Chapter 18: Hell Hath No Fury
Caution: This Coming of Age Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including mt/ft, mt/Fa, Humor, Sports, School, Slow,
Desc: Coming of Age Sex Story: Chapter 18: Hell Hath No Fury - David's Junior Year is beginning with a sharp edge to it. His best friend is dead. The girl he'd thought he would spend the rest of his life with is now lost to him as well. He's facing new challenges and pressures due to his rapidly increasing fame. He doesn't just want to survive - he wants to excel. He'll have to reach deep inside himself and find the inner strength and toughness, the resolve and focus, to achieve his dreams. The continuation of the award winning Stupid Boy saga.
Friday October 30
I’d been ordered to get dressed up today for the meeting with Pam to discuss the care of our child. Mom drove, but my dad couldn’t come because he had to work. We went directly to Ms. Dixon’s temporary office she’d rented ‘for the duration’.
“I wanted to talk to you before we meet with the other side this morning,” Ms. Dixon said after we’d settled in. “I want you to know what you’ll be up against. You could be looking at a quarter of your future income to go towards child support. In your case that could be substantial. Other options would be to make a lump sum payment, or a series of payments.”
“With him paying that kind of money, he should have full access to see his child,” Mom said.
“That’s a separate issue. There’s no guarantee David will have visitation rights. Part of the reason I believe they made the abuse and rape allegations in the first place was to put a cloud over his eventual access to see his child. Even a charge which was later found to be false could have done some real damage to David’s chances of being granted access. Don’t be surprised if they try to use visitation as a lever to pry more money out of you,” Ms. Dixon said.
“I still think that if Pam and I could sit down and talk, this whole thing could be resolved in a short time,” I said.
“I’ll tell you one thing, I’ll not put up with any games. I will see my grandbaby,” Mom said.
“That is my goal. We’ll work towards getting David liberal visitation rights and keeping the child support to a reasonable level,” Ms. Dixon said.
I couldn’t believe how different my life was from my brother’s. When Angie became pregnant her parents weren’t happy, but there was never a bunch of lawyers involved. This had started to get out of hand.
“Let me explain the process,” Ms. Dixon continued. “We’re meeting today to see if we can come to some kind of agreement. If this falls apart, the other side will have to prove paternity. I know you’ve made several statements that you think you’re the father based on statements from the mother. Paternity can be proven in a few different ways. The first is that you can sign a form called an Acknowledgment of Paternity. Basically, it says that you agree that you’re the father. You and Pam will sign it and have it notarized, and we’ll file it with the state. When the baby’s born, you’ll be listed as the father on the birth certificate.
“The second method is you voluntarily have DNA testing done. Both parents and the child will submit samples, normally a simple cheek-swab. This must be done after the baby’s born. If the results come back that David’s the father, it will be made official. If they come back as inconclusive or negative, David could still become the legal father by using the first method.
“The third method is through court-ordered DNA testing. If you defy the court order there can be consequences. Worst-case scenario is you would be found to be the father anyway, and you could do some jail time.
“Quite frankly, if this attempt at negotiation doesn’t work out, I would suggest that we get our family law practice involved. They will most definitely opt for option three because of the money involved. There will be a lot of fighting, you’ll end up in family court, and the net result will be that you’ll have to pay twenty to twenty-five percent of your income towards child support. I know that’s not what you want to do, so we have a big incentive to make this go away, and fast.
“The unfortunate thing is they know this. If I read them correctly, they’re out for their pound of flesh, and the meeting today will be to provoke you into doing something rash. So keep your cool,” Ms. Dixon said.
“From what you’ve said, I shouldn’t sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity. Will my public statements hurt me?” I asked.
“I’m glad you figured that out. I was dreading having to talk you into not just admitting you’re the father,” Ms. Dixon said.
“I’ve always qualified that with if Pam told me I was, I would accept her word. She hasn’t even talked to me yet,” I said.
