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Fiction Friday

 

Kay Stone

It seems that a lot of football fans don’t know the story of the eleventh pick in this year’s upcoming NFL draft. It all has to do with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Seattle professional team whose name represents a mythical Native American bird of prey and started with the fact that the Chiefs and the Seattle team were in a complete statistical tie for their respective 2011 records. This tie included wins and losses, as well as every other tie breaking category including division record. So, the draft order was to be determined by a coin toss. Our diverting story, as originally broken by ESPN, centers around an unknown Seattle team sales representative named Allen Reynolds who was selected to represent his team during the coin toss in New York City.

“Don’t bother coming back if it’s tails,” the General Manager said, and Allen wasn’t sure if he was joking. Allen felt that the G.M. was a mercurial man who might fire him if he came back to Seattle with the twelfth pick instead of the eleventh.  Allen calculated, correctly one would think, that the odds of coming home from New York with the eleventh pick at around 50%. Did that mean there was a 50% chance he would be out on the street? He wasn’t sure.

You might ask why Seattle sent Allen Reynolds to witness the coin toss. You can ask that, it is a fair question why such a prestigious organization would send the Luxury Box Liaison on such an important assignment. In his heart Allen thought knew why, he was expendable.

If you go to the team offices in Renton, Washington, you might see a poster reading, “Luck Favors the Prepared”. But, how can anyone prepare for a coin toss. Adding to the pressure was the fact that the team reserved a first-class seat on American Airlines, a Central Park view room at a five-star hotel called the Mandarin Oriental. They also provided a $2000 expense card for the one-day/two-night trip. They were expecting results. Allen wondered whether those Egyptian cotton sheets would become the burial linen of his career. This might be the sort of thing a man with an Anthropology degree worries about.

Anyway, the difference between pick eleven and pick twelve in the NFL draft was the difference between a black defensive end from Alabama and a white, overachieving, middle linebacker from Boston College. It was the difference between a pass rushing playoff team and an eight and eight disaster.

In his Central Park view room, Allen avoided the mini-bar because he wanted to return with $2000 intact. He pulled out a liter of Old Crow from his suitcase and lay down on his bed with a burger from Wendy’s and watched a rerun of Hack. He thought about having dinner at the Russian Tea Room. He always wanted to eat at the Russian Tea Room. Then he thought about losing the coin toss and also spending $300 on dinner. Maybe if he won the toss he could live like Diamond Jim. Allen took a wait and see approach. Part of him felt that maybe he should hold on to his luck, that he needed to stay pure potentiality. He flipped past the erotic channels. He would avoid self-abuse as reported later.

Allen turned on the hot water in the shower and turned the bathroom into a sauna. He thought about his power animal, the horned owl, and after an hour wondered when the Mandarin Oriental would send a security man to check out why he was using so much hot water. Nobody came. Apparently, when you are paying $1100 per night for a hotel room you could use all the hot water you wanted.

According to ESPN.COM, Allen stood naked in the hotel room and began flipping coins. He recorded the results of 1000 tosses and determined the odds really were close to 50/50. Except if he lost, then the results would be 0/100. Of course, if he won, then the odds would have been 100/0. Allen was 0, or he was 100. 0 seemed more likely. He wanted to bet against himself. Allen learned in college that the intervention of “God” wasn’t a consideration, as was the opinion of The New York Times.

Around 10PM, Allen felt hungry. He pulled on some pants and a zipped up a team coat. Slipping into some loafers he went downstairs to buy a cookie at an espresso stand he noticed in the lobby.

“You and I have a date with destiny”

She stood behind him at the espresso stand. “Kay Stone,” she said, extending her hand. She had a soft enveloping shake. She was about 50, with large breasts which came to sharp points in a Kansas City Chief V-neck. She was tan, with a wide plain face and moist brown eyes which were really more black than brown and looked like an abyss.

Allen wondered how this woman knew who he was.

“I like your socks,” she said. Allen wasn’t wearing socks.

“I have a pair just like them at home,” he replied and Kay laughed.

“So, you’ll be at the coin toss?” he asked.

“That’s right, ain’t it the life though. A night at The Oriental for thirty seconds work. How much is your meal voucher?”

“Two thousand,” Allen couldn’t help but look at Kay’s chest.

“Two thousand! I thought Mr. Hunt was generous. You better win that toss.”

Allen felt the dread come over him again. “I haven’t spent any yet. Frankly, I just want to get home.”

“Are you kidding, that’s a perk of the job. Loosen the tie a little bit kid, you’re in the big apple.”

