Nov 26, 2018, 05:55AM

Classic Sports

The Papa Bear drowns his sorrows by spending a day with ESPN Classic.

Shyamli verma papa bear full body.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

A casual observer of the papa bear’s goings-on might’ve assumed that he’d have been devastated after the mama bear left him for some teenager she met in a CompuServe chat room, but he wasn’t. In fact, the papa bear wasn’t the least bit interested in this turn of events.

This observer, furthermore, may have suspected that the papa bear would seek consolation in the radioactive glow of his triptych of HD monitors and the horrifying fantasy sports infographics usually displayed thereon. But this was not so: the papa bear was taking a new cocktail of medications for his chronic back pain, and some of the 60 or so pills he crammed down his gullet were having the effect of diminishing his prodigious libido for fantasy sports.

Although it would baffle oddsmakers and bookies throughout this land, he hadn’t “swung a trade” in over a month. In fact, the papa bear was doing just fine. After all, he’d served his country—the “these colors don’t bleed” flag tattoo under the fur on his right bicep and his bad back bore witness to that—and now he’d never need to lift a bear claw again.

He had been out there only a few hundred miles away from wherever the front lines were when he picked up that heavy box without remembering to bend his knees. In that moment, he became a hero, a patriot, a “real man,” et cetera... and who cared if that heartless mama bear never recognized that? Let her read all the “toxic masculinity” hot takes she wanted with that creepy little incel tech boy of hers.

It was 4:30 a.m. on a Wednesday when the papa bear found himself thinking these Marianas Trench-deep thoughts. He had either been awake since Monday or asleep since Tuesday, but such details needn’t concern us. His bleary, tear-soaked, itching eyes were fixed on the enormous flatscreen TV that hadn’t been shut down, dimmed, or muted since he’d used one of his first disability checks to purchase it. The Classic Sports Network was on, and the papa bear settled in for what could prove to be a summer-to-summer hibernation.

4:30 a.m., “Herc” Broadsides press conference after World Bowl VI, 196X

“Yeah, [bleep] yeah, they went out there and beat the [bleep] out of us,” spat legendary coach “Herc” Broadsides.

What “Herc” meant to say here, of course, was that the “single wing” offense he was using simply wasn’t as effective as the “pro-T” formation favored by the opposition. The “T” had allowed the opposing quarterback—media darling “Tin Pan Alley” Rivers, who’d shocked the “straight” world by guaranteeing victory prior to the game—to fake various handoffs and thus use the running backs both as effective decoys and “men in motion” capable of receiving the ball a few yards past the line of scrimmage.

“Our defense just played like [bleep] and we weren’t making the [bleep] tackles and it was just a pile of [bleep] out there and my boys are just a bunch of [bleeps] who probably sleep with their mothers at night and want to [bleep] their mothers because they’re just such [bleeps] and that’s what [bleeps] do when they’re not [bleep] it up on the [bleep] field.”

In other words, the antiquated 4-4 defense that “Herc” and his assistants had been running since the 1940s proved vulnerable to the elusive “Tin Pan Alley” Rivers and his speedy backs, who were able to cut their way through the Spartan’s layer of aging but allegedly “tough-as-nails” linebackers and out into the open field. On top of that, because Broadsides refused to ever have his cornerbacks play anything but man-to-man coverage where they were required to “jam” the ends at the line of scrimmage—“man to man is the only way to play the [bleep] game,” he had said prior to the World Bowl—they gave up big play after big play. The debacle was almost entirely attributable to poor coaching, you see.

“These [bleeps] let me down, and I’ll never [bleep] forgive them. I put my [bleep] and [bleep] into this [bleep], and you know what? We weren’t out-coached, that’s for [bleep] sure. We were just outplayed.”

And this was at least partially true, since Broadsides’ undue fondness for washed-up, “teacher’s pet” veterans and asskissers had yielded a roster of players that was much older and slower than the team that had just obliterated them by a score of 56-3.

5 a.m. The Kid Pop Story, starring Mark-Paul Gosslear as “Kid” and Ed Asner as “Chief.”

"You've been working hard, Kid," the Chief noted in his usual gruff man's man intonation. In fact, Kid Pop had been hitting the heavy bag for 24 hours straight. He still had some gas left in the ol' tank, though. The kid was a well-oiled machine running on pure, unfiltered hatred. "What say we break for some flapjacks, huh? My treat."

