Friday, October 22, 2004
In the Astros GM's Office
"So, okay," Gerry Hunsicker says, cracking walnuts with his long green serrated switchblade right arm. "What happened?
"They just outplayed us," Phil Garner says, munching on offal over in the corner.
"Bullshit," Hunsicker says. "They had help."
"Help?" Garner says, cleaning one long filiform antenna.
"Fish help," Hunsicker says. "Lincoln was behind the birds on this one. A feeding frenzy for the Cardinals. It didn't matter how many mantids we fielded tonight. The early fish got the bird the worm."
"Huh?" Garner says. They didn't sign him as manager after nine losing seasons with the Brewers and the Tigers and then two years of "retirement" because of his towering intellect. They signed him because he's a wily cockroach, and the team's owner Blattodea wanted him on board. It made no difference that Hunsicker wanted another mantid like himself. Hunsicker proposed, Blattodea disposed. And Garner proved his mettle. As interim manager he took the Astros from the cellar to a playoff berth and a shot at the World Series. First time ever in 43 years of Astros baseball. New ownership did make a difference. Blattodea had been right about Garner. But it hadn't been enough.
"LaRussa had them fuckers on some kinda fish enzyme diet," Hunsicker says. "Clemens was fucking on fire. And Scott Rolen was like some kinda fucking superhero. Blammo. Dja see that home run he hit take off? And didja see that aquarium they had in the dugout? That can't be right. Them fishes was watching the game, reading our signals, giving LaRussa pointers. There's gotta be some kinda league rule against that."
"I don't know what you're talkin about," Garner says. "Fish is dumb as a sack a hammers."
"That's what I always thought, too," Hunsicker says. "But Blattodea keeps telling me no. All that stuff about their pea brain and three-second memory is just fucking smoke and mirrors. Turns out they're smarter than we thought. Well, cunning, more like. Manipulative slimy little bastards."
"Sure, boss," Garner says. "Whatever you say."
"I gotta tell you, though," Hunsicker says. "I'm a little worried."
"What about, boss?" Garner says.
"That fish-lovin Lincoln gots a hardon for Houston. I'm tellin you, there could be trouble."
"Uh, okay, boss," Garner says.