“I suspect they think you’ll just roll over and take whatever they have planned. We need the paternity to be in question to give us some leverage. You saying it doesn’t make it so. It has to be proven. They’ll push you to sign the acknowledgment. Once that’s done they’ll have you backed into a corner, and will begin to work you over to up the support with the threat of never seeing your child,” Ms. Dixon said.
Mom and I looked at each other and had grim expressions on our faces.
“I have something else I need to talk to you about,” Ms. Dixon said. “I had a long conversation with Detective Kitchens. He said that he suspects that Pam’s father is the one who struck her. During the interviews, she was always in the presence of Mr. Fox, and she acted scared. He said that was the main reason he didn’t just arrest you on Monday. He felt she was being coerced.
“Detective Kitchens also confirmed that neither the DA’s nor his office leaked any information to the press. He talked to some people he knows, and they told him that everything came from Mr. Fox. Of course, I think we can safely assume that Cal Bell was behind it all. When I asked Detective Kitchens about that, he agreed. He said that during his dealings with Mr. Fox he didn’t think he had the smarts to pull all this off.
“From what he told me I’m concerned about Pam. Have you ever seen any evidence of abuse?” Ms. Dixon asked.
“No, but when she gets scared, she freezes up,” I said.
I then explained what happened when the fraternity guy had made unwanted advances on her. Lacy, Pam’s mom, had told me she got that way under stress.
“That might be a sign of abuse,” Mom said.
We spent a few more minutes discussing strategy, and then it was time for the meeting.
When we got to the conference room, we found Mr. Fox and my other lawyers: Don Rigby, Roy Thompson, Tom and Kendal. After we sat down, Don Rigby began to speak.
“Rigby, Thompson and Associates values both Cal Bell as one of our associates, and David as our client. Now that the ugliness of the criminal charges is over with, we would urge a quick and quiet resolution. We’ll do whatever we can to help both sides find common ground and reach a fair settlement.”
“That’s nice,” Mom said. “Where’s Pam?”
Mr. Fox gave everyone a feral grin. I could feel my mom about to tell him off. I then remembered that Ms. Dixon said I couldn’t do anything to jeopardize our case by doing something rash, but she didn’t say my mom couldn’t. I put my hand on my mom’s arm, against my better judgment.
“Miss Bell had school today. This meeting is just to set some ground rules and to schedule the next meeting,” Mr. Fox said.
“Silly me. Here I thought we were going to actually negotiate in good faith,” Ms. Dixon said.
“Now, we don’t need to get off on the wrong foot,” Mr. Rigby said. “Cal assured me we’d be discussing a resolution to this today. What’s changed?”
“We’re coming into this negotiation lacking some crucial information. The first is that David has stated he is the father of the child. I would like to get him to confirm that in writing,” Mr. Fox said, and he pulled out the form from his briefcase.
He made a show of taking a look at it, and then nodded and pushed it front of me. I didn’t even look down.
“I’m sure we can get someone to notarize it for us,” Mr. Fox said.
“Yes, that sounds perfectly reasonable. Kendal, can you get your notary stamp so we can make this document official?” Mr. Rigby said.
I looked at my mom and then at Ms. Dixon. I started to get the feeling that Rigby, Thompson and Associates didn’t need to be in this meeting if they were just in a hurry to sweep this all under the rug.
“While we wait for Kendal to return,” Ms. Dixon said smoothly, “what else will you need to continue negotiations?”
“We will need a full accounting of David’s assets and income.”
You could see Mr. Fox’s obvious hunger as he thought of the payday he was about to receive.
“We were prepared for that request,” Mr. Thompson said, and he pulled a folder out and began to give it to Mr. Fox.
“Stop!” Ms. Dixon said, with an edge to her voice.
Mr. Thompson acted as if he had been caught and jerked the folder back. Kendal walked in with her notary stamp and sat back down.
“First, I want it made clear that my client has not authorized Rigby, Thompson and Associates to negotiate on his behalf in this matter, nor has he consented to Rigby, Thompson and Associates acting as a mediator of anything relating to this. Further, this is not a mediation, so get that out of your head,” Ms. Dixon said, and she made a point to look Roy, Don, Tom and Kendal each in the eyes to make sure none of them were mistaken in her meaning. “While I appreciate everything you’ve done, you’re not authorized to share anything with opposing counsel, or Mr. Bell, without my client’s consent.”
