Friday, August 31, 2012


I sit in my regular booth, at the Montana Galley, the one back by the kitchen.  It's just after lunch, about one-thirty.  Left on my plate; two scoops of cold slaw, and two scoops of potato salad.  Helena, the owner, sits right next to me.  She's very blond.  She makes it all worthwhile.  My hand on her knee, I nurse a tall glass of buttermilk.

Three men stride toward us.

"Brentwood.  It's me."

"Well,"  I say.  "As I live and breathe, Diego Garcia, President of the Fresh Air Cab Company.  Sit.  Take the load off, guys."

"Meet Coco Crisp.  From the Oakland A's."

"Hello," says Coco.  "Diego says he knew you, the Sports Blog guy.  I read you all the time."

"I'm Terry Kiser."  says the other.  "Full time actor, part time dancer."  He giggles.

They all shake.

"Dancing.  It's what the entire team is doing now." says Coco.

"They're on their way to do a segment on Sports Center," says Diego.  "But they're back to Oakland right after.  Ready for tomorrow's game.  Quick stop over."

"I get to throw out the first pitch, at tomorrow's game." says Terry.

They slide into the booth.  Helena pushes up tight against me.  Nice.

"So, Woody," says Diego. "Reason I brought Coco. I wanted you to see form the horses mouth...not that you're a horse?  Wait, that didn't come out right..."

"Diego thought you'd like to see me do the Bernie?  Why not?  I'm game. It's a lot of fun."

Teenagers shove through the front door, and sit at the next booth.  Books, lap tops, back packs, skate boards.  Their voices are loud and laughing.

"The Bernie," says Terry.  "It's a dance got started when ISA, the rapper, came out with 'Movin' like Bernie.'  It's caught on big time with the A's."

"We started playing it in the clubhouse," says Coco.  "Brandon Inge plays it now every time he comes up to bat.  It's all over YouTube."

"You can show us?  Maybe?," says Helena.  She smiles at me, then at the three.  "If, it's not too much...trouble..."

"Nobody can do it better than Terry," says Coco.  "The original."

“It's going to be on national TV," says Terry.  "ESPN and everything.  After I throw out the first pitch, I'll start doing the Bernie on the mound, and I might go into left field and end up at home plate. We'll see what happens. I'll make it funny.”

A young man in the next booth looks over.  "Hello... you're talking about the Bernie? Hey...Look, it's Terry Kiser...It's Bernie."

Terry waves his hand, and smiles.

"Mr. Kiser, Holy Cow,"  says another.  "We do the Bernie at all of our baseball games.  Wait 'til they hear..."

Terry looks at me, scootches out of the booth, and raises his hands for quiet.  "The Bernie. Ladies and Gentlemen."  He raps.  "It' s a hyphy-esque dance craze in which you hold yo head back like a nosebleed comin' through, likeeee this, while you let your body get goosey loosey, Movin' it Like Bernie.  Weekend At Bernie's."

Coco slides out.  Head back, arms hang down, loose, he sways forward, and backwards.  "Tonight," he says.  "I'm gon thizz, crunk get loose and Movin' it Like Bernie! Get dead and dumb.  Oooohweee."

I look over at the kitchen.  Five heads stick out the door.  They push to see, with wide eyes, grinning.

"You guys, so yesterday," says a tall girl from the next booth.  She crawls under the booth and pops up next to Terry.  A young man comes out with her.  "We go one step further."

Girl: "Pickawwwwww!"

Guy: "What are you doing?"

Girl: "Pickawwwwww!"

Guy: "That's such a cool dance move, let me try!"

Girl and Guy: "Pickawwwwwwww!"

Girl and Guy: "What are we doing?"


Then the entire booth: "Doin' it right, it's bad ass."

Helena elbows me out.  Bending backward, then forward, arms hanging,  "Woody, we gotta get mugs and t-shirts made. I'm Movin' it Like Bernie.'"  And she is.

"Come on," says Coco.  He's up, out of the booth, and starts movin' it.

And we all do, Conga Style, Movin' it Like Bernie, through the booths, the tables, through the kitchen, and out again.  Outside, we deposit Terry and Coco back into Diego's Fresh Air Cab, and off they roar, toward Burbank, and their interview.

My arm around Helena, we wave as they leave.  Testos-Adrenal exhilarated, I say, "Now that's how you Movin' it Like the...Vertical...Bernie.  I wonder, we could maybe, you think, try Movin' it Like a...Horizontal...Bernie?"

Helena looks up at me, a slight smile.   "Horizontal?  Why am I not surprised you'd say that.  But...I guess...but later, Mister.  I still got a dinner crowd to get ready for?"


Wednesday, August 29, 2012


He tosses the ball to the Manager, points to the other players, and slowly walks off the field.  He doffs his cap to the fans, and dances into the dugout.  Three and a third shutout innings,  37 pitches -- 24 of them strikes.  One pitch clocked at 88 m.p.h.

He flops down at the far end of the bench.  He looks at his pitching arm, flexes his fingers, then wraps his arm in a towel.  Skeeter's Manager, Gary Gaetti, comes down the steps and sits next to him.

"I can still bring it, Coach," says Clemens.  "Fifty, and I still got it.  And I haven't played in five years."

"Gotta start your comeback somewhere," says The Manager.  "So what if it's the Sugar Land Skeeters, versus the Bridgeport Bluefish.  The Atlantic League.  It's still Professional Baseball."

"After seven Cy Young Awards, I never thought it would be like this.   Just turned 50 on August fourth." 

The over flow crowd, more that 7,700, find parking in the far field area.  Clemens, moves up the steps and waves again to the crowd.  They cheer back.  He bows.

"I'm thinking 50 is the new 25," he says to the Manager.

He sits again, rotates his pitching arm, and wiggles his fingers.
"You know, since I've been out of baseball, now for the five years, my name is on the Hall of Fame Ballot.  I want the voters to see me play.  They figure I was on some kind of drug, so let them test me now.  I can do this.  You saw me.  I'm still as good as I was.  Bring it on.  I'll show them."

The Manager turns toward Clemens.  His voice is low, eyes narrow, a toothy grin.  His face a light pink. "But it's the Bluefish you're pitching against.  Not the Dodgers.  This is Double-A.  You looked gassed after three innings, Roger."

"Look, I never really retired, you know. Not really.  It's a lot of work to go out and pitch.  Come on . I'm just having fun."

"Be a lot faster getting back in the Majors know...They got drugs now that are undetectable.  Roger, you're 50 years old.  You gotta face reality."

The Manager's face turns red, two bulges form on his forehead.  As he looks sideways at Roger he picks at the sharp end of his tail.

"I'm back because I loves the competition and the big stage.  I can do this again.  So what if I got an ego the size of Texas.  I know that."

The Manager's face contorts, the grin is larger.  "Roger? Look at me.  You know who you're talking to?"

"What," says Clemens. "Wait,"  He jumps back.  .

"The Hall of Fame, it's all you got left.  This is the era of the Human Growth Hormone.  By the way, I had a big hand in developing that, thank you very much."

"I did not take drugs."

 "Roger, this is your life.  You have to get back on a Major League roster.  Then your balloting will be extended another five years.  That way you won't be lumped in with all those other players who showed up on the List, the Mitchell List.   You'll have a better chance then to get elected to the Hall." 

