For "A Day in the Life, Pt. 1," click here.
When we left: Tom Cable was waiting for players to arrive for their Monday meetings.
Cable, trying to rub away the pickaxe-wielding gnomes in his head, is waiting for Russell while trying to think of a new way to reach him.
“Maybe I should invite him over for dinner like Al Pacino invited Steamin’ Willie Beamon in On Any Given Sunday. Wait, that’s not going to work. What am I going to do, microwave some Hot Pockets and have a sit down in the office? Maybe I could make him watch the movie; or, better yet—I should invite him over to my house. He and my wife can work some things out while I relax here.”
Cable reaches for the intercom, “Les, where’s JaSuckus? Please tell me that he at least bothered to show up...or, better yet, quit.”
“Oh yeah, apparently he was here before the morning crew started their 5 a.m. shift.”
“Really? That’s outstanding.”
“Well, it would be, except he is passed out in the cafeteria under his new fur jacket. The cleanup guy thought he was a wild animal and whacked him with his mop, but he didn’t even move. He kept poking him until JaMarcus threw his cell phone at him.”
“Ugh...did it hurt the guy?”
“You’re kidding, right? It missed him by a mile. It did go through the wall and left a two-foot hole, though. We got a crew trying to get him up now.”
“Commitment to excellence,” Cable says.
In the background he overhears Les’ TV: “Breaking news!” accompanied by various whizzing sound effects. “Chris Mortenson is live with new developments on Tom ‘The Incredible Hulk’ Cable.”
Cable shakes his head and thinks “Oh good, I was wondering what was taking them so long.”
“Les!” Cable shouts through the door, hoping to bypass the intercom and consequently the reports, “get me What’s-a-football-Bey instead!”
Les hits the intercom button. “You got it.”
In the half-second the button was pressed, Cable catches Mortenson saying “...more than assault...”
Les presses the button again. “On his way coach; he is at the other end of the building. He should be here in five.”
Mortenson was still going, “peacefully sleeping when Cable tried to sever her fingers...”
“At least they aren’t being unbiased,” Cable thinks to himself.
Ten seconds later, Les buzzes in. “Bey is here.”
Cable hears Mortenson in the background, “innocent housekeeper was assaulted...”
“That was quick,” Cable thinks, back to focusing on his job and not the TV. “He was a half-mile away.” Cable watches his door handle turn a half of a turn and reset, then do the whole thing over again. “Les! Let these guys in the door—this is just embarrassing.”
Les opens the door while Mortenson talks away, “...a deadly weapon.” Cable shakes his head.
“Sorry, coach,” Heyward-Bey says apologetically through a pant. “I can’t keep my grip on the handle. I have a hard time holding onto round things.”
“I’ve noticed, Darrius. Thanks for getting here so quick, though.”
“No problem, coach—I love to run.”
“I know you have been getting good grades, Darrius, and this game you actually got 22 yards, but that last drop you had—well—there is no way to put this gently: It really hurt us. I am afraid I just can’t give you more than a C this week.”
“Oh coach, not a C! My mom is going to kill me. I mean all the guys said they supported me and this can happen to rookies, and I know I need to catch those, but come on! You’ve seen my mom, coach.”
“I know, Darrius, but you can’t very well use your stats to support your play.” Cable says, regretting he ever came up with this grading system in order to protect his young receiver’s fragile psyche. “Look, let’s hope this was just a bad week for you. I want you to go out there and have a strong week of practice. Work on those fundamentals and remember the ball is your friend. Remember how we talked about it not being able to hurt you—that’s all in your head.”
“You’re sure there’s no teeth hidden in the ball, right?”
“I promise, Darrius—look for yourself.” Cable tosses the ball sitting on his desk to Heyward-Bey’s hands.
Picking it up off the floor, Heyward-Bey looks it up and down as he walks out of the office while repeating his mantra, “No teeth, Darrius. Nice ball, Darrius. The ball is our friend, Darrius.”
In the background, Mortenson is still talking: “The houskeeper is recovering from the attempted murder...”
“What?” At his wits' end, Cable had heard enough of that garbage. “Les!” Cable shouts through the door. “Just shout your answers. Is JaHangover on his way yet?”
Les presses the intercom and shouts, “He is up, but apparently he is on his way to Mr. Davis’ office!”
Cable heard Mortenson in the background: “Maria Lutz, Cable’s ex...”
“Les” Cable presses the intercom. “I am going to use the intercom, but from now on you just shout to me, without the intercom. OK?”
“Sure thing, boss,” Les says through the intercom.
Long enough for Cable to hear “assaulted her with deadly weapons...”
“Sorry, that was the last time,” Les pipes in through the intercom.
Mortenson finished his thought: “13 or 22 different times.”
