"Listen Bobby," John fox addressed his right tackle in front of the Bears' offense in the locker room after practice. "We need to talk about that Falcon's game. You let Vic Beasley run free past you straight to Glennon. You've got to be quicker with your feet."
"I know coach. I'm sorry."
"Glennon got hit right as he pulled back to throw. At that point, there was nothing he could do but fumble."
The locker room erupted in laughter as Foxy shot a knowing glance to Mark Sanchez, the only Bear not laughing at his coach's hilarious pun.
"Hey coach," Josh Sitton joined in. "I was wondering, what do you call it if you screw up you're pooping and the poop falls on the toilet seat instead of in the toilet?"
"Good question, Josh." Fox thought for a moment. "I guess you would call that a butt fumble." More laughter erupted from the locker room.
"Those were good you guys. That's actually funny," Mark tried to play along. "That's probably a problem you have a lot, Josh. Since the toilet is so hard for you to Sitt on." Sanchez grinned at his quip but the room fell silent.
"That's inappropriate, Mark," Fox spoke up for the group. "You don't make fun of a man's last name."
"Come on. We were all joking around here." Sanchez tried to defend himself as the room grew colder.
"There are some lines you just don't cross. That’s his ancestry. His heritage." Fox's stern face did not waver in it's solemn sincerity.
"Sorry man." Sanchez walked out of the locker room feeling defeated.
"Hey!" Massie shouted before Mark had exited, "Try not to fumble any butts on your way out of the building."
The butt-fumbler heard the locker room erupt in laughter again as accolades flowed in Massie's direction "So funny” “Classic” “That wit!"
"Let's talk, Sashi. I think you know why I'm calling." Pace's voice was calm, direct, and powerful.
"I have an idea." Sashi Brown played it cool. He did not, in fact, have an idea.
"So what are we going to do 'Big Sash'?"
"I like the sound of that. 'Big Sash'" Sashi replied. "I'm going to start making the boys call me that."
"Listen," Sashi continued. "It seems like the ball's in your court. You are the one calling me."
"Alright Sashi. Save your tennis metaphors for Venus Williams. What do I have to do get my bear back? We both know I'm not releasing Trubisky." Pace's voice rose as his patience thinned.
"Why in God's name would you release Trubisky? That guy is a veritable superstud. What is this call about?"
Pace couldn't take Sashi's coy remarks any longer. The thought of this smug analytics-nonsense fake-GM cracking wise while Staley was in unknown peril boiled his blood.
"Listen ‘Big Sash.’ You've overplayed your hand. There’s no way you come out of this on top. The sad part is, the way MG8 is playing, we would have been open to talking trades for Biscuit. I swear to you Sashi, If one hair is damaged on that beautiful bear there will be hell to pay." Pace hung up the phone as a fading voice could barely be heard through the receiver asking what he’d want in trade for Trubisky.
Looking in the mirror, Ryan couldn't help question what he was doing. He was angry, but the truth was he was scared. Was it possible that his uncanny gift for talent evaluation could end up hurting one of the best creatures he'd ever had the privilege of knowing?
I play my part, and you play your game. You give love...a bad name.
Mike Glennon answered the call, “Mike on.”
Cody Whitehair and Kyle Long saw Glennon’s mood change immediately. They came to recognize third-and-long look on their leader’s face and knew that he wasn’t going to be taking excuses and somebody was going to wake up sorry in the morning.
The league MVP threw one last hail mary deep down the parking lot before turning to his linemen. Kevin White and Adam Shaheen were tied at two in three flies up—Tarik Cohen still had zero—and they deserved to have a winner.
“The Browns kidnapped Staley. They’re keeping him in the abandoned St. Stephen’s church.” Glennon began, not even looking back to see who caught his heavenly spiral, “we’re taking my car.”
“You three are coming too,” MG8 shouted back as he remote-started his orange Cadillac CTS-V supersport wagon with dark navy racing stripes. White caught up as the pro-bowlers jumped into the station wagon. The rookies quickly realized six muscle-bound superstuds couldn’t fit in one vehicle, and diverted into Shaheen’s drop-top smart car, Cohen executing a gymnastic doorless entry through the open roof.
Glennon’s Cadillac screeched backwards out of his parking spot and spun around in the first half of a flawless moonshiner’s turn before stopping abruptly.