“I’m sorry, but I was only trying to help move the negotiations along,” Mr. Thompson said.
“So, are you saying that what you said in court isn’t true?” Mr. Fox asked.
She just ignored the cheap shot.
“I would be surprised if Mr. Fox is authorized to negotiate anything without the Bells present. I would like to schedule a meeting tomorrow under the following conditions. David would like to get this resolved. He is willing to work with you to do so. Miss Bell must be present, and he needs to be able to make sure her wishes are being met. If the child is proven to be his, he will provide reasonable support. He may even provide support before testing is done, under certain circumstances. However, he will only do so if he is allowed either joint or superior custody. The last part is not negotiable,” Ms. Dixon said.
“First of all, we couldn’t possibly meet tomorrow without knowing and verifying all of David’s earnings and assets. I also need to check my schedule to see when we could possibly do this. I would suspect a week from Monday might be doable,” Mr. Fox said as he checked his calendar. “How does one o’clock work?”
“We will do it at one o’clock tomorrow, or we’ll just wait until the baby’s born, and you can try and pin it on David then,” Ms. Dixon said.
Every head in the room snapped around at that. Ms. Dixon had warned us she might do something like this, so Mom and I just sat there coolly as we stared at Mr. Fox. He looked at Mr. Rigby and Mr. Thompson for help.
“I think we can get Cal and Pam here to move this along. We would hate to see this drag out,” Mr. Rigby said.
“Yes, one o’clock tomorrow works,” Mr. Fox said.
When I left the room, I was seething. My opinion of Don Rigby and Roy Thompson had just taken a major hit. All they cared about was covering their asses.
When I finally walked back into Lincoln High, I was told to go see Coach Hope before going to class. I found him in his office.
“Hey, Coach, you wanted to see me?” I asked.
“Shut the door and sit down,” he said.
I did as I was told, and waited for him to tell me what was on his mind.
“Two things: the first is, don’t ever get into a mess like this week again. I think I averaged fifty calls a day from recruiters worried you’d suddenly started to hit women. When it was suggested that you hit Cassidy, I did have a good laugh,” he said, and then got serious. “If it had been true, you would have been in a world of hurt. I made sure to assure everyone it would work its way out, and you would be found to be the nice guy I know you are.”
“The second thing is I have to bench you for tonight’s game. No practice, no play.”
I sat there and the week finally got to me. This had to be a cruel joke. If it hadn’t been for the thought of being able to play tonight, the frustration would have gotten to me. I needed an outlet. I needed to be able to hit someone and not be thrown into jail.
“Fuck it, I quit,” I said and got up to leave.
“What did you just say?” Coach asked.
“I didn’t bring any of this shit onto myself. I followed the rules and did what I was told. What do I get? I’m punished. It would be one thing if I didn’t know the plays or hadn’t put the time in. I’ve done everything I can to help this team. No practice, no play. That’s just asinine. It’s as stupid as the no tolerance for fighting rule. I could walk down the hall, someone punches me, and I’m thrown out of school. No practice, no play. Explain that one to the team tonight,” I said.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Coach asked, as I started to the door.
“I might as well skip school and go get drunk. What difference does it make? The punishment’s the same.”
Of course, I didn’t leave school to get drunk. I did have a mom who would track me down.
I did see Pam towards the end of the day. She was in the hall talking to Tracy. I walked straight up to her, as everyone suddenly got quiet. Tracy saw the look on my face and stepped in front of me.
“David, don’t do something stupid,” she said.
As much as I wanted to say what was on my mind, it would only hurt me in the end. I spun around and walked the other direction. When I got halfway down the hall, everyone started talking at once. Normally when I get mad, I blow up and then it’s over.
At the end of school I was at my locker, getting ready to go home. I’d given my word to Brook that I would take her to the dance. Then there was Mona’s party. I honestly wanted to bail on both of them, but I knew I couldn’t. That’s when Cassidy Hope found me.
