Thursday, October 18, 2012

Big Ben's Barracks: The Godfather will see you now

By Artistry


The Steelers quarterback sits behind his desk, a pair of reading glasses on the tip of his famous nose, the playbook for Sunday night's showdown with the Bengals on his lap, his lips moving in time with his mental reps. There is a knock at the door.

Ben:  Come in.

Mike Tomlin:  Hello, Ben.

Ben:  Coach. What can I do for you?

Tomlin:  It's been a week of trials and a week of tribulations. The men have had some issues on the grass and some issues on the pavement as well.  Our mentality of positivity still reverberates in the locker room to some extent, but that is not translating to action, and I have some concerns that some of the men may be attempting to grab the wheel in order to steer this vessel into the side of the river bank, if you will.

Ben:  And you want my help.

Tomlin:  I want your leadership.

Ben:  We've known each other for many years, but this is the first time you came to me for counsel, for help. Some day, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me.  But until that day accept this justice as a gift on my still unborn child's wedding day.

Tomlin:  I'm not following you. Can you speak to the some of the men or not?

Ben: Sure, send them by.

Ben counsels Ike, the rampaging rookie nose tackle, Mitt Romney and more, after the jump...

Tomlin exits. There is another knock at the door.

Ben: Enter.

Ben: No shirt, no shoes, no service, soldier.

Ike Taylor: Please, man. I've had a hard week.

Ben: You may speak freely.

Ike: Everyone is hatin' on Swaggin U.

Ben: You feel as if fans and media are directing a disproportionate amount of criticism your way?

Ike:  "I always felt like, you know, if we're in the same city, regardless what's going on with the team, why can't we just be family? Why can't we just point out the facts?"

Ben:  I think Tennessee threw at you 12 times. They got 8 completions and 3 flags. Those are the facts. The facts aren't good. Are you crying? Hey, listen. Soldier, look at me. We. Will. Not. Leave. You. Behind. 

Ike (weeping openly now): I know.

Ben: We just wish you weren't out there in the first place. Get to your game. 

Taylor exits. There is a knock at the door.

Ben: Who's next?

Alameda Ta'amu:  Thank you for seeing me, sir.

Ben: Man, you are one big cadet.

Ta'amu:  I know, sir. That's part of my problem. When I am inebriated, I become like an angry rhinocerous among gentle baby ducklings.

Ben (picking up newspaper): Let's see here. You've been charged with multiple felonies for fleeing police, aggravated assault while driving drunk, trying to run down police officers with your vehicle. and no fewer than 10 misdemeanors after resisting arrest and attempting to flee after taking off your shirt. And coach suspended you for two games. Do I have that right?

Ta'amu: I also destroyed some cars. It's also the second time I've been charged with DUI.

Ben: OK, look. I've been there. I've charged at innocents like a water buffalo on methamphetamines. I've taken off my shirt before fleeing because I know that if caught I will have built up a nice film of sweat that will make it difficult for my pursuers to get a good grip on me.  And Lord knows I've been suspended for my actions on the pavement, on bathroom tile, and on down comforters. Look at me now. Somehow I'm becoming more likable, even as the rest of you men are making Cincinnati look like the moral center of the universe. It's almost beyond comprehension. So, my point is, hang tough. And try not to hurt anybody.

Ta'amu exits. There is a knock at the door.

Ben: OK, this is my last Steeler of the day. Ashley! No more Steelers. Come in.

Ben: Here we go.

Rashard Mendenhall: I should just stay off Twitter.

Ben: See how you figured that out on your own? You've grown so much spiritually. Just don't tweet. And don't read Ron Cook.

Mendenhall exits. Ben takes a deep breath. He knows his work is not yet done. There is a knock at the door. 

Ben: Yes.

Ben: Commissioner. Mr. Fehr. We making progress, gentlemen?

Gary Bettman: Everyone seems to think so. Frank Luntz was a huge hire by me.

Donald Fehr: I have to give you credit. We'll push back for the next couple of weeks, get as much as we can. But it's not like I'm representing a real union here. Come on. We've got some guys cashing paychecks in Magnitogorsk and we've got other guys living in their parents' basement in Nova Scotia. We're not talking about Teamsters Local 189, ok? This will be done by Thanksgiving. 

Gary Bettman: 60 games?

Donald Fehr: Perfect.

Ben: It's done then.

Gary Bettman: Really looking forward to seeing Rob Rossi tweet for the next 30 days about who might be attending negotiating sessions and what they might be discussing, all while using an inordinate amount of hashtags. 

Ben: #IThinkWeAllAre.

Bettman and Fehr exit. Ashley Roethlisberger enters.

Ashley: Sweetie, Neil Huntington is here. I didn't let him in the front door, per your instructions. 

Ben: Good, send him away. I'll take my last appointment, then I want to put on my yellow t-shirt and take you to dinner.

Ashley: You're so handsome.

Ashley exits. There is a knock at the door. 

Ben: Please proceed, Governor.

Mitt Romney: Ben! Good to see you.

Ben: Here, let me help you with those binders. Just put them on my desk. These are the women?

Mitt: These are the women.

Ben: Brings back a lot of memories for me. My lawyers have subpoenaed binders full of women.

Mitt: I know they did, Ben. I know they did. You know women. Women know you.  And I'm not too blind to see that I could use a little boost when it comes to courting the womanly vote. 

That's why I propose to create a new federal agency devoted exclusively to women, you know, to give women a seat at the table along with my Secretaries of State, Defense, Health, War, Money, etc. And I want to announce that you, Ben, will be my Secretary of Women. 

Ben: That makes so much sense to me.

Ann Romney barges in.

Mitt: Will you do it, Ben? Will you be my Secretary of Women? 

Ben: When called to serve, I answer the call. It would be my honor, Governor. 

Romney exits. Ben stands slowly and walks to his office window, gazing serenely into the distance, contemplative, his hands locked behind his back. A smile plays at lips.

Ben: Ashley? 

Ashley: Yes?

Ben: The yellow t-shirt.

Fade to black.

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