Pop hit the heavy bag with a couple more punishing punches before wrapping his arms around it, panting a bit and finally nodding. "Alright," he said.

The Chief grinned and slapped Pop on the back. Pop managed a little smile and tore off his gloves and threw on a t-shirt. "That's the spirit, Kid," the Chief said, producing a cigarette from a tin. "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, after all," he laughed. He started rummaging through his pockets for his lighter and added, "Besides, flapjacks are good for ya. They'll put some hair on your chest. Got a lot of 'fighting spirit' in 'em, too."

Pop nodded.

"Got a light, Kid?" the Chief asked.

Pop shook his head. "I don't smoke, Chief. That’s bad for your wind."

"What? Why?" the Chief asked, thoroughly confused. "Can't be a real tough guy if ya don't smoke!"

Pop thought about it. Maybe his mentor was right. Meanwhile, the Chief, unable to find his lighter, shrugged and started eating the cigarette. "Not bad," he commented after he'd ingested about half of the "cancer stick."

6 a.m. The Kid Pop Story Part Two, starring Ted McGinley as “Slightly Older Kid” and Ed O’Neill as “Chief.”

"Alright, kiddo, enough fucking around," the Chief said before slapping Kid Pop on the back. "Are you ready? This is it. This is it, Kid. This is it!"

Kid Pop nodded. "I'm ready."

"Are ya?"

"I just said I was, didn't I?" Kid Pop asked, all business as per usual.

The Chief ate a cigarette, savored the flavor for a second and then said, "Yep, just makin' sure. I'm glad you're ready, though, 'cause this is gonna be the fight of your life."

Pop smashed his gloves together in response.

"I know ya don't think much of this nelly, and that's good—it's good that ya treat yer opponent with contempt to the point at which you’d gladly break his neck for a couple bucks or even for free," the Chief digressed before deciding to “right the ship” with some old-fashioned clichés. "But you'd better not lose sight of the prize. As a great man once said, 'Keep your eyes on the prize.' Hear me? You're better than he is, but don't underestimate him, understand?"

The Chief inserted Pop's mouthguard. Pop acknowledged the Chief's instructions with a nod.

"Good. Now go in there and beat the ‘Heinz 57’ sauce outta this son of a bitch!" the Chief shouted with all the enthusiasm of a former Marine turned prose poet turned boxing cornerman. Funny how that works, isn't it?

8 a.m. Where are they now? Hot Take Writer Brian Powell and Former Cubs Catcher Scott Servais (Viewer Discretion Advised).

This Morn I re-ceived a Tele-Phone-ing from a Gentleman Call-er for Whom I always "pick up"—former Cubs Catcher and Slugger, Scott Servais. Our Man Servais has been in Sum Trouble of l8. He's been implicated by Sum Filthy Lie-ing Skunk (like-ly Former "Cincy" Reds Gr8 Chris Sabo, that Glasses-Wearing, Bat-Corking Mother-Fucker) as be-ing in—or have-ing been part of—an "MLB Drug Ring" which has been peddle-ing Il-Legal "Performance-Enhancing Designer Drugs" to Such Hi-Profile MLB Batsmen as Sammy Sosa (of the Chicago Cubs Ball-Club), Barry Bonds (the Home-Run King), Greg Maddux (The Impossibly Geeky RHP'ing Sensation whom "throws" for Ted Turner's Atlanta Braves), Joe Torre (New York Yankees Manager), Lenny “Penny” Canseco (Jose's Identical Twin Brother), Ty Cobb (Deceased Career Batting Avg. Champion (.390) and More. I'd not spoken to Scott since THE SHIT HIT THE FAN, so I was Very Happy to hear from him and Eager to hear His Side of the Story and So On and So Forth.

"Kid, are You There?" he in-quired in His Trade-Mark (tm) Raspy Baritone (he'd called Collect, you see, and After the Connection is Made, there's often a Brief Silence, which can sound like ye've been hung up on. particular-ly if ye have been hung up on... by Sum “Ex” whom Harbours a Bitter, Bitter Grudge 'gainst Ye just cos ye may have say-ed Some-Thing to the Effect of, "Look, Fool! I... I'll cut yr Fuck-ing Throat! If I Can't Have You No One Can!" in a Recent Voice-Mail Ye Left in Their "In-Box"). "Kid?"