“My dad wants to talk to you,” Cassidy said.
“Well, I don’t want to talk to him.”
“I didn’t want to have to do this,” she said, then she took me to my knees.
Dang, that hurt. She could have told me she would kick my ass if I didn’t talk to her dad, instead of just doing it.
“You ready to talk?” she asked, and giggled.
“I think I can take you,” I challenged.
“Daddy said I couldn’t hurt you,” she said.
“What do you call this?” I complained.
“You’re not hurt, you’re just feeling sorry for yourself. Now if I did this...” she started.
“No! I’ll be good,” I pleaded.
Shiggy had taught us more pressure points. I learned that if you stuck your finger into someone’s ear, it hurts. I’m talking a lot! I think Cassidy thought she might see if my head really was empty.
“Pussy,” she mumbled.
“What did you say?”
“That I love you.”
I figured it worked with my mom. Cassidy bent down and kissed me.
“Come on, before you get any more of your silly ideas.”
I dutifully followed her to Coach Hope’s office. I guess I wasn’t surprised when the whole coaching staff was there waiting for me. Coach Hope pointed at the empty chair in front of his desk as the rest of the coaches stared at me.
“I see you didn’t skip out and get drunk,” Coach Hope said.
“I think my mom scares me more than you do.”
“Good point,” he said and then gathered himself. “First of all, you’re not quitting the team. If you try, I’ll tell Cassidy she can hurt you. I thought about what you said about the rule of no practice, no play. While in most cases I would stick with my ruling, I’ve talked it over with the staff and they agree you would be punished for something you had no control over. But you have to agree that your teammates stepped up and deserve to be rewarded for their hard work this week.”
“Let me play defense. Put me in at free safety. I just want to contribute and hit some people,” I pleaded.
“What do you think? Should we let him play defense?”
There was a chorus of ‘No’, and then laughter when they saw my dejected look. Luckily, none of them turned to stone. I wasn’t told what I would get to play, but I was going to be able to suit up.
Frank called me and we talked about the incident with Rachel yesterday.
“I talked to the executive producer of TMZ. I was able to get the full video from a couple of the news stations who were there. They plan to run their stories tonight, about how people with agendas distort the news. TMZ will run a piece showing what really happened,” he said to my relief.
“What a mess. I should have told you right away. I’m sorry,” I said.
“TMZ had a similar incident not too long ago. A NFL quarterback named Brock Osweiler and his wife came out of a restaurant. A woman got into a verbal altercation with his wife. He used his arm to move the woman out of the way so that they could get to their car and leave. Of course, the only portion of the video that was initially shown was of him moving the woman.
“David, you have to be careful, because you’re now in the public eye. You’ll be the target of people like the woman from yesterday who have an agenda to push. She intended for you to do something stupid so she could use it to highlight her cause. Unfortunately, this kind of stuff will just get worse the more you become known. TMZ will walk back the story, but it will be nowhere as big an item as when they thought you attacked her,” Frank said.
Tonight’s game was against St. Joe. Last year they had been reclassified from 6A to 5A, our school’s size, and joined our conference. St. Joe had a tradition as a football powerhouse, but they didn’t have it this year. I looked at this game as a tune-up for when we played in the game ESPN had arranged with King High School. I still didn’t know why we had agreed to play King.
I went home before the game to get my Halloween costume for the dance, and to spend some quality time with my boy. He couldn’t find his favorite tennis ball, so we had to settle for chasing each other in the back yard. I would have to get Yuri to come over and work on his tackling, because Duke had some moves when he was wound up.
As I drove the Jeep to school, I wondered what the cheerleaders would wear tonight. Two years ago they’d each dressed up as Catwoman, and last year it was naughty nurses. Brook and I had ordered leathers when we did the motocross course. Halle told me that she and Stacy Clute would do my makeup. Stacy and Halle were two of the best artists at Lincoln High. I looked forward to see what they would create.
