One day the doorbell rang.
They had guns and pizza.
"You," they said. "We demand that you tell us what's gonna happen in this week's football games."
"Why do you need to know so badly?" I asked.
"We intend to wager a gallon of gasoline on the outcome," they said.
Help! This is a hostage situation.
The bad news is that last week I had to sell my car in order to afford to fill it up with gasoline.
The good news is that this week I sold the gasoline and bought an NFL franchise. Have you also noticed that gas prices are going up?
I bought the team that wins this year's Super Bowl. I'll tell you after the game which team it is.
I have found, in fact, that making predictions after an event actually occurs is much easier than trying to do it beforehand. With that in mind, let me start this NFL season by saving my life and predicting the results of Thursday night's game…
RAIDERS AT PATRIOTS – Quick - buy a farm and then bet it. Yes, even the pigs. Trust me. Bacon for everyone! Patriots 30, Raiders 20
TEXANS AT BILLS – J.P. Losman, the young no-expectations quarterback for the Bills, is in the perfect situation. He has good receivers and a good running back and the Texans don't have a defense. I expect things. Bills 28, Texans 21
SAINTS AT PANTHERS – Throw me some beads, I don't care if they are soggy. This season, Bourbon Street's going on the road and I'm on the bandwagon. Saints 29, Panthers 12
BENGALS AT BROWNS – People think the Browns will be horrible this year. Don't trust people. Trust me. Why? Well, I'm not people. Plus the Browns this year have an offensive line, a star wide receiver, a grownup at quarterback and an actual professional as a head coach. As for this game, well, they're playing the Bengals. Browns 23, Bengals 17
SEAHAWKS AT JAGUARS – Fred Taylor's doctor plays rock/paper/scissors against Shaun Alexander's psychologist. Rock. Go with rock. Seahawks 13, Jaguars 12
JETS AT CHIEFS – The Jets will stun the Chiefs because week 1 is when crummy teams pull upsets. Don't believe what you see. Jets 30, Chiefs 24
BRONCOS AT DOLPHINS – I've got matches, let's watch the Broncos go up in flames. But wait, I don't have gasoline. Never mind, not necessary – this Broncos season appears to be made of flammable material. Dolphins 23, Broncos 21
BUCCANEERS AT VIKINGS – Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden, in his glory years as a playoff coach with the Raiders and in the Super Bowl run a few years back with the Buccaneers, was thought to look like the evil movie doll, Chucky. Thus, the nickname. But this season, I think it will be more like Charlie, as in Charlie Brown. Kick it, Charlie, go on, kick it! Vikings 44, Buccaneers 10
TITANS AT STEELERS – I hate the Steelers. God doesn't care. Steelers 38, Titans 10
BEARS AT REDSKINS – Kyle Orton is everybody's pick to be the surprise quarterback of the year but I burned my membership card in the organization known as everybody. I am nobody and I say Patrick Ramsey will be a surprisingly good quarterback this year. Redskins 24, Bears 12
PACKERS AT LIONS – When people vote for the Hall of Fame quarterback, Brett Favre gets more votes than Joey Harrington. But on any given Sunday, Joey Harrington might be better. I give you this Sunday. Lions 35, Packers 27
CARDINALS AT GIANTS – Kurt Warner used to play for the Giants and they stunk – the Giants and Warner. So which one really stunk – the Giants or Warner. Here's a hint – the Meadowlands, where the Giants play, was built on top of a garbage dump – and Jimmy Hoffa's alleged body. I heard from this guy who wagered some gasoline on this week's games that the body actually belongs to Jimmy Hoffer, who long ago used to predict football games. It seems the rumor is just a big misunderstanding. Yes, small comforts. Cardinals 44, Giants 22
COWBOYS AT CHARGERS – Bill Parcells hates watching a team he envies. And now it turns out that all along Marty Schottenheimer was the better football coach. Chargers 21, Cowboys 9
RAMS AT 49ERS – The 49ers ponder if the team name has some significance. Rams 49, 49ers 0
COLTS AT RAVENS – Peyton Manning continues his tradition of record-breaking playoff-losing seasons by starting with five touchdowns. Meanwhile, the drunk ghost of Bob Irsay runs over Ray Lewis with a Mayflower Movers truck. Colts 38, Ravens 3
EAGLES AT FALCONS – In the first half, Terrell Owens catches four touchdown passes for 200 yards. In the second half he gives the finger to his quarterback, moons his coach and endorses his favorite brand of tampons. So goes the season. In the first half, Michael Vick completes four passes, two to the other team. In the second half, he throws four touchdown passes and runs for three others. So goes the season. Falcons 51, Eagles 28
Once upon a time, I lived what has become the quintessential modern American dream - I owned the dead remains of famous toes – yes, like many of my readers and the pontificators of Cable TV news, I collected the toenail clippings of celebrities.
But I was forced to sell my collection so that I could buy the words necessary to write this column.
I make sacrifices for you people. Think about it. Okay, stop.
This column is sponsored by the organizers of annual Christmas party at FEMA.
First time reading What's Gonna Happen? Be aware of one thing: Brian Tarcy is an unabashed Cleveland Browns fan and always predicts they will win. He's often wrong.