Attention. Interest. Decision. Action.

It's Monday morning and the buzz around the office is palpable. Slowly, almost grudgingly the men in their long, dark jackets shuffle in -- taking extra time to remove their weather-stained hats, examine them in the fluorescent lighting of the room, and then carefully place them as if they were precious children on the hooks of the hat rack sitting in the corner of the room.

Underneath the coats are business jackets worn over pressed white shirts. Monochrome neckties drawing unmovable lines from their chins to their gradually expanding waistlines. Some are older, but even with their differences you can tell them for the fraternity that they are. Different men caught in similar circumstances, dutifully rowing the ship towards a similar destination even if their reasons for wanting to get there are as different as whiskey and gin.

There are hushes of conversation and gestures towards the closed manager's office as the outside door opens. Escaping the rain, the huddled figure of the NHL steps in, coughing while he shakes the water from his umbrella.
Always late, lately.
He moves quickly -- sensing the eyes of the others watching him. There aren't words, but something is hiding in the eyes of the NBA, NFL, and MLB that seems darker and more worried than normal this morning.

Sure things have been rough lately, what with all the scandals and shakeups -- but it's the long days of Summer. Besides, everyone knows it'll pick back up soon -- especially if we can land a few better fans than the slop we've been dealing with lately.
One thing's for sure -- nothing's gonna get done today without a little something to get the juices flowing.
Wordlessly, almost instinctively NHL moves across the floor of the office towards the sidebar counter -- shaking a single Styrofoam cup away from the others and balancing it carefully while pouring the steaming liquid from the pot held high in the other.

Raise it to the lips, test it against the skin to make sure it doesn't burn. A careful movement, even if it's one that's done over and over every morning like a habit. So habitual in fact, that NHL doesn't notice the sound of the manager's door opening, or the two men in their sharply pressed and perfectly tailored suits as they enter the main office.

If he had, he probably wouldn't have been nearly as caught off guard as he was when the voice on the other side of the room all but exploded to life and began shouting obscenities in his direction:
Let me have your attention for a moment! So you're talking about what? You're talking about...(stubbing out his cigarette) -- bitching about the players who keep getting thrown in jail, that son of a bitch shooting steroids into his ass, some referee who's so deep to the mob that he's started fixing games to get above water, or the guy who's killing dogs and so forth? Let's talk about something important. (to Williamson) Are they all here?

     All but one.

Well, I'm going anyway. Let's talk about something important! (to NHL) Put that coffee down!! Coffee's for closers only. Do you think I'm fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I'm here from downtown. I'm here from Mitch and Murray. And I'm here on a mission of mercy. Your name's Hockey?


You call yourself a professional sports league, you son of a bitch?

     I don't have to listen to this.

You certainly don't pal. 'Cause the good news is -- you're fired. The bad news is you've got, all you got, -- is just one week to regain your fans, starting tonight. Starting with tonight's Sportscenter. Oh, have I got your attention now? Good. 'Cause we're adding a little something to this months contest. As you all know, first prize is a new billion dollar collective bargaining agreement. Anyone want to see second prize? Second prize's a new major network media revenue sharing deal complete with endorsement tie-ins and the love of adoring fans not only in this country, but all over the world. Third prize is you're fired.

You get the picture? You're laughing now?

You got fans. Mitch and Murray paid good money. Get their names to sell them! You can't close the fans you're given, you can't close shit, you ARE shit, hit the bricks pal and beat it 'cause you are going out!!!

     The fans are weak.

'The fans are weak.' Fucking fans are weak? You're weak. I've been in this business fifteen years!!

     What's your name?

FUCK YOU, that's my name!! You know why, Mister? 'Cause you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight, I drove a eighty thousand dollar BMW. That's my name!! -- And your name is "you're wanting." You can't play in a man's game. You can't close them. (at a near whisper) And you go home and tell your wife your troubles.
Because only one thing counts in this life:
Get them to sign on the line which is dotted!

[Listening to:    Our Lady Peace"Superman's Dead" ]


Anonymous said…
Hallo everybody!