[Exterior, Day, A Highway Rest Area Somewhere in Virginia]
It is a cold, crisp autumn day. tWBS sits huddled on a bench, shivering against a stiff wind, waiting patiently for…. something.
His phone begins to ring.
tWBS: Ah dammit.
tWBS fumbles into his pocket with fingers which are stiff and numbed from the cold. He awkwardly tries to fish out his phone. He drops it twice before finally getting it secured in his grasp and answering.
tWBS (trying to sound cool in spite of his chattering teeth): Helloooooooo…go for t-t-t-t-tWBS.
DTZM: Heyyyyy, there’s our guy!!! We haven’t heard anything from you in a few of days. How ya doing?
tWBS: F-f-f-f-f-fine. Why d-d-d-do you ask?
DTZM and RTD share a dismayed glance.
DTZM (faking enthusiasm badly): Well great then. That’s great.
RTD (faking enthusiasm even worse): Yep, reeeeally great.
DTZM: Couldn’t be greater, right? Sooooo are you on schedule for making Baltimore on time then?
tWBS: N-n-n-not exactly.
DTZM and RTD share another dismayed glance.
RTD: Lemme guess. Another party that went on for days?
tWBS: N-n-n-not exactly.
DTZM: So then, where are you?
tWBS: Ummmmmmmm….good question. Somewhere in the armpit of southern V-v-v-v-virginia. I think.
RTD: You OK there, babe? You sound cold. Did the heat break in Dave or what?
tWBS: N-n-n-not that I know of. I’ll ask him if I ever see him again th-th-though.
DTZM and RTD share yet another dismayed glance.
DTZM: We don’t understand. What happened?
tWBS (now very embarrassed on top of freezing his ass off): THE STRIPPER STOLE D-D-D-D-DAVE, OK?!?!?!?
DTZM and RTD (in unison): WHAT??????????
tWBS: Or maybe D-d-d-dave stole the stripper. I wouldn’t p-p-put it past him. I’m really not sure, it all happened so f-f-fast. We were w-w-w-working our way up the coast, hitting the b-b-beaches along the way. Then it got c-c-cold so I figured we might as well go ahead and hit B-b-baltimore the next day and chill out there for a coupla days. I guess she didn’t like that p-p-plan. The next morning, I w-w-woke up just in t-t-time to see Dave tearing out of the hotel p-p-p-parking lot with the stripper b-b-behind the wheel.
RTD (giggling): Well you can’t really blame her, can you?.
DTZM (giggling harder): Right? Can’t blame her at all. I mean it IS Baltimore after all.
tWBS: F-f-f-fuck you b-b-both. I’ve been hitchhiking for t-t-two days, I’m f-f-freezing my ass off, and I’m n-n-not in the m-m-mood
DTZM: Oh relax. We’re just messing with ya.
RTD: Just messing with ya, babe.
DTZM: We’ll call and have a car come get you and take you to Baltimore, then we’ll file a report about Dave. Cool?
tWBS: No n-n-need. D-d-dave will come back eventually. And I’ve already c-c-called someone. He should be here any t-t-time now and then…..
Just then a car comes roaring into the rest area and skids to a stop in front of the bench on which tWBS still sits huddled with his phone wedged between his ear and shoulder, because he has already jammed both hands back in his pockets for warmth.
The driver rolls down his window and begins to shout.
Driver: Hey you fucking shitdick!!! I’ve been to every goddamned rest area up and down I-95 looking for you!!! Get your fucking ass in this goddamned car right fucking now and let’s get the fuck out of here!!!
tWBS stands up to head to the car. He drops his phone again because he forgets to take his hands out of his pockets.
tWBS (picking up phone): Sorry about that g-g-guys. B-b-but my ride is here. We’re c-c-cool now.
DTZM: Holy crap, is that who I think it is?
RTD: Yeah, is that…..?
tWBS (climbing into car): Why d-d-don’t you ask him yourselves? (taps phone) … You’re on speaker now.