When I arrived at school, I went to the Field House locker room and stowed my gear. I saw a couple of the younger guys hanging out, so I invited them to come with me to the booster tent. Tonight was Senior Night. It was the last game that Jim would play at home, unless we played here for the State Playoffs. When I walked into the tent, I saw the boosters had put up posters of the seniors. They also had put together a very cool display frame. I looked at Jim’s, thinking it would hang on the wall in his man-cave someday. It had his jersey, his football picture, and places for his letter and his medal for when we’d won State. I noticed there was room for another medal if we won again.
“What d’ya think?” Mr. Sullivan asked.
“This is great. The seniors will go nuts when they see this. Where’d you get the idea?” I asked.
“We went to a trophy store and they use the same thing for some of their university customers. Do you really think they’ll like it?”
“Absolutely. You guys hit one out of the park with this idea,” I said.
“Come on. Let’s get you fed,” he said.
The boosters did themselves proud. Someone had made chili, and they had all the fixings to go with it. Then they did a bunch of appetizers. I had jalapeno poppers, mini meatball sandwiches, Buffalo wings, and for dessert, they made us peach fried pies.
I had just finished when several people sat down with me. I smiled when I saw Bo Harrington (Alabama), Don Berta (Kentucky), Coach Bailsman (Michigan State) and Wes Casey (Ohio State). There was one last seat at the table and Jeff Delahey, my favorite reporter, joined us.
“Who are you guys here to see?” Jeff asked as he ignored me.
“We have our eye on a couple of guys. I want to see Lincoln’s big tackle play tonight,” Bo said.
“Their tailback is pretty good. I want to see how he does tonight. We might make an offer if he has another good game,” Coach Casey said. “Then we always want to see their big wideout.”
“I wonder when they’ll get smart and play him at tight end?” Coach Berta asked.
I let them have their fun as they pretended I wasn’t there. I had a blast when they started to make fun of other schools that weren’t here tonight. The Big Ten recruiters roasted Michigan. According to them, anyone would be a dumbass to go there. There was a mention of the muffed punt, which made me groan. Michigan had lost their game to Michigan State on a last-second failed punt attempt that resulted in a Michigan State touchdown. The reason I groaned was that I’d lost a game on a late fumbled snap my freshman year. I felt for the Michigan punter who messed up. I was sure that, given a chance, Michigan would have some good things to say about Ohio State and Michigan State.
As we came out for the coin toss, I had Jim and the rest of the seniors as my co-captains. St. Joe came out and the trash talk started.
“How about we make a side bet? If we win, we all get a piece of your baby momma. At least she won’t get abused with us.”
They thought it was funny. Jim grabbed me before I could decide which one I would kick the shit out of first. There were six of them. I would keep track of each one of these smart-asses, and they would think differently by the end of the game. I gave them a feral grin that made them shut up and the referee step in between us.
“We’ll have none of that,” the referee said.
All through the coin toss, I glared at them. Now that the referee had protected them, they were back to acting like idiots and all had smirks on their faces. We won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Jim had to pick me up to move me from the center of the field. I walked backwards to the sideline and never took my eyes off them.
“What happened out there?” Coach Hope said.
“They said some things to David. I think they just motivated him to unleash the hounds of hell on their asses. You might want him to play some defense to get it out of his system,” Jim said.
Jim was suddenly my best friend in the whole world. Coach Hope saw me light up with a huge grin, and he just dropped his head and shook it.
“If I let you play defense, you have to promise no cheap shots. Everything has to be within the rules of the game. Do you think you can do that?” Coach asked.
“Oh, and you owe me one,” he said with a smirk.
I thought about it for a moment and tried to think what he might want, but in that moment, I couldn’t care less. I stepped forward and shook his hand. He had a deal.
Our kicker managed to kick the ball through the end zone, so St. Joe had the ball first and ten at the 20 yard line. Because Jim was a senior, he started at defensive tackle, with Johan Bauer at the other tackle. With the both of them in the game, I had no doubt we would control the center of the line. I couldn’t see their center and two guards being able to handle them. Everything starts there, and it would force St. Joe to try to run outside. That was to our advantage because of our team’s speed. The other thing it would do was free up Yuri and Kelly at linebacker. The interior linemen couldn’t get off the ball if they had to double-team our defensive tackles.
