The Dak Prescott Summer of Maturity: Chapter 2


CAM NEWTON, ELI MANNING, DOUG MARTIN, and ANTONIO BROWN stand glumly in front of the wreckage of a black pickup truck.

CAM: Okay, so maybe we can’t drive…

ANTONIO: Maybe we can call an Uber?

CAM: None of those asshole drivers will accept a pickup from me.  I think they all mistake me for Jameis Winston.

ELI: Looks like we’re gonna have to hoof it after all.

DOUG: Man, that’s gonna take all day.  Maybe even all night.

CAM: Eli, are your folks gonna notice that you’re gone? Maybe you should give your mom a call so she doesn’t worry.

NARRATOR [voiceover]: I knew that all Cam was trying to do was keep me out of trouble, but his words stung.  That summer at home, I had become the invisible boy.

Fade to ELI’s house, where we see ELI leaning out a window overlooking the back yard.  His parents OLIVIA MANNING and ARCHIE MANNING are engaged wordlessly in menial tasks. 

ELI: Mom? Do you know where I can find a jersey that could pass as game-worn?

OLIVIA: [ignores ELI]

ELI: Mom!

OLIVIA: [continues folding laundry with a robotic expression on her face]

After a long, portentous silence, ARCHIE looks up.

ARCHIE: There’s one in Peyton’s room.

ELI: Oh.

NARRATOR: In 2016, my brother Peyton had announced his retirement from the National Football League.  Shortly thereafter, he’d been gunned down while working for a corporate-owned police force in the city of Detroit.  Two years had passed, but my parents still hadn’t been able to put the pieces back together again*.

The camera follows ELI into PEYTON’s room, and looks around from his point of view.  We see a series of trophies and pennants from the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, and a shelf featuring various mementos of Peyton’s time playing for the University of Tennessee. 

ARCHIE: [standing in the doorway] You found it.

ELI: [startled] Huh?

ARCHIE: You found it. A jersey.

ELI: Yeah.

ELI passes ARCHIE and walks down the hallway. ARCHIE closes the door to PEYTON’s room behind him. 

ARCHIE: Why can’t you put up numbers like Peyton’s?

ELI: Dad, they’re okay.

ARCHIE: They’re a disgrace. You’re this millennium’s answer to Jim Plunkett.

ELI: I made the big throws when it counted, Dad. I have as many rings as Peyton did.

ARCHIE: He had more wins in the playoffs than you.

ELI: Sure. And three times as many losses.  He didn’t even had a winning record in the playoffs until he hitched a ride with Von Miller and that Denver defense.

ARCHIE: Yeah, but…

This goes on for a while.

ELI: …and without my last-minute heroics Tom Brady has seven Super Bowl wins, and an undefeated season…

Fade back to an exterior shot of a set of train tracks, joining the boys mid-conversation as they approach a short trestle bridge. 

CAM: …and what do you need a comb for anyways, Doug? You don’t even have any hair.

DOUG: I just thought Antonio here could use it, in case we get on TV.

ANTONIO: [fakes throwing a punch at DOUG]

DOUG: [flinches]

ANTONIO: Two for flinching. [punches DOUG’s shoulder twice]

CAM, who is leading the four, stops right before the bridge. The rest follow suit.

ANTONIO: [softly] How far do you think it’s going to be?

CAM: If we follow the tracks all the way to Fair Lawn, it’s gonna be about twenty miles.  Sound about right to you, Eli?

ELI: Yeah.  Yeah, it might even be thirty.

DOUG: Gee, maybe we should just hitchhike.

ELI: No way.  I’m in enough trouble already.  If my mom finds out I’ve been taking rides from strangers I’ll get the hiding of a lifetime.

CAM resumes walking, as do the rest.  They have a long way to go.

— [to be continued] —


*The pieces of Peyton Manning were, in fact, eventually put back together by scientists in the Omni Consumer Products cybernetic research division.


Law-abiding Raiders fan, pet owner, Los Angeles resident.
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Spanky Datass
Spanky Datass

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Low Commander of the Super Soldiers


Low Commander of the Super Soldiers

The teabag trophy is the best part of this already FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC piece.

Mr. Ayo
Mr. Ayo

Love the tea bag


I call bullshit. Eli is only allowed to hang around so he can get a cab or Uber for the rest of the crew.


The Jim Plunkett reference is gold.