DTZM and RTD look at each other and shrug.
RTD: Hey DTZM, you know I’ve heard recently that Bob Irsay was really a great guy and wanted to do right by the Colts and Baltimore, but….
Driver (in the general direction of tWBS’ phone): HEY FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT MOTHERFUCKER!!!! I WILL REACH DOWN YOUR THROAT AND PULL YOUR ASSHOLE UP THRU IT AND TURN YOU FUCKING INSIDE FUCKING OUT AND THEN PISS ON YOUR CORPSE YOU GODDAMN SHITMONKEY!!!!!!
DTZM (smiling, to RTD): Yep, it’s Fozz!!!!!!
JJ Fozz peels out and tears out of the rest area and onto the highway.
tWBS (into phone): OK guys, I’m mobile again. I’ll let you know when we’re in Baltimore and have something.
DTZM: Sounds good.
RTD (to DTZM while picking up the TV remote): Soooooo….CNN again?
Fozz drives along at a rather fast pace, northbound on I-95 headed for Baltimore. tWBS warms up quickly, and soon enough drifts off into a blissful slumber in the passenger seat.
[Interior, Fozz’s Car, about an hour later]
Fozz: Hey!!! Wake up asshole.
tWBS: Huh, whuh?
Fozz: I said wake the fuck up. I didn’t drive all over Virginia looking for you just so you could sleep.
tWBS (half asleep): But…I’m tired…and cold.
Fozz: Ah bullshit. You’re not cold anymore.
tWBS (looking out window): Where are we? How long was I asleep?
Fozz: About an hour. We just passed Richmond. Coupla more hours and we’ll be home. So tell me then, why the fuck did I have to drive all the way down here? How the hell did you wind up hitchhiking up I-95?
tWBS: It’s a long story.
Fozz: So tell it then. We’ve got the fucking time, don’tcha think?
tWBS: *sigh* Fine. I was driving north and got sidetracked at a party in Fort Lauderdale. One of the girls working the party needed a ride to Tampa, then after that…
Fozz: Got it. Say no more.
tWBS: Huh? I haven’t even told you what happened yet.
Fozz: Look asshole, I might be a hothead sometimes, but I’m not stupid. Hooker bitch stole your truck, right?
tWBS: First, she’s not a hooker. She’s a stripper.
Fozz: It’s cute that you think that even fucking matters at this point. That’s really adorable of you, Snowflaek.
tWBS: Fuck you.
Fozz (laughing): No fucking thanks. Besides, didn’t you get enough of that already. First you fucked her. Then she fucked you. Real fucking badly.
tWBS: Actually, we never did….
Fozz: You didn’t even bang her????? Holy fuck, man!! You really are a dumbass then??? It’s not just an undeserved reputation?
tWBS: Yes; and no, it’s not undeserved. Obviously.
Fozz: So then what the hell are we doing?
tWBS: I need to get to Baltimore and get some inside info for the Ravens’ bye week report, if possible. Talk to players. Or coaches. Whatever.
Fozz: And just how did you plan on doing that?
tWBS: I’ve got access now. (reaching into pocket) … See? The guys sent me this…..
Fozz (laughing): Oh Jeebus. You’re fucking dumber than I thought…
Fozz: SMGDH…never mind. But obviously you’re going to need my help. Also, this gives me an idea. Go ahead and go back to sleep, fucktard. You’re gonna need the rest.
Within only seconds, tWBS is once again asleep. Fozz picks up his phone and begins making calls.
[Interior, Sleazy Hollywood Office, Day]
RTD: Ummmmm…..left hand red.
RTD: Ha!!!!! I win again!!!! That’s three in a row!!!
DTZM: You mean you cheated again. I saw the spinner. It did NOT land on left hand red.
RTD: It did too!!!! You’re just a sore loser.
DTZM: No it didn’t. It was clearly…. (looking up at TV which is still tuned to CNN) … Uh ohhhhh.
