This is coming out now because the Fanpost function suddenly decided to like me again. Don't know why. But here this is regardless.
*Curtain rises on an office scene, an office much more plush than anything seen before. While the previous offices reeked of Icy Hot, bandages, desperation and different kinds of painkillers, this one smells more like pipe tobacco, paperwork and carpet shampoo. Instead of overhead fluorescents, it is lit by special LEDs that mimic older incandescent lights. Although there are stenciled images of famous Bears on the walls everywhere, pride of place especially goes to George Halas.
Ryan Pace sits in a leather chair in front of a large mahogany desk and looks somewhat uncomfortable. The desk has some memorabilia on it, but the decorator clearly felt that less is more. A few trinkets related to Super Bowl XX cluster around a signed picture of George Halas, but that is all the decor on hand. Two large men who look like former football players sit in chairs flanking the office's single door, not speaking to anyone, heads shaved and small Bears pins on the lapels of their expensive suits. An older man sits behind the desk, calmly shuffling through some papers. Pace sits silently until the older man looks up.*
George McCaskey: "So, Ryan. How are you?"
Pace: "I'm well, sir. How are you?"
McCaskey: "Good, good. I suppose you've guessed why I asked you here today."
Pace: "Yes, sir, I have."
*Flashback POV shot of Pace checking an email on his phone with his left hand while holding something long and silvery in his right, his knuckles scraped and bloody.*
McCaskey: "How did it go?"
Pace: "It wasn't easy, sir."
McCaskey: "I'm sorry to hear that. Why would you say so?"
Pace: "Well, sir, you know how everyone felt bringing him in in the first place. It wasn't supposed to end like this."
*Flashback shot of someone with a potato sack on his head being clubbed with a tire iron. The someone shouts "Consarnit!" and "Dagnabbit!", evidently not noticing that he's being hit over the head with a big piece of metal.*
McCaskey: "Yes, I understand that it took a little extra effort to escort John from the building."
Pace: "Turns out his head is really hard."
McCaskey: "That's not very surprising."
Pace: "No, I was not shocked at all."
McCaskey: "What about the others?"
*Flashback shot of a jar of wallpaper paste under a big propped-up wooden box in the middle of an empty room. Loggains walks past an open door, then stops and slowly peers back into the room. He looks in each corner of the room and sees nobody. Slowly, like a pear-shaped cat with a striking resemblance to Patton Oswalt, he sneaks up to the box and jar. When he is a few feet away he pauses again, checks for threats, then pounces on the jar of paste. In so doing he knocks away the support from the box, which falls on and traps him. Someone immediately lunges into frame, sealing the box with a large staple gun. The sounds of a grown man eating paste with gusto emanate from the box. With effort Ryan Pace tips the box over, causing Loggains to exclaim, "Ow, my head!" Pace throws some metal wiring around the box and slaps a label on it - Miami Dolphins, C/O Adam Gase, Bulk Rate, Not Fragile, Do Not Worry About Smashing Or Denting, Contents Well Padded. Pace tips the box onto its end and starts topple-rolling it out of the room, causing Loggains to exclaim: "Ow, my head!" and "Ow, my feet!" repeatedly.*
Pace: "As you know, Adam contacted me a while ago about wanting to pick up Dowell from us."
*The tune of a Katy Perry song plays in the background until someone curses and changes the radio station*
McCaskey: "Yes, as you said. That's not going to hurt us next season."
Pace, crossing his fingers and thinking of next season's schedule: "No, it won't."
McCaskey: "Good. What about Jeff?"
Pace: "Funny story about him, sir."
McCaskey taps out a couple of Tums from a small gold pill dispenser: "Ryan, you know what that phrase does to me. My stomach hasn't been right since Tank Johnson."
Pace: "My apologies, sir."
McCaskey: "That's all right."
Pace: "Anyhow, Jeff seems to have known what was coming before anyone told him."
McCaskey: "That's rather remarkable. Judging by what I saw from the box all year, he never knew if anything was coming."
*Flashback to Pace picking his way through the ST Coordinator's office, strewn with chicken bones, dice, the stubs of black candles and the burnt remnants of a couple of playing cards. The walls are smeared with unknown substances and strange symbols.*
Pace: "He seemed to have changed his approach over the last few weeks. Off the field, anyway."
McCaskey: "That's not very reassuring."
Pace: "I have some good news for you regarding Vic, sir."
McCaskey: "Which is?"
