. I'm sending Jordan back out here. Call my dad and tell him we need those papers signed.”
Grandma held out her hand and a sheaf of papers fluttered to the ground. “They're signed, notarized, and through the court. Do what you need to do.”
“Thank you grandma.”
“You're learning your own lessons.”
“I love you.”
She disappeared and Grant said, “I'm his guardian?”
“It lists an address here.”
“Your coach's house.”
“What if I don't want to live here?”
“Then leave him here and let him go to school here.”
“I don't appreciate not being asked.”
“Grant, hang on a second, I'll get the paperwork changed over to Jan being his guardian. You know why he's here, so I guess that's not good enough for you anymore. One of these days, God's going to slap the shit out of you for spittin' in his eye.”
I turned around and said, “See if that paperwork has changed. If it has, then you got your answer. If not, then deal with it.”
He looked at it and said, “It's the same....hang on, it lists you as his guardian. It's got me as his care giver.”
“Ok, so it changed. Obviously they knew you were about to pull your old tricks.”
“You don't trust me at all.”
“When people trust you, they get burned. I just saw you stoking the fires. Excuse me if I called you on it. Give me those papers.”
He slapped them into my hand. I took them and saw Jordan coming out of the tunnel. “What's up?”
“Come on. Things are changing.”
“What's that mean?”
“In a moment, things are going to change and you'll see how they're changing.”
Grant came over and said, “You're messing with things you shouldn't be.”
“Grant, to you, he's nothing but your back up quarterback. Don't you worry yourself, your standing on the paper doesn't have legal precedence.”
“I feel responsible.”
“You might feel with your hand, but you sure didn't with your heart. Now it doesn't matter.”
“Do you two always argue like this?”
“We'll get along better when I know I can trust him. Right now, he's just stirring the emotional abuse he's caused.”
Grant's eyes flared. He turned around and said, “Let me know when the plane is going back.”
“I'm sure the guys are ready to take the first load now.”
“Is his parents going back on it?”
“You can be really selfish, you know that?”
“I know that's a team plane and they're not going to be on it to hate anyone.”
Jordan said, “Can I go see where I'm going to stay?”
“In a moment. Rob will be out.”
About five minutes later, Rob came out. “Jordan, you ready to go see where you're staying?”
“Rob, things have changed up here.”
“I'm not staying with you!”
“Yeah, you're staying with me.”
Rob nodded and said, “What happened?”
“Grant did his do.”
We went into the tunnel and up to the first floor. On the way across the parking lot, I saw Jordan's parents catching a taxi. He never looked and Rob didn't act like he even noticed.
“Do you have the keys to the unit over there?”
“I've got my key. You've got keys also.”
“I don't have any keys.”
“They're on the key ring you were given.”
“Does Jordan get a key?”
“We'll get him one.”
We went in and the door man held the door open for us. “Good evening gentlemen, welcome home.”
I paused, “What's your name?”
“Nice meeting you Darrin. I'm Jake, this here is Rob, and this here is Jordan. We'll be living up in the owner's quarters.”
“I'm familiar with who you are, I wasn't familiar with Jordan.”
“Jordan's under my care. He's our new back up quarterback.”
“It's nice meeting you Darrin, do you know if we've got a car at our disposal over here?”
“There is a service I can call.”
“We'll get one purchased. Thanks for letting us know how it goes.”
He gave us a look like he wasn't real happy, but I really didn't know him, so I couldn't tell.
On the elevator, Rob said, “That guy thinks we should tip him.”
“Add it onto his paycheck at the end of the month. If he doesn't like that, we'll have to keep it off his check and hand it to him like milk money.”
When we got to the penthouse, the elevator opened directly into the apartment. The whole central area was a large seating area with what looked like two pit groups put together. Later, my guess was right when I found the four corners used as two loveseats off to the side in a small room.
In the dining area, the table looked to seat about twenty four. Once again, the décor looked to be from the mid seventies.
“Rob, we gotta redecorate.”
“It's a bit tacky.”
