Warning: The following post contains drug use, sexual innuendo and profanity. It is not intended for children, the elderly, Mennonites, scowlers, frowners, hipsters, tennis fans, Bill Simmons, pearl-clutchers, accountants, Kirk Cameron, your parents, or the family pet.
I’m blowing down some eastern Washington backroad at 110 in a ’72 convertible Impala.
And that’s in miles per hour, not kilometers. Do I look like a Canadian?
The trunk is a veritable treasure-trove of high-grade pharmaceuticals, vodka, weed and Ho-Hos. I’ve been driving eight hours straight while crammed to the gills on top-shelf Bennies and the Moose sitting next to me is giving me that look. The one that says, “Hey, pal, I might just be a figment of your imagination, but you are seriously fucked up.”
But what the hell does he know? He’s a Moose.
I got the call late. My editor demanded 1000 words on the Seahawks, a pro football team situated square in that land of happy hipsters known as Seattle.
No, seriously. Seattle has an NFL team. Seems they’ve had one since the Bicentennial. Happy birthday, America, we got you a football team. And no regifting, either.
So I did my research and this team of plucky young Seahawks spent a few decades spinning their wheels, drafted something called The Boz, made it to a Super Bowl and lost, then made it to another one and won. Then they went to another one and lost again.
My notes say they’re led by a quarterback with the number two all-time passer rating. They also say he’s only 5’11”, so obviously I need to stop taking notes while drinking vodka tonics with a napalm chaser. He evidently spends a lot of time running away from the other team’s 300-pound man-monsters, so the coaches went out and drafted him a front line. Well, they drafted a couple of guys. At least one of ’em will make the team. Then they hired a few others. One of the guys they hired is injured.
Look, what I’m saying is that it’s lucky that this 5’11” spritely elf of a man is quick and nimble, because the Seahawks have to play the Rams twice a year and the Rams don’t really play to win. They just play to see how much semi-legal carnage they can inflict on another team.
I pull into a gas station to fill up this monster. The Moose sprawls across the back seat, eyes glazed from an overabundance of Washington’s now-legal leaf. A pair of bikini panties is hanging from one antler. Goddamn imaginary moose gets more action than I do.
The clerk at the counter has a cow’s head, and I wonder just what was in those purple pills. I ask him if he’s a Seahawks fan and he nods, cowbell jingling.
“I watch every game,” he says.
Then he gets sad. I can tell, because his little cow horns turn to jelly and droop.
“But this year’s different,” he moos. “There’s no Beastmooooooooode.”
Outside a kid in a bright green shirt asks if he can bum a ride. I tell him to hop in. The Moose grins at him. I ask the kid if he’s a Seahawks fan. He nods, head on a spring, bouncing up and down.
I ask him what he thinks of the team this year.
“They’ve got some good guys,” he says. His head bounces to and fro. I push it out of the way so I can see the road. In the rear view mirror the Moose grins at me and winks.
“They lost Brandon Mebane on defense, though” he says. I giggle. Mebane is a funny word.
“It’s going to hurt the interior of the D-line,” he continues. “The outside should improve with Frank Clark in his second year, and Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett are at the top of their game. Cassius Marsh is coming along at linebacker to replace Bruce Irvin, but that interior pressure could be a problem.”
I know the feeling. I’m realizing that washing down the purple pills with a pair of Black Russians wasn’t the best idea. One of the kid’s eyes pops out and dangles on a coiled spring until a tiny mouse reels it back into his head.
“The secondary will be better than last year,” the kid continues. “Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas are as good as ever, and they’re surrounded by better talent. They have to finish games, though. They’re prone to giving up big leads.”
A pair of bikini-clad girls in a Corvette zoom by, laughing and waving. The Moose leers and waves back. I swear one of them is wearing the matching top to the bottoms hanging from his antler.
The kid’s eyes pop out and roll down his cheeks. I must look horrified because he turns his hollow gaze on me and asks me if I’m okay.
“I’m fine,” I respond, although I have the urge to drive the Impala off the nearest cliff. Assuming I could find one in this hell-blasted landscape.
“The running back corps is a big question mark,” the kid says. “Christine Michaels is having a great camp, but he always does. Half of the running backs have been nursing injuries. Rawls ran well last year, but now teams have more tape on him. We drafted Prosise in the third round, but he’s still a question mark because of hamstring issues. It’s a run-first team, but we don’t know who’s going to be pounding the rock.”
I have no idea what that means. I don’t ask, because his eyeballs have rolled into his lap and they’re staring at me. They swivel and look towards the dashboard. It’s melting like soft chocolate under a hot sun. The rest of the car begins to waver and liquify.
Eyes glued firmly to the road again, I ask the kid how the team’s going to do this year. I’m supposed to have a prediction. The only forecast I’m having right now is my imminent demise in a ball of liquescent Impala.
“Probably 12-4, and a run in the play-offs,” the kid says. “A lot of the talent is there, but they’re young. The O-line is going to be a question mark until they prove themselves. The wide receivers are good, but there aren’t any stars. Everyone got excited about Jimmy Graham, but he had a pretty average year until he got injured, and now he has to come back from that. I think this will be another year where they might start kind of slow, then roll over other teams late in the season.”
I glance over. The kid’s skin begins to sag. The eyeballs in his lap disappear as his legs become a mass of goo. Terrified, I risk a glance back at the Moose. He’s happily eating a cone of melted Impala. The son of a bitch is eating my car. And he’s not even sharing.
“This is my stop.”
I hit the brakes hard and the kid sloshes in his seat. He smiles at me, a wide Cheshire grin in a face that looks like a melted candle. His puts his eyes back in their sagging sockets. One starts to slip out, but the mouse grabs it.
“Thanks, man,” he says, as he slides out of the car and onto the sidewalk. He waves, then slowly melts into a puddle that runs out onto the street. The Moose climbs into the passenger seat, still holding the Impala cone. He takes another lick.
“Nice kid,” says the Moose. He crunches a piece of cone thoughtfully.
“That mouse, though? He’s a real dick.”