It's been a long time since I have written you from Columbus, and I have gone on that Ask Steeler Fan mission as penance, but I have been a very busy man. I know you are probably rolling your eyes thinking it was the usual Columbus Crew and MLS stuff, but that was only part of it. And while it is statistically probable that I was one of the 93% of Columbus-area males who spent the entire autumn writing internet article comments detailing intricate national conspiracies against the squeaky clean-ish compared to everyone else who didn't get caught Ohio State football program, that was not the case either.
See, instead of working on Cow Patties, I was working on something that all Browns fans could be proud of. I have been frequently jetting back and forth to Hollywood pitching my screenplay, "Awesome Dawson & the Punter Posse." It's a new superhero flick in which Cleveland is attacked by 53 muscle-bound freaks of nature representing another city. However, Awesome Dawson & The Punter Posse (Gardocki, Zastudil, Hodges, and Maynard) do battle with these evil forces and attempt to defeat them solely by the means of expertly kicked footballs. Since Hollywood superhero blockbusters don't have to be true to life, Cleveland will triumph through nothing more than our heroes' superb football kicking abilities, even when they get no help from anyone else.
I got a lot of positive feedback, but then the usual Hollywood meddling started. "Sirk, we're excited about it, it's great, it's fabulous, and all of us have very intimate paper cuts from making passionate love to this script, but here's the thing. Is there any way that we can turn Awesome Dawson into, like, a broodingly sexy werewolf? And then the Punter Posse, can they be, maybe, say, four bisexual vampire chicks? And then there can be some kind of smoldering love…not triangle….like, a love… pentagram?"
And then I had to tell them no, it's stupid, it totally ruins my movie, and that there's no way I would ever consider it for as long as I live… unless Charlize Theron and Zooey Deschanel are cast as two of the bisexual vampire chicks. So they say, "Perfect! Get to work! We'll set up meetings! We'll make it happen!" So I put A LOT of thought into this new direction. All fall, I was using my writerly skills to imagine all kinds of scenes. I could think of nothing else. What if something happened this way? Or that way? I would envision the various scenes over and over in my mind, trying to get them just right.
It was a lot of hard work, but I finally settled on the perfect vision for my art. But then the Hollywood people say, "Well, Zooey's new show got picked up, so she's out, but we have a better idea. How about if we get Eddie Murphy or Adam Sandler or Tyler Perry to play the werewolf and ALL FOUR bisexual vampire chicks? Just tell us your preferred order and we'll start making calls."
When I said absolutely not, they suggested CGI chipmunks, but by that point I insisted that we make the movie as originally intended or not at all. But then they said, "A superhero movie involving football? They'll just say we ripped off the new Batman movie. We'll have to wait until the summer of 2013, or at least the fall of 2012, before we can do that."
I was baffled and suspicious until they showed me the script for The Dark Knight Rises. I know the trailer came out last week, but don't be fooled by it. That trailer was a calculated bit of studio misdirection designed to prevent spoilers. However, I secretly took some of the pages of the script they showed me, and I wanted to pass them along to you. The plot of the new Batman will make you shudder. If you thought Heath Ledger was chilling as The Joker, wait until you get a load of this movie's villain—THE YINZER.
You may not believe me, but you know that I would never lie to you, Barry. Isn't it curious that the red herring Dark Knight Rises trailer shows a football scene involving a black and yellow football team? That was a knowing wink to the real script.
Again, I have only passed along the pages I was able to smuggle out of my Hollywood meeting, so this is far from complete. Nevertheless, it ought to give you a vomitous taste of what's coming to a theater near you this summer.
Whether you believe me or not, I think you'll agree that this is the creepiest movie idea ever concocted.
Your frightened friend,
[The Yinzer walks in on the meeting. He is accompanied by two henchmen: Nine-Two, who is clad in a black helmet, an armored black shirt, and armored yellow pants, and The Ratbird, who is clad in a black helmet, an armored purple shirt, and armored white pants.]
Hee haw. Hee haw. Hee haw. And I thunk mah jokes wun't funny.
Give me one reason why I shouldn't have my boy here pull your head off.
How's yinz like if Ah did a magic trick once? Ah'll make dis pencil dispeer.
[The Yinzer gingerly and non-threateningly places a pencil behind the ear of one of the mobster's cronies.]
Jessnow, for dis trick to work, Ah need yinz to hold this itty-bitty football.
[The Yinzer hands the crony a mini football and then steps back. Nine-Two then launches himself through the air like a missile. The crown of his helmet strikes the crony's skull, causing it to explode. Brains and skull fragments splatter all over the rest of the mobsters.]
