On Sunday night, every single one of us had already been wondering for hours whether maybe -- just maybe -- the Houston Texans would attempt to replace injured quarterback Matt Leinart with Brett Favre. Peter King acknowledged our hopes and dreams before cruelly taking a hammer to them, saying, "I don't see it happening."
Are you devastated? Well, while you may be living in misery, know that you are not alone. Here are three stories of people just like you who learned that Favre would not return:
Mr. Mularkey took his pail from the rack and walked past the coop, and as he did so he noticed that the chickens weren't fed. "Brendan!" He found his son sitting in the empty swine trough. "Brendan, why ain't y'feed the chickens! I's sell ye to the gypsies, y'don't feed th'chickens!"
He looked up. "I ain't doin' what ye say n'more! Ain't y'heard?"
"I don't see it happening," said King, adding that Texans GM Rick Smith seems unwilling to reach out to Favre at this point.
And his father stood there for a moment. It was the first time his son had ever put him at a loss for words. He began to think on the nature of fatherhood, on whether he was his superior, and wondered further whether perhaps they were two humble equals, peers, one tall and one short. He, after all, was now as lost as his son.
The chickens were not fed that morning.
News travels quickly in this age. She was traveling eastbound on I-64 when the traffic began to slow, and then halted altogether. She craned her neck. There were no sirens ahead. The weather was nice. Why is everyone stopping?
Her confusion grew as, one by one, the cars pulled to the shoulder, and it seemed as though she had little choice but to follow suit. She stepped out of her Nissan to find an old woman ahead of her, staring into the mountains, sitting on the hood of her Chrysler, her little feet resting neatly on the chrome bumper. She asked the old woman, "what has happened?" She looked up, and she said:
But at least one ancient signal-caller, future Hall of Famer and quarterback-for-hire Brett Favre, is not among the quarterbacks the Texans are considering.
[...] "I don't want to bring the circus to town," Texans general manager Rick Smith said, according to King. The Gulfport Gunslinger, for his part, has not thrown a football in a month, King said.
Cars on the shoulders, for miles and miles. A funeral procession without the windshield stickers. A wide open highway, abandoned so that the ghosts of our dreams, our ambitions, can at last escape us and make their way to a land we will never visit.
His friends at the pub had asked what he was up to since September, well, here's what he is up to, or was: an oil-and-chalk mural of the good and the bad, the life of a man, and a bout of the flu, and the crack of a can of Old Style, its aluminum matte with the beautiful Frigidaire frost, and a trip to the hospital, and a birthday party. All of it.
The old C batteries strained the crackled news through the little five-watt speaker:
It's not time for the Houston Texans to go chasing after Brett Favre. [...] He also hasn't thrown a football in a month, not even in a Wrangler commercial, and he's two years removed from his last effective NFL season. Why not offer Troy Aikman the job too?
His brush stayed, then pressed a blot against the canvas, right in the middle of the half-finished birthday cake. He madly thrust his brush into the black, making desperate slashes, then crosses, then asterisks over all he had painted.
And then he took a few steps back, absorbing the whole of the canvas at once, and wondering how much of it he really needed to paint a broken swing set in the dead of night.