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The Assistant: Chapter I -- Recruiting Film

A hardboiled assistant coaching drama. Today: Lex Whistleblower reviews some recruiting film.

Cameron Spencer - Getty Images

Chapter I

Long days that follow long nights are like ordering turtle soup from a fancy French restaurant and instead getting fried wonton and a $35 bill: Someone is getting decked in the teeth, and that someone is preferably not a dame with a hot streak to match her devil-red hair. Or something like that. I don't know. I'm very tired right now; staying up all night watching Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo reruns in reverse to see if the program slowly blurted out in a legato and tense, "the hell?" was a bad idea. I recognize that now.

But I don't get paid to worry about making decent metaphors about my current physical and emotional condition. I get paid to coach lacrosse. That's Lex Whistleblower's trade, and I wasn't made to do anything else. Unless, of course, someone invents a job where I am given a machete and carte blanche. That'd be a tough racket to crack into, I suppose. All this conflict from within has made me antsy. A slug of SunnyD would really calm the nerves.

I walk over to the coaches' kitchen for some of that sweet sunshine to cool my belly and awaken my sleepy eyes. I crack the door of the cold box -- slowly, because Ted's kid's picture of a fire engine on the cover of the door looks to me as if the little rascal was attacked by a wild pack of dogs while trying to color the thing in -- and it hits me like a ton of bricks dropped from a fourth floor window as a hysterical prank that ended with a hysterically serious head injury to a passerby below: Someone stole my birthday cupcake that my mother (who I stay with because she makes the best meatloaf and not because I don't like to do my own laundry or anything) made me for my birthday. It takes a man with a dark heart filled with spite and, probably, blood (but, like, robot blood that doesn't have human emotion or anything) to steal a man's birthday cupcake. I'd alert the campus police to this situation but I'm already dodging a long list of parking violations that I care not discuss with a man that carries a whistle but can't compel people to run wind sprints while tooting said whistle. I don't like the cut of his jib, you here? What a terrible thing to happen to a guy in the wee hours of the morning (11:15 A.M).

Suddenly, from behind, like a really loud and terrible horn blurting from Ted's kid's freakish fire truck, I hear it.

"Lex, you watch that film yet?"

Mortinsen. A hulk of a man and, according to the payroll reports, my boss. Head coaches always have the same kind of attitude and look: sunken eyebrows that look to cede power from a man's eyelashes; a baseball cap as worn and gritty as a sea otter that was just told that he would become the seafood special at the snack bar at Sea World; and a fiery desire to make sure that his assistant coaches are working because "What the hell do I pay you for, Lex, if you're just going to lose at Minesweeper for four hours a day?" or something like that. (I don't know exactly. I wasn't really paying attention to him when he told me that last week. I was busy losing at Minesweeper.)

"Getting on it now, Mortinsen. Hey, you haven't heard anything about any cupcake thefts in the area lately, have you?"

"I hate your face," he said without a smirk.

I'll keep that in my back pocket for down the road. Mortinsen is a suspect, that's for sure. There's probably a connection between face-hating and cupcake-snatching. I'll get a tail on him after I watch some of this recruiting film. There's nothing worse than recruiting film.

The film room is a dank, dark place; weathered seats sit in sporadic rows, the blinds are pulled closed to erase all indicia of time, and a poster hangs on the wall that reads, "Work or I'll Kill You! Love, Mortinsen." The poster is just Mortinsen staring blankly back into you, his wide face addressing your soul the only way he knows how: by eating it. I pop in one of the hundreds of DVD's stacked up on a desk next to the television, sit back in a chair with a notepad balanced on my leg, and start slugging SunnyD like I just finished playing on the swing set all afternoon. (Which reminds me: Today is Wednesday; it's play-on-the-swing set day.) The film starts: a cheetah stalks an elephant on the African prairie, slowing gaining speed and eventually engages in a full chase for its prey; a narrator intones, "The wild is a dangerous place, pitting speed against mass in the epic struggle of evolution and hunger and desire."

Crap. I taped over recruiting film again. Stupid Animal Planet addiction. I wonder where the Puppy Bowl DVD's are?