Lived a princess, Lady Barbara, who needed a basketball coach but, alas, it seemed there were none to be found. In her throne room sipping coffee from a tea cup once in residence at the Vatican, she reconsidered the coaching candidates.
Lord Habegger was still practicing second fiddle, and Baron Wilkins was happily doing color commentary while resting on his laurels. Sir Gregory Peck was having leg replacement surgery while Count Monson was working on spelling his name correctly, and Squire Quin Snyder was repetitively doing the same thing.
What to do. What to do, wondered Lady Barbara as she put out her cigarette on her forearm, unable to find the ashtray.
She called Sir Harshman, so-named because of his demeanor on the telephone.
“Hell, I don’t know. Why don’t you call the Coast Guard?” responded Harshman.
So Lady Barbara lit another cigarette and did, indeed, call the Coast Guard.
“Commander,” said the Coast Guard yeoman after answering the phone, “there’s a woman on the phone who believes she is a princess, and who needs a basketball coach at the Territorial University.”
“Captain’s Mast is what comes from disrespecting your commanding officer,” said the commander.
“I’m only repeating what she said, commander.”
The commander took the call.
“Well, what about Lorenzo Romar?” rhetorically asked the Coast Guard commander.
“Who’s Lorenzo Romar?” asked Lady Barbara. “A coach?”
“Yes, but a loyal coach. A former Territorial University player. And the right man if both Monson and Snyder are covered.”
“Covered with what?” she asked as she blew smoke at an old Barbie Benton photo she had found on the ΣΑΕ attic floor.
“Covered with seagull [excrement],” sneered the Coast Guard commander sarcastically, “what else?”
“I don’t know what else.”
“Well, give him a call.”
“Lorenzo Romar will know what else?”
Lady Barbara hung up the phone, looked around to insure she was alone, opened a desk drawer, took out a bottle of imported Olde Crowe, and filled a scrimshawed Starbuck’s cup, a trick she learned from former Redskins running back John Riggins. After placing a lid on the cup (although Riggins never bothered), she returned the bottle to its hiding place.
Obtaining his number from the alumni office, she called this coach, Lorenzo Romar.
As Lady Barbara listened to the phone ringing, she sipped Olde Crowe, pretending it was a double, tall, carmel macchiato with two pumps of a new tequila recently tested on court musicians Eddie, Alex, and Michael.
“Uh, yes. Who is this?”
“Coach Romar,” said Lady Barbara, answering his question. She took a sip of her macho macchiato. “The reason I called is I need to know what Carlos…eh, Count Monson and Squire Snyder are covered with. Seagull [excrement]?” She took another sip.
“Who is this?”
“Coach Romar.” Good grief, she thought, how dense is this guy? “I’m Lady Barbara and I preside over the games at the Territorial University and we need a basketball coach and the Coast Guard said Monson and Snyder were covered with seagull [excrement] and that’s why I called you.
Not one to easily give up, Lady Barbara called Romar again, enjoyably taking several puffs and sips while the phone rang and rang. Finally…
“Hello,” said the voice neutrally.
“Do you want to coach at the Territorial University or not?”
“Are you serious?”
“I-am-Lady-Barbara!” she said through gritted teeth. “B-A-R-B-R-A. You want the job?!” As she awaited his positive reply, she softly sang her favorite song, “…are the luckiest people/in the world…”
* * *
And that, children, is how Lorenzo Romar was hired.
There was no discussion about recruiting or coaching ability. No protracted salary negotiations. As with most Territorial University employees, Coach Romar showed up for work and was paid from football funds.
Coach Romar, however, needed assistant coaches. What to do. What to do, he wondered. He went over to the Ave and came upon a panhandler who, like most U-district panhandlers, looked to be in excellent health.
* * *
“I say! Basketball? Why yes! In middle school!”
“Would you like to coach at the Territorial University?”
“Why, certainly. And why not?”
“Dunno. What’s your name?” asked Romar, “extending his hand to help the man up.”
“James Shaw but most just call me ‘Jim’.”
“I shall call you my new assistant basketball coach. Are you familiar with wings?”
“But, of course. There is, you know, a McDonalds down the street.”
“Then let’s go there,” said Coach Romar. “After you, I need two additional assistants.”
Seated in a McDonalds booth was a man who looked down and out.
“Excuse me, I’m Coach Romar and this is Coach Shaw. Your ragged tatters suggest you are down and out. But were you to wear a coach’s outfit, you could be an assistant coach at the Territorial University. Would that interest you?”
“If I get a woman’s gymnastic outfit, could I then coach women’s gymnastics?”
“The Territorial University has a gymnastics coach.”
“But won’t I otherwise look silly in a women’s gymnastic outfit?”
“Yes, but you would under any circumstances. So you’ll need a men’s basketball coach outfit. A suit. Perhaps a towel to chew on. What’s your name, sir?”
“Sir Matthew Bryan Fortier – without the hyphen.” Fortier stood up. “But the others call me Paul because I’m relatively tall.”
“You are relatively tall. And are you also relatively hungry, Sir Paul.”
“It’s 9:00 a.m. and I haven’t eaten since this morning.”
“Relativity lives. Then let’s go over to the counter and order something.”
The three men walked confidently to the counter.
“Give this man…two double cheeseburgers and two chocolate shakes. And a double order of fries.”
“Would you like fries with your order?”
“What did I just say?” Romar studied the man behind the counter. “Y’know, perhaps you may not be suited to McDonalds. And I need another assistant coach. What’s your name?”
“Really. You were named after the famous Italian Renaissance painter?”