I hate those motherfuckers.
- Redskins owner Dan Snyder, speaking his thoughts on the Giants after Washington's Monday Night Football win
★ ★ ★
The Giants' defensive lineman stood, flat-footed, in front of the tackling dummies. Tom Coughlin shaded his eyes and squinted. "Herrmann. What the Hell are they doing?"
"I, um." The linebackers coach nervously flipped through the papers on his clipboard. "Well, I, you know what Dan Snyder said about us."
"I told everyone we weren't going to talk about that," Coughlin barked. "That order came straight from the office. Pierre-Paul is AWOL. So's our running back, so's most of our offensive line. Last thing I need is for the rest of our team to go wandering off."
"Well ... I thought it would be a good thing to tell them to imagine the tackling dummies were Snyder. You know, make 'em mad. Get some fire in their bellies."
Linval Joseph was hugging his tackling dummy. Justin Tuck stood in front of his, repeating tearful apologies, clutching a gift basket of fruits and cheeses. Chris Canty opened a dialogue. "All I wanted to do was play some football," he said, staring at what might have been the dummy's face. "I didn't want you to hate me. It hurts, coming from you. You are a successful businessman who is well-dressed. I am terribly hurt. I am terribly hurt."
Coughlin's grimace eased. When any man disparages you, it will sting, but when a businessman as successful and well-dressed as Dan Snyder declares his hatred for you, it just might break you. Coughlin knew this, but he did his best to feign surprise. "You have got to be shitting me."
★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★
Jason Pierre-Paul knew himself well; well enough to know that he was feeling rotten, he had an urge to shop. To spend money on things he didn't need -- anything, really. He tore his eyes away from the manila envelopes and shipping tubes. You don't need those. What would you even do with those? They won't fill the hole in your heart. But, of course, he couldn't walk away. One doesn't simply walk out of a line at the post office; to do so is to paint one's self as flighty and indecisive, or worse, salty over the length of the line.
"Sir, may I help you?" Jason took a long step forward. "I, um ... I don't know what I need. I just sort of ... I saw a commercial talking about how the post office was sort of a one-stop shop for this, that, and everything in between. Those might not be the exact words."
"They aren't, sir, but they're close. What can I do for you?"
"A man, man I hold in high regard, he called me a motherfucker." A woman in line gasped as the postal worker's brow furrowed. "Well goodness, either you're rotten or he is! That's how that sounds to me!"
"I'm worried it's me."
"Ohhh, no. Surely not! He sounds like a real bum."
"He's a businessman. A successful businessman. He deserves such respect for being a successful businessman ... I need to buy something. I need to buy something. What's the most money I can spend?"
"Well, you don't have any sort of package to ship ... I suppose we could take a passport photo, if you'd like. They cost $15 a pair, if you want to stand over there in front of the wall."
"Could you just take them of the wall? I don't want a picture of myself."
"Dear, why not?"
"Would you want to look at yourself if you were a motherfucker?"
"I suppose I wouldn't."
It was not a new camera. Its shutter clicked as its bulb popped. Processes are instant and silent in these times. It was nice to hear something mechanical; to hear things and understand them as they came to be, and Jason wished this was true of all things.
★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★
"Bradshaw? Like the quarterback?"
Ahmad studied what hung on the walls of the office: a few framed commemorative vinyls, a closed 2010 calendar, unframed certifications printed from a half-dried inkjet cartridge. "Yes indeed, like the quarterback."
"Now, Mr. Bradshaw, I'm gonna tell ya: Coconuts doesn't have the lowest prices. That's just the truth. We're over here sellin' $17 CDs. We can't compete with Wal-Mart or Amazon or iTunes or any of them. There's only a few Coconuts franchises left in the whole country. This is the only one in the state. So what does that mean?"
The manager unclasped his fingers and faced his palms up. "It means that we get people in the door with customer service. They come in looking for that Mumford & Sons CD, we say, 'say, you heard the new Grizzly Bear?' You might like it! Tell ya what, we have them in our listening station right over there if you'd like to check it out.' Now, next time, where do you think that customer's gonna go? Some big-box warehouse, or the place where someone gave him great customer service?"
"Probably the-- "
"Now I was looking at your application. It says you were employed until this morning, playing football? How come you quit?"
Ahmad sighed. "Um. Well, I lost heart. Dan Snyder called me a motherfucker, you see."
"There it is, under the 'hobbies' section: 'is a motherfucker who Dan Snyder hates.' I don't really see how that's a hobby. I think of a hobby, I think of playin' cat's cradle, shufflin' cards, that kind of thing."
"I didn't really knew where to note that, but I knew it was pertinent information."
The manager set the paper on the desk, leaned back in his chair, crossed his legs, and rested his index finger on his lip. His brow furrowed. "I gotta ask you. What's so great about this Dan Snyder fella, that he can go around callin' people motherfuckers and that's just so?"
"Well." Ahmad leaned forward to look at his shoes, then stared the manager in the eye. "He is a successful businessman who is generally well-groomed."
"A successful businessman."
"How many times you guesses he brushes his teeth every day?"
"Oh, I don't know. Twice, probably."
The manager sighed and bit his lip. "Ahmad ... I like you. You seem like a good fella, but the record store business is really rough these days. If we're going to survive, we can't go around hiring known motherfuckers."
Ahmad rose to his feet and thanked him. As he walked back through the sales floor, he wondered whether it would be unbecoming to browse around in a store at which he was just unsuccessfully interviewed. It would be, he said, but then again, I am a motherfucker now. An asshole. He eyed a divider on an album rack that read, "Country Classics," pulled a pen from his pocket, and with a grin, vandalized it to read, "Kountry Klassics."
A floor salesman gasped. "Sir! Oh no! Oh my God, sir, please stop that! That's not the name of that!"
A real asshole. It was a new day; rather, it would be if the Sun would ever rise again. If Dan Snyder decides it does not, it does not.
★ ★ ★