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Friday, April 27, 2007

College Athlete's Tale - April 27, 2007

The College Athlete’s Tale
Author's Note: Not a premier short story....but I think it's readable.

It was after a long afternoon of passing drills, in preparation for the impending national title game, that Jacob Goodfellow was to meet with his renowned Renaissance History professor, Dr.Swindell, about his term project on Elizabethan England and Shakespeare’s role in it. With a quick shower and dressing, he headed off to the Langhorn building across campus to make his 6PM appointment.
Entering into the labyrinth of offices that eventually led to Dr. Swindell, Jacob sat down confidently with a hopeful outlook circulating in his mind about his project. With her usual perfunctory courtesies performed, the conversation began in earnest.
“ Jacob, I have, for sometime now, thought your topic to be rather dull. So, I think it best to change it to: Charlemagne and Mohammed: A Comparative Analysis,” walking behind his chair with a lascivious glance down at the super-talented son of a long-since-passed-from-the-Earth Nebraskan farmer, now oozing down in his seat in her darken office. “It is due in one week.”
“But that’s a Medieval subject? Why would you want me change to that at this late date?” Noticing her eyes leering over him, and suddenly more aware of her sexual proclivity than ever.
“Oh, that’s not all. I have a minor deal you are going to sign with me, now, about your professional future.” A sly smile creeps across her face, and her dark eyes close slightly, as she faces the window momentarily, then back to Jacob. “ You are going to donate to the Hanover Foundation a sum of $500,000 a year for the next 10 years.”
“What! Where! why would I?” Barely keeping his composure.
“Because, if you say anything at all, to anyone, I’ll go to the police, with my lawyer, and tell them you stalked and raped me tonight,” said Dr. Swindell sneering and delighting at the appalled look on Jacob’s face while reaching into her drawer for the contract.
You’ll soon enough be my Nebraska plowboy set to plant my fields with money.”
With his future now signed over, by coercion, Jacob walked to the nearby Gregory Library of Humanities, nearly unable to contain his anger from explosion. Somehow, he figured, there was a logical way out of this.
As it was, he began on his new assignment without a true desire to complete it. He then spotted a former classmate; Megan Follows was now a graduate assistant in Medieval history working behind the circulation desk. Surely, this woman could help him.
After quickly describing his task (not letting her know about the professor’s further plot), she eagerly set out to assist him in accessing the resources he needed. But as the night worn on, her helpfulness turns into a design to fulfill an undersexed libido.
“ Jacob, I’ve always had a huge crush on you.” Megan whispers to him in the study room, while sorting through various books.
But after the earlier evening events, his best response came out sounding coarse: “Megan, I appreciate the thought, but I am in need of a friend, not a paramour, right now.”
While rubbing her sheer white blouse against his arm that accentuated her healthy protuberances, “You can get any woman you desire, but I can really spark you, darling.”
“Megan, stop!” He turns to her in such a rush, that an armful of books crash to the ground. “ I can’t, I won’t go out with you!”
“Well! I never! You come in here, asking me to help you out with your sexual problems, and this is thanks I get!” Megan said loud enough that the whole library could hear. Jacob’s face turns red with rage and humiliation, as he hurries to the front door of the library and out into the darkness.
Jacob then decides to enlist his head coach’s help the next morning. Wanting to talk to him immediately, he calls him at his home, off campus, at 7AM to ask for his advice. His coach reassures him and advises him to come over to talk face-to-face.
Walking into the coach’s spacious, ornate living room, Jacob finds the coach reclining on a luxurious ottoman in a red silk robe. He is drinking a screwdriver, an eagerly offers one to Jacob, to which he declines.
“Don’t you think it is a bit early to be drinking, coach?” Jacob asks.
“No, not really, especially given the good news I’ve received.”
“What good news, coach?”
“That my star quarterback is going to be paying a lot of future earnings to me, or rather, to the Hanover Foundation.” Jacob’s face turns dour again, wishing this nightmare could soon end.
“You slimly bastard.”
The coach rises triumphantly from the ottoman and goes over to the bar to fix another drink. “What, you thought we didn’t think this thing through. If you even dare to speak out, we will have so much to conveniently place out in the media, you’ll look like a real… criminal. I suggest you go back to writing your paper and getting ready for the big game.”
“Why?” Jacob curtly answers.
“Because I’m your coach, and I taught you how to respect my authority. Besides, my poor pool boy is coming by, for my mid-morning, uh-hum, manual and oral massage.”
“You are so sick,” Jacob turns and leaves from house, wishing he had never came.
With seemingly no one else to turn to, and a severe headache turning to a modest migraine, Jacob drives several miles back to campus before spotting a drug store. He enters, knowing an aspirin is not the answer. After locating it, he goes to the counter with the aspirin, to find a former high school classmate running the register. She still looks as beautiful as she always did.
“Hi Jacob.” Laura Lee Loveless perks up at the sight of him.
“Hi.” Jacob, mentally bedraggled, responds inertly.
“What’s wrong?” Laura said.
“Just…I can’t tell you, you wouldn’t believe me.”
“Try me. Remember what I went through Jacob, after that middle school cheerleading incident, I spent three years in reform school, AKA prison. I’ve hear it all…and then some.”
So after some further prodding, he tells her everything, knowing there is nothing she can do for him. After this half-hour, she responds:
“Jacob, I have a plan to fix them good. You didn’t deserve this, but they deserve the head splitting we are going to give them. You got a duo yearning for their criminal headaches, without any Advil available.”
She continues. “Meet me back here at 5PM. We got some shopping to do.”
The first part of the plan was to break into the professor’s office, steal back the contract Dr. Swindell locked in the drawer, and plant marijuana and cocaine deep in her desk. Part two was to have her visited by one of Laura’s former bunkmates at The Havenwood Reformatory, a known dealer, currently being tailed by the police. Part three finalized the deal: a confidential informant would serendipitously give up some new information.
As asked, Jacob arrived at the store promptly at 5PM. Laura was ready and certain this could undo the events of the last day. “I see you are still the punctual one.”
“I try. So what’s next?”
“We need to get a hold of some stuff to plant at the professor’s office.”
“We’re going to plant illegal drugs!” Jacob tries to whisper, while screaming.
“What else do you think will ruin her creditability immediately?”
“Just, can’t we do something else?”
“No. They are playing their games, we play ours.”
“What do you need me for?”
“The friend I have digs you. Wants to rub shoulders with the soon-to-be rich and famous.” Laura punches him on the shoulder, with little effect to Jacob’s mood.
“But, I don’t have money.” Jacob pleads.
“Fame will do. He owes me any ways, I looked out for his girlfriend inside.”
Come on, we got an appointment to make.” They walk to his red Caprice Classic, and start heading toward her apartment in a down-on-it’s-luck neighborhood.

