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Fan Service - A Battle Red Blog Novella (Chapter Five)

Loosely based on the TV series Sluga Naroda (Servant of the People) created by Volodymyr Zelensky.

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 Five - I’ve Had Enough

He was gone. Jerome Arvis was gone. Sent to Detroit for a handful of beans. Not even the magic kind just plain lima beans. Detroit lima beans.

Andy Petrovic took a swig of beer from the bottle and slammed it down on the table, sending a fountain of suds into the air and splashing all over his hand.

The bar was half-filled with people waiting to catch the Monday night game and eat fifty cent wings. He sat at one of several banks of family-style tables facing a large projector screen silently replaying highlights of Arvis’ career with the Texans. Each touchdown, which had brought him joy in years past, now felt like a dagger, plunged anew in his heart.

The waitress, scanning the puddle of beer and the multiple empty bottles surrounding it on the table, and asked, uneasily, “can I get you some coffee or water maybe?”

Andy lifted his head up at her, which required some significant effort at this point.

“Sure, lemme have some water.”

The waitress sighed with relief.

“And put some scotch in it. And make it a double. Thanks.”

The waitress mouthed “okay” and walked away.

“Hey buddy,” Andy heard as someone slammed their hand on his shoulder. Andy whirled around reflexively.

“Danny! They-they traded Arvis.”

Danny sat in the chair opposite him and nodded solemnly, “Yeah, I heard. Everyone heard. You doing okay?”

“Fine. Wonderful. Couldn’t be...better,” he said gulping down the last of his beer.

“You sound like it.”

“Two months. We’ve been working on this ad for two damn months and now we’re right back to the beginning. Worse, Clippit’s now thinking of pulling the ads entirely because there’s no Texan to endorse it. It’s a disaster.”

Andy cupped his face in his hands and let out a long groan.

Danny caught the waitress’ eye, pointed at Andy’s beer and indicated he wanted one too. She nodded and walked away.

“You know what the worst part of it is? It’s that none of it makes any sense either.”

“What? The trade?”

“Yeah. Arvis was in his prime, locked into a long-term deal, happy, and productive. And they just up and send him away?”

“Did you listen to the press conference though?”

Andy reached for his beer, realized it was empty, and set it back on the table, “Several times.”

The waitress set a glass of scotch and a bottle of beer on the table and walked away.

“We just have to have a little faith that they know what they’re doing,” Danny said, “we don’t have the same knowledge they do. They must know something we don’t, right?”

Andy couldn’t bring himself to reply, he stared blankly at his friend and brought the precious amber-colored drink to his lips.

“They want the Texans to be a winning team just as much as you and I do.”

Andy slammed his glass down which made the empties on the table fall like glass dominoes.

“They don’t! Every week we shell out hundreds of dollars of our hard-earned money to sit and watch a three win football team take the field. Every year we buy Texans gear to give to our friends, our families for Christmas.

“And what do we get for this investment of our time, our money, our emotional investment? A three-win football team, a [bleep] owner who couldn’t care less whether the Texans win or lose, a general manager who can’t put together a decent [bleep] roster after a dozen years of trying, a coach who can’t [bleep] scheme more than one half of football, and a team who sells off their best players for [bleep] pennies on the dollar! It’s [bleep] ridiculous!

“Do we fans get a say in how the team is run? We fans who actually care whether the team succeeds or not? No! We’re expected to act like good little boys and girls and keep handing over our [bleep] credit cards and renewing our thousand dollar season tickets and buying all new merch for the same bad [bleep] results!”

Danny sat silent, shocked at his friend’s outburst.

“What’s with you, Andy? I’ve never seen you like this.”

Andy leapt up out of his chair, slapped his hands down on the table, and leaned toward Danny.

“I’m [bleep] off, that’s what. Fans bring in all the money for a team, pay the players’ salaries, the front office, and line the pockets of a fat cat at the top who doesn’t lift a finger to make any of this money himself. But we get no say in how a team is run. The power balance is upside down and we have to hope that someone finally sees the light and makes the changes needed to put together a winning team.”

“Then go be a fan of a different team,” Danny said in hushed tones, “just sit down before we get thrown out.”

“Oh sure, go to another team, why not? I either go to a front-running team and join every other loser Cowboy/Yankee/Laker fan you’ve ever seen, or watch another bad to middling team and find myself in the exact same spot I’m in now.

“‘Or stop watching football altogether,’ is probably what you’re thinking now, right?”

Danny glanced anywhere but at Andy. He could see all eyes were on Andy as he continued ranting.

“But I love football. Why should I punish myself by boycotting my favorite sport because the owner and management of my favorite team are all a bunch of [bleep] idiots who’s best chance of going to a championship is buying tickets to the Super Bowl? Why should I deny myself because of their incompetence?

“It should be backwards. Fans should have a seat at the table if not be outright in charge. We certainly couldn’t screw it up much worse than they already have. They sit there with their six, seven, eight figure salaries, eating caviar and smiling all the while as we have to sit through year after year of their failures!

“Give me three years as owner, [bleep] even as general manager and I’d turn this team around, make it worth watching again. I’d listen to fans’ opinions, give them a chance at steering the team. And I wouldn’t have to steal millions of dollars to do it, the way Hulder and Cardinal do now,” he shouted, gesturing at Hulder who appeared on the big screen in front of him.

The manager of the bar sidled over to Andy, “Sir, I need you to calm down or I’m gonna have to ask you to leave.”

Andy glared at the manager before taking a deep breath.

“We make this team. Not him,” Andy said, pointing at Glibb, “the sooner they learn that, the better.”

Andy slumped into his chair and reached for his now half-empty glass of scotch. Danny slid it just out of his reach.

“I think you’ve had enough for one night, bud.”

Andy sat, his face tired, his eyes fixed on the press conference being replayed on TV, “Yeah. I have had enough.”

To be continued...