Jordan said, “A bit? I feel like Starsky & Hutch are gonna come in asking for Huggy Bear.”
We climbed steps up to the bedrooms and at the top of the steps, I turned to Rob and asked, “Different Strokes?”
“It looks that way except it's all reversed.”
“If Arnold comes out and asks me what I'm talkin' about, I'll probably slap him across the room. However, Mrs Garret can stay.”
He laughed and said, “I hope it's not all like that.”
We went into the bedroom and I backed back out. “Ummm, this isn't our room.”
“Someone's naked in that bed.”
He stepped in and came back out. “Call the police. He was left as a message.”
“It's Rick. He's dead.”
“Hey, he can't help where his body got dumped!”
“No, Danoza, he was told to keep his hands off him.”
“We need Dad over here and we need Jan over here.”
“Ok, let me call them.”
Jordan walked out of his room and said, “Guys, there's someone sleeping in my bed.”
“Damn baby bear, you gotta tell them to stay downstairs in the kitchen with the porridge.”
He laughed, “I think the guy is dead.”
I went over to the room and walked in. There lay Danoza.”
“Rob! Danoza is in here! He's sorta dead and he's definitely naked.”
“Ok, I'm on the phone already.”
I pulled out my phone and dialed Jimmy the Greek. “Hello?”
“This is Jake Martin. Have they decided to leave Danoza here as a message?”
“I don't know, why?”
“We just found his body and our manager's in our owner's suite.”
“That doesn't sound like my guys.”
“Well, call them and check. If they did that shit, you tell them I don't appreciate it.”
“Don't pay anyone anything until they come to collect the money. When they do, you give me a call.”
“What do I do with these bodies?”
“Don't do anything with them. I'll have my people come get them.”
“Ok, I appreciate it.”
I hung up and said, “Rob, don't call the police.”
“I called Jimmy the Greek. He's sending someone to get the bodies.”
“Did he do this?”
“He doesn't think so. He's calling people to check.”
“You do realize this nullifies our bet with him.”
“Jimmy said not to pay anyone anything until they come to collect for it. He also said to call him when they come.”
“Ok, but I don't like this.”
“We needed to remodel anyways. I'd say it's a good time to get it done.”
“Hon, this is too creepy.”
“No, this has to be on a surveillance tape. I'm going down and asking that damned doorman.”
“Ok, but don't let him know we got bodies up here.”
“You do realize they left the bodies in two separate beds, don't you?”
“That tells me whoever it was that dumped them weren't gay.”
He laughed, “It wasn't a woman either. They're more practical.”
I went to the elevator and got on. As I rode down, I looked up and saw the surveillance head. When the doors opened, I went over to Darrin and asked, “Where do I get the surveillance tapes for this building?”
“In here, why?”
“I need them. Someone's been in the owner's suite upstairs.”
“When was the last time you saw Rick or Danoza?”
“Rick was about three hours ago. Mr Danoza went up about forty five minutes ago. I figured you guys were going up to meet him.”
“Anyone with them when they came in?”
“Three of your former players.”
“Do you know their names?”
“No, but I could tell you who they were if I saw a photograph.”
“Ok, I'll get those. By the way, we're adding your tips to your check. Is that fine?”
“Sure. I figured you boys didn't know about tipping.”
“Where we come from, most tipping is done at night when the cows are asleep. It pisses farmers off bad.”
He laughed, “Oh man, I haven't done that since I was a boy!”
He took me into the security room and gave me the tapes. I thanked him and said, “Some people are coming in soon. When they ask where our suite is, send them up and whatever you do, don't see a thing.”
“We sort of just found Danoza and Rick deader than hell up there.”
“I think it was the former players way of leaving us a message. Now that I know who it was, I'll sort of give them back a message when we give them back the bodies and have the police finding them in their cars.”
He nodded, “That's serve them right. They sure couldn't say they left them in that penthouse and they don't know how they got back in their car.”
“But Danoza and Rick were walking in, right?”