I scanned the field to see if any of my targets were on offense. I spotted three of them: their quarterback, tailback and one of their wide receivers. As they lined up, I was aquiver with anticipation as I prepared to release all the frustration that had slowly built up over the week. I felt myself drop into the zone as the sound of our crowd faded in my head. I could hear my heart pound in my ears as I focused on the field. St. Joe lined up in a basic ‘I’ formation with their quarterback under center and a fullback and tailback stacked behind him.
I saw Ed, at cornerback, take an extra step inside to support the run. The receiver he was to cover looked inside and shook his hand. I saw their quarterback nod.
“PASS, PASS, PASS!” I yelled as the ball was snapped.
I watched as Johan exploded past their guard because they decided to double-team Jim. I will give their fullback credit, he at least tried to block our runaway farm boy. Johan hit his shoulder pads with his open hands and stood him up. Once he was standing, he didn’t have the leverage he needed to stop the freight train. Their fullback stumbled back and landed in the middle of the quarterback and tailback as they were in the process of faking a handoff. Johan’s big paw reached for their quarterback, but he spun away as Johan was tangled in the pile and landed on both the fullback and tailback.
Ed cheating to help the run had cost him. The receiver he was supposed to cover sprinted up the sideline and had a step on him. My job was to make sure nothing got behind us, so I had broken into a full sprint at the snap of the ball to prevent an easy score. Once I saw Johan hadn’t taken out their quarterback, I put my head down and ran as fast as I could to support Ed.
That told me the ball was in the air, and I saw the receiver turn his head and reach forward. It looked like their quarterback must have overthrown it when he got excited. I saw the ball out of the corner of my eye and made the split-second decision not to level my nemesis, but instead make a play on the ball. I reached up with one hand and snatched it out of the air. My momentum carried me into their receiver-turned-defensive back. There was a tremendous collision, as we were both running at full speed when we came together. Thankfully, we hit each other at an angle. If we had hit head-on, both of us might not have gotten up.
As I stood up, I tossed the ball to the side judge and trotted to the center of the field to huddle up the offense. It felt good to get the first hit out of the way. I was about killed as both Jim and Johan decided to almost tackle me, they were so excited.
“That just happened! He caught the ball with one hand and crushed their receiver. Wow! Just wow!” Johan said as he hugged me.
“Don’t kill him,” Brock said as Jim and Johan let me go.
“Huddle up,” I ordered, which seemed to settle them down.
We were in their territory on their 32 yard line. This was an excellent opportunity to score and take an early lead. I looked up and saw Trent Buchannan, our backup quarterback, running out. Crud! I’d forgotten that he would start today because I hadn’t practiced all week. I wanted to throw a fit, because I could tell I was ready to have a huge game, but I put my big boy pants on and went to the sideline.
It was absolute torture to watch our offense go three-and-out and have to settle for a field goal. Granted we were up 3 – 0, but I felt we should have scored a touchdown. I was further dismayed when I wasn’t allowed to go back and play defense on the next series.
Neither team did much the rest of the first quarter as each team traded punts. At the start of the second quarter, I got the call I’d been waiting for.
“Dawson, you’re in for Buchannan,” Coach Diamond called out.
As I ran out onto the field, it took the crowd a moment to realize I was in the game. Then the damned cowbells began to ring as if we’d just scored. It was almost deafening when we lined up for our first play. I called an option run play to the right. I’d seen the other three of my other tormentors: one was their linebacker, and another played defensive end. The third was their punter. I had no idea how I would get to their punter, but I vowed to find a way.
On the snap, I faked the inside handoff to Ty and went to my first read, their defensive end. Except I didn’t need to make a read: my quarry was in front of me. I just zeroed in on him and accelerated right through him as if he wasn’t even there. In football, they use the term pancaked. It normally is attributed to an offensive lineman when he blocks a defensive player so well that the defensive player ends up flat on his back. The term comes from cooking a pancake and the moment when you flip it and hear that splat and sizzle as the wet side hits the skillet.