“Actually, now that you mention it, I was thinking about having dinner at the Russian Tea Room tomorrow. You can join me if you want, I mean…” Allen couldn’t believe he had asked her to join him. She was twenty years older than he was. Who was this woman and why was she getting so personal. He wanted to go upstairs and finish the Old Crow and fall asleep in his clothes.

“The Russian Tea Room hasn’t been around for years, but that’s the right spirit. I could go for a drink. Why don’t you pull out that expense card and buy me a fancy drink. The bar here has quite a view.”

He tried not to look at her large breasts, but could feel their power piercing him like cosmic radiation. “Aren’t they closing soon” he mumbled. They. Her tits were closing soon, he thought.

“Closed! Are you fresh off the turnip truck. This is New York City.”

Kay was right. The view from the Lobby Lounge was excellent. They took a couch facing the window. The skyline lights helped Allen feel a little better. He knew he was wound a little too tight. He made people feel uneasy. Kay ordered a Side Car.

“House bourbon,” Allen told the waiter.

Kay shook her head. “You can do better than that,” she said.

“Okay…how about McCallum, twenty year old.”

“More like it,” Kay said as the waiter returned to the bar. “People give me a hard time because I order such old fashioned drinks.”

“Like Side Cars?”

“Like Side Cars, and Old Fashions. Ever had a Gimlet, it’s made with lime juice. Kay lightly touched Allen’s leg with every punctuation, He had to admit to himself that he was enjoying it.

Kay looked out at the city lights, “I just like old fashioned things. Like Gershwin, the view reminds me of Gershwin. Do you like old movies?”

“They’re kind of funny,” Allen replied. In reality he liked playing Halo.”So what do you do for The Chiefs?”

Kay sipped her drink, closing her eyes with delight, “just about everything. I’m one of Mr. Hunt’s personal assistants, kind of a Girl Friday.”

“So, you’re an Administrative Assistant?”

“In a way, men are always very comfortable with me. Say, do you think The Oriental has a man passing out towels in the men’s room?How much do you want to bet they have an old man who passes out towels in the restroom?”

Allen tasted his scotch. Yes, he was definitely enjoying himself. “I have no idea, do you want me to check?”

“Oh would you?” Kay asked, her hand resting a little longer near the top of Allen’s leg.

There was no old man or anyone else in the restroom. No matter, Allen had to go. When he came back, Kay watched him finish the scotch. “Do you want another?” he asked.

“One’s my limit, but why don’t we sit here for just a while, it’s so beautiful.”

As they sat admiring the view, Allen began to feel numb. He wondered if he was having a minor stroke. It was at that point that started to have trouble breathing and began to panic.”

“You don’t look so good,” Kay said. “Are you feeling okay?”

“I feel like I can’t breath,” Allen said.

Kay helped him to his feet. “You don’t look well at all, let’s get you upstairs.”

Strangely, Allen’s mind was completely lucid as he observed himself walking into the elevator with Kay’s help. He watched her press 25, not his floor. And observed himself being guided into room 2514, not his room. After observing her pull his clothes off, he watched her go into the bathroom.

What happened next has been confirmed by Jim Riley at ESPN. As she emerged from the light of the bathroom, he saw that Kay’s stomach was covered with pink scars which Allen recognized as the ritual scarring of The Tiv of Nigeria.

Kay lit a candle and chanted over Allen’s paralyzed body. A pestle and mortar was produced and she smeared red paint on his face. She then rubbed a small, wriggling lizard over his body as she convulsed herself inhumanly. It was at this time that Kay performed fellatio on Allen, and after he climaxed whispered in his hear “I stole your juju.”  And then Allen passed out.

The next day, he was awoken by the maid. At first the plump Hispanic woman was startled. “Check out was twelve o’clock. I thought you were checked out.” Barely able to rise from bed, Allen covered himself with the sheet and checked the clock, it was 12:11. There was a black and white movie on TCM. Allen didn’t like old movies. Kay liked old movies. Kay. He wasn’t dreaming. The coin toss was at noon

The room was empty except for his clothes on the floor. His key card was missing, along with the change from the espresso stand. No time to call the NFL. He ran into the hallway and caught the elevator. League headquarters was two blocks away, he knew the location because it was the first place he stopped after coming into town. Just to be sure, just so he wouldn’t be late when the time came. Allen was thirty minutes late.

“Sorry Seattle, you lost the coin toss,” the Assistant Commissioner said with a smirk as Allen entered the conference room. “Had a long night?”

Allen heard laughing from behind him and saw Kay with a group of suits leaning against a table. Allen was zero. His chances of losing were 100%. In a window separating the large conference room from the hallway he saw his reflection. His face was still painted. “That woman!” he screamed, “that bitch drugged me and stole my juju. I demand a re-toss!”