"Who are you, anyway." says Clemens.

"Being on that List tags you as a juicer.  Hey, I didn't make you use the stuff."

"I'm clean now...I've always been's all I know how to do.  Pitch."

"Hey, look into my eyes," says the Manager. "You see that?  Every time a reporter want an interview, or somebody's looking for an autograph, every little kid that looks up at you, they'll be thinking, you cheater, you used drugs, you are a disgrace to the game."  He smiles.

"The fans still love me.  You heard them cheer."

"Eighty-eight mph ain't going to get there. Three innings, come on, the Bluefish?  They aren't the Angels...poor choice...not the Rays. You're nothing Clemens.  You've become someone that fans laugh at."

Clemens begins to cry.

"They were all using it," says Clemens.  He blubbers.  "I wasn't going to let them get away with it, after all I'd done. I had to do it.  I had no choice.  They're the cheaters."

The Manager, waving his red tail in the air, head back, laughs loudly.

"Football doesn't even test for HGH.  Remember when I threw that bat at Piazza in the World Series?  I was so pumped, I forgot about it until the next day when I saw it on SportsCenter."

"Word is The Astros'll give you a chance. It's a stunt. They got nothing to lose, on their way to another 105 game losing year.  A sad...obvious...attempt to suck up to the fans.  But hey, I'm all for dishonesty."

"I'm not a bad guy," says Clemens.  His mouth is open as he cries.  "I had to do something.  My word against McNamee, guy who gave me the stuff.  He made me take it.  But the Jury believed me.  Me...not him."

"I was there, my friend.  Of course, I'm just about everywhere."  A toothy grin.  "The judge crippled the prosecution.  He didn't allowing the majority of the evidence.  Had the jury seen everything..."

"Jury said I was truthful.  All that matters," says Clemens.

"Here's why you won. You had more convincing lawyers, they didn't like the Prosecutor, and they though The Man was coming down on you out of some kind of spite.  What evidence?  You got lucky.   Not Guilty and being Innocent are two very different things."

"Come on, just give me a second chance.  4,672 strikeouts, 11 All-Star teams, a 24-year career.  I don't want it to end this way.  I can do this."

Still crying, "I got a right to be here.  I still got a chance..."

"You want to get back in the Majors, Roger? " says the Manager, his grin larger, his fingers working, his tail straight up in the air.

"It's what I have to do in return, isn't it?"

"Bravo. Now you get the picture.  Look, they're undetectable.  It's some new stuff that only I can get..."

A gust of hot air hits there faces.  A loud voice booms from the top of the dugout.  The Manager cringes.

"Hey, get away from him," says The Voice.  "You have no good reason to be here."

"Go away, can't you see I'm busy here."  He loses his grin.  "Besides, when I leave here, I'm going over to see Mike Trout, and the other guy, Trumbo.  See if they're interested.  Then off to Boston, and the Yankees.  They always seem to be ready to negotiate."

The Manager strokes his long tail, his dripping grin is back, and he laughs loudly, shaking his head.

"Get away, and stay away from Trout, and the Angels.  If I see you trying to push your drugs on any baseball player, or anybody, for that matter, you'll be in one heap of trouble, my friend."

"You don't scary me."

There is a tremendous blast of air.  It hits the Manager flush in the face.  He rolls backwards, tail over horns over claws, and hits hard against the far wall.

He jumps up, fists out.  "Is that all you got?"


 "All right already.  I'm leaving.   But hey, I got a whole bunch of other...Delights...up my sleeve.  You can't stop me forever."   A high pitch squeal and he scurries off down the tunnel.

"Thank God," says Clemens.  "What just happened?" His voice very loud, very shaky.  He looks around.  "I don't know what just came over me.  Oh, man."  He looks at his arm, and wiggles his fingers.  "What am I going to do?  What am I going to do?"

Tears run down his face.

Manager Gaetti looks down at Clemens.  "Roger.  You okay?  What are you doing sitting way down there all alone?"

Clemens sniffles, wipes his eyes, and joins the manager at the rail.  In silence, he watches the rest of the game.
Help comes from:

Sunday, August 26, 2012


"Hey," says LeBron.  "Like to talk to Michael."

"This is Michael,"  says Michael.  "You sound familiar.
 Who's this?"

"Who's this?  Come on.  It's me."

"Okay," says Michael.

"L. J.  Gold Medalist.  L. J.  NBA World Championship Ring,  L.J. MVP.  Who'd you think.  See me in the papers this morning?"

"You?" says Michael.  "If this is LeBron then yeah, I saw you.  With the Shoes?  And by the way, I got a Gold Medal too.  And World Championship Rings, if you forgot."

"So," says LeBron.  "What do you think about My Shoes.  LeBron James Nike Plus X."

"Hey, if you forgot, I got shoes too."

"Well, of course.  I know.  You started this whole Shoe Thing.  Air Jordans.  But mine are more expensive than yours."

"Yeah, so," says Michael.

"Kinda makes me a bigger deal, don't you think?  No way I'm selling them cheap.  People'll think I'm a real loser."

"Why don't you just sell them at $1,000 a pair.  Go crazy?"

"Come on, that's too much.  Guys buy my shoes can't do that, but they say we can squeeze $300 maybe $350 out of them.  They're buying a piece of me. What can I say.  They want cheaper shoes, they buy AJ's."

"Air Jordans sell just fine, LeBron, okay.  Wait. You want to talk shoes?  Hold on...make an international call.  Hello, is this Stephon?  Stephon Marbury?"

"I know that voice.  M.J. How you doing.  Calling to congratulate me?   Kinda late, we won back in March.  Beijing Ducks, Chinese Basketball Association Championship.  We beat Aaron Brooks and the Guangdong Hongyuan. I got my own ring now."

"Hello...Am I talking to Stephon Marbury?"

"LeBron?  That you?  Hey, the guy trying to muscle in on my shoe action."

"I'm worldwide," says LeBron.

"Yeah, I saw the shoes," says Stephon. "But you got it all wrong, my friend.  Priced yourself out of the market.  $315?  You kidding.  Kids around the world can get the same thing, Starburys, for $29.95.  How's your shoes selling in Cleveland, by the way?"

"Selling real good...real good.  They still love me there."

"Hold on,"  says Michael.  "Let's call Kobe.  He knows about shoes...Let's see if  I still have his number...Hello, like to talk with..."

"Michael, Zup man.  Been awhile."

"Kobe, I got somebody here..."

"Our man in L.A.," says LeBron.  "We're the Gold Medalists.  Showed the world, didn't we?   Me making those shots in the fourth quarter against Spain." 

"LeBron," says Michael. "It wasn't all that much in doubt.  Chris Paul, Kevin D., Carmelo..."

"Kobe, did you see me in the paper this morning, jumping in my new shoes?  Three time League MVP, and I got a ring, so I get the best shoes too.  It's the right thing for Nike to do."

"I saw," says Kobe.  "Shoes are okay,  but expensive.   I hate to say it, but those shoes are can I say this?..."

"They're ugly, compared to my A.J's. "

"Pricewise, mine are the best of them all," says Stephon.

"Is that Stephon Marbury?" says Kobe.   " 喂,你好嗎 "

"非常好," says Stephon.