That is what happened to Mr. Smart Mouth. I hit him just right, so that he went from trying to tackle me to flat on his back in the blink of an eye. I had been on the receiving end of a block like that, and it had knocked the breath out of me. When we hit, the crack of the pads cut through the sound of the cowbells. I stepped over their prone player and began to look for their linebacker. He had a good angle on me, so I found Kelly and tossed him the ball as I was tackled. Kelly picked up another few yards before he was tackled.
“You’re next,” I growled as I got up.
“Fuck you, Dawson!”
I was disappointed to see their defensive end get up without too much problem. The next play I called the option again. This time I faked the handoff to Ty up the middle, but I followed him into the hole. My target was tied up with Ty and they blocked the hole, so I lowered my shoulder and stuck it into their linebacker’s stomach. Both Ty and I landed on him. This time I could see I’d achieved my goal of knocking the breath out of him. I didn’t stay around to gloat, but was happy to see their trainer run out to check on him.
My goal wasn’t to actually hurt them, but to send a message. With that bit of unpleasantness out of the way, I focused on playing football. On the next play, I passed to Wolf and knew it would be our night. If you were knowledgeable about the game, you saw a clinic on what to do. I took the snap and pulled the ball up and back near my back shoulder, so I was ready to throw. I glided back and kept my feet moving. Cadillac would have been jealous I had stolen his smoothness in the pocket. I waited for Wolf to make his move, and then pointed my lead foot at him and planted my back foot so I had a good foundation. The ball was out of my hand in a flash and I released it just beyond my front foot. The nice tight spiral was eye-level, so Wolf wouldn’t have to look down to catch it. He pulled it in and never broke stride. He was pushed out of bounds after a nice gain.
The football gods must have been smiling down on me. Wolf ran over their punter who was standing on the sideline as Wolf was pushed out of bounds. All six-five, two hundred and forty pounds flattened the much smaller player. I only wished I had thought of that myself.
I guess Coach Diamond saw that I was on tonight and cut me loose passing the ball. The measure of a player is whether he can make those around him better. Tonight I could do no wrong. Roc looked like Jerry Rice on my Madden NFL Ultimate Team game. I would just loft him a nice long pass and the kid would turn on the afterburners and run under it. Coach Bud Mason was right: vertical passes downfield were a defense-killer. You could have the best defense in the world, but the long pass bypassed the teeth of defense. It put you one-on-one with a defensive back, and if you won that play, you could win the game. Our version of shock and awe put up twenty-eight points in the second quarter to take a 31 – 0 lead into halftime.
I was allowed to play one more possession, and this time I hit Ed on a post pattern to push the score to 38 – 0. Coach Hope had seen enough and pulled most of the starters at that point. He put in mostly JV players and our backups. The final score was 45 – 28.
I’d taken my shower and Halle and Stacy, my art friend, had me trapped in one of the small film rooms. They applied my makeup for my Halloween outfit. I’d thought I was just going as a biker guy with my new leather pants and jacket. They had other plans. There was a knock at the door.
“David, you’ve been summoned to speak to the media,” Alan said through the door.
“Tell them he’ll be there in a minute,” Halle called back.
Stacy handed me a mirror. I had to admit I looked scary. They had put on a foundation that made my skin look grey. Stacy had put blood-red eyeliner and lipstick on me. She painted in a red teardrop that made it look like blood had dripped out of my eye, and a there was a smear of blood on the side of my mouth. They had spiked my hair and Halle had sprayed in silver highlights. The capper was when they pulled out a football helmet with the St. Joe logo on the side and a rubber head in it. If you set it on a table, you could turn on a switch and the eyes would glow. I drew the line when they wanted to put red contacts in my eyes. I was only willing to do so much.