[The Yinzer quickly scans the area of the headless body, looking for the pencil. He cannot find it because it has splintered into a million microscopic pieces from the force of Nine-Two's helmet hit. The Yinzer throws his arms out wide, with open hands, like a triumphant magician.]
[In the background, 10 seconds after the hit, The Ratbird rushes over to engage in a chest-thumping celebratory dance over the fallen crony.]
What the hell was that? That was a dirty trick, and you know it.
No it wun't. Crime is a rill man's game. Dat's just good ol'-fasherned crimimality. Yinz feller knew what he was getting' hisself inta. He been paid alotta money. He knowed da risks. En' besides, he's carrying da football, so it was complittly fair that Nine-Two litrilly knocked his block off. Or should we'unz jess play flag-crime?
Lissen, Ah know why yinz have yinz group thurapy sessions in da livin' daylights. Ah know why yinz're ascared to go out at night. It's in regards to Da Batman. He has showed Gottum City yinz true collars.
What do you propose?
We'unz kell da Batman.
If it's so simple, why haven't you done it already?
Like my ma always telled me when she invited da mellman in for a secret nap while pa was workin at da still mill, "If yinz good at something, yinz don't do it for nuthin."
How much you want?
Haff. And dontchyinz try ta give me da smaller haff. I wanda bigger haff.
Enough of this clown!
[The Yinzer opens his jacket to reveal many more mini footballs.]
Dontchyinz all loose your heads jessnow.
I'm putting the word out. 500 grand for this clown dead; one million for him alive, so I can teach him some manners first.
Awright, so yinz lissen. Why dontchyinz call me on da tellyphone when yinz're ready to take dis more serious? Here's mah cart.
[The Yinzer then shoves a rusty, wobbly-wheeled grocery cart toward the mobster's table. Still showing the mini footballs, The Yinzer backs out of the room with Nine-Two and The Ratbird in tow.]
[The Yinzer pops out of the body bag and holds a crudely sharpened stick at the throat of the gangster.]
Yinz wanna hear how Ah'd loss my teeth? Yainga bleevis. My pa was a drinker. And a lunch-head. And one night, after a case of Arn, he goes off crazier than normal. Ma gets the alunamin foil to defend herself. He din't like dat. Not. One. Bit. So as I'ze watchin, he takes the jaggedy edge of the alunamin foil box to her, laughing as he does it. She's bleedin' all over da nanoleum floor. Den he turns to me and axst, ‘Why's yinz all serious, ennat?' He sets the tin foil box dahn and comes at me with a bawdle of Arn and axst, ‘Why's yinz all serious, ennat?' Then he sticks the edge of the bawdle cap behind one of mah teeth and says, ‘Let's give yinz zaksame smile yer ma had,' and he yanks so hard that mah durn tooth comes out as the bawdle cap goes flyin. He drank anudder case dat night. He opened more den twenny more Arn bawdles, one of mah tooths at a time. And every time he'd say…
[The Yinzer stabs the gangster in the throat, killing him.]
…'Why's yinz all serious, ennat?'
[10 seconds later, the Ratbird shows up and does a chest-thumping celebratory dance over top of the fallen gangster.]
[The Yinzer holds a crudely sharpened stick to a partygoer's face.]
Yinz remind me of mah dennis.
[The Yinzer smiles a sinister, mostly toothless smile.]
En I ain't got no use for mah dennis!
[The Yinzer turns to face Marissa. He runs the sharpened stick through his oily, tangled, tick-infested mullet as he approaches her, seductively wiggling a loose tooth with his tongue.]
Woll, hullo Beautiful! Yinz muss be Bruce's main squeeze. And yinz is pretty as a pitcher. Yinz looks ascared. Is it my quorterback? Ah can't blame ya. Shorely yinzes bladder ain't a biggun. Yinz'll hafta use da torlet sometime. Ain't nobody can hold it foreveranever. Juhno, there's a reason ladies squat in the open where I'ze come from. But yinz can't do that, kenya Beautiful? Yinz needs a cleaned-up torlet seat, a buncha soft fluffery torlet tisha, and yinz own private baffroom stall. Yabbut, privacy ken be violated, kennit?
[The Yinzer looks her up and down.]
Among other things.
[Repulsed, Marissa squirms uncomfortably.]