"What?" says LeBron.  "Did someone say my new shoes are Ugly?  Come on, you guys are just jealous.  Me, MVP, Gold medal.  My shoes have LeBron X Dynamic Flywire Technology, Hyperfuse Construction, and the first full-length visible Zoom Air unit.

"And I got Nike to set a good price.  Like a guy buying a car.  He wants the Bentley.  So everybody'll look up to him, not some $29.95 Ford Fiesta."

"Hey," says Stephon. "Kids want to be like me, over here in China.  So my deal is to give them shoes they can afford.  Kids might say you're the best basketball player..."

"What?" says Kobe...

"Say what?" says Michael.

"...But there isn't much respect.  Everybody over here knows I'm no Kobe, or LeBron, but they got my name on their feet.  They like me here.  Kobe...They sure like you."

"Everytime I'm over there, I get huge crowds.  It's surprising.  Pretty cool."

"Okay," says LeBron.  "I set the price.  It's a test price.  Come on, I...we...won the Olympics, so people should pay for what we did.  I'm worth it.  I won't get any respect selling cheap shoes.  I should get respect."

 "Hey, Come over here.  My Duck's aren't afraid.  You'll need more than some high priced shoes." 

"Price'll come down," says Michael.  "Like for my Air Jordans.  Base was like $90, then they did tests.  I got money up front, so I let the experts decide on price, and how they're marketed."

"Keds,"  says Kobe.  "That's what I played in back in the day.  Used pair matter of fact.  It's how people look at you.  How much you give back."

"I can't be selling shoes real cheap," says LeBron. "It's a reflection on me. It's a good deal.  I get a percentage of sales..."

"You're kidding,"  said Kobe.

"Mistake," says Michael.  "You forgot where you came from.  What kid can afford them?"

"Guys, they want my shoes.  Kids can't wait to buy them.  They want to be like me."

"I got no problem with $29.95.  I'm everywhere in China.  I don't have to advertise either.   How many would you sell without any advertising?"

"What's next L.J.," says Kobe.  "Now that you got your shoe deal, what's next?"

"I'm thinking of getting Corvette to come out in a limited LeBron edition.  Say $250 Grand."

"Live it up now, LeBron" says Kobe.  "Lakers got the team now.  Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Gasol, Metta...Me."

"You guys just want to rain on my parade.  I deserve better..."

"LeBron," says Michael.  "I gotta go.  We'll have to see how fast the price comes down."

"It's what I'm worth now.  Highest price Nike's on B-Ball shoes."

"Okay, I gotta go," says Kobe.  "See you guys, I gotta this thing at Cedars Sinai Hospital, with  Blake Griffin, Chauncey Billups, and Dwight Howard...guys here in L.A."

"Yeah, me too," says Michael.  "There's this midnight B-Ball League I sponsor.  Gives young men something healthy to do at night."

"I'll see you guys," says Stephon. "I'm getting a metal from the local citizens group.  That's huge over here."

"If you getting that kind of respect," says LeBron.  "You gotta raise the price of your shoes."

"I don't need crazy expensive shoes," says Stephon.  "I just need me."

Help comes from:,,,,  -  Google/Images,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


"Hello," says Nerdene.  "Like to talk with Mr. Manila."

"Please, call me Sal.  Attorney a Law.  How can I help...wait...Nerdene, I'm sorry.  You did like I told you, get the burner phone.  Much better, now we can talk privately.  Like this conversation never took place.  So... you were saying about Melky Cabrera...and his Website?"

"I know I'm in trouble.  It's in all in the papers.  It's on the front page."

"Okay, you told me a little about this, but let's start again from the beginning."

"Okay," says Nerdene. "My friend from High school, Carmine...Carmine Rigatoni...he calls me.  We stayed in touch, so he knows I'm a Webmaster.  I set up websites.  He wants me to set up a website called, get this,  And he sends me pictures of pills bottles.  Actually I hacked into another website, and just added the name and pictures of the pills."

"Hacked in...?"

"No problem.  Everybody does it."

"Okay?  So you set up the site." says Sal.

"Yep. Check it out.  It looks real legit."

"A webmaster sets up a website.  What's the big whoop?  Unless...this has anything to do with...the Melky Website?"

"Carmine works with his Dad.  They provide towels for the San Francisco Giants.  They know all the players."

"So that's the connection with Melky Cabrera?  Oh boy." say Sal.

"But here's where it gets strange," says Nerdene. "Carmine mails me a check for $10,000.  Can you believe?  Usually it's around $1,500...not $10 Grand."

"Sounds kinda fishy."

"You're telling me.  And every month, I get a check for $3500.  So now I read about this Baseball guy says he bought pills through my website.  I was shocked. Nothing's ever been sold from my site."

"So, you got $25,000, and you're getting $3500 every month..?"

"For the last three months." says Nerdene.

"I read the same story about Cabrera.  He twice failed his drug tests, so he's been banned for 50 games.  He tried to appeal, saying he didn't know what he took was banned.  He bought them on your website.  Next he'll be saying his English is so bad, he didn't understand any of this."

"So Sal, what's going to happen to me?  Guy investigating this is looking for me.  He wants everybody involved.  What should I do?"

"This Melky Cabrera, even with the suspension, could win the National League Batting Title, can you believe?  Since we spoke, I checked this guy out.  He was the MVP of the All-Star Game, giving the National League Home field advantage in the World Series." 

"Sal.  Focus.  They're looking for me.  I'm part of this whole thing.  I set up the Website."

"He lied in court, saying he bought from your website. It didn't even exist when he took the drugs.  What was he thinking?  Guy like that needs a good lawyer, making all that money..."  

"Wait, there's more," says Nerdene.


"It could be nothing, but these $3,500 checks, Carmine mails them to me from San Francisco, but they're from a foreign account. 'Pizza-by-the-Slice, Palermo, Sicily.'  That scares me."

"Yikes,"  says Sal.  "Nerdene, I think you need a lawyer.  If they're mailing checks to you, then they know where you live.  Not good.  Not good at all.   It's just a matter of time."

"I knew it. I'm going to jail?"

"I'll tell you, when Sicilians are involved, you usually don't make it...I'm sorry.'d you heard about me?"

"Well, my boyfriend, Gamester, got sick eating at the Sizzler.  When they took him to the Emergency, your cards were all over the reception area. 'Sal's your Pal.'   Sal.  Am I going to jail?"

"Maybe, I don't know.  Might be good idea for you to give me all the money you got from this, and I'll put it in my account, so if they find you, you'll look clean."

"Wait, give you all the money?  Wouldn't that implicate you in all this?"

"  You might be right.  Your boyfriend, does he have a lawyer.  Sizzler is a large chain, and they have a duty not to poison people.  Have him call me immediately.  We're talking maybe six figures..."

"But what about me, Sal.  If I close down the Website, they won't be sending me any $3,500 checks anymore."

"Nerdene, hold on a minute."  Sal thumbs his iPhone.  It rings.

"San Francisco FBI, Joey Ricotta. How can I help..."  (Is everybody in San Francisco Italian?)

"I got information about Melky Cabrera.  About who set up the Website.  What's that worth to you?"