"Yeah," I coughed. "Yes, Sir, I'm Here."

"Thank Christ, Kid," was His Answer. "I thought maybe They had Gotten to You."

I'd been Half-A-Sleep til That Pointe, "tbh," but When He Said That I Shot Up (Morphine) in Bed Str8 as a Fucking Arrow, Old Kids. "I... who?" I stammered. I was Scared Shit-less, folks. Were My Neighbors in League w/ Chris Sabo 'gainst S Servais and Yrs Truly? "The—"I start-ed, but he Cut Me Off.

"You know who, Kid," he say-ed, but not in Any Kind of "Mysterious" Way or w/ Any Sort of Condescension. "Think. Use What God Gave You," he say-ed force-full-y, tho it was w/ The Patience of a Good Teacher (The Best!).

"Sabo? Selig? The Guy Down-Stairs?" I rifled off. "B*—"I continued, but Once A-Gain he interrupt-ed.

"All of 'em, ol' son," he said, and it was Clear as Day that he was nod-ing as he said this, doubt-less curse-ing the Wretched Fucks in His Mind. "All of 'em. God knows how Far This Thing Reaches."

"Fucking... Christ," was all I could manage.

"Yeah, Kid. You said it," he said, sigh-ing sad-ly after-ward. "I can't say Any-Thing More Rite Now, tho."

"What? Why?"

"Never trust a Phone," he answered quickly. "Never. Not even a Land Line. If I'm Rite About This—and I Usual-ly Am w/ These Sort of Things—then They've Tapped Yr Phone."

"Fuck!" I shout-ed. "They're... Christ, They could be Move-ing In On Me Rite Now, Scott!"

He was Silent.

"Sir? Fuck, I'm... I'm Fuck-ing Fucked!" I screamed, run-ing to the Door to Make Sure All Locks Were Engaged And That Every-Thing Was Bolt-ed. I ran to the Window and Peel-ed Back the Black Paper I'd Taped Over It With. "Sir?"

"Calm Down, Kid, wouldja?"

"Calm down!" I roared. "Some-body's getting out of a fucking car! They're going to break down the door and flog me with a fucking rubber hose, and you want me to—I... FUCK!"

"Kid? Kid, listen to me... Kid?" he said gently, with a Lion's Mane of Concern.

I was weep-ing. I couldn't take it. I'd finally broken.

"Ah, shit. Kid?" he said, like unto the Way A Father who had Accidentally Scared or Hurt His Son Would. "Look, Kid, they're not move-ing in on you yet, o-k?"

I couldn't respond. I was Still Choked Up w/ Tears.

"I wouldn't let 'em do that to ya, Old Son," he say-ed w/Patton-esque Intensity. "Never."

I sniffled.

"It's Gonna Be O-K, Kid. But yr gonna have to Help Me if We Want This Thing to Turn Out Rite," he said, pound-ing His Fist a-gainst some-thing-or-other. "Okay? Kid?"

"Yeah," I finally managed, wipe-ing my disgust-ing runny nose. "I'm here."

"Good. Listen, what you need to do is..." and then he Went in-to the Sort of Quiet but Purpose-Full Whisper-ing ye'll experience in Cartoons and So Forth when the "Main Chars" are make-ing Some Sort of Plan.

The Gist Of The Plan was This: Scott had arrived in Towne by Bus and need-ed Yrs Truly to Pick Him Up at the Bus Station. He'd give me a More In-Depth Brief-ing Once We'd Rendezvoused At The Rally Pointe (@ The Club At The End Of The Street.

I wasn't Tailed on The Way There, and Believe Me, I would've Noticed. S Servais was w8ing Where He Said He Would. A Man Is Only As Good As His Word, And S Servais Is A God. As Soon as I'd Stopped the Car He Was In-Side.

"Drive, Kid!" he said loud-ly no more than a Milli-Second after he'd (Fugazi—) Shut the Door(.mp3). No Thyme for Hello-How-R-U's!