DTZM unmutes the TV…
…Repeating our top story now, Joe Flacco, the Super Bowl MVP quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, has apparently been kidnapped from the Ravens’ practice facility in broad daylight. The only evidence found at the scene was this….
It is believed the perpetrators used this to lure Flacco to an unsecured area, at which point the abduction occurred. The Flacco family, the Ravens and local authorities are asking anyone with any information to please come forward and….
DTZM: Ummmmmm, quick question: Are our passports up to date?
tWBS awakens some time later, still in the passenger seat of JJ Fozz’s car. The car is parked and he is alone inside.
tWBS (disoriented): Fozz? Fozz?
tWBS looks outside and sees that they are parked alongside what appears to be a series of deserted industrial buildings on Baltimore’s inner harbor.
tWBS (getting out of the car now): FOZZ????????
There is no answer. tWBS then hears loud music coming from one of the buildings nearby, and follows the sounds.
Slowly and quietly, tWBS opens the big access door just a crack and peeks inside. He sees Fozz dancing. Sort of….
tWBS (whispering to himself): What in the righteous fuck?
tWBS opens the door further and walks inside.
tWBS (giggling now): Fozz? What the hell are you.. (stops giggling abruptly) …ohhhhhh shit.
When tWBS sees the other man in the room, he freezes….
tWBS: Ummmmm….Fozz? You OK there, buddy?
Fozz: Heyyyyy!!! Look Joe….he’s awake finally. Now we can get started.
Joe Flacco: Started with what?
tWBS: Yeah, that’s kinda my question too if I’m being honest. Also…hi Joe.
JF: Yeah, hi. Whatever. Do you know this crazy asshole?
tWBS: I’m going to opt to not answer that just yet if it’s all the same to you.
Fozz: Oh relax. Both of you. I just want to talk to him.
tWBS: Ummmmm, OK. Then what’s with the strait razor?
Fozz: I needed a shave?
tWBS: Annnnnd….the ear?
Fozz: Oh, I just found that over in the corner. This is Baltimore, remember?
tWBS’ phone begins to ring. He taps it to speakerphone and answers.
DTZM: What in the righteous fuck is going on?
tWBS: Yeah, I had the same question.
tWBS: It seems we’ve got a situation here.
DTZM and RTD in unison: Yeah, no shit.
JF: Hey, who is that? Who are those guys? Those voices sound familiar.
tWBS: Well that was quick. (to Fozz) … Soooo…just talking?
Fozz: Just talking.
tWBS: OK then, go ahead. Imma make a quick call if that’s cool.
Fozz: HEY, NO COPS!!!!
tWBS (walking outside): Don’t worry. I’m not that stupid.
Fozz: OK then Mr. Elite, let’s start with an easy one. Why do you suck so fucking much?
Baltimore Ravens at the Bye
The Ravens really haven’t been very good more often than not this season. And yet they are still poised to nab a wildcard spot if they can tighten up and right the ship even slightly. The schedule is favorable if they can plug some holes.
Five things we learned from the Ravens’ first half of the season (BaltimoreSun.com)
The team’s offensive plans swing wildly between downfield aggression and numbing conservatism. How much of that is Mornhinweg and how much is Flacco checking down to an underneath throw at the first sign of pressure? Everyone seems to agree the offense is better when the design is bolder, so why does that spirit come and go?
If you’re judging Flacco against the true stars at the position—Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, etc.—you’re always going to be disappointed. He’s not the guy to lift an undermanned offense to the promise land. But think back to that 2014 season, when the Ravens had a sound running game, a top offensive coordinator in Gary Kubiak and a stable receiving corps led by Steve Smith Sr. and Torrey Smith. Flacco was put in a position to succeed that year, and he held up his end.
Could he still be that player in the right setting? Probably, but we’re unlikely to find out this season.
In my mind, even that assessment is a bit over complimentary of Flacco, but it’s at least in the realm of realism.