*Flashback to someone picking Fangio up out of a gutter. It's about 7 AM on a Wednesday, and the bar has been closed for at least six hours. Someone holds Fangio up as Pace checks to see if he's still alive. He is, and Pace nods. The unknown third party lugs Fangio to the backseat of a waiting sedan, which Pace gets into on the passenger side. The third party gets into the driver's seat as Fangio slowly comes around. Pace hands him a bag of McMuffins. "What do you think, Vic? Going to lay off the rocket fuel from now on?" Fangio opens his bleary eyes and says, "Give it a few more years, yeah. Any of these have cheese on them?" Pace replies, "Yeah, why?" Fangio says, "Good, I love destroying cheese."*
Pace: "The contracting people tell me Vic is on board. He'll be here for the next few years."
McCaskey: "Well, that's good. By the way, can you explain a couple of things to me?"
Pace: "Sure, sir."
McCaskey: "Why are we expanding the strength and conditioning facilities so much here?"
Pace: "It turns out that Indian clubs and rowing machines are inadequate, sir. We needed to add a few things - squat racks, incline bench, overhead lighting."
McCaskey: "My grandfather built that facility."
Pace: "I understand, sir."
McCaskey: "My grandfather built the NFL."
Pace: "That he did, sir."
McCaskey: "You're telling me that my grandfather's facility was bad?"
Pace: "I wouldn't say bad, sir, just in need of some updates. We still have all the original rowing machines and Indian clubs."
McCaskey: "And the lighting system?"
Pace: "I checked with Ted and the facilities people, sir. It turns out that coal gas and whale oil are prohibitively expensive these days. Plus they explode a lot, so that wasn't going to work for our budget."
McCaskey: "Huh. Learn something new every day."
Pace: "I was surprised too, sir. I checked around, and the only possible source of whale oil on short notice was Sea World."
McCaskey: "Sea World?"
Pace: "They're having some financial difficulties and needed to explore alternate means of funding."
McCaskey: "Hang the alternate funding, we're not paying to have that stuff trucked all the way from San Diego."
Pace: "Our thoughts precisely, sir. Ted already ran the numbers."
McCaskey: "Good, good."
Pace: "So I thought I should update you on our coaching search, sir."
McCaskey: "Yes, good. Where are we?"
Pace: "Well, here are a couple of things, sir. First, we have Vic, and he's going to clean things up."
*Flashback POV shot of Pace cleaning empty Everclear bottles out of Fangio's office and handing "Do Not Sell To This Man" notices to local liquor stores.*
Pace: "Yes. So while defense is still a concern, it's not the only concern. We're focusing largely on offensive-minded hires, both for head coach and offensive coordinator."
McCaskey: "I have to say, Ryan, this approach still unsettles me. But it's the 21st century now, and we have to get with the times."
Pace: "Indeed, sir. I liked most of what I saw from Mitchell when he was allowed on the field, so we're looking at him as the center of the effort."
McCaskey: "So you're telling me the new coaching hires are being driven mostly by building up the quarterback and innovation on offense?"
Pace: "That's a fair way of putting it, sir."
McCaskey turns to face the oversize picture of George Halas on the wall and says a couple of Hail Marys. All is silent for a few moments until he says: "Grandpa, we ask your forgiveness, and we will be doing our penance by filling your trophy case. We pray that you accept this innovation."
Pace, whose head is bowed but can't quite believe what he's hearing, mumbles a Hail Mary as well.
McCaskey, turning back to Pace: "Very well, Ryan."
Pace, looking up: "Hm?"
McCaskey: "I approve. You signed your extension, correct?"
Pace: "Did it this morning, sir."
*There is a knock at the door. One of the goons gets up to open it. An employee enters carrying a silver tray, a glass pitcher full of red liquid, and a couple of glasses.*
McCaskey: "Put it here, please."
*The employee does so and silently leaves. The goon closes the door and sits back down.*
McCaskey, pouring: "I apologize in advance, Ryan. Won't have alcohol at this hour."
Pace: "That's quite all right, sir."
McCaskey, holding out a glass to Pace: "Hope you like Kool-Aid."
Pace, looking hard at the pitcher and suddenly visualizing a walrus mustache on it: "I do, sir. I'm going to call a man in Kansas City, because I think I've found our next head coach."
McCaskey: "Glad to hear it. Everyone loves Kool-Aid."
Pace: "You bet, sir."
*Curtain drops, to various forms of applause and approbation. At some point, someone wrote on the curtain, "THERE'S ALWAYS NEXT YEAR!" The Chicago Cubs' logo has been marked off with a big check mark and "2016" written next to it. The Bears' logo has been added, with a giant question mark in its place.*