..."I'd like to call this meeting of the Convention and Visitors Commission to order," Kitty Ratcliffe looked down the long conference table. "We have two visitors with us today. Most of you know John Rainford from Mayor Slay's staff." Committee member's heads nodded. Some looked away from the abrasive mayoral aide who'd made their job of getting a deal done with the St. Louis Rams to refurbish the Edward Jones Dome more difficult. "We also have with us a representative for the Rams, Ms Derinda Platt." Kitty noticed the men on the committee smiling as they looked at the tall, blonde woman who'd be representing the team in these initial talks. Four of the men had almost come to blows when they argued who Ms. Platt would sit next too.
Derinda smiled her beauty pageant smile as she swatted the hand of the man sitting next to her. He had tried to grab her knee. She shot her elbow into the man's ribs. Everyone in the room turned to look when they heard a sharp yelp of pain. Grimacing, his eyes bugged out as he tried to smile at her. Derinda patted the man's shoulder for a second, then in one swift motion she stood, while using her "patting hand" to slam his torso forward, bouncing his head off of the conference table. Her would be groper slumped back in his chair, unconscious.
"I'd like to thank y'all for having me here today," she said as the entire room alternately looked at her and the now inert man next to her. "Mr. Kroenke wants you all to know this stadium thingy is his top priority. I have a few thoughts though... Would it be OK if I mentioned a few?"
The room was silent, everyone still staring at their comatose colleague. They all came out of their short lived catatonia when Derinda slammed her project binder on the table with a bang. Her binder sprang open as it bounced off the hard surface, pages of project documents flying into the air.
"Hey! I'm talkin' here. So quit starin' at Mr. Grabby Hands!" Derinda said as she watched sheets of paper flutter down. Jaws dropped, everyone in the room nodded as they stared.
Kitty cleared her throat, "I'd like everyone to settle down." She turn to her assistant, "Get somebody to drag Jerry out of here, and call his wife. Tell her he's had too much to drink and needs a ride home." The assistant nodded, leaving the room before making the call.
"Ms. Platt, we don't normally beat people unconscious here to make a point." She pulled at the collar of her blouse, "Could we hear Mr. Kroenke's thoughts on the stadium renovations?"
"Excuse me!," Rainford barked as he stood, "But I'd like it on the record a representative of the St. Louis Rams has stooped to thuggery and physical intimidation to coerce public funds for their stadium scheme to defraud taxpayers. Further, I'd like it noted..." Kitty interrupted what she knew would be a long list of accusations against the NFL team the citizens of St. Louis wanted to keep.
"Shut up John. She isn't a thug. I've wanted to smack Jerry for years, so sit down." Kitty blew out a long breath, "Ms. Platt has the floor." John remained standing as he glared at the CVC President.
"She said sit down, Mr. Mouthy Man," Derinda growled as she glanced around for something to throw at him.
John shifted his gazed to the nice looking, crazy blonde woman. "I want it on the record you told me to shut up. You can't silence the government of this city. I also want it noted the Rams representative called me 'Mr. Mouthy Man' and intends me physical harm, which could be construed as a terrorist act against the very freedoms..."
"Give it a rest Rainford," one of the people near him groused. "Yeah, shut up and sit down like Kitty said or we'll be here all night," another chimed in. Seeing he didn't have the support of anyone in the room, he began to sulk as he slowly sat down.
"Did he just call me a terrorist who wants to screw him?" Derinda growled to the woman across the table from her. Shaking her head, the committee member began to snicker.
Kitty was losing her patience, let alone her sanity, "Ms. Platt, if we could return to the subject at hand?"
Derinda looked at her hands.
"The stadium proposal, not your... Never mind. Could you please give us your thoughts on how we can come to compromise so we can get on with these negotiations?"
"Well why didn't you just say that in the first place," Derinda looked at the woman across from her again as she rolled her eyes and pointed down the table with her thumb. Now all the committee members across from her were chuckling.
