INT. MASTER BEDROOM – NIGHT
In a modern and tasteful master bedroom, a suburban couple lays comfortably in bed. The wife – JESSICA McCLOUGHAN – is watching How to Get Away With Murder on a large television set mounted to the wall, while the husband – SCOT McCLOUGHAN – is fiddling with his cellphone. SCOT’s phone makes a pinging noise as a text message is received.
JESSICA: [not looking away from the TV] Booty call from that skank over at the Washington Post?
SCOT: [absently] Snyder wants to know if I’ve watched the film on the Clemson kids yet.
JESSICA: Speaking of trash, it’s garbage day tomorrow. Did you put out the bins?
JESSICA: Did you remember to throw out those panties that little hussy from ESPN left under the passenger seat after she “interviewed” you for that He’s Got Wheels segment?
SCOT: [resigned sigh]
JESSICA: I wouldn’t have thought that she could pull off a thong, but…
From outside, there is a loud CRASH, followed by the sound of bottles rattling.
JESSICA: Did you hear that?
SCOT: [infuriated] Fuck! It’s those damned ‘coons again!
JESSICA: [aghast] Honey! I know you’re excited about Trump’s victory, but that doesn’t mean you can just…
There is more noise of someone – or someTHING – outside rummaging through the trash.
SCOT: They’re like the Washington press. Just nagging me, and nagging me, nothing but a bunch of filthy dirty n…
EXT. CURBSIDE – NIGHT
A set of large plastic bins are lined up against the curb of a suburban street. Two of the bins have been overturned, their contents spilling out onto the pavement, and in the dim light three shadowy figures can be distinguished pawing through the rubbish.
WINCHESTER: [holding up three empty longnecks] My goodness. I haven’t seen evidence of such consumption since I visited the sanatorium where Doc Holliday passed his twilight years.
HENDRICK: [reaches over and turns one around so that the O’Doul’s label shows] And yet it appears that temperance has won the day.
XAVIER: [holding his nose] Sadly, its emanations are no less offensive than its more potent counterpart.
WINCHESTER: Speaking of offensive, I’d not had the chance to hear you gentlemen’s thoughts on the state of the Raiders offense.
HENDRICK: I, for one, couldn’t be happier. Under Bill Musgrave’s tenure, the team currently sits in the top five of most offensive statistical categories.
XAVIER: And Derek Carr’s development as a franchise quarterback has continued to the point where he’s routinely included in conversations about the Most Valuable Player award.
HENDRICK: Indeed! And yet despite the ease with which they are able to move the ball vertically, the offense remains balanced. As their recent victory against the Broncos demonstrated, they are fully capable of relying on the run game if such is the best course of action. A great deal of that has to do with the offensive line, which has proven capable of keeping Carr well-protected while still being able to “pound the rock”, as it were.
XAVIER: The loss of blocking tight end Lee Smith due to injury was a blow, but reserve tackle Denver Kirkland has ably stepped into his role as a blocker. A most welcome surprise!
HENDRICK: Speaking of surprises, the play of undrafted free agent Jalen Richard has been something of a revelation, as he has found himself firmly entrenched as part of the Raiders’ rushing attack. His presence, plus that of DeAndre Washington, has allowed Latavius Murray to avoid wearing down from overuse. In addition, his contributions in the return game have been invaluable.
WINCHESTER: He has shown impeccable judgment. [pulls an item out of the pile of rubbish] Say! What’s this?
XAVIER: It appears to be a bicycle chain.
HENDRICK: Splendid! It will come in handy during our pilgrimmage to San Diego.
XAVIER: As far as receivers are concerned, Amari Cooper has been, unsurprisingly, quite proficient and sits at third in the NFL for yardage while correcting the issues he had with drops last season. Michael Crabtree has remained as sure-handed as ever and is tied for fourth in the league in touchdowns. Seth Roberts had continued to make some clutch plays operating out of the slot. One of the biggest deficiencies for the team is the play of their tight ends, which is merely adequate at this point in time. But their offense has consistently demonstrated that it is capable of delivering them from whatever peril their defense leaves them in.
