September 27, 2012 by David Gillaspie
A large wedding party swirls across the grounds of an immaculate estate.
Undercover policemen wander through the packed parking lot taking pictures of license plates.
A group of men in suits line up outside a side door of the manner house.
A tall ginger-haired man moved forward each time the door opened until he was next in line.
Then it was his turn.
The bright day and music disappeared inside the house of shadows. The ginger followed his guide to an office where an old man in a wedding tuxedo sat behind a desk. Large men sat in chairs along the walls smoking.
In a low rasp, the man behind the desk spoke.
“As you know, it is my daughter’s wedding day. According to the traditions we follow I am bound by blood to grant any wish on this day. What do need from me?”
The ginger stepped forward quickly. With equal speed one of the men sitting along the wall appeared beside him, one hand on the ginger’s arm, the other inside his jacket.
The man behind the desk waved him back to his chair.
“Relax, Momo, we’re all friends here.”
After leaning in close enough to smell the ginger’s Old Spice, close enough to read the back of his eyes, Momo sat.
The man behind the desk rose and offered his hand. The ginger leaned forward to kiss the ring on the hand, but the man pulled away.
“No need for the formalities today. What can we do for you.”
“I don’t know what to do,” the ginger said. “I’ve made a mess. My name is…”
“I know who you are and what you’ve done.”
“I followed instructions, Godfather. The refs were getting too cozy with Vegas so I told them to police themselves before their next contract negotiations. But they didn’t, so…”
“Stop right there. First of all, we never mention the police. We never mention police.”
“I’m sorry, Godfather. I beg your forgiveness.”
“You know how to show respect. That’s good. Now continue.”
“My people came to me with assurances that you would go along with any decision on refereeing football games.”
“That is true.”
“So I suspended the refs.”
“It’s different than what we do. When we suspend someone, we suspend them from everything. Permanent, right Momo?”
“I understand, Godfather.”
Momo coughed from his chair. When the ginger looked his way he made a pistol with his hand, pointed it, and pulled the trigger. Ginger looked away.
“And now you have a problem you’d like my help with?”
“Yes, Godfather. I don’t know what to do. Things have unraveled after the Seattle – Green Bay game.”
“You call bookies losing $300 million on one bad call unraveling? You call casinos offering refunds unraveling. We had talks here about suspending you.”
The ginger whimpered. He shook his head sobbing. He cried.
“I can still do the job, Godfather. You know I can.”
The Godfather swept around his deck and grabbed a handful of the gingers shirt and pulled him forward with one hand and slapped his face back and forth with the other.
“This is a leader, this whining sissy? Snap out of it. Be a man. Do you remember how?”
He shook him, then pushed him away.
“I’m sorry, Godfather. Please don’t suspend me.”
Momo coughed again but the ginger didn’t look to see his cocked finger-gun pointing at him.
“You need help so you come to me. As it should be. Now pull yourself together. My people will call with a plan. Until then, do nothing and you’re doing enough. Wait for the call, capisce?”
The ginger smoothed his shirt and wiped his eyes.
“Yes, Godfather. Thank you.”
“Good. Momo, take the Commissioner for a ride,” the Godfather said, drawing a finger across his neck.
The ginger grabbed the Godfather’s hand and covered the ring with kisses.
“NO. I’ll do better. Please.”
“Okay, okay. Momo’ll see you to the side door. That’s just a little joke we do around here. Jeez, you need to calm down. Being so wired up isn’t good for your health. You’re not wearing a wire, are you? Momo?”
“No. God, no. No wire, Godfather.”
“I didn’t think so. Now wait until you hear from us. You can go.”
Later that evening national news reported that regular NFL refs would work the Cleveland – Baltimore game.