SCENE: Two large(ish) men speak in hushed tones as the walk the rough and tumble streets of Lake Forest, Illinois. They appear prepared for a long journey, massive backpacks hugging their muscular bodies. Both carry flashlights despite the sun beaming down from its peak height. And on their hips are metal snares that appear to have a singular purpose. For most of the the walk, they move forward in silence. Every once in a while, they exchange words, parsimoniously, like an old window clinging to her dower. The younger man, bulkier than the other but seemingly closer to the ground, with wisps of facial hair emerging from his chin, stretches to be able to hear the older man, soft-spoken, nearly translucent, and with a neck reaching skyward.
WHAT DID YOU SAY, MIKE?
Shhh, keep it down, man. I said we have to be very quiet.
MITCH: I don’t have to listen to you just because you’re ahead of me on the depth chart. Do I?
MIKE: You’re just lucky Sanchez is hurt or you’d have to listen to him, too.
MITCH: Nacho should have gone to North Carolina like me. They teach good stuff he’d be interested in down there.
MIKE: Just shut up, rook. We have a long way to go.
MITCH: Where are we going again?
MIKE: :sigh: It can’t be again if I haven’t told you once.
MITCH: Oh, I get it. [pause] So where are we going?
MIKE: We’re going on a journey. One where we have to leave the comforts of home, traverse wilderness and likely some body or bodies of water, face our fears, maybe come to peace with the sins of our fathers, learn a great truth, and return home heroes.
MITCH: :stares blankly:
MIKE: We’re out to figure out who the true face of the franchise is. We have to go see someone in the woods.
MITCH: Like the Huntsman? I’m scared of the Huntsman, both the one in the movies and the former Governor of Utah.
MIKE: [to self] Dear Lord, I’m going to end my career holding a clipboard behind an absolute moron. [aloud] Look, kid, legend has it there is a cave dweller somewhere out here who can reveal great truths. It has to be true because it’s a legend that survived John Shoop.
MITCH: Ok, well, I’m still glad we brought the bear traps anyway.
MIKE: Good thing we got them cheap from Green Bay’s equipment manager once he realized they were literal. Anyway, we’re more likely to catch a fat guy complaining that the team got rid of Patrick Mannelly than you are to see an actual bear, but whatever makes you happy.
MITCH: I get happy when I throw a touch down pass. I got to be happy last year almost three times as often as I had the previous two years combined. Do you think I’ll get to be happy this year?
MIKE: Hopefully not, Butters, but that’s what we’re trying to find out. I just hope the laws of the jungle don’t mean November 19th is my day to be prey.
MITCH: Hey, what’s that? :points to a cave opening a short jaunt away:
MIKE: Hopefully that’s our answer.
Suddenly there’s a bolt of man-free lightning and the rumble of thunder. Trubisky begins to quake like a Tarheel who just found out his course curriculum has been replaced with actual classes. Glennon pulls them forward toward the cave. As they get close, they can see a nearly imperceptible “C” above the entrance to the cave, you know, like the University of Chicago’s “C” except maybe it would look better in orange. Meanwhile, the younger adventurer begins to quietly whimper.
MIKE: Stop being a big baby, you big baby.
MITCH: I can’t believe you made me leave the children’s hospital for this. And they even told me I could do the next operation!
MIKE: That was the Milton Bradley Operation, not an actual operation.
MITCH: Actually Operation is a Hasbro game now. In fact, it was invented by a University of Illinois student in 1964, and he sold it to Milton Bradley for $500 and a job once he graduated. Hasbro took over Milton Bradley in 1984, though they still used the brand name until the aughts. Funny story, did you know that when the inventor of operation needed money for, well, an operation, Hasbro bought his prototype from him so he could raise the dough? Isn’t that swell?
MIKE: :rubs temples: [to self] Kid can barely read and yet he has that nugget filed away.
MITCH: Hey, want to know what else I know about the University of Illinois? It’s real important to Bears’ history, and I figure they might ask us stuff like when Frats make pledges memorize stuff…hey, what’s that?
/CAVE DOOR FLIES OPEN
WHO DARES DISTURB MY HIBERNATION?
MIKE: Sorry to wake you, Mrs. McCaskey. We didn’t realize you were the wise sage in the cave.
VHM: Yes, I spend my offseasons here, coming out only when there is a favorable news story about me to read. I’ve been in here a while.
MIKE: I almost feel silly asking you this, as I can’t see how you’d be unbiased. But here goes: who is the true face of the Bears?
VHM: And you think it’s one of you two dicktwits? Your face makes pregnant women miscarry and carnivorous beasts drool, while his makes me want to watch Idiocracy on loop. Even John Woo couldn’t make one of your faces stick.
Trubisky starts to cry again; Glennon, too, is saddened, but he wears it with the melancholy of a man who has stared MRSA in the face and lived to leave Tampa.
MIKE: So then who is the face of the franchise?
“THERE IS ONLY ONE TRUE FACE OF THE BEARS” booms a voice out of sight, from deep, deep inside the cave.
/CAVE DOOR FLIES OPEN AGAIN
What? You think I only go deep in young caves? Once you get through the cobwebs, there’s some hot action under there.
VHM: That’s right, boys. Ole Ginny’s ‘gina still has needs. And until one of you plays somewhere north of Bill Wade on the Henry Burris to Sid Luckman scale, Sexy Rexy is still the face, cock, and balls of the franchise. Now get the fuck out of here so he can resume going deep.