Jan 2, 2009


* When last we left the good Doctor, someone was beating at his hotel door, the night/morning before Super Bowl VIII in Houston, Texas.

...It was a TV reporter from Pittsburgh, raving drunk and demanding to take a shower. I jerked him into the room. "Nevermind the goddamn shower," I said. "Do you realize what I have on my spine?" He stared at me, unable to speak. "A giant leech," I said. "It's been there for eight days, getting fatter and fatter with blood."
He nodded slowly as I led him over to the phone. "I hate leeches," he muttered.
'That's the least of our problems," I said. "Room service won't send any beer until noon, and all the bars are closed. . . I have this Wild Turkey, but I think it's too heavy for the situation we're in."
"You're right," he said. "I got work to do. The goddamn game's about to start. I need a shower."
"Me too," I said. "But I have some work to do first, so you'll have to make the call."
"Call?" He slumped into a chair in front of the window, staring down at the thick grey mist that had hung on the town for eight days - except now, as Super Sunday dawned, it was thicker and wetter than ever.
I gave him the phone: "Call the manager," I said. "Tell him you're Howard Cossell and you're visiting up here with a minister in 2003; we're having a private prayer breakfast and we need two fifths of his best red wine, with a box of saltine crackers."
He nodded unhappily. "Hell, I came here for a shower. Who needs the wine?"
"It's important," I said. "You make the call while I go outside and get started."
He shrugged and dialed "0" while I hurried out to the balcony, clearing my throat for an opening run at James 2:19:
"Beware!" I shouted, "for the Devils also believe and tremble!"
I waited for a moment, but there was no reply from the lobby, 20 floors down - so I tried Ephesians 6:12, which seemed more appropriate:
"For we wrestle not," I screamed, "against flesh and blood - but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world - and, yes - against spiritual wickedness in high places!"
Still there was no response except the booming echoes of my own voice . . . but the thing on my spine was moving with renewed vigor now, and I sensed there was not much time. All movement in the lobby had ceased. They were all standing still down there - maybe 20 or 30 people . . . but were they listening? Could they hear?
I couldn't be sure. The acoustics of these massive lobbies are not predictable. I knew, for instance, that a person sitting in a room on the 11th floor, with the door open, could hear - with unnerving clarity - the sound of a cocktail glass shattering on the floor of the lobby. It was also true that almost every word of Gregg Allman's "Multi-Colored Lady" played a top volume on a dual-speaker Sony TC-126 in an open-door room on the 20th floor could be heard in the NFL press room on the hotel mezzanine . . . but it was hard to be sure of the timbre and carrying power of my own voice in this cavern; it sounded, to me, like the deep screaming of a bull elk in the rut . . . but there was no way to know, for sure, if I was really getting through.
"Discipline!" I bellowed. "Remember Vince Lombardi!" I paused to let that one sink in - waiting for applause, but none came. "Remember George Metesky!^" I shouted. "He had discipline!"


^ - George P. Metesky (November 2, 1903 – May 23, 1994), better known as the Mad Bomber, terrorized New York City for 16 years in the 1940s and 1950s with explosives that he planted in theaters, terminals, libraries and offices. Bombs were left in phone booths, storage lockers and restrooms in public buildings, including Grand Central Terminal, Pennsylvania Station, Radio City Music Hall, the New York Public Library, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the RCA Building, as well as in the New York City Subway. Perhaps most notably, Metesky bombed movie theaters, where he cut into seat upholstery and slipped his explosive devices inside.
Angry and resentful about events surrounding a workplace injury suffered years earlier, Metesky planted at least 33 bombs, of which 22 exploded, injuring 15 people. He was apprehended based on an early use of offender profiling and clues given in letters he wrote to a newspaper. He was found legally insane and committed to a state mental hospital. (wikipedia)

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