“Yeah, Danoza never did tip me.”
“He never remodeled up there either. That place looks like someone could film pornos in it from the seventies.”
“Most of this place looks that way.”
“We'll have to change that.”
I took the tapes and saw Mike walking towards me. Jan was with him, but Grant was also. I waited for them to come in and said, “Guys, I've got the tapes.”
“Any thought as to who it was?”
“Darrin says it's some of our former players. Whoever it was, they didn't take the security tapes, so I've got those.”
“You call the police yet?”
“No, I called Jimmy the Greek and he's sending some guys.”
“You sure you want to do that?” Mike asked.
“Yeah, we're going to find out who the guys were who did it and we're going to deliver the bodies back to their vehicles and then have the police find them there. If they want implicated in the crime, I'll sure help them along.”
“That could get messy.”
“No, it'd have them reported as former Angels players instead of current ones.”
“What about Danoza?”
“Jimmy said for me not to pay a thing and to call him when someone comes to collect. I don't think they will since I've got all the ownership papers and deeds, right?”
“He left me all of the ones held in trust.”
“Good, I'll operate the companies as if they were already signed over.”
“You'd get into trouble.”
“No, it's just a bit of add-on to that contract. Surely we can swing that, right?”
He shook his head, “I don't like this at all.”
“You're only worried because Grant is standing there. With the way Grant offers to tell on people, I sure don't blame you.”
“Jake, I've not mentioned it once.”
“I'm waiting patiently. I mean, I know it's coming. I just don't know when you're going to try pulling that rank.”
He rolled his eyes and looked at Mike, “Mike, I'll prove him out to being a liar tomorrow. I'll keep my word.”
“I'd say that'd be good. People here are dying to break it to me.”
The elevator opened and we went into the apartment. Mike asked, “Where are they at?”
“Up in the bedrooms.”
“They took the time to take them up there?”
“Hmmm, whoever it was respects the dead. Either he's from a rural community, or from a strongly religious family.”
“You can tell that from that?”
“It's sort of a calling card.”
“I'm going to watch the video tape and see.”
I went over and popped the first tape into the vcr. It came up and as I fast forwarded it, I saw Rick come in. “Ok, there's Rick.”
It showed Rick coming in and walking to the elevator. He got on and then I fast forwarded it again. Soon, I saw two guys come in and get on the elevator. I recognized them as being former players.
I continued to fast forward and got to when Danoza walked in. He got on the elevator and it wasn't any time at all on the tape when the two guys came down and left. I fast forwarded and it showed us three walking in.
“Man, you had to just miss them!”
“It's time lapse. It only records so much of each minute. As you see, it's like maybe one sixth time.”
“Hmmm, it had to catch everyone perfectly.”
“It might be motion activated from the doors.”
“I never thought of that.”
The elevator tape showed them going up and going into the suite. Nothing much got shown there.
“Is there a tape from inside here?” Grant asked
“I'm looking. I've got four more tapes to watch. I certainly don't hope it's recording here.”
I watched three tapes and then the last one showed inside several apartments. The penthouse was one of them. It showed Rick come in and then it showed the guys come in and them fighting. Rick went down and got carried up to the master bedroom.
When Danoza came up, he came in and they immediately fought him and put him up in the bedroom. As soon as they were finished, they went to the refrigerator and then left something in the oven.
Jan went to the oven and opened it. “Guys, there's a box in here.”
“I'll pull it out, but I'm not opening it.”
I went over and opened the box. Inside was a packet of papers. I opened the packet and found all the other papers for the companies in them.
“Hey, it's all the papers Danoza agreed to in the bet.”
“Who knew about that bet?”
“Jimmy the Greek did but he said he didn't think it was his guys.”
“It doesn't sound like it was his guys. It sounds like his guys hired these guys to do it.”
“I'll call him.”
I dialed the phone and Jimmy answered. “Jimmy?”
“It was three of our former players. They left us a bundle of papers which were a part of that bet.”
“I didn't tell any former players of yours to do that.”