I Did As I Was Told and Floored the Sucker, Fish-Tailing out of the Bus Station Park-ing Lot and On-To The Boulevard. Tires Screech-ed. Angry Motorists Honked Their Car-Horns. Angry Bi-Cycle-ists Waved Their Helmets and Shout-ed All Manner of Obscenity, Profanity and Vulgarity. Angry Pedestrians Waved Their Fingers In The Wind, cos That '87 Buick LeSabre Coup of a Coupe was God's Own Fucking Mach-III Chariot On This Wednesday, October The Twenty-Second, Year Of Our Lord Two-Thousand-And-Three.

When we'd pull-ed on-to a Most-ly Desert-ed Side Street, I looked at Scott for The First Thyme. He'd a Five-O'Clock Shadow, His Clothes were Badly-Wrinkled (So Much So that Even _ I _ Noticed!), His Hair was Bad-ly Matted (Ditto) and He Looked Like He'd Not Slept In Days.

"Scott, man, I..." I started, then paused to hand him a rag I'd dosed liberal-ly with Scotch Guard. "Here, take --"

He slapped my hand a-way, causing the car to swerve. "Shit!" I shouted a-fore rite-ing our Lane Placement.

"I... Shit, man, why did... w-why did you do that?" I stammered, Scared and Angry @ The Same Thyme.

"I didn't Come Here to Take a Pull o' What-E'er's on That Rag, Kid," he barked. "Lysol, Ether, Scotch Guard—I don't have Nuthin' Ta Do w/ None o' That Shit."

"Uh... o-kay," was the only Response I could proffer.

He slammed his elbow into the door, cre8ing a loud THUD. I'd have to check the thing for a fucking dent the next thyme I'd the chance. He ran a big, meaty paw thru his matted hair. "Goddamn it, Kid, I'm sorry. Look, just where's the Good Shit?"

I shook my head as if to say I didn't understand.

"The Dope, Kid," he said all-most desperate-ly. "The Weed!"

"O," I answered, sound-ing "dope-y" as I finally came to under-stand. "It's in the Glove Box."

He rubbed his Big, Leathery Hands to-gether and laffed giddy-ly. He then open-ed the Glove Box and Pull-ed Out (The Best and Most Reliable Form of Birth-Control) the Plastic Baggie contain-ing Yrs Trly's "Buds." He eager-ly stuck his Hand in-to the Bag, produced a Couple of Buds and Placed Them on a CD's Jewel Case, which he subsequent-ly Placed in His Lap. He look-ed around for a moment, obvious-ly confused.

"What is it?" I asked. "What's the Matter?"

He made a peculiar sort of gesture w/his hands. "The Pipe," he said. "Where's the Pipe?"

"The... oh, shit," I said, smother-ing My Face w/ the Dosed Rag for a few seconds a-fore continue-ing. "Camden Camden broke it the Last Thyme I Saw Her. We were have-ing a Fite."

"What?" he snapped.

"I... Sorry, man. Shit... There's Some Papers in the Glove Box, tho," I offered apologetically.

"Papers?" he hissed, slam-ing His Fist on the Dash, crack-ing it like an Egg Shell, send-ing the Buds and Jewel Case topple-ing to the Floor. He pound-ed His Fist on His Knee (Surprising-ly, He Was Able to Walk after have-ing done so). "Kid, I didn't Squat Be-Hind the Damn Plate fer the Past Twenty Yrs Of My Life So I Could 'Roll Jays' and Breathe Fuckin' Paint Fumes! God-Damn It!"

I didn't know what to say. "I... Shit, I'm sorry, Sir," I stammered. "I mean, it's not my fault, tho. I mean... Actually, w8, I've got Some-Thing Better."

I dug in-to My Jacket Pocket, fumble-ing a-round w/ the Lint and Chump Change contain-ed there-in, and final-ly produced a Couple of Tabs of Acid (Felix The Cat Variety), which I hand-ed to him. He looked it o'er for a Minute.

"It's good, okay?" I said w/a Bit of Hostility. I immediate-ly be-gan kick-ing my-self for it. Whom the Fuck was I to "Cop an Attitude" w/ This Gr8 Man—This LEGEND? I would've start-ed to Beat My-Self About The Head And Face, but I only do that when I'm a-lone. "I... Sir, You Look Like You Haven't Slept in a Week. Just—"

He placed One of the Tabs on His Tongue and Closed His Eyes. Did That Mean the Conversation was Over? A Moment L8r he hand-ed me the Other Tab. I took it and 8 it and turn-ed my attention back 2 the Road.

