The Bye Week Chronicles - Keeping Curtis Here
Quesidilas & Radio Towers
“Then a meteor the size of Detroit landed on Mexico City and killed all the dinosaurs.”
A very stoned Pat McAfee was expounding on his version of planetary development to a rapt Curtis Painter. Kerry Collins was sitting on the floor in the corner wearing a chin-strapped Penn State helmet in my apartment.
“This is how the Mesozoic era ended. At least, that’s how I recall it being presented to me at the University of West Virginia.”
“I don’t know, Chief,” I say, trying not to sound too pompous. “I’m pretty sure that’s not the way it actually went down.”
Heavily-lidded and holding a bong, Pat McAfee says, “You went to God-damn Indiana State University. What would you actually know about dinosaurs?” Ouch, that stung. Collins’ neck can’t support the weight of the helmet, meanwhile.
* * * * *
Jim Irsay had become tedious and I was avoiding him. He was tweeting me every ten minutes or so. The Colts owner, no stranger himself to smoking weed and playing amateurish guitar, was apparently taught how to use Twitter by a teenager during a concert at the Verizon Wireless Music Center. Ever since then, the guy won’t shut up, posting every time he takes a crap or picks up some vagabond player off of waivers. But now he was hitting me up about Curtis Painter and Pat McAfee. It was the Colts bye week and with time on their hands, Painter and McAfee had their owner worried. Irsay wanted me to keep him posted on their activities. IM AFRD THEY’LL DO SUMTHNG STUPID, his message read. No shit, Jimbo. And lest we forget, the heavily-concussed Kerry Collins was still ambling about town, getting into God-knows-what. Collins’ coma-like symptoms were becoming ever more worrisome.
“Can you put a medic alert ankle bracelet on him so we can have some idea where he is,” Jim Irsay requested. Done. Anything else?
“Could you explain to Collins that, well, he’s been released by the team, placed on injured reserve. He can go back to his family in Nashville. There’s really no reason for him to be in Indianapolis.”
We had told Collins that many times. He even went home to Nashville once but hitch-hiked back to Indy shortly thereafter. I think he just likes being around Curtis and McAfee. He told me his wife and kids were “boring” and “leeches” and that spending time away from them was “The New Way.”
* * * * *
“At Purdue, all I learned were facts, man,” Curtis Painter is lamenting. “Fucking facts. I told my professors, ‘We can never really know anything. We can pose like we do and stage clever cocktail parties where we dress up and pull clever anecdotes out of our collective asses, but we don’t truly know anything and the pretense to the contrary only cheapens and inhibits our pursuit of any real thruths.’”
McAfee was in awe. Typically, Curtis just talked about weed or tacos, but he had the room spellbound. “Fuck me,” McAfee said. “You’re like a genius, Curtis. No, you’re more than that. You’re a guru-philosopher-sage.” Collins looked at me through his facemask and whispered, “Please put me in the trunk of your car.”
Since we had to move Collins anyway, we decided to head out and landed at KG’s Pub after brief stints at the Game Stop and Karma Records for Call of Duty 4 and a new bong, respectively. Collins had remained in the trunk for the other errands but we brought him into the bar with his helmet still on in case he fell.
Painter was soul-searching. “As an NFL quarterback, I thought I’d get laid more.”
“I know what you mean,” McAfee added. “Chicks should just want to do me on principal, but they don’t.”
Collins took out his mouthpiece and said softly, “I’ve been in a near-coma for three months and I still get more action than both of you idiots combined.”
Reluctantly, I once again spoke up. “Curtis, nada personal Homey, but Ive heard women speak….uh…disparagingly about your hair.”
“And your quarterbacking skills,” McAfee added.
Curtis began sobbing uncontrollably and immediately poured himself another generous cocktail from our pitcher of Long Island Ice Teas.
“Fuck it, man. I’ve had it with this town. You can’t surf here, the cops continually pull you over for hitting a bong while driving, dip-shits blame me for costing the Colts their precious perfect season, people say my hair is greasy, lanky, a skullet. Whatever. I’m done. It’s not my fault we’re 0-10. It’s not like I’m the only guy on the team who comes to games stoned.
There was a deep silence at our table. Curtis polished off his drink and slammed it on the table.
“I’m gonna demand to be traded.”
I couldn't picture too many NFL GMs lining up to barter with the Colts over Painter's services, but McAfee was clearly moved.
“Don’t fucking do it, Curtis!” he wailed. “I beg you, man. Stay! We’ll surf the White, climb radio towers, smoke that strain from New Guinea I was telling you about! Just don’t fucking leave me!” McAfee was actually shaking Curtis Painter.
This was getting pretty heavy and I sensed that some of the barflies at KGs weren’t having it. “Shut the fuck up, can’t you?” one disgruntled geezer bellowed. “Man up,” another douchebag yelled. Collins was rolling his eyes, and for once it wasn’t due to multiple concussions.
“Curtis,” Collins explained, “The Colts can’t trade you. I have brain damage; Manning’s neck is done. Orlovsky is Orlovsky. You’re staying, Holmes.”
Just then, Jim Irsay tweeted again: IM SO HIGH! CANT STOP, ADDICTED TO THE SHINDIG!!!!!!
I showed the message to Painter and McAfee and they both teared up.
“We should like win a game for that guy some week,” Painter said.
“Yeah,” McAfee agreed, ordering another pitcher of Long Islands.
Next Week: An Amber Alert for Kerry Collins