""Keep your damn voice down! Were you followed? Anyone who looked like a Harbaugh? They're everywhere... Look what we found! This is unbelievable...Do you see! These are "Top Secret" offensive game plans for the Rams this season! How they found there way into the
dumster... I mean, they were left exposed for enemies of Rams Nation to grab at will..."
DC nods as he looks at me with admiration for my spy skills. "Why are some of the "O-s" smaller than the others?"
I reach out to slap the back of DC's head, but stop when I remember his hair gel. The last time I smacked him in the head my hand had been covered with a goo he told me was "Tofu based" hair mousse. It had taken three cans of Acetone to wash it off... "The little "O-s" are what we of vast football knowledge call "Nano Wide Receivers". They're like 10⁴ power smaller than normal receivers..." Seeing DC was confused, I said, "Like Tavon Austin!"
DC nodded as he smiled, then pealed a banana.
The St. Louis Rams had played the 49er twice last year, coming away with a win and a tie. They'd found the secret to beating them in the form of Danny Amendola. He'd shredded the vaunted 49er's secondary, leaving the team's coach and fans mystified. What it came down to was Ockham's Razor: The simpler the solution, the better. The modern day version goes - "Keep it simple, stupid". Fisher was going to use his small receivers as the counter to the large defensive backs in the NFC West.
I marveled at the deviously clever scheme to counter the 49ers - and Seahawks - ginormous defensive backs with itty-bitty wide receivers who'd they'd have to squint to see even if they were only feet away. I scan another awe-inspiring play designed to stupefy a defense...
DC got a little dizzy as he followed my finger tracing the pass route. He looks at his banana, which has been dipped in crushed Cheetos and Merlot flavored sprinkles... He ran from the room.
"Rookie!", I scream as he slams the bathroom door. Still, I can't believe my good fortune. Finding these plays was a coup to say the least, but my loyalty to the Rams kicked in. I called a friend of mine at Rams HQ to let them know they could have a traitor working for them.
"What do YOU want!" She'd hesitated to pick up when she read the Caller ID. "I ain't forgiven you yet for that damn mock draft your friends gave me. Fisher and Snead are still makin' fun of me 'cuz of it..." Derinda winced at the memory. She'd walked into the Rams draft war room, and flung down the results of her little online chat with guys named "DC", Tree-K, and RG3PO, or what ever their damn names were... The war room guys had passed her recommendations around the room, the laughter building as the papers traveled down the long table.
"Water under the bridge, D." I said as I pulled at my shirt collar. "Look, I've found something you need to see..."
"I ain't seein' nothin' from you," She glanced around the room, then under her desk. "Where are you?"
"Never mind that! I think you have a spy in Rams HQ. I found top secret plays for the Rams, someone smuggled out of your building."
"Were you in the dumpster again?" Derinda groaned. She'd had to call the Rams owner - Stan Kroenke - the last time her friend had been caught rummaging through the Rams' trash. Security had banned him, and she was pretty sure the city of St. Louis had thought about doing the same thing. "They have a "Dumpster Restraining Order" on you, don't they? You ain't allowed within 500 feet of any Rams trash..."
"I didn't go near the dumpster, D." I rolled my eyes, "Well, not IN the dumpster anyway. I held a ladder for a friend though... You remember DC?"
"That guy with a hump on his back, and always wants to talk about power tools?" Derinda held back a laugh at the only person who'd hang around with her friend. "I thought he lived in Washington D.C?"
"He does, but he's here for a home improvement convention..."
"Can he build me a Jacuzzi?" Derinda looked at the large open space in front of her desk.
"D, I'm trying to tell you about a spy you have in your midst! Screw the damn Jacuzzi!"
"Fine! What spy?"
"Well, I don't know who it is, but it has to be someone who has access to the Rams playbook." DC came out of the bathroom, and I waved a banana at him, "Try this one with squeeze cheese and Jello." I threw it at him as he ran back into the bathroom, slamming the door.
Derinda glanced at the squeeze cheese, Jello pudding cups and the Rams playbook sitting on her desk. She screamed as she threw the phone in the air.
"Hello? D, are you there?" I'd heard the scream through the phone. Derinda screamed more than anyone I'd ever met, so I wasn't worried.
"I'm bein' set up," she whispered into the phone. "Meet me at..." She paused, thinking someone might have bugged her phone. "Meet me at the place I went after the CVC meetin'."
I tried to recall where Derinda had told me she'd gone after being bailed out of jail for causing a riots during the negotiations for the Edward Jones Dome renovations. "You mean the place you went with the hookers and Les Snead for waffles?"
Derinda stared at the phone, "They were hookers? Never mind, just meet me there in a hour." She hung up the phone.
