ALL IS RIGHT WITH THE WORLD
The 29th (and greatest) U.S. President, Warren Gamaliel Harding, was a renowned gambler, golfer and lover of life. As such, his sage wagering advice and stories of criminal bravado are brought here through the medieval art of necromancy. Seeing as President Harding ushered us into economic success unheard of in human history (before being tragically assassinated by his jealous wife — thus tanking the economy), his words might as well be chiseled into stone tablets. (All views and opinions presented should only be considered those of President Warren G. Harding.)
LAST WEEK: (2-1 overall) NIU (-3), Okie State (+10),
SEASON RECORD: (20-21-1)
THE HONEYPOT: +$3,460,000
I awoke on the cold slab feeling like I had been beaten with a bag of French prostitutes. The nausea hit me next. I curled up the fetal position and tried to wretch, but that produced little more than spit and bile; a cold chill went down my spine soon thereafter.
The Warren G. Harding File
- Term: 3/4/1921 - 8/2/1923
- Position: 29th U.S. President
- Trade: Dope/Newspaper Peddler
- Hometown: Marion, Ohio
- School: Ohio Central College
- Rivals Ranking: 5-Star
- Quote: "Damn, I hate being sober."
It was a maniacal cackle that eventually interrupted the darkness and pain. "Heroin withdrawals are no joke, eh my boy?" A ballad of frenzied tapping against glass followed; my fiend instinct told me somebody was in the process of lining up some cocaine.
The last thing I remembered was Devil Billy Taft spitting a plume of fire and my world turning black. For some reason, I felt the fierce parlay had fumbled at the goal-line. I gathered myself and rose to my feet. The scene I found was perturbing.
"The Devil's Manse is a little colder than you'd imaged, eh President Harding?" There sat Brady Hoke, with donut powder and cocaine sprinkled on his tailored suit like a cow's blood on a butcher's jacket. His Rolex sparkled under the chandelier light as he snickered at his own jape.
"You seemed surprised to find me here," he noted before leaning over a small anthill of cocaine and inhaling it through a rolled-up crinkly $1 bill.
"The fire and brimstone stuff is just to fuck with people," he admitted with his eyes bulging when he finally came up for air. "That, or for sentencing those foolish enough to ride against me."
"Where is Billy Taft?"
"He died of cholera in 1930, and has remained rotting in the ground ever since. You think that naive oaf could cut his teeth in the pits of Hell?" Brady Hoke leaned back in his luxurious throne, obviously impressed with himself. "His soul remains unclaimed by either side. His specter was merely a tool I used to summon you to my manse.
"You see, President Harding," Brady Hoke continued as he steepled his fingers, "I don't take nothing but the truly rotted apples on my team. You... now, you are a scumbag cut from the cloths needed to survive in Hell. Pledge your soul to me in fealty, and spend the rest of your days on a pile of professional sex-havers so high it will blot out the Sun."
"The only business I have with the Devil," I countered, "is another motherfucking parlay."
Brady Hoke's eyes flared red; he took out his aggression on another anthill of cocaine on his desk. "Fine," he said when he arose, "but you know the stakes. I will have one million dollars and your soul when this parlay turns to ash in your mouth.
I looked the Devil in his eyes, reached into my tuxedo jacket and lit up a Newport. I took a five-second drag.
"OK, Devil," I said, "you have a deal."
"Niiiiiick!" Brady Hoke roared.
A door behind me creaked open, and a small child waddled into the Devil's posh study pulling a small toy wagon filled with crystal footballs.
1 MIL PRESIDENTIAL POWER PARLAY
- STAKES: $1mil/soul :: $2.8mil
- WAR EAGLE (+13) vs. Bama
- BUCKEYES (-14) vs. TSUN
It wasn't until the small child reached the chandeliers' light I realized it wasn't a small child at all: it was Alabama head coach Nick Saban. My jaw was figuratively on the ground as Nick stood on his tip-toes and placed a crystal ball on the desk of Brady Hoke before disappearing back into the shadows and out the door.
"Yes, it's true," Brady Hoke cooed, "Nick Saban has been a thrall of mine since his days at Michigan State."
"That's good I said," taking another drag off my trusted Newport, "because I plan on riding against the Devil and his lackey in this week's $1,000,000 Presidential Power Parlay.
Brady Hoke's eyes flared red once again, "Be careful where you tread, President Harding. You think you know pain and suffering? I wll make your darkest days seem like you were sucking honey from your mother's teat."
"Is that some sick tradition of your troglodyte tribe? Sucking honey from the teat of your mom?"
Brady Hoke drove his fist into his desk so hard the fifty pounds of loose flesh around his arm quivered like a bowl a jello. "I will take my sweet time when I torture you for eternity," Brady Hoke said. "Alas, we could have been great allies."
I ignored him and moved onto more pressing matters: feeding the streets.
I flicked the butt of my Newport onto the lynx carpets of the Devil's study. "Satan," I declared, "the first team I want is The Almighty Buckeyes of The Ohio State University (-14) against that rag-tag squad of bastard's squires you call a football team up north.
"I'm not fooled by your false humility, Brady Hoke. I know, despite all the intrinsic evidence to the contrary, you believe in the deep fried apricot where most people have hearts, you will win Saturday. I can already see your illusions of grandeur; your stupid little post-game press conference where you'd act like King fucking Tut.
"I am here in your darkest pits to declare: Ohio State is going to put its boot up your ass, Brady Hoke, and there's no amount of devil magic that is going to save you.
"The second team I'm riding with is War Damn Eagle (+12.5) vs. that warped Keebler elf you have running you crystal balls filled with your cocaine. Auburn is coming off a bye, and although Alabama is coming off a glorified scrimmage, the Tide aren't the leviathans they've been in yesteryears. I don't know if Auburn will win, but I'm damned willing to bet my soul they'll be able to cover twelve and a half points."
Brady Hoke smirked as he untwisted the crystal football and dumped the half kilogram of cocaine onto his desk. "Some of my finest wares, right here," he said. "My secret ingredient—"
"—Is donut powder... I know all the devil's tricks in the cocaine game." And I did.
Brady Hoke crossed his arms like a spectator watching a key fourth down play in a Michigan game. "Oh, am I going to enjoy owning your soul," Satan said. "Go Blue!"
I went to make a retort, but Brady Hoke flicked his wrist and a sharp pain shot down my right side before everything went black,