“Well, that's who killed them. I've got security tapes.”
“Ok, let me call my people. They should be on their way to get those bodies.”
“Ok, are they over the construction racket?”
“I wouldn't know.”
“I need someone to remodel this place. It looks like early seventies in here. With some disco we could film pornos.”
He laughed, “You could star in them! That's for sure!”
“Nah, nothing I wanna get caught doing.”
“Don't yous worry about those bodies.”
“I'm not. I was thinking about delivering them back to those two former players.”
“I'm sorta thinking about tying them around the necks of the people I called out there and letting them rot off.”
I laughed and said, “Jimmy, you raised on a farm?”
“Nah, I just heard talk that's how it was done.”
“Ok, well you heard right.”
“Let me makes some calls.”
I hung up and said, “Jimmy is sending guys. He's upset because he never called former players to do this.”
Rob said, “No one was supposed to do anything to Rick anyway.”
“No, so whomever did this had to be pushing for what Danoza wanted.”
Grant asked, “Did you want Danoza killed?”
“No, I told Jimmy I wanted it done if Danoza screwed me out of the money. With all these here, I'd say it never happened, so there was no need.”
“Then it's probably for another reason.” Mike said.
“I'm not saying anything. I know it wasn't me who caused this.”
Jan came over and said, “Tell whoever I want Rick found so I can get insurance and a death certificate.”
“Tell them I don't want him found until we get those safe deposit boxes.”
“Ok, you want me to go with you on that?”
“Yeah, we can be each other's alibi.”
Mike said, “Wait until I can be here with you guys. With you having your attorney going with you, it definitely covers you.”
“That's ok, I need to get over here and apply to take that bar exam for Ohio. We all might bone up on it together since I know how to cheat legally.”
Jan turned, “What's that mean?”
“The state has all the tests for the bar exam in their state library. We can go there and write them all down and study them. Once we have the answers memorized, we can go take the test and pass it.”
“You can study along with us. I think it's sorta cool if a bunch of us all went in and did it together.”
Rob asked, “Is that what you were going to do with me?”
“Kind sorta, yeah.”
“What's that mean?”
“I was going to teach you a bunch of fundamentals before that so you knew what was required and then, we were going to bone up on statutes. Between the three, you would've passed easily.”
Notes From Retta:
My dog Gypsy Rosalee has passed away. I'm going to try getting the chapters posted next week on time, but I'm flying her body home to Missouri where she can be buried in a little grove on my parent's farm which we put family pets.
She was with me 8 years. She knew tricks and she taught me tricks. She was loved greatly.
To say it's sad in our household is a understatement. I've recently taken in my nephews to raise...see my blog RettaMichaels.blogspot.com or MySpace.com/RettaMichaels for those updates. You can cut and paste, I'm sure.
Yes, I recently got a pet snow leopard, but it's not the same. His name is Sam and he's lost without her as she was being a mama to him. Now, he's not sure what to do...and neither am I.
Gyp's been with me through so much. She was with me when I was poor and she's been with me through all the shake ups, mix ups, and what my life has thrown at me. She's been great and all I can do right now is honor her in the manner she deserves.
She'll be laid to rest in her little basket with her little rug over her. She'd like that.
The hardest part was calling Kevin to tell him. We might've had our differences, but he loved that dog and she loved him.
When he answered the phone, his first comment to me was, “I nearly didn't answer the phone. State what you want and stop bothering me.”
When I told him, he paused and said, “Oh my God!”
I said, “I'm taking her home to bury her.” He said, “I'll be right there.”
So, he's on his way.
When I called my Mom, she immediately began crying. You see, she was a grandma through and through to Gypsy. She was supportive, but she did say something which I intend on doing. She said, “You need to write a story about her.” I'm already thinking about the concept for Rose Gitane, or Gypsy Rose, or something in that realm. Maybe Rose Gitane will be the character I need to pick up where Retta left off. I don't know.
Thanks in advance to everyone who understands. Here's the normal notes:
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,
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.