DC and I sat waiting for Derinda in the Waffle House down the road from Rams headquarters. He'd recovered enough to order a stack of waffles and a beer. We watched as a tall, blonde woman entered the restaurant. She wore skin tight jeans, and a two sizes too small t-shirt that had "I Love Soccer... No, Really!" splattered across her chest. The combination, along with her dark sunglasses and stiletto heeled boots, caused me to spew my soda across the table at DC, who didn't seem to notice...
As she slid into the booth next to me, I looked at DC, "Did you ask for a side-order of hooker?" DC flashed two thumbs up, maple syrup dribbling down his chin.
"That's sick!" Derinda glared at us as we smiled. "I don't look like a damn hooker, do I?" She looked down at her outfit, then shrugged.
"You look great, D," I said after she elbowed me in the ribs. I slid the file containing the plays we'd found in front of her. "Take a look at these..."
Derinda stared at the folder. "What the hell is a Nano WR? Is that like Samoan?"
DC's mouth dropped open, and the recent fork full of waffles he'd shoveled in fell in his lap.
"I think it has to do with small wide receivers, D... Like Tavon Austin?"
Derinda's nodded knowingly, "That little guy is cute as puppy... I think he'd fit in my purse..." She went from a smile at the thought of the diminutive Austin, to frowning at the plays in front of her. "So these squiggly lines goin' everywhere is what that want him to do?" She slapped the table when she saw the play with five 49ers' players ganging up on Austin. "That right there just ain't fair, dammit!"
I nodded, "He so small they may not notice him in the crowd. Plus, he's quick as lightning. See here..." I pointed my figure along a pass route path. I stopped when Derinda started to look dizzy.
While we were studying the plays, someone walked up to our table. "Where'd you get those?"
We all looked up at the new arrival. The Rams' offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, grabbed one of the plays from the file. He held the play at different angles, then turned to show it to Jeff Fisher, who'd slid out of the booth behind us.
Derinda punched me on the shoulder, "You couldn't tell they were sittin' behind you?"
I rubbed my shoulder, "You couldn't see them when you walked in?" She hit me again.
Fisher took the file folder from the table, and opened it. He looked from the file, to Derinda. "Nice outfit," he said trying to hide a smile. He turned to Brian, "Looks like we caught a spy ring?" He winked at Schottenheimer.
Still shell shocked from his days with the Jets, Brian whipped his head around, scanning the crowded little restaurant. "Where?" Fisher cleared his throat, and nodded toward the three speechless people.
Derinda sputtered, "They did it!" She pointed at DC and me, "I'm undercover and was just about to run one of those sting operation things.." She reached out and covered my mouth as I was about to protest. DC reached for the syrup, which he began carefully pouring into his beer bottle. We all froze, and watched him in stunned silence. He finished, and took a long swig from the long neck bottle. His face contorted for a few seconds, then he made a popping sound as his lips curled in, and one of his eyes crossed.
"Gur-bleasle, Ack! Damn that's good!" He said after he slightly convulsed, then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
I used the distraction to push Derinda out of the booth. She slid onto the floor, but was up in a flash. She tackled me just as I ran for the front door. We toppled into the booth by the exit, which was un-occupied. She started to bounce my head on the seat cushion.
"Every" - BOUNCE - "damn time" - BOUNCE - "I see you" - BOUNCE - "I get" - BOUNCE - "in damn" - BOUNCE - "trouble!" Jeff and Brian pulled her off of me, as an oblivious waitress brought menus to the table.
"Calm down," Fisher caught Derinda's arm as she started to swat me with the menus.
"I ain't no damn spy! These guys told me they'd found some secret playbook thingy-s made for Samoans..."
"You mean these?" Brian waved the folder. "The scouts drew these up at the post-draft war room party after about ten gallons of Jack Daniels." He began to laugh. He opened the folder, and began to trace one of the routes for Fisher, who smiled as he looked on. DC was smiling too, and began to watch Brian's finger swirl around the page. He began to sway a little.
"RUN!" I yelled. I grabbed Derinda and shoved her through the exit. We'd just cleared the doorway, when we heard the waitress scream, and Fisher groan, "Oh my God!"
I told Derinda not to look, explaining about DC's rookie stomach.
""Eeeew!" She shook her head in disgust. I began to watch Fisher and Schottenhemer trying to back away from DC. Fisher was shouting at him, but all DC saw was the the finger Jeff kept pointing in different direction as he screamed for DC to go here or there.
"Er, uh... This could take a while. DC's been eating all day, and that maple syrup beer didn't help."
Derinda nodded, "You hungry?"
"Famished! I said, and we began to walk toward Derinda's car as she gave me her best hooker sashay. "You're missing a real career opportunity..."
She threw me her keys, "Just shut up and drive..."
*** Big thanks to VT for the title image!***