When I left the room there was a line of football players waiting to be made up. I smiled when I saw Alan was a vampire and Jim was in a toga. Alan took Jim and me into the room where the press conference was happening. The St. Joe coach seemed to be about finished. I held up the helmet with the head in it and he began to laugh, which drew everyone’s attention to me. I wasn’t an attention hound, mind you. I strode up to the table where their coach was seated and plopped the helmet down.
“I think one of your players left this on the field,” I said as the eyes glowed.
Even the most jaded reporter smiled at my antics. They sobered up when Tracy took charge of the news conference and warned me to be on my best behavior. Jeff Delahey was allowed to ask the first question.
“Now that your troubles seem to have been cleared up, how has it affected your recruiting?”
I sighed. This was my new reality, and I’d better suck it up and face it. Even though I’d not been charged, it would follow me around.
“I’m glad you asked that, and I’m sure everyone wants to know the status of the case. The District Attorney and police found no evidence to support what was leaked to the media. I want to thank Jeff and his paper for providing pictures that proved that the last time I was with the young woman she was perfectly fine. From that point on, until I was questioned by the police on Monday, I had witnesses that placed me at my farm, doing a photo shoot with Range Sports, or working with a church group. Every bit of what I just said was verified by the District Attorney’s office in their recent press conference, where they announced to the press that no charges would be brought against me.
“Tomorrow I’ll meet with the young woman and her family, and we’ll try to resolve my responsibility regarding the pregnancy. If it is my child, I’ll do everything I can to support him or her. I take that obligation seriously.
“Now to answer your question regarding recruiting. The schools that know me were all very supportive. Others were on the fence, and then a handful had a no-tolerance policy concerning domestic abuse, even when it’s not verified and even when no charges have been brought. I had planned to visit one of those schools this weekend, but they wouldn’t take the chance that the allegations might be true,” I said.
“Who was the school you were going to visit?” Jeff asked.
“I don’t think it would be right to point fingers. I at least feel that you should be given the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.”
Of course, all they would have to do was go onto my Twitter account or Facebook and see my planned visits.
“But isn’t it true that over 95% of rape charges are found to be true? Shouldn’t a university protect itself?” Jeff asked.
I loved Jeff. He kept lobbing me softballs that I had been prepped to be able to answer.
“That sounds like one of those stats one of the women’s groups who protested would say. From what I’ve read, that number is based on an anecdote of an anecdote, and may only be accurate for cases that actually go all the way through a trial and actually are decided by a jury. Other studies have concluded anywhere between forty to fifty percent of initial rape allegations are found to be not true. The two main reasons such false charges are leveled are either for revenge, or for an alibi. The third most common reason appears to be financial.
“Not too long ago Mark Sanchez had similar charges leveled against him, and it was found the woman in question told her mom he’d taken advantage of her. When all was said and done, he’d done things in a textbook fashion – asking her several times if she was okay with things, if she wanted to stop, etc. Even then, the investigation was dropped only with the comment of insufficient evidence as the finding. I want to thank our District Attorney, Mr. Mason, for not letting me twist in the wind like that,” I said.
“So what reason do you think was behind your charges?” Jeff asked.
“Well, I know her dad is not happy with us. Another reason might be money.”
“Can you understand why you might get painted with the same brush so many athletes are in cases like this?”
“Yes and no. I agree there are many entitled jocks that act in a loathsome fashion. There’s a reason athletes are stereotyped, because many do act as if they’re God’s gift. What I don’t understand is why that should apply to me. If there was even a rumor I let things go to my head, and thought I deserved to be treated as special, I’d have to answer to my mother, and none of you can scare me near as much as she can. If you don’t believe me, ask her,” I said, which caused Jim, Tracy and Coach Hope all to laugh.
“As a father, I would not be worried about David forcing anyone to do anything,” Coach Hope said.
“So you’d let him date your daughter?” Jeff asked.
Coach Hope leaned back for a second, obviously trying to put his thoughts into the right words. “My daughter thinks the world of David. They’re very good friends and are close. She’s never said anything that makes me believe David isn’t one of the nicest boys she knows, and I have to agree with her.