"Melky Cabrera?" says Joey. " Yeah, I'd like to hear what you got on him.  That fraud.  He gets his buddy, Juan Nunez, or somebody, to set up a fake website and invent some fake drug to explain away positive tests for synthetic testosterone.  As a free-agent he'd be looking at a $50 million contract, minimum.  Such a fool.  Why didn't he just claim it was all miss Ryan Braun did?  You want drugs to stop, ban these guys for life, deport these cheating, LYING, SCUMBAG, SONS OF information, yes sir.   I'll send it along to the Commissioner.  We're looking at everybody in this case for fraud."

"Once I get her boyfriend to call me, I'll know where she lives, and you can pick her up.  Wait...can you hold on for just a second?"  He thumbs his phone again..."Nerdene, have your boyfriend call me, right away?  And destroy your phone.  Promise me, it's the only way.  Good Luck."

"Wait.  Good Luck?  I know I'm going to jail, but...Good Luck?  Sal...thought you Pal?"


"Ricotta, you still there?  Let me ask you, something like this.  Would there be a reward, you know.  The name of the person who set up the Website.  Wouldn't that just blow this story wide open?"

Help comes from:,,  Google/Images,

Sunday, August 19, 2012


The Commissioner strides from the elevator.  He heads for his office, the corner one with the windows.  It's 10 am.

As he waves toward a bank of cubicles, he snaps his fingers at Peabody, his Private Secretary. 

"Peab," he says. "We got anything pressing?   I hope not, 'cause I got a 1 o'clock tee time.  Forest Park, out in Queens."

He throws his briefcase in a chair, and slumps behind the desk.  Peabody is there and hands him his coffee, cup and saucer.

He stops, hands in his pockets.  He breathes deeply.  "We got a problem, a real problem."

In mid gulp, The Commish drops his head.   "Please, not today." he says.  "I was looking forward to getting that three wood in my hands."  He looks at  his reflection in the coffee.  "Okay...damn...I'm listening. "

"We gotta suspend Matt Kemp.  No two ways about it.  A month, minimum."

"What?  Matt Kemp?   A month?  No way.  A month?  Are you kidding?"

Shaking his head, he sits back, and stares at Peabody.  "Tell me.  Something crazy happen I didn't hear about?  Matt Kemp?  Is he in jail or something.  A sex thing?  What?"

"Happened at the game last night." Peabody begins to pace.

The Commish waves his hand in the air.  "Talk to me."

"Okay, here goes.  Last night, Dodgers Pirates.  Home plate ump is Angel Campos, summer fill in.  Rookie kind of guy.  Anyway, Dodgers were griping about balls and strikes from the start.  So he warns them in the bottom of the Second.  It was Kemp who was the loudest.  Okay, Ethier's up, so Kemp yells out, 'Let's go, Dre.' know...for Andre..."

"I get it.  Dre," says The Commish.  "He was rooting for his own guy.  So..?"

"So, Campos ejects Kemp.  Mattingly comes running out of the dugout, with Kemp right behind him.  Screaming.  Seems everybody in the place could hear them."

"Okay, so they're arguing with the ump.  Peab, if we suspended ever guy who argued with some umpire."  He sits back, cup on saucer, in the air.  "Guys in a pennant race sometimes get fired up. No need for suspension."

"Cardinal Sin,"  says Peabody.  "Kemp bumped the ump, acting like a wild man. Bumped him  twice."

The Commish stands up and walks to the window.  He looks out past Manhattan, across the Hudson, to parts of Bayonne.  He rubs his forehead.

"Touched him, huh?  Well...Do we have to...suspend him?"

"That's the rules."

"But...Fans like that...gets their blood boiling.  Some action.  Maybe a one game suspension?"

"It was more than just arguing.  Kemp had to be restrained by both Mattingly and Shane Victorino.  Mattingly was also ejected.  Campos is new,  and they all knew it.  They were trying to break him.  They're supposed to be professionals.  How much money do these guys make, anyway?"

Peabody pushes his iPad across the desk.  "Take a look."  The Commish sits and watches Kemp's disgraceful display. He slides it back. 

"But... a month?"  Again he stands and gazes out toward Bayonne.  He sips his coffee, then closes his eyes.

"You heard the words he said, " says Peabody.  "Maybe there's something going on in his personal life, but his language.  Unbelievable.  Did you see the guy in the stands, holding his hands over the little boy's ears.  That's bad.  Real bad."

"Maybe they didn't hear..."

"They all heard it.  If a father out in public screamed like that, a little boy by his side, it's child abuse."

"What?  Come on, it's a baseball game."

"Is this what we're selling?   Commish, we gotta side with the Umpire.  I don't know what happened to Kemp, it was beyond professionalism.  Crazy like.  We want kids to look up to our players.  Kemp is MVP quality.  Our players are supposed to be heroes to our kids."

"But, come on, Peab.  Guys are in a pennant race.  Dodgers'll have a tough time without Kemp.  Besides, the fans come out to see the Players, not the Umpires.  If they're suspended, the owners won't like it..."

"Couple of weeks maybe.  He needs help.  You see how he acted.  Can't be doing anything like that in front of people.  Something's going on with this guy?  Maybe he's trying to get back with Rihanna, and she's telling him to get lost, I don't know?"

"Who?  Ri..ann?  Who?"

"You know this was beyond arguing with the Ump.  It was a disgrace.  That kind of language has no place anywhere near Major League Baseball.  It was shameful.  They don't even abuse referees in Ice Hockey like this."

"But, okay.  I don't want Baseball to turn into episodes of Jerry Springer...probably get better ratings if I did..." 

"Commish, we don't want to be on the front page of the Sport Section like this.  Kemp has a responsibility...WE owe a responsibility to those little kids that are watching."

"You're right," says the Commish.  "Bumps the ump...more than  once."

"More than once..."

"And the screaming..."

"Blasphemous language.  He had no business saying anything like that in public."

"So, how should I handle this?"  He glances at his watch.  "Hey, I gotta get over to Queens."

"How about seven game suspension, and an anger management course.  We can't have this going on.  Nobody we want in Baseball acts like that."

The Commish sits back down at his desk.  He sets down his coffee, breathes deeply, and puts his hands over his eyes. "I'm going to get a call from Magic Johnson. He'll be mad at me. I know it.  I just know it." 
Help comes from:,

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Two young wrestlers, Harold and Lloyd, and their coach, Coach Atlas stand near a huge building, just off the Bow Back Rivers, near Hackney Wick, just beyond the Westfield Shopping Center, Streatham, South London.

Large glass doors stand in front of them.

"Well, gentlemen," say Coach Atlas. "The Olympic Dining Hall.  This is where we eat."

Airplane hanger size, 5,000 chairs, open 24 hours.  25,000 loaves of bread, 230 tons of potatoes, 75,000 liters of milk, 330 tons of fruit and vegetables, all free of charge.  And they deliver, too.

They push through, and...

"Holy Crap," says Harold.  "Look at this place."

"Awesome," says Lloyd.  "This is going to be...Oh man."

"Now... this is a Dining Hall," says Coach Atlas.

Then the three spot the Golden Arches.  Lloyd elbows Harold, and points to the long line.

Coach Atlas rubs his forehead.  "There's a McDonald's here.  You gotta be kidding."

"No, Coach, this is terrific," says Harold.  "A McDonald's.  How can this be bad?"