Kay looked at Allen as cool as summer lemonade, “whatever gets you through the night sweetie.”

“Sorry Seattle.  We only toss once,” said the Assistant Commissioner. “We’ve never tossed twice. It’s a coin toss, you have a fifty percent chance of winning or losing. Here’s a commemorative coin”

“In my case it’s a one-hundred percent chance of losing,” Allen said, and threw the coin to the floor on his way out.

“Sounds like a personal problem,” he heard Kay to the delight of her audience.

Epilogue:

As it turned out, Allen Reynolds wasn’t fired for losing the coin toss. In fact, he wasn’t fired at all. The General Manager was very disappointed. He said that he sent Allen as a reward for an outstanding year.

“You can’t control the toss of a coin. We wanted you to have a good time in New York City. Loosen your tie a bit. Live a little. You’re a young man. I don’t know what happened between you and Miss Stone. That’s your business. However, in the future we would like you to uphold the reputation of this organization.”

Allen felt as if he would never recover his juju again.

And that’s the story of the eleventh pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Matthew Lickona says:

    It is an honor to have my name below yours on the tombstone, sir. This was fantastic, and I say that as a man whose wife hails from Kansas City.

    • Jonathan Webb says:

      You’re kind, thanks Matthew. As you know, there a lot of crazy women there and you got you one.

  2. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

    Mr Webb,

    Thank you. That was well worth the wait.

    What’s the most you ever lost on a coin toss?

    • Jonathan Webb says:

      I don’t recall. However,once I was at a laudromat in Berkley, CA and lost $10 in Three-Card Monte game. It was during the wash cycle and I had to walk five long blocks with a full bag of damp laundry to a cash machine.

      • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

        OK, fine. Sorry I asked. But I shouldn’t have been surprised.

        It seems you’re as passive-aggressive as ever. The only thing that’s changed is the number of blocks you had to walk: Remember when it was three, then four? (I do.)

        Look here: I’ve apologized, I’ve paid you back (minus the $1 that went into the collection plate at St Dominic’s — like you were going to tithe?! LOL), I went to Confession and got absolved. Obviously I’m sorry, but I’ve grown up and moved on. And in case you didn’t get the message before: I am NOT going to play this your bullsh-t game any longer.

        Not that any of that takes away from your ‘Kay Stone’ story. Here’s hoping for more.

        • Quin Finnegan says:

          Inside football.

        • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

          Also, admit it: No one falls for the Three-Card Monte who doesn’t want to fall for it. People love being tricked so much, they’ll pay people to make fools of them: Ask David Copperfield. Ask Penn and Teller.

          Of course, they’ll ask you for way more than $10.

          You got a card trick, I got a bowl of phở, and St Dominic’s got a little help with its electric bill. Win-Win-Win.

          So more of this ‘poor me, trudging nine blocks uphill with a bag of sopping laundry’ bullsh-t.

          OK?

          OK.

          (But the ‘Kay Stone’ story is still good.)

  3. Quin Finnegan says:

    This story is existential in the purest sense of the word. It’s Pascal’s wager wrapped up in Ring Lardner as filmed by Oliver Stone. Great work, Webb.

    • Matthew Lickona says:

      I think my favorite detail is that he recognized the scarring immediately.

      • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says:

        Which is beautifully set up by this odd but offhand bit, a few paragraphs earlier:

        ‘Allen wondered whether those Egyptian cotton sheets would become the burial linen of his career. This might be the sort of thing a man with an Anthropology degree worries about.’

  4. Jonathan Potter says:

    I read this on my iPad while sitting on the crapper this morning … and laughed so hard I almost fell off. The first chortle came with the “Horned Owl” … followed by a series of guffaws … and then all-out tears-streaming-down-my-face cathartic laugh-crying. The happy ending was beautiful, too. Oh, Jonny! A masterpiece.

  5. Cubeland Mystic says:

    Jw is a “power animal” the same as a spirit guide?

    “Allen recognized as the ritual scarring of The Tiv of Nigeria.” This is a classic.

    I loved the surprise unexpected ending.

  6. Jonathan Webb says:

    Really gracious comments, thanks.

  7. Not at ALL!

    OK, Bimp, more. more. more. more.

    Before there was the internet, there was Jack Torrance.

    Before there was Twitter, there was Jack Torrance.

    Before there was cheap words, there was Jonathan Webb.

    More, you son of a bitch, or I’m going to get on the horn with John Mara and send the Giants out to teach you a thing or two about productivty.

    Man, that was good – I could read your stories through a root canal.

    Really, Jonathan, top notch.

    (My wife worked with the Hunts in Dallas – which gave the story added reality value.)

    Please for to write some more?

    JOB

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