Leonard Floyd had been the closest when the alert went out notifying everyone that Hue Jackson had taken Staley to Bacherlor’s Grove Cemetary. He and Pernell McPhee were halfway through an episode of Pretty Little Liars and it’s a testament to their willpower and love for their mascot that they were able to pull themselves away before the current plot hook had resolved.
When they arrived at the graveyard, it wasn’t hard to find trouble. They had barely stepped out of McPhee’s Lamborghini Countach when they saw a terrified man in a torn black suit running across the graveyard. Just steps behind him was a large brown bear in playful pursuit.
“Hey, that’s Tank!” McPhee beamed with an ear-to-ear grin. “He’s such a good actor. I’ve been a huge fan since Dr. Doolittle 2.”
As McPhee jogged towards the famous bear actor, Floyd focused his pursuit on the fleeing kidnapper.
That kidnapper soon found himself cornered between the graveyard gate and a lavishly adorned mausoleum. Tank stood on his back legs and waved his paws in the air, celebrating his victory. His celebration was cut short as he was startled by the pounding stomps of Floyd’s intimidating approach, and he turned to witness the source of those powerful echoing footsteps.
Floyd paid little mind to the 600 pound grizzly in his way, pushing him sideways and pulling himself past the massive bear with a powerful swim move before tackling the cowering crook cornered behind him.
“Where did Hue take Staley?” Floyd interrogated.
“Who?” the crook questioned.
“Staley Da Bear. Where did Hue take him.”
“No,” the crook clarified. “Who’s Hue?”
At this point, McPhee had caught up with Tank, who quickly saw the adoration in his eyes and rewarded it with a paw slap and a gentle wrestle.
“Hue Jackson. Where is he and who are you?” Floyd continued.
“Yes. I’m Hoo,” the crook responded.
“Yes. I’m Hoo. Well Hoo is my first name. My last name is Ligan. But I don’t know Hue Jackson.”
At this point, Floyd realized that there might have been some confusion. He decided to focus on the more important issue. “Where’s Staley da Bear?”
“Is that the one that stands up like a person? That guy is hilarious. I think he’s still in his cage in the large crypt to the North.” Hoo Ligan responded.
McPhee and Tank rolled over and Tank layed on his back with his legs out, allowing Pernell to rub the beautiful bear’s bountiful belly.
“How do I get into the cage? Is anyone guarding him?” The defensive player of the year wasn’t looking to waste anymore time.
“Take this key,” Hoo offered. “The rest of my crew will still be there. At least the ones who didn’t run when the bear escaped. Just let me go. I’m not getting paid enough to get mauled by a vicious beast.”
Tank farted and then waved his fore-paws above him as he stretched and rubbed his head back and forth along the grass, mocking McPhee for having to smell the pungent powerful fruits of his intestinal flora.
“Come on.” Floyd grabbed the key and dragged McPhee and Tank reluctantly towards the crypt. “We’ve got to get Staley.”
Most of the offense had reached the graveyard by the time the two midway monsters got to the crypt. Floyd handed his QB1 the key and the Bears walked in, the offensive line leading the way.
The inside of the crypt was reasonably well-lit by a sloppily assembled combination of floor lamps and Christmas lights powered through tangled extension cords. As they entered, the Bears could see three large cages in the room.
Across the crypt in front of them, Staley was leaning against the wall of his cage, surrounded by three enthralled thugs. One thug was bent over laughing, another was slapping his knees, and a third was spitting out his coffee as he couldn’t contain an outburst of loling.
Staley saw his friends coming, and dug deep for one last joke, knowing he would only need to distract the riff raff for a few more seconds until his freedom.
“Why did the gay grizzly leave his husband and swim from Alaska to Russia?” Staley asked.
“I don’t know!” the first thug responded.
“Please tell us,” the second thug was eager for more gut-wrenching giggles.
“I don’t care. I’m already laughing because you said ‘gay’” the third thug bent over again, laughing to the point of tears.
“He was Bering Straight.”
The laughter stopped. “I don’t get it.”
Staley tried to explain the geography of the northern Pacific ocean, but it was too late.
“Hey, it’s Kyle Long!” one thug shouted. “Dude, I love your brother.”
The offensive linemen braced as the thugs rushed towards the team. Glennon lifted the silver key, and it caught a flash of Christmas tree light, brightly reflecting it.
“Get the guy with the key!” One thug yelled, and they all set their sights upon Glennon.
Whitehair, Long, Sitton, and even Bobby Massie all held off thugs as Glennon pulled back the key to start his seamless throwing motion. Charles Leno Jr was too overcome with joy at the thought of reuniting with Staley, but he did his part by pancaking one of the crooks as he rushed towards his old friend.
