The following is part whatever in a series of posts where our top writers for the Battle Red Onion tag along with our favorite players for the Houston Texans to learn about their lives away from the football field. The content is raw, unedited, leaves us open to lawsuits, and will probably land us all in jail. But it's a risk worth taking so we can learn more about the men behind the mask.
It had been a really long day for Texans cornerback Glover Quin. His body was sore from relentlessly practicing with his teammates, the kids would only stay in bed about as long as Frank Bush's attention span before trying to sneak back into the living room to play video games, and he was getting as sick of hearing about whatever progress the lockout had made (or not made) that he couldn't bear to watch television anymore; he'd begun calling it "Schroedinger's Lockout" due to the conflicting daily reports he'd receive. All he wanted to do now was get some sleep; which would not come as Warren Zevon's "Lawyers, Guns, and Money" started playing on his cell phone.
Quin reached out on the nightstand for his cell phone, knocking the ugly pink lamp, which he never liked, onto the floor.
"Glover Quin...you're kidding, right? He's where?! Okay, I'll--I'll be right down."
He threw the phone down and pounded his fist on his pillow.
The next thing he knew he found himself pulling into the Houston Police Department parking lot wearing a suit jacket, slacks, and his bunny slippers. I may not get any sleep tonight, but by God I will be comfortable! he thought to himself angrily. The arresting officer led Quin to the drunk tank where he found a man shrouded in a brown trench coat that was a couple of sizes too small, unfortunately for the rest of the people in the cell with him. Quin was escorted to the man in the trench coat, who stood up quickly and pressed himself against the steel bars.
"Glover, thank you for coming! I didn't know who else to turn to. You have to help me."
"What did you do, John?!"
"I...I don't know what came over me but..."
John leaned close to Quin and whispered into his ear what had transpired earlier that night.
"Um-hmm, at Waffle House...I see...what kind of syrup was it? Ooookay..." Quin's face took on a very green appearance as John went into greater detail, like he had eaten bad oysters or something.
"Please, Glover, I can't go to prison. I'm too pretty!"
Quin resisted the urge to laugh, "What am I supposed to do? I'm just a football player."
"But you took all those law classes when you were at New Mexico, didn't you?"
"And you passed the Bar exam, right?"
"On a bet, yeah."
"So what's the problem?"
"Dammit, John, I'm a football player, not a lawyer!"
"What are you, some kind of chicken?"
"That's it. Don't nobody call me no chicken! I'll take the case!"
The arraignment was scheduled for the following morning. The courtroom was noisy and crowded, making it difficult for the court clerk to announce which case was up next.
"Next on the docket: Case number 234733-5, People vs. McClain."
John McClain stood up as the clerk read the charges, "Indecent exposure, criminal mischief, tampering with consumer products, and general cheekiness."
"Mr. McClain, how do you plead?" the judge asked without taking her eyes off the file.
The eyes of the courtroom, even those of the judge, were focused on the entrance.
Glover Quin strutted into the courthouse wearing a navy blue pinstripe suit. He waved and pointed at random people in the peanut gallery until he reached the table where McClain stood behind.
"Mornin' your honor. Glover Quin, lawyer."
"How wonderful for you, Mr. Quin. I take it you're representing Mr. McClain here?"
"I am, your honor. And may I just say that robe really flatters you, your sweetness...I mean honor."
"Mr. Quin! You will address this court with the respect it deserves!"
"Sorry, your honor. Let me also just add that this persecution of my client Mr. McClain is insidious, malicious, and outrageous! I move for an immediate dismissal of this case!"
The judge rolled her eyes at Quin, "Mr. Quin?"
"This is an arraignment. Save your arguments for trial."
"I understand, your honor. I just wanted to say how my client has been bullied by the American justice sys--"
"Let me make this clear for you Mr. Quin: the only words I want to hear come out of your mouth are either 'guilty' or 'not guilty.' If I hear anything other than those words, Mr. Quin, you will be held in contempt of my court. Now, then...How. Does. Your. Client. Plead?"
Quin opened his mouth as if to speak, and the judge immediately picked up her gavel and stared him down.
"Thank you, was that so hard? Bail is set at $2,000. We reconvene tomorrow morning."
Quin turned to McClain, "Well, that didn't go nearly as bad as I thought it would."
"I wonder if it's too late to get a public defender instead," McClain wondered out loud.
The next day, Quin and McClain walked into the courtroom together. McClain did his best to look like a respectable journalist, at Quin's suggestion. Needless to say, it was a near-impossible task. Quin could hear the theme song from Perry Mason playing in his head as he stepped through the swinging door that divides the court from the gallery. The morning sun bathed the courtroom in light, and reflected off the miniature scales on the judge's bench.
McClain and Quin sat behind the right table, and were followed by the prosecuting attorney. He was a short, balding man who wore a cheap tweed jacket and Coke bottle glasses. He scurried to the left table and searched through his briefcase for his file like a caffeinated squirrel. Quin got up out of his chair and extended his hand to his adversary.
"Mornin'. Glover Quin."
The prosecutor clasped his hand around Quin's. It was clammy and, for some reason, smelled of fancy, nasty-smelling, Norwegian cheese. "Greg. Greg Koch."
"You excited that you get to face Glover Quin in legal combat? D-don't answer. I already know you are. Gives you something to tell the grandkids someday. That's why I keep saying Glover Quin like this. Glover Quin."
"You should go look over your files. McClain's guilty as hell, and we both know it."
