Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

"$ideline$": a novel by tweets of greed, violence &, oh yeah, football

4 “This way?” I asked Debi and gestured toward a door marked “President” beside a chair w/a very large, motionless man. Firing the club “President” was easy. I opened the door & yelled: “That’s disgusting and a violation of team morals policies! You’re fired!” 1/9

Guys with hand trucks materialized. “I figured you’d need them to move stuff,” Debbie said & added: “This franchise has a vibrant history w/moving companies.” They had that office cleared in 5 minutes. They left a big desk, chairs & phones: a leadership mtg - now. 2/9

Debi introduced everyone. Debby is administrative assistant for the head of Purchasing. Debra is in charge of personnel & added “I’m a token” Deborah handles travel. Debbie: media relations. I asked: “Where’d he hire you?” Debi: “Grad schools from across the country.” 3/9

“Why are you dressed like...?” Debra cut in: “Umtell’s ‘team rules.’ He’s a sexist pi...” I shook my head:”I run this team now. Wear clothes you want to wear. Can we order some pizzas? This might take a while.” Deborah told me: “Plenty of beer in the fridge.” 4/9

We put up big chalkboards, from somewhere, got the pizzas, wrote what needed done. Umtell had cut costs early in his ownership. Umtell charged off the costs of a pre-seasons camp as did every other team, but theirs were miles away from the “home” city. 5/9

Umtell’s camp was at the complex, under a wide roof with several fields of fake grass. He still wrote off the same amounts for expenses, but pocketed the “skim,” as Debi explained. Outside my office was a terrace from which we could see current members of the team. 6/9

“This is the cheapest payroll in the league,” Debra told me, her voice void of inflection, & added “I’m a token. I’m a Mormon.” I was about to reply, but Debi cut in. Somebody was there from one of the TV networks. “They still have those?” I asked. 7/9

Things were scrambled quickly. My mistake? Accepted a glass, from a reporter’s aid, w/o 1st seeing it poured from a bottle freshly opened. Colors became more vivid. The walls bent toward me and breathed. Then came the night-long conversation that inspired me. 8/9

Umtell went from modest affluence to billionaire status on the backs of taxpayers. We took a lousy franchise to ... well, this is that story. C. 2021 by mark small. This is a work of fiction & any similarity betw beings in this story & those living or dead is statistically improbable. 9/9

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