"Ms. Platt!" Kitty barked.
"OK, OK, don't get your bra in a twist," Derinda said as she adjusted her hair. "I'm here to give you a few ideas on how the EJD could be just a teensy bit better." With the help of the others at her end of the table, they'd gathered up the papers Derinda had inadvertently thrown around the room. She began to walk around the long conference table, handing each person a copy of her idea list. After handing a copy to Rainford, she gave his ear a flick with her finger, causing the caustic man to yelp. Before they could begin yelling at each other, Kitty slammed a fist on the table, then pointed at them.
"Behave you two," Kitty growled.
When Derinda handed her a copy of the list, she leaned in and whispered to Kitty, "He smells funny too."
Kitty resisted the urge to laugh. The list in front of her made it more difficult, and she covered her mouth with a hand.
"Let's start with item one," Derinda said as she returned to her place at the table. She pulled a pair of cat-eye glasses from her pocket and put them on. The man next to her squinted as he examined her eye ware.
"Your glasses don't appear to have lenses in them?" He observed.
Derinda rolled her eyes, "I have perfect vision, so why would I need lenses?" She cleared her throat, "If we could take a look at item one?"
Kitty interrupted her, "You want to run a "Speed Dating" program during home games?"
"Heck yeah!," Derinda grinned, "There's like a hundred thousand men trapped in the Dome on game day," She winked at the woman across from her, "That's what I call a target rich environment! The announcer says "switch" after every play, and the men crawl over the back of the seat in front of them. Easy as pie!" She wondered why the men were laughing.
"The Edward Jones Dome holds around 66,000 fans. If the majority of them are men as you say, wouldn't it just be a bunch of beer soaked men stumbling all over the stadium to sit next to another man? ," asked one man who'd stopped laughing long enough to inquire.
Derinda stared blankly at the wall across from her, then down at the woman on the other side of the table, who nodded her agreement. "Really?" She noticed more nodding committee members - all laughing. "Are you tellin' me all the men who go to Rams games are gay? I knew it!" She slapped the back of the head of the man seated next to her, "I wasted all that damn money on sexy outfits to wear to games, and all the men are playin' for the other team?" She took her glasses off and threw them across the room as two people ran from the room laughing.
"This is absurd! There is no way the city is going to pay for a public dating service," Rainford chimed in. He was oblivious as to why everyone found this Rams representative funny? He glance at the list in front of him, and exploded, "You want women to be able to get their finger nails done while they watch a Ram game!" He tossed the list in the air, as committee members scanned their memos, some pointing at the place on the page as they continued to laugh.
"You want to dangled fans by bungee cords from the Dome ceiling?" Someone else blurted out.
Derinda held her arms wide apart, palms up, "They hang a camera over the field. Why not sell bungee seats? Though there may be a problem when a team has to punt..." She placed a finger on her chin as she contemplated how a person hanging fifty feet in the air would deal with a football being kicked at them. People she hadn't seen before began to stream into the room. The word was out the Rams representative was staging a hilarious protest to the absurdity of the stadium negotiations.
"We'd be sued for million if someone fell..." No one was listening to Rainford, and he continued to sulk.
Kitty wiped tears away from her eyes and made a vain attempt to bring order back to the meeting. She covered her face with her hands and began to laugh so hard she slid off her chair.
Another person offered another of Derinda's ideas to the room, "How about the "Lucky fan gets to play Linebacker Contest"? More howling ensued as 12packs of beer began to appear on the conference table.
"How about the artificial Sun," was all anyone heard from the corner of the room. Members of the media had wormed their way into the room, camera flashes adding to the surreal scene of a CVC meeting turned Mardi Gras.
Reporters gathered around Derinda, asking if the list of ideas was Stan Kroenke's response to the Mayor's office comments after the Rams submitted their proposal.
"Of course it is," Derinda replied, "Mr. Kroenke asked me to give the CVC a list of ideas to match the city's proposal. I worked hard on this list dammit!" The room was alive with noise - reporters shouting questions, little groups laughing at items still unmentioned from the list.