"Look at all the Coke Machines," says Lloyd.  "There must be...Hundreds.  Place is like three football fields... Pinch me 'cause I've gone to..."

"Hold on, this ain't Heaven.  Before you order anything," says Coach Atlas. "And I mean anything, you call me.  All your orders go through me first.  Understood?"

"But, Coach..." they say in unison.  Then they smile and nod.

"Soft Drinks, Big Macs, Fries.  It's a trick,  guys.  It's the Brits.  They make us eat this, they stay on their diets, and they win Gold.  If they do well, I'll know exactly why.  They've figured out our weakness."  He grinds his teeth.  "Fast Food."

"Hey, there's Michael Phelps,"  says Harold.  "He said he scoffs down 12,000 calories a day when he trains.  He'd have to have a place like this to do it."

"Scarf," says Lloyd. "He Scarfs down, not scoff."

"Scoffs is okay," says Coach Atlas.  "To eat voraciously.  Origin of the word scoff is in fact Scarf."

Both Harold and Lloyd look over at the coach.

"What?" he says. "I also teach English at UCLA, when I'm not keeping you two on the straight an narrow. The only people that I've seen eat close to 12,000 calories are hammer throwers, and they all weigh, minimum, 300 lbs."

"12,000 calories?" says Harold.  "There isn't enough time in a day to eat that much food. I wonder if he has to wait half hour before swimming after eating all that?"

"Yohan Blake, the sprinter, says he eats 16 bananas every day for max Potassium levels."

"If I ate 16 bananas," says Coach Atlas. " I'd be running all right, back and forth to the bathroom."

They all laugh.
"If you need me, Coach," says Lloyd. "You'll know where to find me."

"This is a trap, guys," says Coach Atlas.  "This could tip the scales between winning and losing, spend too much time in here.  Promise me ..."

"How about Jake Oliver the British weightlifter," says Lloyd.  "He drinks colostrum, in a shake.  Protein rich milk from cows that have just given birth?"

"Hey, your not supposed to know about that," says Coach Atlas.  "Just the smell of that stuff, turned me off.  Rich in growth hormones.  Stay clear of any of that.  Extract from that stuff is banned."

Harold leans over to Lloyd. "You can get pineapple flavored colostrum in any health food store. Probably get that here, too. "

"Say what?"

"Nothing Coach.  Maybe they have Moringa Oliefera?  Evander Holyfield uses it.  Seven times the Vitamin C as  oranges, thirteen times more vitamin A than spinach, and amino acids, 2,500 times more than green tea and 240 times more than apples.  They must have that here too."

"Hey, how do you two know so much about this muscle stuff?"  He looks at the walls of Coke Machines.  "It takes years of hard work getting here, eating only the right foods, avoiding the crap... and then we get Double Big Mac-ed?"

"We gotta take a look around this place," says Harold.

They slowly walk up the aisle.  Every turn they see large banners, all the different types of national foods.

The Indian booths: Curried rice, pickled cabbage salads, stewed meats, spiced fruit salads, and naan bread with different dressings.

The Chinese section:  Duck, fried rice, stir-fries, spring rolls, dumplings, noodles, orange chicken, beef lo mein.

Italian Banners:  Carbonara, pizza, meatballs, scaloppini, radicchio salad, roasted vegetables, tomato salads, salumi, marinara sauce with pasta.

The American:  Fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, ice cream, potato salad, pasta salads, corn on the cob, steak.

They walk through the vast table area, salad bars a hundred feet long, McDonald's in the distance. 

"There should be a separate dining hall for athletes, like colleges do.  Processed foods with high amounts of salt and sugar becomes addictive, the body craves them.  We have to break that cycles and eat as well as we can."

"Coach," says Harold.  "McDonald serves salads, and Oatmeal with Blue Berries, come on. What could be healthier.  Blue Berries is a super food."

"It shouldn't be hard to stay on our diet here, Coach.  Look, it's all delivered free."

Coach Atlas looks at the pamphlet he receives on the way in.

He reads aloud.  "How about, 'A traditional English fry-up for breakfast? How about a chicken curry or some kimchi?  Or would a lamb samosa and some baba ganoush from a halal kitchen be more to your taste?'"

"Look," says Lloyd, pointing to a large green banner.  "You can get roast Welsh lamb shoulder, sea trout with almonds, roasted potatoes, savory puddings, and, of course, fried fish.  With or without chips."

"I see all this...but...Unlimited McDonald's, Unlimited Coke.  This really scares me, guys."

"Coach, it's not the Gold Medal," says Lloyd,  He waves his hands.  "This... This is the true reward.  All the food you want.  And it's free."  They giggle.

The coach looks over. They lose their smiles.

"This is supposed to be for athletes. No chicken nuggets and drink machines.  He points.  "There's hundreds of them?   Big money, McDonald's has stolen the nutritional backbone of our athletes, and..."

"Coach, come on." says Harold.  "Olympics are run on corporate sponsorship.  Visa, McDonald's, Coca Cola, Omega, Samsung, whatever.  Place like this would never exist.  And it sure wouldn't be FREE."

"I'm just concerned...McDonald's sponsoring the Olympics.  It's kinda like a giant drug cartel sponsoring a world wide anti-drug program."

"We're okay with this." says Lloyd.  "We'll stay on schedule.  It's who we are.  Wrestling is our lives.  We know how important this is.  Coach, we aren't going to do anything to screw that up.  Don't worry so much."

"It's too bad everybody in America can't eat like an Olympian." The Coach smiles as he looks around at the vast expanse.

Harold elbows Lloyd again.  "Once we get our Gold Medals, then we'll pig out."

They both smile.

"Say what?" says the Coach.

"Nothing Coach, nothing." says Harold.  "Hey, look, Coach.   Box after box of apples, and bananas,  and look over there..."

The trust Coach Atlas has in the two young men wins him over. He looks at them, looks out at the utter volume of real food, and slowly begins to smile.

Help comes from:

Saturday, August 11, 2012


My SmartPhone buzzes on the night table.  I open one eye.  2:15 am.
 It's somebody who either needs bail, or a designated driver?  If it's somebody who wants me to subscribe to the Times, I'll...

My hand jerks out, and I fall half off the bed.  I slap at it, and catch it in the air.

"Brentwood Belair here.  I'm really strapped for money at the moment, so..."

"Woody, it's me.  Aby.  And do I have a  story for you."

"Well," I say.  "As I live and breathe, Abilene Austin.  KLUK-TV Sports.  But, Aby... Sweety...can't this wait until I've had my morning..."

"Scandal at the Olympics.  Can that wait?"

I lurch up on my elbows.

"Heads will roll about this," she says.  "And I'm giving the story only to you, because...I like you Woody."

"So, how much is this Scandal going to cost me?"

"Nothing.  Like I said, 'cause I like you Woody.  We're buds, right."

"Who is  it, honey?" says Helena.  She rubs my leg.  

"You with somebody?  Who is that with you?  Helena?"

"Well, " I say.  I look over and touch Helena.  "We had some wine, it got late, and I asked her..."

"I'm not real sure what you see in her, anyway."

"She's blond."


I swing my feet to the floor.  "Okay, Abilene.  What's going on."

"Nigel...he's  my London.  He just called me.  His sources have this story about money changing hands with the IOC.  It's scandalous.  I'll do the story first on TV, and you have to wait four hours before you can Blog about it."

