A Midsummer Night's Nightmare
A fable in one act
Debuts July, 2008
(SCENE: THE GENERAL MANAGER'S OFFICE OF A NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE TEAM. WE SEE TOM THOMAS, THE GENERAL MANAGER AND HIS COACH, MARTY MCGRATH, IN THE OFFICE)
Marty: (LOOKING AT WATCH) They're gonna call in just a minute.
Tom: (TESTILY) I know. I know.
Marty: Don't get so testy.
Tom: Testy! What the hell do you know from testy? You're just the coach. This is my team. What am I going to tell them?
Marty: It's up to you. But geez, there ain't that many chances to get to the Super Bowl. These chances don't come around that often. And I think we'd have a chance, a good chance, with him next year.
Tom: We've got to think about our future.
Marty: Our future? Our future is now. We're like the Brewers and that guy, CC something. Hell, they know you don't get many chances. Their future is now and our future is now.
Tom: But what about Faron Dodgers? We promised him the spot. We said he's the guy. He'd be awfully upset.
Marty: Tom, get serious. This is the NFL. Since when do we care about feelings? Plus, we really don't know much about how he's going to do. He could be another Rich Campbell or something. Who knows if he can stand up to the pounding? He sure hasn't so far.
(SOUND: THE PHONE RINGS AND WE HEAR TWO VOICES ON THE OTHER END. THEY ARE QUARTERBACK RHETT BUTLER AND HIS AGENT, SAM "STREETCAR" CHEF)
Streetcar: Hello Tom. Hello Marty.
Tom: Hello Streetcar. And hi, Rhett.
Streetcar: Let's get right to it. No bull anymore.
Streetcar: So, you want him back, or not?
Marty: (INTERRUPTS) I do. I do. I think we could go to the Super Bowl with him.
Tom: But we've got a problem.
Streetcar: You're tellin' me. But WE ain't got no problem. You got the problem, Tommy boy.
Tom: See, I told everyone we were moving on and doing what was best for our team. And we're kinda set, here. I mean we've been planning and we had OTA's with Faron and all that. We're really set.
Marty: (GROWING INCREASINGLY PANICKED AND FERVENT) No we aren't. We aren't. Not really. Not at all. We're flexible. Very flexible. We're not set. Not set. No sir, we sure as hell aren't all set. Not us!
Tom: Shut up, Coach!
Marty: (LOOKS AT TOM SHEEPISHLY) Well, we aren't.
Streetcar: Listen, Tommy boy. It's not like we'd force you into some brand new offense or something. Just go with the old stuff and we'd all be fine. We need an answer here, Tommy boy. If you ain't takin' him back, well then, just like you, we gotta move on.
Tom: Well, you could come back as a second-stringer. We could have you back up Faron.
Streetcar, Marty, Rhett: (IN RAPID SUCCESSION) You've got to be kidding!
Shadow: You've got to be kidding.
Tom: But... but...
Shadow: Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing.
Marty: I told you! I told you! Winning is the only thing. You want to win, we need him back. We need him back.
Shadow: Coach. Relax. Don't panic. Losers panic.
Marty: OK, OK. I'm relaxed. You relax.
Shadow: I'm always relaxed (VOICE AND SHADOW FADE OUT)
Marty: Tom, you don't tell me who's gonna start. You just get the players. I say who's gonna start. Don't I?
Tom: (SHAKES HIS HEAD AT MARTY BEFORE RETURNING TO THE PHONE) How come you can't be loyal to us, Rhett.
Streetcar: Loyal? To you! How about you being loyal to him. This guy showed up every single day for 17 years. He won a Super Bowl. He won MVP awards. He became the face of the whole damn league. He never bitched or cried when he was hurting. He played. How about you guys being loyal to him.
Tom: But Rhett, when you quit, you said you didn't have anything left. You said you were burned out. Do you have anything left?
Rhett: (GROWS INCREASINGLY FORCEFUL AND RAPID) Anything left? Hey. I still got gas in my tank. I still got milk in my glass. I still got moonshine in my jug. I still got whip in my arm. I still got air in my tires. I still got light in my lamp. I still got passengers in my plane. I still got food in my grocery cart. I still got a crowd in my checkout lane. I still got flat panel, high-def TV's in my den. I still got 465 acres of grass on my ranch. I still got...
Tom: (INTERRUPTS) Enough. I don't see how I could do this without a big, big apology. Geez. I'd have to eat crow.
Marty: Yay, Crow. Hooray for Crow. We LOVE CROW!
Streetcar: The folks up there will be sure to forgive you if you admit you made a mistake. ‘Specially if'n you bring them another trip to the Big One.
(THERE IS A LONG SILENCE. WE HEAR STEADY BREATHING AND THE QUIET SOUND OF A LAWN MOVER OVER THE TELEPHONE. WE SEE TOM PUT HIS HEAD IN HIS HANDS AS MARTY WALKS BEHIND HIM AND PATS HIM ON THE BACK. FINALLY, TOM LIFTS HIS HEAD)
Tom: Okay. I'm sorry Rhett. Come on back. The job is yours. What could I have been thinking?
Rhett: Yeah. See you soon.
Streetcar: Bye boys.
(HEAR THE SOUND OF TELEPHONES HANGING UP)
Marty: Great. I'm going to work.
Tom: You going to tell Faron about this.
Tom: (LAUGHS RUEFULLY) As Rhett might say. Yeah.
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as OnMilwaukee.com keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.