"da'Vinci only slept Two Hours @ A Thyme, Kid," S Servais said At Least 10 Mins. L8r, Out of No-Where.

"What?" I asked, startled be-yond belief.

"Leonardo da'Vinci, the Painter/Sculptor/Thinker?" he paused. "He slept Two Hours @ A Thyme. He said that the Human Being is Designed to Work Best if the Sleep/Wake Cycle is Like This: Two Hours A-Sleep/Six Hours A-Wake/Two Hours A-Sleep/Six Hours A-Wake... Get It?"

I nodded. It made sense.

"I've been on it for Years," he said proud-ly. "Years."

"O," was all I could think to say. I was in Awe of The Man's Wisdom and Logic, Old Kids, what can I say?

"Clearer Think-ing, More Energy, More STRENGTH," he made the list a-loud. "You don't get that shit stickin' a needle in yr ass."

I said no-thing. What could I say? He was in the Midst of a Monologue—mayhaps a Soliloquy, e'en. Did he even know I was in That Fucking Car w/ Him? Whom but God Whomself can say?

"Steroids," he scoffed. "The Only Drugs I've ever taken were The Ones what Dulled the Pain, Kid," he said, His Gun-Metal Eyes Now Open and Fixed 'pon Yrs Truly. "And I h'ain't NEVER Sold None. You believe that, don't you?"

I nodded. He did the same.

We whiled a-way the Next Two Hours or So by sleep-ing, appropriate-ly enuff. Scott'd passed out short-ly after finish-ing his Monologue, so I decided to pull over on the Side of the Road for a bit of a Cat-Nap. After-all, I hadn't slept in Days, and sleep-ing On The Side Of The Road in a Parked Car was Just As Safe as Go-ing Back to (The Future) My Apartment. When we came to (Scott a-woke me w/ a Rowdy but Friend-ly, "Up 'n' at 'em, Kid!") we realized that we were Hungry, so we decided to go to the Near-By “Checkers Hamburger Stand.”

Tho I'd Little More Than a Hand-Full of Pennies To My Name, it would be My Treat. I owed The Guy That Much, @ The Least, after-all he'd done for me. He Saved My Fuck-ing Life; the Least I Could Do for Him was Spend Be-yond My Means In Order That He & I Mite Par-Take of Greasy Ham-Burgers and Freedom Fries.

The Bill came out to be More Than It Had A Rite To Be. I took the Receipt up to The Counter, where I intend-ed to Ask for the Manager, but I was Peak-ing @ That Pointe, old kids; I couldn't Form A Competent, Coherent Sentence, much less Argue w/ Sum Tie- and Headset-Wearing Turd over be-ing Charged Too Much for Our Grub. Some-how I end-ed up w/ an Ice Cream Cone. "Thank You," the Bland-Faced Cashier-Boy said in a Mono-Tone Mono-Chrome Mono-Phonic Sort of Way.

"What are we going to do, Sir?" I asked S Servais.

S Servais licked the Ice Cream Cone before re-ply-ing. "We Need Answers, Kid," he said, lick-ing the Ice Cream Cone once-again. "We've gotta get some fuck-ing answers."

A Family—Two Little Munchkins, a Badly-Freckled Mother and a Be-Spectacled Father—seat-ed @ The Booth in Back of Us let out a collective moan. "This is a Family Restaurant," One of Them Whispered, but the Fucking Whisper was Deaf-en-ing. It was Clear That They'd Intend-ed for Us to Hear Them.

S Servais glared in Their Direction and continued. "It's too risky to go after Sabo or Selig," he said, more quiet-ly now.

"We couldn't Get To Them if We Tried," I said, glance-ing over my shoulder After-Ward, so as to make sure I'd not been heard. "We don't have the resources."

He shook His Head. "Naw, we don't. We're gonna have to Go Local on This Thing."

"Who?" I asked.

He shrugged. "You tell me."

"The Neighbor, as play-ed by David Leisure play-ing ‘Joe Isuzu?’ The Redneck Sheriff, as play-ed by W. Earl Brown?"

"I don't know, Kid. What do You think?"

"Oscar Berkman?” I asked.