“Get me McSissy, keep me updated on JaNoclue, and send Higgins, Murphy, and Schillens in. No, wait, I’ll talk to Schillens later. Tell him not to move unless he has to,” Cable says, realizing he didn't want the one receiver he trusted to re-injure his foot.
In a desperate search for his aspirin, Cable looks up to see Les open the door. “Darren’s here, coach”
McFadden walks through the doorway. Les put his hand on McFadden’s back to show him in, which knocks McFadden to the ground.
“Christ, Les! You didn’t have to tackle me!” McFadden says, picking up the water bottle he dropped while falling.
Meanwhile, Cable can not help but hear the TV. “Let’s go to Chris Mortenson with some more breaking news...”
“At least,” Cable thinks with an exhale, “they have moved on to another story.”
“Darren, it was great to get you back into the flow last week. How are you feeling?”
“Not good, coach. I got hit like 10 times. The trainers said there was nothing wrong with me, but when I leave here I am going to have them check again.”
“Darren, I want you ready to go. I am thinking of putting in some more plays for you this week. Some things to get you into space...”
“Oh, I like space,” McFadden interrupts. “I don’t think I could get hit hard if everyone is weightless.”
“No, Darren—space on the football field. We need to take advantage of your quickness and your speed. Maybe some pitches, and I also want to line you up wide and run some bubble screens.”
“Oh...well, I’ll let you know what the trainers say, coach. I should be ready to go before the season’s over.”
“Darren, you can leave now.” Cable says, turning to stroke his picture of Justin Fargas for sanity.
“Good talk, coach. I am off to the whirlpool.” McFadden opens the door, thinking, “They need to turn down the water flow, though—it keeps knocking me over.”
While the door is open, Cable hears “after slapping her, she said Tom Cable asked her to wear a veil and told her to stay away from New York on 9/11.”
“What?” Cable thinks, trying to tune it out. “Les, how are we looking with player’s meetings?”
“Well,” Les says into the intercom, “JaMarcus just left Mr. Davis’ office and boss man wants you to call him. Murphy and Higgins are currently stuck shoulder to shoulder in a doorway. They entered the doorway at the same time from different halls and knocked each other over. They got up and did it again. They got up again and now they are just stuck.”
In the background: “she said Cable punched her...”
“Les, what did I say about the intercom?”
“Oh yeah. Sorry, boss,” Les says into the intercom, while Cable hears “...then grabbed his gun and sat on the grassy knoll.”
In a state of disbelief, Cable picks up the phone, and before he even finishishes dialing Davis’ extension, Davis answers. “Russell is benched. I want you to give him the Marcus Allen treatment, Flores. He is done!” Click.
“Wow, maybe my luck is turning,” Cable thinks. “I got a Flores and I get to bench JaMumbles.
Les opens the door. “JaMarcus is here.” Russell walks in.
“Aburighta maLesum mana. High five.” Russell mumbles. Les holds up his hand and Russell swings for a high five, missing, as Les walks out the door.
The door sways open long enough for Cable to hear “she said he slapped her for being Jewish and he and his friend Adolf we going to do something, because Jews were destroying...”
Cable—knocked back by the smell of booze and vomit that accompanied Russell—said, “Jesus, JaMarcus! You smell like a bar bathroom at the end of Mardis Gras.”
“Ahwellum I baslept herez and Iz dranktd a littlez too much and macouldn’t makes it homez.”
“JaMarcus, you need to enunciate. Focus. We have to talk.”
“Whatever, coach; I think it’s your ears, not my talking. Don’t you?” Russell says really slowly, thinking he sounded like an idiot yet made an excellent point. “We do need to talk, though, Cable guy.”
“Al said I was done,” Russell says, still speaking slowly and seeming a little perplexed. “I went up there demanding he get me a new cell phone, because the janitor made me break mine. Also, I need a new beanie since I puked in my good one and I don’t make enough to buy one on my own. He went off, saying, ‘You don’t come here and demand more money from me’ and ‘I am through, blah blah blah.’ He looks like the Emperor from Star Wars when he gets pissed. You want me to play, though, right? You saw it wasn’t big ol’ No. 2’s fault out there, right?”
“Actually, JaMarcus, you are not making the strides I hoped: You are not putting in the extra time, you don’t seem to care, and your accuracy and decision-making is getting worse. You are so hungover now that I think your breath is getting me drunk. Now if you change...”
“Whatever,” Russell interrupts, “it’s all about the Benjamins. I am going to da club. Did I enunciate that well enough?” Russell slowly walks out the door, thinking he's storming. He then tries to slam the door for effect but missed and then leaves, realizing he didn’t care enough to do anything else.
In the background, Cable hears “she told me that Cable slapped her while saying he was going to tell the authorities where to find Jesus.”
Cable, finally able to block it all out, sits back in his chair, and, for the first time all day, lets loose a big smile.
“Les, things are looking up, my friend! Get Gradkowski in here.”
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