We sent our top writers from the Battle Red Onion to follow and record how the Houston Texans spend their time off the gridiron. The content is raw, unedited, and potentially leaves us open to lawsuits. But we felt it was worth the risk. We wanted to get to know the players behind the mask.
The Temple of Durga - Varanasi, India
Arian Foster had just come off of his best season of playing football at any level in his life. He set the NFL rushing record and set the all-time record for most rushing yardage from an undrafted free agent. Arian wanted to celebrate his victory, and his good fortune. He knew it would have to wait, though. He knew that he had to make one stop before he could enjoy his off-season; but that one stop was on the other side of the world, in the city of Varanasi.
It all looked so surreal to Foster: the ochre-stained building, the magnificent spire reaching toward the heavens, and the surprising heat he felt from the midday sun, which gleamed in his eyes. He stepped through the archway and into the temple's courtyard. Foster walked between the graceful pipal trees and immaculately trimmed hedges which lined the walkway from the archway to the inner sanctum. He nearly fell on his face in his attempts to avoid tripping over one of the many cheeky monkeys who called the temple home. No wonder they call this place the Monkey Temple, Foster thought.
Even with all the monks inside the sanctum praying to their patron goddess, the sanctum was deathly silent. Nobody dared make a noise inside. Foster placed his bag on the ground, took a spot among the monks and bowed reverently to the 11-foot bronze statue of mighty Durga.
The monks one-by-one eventually left the sanctum, leaving Foster by himself. He took out a bottle of Clorox and a clipboard with defensive schematics drawn mostly in crayon and placed them on the altar before the statue as an offering. He bowed once more to Durga. As he turned to leave the sanctum, he noticed some intricate carvings above the doorway out. Foster had never learned Hindi, but he could read what was written there. "The path, the chosen one, here will find. Say these words and here, two worlds shall bind," Foster said.
The ground trembled furiously, moving the altar and revealing a passageway. Foster, being the curious soul he is, walked down the pathway and saw a light at the end of a long tunnel. Leaving the tunnel behind, Foster knew immediately he was not in Varanasi anymore. It was a savage land with towering trees, sweltering heat and he could see a volcano smoldering in the distance.
Foster looked around confusedly when two beasts jumped in front of him and pointed their spears at him. He raised his hands and gawked at his would-be captors. Their bodies were identical to humans, but their heads were elongated and pointy with huge beaks for mouths. Their arms had strange, flexible, almost wing-like appendages attached to them.
"Who the devil are you? How did you find this place?" the first captor asked angrily.
"I was just at this temple at the other end of the tunnel and--"
"Wait," the second captor lowered his spear, "you understand what we're saying?"
"I...guess I do," Foster said perplexedly.
"Impossible. Unwinged ones can't possibly know Dactylspeak. Unless..."
The captors huddled together and mumbled to each other.
"Please come with us, sir."
Foster followed along as they brought him to their capital, Areaus. It was a tightly packed city with thousands of other creatures similar to the two guards.
They brought Foster to the palace where he met their king.
"Welcome to Areaus, Mr. Foster."
"T-thank you, y-your majesty. H-how do you know my name?"
The king reached his hand out toward the back wall. Foster turned to find a 13-foot-tall likeness of himself cast in solid gold with a plaque on the bottom that read, "Arian Foster: The Chosen One." "We have been awaiting your arrival for some time, Mr. Foster: the unwinged one who knows Dactylspeak. Quite frankly, we need your help, Chosen One."
"Me? What do you need me for?"
"Our arch enemies, the Velos, have taken our most prized possession: The Great Dactylon Seal. Without it, we will be unable to fend off the Velos' next attack, which will mean certain doom for us Dactylons. We need you to get it back for us, Chosen One."
"Can't y'all just fly over there and get it?"
"Sadly, no. These wings are just for show now. Evolution has left us flightless. Will you retrieve our seal from Viordor?"
"I will take the seal from Viordor," Foster said stoically.
"Excellent! We can get you to the gates of Viordor but no further without being eaten by the Velos. For we are crunchy, and good with ketchup."
The king pulled the cloth off of a giant mirror, which Foster stood in front of.
"Take the Chosen One to the gates of Viordor," the king said to the mirror.
There was a quick flash of light and before he knew it, Foster found himself at Viordor. It was a squalid, depressing place, kind of like Detroit, in many respects. But in the distance he could see the sunlight glinting off an object on the far end of town. It was the seal, the Velos had been using it as a frisbee.
"Found it!" Foster exclaimed.
The Velos all stopped and looked his way. Their hundreds of pointy teeth, stained with blood, were the only things Foster saw. They crowded the gateway into Viordor, but did not leave. It was like they were locked in by some mystical force.
Foster shook his head and focused on the seal on the other side.
"VREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!!! (CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGE!!!!!)" Foster screamed as he ran straight toward the crush of Velos in his way. He jumped up and stepped on the nose of an unsuspecting Velo which skyrocketed him into the air and over the remaining Velos in his way. He ran with every ounce of speed he could muster away from the Velos who saw him as their next meal. He ducked between even the narrowest gaps, trapping Velos in the process. He grabbed the seal and saw he was again surrounded by 20 screaming Velos.
Foster stutter-stepped between a pair of confused Velos, smashed one in the face with the seal and made a mad dash for the exit. Half the remaining Velos blocked his way out and the rest were on his tail. They'd finally trapped him, inching closer and closer to Foster.
Foster frantically checked his pockets. God I hope it didn't fall out, he thought. He felt a small round object in his pocket and pulled it out. He gave it a quick kiss, saying "Thank you, Antonio!" He looked up and saw how close the Velos were.
"Antonio Smith sends his regards!"
He threw down the ball and a thick cloud of smoke puffed up from the ground a split-second before the Velos jumped to tackle Foster. When the smoke cleared, Foster was at Viordor's gate and kicking it into second gear toward Areaus.
Hours later, when Foster returned with the Great Seal, the Dactylons threw him a parade for saving their civilization ending with a banquet in his honor. Every single female Dactylon, as well as many of the married ones, made passes at the "Chosen One," but he politely declined, saying he had to leave the next day and would probably forget to call them.
As the night came to a close and he drifted off to sleep under the stars, Foster thought that if this is how 2011 is going to start for him, then next year may be better than the last.