“What are you doing? We’ve got to save Staley!” Whitehair was anxious and confused. Nobody’s compliments had ever validated his barbecue skills as well as Staley’s. He didn’t want to admit it, but the confidence that came from Staley’s love of his barbecue was the boost he needed to have such a successful rookie season and all-pro sophomore campaign.
“I can’t shift,” Glennon said calmly. “My hands are glued to the steering wheel.” It was true. Glennon’s hands were locked in the 10 and 2 position (Glennon did everything with perfect technique) and from the passenger seat, Long could see the skin stretching as his QB tried to pull them away.
“Brutal,” Long noted. “There really is no low the Brown’s won’t stoop to.”
“Except 0 and 16,” the superglued-quarterback replied. “Only the Lions can stoop that low.” The car erupted in laughter remembering the misery of their division rivals before returning to the matter at hand.
“We need to get some acetone. That should break down the glue.” Whitehair suggested.
“You don’t need that fancy crap,” Kyle interjected, “you just need nail polish remover.”
“Acetone is nail polish remover.” Whitehair protested.
“Well speak english then. What are you french? In America we call it nail polish remover.” Long shifted the car for Glennon as he started driving towards the nearest drug store.
“It’s not french. It’s just the name of the chemical in nail polish remover.”
“Nobody’s heard of your dumb chemical Cody.” Kyle thumbed through his phone looking for a drug store. “There’s one a block away but it’s only got 2 stars. Let’s go an extra mile to get to the 5 star one.” He turned back to Kevin White, “Seriously. Have you ever heard of acetone?”
“I don’t want to get in the middle of this,” the calm and reasonable receiver replied.
“Come on White Thunder. Just answer the question...” Kevin had gotten the nickname White Thunder after outplaying Green Bay’s “White Lightning” by every measure in their week four game at Lambeau field.
“Yeah I’ve heard of acetone. It’s a three carbon chain with a double-bonded oxygen in the middle that’s good for breaking things down because it’s a small molecule with a polar end and a nonpolar end,” White replied.
“I’m surrounded by nerds.” Kyle Long’s dismay was alleviated when they reached the 5 star drugstore, where they received excellent service and got the acetone they needed.
Shaheen was surprised not to see Glennon's balls-out-orange muscle wagon when they got to the church, considering they'd stopped for Chipotle.
"Should we wait?" Shaheen asked.
"No way, man," the human joystick replied. Staley could be in danger.
It wasn't hard for Shaheen to force the decrepit church's door. The offensive rookie of the year didn't even need to put down his second burrito to shoulder it open.
The empty church revealed an eerie scene. Light poured in from wall-to-wall windows qcasting rays of sun on piles of debris and broken pews in the partially demolished cathedral. In the center, a writhing oversized duffle bag hung from a rope tied to the ceiling. Conspicuous orange letters spelled Browns across the side of the bag as if it were a tragically hideous uniform pant leg.
"Staley!" Cohen shouted, running towards the bag that was hanging just out of his reach.
A muffled groan came from inside as the bag wriggled more aggressively.
Shaheen took a large bite of his burrito as he caught up with Tarik. At this point, he needed to pull down the foil wrapping to get further into his second snack. He hated it when his teeth rubbed against the foil when taking a bite. Sometimes he would take the whole burrito out at the beginning just to avoid that possibility.
"You gotta untie him, Adam. I can't reach."
Shaheen fumbled with the knot but couldn't manage to get it open with one hand.
"Dude, put down your burrito. Staley's struggling in there."
"It's not the burrito. I'm just not good with knots. Besides, I'm almost done."
Cohen had lost his patience. He jumped onto a nearby pew and launched himself into a backflip, wrapping his legs around the rope at the apex of his jump. He locked his legs into the rope so that it supported his weight and released some of the tension on the knot.
Shaheen held Staley's bag with one hand as he finished his burrito, discovering there was a secret trove of guacamole tucked in the tortilla on his last bite.
Cohen finished untying the bag and Shaheen lowered it to the ground.
They unzipped the ugly duffle to find a brown haired man blindfolded and gagged. Cohen removed the gag from his mouth and saw his face.
"Outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley?!"
"Oh my goodness. Thank you so much. It was so uncomfortable in there."
"Where's Staley da bear?"
"There were some bears here, but some guy named Hue took them. I heard them mention the Bachelors Grove Cemetery."
"Well look at that," Shaheen said. "Staley wasn't even here. And to think you almost had me stop eating my burrito for nothing."