They’ve made the playoffs just once since then, and they’re struggling to survive on the edge of the wild-card race this season. Ozzie Newsome’s recent drafts have not sufficiently restocked the roster, especially on offense. Doubts about Flacco dominate fan conversation. Blocks of seats have remained empty at recent home games.
To the world outside Baltimore, the Ravens are another largely faceless NFL mediocrity. To the people in town, they’re a ship adrift.
That would all seem to suggest foundational changes are looming if they don’t rally to make the playoffs or at least post a winning record. But it’s not at all clear owner Steve Bisciotti shares that outlook.
Now THAT’S a realistic assessment.
Baltimore fans had become somewhat spoiled. They are not at all happy with how this team has performed, and they all have an opinion as to why. I suspect changes will be in the offing even if the Ravens do manage to back into the playoffs.
And those changes do need to come. This is not a good team and backing into the playoffs on a weak schedule should not be viewed as improvement, even if it does happen.
And as I already implied, even sitting currently at 4-5, with the remaining schedule they face, I’d have to surmise that the Ravens’ have the inside track on that last wildcard spot in the AFC.
Ravens’ Remaining Schedule…
An hour later, tWBS returns.
Fozz: OK fine then Joe, have it your way. But I’ll tell you what. If you can throw this football thru that great big door… waaaay over there, on the first try, we’ll let you go.
Joe Flacco takes the ball and heaves it. It sails true and far, and is headed straight for the open door, when a familiar face steps in and catches it.
Familiar Face: Intercepted again, Joe. But you’re used to that by now I guess. Come on, man. I’m taking you home.
Fozz: The fuck you are.
tWBS: Fozz, we have to let him go. And this is the only way unless we want to serve time. It’s all arranged, we can walk away.
Fozz: But why this fucking guy? Why?
tWBS (to Fozz): Plausible deniability. Dude knows how to lie and keep his mouth shut at the same time. That’s a skill set we need right now. (to Familiar Face) … We good here then?
Familiar Face (to tWBS): Yeah man, I got you. No worries. Go on, get outta here. (to Joe Flacco) … Let’s go Joe.
JF: Can we stop for ice cream on the way home? I never got my ice cream before.
Familiar Face: Sure man, whatever you want.
[Interior, Sleazy Hollywood Office]
DTZM and RTD are packing hurriedly.
DTZM: Hurry the hell up man, we need to be on that flight before this shit blows back on us. I knew screwing around with tWBS would eventually come back to haunt us. Dude’s insane.
RTD: I’m going as fast as I can. Hey, are we taking Twister with us, or what?
DTZM: Would you just hurry the hell up!!!!
On the TV, there is suddenly breaking news….
…In what’s being called an intervention from God, we’re learning now that Joe Flacco has been found. He is safe and will be back with family very soon. We now go live to the press briefing, where today’s hero…
…is about to say a few words.
Ray Lewis: Joe has had a pretty tough day. Scary stuff. So we’re not going to be taking questions. But I just wanted to tell everyone how amazing it feels to be so in touch with the Man upstairs that he guided me to where Joe was being held. By the time I arrived, the kidnappers had obviously already gotten spooked and fled, and Joe says he never saw their faces. Right Joe?
Joe Flacco (eating Vanilla ice cream): Yup. Never saw a thing. (takes another big bite then grabs his forehead) … Owwwwww, brain freeeeeeze!!!!!
Ray Lewis: That’s right buddy, you enjoy that. You’ve earned it.
Reporter: Just one question please, Ray?
Ray Lewis: Sure, go ahead.
Reporter: How does it feel to be a hero.
Ray Lewis: Oh you know, same as every other time…
…But like I said, the real hero here was God. Without Him in my life….
DTZM turns off the TV.
RTD: Holy shit. How the hell did tWBS get outta that one?
DTZM: Dude’s got teflon nuts I guess. At least we don’t have to leave now.
RTD: True. Hey, one more game of Twister then?
DTZM: Hells yeah!!!!
….To Be Concluded