He didn't answer this thyme, but His Steely Cold Dead Eyes were say-ing, "Yes."

"What'll we do w/him?"

Again, he didn't answer.

"Get Sum Answers Out of him?" I asked, get-ing a little excited. "By What-Ever Means Necessary? What-Ever Means are @ Our Disposal?"

The Mother gasped. S Servais, For His Parte, didn't respond a'tall.

"Torture?" I asked.

He smiled.

"He’ll pay for this," I said, bang-ing my fist on the table e'en as S Servais 8 The Last Few Crumbs of His Sugar Cone.

"Let's go," the Mother said urgent-ly. "Let's go. We're go-ing. Let's go."

The Family left short-ly there-after. S Servais and I laffed when We Knew It Was Safe. The Tables Had Turn-ed. The Tormentees Had Be-Cum The Tormentors.

"O yeah, Kid," he said, His Smile widen-ing. “He’s gonna pay for this. He’s Gonna Fuckin' Swing for This."

It felt gr8, of course, to take the Hammer to Ohvuh’s Stupid Bro Face. Do-ing so had been a Prominent-ly Ftr'd Attraction in My Even-ing Fantasies, and This Was E'en Better Than The Real Thing. Altho this WAS The Real Thing (Pepsi!), I s'pose, so The Real Thing Was Better'n What-E'er The Imply-ed Alternative Was/Is/Always Shall Be.

"We know yr In On This," S Servais say-ed, punctu8-ing His Statement by kick-ing Osha in the Face. "We know yr In On It—we all-ready know that—so The Best Thing ya can do fer yrselves is to Tell Us What We Wanna Know."

I nod-ed in Affirmation of His St8ment.

"Who's behind this?" Servais bark-ed, kick-ing Oscar in his Navel Pierce-ing. It, too, be-gan to bleed. "Who's behind this, You Swine?" He slapped Oscar’s mouth. "I Said Who The Fuck Is Behind This!"

Ohvuh made a motion like "he" would tackle Scott's Legs, so I Brought The Hammer Down In Back Of His Skull. It, Like The Dash Under S Servais's Fist, crack-ed like an Egg-Shell. Orson hit the Floor Like a Ton of Bricks. I straddled "His" Body and pummel-ed "His" Head w/ My Fist. When That Was Done, I Turned "Him" Over (w/ S Servais's Help, Of Course; Oscar must weigh @ Least 280-300 lbs., after-all) and stomp-ed re-peat-ed-ly 'pon "His" Face. When I was Done, "His" Square-Jawed Frat Boy Face looked like unto a Glob of Silly Putty Used as a Prophylactic by A Particular-ly Vicious Incel DeviantArt Community Member.

"I know how we can Get Sum Answers," I said, give-ing Oshuh a Kick in the Head for Good Measure.

"Howzzat, Kid?" S Servais asked, drop-ing to his knees and cram-ing his Fingers up Oscar’s Nostrils. "Want me to rip his fuck-ing nose off? Will that get him talkin'?"


"Too L8!" he yell-ed—almost laff-ing, really—as he rip-ed Ohvuh’s Radish-Shaped Vladimir Lenin Nose Clean Off "His" Round Fleshy Slav Face. "Oink, oink, piggy! I got yer fuckin' Nose!" he squealed (N.P.I.) w/delitedly, slap-ing Oscar’s gut a-fore toss-ing the Nose A-Side.

Even I winced @ That, but I couldn't help but laff a little, too. "I... let's pants this fucker."

S Servais looked @ me as if to say, "What the fuck are ye talk-ing on?"

He nodded. "Yr Rite, Kid. Let's strip it 'n' study it."

"O... O, Christ," I said weak-ly. "I can't... Sir, I can't..."

"Ya don't have to, Kid," was His Answer. "Look @ Me."

I look-ed, and near-ly retch-ed Once More when I saw what he was do-ing. The Fucker was Gut-ing Orson Bimmin Like A Pig w/ Sum Here-To-Fore Un-Seen Machete. I winced. S Servais seem-ed to be enjoy-ing him-self, tho.

"O, fuck," I moaned. I hadn't the Stomach for This Kind of Thing, it seem-ed.