On the drive there, they share what has transpired over the past few years, and find things out about each other that surprise them both. Laura also asks a few questions of Jacob about the campus security, and discerns that the best access will come at midnight.
At 11:45 PM, with the campus darken to a feeble light or two outside the Langhorn Building, Jacob and Laura enter the bushes near the back dock. Seeing the changing of the ineffectual watch, they make a quick dash to jam the slow-shutting door open, then run back to their place of hiding. After a ponderous moment, Laura jumps from the bushes, with Jacob in hot pursuit.
They make their way up the stairs slowly, quietly accessing each floor until they reach the professor’s corridor. At the end of it, sits a guard reading Hamlet, but nodding off all ready.
With some luck, the professor’s office is hidden from view, requiring only a quick dash into the corridor, then the opening of a side corridor.
Whispering to Jacob, “you ready to go?”
They briskly enter, sneak in unseen, and soon are in front of the professor’s office. Laura breaks out her lock picking kit, and a pencil flashlight, and in a flash has the door open. “That was easy.”
As they quietly walk around to the desk, she says, “which drawer?”
Jacob points to it, and then she begins again to work on another lock. It takes a while longer, much longer than Jacob would like. Laura gently works the tools, until the drawer lock comes undone. Looking over the drawer, she gingerly digs until she finds the contract at the bottom. Jacob watches the door and the semi-opaque glass at the top. “Now to stick this inside.”
She plants the drugs behind the access of the drawer, testing the shutting mechanism. It works. “Let’s get out of here.”
Late next morning, while sitting through his Renaissance History lecture, anxiously waiting for something to happen, something did. Two men appeared at the door and opened it. By their dress, it was pretty obvious they were not students. After finding a seat, with the professor seemed unperturbed by the intrusion, they quietly talked to themselves.
When the lecture concluded, they rose and walked toward Dr. Swindell. “Ma’am could we talk to you for a few minutes.”
“Sure, officers.” Presumptuously assuming who they were.
It was not too long before the situation she thought they were asking to talk about, became something else completely different, and more assuredly true, based on concrete evidence. It was not long before her lies tripped her up, and soon her life became a disgrace to speak of at the university. Her final days were spent working at the laundry center in town, keeping the washers and dryers running and cleaned up while managing the place.
Jacob’s team lost the title game, though he fought for every yard and every score they did make, often being compared to a ‘young Joe Montana’, while the long-time defensive coordinator was promoted after the head coach’s unfortunate drowning in what was described later as “a suicide for no reason.”
Jacob continued to see Laura Lee, and after a few years, they married. He continued his studies at the university, obtaining a doctorate on his insightful studies of the Medieval and Renaissance period of history. He never played one down in the NFL, but after some years, took the head football job at the university when his first son started playing quarterback. His wife Laura became the head of a foundation to help teenage girls get acclimated to life after brief incarcerations.

Author’s Note:

The preeminent works of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, that are among the most fabled in the English Language, inspires this story. His writings, standing the test of time of over 600 years, make it possible to understand the human condition better; while also allowing great comparison of his age to our current culture, that is no different in thought, deed or word from his.
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