Loose End

Phutatorius's picture
January 7, 2013 at 11:32p

The texts flood in, well past 2 a.m.  Fifteen hundred.  Two thousand.  Twenty-five hundred.  Most of them offer congratulations.  There’s hate mail — hate texts? — packed in there, too.  I’ll probably have to change this number, he thinks, after Signing Day.

Bedtime now.  Time to shut the damn thing off.  Another one lands before he does.  A 614 number he doesn’t recognize.  Who am I recruiting in The 614?  He opens the message:

Loose end.


Saban humphs, peels back the flat sheet, creaks into bed, sinks back into the pillow.  Three BCS titles in four years.  A dynasty.  He is entirely satisfied.

Well, mostly satisfied.

“Who does that?” he asks, aloud.  “Who screws with my night?”  Answer: HE does.

The “ROLL TIDE” chants continue through the night, outside his window.  They wax and wane in volume as he drifts in and out of consciousness.  Then he sits up, abruptly.  He looks at the clock.  4:04.  Son of a bitch.  He reaches for his phone, flips it open, powers it on, calls up the text.  Replying:

It is what it is.  Whatcha gonna do?


Seconds later:

So you’re still up?

Saban thumbs out his answer:

Yeah.  You, too?

A minute later:

Sun is up here.  Shining right into the WHAC.

There’s a pause in the exchange.  About five, six minutes before the next text alert:

I said, LOOSE END, Brother . . .

He sighs and replies:

You know me, Urban.  I’d tie it off if I could.

Two minutes pass.  The phone shows him a blue progress bar.  It grunts across his phone screen and finally delivers a .JPEG file.  A flat field: grass and mud.




You still have that shitty flip-phone, don’t you?

Saban snorts.



Kentucky bluegrass in January.

His mind’s eye places Urban on an elliptical right now.  Hands-free, forty minutes into a workout, crushing it, thumbing out texts in that manic way he has.  Why the hell am I not sleeping right now?


That’s 319 miles from Columbus, 307 from Tuscaloosa.

For Christ’s sake.  Saban puts the phone down.  Feet on the floor.  He scrubs them into the hotel room carpet, gets the blood flowing.  Stands up, goes off to take a piss.  Two more texts land in the inbox while he’s gone:


That’s a little more than halfway.


(We know how you all don’t like to travel north.)


Well, down south is where the action is.


Not all of it.


Can you give me an address?


It’s a field.  There’s no address.


Well, where?


Just off I-65.  Bowling Green, Kentucky.


Bowling Green?  Nice.


: ) There’s a Miami up here in Ohio, if you like that better.


Bowling Green, KENTUCKY will do just fine.  Give me a date, and I’ll charter the buses.


Your boys are beat up.  Take all the time you need, and let me know.


I’ll be in touch.


Oh, I know you will.

: )


Comments Show All Comments

buck-I.8's picture

I refuse to believe that Urban would use a smiley face emoticon

WildBear Buckeye's picture

Unfortunately ... I'm not sure the 'loose end' would do much better against Saban's boys than ND just did. This is why I'm totally fine with the bowl ban this year. This way ND got it's head bashed in, which is always great to see. Seeing OSU lose to ND for the national title would send me into a months-long depression. And I think ND would have had a very good chance. Face it, our 12-0 came a year early, and curtesy of a weak schedule. Now next year ... well, I'm very excited for next year.

HighBallAce's picture

We played some of the same teams ND did and we fared just as well! Alabama only showed that Notre Dame's defense was mostly just Mante Teo. I think we would fare a little better against Notre Dame than you realize!
Now Alabama might be a different story but I'd take my chance with Notre Dame!

Haybucks's picture

Bowling Green , KY (home of the Corvette) is off I-65.  Urban would know that I-71 goes through Louisville from Cincy.  
Who's undefeated?  Go Bucks!

If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain


harleymanjax's picture

Yes but you have to get on I-65 in Louisville and head south toward Alabama!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

Phutatorius's picture

Yeah -- my fault.  Correction made.  Can I blame Apple Maps?

NoVA Buckeye's picture

Could be just like the finale to Blue Mountain State, only without the inexplicable cancellation of the following seasons and all the homegrown weed.

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

Bucks43201's picture

who would play LB Thad Castle

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

Jhesse17's picture

That show is the best!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe it got cancelled.

gosolow2000's picture

This made me smile soooo much :)

bodast67's picture

Nice read. Thought I was reading an exerpt from an upcoming book.




     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...                

Phutatorius's picture

I've got a book all right, but there's nothing in it about the Buckeyes.  Thinking maybe your idea has more legs . . .

bedheadjc's picture


Grant Edgell's picture

<<< Highly entertained. Nice work, Phutatorius.

Colby3333's picture

Bet you Petrino would pick up the gal on his crotch rocket and cruise on over to check it out?

D. Anthony's picture

Great post

D. Anthony

Poison nuts's picture

Thanks for a very cool, creative post. Had me smiling at the end, as I envisioned the whole scenario unfolding...OSU lost, but John Simon did sack AJ McCarron a number of times including a safety. Shazier was actually able to stop Lacey on a goal line stand. Braxton had trouble running but was completing passes at a high rate (15/19 - 293 yards). In the end the good guys lose in a valiant effort with the final score being 27-23 Bama.
Later that night, Saban, satisfied that he had truly conquered the world, but also knowing OSU was inching closer to him, again looks at his flip phone & sees Urban has sent the following text:

See you soon - 

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Jhesse17's picture

This was 100% stolen from Blue Mountain State. Not hating, just stating the facts.

Phutatorius's picture

It might be, if I'd ever heard of Blue Mountain State.

If there be nothing new, but that which is
Hath been before, how are our brains beguiled,
Which, labouring for invention, bear amiss
The second burden of a former child.

Shakespeare, Sonnet 59.  (Totally ripped off Ecclesiastes, by the way.)

Earle's picture

As "The Teacher" wrote:  There is nothing new under the sun.

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

causeicouldntgo43's picture

Very creative - love the "loose ends" at the beginning, really engages the reader. If this was a screenplay, I'm sure some dipshit Hollywood producer would give you some notes such as "The only thing missing here is the love story - can you work AJ McCarron's mom into this somehow? Remember, sex sells and we need some sizzle with the steak."

Phutatorius's picture

I wish the Hollywood-types I've written to had been even that constructive. 

Iron_Buckeye's picture

Great post!

“The minute we stop expecting greatness from our football program, we become Wisconsin.” Craig Krenzel

HighBallAce's picture

Only thing your post was missing was "The Empire Strikes Back" playing on Saban's ring tone!....LOL

el duderino's picture

If I were capable of handing out upvotes, I would give you one. Alas, you'll have to settle for this: nice post!

"This is a very complicated case: a lot of ins, lot of outs, lot of what-have-yous."