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How I Spent My Offseason, By Gary Kubiak

The fog rolls in with the bitter air from the North Sea.  I can barely see three feet in front of me.  I ram my hands into the pockets of my trench coat and pull it tighter.  It's useless, though.  The cold comes in from everywhere.  I grind my teeth and wait.  The London fog is so thick it makes the street lamp above my head look like a dying candle.  Every once in a while, a car drives by.  The headlights pass over me and I try to look casual.  The drivers are faceless, almost ghouls.


Suddenly, a hand taps me on the shoulder.  I try not to jump.  He has an amazing knack for seeming to appear out of nowhere

"Hi Bill."

"How are things with Rhonda?"

"They're... fine." 

Bastard.  He knows about her and Johnson.  And Brown.  Both Browns.  They all know.  At least Bill has the balls to come out and say it, unlike Fisher, that smug son of a bitch.

I reach into my coat pocket and pull out a flask.  Scotch whiskey.  Islay Malt, aged 18 years.  It burns on the way down, a glowing coal in my stomach.  

"Want a sip?"

Bill looks at me.  He doesn't say anything for what seems an eternity.  The warmth of the scotch in my stomach drains away.  I suddenly realize he's wearing glasses.  Underneath them, below the dark shadow cast by his fedora, his eyes narrow to slits.  I think he's going to fall asleep at first.  The awkward silence makes me want to reach for the flask again, but I can't bring myself to do it.

Bill takes his glasses off and carefully wipes them off on the inside of his tie.  

"I didn't know you wore glasses."

"Ran out of contact lens solution."

"Makes sense.  Why did you make me fly all the way out to London for this?"

"Tradecraft.  No one will recognize us here. Plus, I wanted to see Mama Mia! in the theater, just to see how it compares to the movie version, without Fisher finding out about it and calling me a homo."

"Pierce Brosnan can't sing for shit."

"Sure can't."

Another endless pause.  I'm beginning to wonder if he's narcoleptic or something.  A car drives by.

"Bill, I..."

"I know.  I couldn't imagine how Rhonda could manage to still walk after what she let Diles do to her with that eggbeater either."

"What the?!?"

"Never mind.  You've come here for the video, I presume?"

"Uhm, yes."

Eggbeater?  Diles?

Bill reaches into the pocket of his trench coat.  I notice that he's wearing a hoody with the Ravens logo underneath.  He pulls out a small compact disc.  He notices me looking at his hoody and quickly pulls his trenchcoat tight around him.

"I lost a bet.  My compensation?"

"Wired to your Cayman Islands account, as you asked.  You're sure this is real, right?  Not some poor-quality photoshop."

"It's the real thing."


A long pause.  For a moment I think I hear him snoring.  

"I mean, does this really have Peyton on it?"


"How can you tell he's the one wearing the gorilla mask?"

"He takes it off midway through the film.  We can't identify the one with the Tony the Tiger outfit, though.  The mask distorts the voice so much that we can't make it out."

"How did you get this?"

Across the street a couple of drunks stumble home, arguing loudly.  Something about Wayne being so crap that his best friend shagged his girl.  I shudder.  Bill doesn't answer.  He just looks at me.

I look down at the disc.  The dim light of the street lamp reflects off of it onto my face.  God, I look terrible.  I'm getting too old for this.

"Hey, Bill, what do you say we go get a drink somewhere..."

He's gone.  He disappeared as quietly as he appeared.  I have no idea how he does that.  It totally weirds me out.

"Bill?"  The fog absorbs my words.  There's no one out there.

I put the CD in an inner pocket of my coat.  For the first time in months, I feel good about things.  We will sweep the Colts this year.  We will make the playoffs.  

But what the hell was Diles doing to Rhonda with an eggbeater?