The long silver key left MG8’s hand with incredible zip, sailing towards Staley’s cage. Staley reached his paw out to grab it, but the key sailed past, stopping with single dull clink. Staley looked down to see the key perfectly inside the lock, sideways because the residual torque from Glennon’s perfect spiral had managed to turn the lock. Staley’s cage swung open.
A second group of thugs started to rush towards Staley from the other side of the room. Behind them, a beautiful grizzly stood locked in a cage across from an empty cage with a broken door.
Staley grabbed the key out of the lock and rushed towards the bear. “I’ll save you Bart!” the courageous mascot yelled, with only Charles Leno Jr. standing between him and an army of thugs.
Leno saw Staley’s determination and knew that he couldn’t be deterred from his reckless mission, so he did the only thing he could think to help. Or, perhaps he didn’t think. Perhaps muscle memory from so many glorious crowd-stealing karaoke moments took over and he did what his body was made to do.
And I owe it all to youuuu....
As Staley reached the pro bowl tackle, he leaped up into his arms. Charles lifted the bear over his head, this time launching him forward into the air instead of holding on to graceful mascot.
I’ve had the time of my life. And I’ve never felt this way before.
Staley sailed over the thugs who stumbled as they tried to stop and turn around. They were too slow. Staley Da Bear landed in a somersault, and quickly unlocked the cage to Bart the Bear Jr.
The young bear actor knew exactly how to handle the situation. He stepped out of the cage, raised his massive muscular fur-sculpture of a perfect physique onto his hind legs, and let out a terrifying echoing roar that spit drool droplets onto the helpless thugs.
Every crook, ne’er-do-well, thug, hooligan, and criminal in the graveyard turned and ran for their lives—with the exception of one that Josh Sitton was still successfully blocking.
Bart Jr. received a standing ovation, and he soaked in the adoring attention with great pleasure, shaking his fore-paws in the air with tremendous braggadocio before turning to Staley for a fist bump.
The Bears rushed in to embrace their rescued mascot.
“I can’t believe the Browns would do this to you,” Mike Glennon began. “Was Hue Jackson here?”
“The Browns?” Staley looked confused. “I don’t know anything about the Browns. This was all the doing of—”
“Stop!” Cameron Meredith was fashionably late. Both in the sense that he was late, and because the reason he was late was that he stopped to change into a tweed suit and put on a hounds-tooth deerstalker cap to be better dressed for his great revelation.
“When I heard about the attempt to glue Glennon’s hands to the steering wheel, something didn’t add up about the Browns’ motivations.” Meredith began to pace and pretend to puff on an empty pipe as he lectured the impatient crowd.
“How would the Browns stand to benefit by taking Glennon out of the equation? If they wanted us to release Trubisky, we would be much less likely to do so if we were without a starting quarterback on the week of the Super Bowl.”
Meredith paused to mime blowing fake smoke rings. He wished he could have the full effect, but as a professional athlete who actually ran, he couldn’t afford to put anything toxic into his lungs.
“As I continued my elaborate deduction algorithm, I realized there was only one person who would stand to benefit from both Trubisky being released and Glennon being out of commission.”
Across the room, faces started to change as they all came to the same realization. Except perhaps Josh Sitton who was distracted by a hopelessly repetitive interrogation of the man he had locked arms with.
“Who hired you?”
“Hoo hired me.”
“Who hired you?”
“Hoo hired me.”
This had gone on far too long. Sitton was once a bright man, but too much time in Wisconsin had dulled his faculties.
“It was painful to come to the realization that the man behind this horrendous act was one of our very own.” Meredith continued to pace.
“It was Mark Sanchez!” Staley blurted out, unable to take the pace of Meredith’s delayed reveal any longer.
“Quite right, Staley.” Meredith congratulated the rescued bear. “Although you did have the advantage of being witness to the crime itself.”
Mark Sanchez knew the guys only teased him because he was better looking than anyone else in the league, but it still ate away at him. There was only one way to redeem his reputation, and that opportunity was coming within the week. He would be the starting quarterback in a Super Bowl victory. With this Bears roster, he knew he would only have to hand the ball off to Jordan Howard and limit himself to 5 interceptions, and the rest of the historic team would carry him to redemption.
He continued to pull a large black chain as he fantasized about his inevitable glory.
“How do you possibly think you’re going to get away with this?” Even Rihanna’s talking voice was so sweet that nearby butterflies overhearing her were compelled to find a mate.
“It’s simple. Leverage.” Sanchez bragged as he pulled the chain and an elaborate pulley system raised Rihanna’s cage higher over the field at US Bank Stadium. “I’ve got you, Staley, and the top three bear actors in the world trapped. They’ll have to let me play if they want a halftime show.”
The Battleship actress looked over to see her captured counterpart, Honey-Bump, resting on her paws in a cage opposite her also hanging over the field.
“It looks like this will be a long couple of days,” Riri lamented to Honey-Bump. “Do you know how to play charades?”