"Seems fair.  This Nigel, how credible is he?"

"Honey," says Helena.  "Abilene Austin?  Why is he's calling 2 am?  Woody..."  She pulls at my arm.

"I heard that," says Abilene.  "And yes, it's Nigel.  He might not be blond...but he's credible.  Hey, I can be blond too, you know."

"I like you just the way your are, Aby, you know that."

"You do."

"Aby...2 am...I've been drinking wine..."

"Okay, Nigel has his contacts.  Vice President Biden and his Dragon Tattoos.  Remember?  Nigel had a maid on his payroll at Number One Observatory Circle, where the Vice President lives. He gave me that story back when I was doing TV in Amarillo."

"That story was huge."  I remember.  "Stories like that don't come cheap.  You must have paid a lot for that one, right?"

"Well, we sort of had a history then, and he came to visit..and, well...Hey, I broke the story didn't I?  Woody, you want this Scandal story, or not?"

I smile and touch Helena again.  She is listening to every word.  Her eyes are wide.

"Aby, you're the prettiest sports lady on TV."  I wink at Helena.

"Got that right."  She breaths heavily. "Anyway, the Scandal.  South African swimmer Cameron van der Burgh, who won the gold medal in the 100-meter Breaststroke has admitted to cheating during his winning swim."

"He admitted it?" I say.

"So," she says. "Take away his Gold Medal.  He cheated.  But no.  There is a very short period of time when race results are subject to review. If that time expires, barring a failed drug test, the medal stands."

" Wait?  What? " I say.  "But he confessed?"

"According to the breaststroke rules, swimmers are allowed one "Dolphin" kick under water after they dive into the pool, and another one after each turn.

"Van der Burgh took three extra dolphin kicks during his gold medal swim.  And it was caught on camera.  But Olympic judges aren't allowed to use underwater video."

"So, he got away with it, and gets to keep his medal?"

Helena puts her arm around my middle. "Who gets away with it? " she says.

"Is that...her again?  Tell me again why she's there?"

"I told you, it's her dreamy blond hair.  Now... this Scandal.  It's crazy he keeps his medal."

"This Van der Burgh said he's not willing to sacrifice four years of hard work to somebody else who is willing to do it and get away with it."

"So he's saying they all do it, so it's okay?  Something like traveling in basketball?  They all do it?   Holding in the NFL?"

"I would think faster races would create more excitement," says Aby.  "Heck, the NBC underwater cameras could easily spot illegal kicks."

"Add sharks to the pool.  Now that would get me to watch more swimming." 

"Sharks?" says Helena.  She rubs my back.

"Is she still there?" says Abilene.  "Hey, I can be a blond."

"So, the officials won't make it right, even after the guy tells everyone he cheated?"

"Here's what Nigel says happened.  This guy Van der Burgh was so arrogant,  the USA said it would  challenge his Gold Medal.  So, South Africa, in response, is challenging Trey Hardee.  They say he stepped on a lane line in his 200 meter Decathlon run.  He should have been disqualified.

"So, here's the real Scandal.  Nigel says the IOC sat down with both sides, and took two million pounds from each, in exchange for turning a blind eye to the whole affair.  Everybody wins, it seems."

"Yeah," I say. "Everybody wins but Integrity."

Helena leans on one elbow.  "Hi, Aby," she says.

"Helena says Hi," I say.  "And thanks for the story."

"Yeah, hi...So we good on this?  'Cause I gotta go.  I need to go buy me a bottle of blond."

"You do that, my dear, at 2 :15 am."  I say. "You do that."

Help comes from:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


A High School, USA, two gymnasts, towels wrap around their middles, sit at their lockers.

"Four years from now, I'll be in Rio."

"What?" says the other.  "Harvey...Harvey...Harvey.  You?  In Rio."  He laughs, and looks over. "You're going to join the Army, and see the world, right?  Do we have bases in Brazil?"

"No, Olympics Gymnastic Team."  He twists his combination lock.

"You?" says the other.  "You're crazy.  Olympic Team?"

"Guys get Gold, why not me?"  He snaps open the lock.  "Look, Conway, I'm aware of dedication.  You wait, I'll be a Star."

"An Olympic Star, huh?  Olympic Team not good enough?  You want to be a Star?"

"I can do it. Why not me?"

"Harvey, Star status takes a Gold Medal, minimum.  Even a team Gold is almost impossible.  Your good, but Olympics?"

"I have devised a four year schedule of intense workouts, so I will peak at the precise moment."

"Gotta get on camera as much as you can to be a Star," says Lyle, another gymnast sitting near. "People have to know who you are.  It's a 24/7 commitment, Harvey.  Think you can do it."

"Well, okay, maybe not a Gold Medal, but I'll be on the Team." 

"If you want to be a Star, you'll have to do better than just making the Team.  They're Gold Medalists who aren't stars.  Team Gold doesn't always make you special either.  Who'll remembers the names of the Woman's Gymnastics Team?  They all won Gold." 

"Okay, so it's tough.  I get that." says Harvey.  He opens his locker, and pulls out underwear.

A large young man wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt comes around the lockers. "You, Harvey?  You?  Can't do it alone.  You need agents, trainers, managers, orthopedic surgeons, psychics, whatever.  And they don't come cheap either.  You got a rich uncle?  Financial benefactor?"

Harvey pulls out his pants. "Guess I'll have to it on my own.  Others have done it on their own, I'm sure."

Conway shakes his head, "Don't count on it."  He puts on his socks.

"It's not so much Gold," says Lyle.  "It's who they are, their story, how you feel when you see them.   Lolo Jones came in fourth in the hurdles, but I think she's a Star. 

"I can do that."  says Harvey.  He pulls up his jeans.

"You'll have to get a Life Coach, Harvey." says Conway. "Sorry,  but you gotta sound smart in front of the camera.  I'm being honest here, you want to be a Star.  Boring is death.  Nobody wants to hear canned speech.  Takes more than a medal."

Lyle stands by his locker.  He nods.  "It's true," he says.

"Look at Reese Hoffa.  A star?" says Conway.  He points his SmartPhone at Harvey.  A picture.  "He got a bronze in the shot put, but a star?  A real sincere sounding guy, but..."  He pokes at his phone.  "Do you know who this is?" Again he points his phone.  "Jenn Suhr, pole vaulter. She got Gold and is she a star?  There's a lot more to it."

"A Star?  It's all personality," says Che.  "You're a Star if the TV says you are.  Comes down to personality, and if big corporations think you can sell their stuff.  Gold Medal is a plus for sure, but being an Olympian is more than enough if they like you."

"Make the team first, Harvey " says Conway.

Another gymnast stops and listens.  "Sharapova.  There's a Star.  No Gold Medal, but I'll take her over any of those other Gold Medal types."

An older man with a whistle around his neck, sticks his head around the lockers. "Meeting guys.  Five minutes."

"Hey, coach.  Harvey here wants to Star in the Olympics. The one in Rio."

The coach stops.  He looks at Harvey.  "And...why not?  Eight hours a day in the gym, for four years.  Why not?  I'll be watching on TV."

"What makes an Olympic Star, coach," says Lyle. "Harvey wants to be a Star."

