(I wrote this story shortly after the Seahawks lost Super Bowl 49, for reasons that should be obvious. It’s set about ten days before the game. Enjoy.)
Bring Me Back My Stomach
By Brent Salish
Copyright © 2015 by Brent Salish
Late January rain fell steady as boos from unhappy fans as we slipped into VMAC, the Seattle Seahawks training facility on the shore of Lake Washington. My LED miner’s headlight provided the illumination, and Adler provided the lock-picking skills.
“If a cop does it, it’s legal, right?” I said.
“I thought Injuns were supposed to be silent.”
“Stealthy, you mean.”
“No, silent. So I can concentrate. Ah. Got it.” With his closely gloved hands, he folded the picks back into the velvet cloth. “And I’ve got no jurisdiction this side of the lake. Or hadn’t you noticed we didn’t pass a single latte stand between the freeway exit and this place?”
I looked up. My headlight beam died before it hit the ceiling, high enough so that even Jon Ryan’s towering kicks wouldn’t dent the rafters. I looked back down and pulled out my smartphone. The browser showed a Seattle Times article about the facility. “Coach Carroll’s office is over there.” I nodded toward the wall to our right.
Adler sighed. “Locked.”
“Not to you, oh mighty warrior.” All 5’6” of him. The Russell Wilson of cops.
He stared at me before unwrapping his pick set again. I pointed the light at the lock. Thirty seconds later, we were in.
“You sure you know what we’re looking for?” he said.
“Says ‘Playbook’ on it, I’ll bet. These are football players.”
“Who went to college. How many of your teammates made it past high school?”
“What can I say? We like to train them right, before they develop too many bad habits.”
He laughed. “In other words, baseball in college is a second-class sport, so the kids actually have to go to classes.”
Rather than respond to the mostly accurate snark, I shone the light around the office. We saw it at the same time.
I opened the notebook. Gobbledygook. To me, anyway. Baseball plays were few, and went by names such as “hit the fucking cutoff man.” What the heck was “448 pump F-stop Y option”?
At least the book, hundreds of pages thick, had tabs. Red for offense. Blue for defense. Green for special teams.
The offense section had more tabs, small golden dividers. We found the one we were looking for.
I slid the page from its waterproof envelope and scanned a few of the other plays in the Goal Line section. Same format. Same typefaces. I’d heard Bill was good. Thorough. Willing to do whatever it took. The sheet in my hand proved it.
Adler opened the D-rings of the binder and I slipped the page in. “Double-stack right Y-in Z pick,” whatever that was.
As we locked up, Adler said, “They’ll never call it. Just run the big guy a few times. Beast Mode.”
“Not up to us. Hey, why’d you agree to this in the first place?”
“Me? You know how much that damn parade cost the city last year?”
I nodded agreement, though I doubted he could see me through the thickening rain as we headed for my van. “Mariners never get parades like that. Just… tired of it. Seahawks this, Seahawks that. Hey, you got a TV, right?”
“Sure. Week from Sunday. Invite the dy— Mary and Wendy, too.”
“I’ll bring the beer.”
“Wussy beer,” he said.
“Of course,” as I started the van and headed for the freeway, where we’d cross the lake back to Seattle. “Super Bowl Sunday. Wouldn’t miss it.”