John Rainford had had enough. He stood on his chair and screamed at the crowd to listen to him.
Derinda jumped up on the table, and pointed at Rainford, "That prick called me a terrorist!" Every eye shift from her to Rainford.
"I never said any such thing, I..." Rainford eased himself down from his chair, as everyone stared at him. Flash, flash went the cameras, and a light from a TV camera zeroed in on him.
"I heard you say it Rainford," yelled the woman across the table from Derinda.
John, sensing the room had turned hostile toward him, began to edge his way toward the door...
The next day, the front page of the St. Louis Dispatch featured a photo of a tall blonde woman flying through the air toward the Mayor's assistant, John Rainford, with a banner headline: "Rams Willing to Tackle Dome Problems - Sacks Mayor's Office for Loss"" The evening news the night before had video of the entire flying tackle as the lead story. CNN featured the the entire event nationally, and ESPN suggested the Rams had found the outside linebacker the team needed.
The same day, team General Manager Les Snead walked down the hallway in the city jail to a block of cells. He stopped to watch as Derinda and Kitty Ratcliffe sat playing cards with three women he guessed were hookers. All five women were laughing. They were exchanging stories about their lives. Les waved and caught Derinda's attention. She leaned in to whisper something, making Kitty and the three prostitutes smirk as they studied the man who had arrived to bail Derinda out.
She walked to the cell bars, "Hello Lester! My girlfriends want to know if you're single?" The hookers began to laugh, offering a "friend of a friend" discount to Snead.
He pulled at his collar. Blushing, he smiled at the women. "You ready to get out of here?" He asked.
"Hell yes! Can my friends get out too?" The jailer standing next to Les nodded. "Great! I promised I'd buy the waffles once we were sprung."
Les, Derinda, Kitty and the three hookers were met by a beautiful, sunny day as they left the building. He noticed Derinda's dress was torn in a couple places, and she was sporting a black eye from the brawl at the CVC meeting. It had poured out into the street, and police had been called out to quell the half-riot, half party.
Snead asked to speak to Kitty and Derinda for a moment. The hookers said they'd meet them later, sauntering off arm in arm as they argued about their favorite kind of waffles.
Running a hand through his hair, Les wasn't sure what to say. When team owner Stan Kroenke had called last night, he'd told Les to bail out Derinda at whatever the cost. Jeff Fisher, Kevin Demoff and Les had drawn straws to see who would be the one to head down to the jail and retrieve their whacked out colleague. Snead had lost.
Kitty decided to break the silence, "Mr. Snead, I want to commend Mr. Kroenke for sending Derinda to speak with the CVC. Not only did she cause a riot, she also destroyed the conference room, and made that weasel Rainford scream like a little girl as he ran down the street." She turned to Derinda, "when you tackled him in the middle of the road, I almost pee-d my pants!" Laughing at the memory, she and Derinda exchanged a high-five.
A look of shock on his face, Les mumbled, "You aren't mad?"
Kitty shook her head, "In an impromtu meeting of the CVC in the police bus, we held a little vote. Derinda is now the sole member of the Rams organization we want to deal with during these negotiation."
"But..." Les stammered.
"What's wrong with my butt?" Derinda said as she turned to examine her backside.
"Nothing's wrong with your..." Les groaned.
"I find your physical examination of my friend's anatomy to be entirely inappropriate." Kitty chimed in. "Come on "D", we're going to be late." The two women turned and began walking away from Les.
"Where are you going?" Snead asked.
"To get waffles o' course," Derinda called over her shoulder. She stopped, whispered something to Kitty, and turned back to Snead. "You hungry?" She said with a smile.
Still confused, Les shrugged. He nodded, and ran to catch up to the two bizarre women. When he realized he was about to have waffles with Derinda, the chairman of the CVC, and three prostitutes he'd just bailed out of jail, he began to laugh.