The coach puts his foot on the bench, and leans over.  "A star, huh?   Missy Franklin,  Phelps, Usain Bolt, and those two volleyball girls, the one whose husband catches for the Dodgers."  He rubs his jaw.  "Being a Star is more than Gold.  You have to be recognizable.  That lady who won the skeet shooting?  I don't even know what she looks like, much less her name.  She got Gold.  And the guy who won the steeplechase, doing that dance, after he won Gold.  Legit Stars of the Games?  I don't think so." 

"Why then don't these people hire a voice coach, or an acting coach?" says Conway. "There's so much money to be made after the Olympics.  Dwight Stones, I don't know if he's got Gold, but he's always around when there is a televised track meet."

"Personally, I like the happy, friendly people," says Coach Burnett.  "Not the ones that look so serious.  It's supposed to be a fun time for them. That's why they call them Games.  I get enough serious looks from Administration Types already."  He smiles.  They all smile back.

"I hate watching people that seem...I don't know...unfriendly." says Lyle.   "Usain Bolt.  He's a Star.  A real Star.  Just be like him, Harvey."

"Popularity of the sport, too Coach," says Che.  "Track and Field, Swimming, Gymnastics, all good.  Equestrian, Badminton, Canoeing, not so much.   It's TV exposure.  You see someone so many times they becomes stars?  The announcer says you're great a thousand times, you're great."

"So guys..." says the coach.  "We've got four years to talk about this."

They all stand, close their locker doors, and heft their backpacks.

"Harvey, you want to talk about Rio, my door's always open. Gotta start now.  But...most Olympic Gymnasts started at about six years old."

"I've been doing this since I was about ten."

"Oh my God," says the coach.  He slaps his forehead.  "You didn't start until you were...ten?"  He laughs, and they high five.

"Okay, guys, Meeting." he says.

As the team meanders off toward the meeting room, Coach Burnett leans over to Harvey.  "Harvey, if you're good enough, we'll work on all the other stuff later.  Just stay excited about it.  That's all.  We'll have this discussion again in a year or so. We'll see how you feel about it then."

They walk out together.

"Be an exciting person, " says the coach.  He looks down.   "You know what I mean, a person everybody wants to be around.  That'll get you further in life than your gymnastic career.  Trust me."  Then he says, "But, hey, being an Olympian, well, that won't hurt either."  

Sunday, August 5, 2012


It's Saturday.  A man in a suit, loosens his tie and walks into the Wild Cherry Tree Pub. 

"Top of the morning, mate."

The man stops.  He takes a few seconds for his eyes to adjust.  He blinks, then waves to the bartender.
"Well," he says. "Sounds like you're from England.  Makes sense, this being a Pub and all."

"Well, not exactly," says the bartender.  "I'm from Sco-lun.  Glasgow Killbride.  Management figured I was close enough.  Who in Studio City knows the difference between a Sco-ish Brogue, and some bloke from Liverpool.  They gave me this Manchester United Jersey, so I'm good to go."

The man removes two one hundred dollar bills from his wallet, and tosses them on the bar.  "That should cover it."

Glasgow smiles.  "All depends, mate.  What is it you're gonna be 'avin?"

"I'm Wayne. Wayne Wheeler."  He looks up a the Plasma Screens above the bar.  "I came to drink to the Olympics.  You know, while I watch.  I got all day."

"Well, Wayne Wheeler.  What'll you 'ave?"

Wayne holds up a piece of paper.  "Here's my drinking menu."

It's torn, stained, and folded flat from his back pocket.

Unfolded, their heads together, they look it over.

"So," says Wayne.  "Your best Tequila, and a shot glass.  This is how I'm going to celebrate."

"Our best?" says Glasgow.

"Hey, Olympics only comes around every four years. Why not." He pushes the bills across the bar.

"I'll have to update this menu.  There isn't much swimming left."

Two men at the bar see the menu.   Wayne holds it up.  "I'm celebrating the Olympics."  He holds out his hand.  "I'm Wayne."

"I'm Lou," says Lou.  "And this is Bud."

Both read the menu, look up at Wayne, then at each other, and in unison, "We're in," they say.  "Sounds like fun."

"But we have to update this," says Bud.  "Let's say, a shot every time there's a Visa Commercial.  You okay with that?"

"Why not," says Wayne.  "Hey, it's on right now.  We gotta do a shot."

Glasgow is back.  "Okay guys, I got shot glasses, three."  He pours.

And they do their shots, heads back, eyes tight, teeth grinding.

Wow, Oh man, and Haaaa, say the three.  Their eyes water.

"That was...WAIT," says Wayne.  He points.  "There's Phelps.  Another shot."

Glasgow pours, and again, Oh my GOD, Whew, That's what I'm...cough..talking about.

"Let's add to this list," says Lou.  "Every time they show some family member, you know, Mom or Dad...look, right there, Reece Hoffa's Mom, we sip some beer.  We can't do shots every time, we'll get hammered way too fast."

"Okay," say Wayne.  "Glasgow my man."  He teeters on his stool a tad as he waves.  "We each need glasses of beer.  Something English."

"We got Newcastle, Boddington’s Pub Ale, an I think we 'ave some Fuller's London Porter in the back.  How about Guinness Draught, from Dublin. How about that?"

"Guinness it is," says Wayne.  He grabs the menu.  "There, they're showing Missy Franklin, yes, yes, a new world record."  He points, they look.  "Shots for World Records.  Here, I'll pour."

And again, Haaa, Oooo, and Yikes, and again their eyes water.  Tears for Wayne.

"I'll get another bottle of Tequila, Gran Patron," says Glasgow.  "Be right back, and the Guinness."

Two young men belly up.  "Hi, guys.  Olympic celebration?  We couldn't help but notice, all this tequila..."

"Join us," says Wayne.  He again points.  "I'm Wayne, this is Bud and Lou. 

"Well, I'm the Naked Trucker," says Trucker.  "This is T-Bones.  So...?" 

"Wayne here has an Olympic Drinking..."

"A Visa Commercial," says Bud.  "Sip time," just as Glasgow arrives with reinforcements.

Glasgow pours and they swig, the Naked Trucker and T-bones included. 

"Look, there's Phelps' Mom."  More tequila, and another bottle from the back.

Fast Forward, you get the idea, with flash backs of hops on the landings, something about the U.S.S.R, more of Michael Phelps,  and the cell phoning of friends about free tequila shots, at the Wild Cherry Tree Pub where it's S.R.O., where people point, and yell, and...wait...
Another Visa Commercial!  Sip of Guinness

"...biggest race of his life..."  Sip of Guinness.

"There, Bela Karolyi with his mouth shut.  That deserves a shot."  Gran Patron.

Glasgow is back with armfuls of alcohol.  "Should I make some coffee?"

"Oops," says someone. "I took a shot by mistake,"  and laughs.

"I just got back from the bathroom." "You gotta catch up, two more shots."

Wayne lays his head on the bar, and tries unsuccessfully to sip his Guinness sideways. Mistake.  Then feels the floor against his face.

Glasgow comes around the bar.  "I'll need your Visa Card..."

"He said Visa.  Everybody, take a shot..."

...Your cash ran out...and..." says Glasgow.

Two fingers, he fishes out Wayne's wallet, pulls out the card, moves back, and swipes it through the register.  $2,687.00 and counting. 

