They are jv district champions, having curb-stomped Victoria 35-14 in the final game of the regular season. The young man played tight end in their wing T offense and safety in their 4-4 defense. He had a dozen tackles, a game full of blocking, and a punt return for a touchdown. To celebrate, Terry, Ted, Felix, and the young man are at Golden Corral.
They have each finished their first plate, gotten their second plate, and are settling in.
“So get a load of this,” Ted says. “Gordo takes the punt return to the house, and I’m there at the sideline to celebrate with him, and what does Gordo do?”
“What?” says Terry. Terry is a 6’4″ white guy with immense thighs, a casual attitude in school, and a nasty attitude on the field.
“Go on, Gordo,” Ted says. “Tell him.”
“What do you mean?” the young man says.
“What did you say to Chumbley?” Ted says.
“Oh that,” the young man says. “I brought him the ball and told him I was sorry for missing it.”
Coach Chumbley had been a Marine and coached like a drill sergeant.
“Why’d you say you were sorry?” Felix says.
“Dude, I misjudged the punt and let it bounce. Chumbley gets pissed if you miss it. And then he don’t want you to touch it if you miss it in case you fumble. But it bounced right up to me, so I just grabbed and ran like hell.”
“Geez, Laws,” says Terry. “You took it to the house. You don’t apologize for that.”
“All I could think to do was apologize for missing it. I was sure he was gonna rip my ass.”
“What’d he say?” says Terry.
The young man makes Chumbley’s gravelly sounding voice. “Holy shit, Laws. Never seen you run like that. Cops after you to pay alimony to the unwed mother of your child?“
The guys all break up laughing. “And that’s Chumbley for you,” says Ted.
They all have fried chicken wings and are pounding them down, when Terry suddenly says, “No fucking way.”
“What?” says the young man.
“Look over there,” says Terry, pointing toward the entrance and the cash register.
“Some black dudes. So what?” says the young man. “Dude, it’s not cool if you’re making fun of the little person with them.”
“Oh, come on, man. You do not understand the gravity of this situation. Felix, you know who that is, right?”
“Yup,” says Felix.
“You’ll go over with me, won’t you, Felix?”
“Of course, man.”
“What are you talking about?” the young man says.
Terry looks at him. “This is gonna change my life, man. That’s Bushwick Bill and the Geto Boys, and I can’t believe you don’t know that.”
“Oh,” says the young man. “Who’s that?”
Terry stands up. “Just shut the fuck up and come with me, Laws. This will change your life.”
They all get up and start to walk over. And now it’s a huge crowd of black guys in leather jackets by the door.
“Don’t do nothin sudden,” Terry says. “Half those guys are packing.”
“Seriously?” says the young man.
“Dude, I fucking told you. It’s Bushwick Bill!”
They approach cautiously, and the man hangs back, feeling awkward. Terry leads the way.
Bill is standing with Scarface, hands in his pockets.
“Hey, uh, yo, Sir. Uh, Bill?” says Terry.
“What up, Cuz?” says Bill. “You a fan?”
“Gotta be your biggest,” says Terry.
“I’d say so,” says Bill, who is 3’8″. “You about the biggest muthafucka I seen up close. Ain’t that right, Willie?”
Willie D shrugs. “Everyone look big to you, Bill.”
“Man, shut the fuck up,” says Bill. He looks back at Terry.
Terry says, “Uh, these are my friends. We play football. This is Felix. Ted. Gordon. Don’t pay no attention to Gordon. He’s quiet and shy and don’t know nothin.”
Bill shakes hands with and fist bumps each guy. “Sup, Gordon?” he says.
“Hey,” says the young man.
“Why you hang with a big ass bitch that rag you like that?” says Bill with a smile.
“Ah, he’s okay. Plus he blocks good.”
“Y’all’s team is good?” Bill says.
“Just won the district championship,” says Ted.
“Daaaammmmnn,” says Bill. “This a good night for y’all then. That’s why you wasn’t at the concert.”
“Right,” says Terry. “But please, come back again. I’ll go. I’ll be right down near the stage.”
“That’s good, man,” says Bill. “I wasn’t sure if we’d come back to Corpus. Kinda outta the way, you know. But since you said so and you the biggest fan I ever seen, maybe we will.”
Scarface motions with his head. “I’m starvin, Bill.”
“Yeah, cool,” says Bill. “All right, y’all. I’m fixin to eat.”
Terry suddenly pulls off his Carroll Tiger Football cap. “Oh, before we go, can you sign my hat?”
Bill looks at it. “Man, I don’t wanna sign yo sweaty stanky ass hat.” Terry’s face falls. “Just playin, man. Get me a pen.”
They grab a pen from a waitress at the front desk. Bill signs the bill of the cap. “There you go, big ass fan.”
Terry laughs. “I’m retiring this hat effective immediately.”
“Cool,” says Bill. “Y’all take it easy.”
They step past the entourage and into the humid night air.
“No fucking way,” says Terry. “This is the best day of my life.”
The young man laughs.