The characters and events depicted in this novella are entirely fictitious. Any similarity to names or incidents involving Houston Texans staff members are purely coincidental...more or less.
Chapter Two — They Did WHAT?!
“Or what about if we put him in a spacesuit? That way we get to see his face while he says the prices at Clippit’s Market are ‘out of this world?’”
The art director looked around the room looking for support for her idea but all she saw were blank faces.
“That’s one direction we could go in,” said the creative director tactfully.
Andy Petrovic, his eyes glued to his computer, deleted the “out of this world line” while listening to the creative director’s remarks.
“I didn’t see anyone else coming up with anything,” the art director replied huffily, “at least I put something out there.”
This triggered another round of arguments and recriminations about who’s pulling their weight within the team. Andy kept watching his computer, waiting for the group to finally decide on a direction they could all agree on. The arguing had long been a fixture of his tenure at Angstrom and Havilland Advertising.
Andy typed into the word document, “I hate this job so much,” then deleted it immediately hoping nobody saw him.
They didn’t, they were too engrossed in their argument to notice him.
Andy’s mind wandered as they quarreled.
“I have an English degree from Texas and a master’s degree in literature from Texas Tech. How did I end up here listening to a bunch of egomaniacs who can’t all pull in the same direction?”
“Andy? You there,” asked the creative director.
Andy shook out of his reverie, “Yeah, I’m here.”
“Good, maybe you can join us if you’re not too busy.”
Andy worked to swallow the words he wanted to spit at the creative director. They lodged in his throat as he croaked out, “I’m all ears.”
“Here’s what we should do. It’s early morning and Jerome Arvis comes down the stairs and into the kitchen wearing a robe, fluffy bunny slippers, and holding his teddy bear Bobo. He wipes the sleep out of his eyes and sees that he’s not in his kitchen, he’s standing in the middle of a field of lettuce—”
“Why lettuce,” asked the art director, “Lettuce is boring, what about an orange grove instead?”
“What about a henhouse,” Andy asked, “and Arvis is able to choose eggs for his breakfast right out of the hens’ nests?”
“And how do you propose we pay for that,” the media buyer asked nastily, “it’s a lot cheaper to shoot him out in a field.”
“But the eggs are easier to connect with the scene you’re setting. He’s coming down for breakfast, not rabbit food,” Andy replied.
“No, he’s right,” the creative director said, “it’d be too expensive to build a set that looked like a henhouse for one shot, and we can’t use a real one because we’ll get letters about using live animals. We set it in a field, Arvis takes in a deep breath and says—”
At that moment, an intern scurried in and turned on the television.
“Did you forget to DVR your soaps again, Jake,” the creative director said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
“Y’all are gonna want to see this,” he blurted out.
Jake turned the TV to a cable sports channel where the first thing everyone saw was the “BREAKING NEWS” banner emblazoned in bright red.
The entire room stared at the TV, waiting to understand why this was so urgent.
“Sports? Why are we watching sports right now?”
Jake pointed at the TV and said “Listen!”
The room grew silent.
The anchor, a middle aged man in the early stages of male pattern baldness and desperately trying to fight it, spoke in tones reminiscent of someone giving a eulogy.
“We’ve got breaking news right now coming out of Houston. As we mentioned earlier, the Houston Texans have announced they are trading long time wide receiver Jerome Arvis to the Lions—”
Nobody spoke. Nobody dared to speak. It was too hard to think, let alone speak.
The media buyer was the first to find his voice, “They did WHAT?!”
All eyes turned to the buyer, their brains all caught in varying stages of confusion.
Andy, for the first time that day, took his eyes off the computer and looked in frozen horror at the TV along with the rest of the creative team, waiting in dread to learn the full details.
“Again, the Texans have traded Jerome Arvis to Detroit for Lionel Harris, a second round pick, and a conditional fifth rounder next year.”
Andy, grabbed the remote from the intern and changed the channel, “This has to be a joke, right? It has to be.”
He landed on a sports talk show where the host who had never so much as held a football, let alone played it professionally, said “Do you know what the Texans are doing with this move? Because I sure don’t, Willie.”
Willie, for once, couldn’t argue with the insufferable other host, “I...I’ve got nothing for you man. This is ridiculous. Lionel Harris? He hasn’t been good in three years, and ain’t finished a full season in five years now.”
“This is just baffling, and you have to be asking yourself this question if you’re a Houston Texans fan: what on Earth is Cletus Glibb thinking with this move?”
The creative director grabbed the remote from Andy’s hand and turned the TV off.
“I guess that’s one less thing for us to worry about,” said the creative director, trying to find some good news in any of this, “Let’s take a break for lunch while I get in touch with our account manager for Clippit’s and find out how they want to handle this from here.”
With that, the team got up and left the conference room they’d been perched in for the last four hours. After a bit of chitchat, the room emptied leaving only Andy sitting and looking at the blank television.
His mind whirled with what Arvis’ trade meant not just to his employers but his favorite team. He closed the screen on his laptop, revealing a Houston Texans laptop protector.
“Why? Why would they get rid of the second best player on the team for a known has-been and scrap draft picks? They couldn’t even get a first rounder or two for him? Did something happen between him and another teammate? Or between him and, I don’t know, the equipment manager?”
Every question he asked was met with a brick wall his brain could not overcome. None of it made any sense. Andy remained motionless, blinking helplessly.
“Why?” Andy asked, meekly.
To Be Continued...