"...Did he say Phelps?"  Doesn't matter.  They drink.

"...Hey, that's somebody's father in the stands.  Whose?"  Doesn't matter.  They drink.

"...He said Romania.  That's close to U.S.S.R."  Doesn't matter.  They drink.

So, it's Saturday, at the Wild Cherry Tree Pub, and a crowd is getting blind drunk.  Guinness Draught, Gran Patron, and Plasma TVs.  Now isn't that the way we should all be celebrating the 2012 London Olympic Games?

Help comes from:,,, (Larger Menu)

Thursday, August 2, 2012


"Please.  You got to be kidding me.  You want to do it in a Drive Thru?" asks Stella.

"Sure, babe," says Stanley.  "You said YES.  So.  Why not?"

"I was thinking more, you know, like I'd be wearing a white dress, and well, my sister would be here with champagne, and I'd have somebody to give me away."  She looks out the window.  "Not this?"

The sign on the side of the small building says, 'Welcome to Vegas.  Time 1:05 am. Temp 114 degrees.'

Stanley negotiates the U-Drive, and pulls the F-100 up to the Menu Board.  It gives prices.  Regular, (for the Veteran).  Special, (for the Second or Third Timer).   Deluxe, (for all you Newbies).

Stanley speaks into a plastic Wedding Cake.

"Hey, what's the difference between the regular and the know...besides the price..."

"We throw in flowers." says a tired voice.  "It's a good deal, really."

"We'll take it." says Stanley.

"Flowers?  Hope they're roses, not lilies,"  says Stella.
"We gotta get this over with quick, 'cause I gotta catch a plane."

She looks over.  " A what?  You're leaving me...a plane?  What's going on here, Stanley?"

"Stella, honey, I told you.  I'm in the Olympics.  Shot Putter.  I told you, remember?"

"You're a big guy, but I thought it was just a line, to get me in the sack.  After fifteen, sixteen tequila shots, I tend to forget...UMMPH!"

A tremendous jolt shakes them both.  A huge black SUV with shaded windows slams into their rear, rocking the chassis.

Up front another SUV, in reverse, roars backwards toward them.  It skids to within a hair.

"We're trapped. What is going on?" says Stanley.

The Reverend, in pajamas, sticks his head out the 'Pick-Up' Window.  "You seem to be in some trouble, son?  Sure you're not already married?"

Men in black suits, dark glasses, stern faces, jump out of the SUV's, wildly waving badges, Helter-Skelter.

"Mr. Kowalski?  Stanley Kowalski?  Come with us, now,  please."  U.S.A.D.A. on his cap.
"He's ours.  We were here first." says the other.  He wares W.A.D. on his cap.  "I got my cup right here."  He waves a Dixie Cup.

"Hey guys," says Stanley. "This is really a bad time.  Can't you see?  I'm getting married here."

"  This is getting scary.  Tell me you're not mixed up in drugs."  She slaps her forehead.  "I fell for a drug dealer.  This isn't happening."  She opens her door. "I can't do this."   Her breathing is heavy.
"Wait.  Stella.  It's a drug check, sweety.  Nothing to worry about.  I'm clean."

 "It was too good to be true. I knew it."  She's out the door.

"Stella.  Steeellllaaaa!"

 "Come on Stan," says W.A.D. "You knew this was coming.  You could be on the operating table, past out drunk, or in a coma.  You get tested.  We have no choice.  You want a clean Olympics, you have to have surprise drug tests.  We had an old marathoner who was ready to be cremated, but we did the test.  Who knew, he could wake up.  You never know."

"Sweetie." Stanley waves to her.  "I gotta go with these guys.  I'm really sorry." He squeezes out the door.  He spots the Reverend in his pajamas.  "Got a bathroom in this place."

He points toward the mountains.  "The Shell Station at the corner.  Hey, you coming back soon, 'cause we got this Sunrise Elvis Theme reception..."

"Official business, Sir," says W.A.D., plastic cup in one hand, badge in the other.  "Unless you want to impede an official investigation."

"Dearly Beloved!  No way I'm going to jail."  He jumps back, palms up.
Stella runs off toward the street, chased after by the U.S.A.D.A.

 The W.A.D. suit yells.  "I'll get samples for the both of us.  I'll buy him a beer if he needs it."

U.S.A.D.A. waves, then darts after Stella.   "Ma'am...come back...Mrs. Kowalski...Miss... Mrs.... whatever.  Please stop.  Let me explain."

She stops and turns around.  "What's to explain.  Why do I always fall for losers?"

"Ma'am. You got Stanley all wrong.  He's an Olympian.  A Shot Putter.  We have to test him for performance enhancing drugs, that all.  Human Growth Hormones.  Doping."

"So," says Stella.  "He was telling me the truth.  Guys coming up to me all the time, all kinds of stories, me pole dancing eight times a week, twice on Sunday.  But Stanley..."  She looks toward the far mountains.  "He was different."  She blinks.

"The count down for London started last July.  I'm with the U. S. Anti-Doping Agency.  The other guy is with the World Anti-Doping Agency.  Every potential Olympian has to be in the drug-testing pool for at least one year before the Games.  I did LaBron last week.  They have to strip down right in front of you and you have to watch them...

"Well...we can't have any cheating, now can we?  The credibility of the Olympic Games is at stake.  This is very important."

"So Stanley isn't a scumbag." she says, a smiles on his face.

"Every athlete gives us what's called a Whereabouts.  It tells us where they are.  And an hour window for testing.  We make surprise tests, any day we want.  We have about the same power as a bounty hunter.  Stanley told us he'd be here in Vegas, and he gave us a midnight to one o'clock time for testing. 

"If he misses three tests in an 18 month period, he's suspended from competition for two years.  We don't want that."

"So Stanley's not a drug dealer?"  says Stella, tears in her eyes.

"Last night he told us he might be getting married. He was real good about that."  He laughs. "We surprised one pole vaulter at a hotel in Kansas City, in bed with a

"We had one guy, a diver.  A surprise exam, so we go to his house, find out he's at the hospital with kidney stones.  You never heard such crazy screaming in your life.  No blood test, had to be Pee."  The man laughs again.  "We let him take the test the next day."

"So Stanley's not going to prison." says Stella, her arms in the air.

"And we keep the samples, whether its Pee or Blood, for eight years.  We're just about finished checking the 2004 Olympics for any problems.  Dopers we didn't have the technology to catch back then.

"Right now we're looking at this 16-year-old woman Chinese swimmer, Ye Shiwen, who swam faster than the male world record holder at the same distance. Very interesting.  It never ends for us."

Then Stella spots Stanley coming around the F-100.

He sees her.

The chaplain, head out the window, "Stanley Kowalski do you take Stella..."

"I do!  I do!"  He runs toward her.

"And do you, Stella..."

"I do!  I do!"  She runs toward him.

They Collide like Fireworks.

The two Doping Officials, snap lids on their plastic Dixie Cups, check their GPS, wave, and screech off after their next assignment.

"So...With the power invested in me by the Great State of Nevada, I pronounce you husband and wife. So...Congratulations.  Please, just pay at the window here.  And remember, cash only.  We don't take checks."

Help comes from:,,,, Olympics/WikiPedia,