HENDRICK: Ah yes, that defense. While they were viewed as a unit to be reckoned with during the preseason, their performances at the beginning of the season left much to be desired. Their run defense was atrocious, their secondary suffered lapses that led to massive gains for opposing offenses, and their only redeeming feature was their ability to occasionally wrest turnovers from offenses who had been lulled into carelessness by steady, consistent gains. Khalil Mack fell out of favor with the chattering class, and the only way the Raiders kept winning was thanks to weekly bailouts from the offense.
WINCHESTER: But that has changed so much these days.
XAVIER: It certainly has! The emergence of rookies and reserves on the interior line like Darius Latham and Stacy McGee, plus the return to form of Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin has led their pass rush to once again to be an intimidating prospect. Free agent addition Sean Smith, after being benched in the first game, has fought back and regained his position as one of the league’s top cornerbacks, and David Amerson, Reggie Nelson, and first-round draft pick Karl Joseph have begun to truly function as a unit. It all finally came together in the Denver game.
HENDRICK: Strangely, the most valuable addition to the defense has been Redskins castoff Perry Riley, a middle linebacker who the team desperately grabbed after Ben Heeney first failed due to incompetence, and then injury. He’s taken over as the signal-caller for the defense, and has brought a cohesiveness to the unit that was more shocking than Eustace Von Brackenberg’s announcement at the Crofton Club’s Autumnal Cotillion. An amazing find by Reggie McKenzie.
WINCHESTER: Which of course is why we are here.
XAVIER: [pulling a scrap of paper from the pile of rubbish] Hmm. Here might be something. Carlos Fields? Says here he’s a linebacker.
WINCHESTER: Probably not much of a need at this point. Assuming Aldon Smith is reinstated in a few days.
HENDRICK: Gentlemen, it may be time to admit that this well has perhaps gone dry.
WINCHESTER: It would be greedy to ask for much more. Two potential Pro Bowl players in Perry Riley and David Amerson left curbside is as much as any man could wish for.
XAVIER: Let’s hope our beloved Raiders are able to remain healthy down the stretch. How do you see our fellows finishing the season?
HENDRICK: To be honest, I haven’t seen anything that makes me expect the team’s performance to fall off during the second half of the season. The team has remained relatively healthy, save for the rotating cast of maulers filling in the left tackle position. If the defense’s can maintain their upward trajectory, I see the Raiders finishing at 12-4 and claiming the division.
WINCHESTER: I’m afraid my own optimism is slightly tempered. The team will be playing their three final divisional games on the road. I’m preparing myself for the Raiders to finish at 10-6 and secure a wild-card berth along with the Broncos, with the Chiefs winning the AFC West after sweeping us.
Suddenly, the porch light turns on.
SCOT McCLOUGHAN emerges from the house wearing a bathrobe and brandishing a broom.
SCOT: Hey! You! Get away from there!
XAVIER: You’ll wake the neighbors!
SCOT: [more exasperated than enraged] Get off my lawn!
WINCHESTER: This lawn…it’s…different than what we have in California. It’s not grass.
SCOT: [now just confused] What? No, it’s not. It’s thyme.
HENDRICK: Excuse me?
XAVIER: An herb garden for a lawn? How curious!
SCOT: What the hell are you hoodlums doing to my garbage?
WINCHESTER: Oh, that mid-Atlantic accent is so quaint. How do you pronounce that word again?
WINCHESTER: No, no, the plant.
WINCHESTER: [emphasizing the second syllable] Gar-baaaage?
WINCHESTER: [pronouncing the silent “h”] And Thhh-yme?
SCOT: Thyme! What the hell is wrong with you weirdos? [pointing alternately down at the pile of rubbish and the lawn] Garbage! Thyme! [points at the trio] Trespassers. Now would you please…
— [universe flies open] —
BLAKE BORTLES: Oh, hey guys. What’s going on?