"That's besides the point. There's more to the law than guilt or innocence; such as who the jury likes, and let's be honest here," Quin pointed at himself, "Glover Quin."
The bailiff yowled, "All rise!"
Quin, McClain and Koch all stood up, as did the jury and the nine people in the gallery.
"Criminal court is now in session, the honorable Judy T. Stone presiding."
"Be seated," she bellowed, hitting the little round thingy with her gavel.
Koch stood up and walked over to the jury box.
"Your honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this is a sad, sad story about a respected newspaper writer."
"Who?" asked one of the folks in the peanut gallery.
"Today, the prosecution will prove that the defendant, John McClain, went to the Waffle House on Will Clayton Parkway, stripped off all his clothes, poured several gallons of syrup on the ground, and rolled around in it while singing "Popeye the Sailor Man. We have a witness who will attest to this and a video of the incident in question. After seeing this bulletproof evidence, we expect you will see fit to give the defendant a verdict of guilty. Thank you."
Koch sat down behind the table and rifled through his papers again, avoiding eye contact with Quin and McClain.
"Mr. Quin? Mr. Quin?"
Quin hid his head behind the top of his briefcase looking through his crib notes on how a trial is supposed to work.
Quin jumped up, "Yes, my colonel!!! Um...I mean, yes, your honor."
"Your opening argument?"
"Your honor, ladies and gentlemen of the audience. I'm Glover Quin. I'm defending John McClain from the heinous, grievous, and mischievous accusations from the prosecuting attorney. They say my client was rolling around nekkid in a Waffle House. I wanted to say that it was not him. He just really enjoys the food. He couldn't get enough of it, especially their dee-licious syrup. If anyone should be here, it is the manager of the Waffle House for not having enough food for my client. But he did not roll around on the floor in syrup We intend to prove this is a gross error on the part of the prosecution and they were dead set on gunning for my client! Shame on them! Thank you."
Quin sat down to stunned silence.
Koch stood up and addressed the judge, "Your honor, I would like to call my first witness. Call Richard Justice to the stand."
Richard Justice came in from a separate room and took the witness stand.
"State your name and occupation for the record, please."
"My name is Richard Justice. I am a much-respected reporter for the Houston Chronicle."
The nine guys in the peanut gallery busted out in uncontrollable laughter. Judge Stone banged her gavel repeatedly.
"Order! I will have order!"
"Mr. Justice, tell us what you saw on the night in question."
"John and I were having coffee and talking about how totally and utterly awesome it would be to have Vince Young play for the Texans next season. Next thing I know, John was stripping down, in almost a striptease, to 'Dancing Queen.'"
"It was on the radio. Anyway, he took a couple of bottles of syrup and smashed them on the floor. He laid down in the syrup and rolled like a big furry alligator on the floor."
"Stop...please. Nothing further your honor."
Quin walked up to Justice in the stand, "Hi, Richard, Glover Quin."
"I know who you are, Glover."
"'Course you do. Everybody knows Glover Quin. Could you tell me what you were talking about before the alleged incident in question?"
"We were talking about how great it would be to have Vince Young in Houston."
"Really? And this didn't strike you as...odd?"
"No. Vince Young is God's gift to football. Any team should consider themselves lucky to have him."
"I...see. Do you consider yourself qualified to write about sports with this obvious mental defect of yours?"
"Objection!" Koch yelled, "Badgering the witness."
"Some leeway, your honorfulness? Goes to credibility."
Judge Stone shook her head, "Fine."
"How can we believe your account of the events of that night? Young has never been a good quarterback, and yet you still think he's the greatest ever. What credibility can you possibly have?"
"Because I've been covering sports for years in Houston, and I'm damn good at it."
"Bullcrap!" the peanut gallery coughed.
Quin pointed toward the gallery, "Even they don't believe you. Nothing further your honor."
Koch stood up, "Your honor, at this time, we'd like to play the tape of the night in question."
The grainy black-and-white video showed a heavy-set man naked on the floor. The jurors had to force themselves to continue watching the video.
"I would also like to add that the defendant has four other incidents similar to this one in his file."
Quin glared daggers at McClain.
"I...I have a problem."
"May I address the court?" Quin asked.
"If you insist."
"We're not here to talk about his previous problems. This is about whether he did what he was accused of at this Waffle House. To which I say this was not my client. As you can clearly see here," he pointed at the corner of the screen, "at this point here, the video goes on the fritz. Before that, there's nothing going on, just Mr. McClain and Mr. Justice sitting and talking. Then the video goes on the fritz, and then you see...someone in the syrup. But it is not John McClain. I mean look. He doesn't have much hair left on his head. Doing this would put the remainder of his hair at risk, wouldn't it? He wouldn't dare risk it; his career in the movies would be put in peril, and he knows it. So my question to the jury is, where's the motive? The answer? There is none. Thank you. Glover Quin. Defense rests, your honor."
The closing arguments went quickly, mainly because Quin was getting tired of talking and wanted to go home.
"What do you think my chances are, Glover?"
"You're gonna be fine."
"I'm not going to prison?"
"Oh you meant prison? No, no, you're screwed. I thought you meant chances of finding love in the big house. Shhh, they're back. That was fast."
The jury filed back into the box.
"Do you have a verdict?"
"We do your honor. We find the defendant, John McClain...not guilty."
McClain jumped up out of his chair in excitement.
"Thank you, Glover," he reached to hug Quin.
"No, no, no, no, no. Just keep to yourself. Glad I could help you. And for God's sake, stay out of Waffle House!"