S Servais hadn't the Same Problem. After he'd Cut Oscar Bakersman both Length-Wise and Side-Ways, he Plunged His Hand in-to the Meat Bag’s Cavernous Rib Cage. Ohvuh squirmed, tho it was un-clear if this was a Conscious Action or if S Servais's Vigor-ous Thrust-ing/Sift-ing/et al was Responsible for the Move-ment. It didn't matter; After A Moment he produced Ossa’s Still-Beat-ing Heart. It was the Size of a Cow's Heart, and Twice As Bloody.

"Here," he say-ed, toss-ing the Huge Heart @ Me. I fumbled it and it fell to the floor, where it continued to beat. I stared @ it in Horror; how the Fuck could I touch This Thing? Why did he want me to?

"Take it, Kid," he enjoin-ed me. "Take the Fucking Thing."

I took it in My Hands loose-ly. It was a Disgust-ing Thing, old pals; I needn't tell you that. "W-w... What do—"

"Eat it," he said, His Voice Raspy-er Than E'er. "Eat it."

I whimper-ed. I couldn't eat this thing's fuck-ing heart. Why did he want me to in The First Place?

"Eat it, you Good for Nothing Take-Boy!" he shout-ed, his Timbre Shake-ing the Room. “That’s the only way you’ll be free of this Son of a Bitch.”

O, Christ, I thought... But I Shut My Baby Blues, brought the Quiver-ing, Bloody Heart to My Lips and Bit in-to It as if it were a Delicious, Ripe Red Apple. Blood—BLACK BLOOD, no less—splatter-ed my Scraggly-Beard-ed Face. I gagged, but S Servais was clear-ly enjoy-ing watch-ing me Eat, so I continued.

"Thattaboy, Kid," he said, nod-ing in Approval. "Finish it up. This is how you Build Influence and Grow Your Brand."

I did as I was told, but I felt faint. Doubtless the Twelve Cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon I'd imbibed be-fore We'd Arrived had Some-Thing to do w/That, but most-ly it was Eat-ing That Fuck-ing Heart. I kept eat-ing.

When I'd finish-ed w/the Heart, I looked o'er My Shoulder to see S Servais hold-ing the Machete to Olivare’s Throat. "Any-Thing you wanna say be-fore I 'end' This Li'l Gorilla, Kid?"

S Servais Slid the Razor-Sharp Edge of the Blade 'cross Orson’s Throat, bathe-ing his Nude Body (I'm not sure when His Clothes were Re-moved, but he was Bare As The Day he Was Born, friends) in a Glorious Crimson. His Extremities Twitched Unconsciously. Saliva and Blood Dripped from His Open Mouth. Servais let his Corpse Fall to the Floor. After inspecting his Handy-Worke (open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at two Convenient Locations), he decided it would be a Good Idear to Get Another Case of Beer, so that's what we did.

The Moral Of This Story, in case ye were wonder-ing, is This: A Good Beer is Best Enjoy-ed w/A Good Friend, and so is A Good Double-Homicide.

9 a.m. Sports memories: The 1970s.

Former home run slugger J. P. Crackerjack and famous coaching icon "Herc" Broadsides were at a loss for words. Neither had expected to see a lion obstructing Anytown's main thoroughfare upon their emerging from an evening of hand-slapping and joshing at the local sports bar. "Mighty big cat," observed the ever-astute Crackerjack with his keen, although slightly beer-goggled, first baseman's eye.

Broadsides nodded. "Reminds me of that famous movie, Untitled Lion Project, not to mention a sports play I called during the big game."

"What play would that be?" asked Crackerjack as he shotgunned a malt liquor he'd been saving for later.

"We called it the ‘Eye of the Tiger,’ rook. It was a running back fake, reversed to the flanker, who then ran 50 yards to daylight. Won us the World Bowl," explained Broadsides.

Crackerjack handed Broadsides his malt liquor. "Take a swig, Coach. That's something to be proud of."

"Not really," admitted Broadsides. "I had to threaten to kill all my birds and gerbils at halftime to motivate the players. And we didn’t actually win the fucking game. We lost by 53 points."

"You gotta do what you gotta do," Crackerjack said grimly. "This is a hard business."

10 a.m. “Never a goddamn thing on,” the papa bear said to himself. “What am I paying all this money for? I ought to cut the cord, because these cable bastards are robbing me blind.”


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