Yinz looks pawsatively revolted. Is it my gumline? Yinz wanna know how'd I loss mah teeth? Yainga bleevis. So Ah had a wife. She was pretty as a pitcher, jess like you. So we wennout and has a few Arns and Yingylings. Her bladder fills right uptada tippytop, so she hasta go to da baffroom. She's gone longer den even a poop, so I'ze wenta check onner, but deez two lunch-heads guarding the ladies baffroom door wun't real happy to see me. We got in a fight, and somewhere in betwinkst da punches they throwed at mah head, I loss mosta my teeth. Dat little zippy bag fell right ahtta mah pocket, and nobody never turned it in at da loss en' found.
[Marissa takes a swing at The Yinzer.]
Jimminy Chrismas! Yinz got some fight in ya! My quorterback likes dat. And so do I.
Then you're going to love me.
[Batman punches The Yinzer. He beats the Yinzer into a bloody mess, grabs Marissa, and whisks her away to safety.]
[10 seconds later, The Ratbird shows up and does a chest-thumping celebratory dance over top of The Yinzer as The Yinzer lies laughing and bleeding on the ground.]
[Detective Robertson angrily storms into the police station interview room. He is eager for a physical confrontation. The Yinzer sits stoically on the floor.]
Do you know how many of my men you have killed?
Has yinz axst dat rat wit wings? He seened summa dem people kick da bucket.
The Ratbird? Yeah, we had him in custody for a little while. He told us he didn't see anything.
His story don't cut no ice, seeinzat he come up over and danced jess in front of dem bodies before goin' lickety-split.
You killed six of my men!
[The Yinzer mouths the word "six" in mock astonishment, while holding up eight fingers.]
Do yinz know why Ah use sharpy sticks? Dat's cuz guns are too… complercated. Can't remember which the bang-bang end of it is. And guns don't let yinz enjoy the itty-bitty emotions. In their last coupla seconds, people show yinz who dey rilly are. In a way, I'ze known yer friends bedder dan yinz did. Wanna know whicha dem so was so ascared dey wizzed in der gutcheez?
[Detective Robertson rolls up his sleeves.]
I know you're going to enjoy this, so I guess I'll have to enjoy it even more.
[The Ratbird steps out of the shadows in the back corner of the room, giddily anticipating a chance to dance after the actual action has been completed.]
[The Yinzer addresses a burn victim in a hospital bed.]
Do Ah rilly look like a guy wit a plan? Jahno what I is? I'ze a guy tryin' to knock dangly shoes off da tellypole wahr wit a unflated basketball. Even if I knock ‘em dahn, I wouldn't know which foot dey go on. I jest do things. Except take a bath. See, da mob takes baths. Da cops take baths. And Gordon, he takes baths. Dey all get in the warsh tub with a face rag and some shampool. Der schemers. And schemers try to control der little worlds through warshin' up an' bessic hygiene-ing.
It's dem schemers dat putchyinz where yinz are jessnow. Yinz wouldnta scalded half yinz body if yinz hadn't taked no shahr while yinz girlfriend ran da warshing machine on cold. Yinz had plans of cleanliness. Looky where dat gotchyinz.
Ah jess did what I'ze do bess. Ah took your plan an' flippered it all cattywampus on itself. Ah mean, look what Ah did to dahntahn Gottum City wit jest a skunk-sprayed Stillers outfit an' some skidmarked tighty whities.
And jahno what I'ze noticed? It's dat when things go accordin' to da plan, nobody gits ascared. Even if da plan is hoorifyin'. If tamarrah Ah tole the newspepper dat, as a for instance, a man'll take hisself a shahr before going ta work at a office, or dat a woman'll take herself a bath while she's readin some brainypants book, nobody's ascared cuz it's all parta da plan. But when I pernounce dat one man aint showered since kinnergarden, everybody looses der minds. It's "I'm terribly sorry, sir, but we must kindly ask that you de-board the plane or we cannot make a timely departure and will be late to our destination." But if yinz fix to make summa dat anarchy, go abaht scroon up da established order, an' everythin' becomes chaos. Like a grasscutter to a danderlion, I'ze a agent a chaos. And jahno da thing about chaos? It's fair…ly smelly. Like raw sewerage.
Steve Sirk, once Art Bietz's co-conspirator at the TruthCenter, has taken to sending the occasional letter to "home base" about life as a Browns fan struggling in the NFL mixing pot of Central Ohio. At some point in life, Sirk determined that suffering through the nexus, dips, valleys, and various low points of being a Cleveland sports fan within geographic proximity of Cleveland itself did not create sufficient emotional pain. Sneeringly dismissive of even basic survival instincts, Sirk elected to reside in Columbus, Ohio, so that he could better be surrounded by fans of winning franchises who could mock his very existence. If you wish to contact an individual of such clearly questionable judgment, you may do so at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter @stevesirk