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Just Another Day of Front Office Fiction

   "What the hell are we going to do?" Bill Devaney looked first at the phone on his desk, every line light flashing, then across his desk to where Coach Spagunolo sat with his eyes closed, rubbing his temples. "Don't give me that headache crap! I don't want to hear it Coach. My phone hasn't stopped ringing since that dipstick in Massachusetts said the lockout was over." He knew the lockout couldn't have ended. In the last meeting between the NFL owners and players, all they had decided on was where to host a NFL golf tournament and barbecue should the lockout ever end.

  "I don't know what ya think I can do Bill. You're the one that wanted to deal with the agents and players. How many times has that "yutz" from the pizza league called anyway?" Steve Spagnuolo wanted to leave. He had a coaches fire drill set for an hour from now and he needed to find his stopwatch. Undrafted free agents were something to think about he knew, but he was having trouble enough finding things for his coaches to do.

  "You need to weigh in on these phone calls. Forget the Italian football guy. Derinda took care of him," which reminded him to take a few hundred out of petty cash. He paid his secretary Derinda Platt a bonus for every journeyman player she could somehow send away. He wondered if she could handle the pay cut when the league began again.

  "That lady is incredible," Steve smiled widely, "I called here the other day and she had me believing all the coaches had been laid off and Tractor Pulls had been scheduled in the stadium for every weekend through December..." He stopped smiling when Bill shifted uneasily in his seat, then look away quickly as he started to cough. "What am I missing Bill? You can't possibly..."

 Clearing his throat, he fought back the urge to run out and strangle Derinda. He waved both hands, palm outward at Steve, who began rising from his chair. "Settle down Steve... Come on, buddy, would I do anything like that without talking to you first? Besides, that was only a contingency plan we looked at, that and an indoor RV park. But the numbers didn't work out and the RV folks would have destroyed the players showers... and their pets would have..." He stopped as he watch his head coach pacing the room, running a hand through his disappearing hair as he tried to control himself.

  "You can't layoff my coaches Bill. You just can't damn it! McDaniel hasn't even finished unpacking yet... Did you know he has like ten boxes with nothing but hooded sweatshirts in them? Forget that, what I'm saying is, these coaches can get jobs tomorrow if you lay them off. Then what the hell am I gonna do when the lockout ends?" Steve shook his head, "An RV park was all you could come up with? Jeez...!"

 Bill had no idea what to say, then Derinda's voice came through the intercom, "You owe me another $250! I just got rid of five players wanting to speak to you. One guy named Quinn seemed kinda pissed though? He said he was drafted and I told him I love a military man. Then he said he was drafted by the Rams and I ask him if that was special forces for sheep farmers..." Derinda could be heard snickering by Bill and Steve as they stared at the intercom. Then they both bolted for the office door as she said, "He got real upset when I told him he was violatin' Goodell's Law and he'd have to find another team to play for..." She screamed as the office door flew open and the Rams General Manager and Head Coach wrestled to clear the doorway, both screaming "Call him back, call him back!"

  "Why in the hell would I call him back? I just got him to hang up... Don't you try and get out of payin' me Bill Devaney. Now whip out that wallet!" Derinda held out her hand, then screamed as she dove under her desk when Coach Spagnuolo leaped at her.

  "What the hell did you do... Bill, let go I'm gonna kill..." Steve face was bright red, his eyes bulging as Bill wrestled him away from his secretary's desk.

  Derinda crawled out from under her desk, "Damn Coach! If you aren't excitable for a little guy?" She leaned on the desk with one hand and straightened her hair with the other.

  Holding a now calming coach back, he turned his head to Derinda, "Why would you tell our first round draft pick to find another team to play for, and what the hell is Goodell's Law?"

 "First, second, what's the difference. That Goodell thing has to be a law, otherwise you'd say to hell with it and talk to your players. It ain't like he has a spy here," Derinda paused for a second, thinking that new equipment guy looked kind of suspicious. "I mean, so what if you talk to your players? It ain't like they have anything to do with that Smith guy anyway. So why not buy some of them throw away phones and get to coachin' these guys?"

  Bill and Steve looked at each other simultaneously as they mouthing the words: "Throw away phones?" Smiling at each other, they went back in Bill's office, closing the door quietly behind them.

  Derinda stared at the closed door, then started to straighten her messy desk. "It's like they never saw a spy movie before...", she said to herself as she reached for the ringing phone. "Rams Headquarters. How may I direct your call ...?"