"Modern Times: The Quest for the Holy Lombardi Trophy" - Chapter 4

UPDATE - Author's Note:  This series of posts was introduced in the hopes of providing entertainment only.  You will not find any breaking news, serious opinions, or editorial commentary.  When I posted the first three installments, several members enjoyed them.  The last two were not so well received, but that's okay.  In point of fact, this is simply a chapter play presented as a medieval parody of the NFL and Panthers, past and present.  My only frame of reference for Medieval language comes from books and movies.  I do not have an editorial staff.  I know the phonetic spelling is nowhere close to being accurate, but if you can't find humor and/or at least appreciate the effort, you do have a choice.   Just as I have a choice to simply stop trying, which it seems would lead to much rejoicing.  But if you'd like to see the story continue, and you have constructive suggestions, please let me know in the comments.  But remember, I'm doing this on my own time, for no pay, and at no cost to those who choose to read it.  -- Thank you.

Our tale so far:

Chapter 1 - The Visitation
Chapter 2 - Send Out the Clowns
Chapter 3, Scene 1 - Oddbark and the Villagers
Chapter 3, Scene 2 - Dark Days of Yore
Chapter 3, Scene 3 - The Tale of Lucinda

Scene 1 - Sir Tyler and the Carnival

Sir_tyler_of_durden_medium Sir Tyler of Durden, a.k.a "the Concussed", is confused (not unusual) about his Scouting Mission to find the best available Field Attack Squad Leader.  He's traveled many miles through all the NFL kingdoms, and he has spoken with Lords, Dukes, Earls (even a chandler claiming to be "The Duke of Earl"), other Scout Knights, petty landowners, and peasants alike.  And in trying to reconcile the many differing opinions, his mind naturally arrives at the following conclusion: "S'blood, this be hard work indeedy."  So, he goes back to thinking about; "By all that is Holy, how didst Pia get voted off of Idol this week?"  Sir Tyler is nothing if not dedicated to his work. 

Ah, but then, a ray of hope emerges as he sees the array of tents ahead.  "Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy," he thinks, "that doth appear to be a traveling carnival."  Arriving at the carnival entrance, Sir Tyler stops to pick up the Carnival Map at the Guest Information booth.

Tyler: "I say, m'Lady, might there be any Soldier Expert establishments set up herein."
Carny Lady:  "Indeed, there be a number of such tents set up.  Ye'll find'em near the back; y'need but follow the map to this one and these others here.  I'll say though, if ye've the time, please partake of the diversity of wares and entertainment offered."
Tyler: "Can't thank thee enough. I will surely do so."
Carny Lady:  "If I may say without giving offense, it appears yer 'orse could do with a bit o'servicing.  We be runnin' a special today - standard hay, mane and tail comb-out, and soap wash for only 3 shillings."
Tyler:  "Sounds a fair price.  I'll leave Lady Marla in your capable hands then."
Carny Lady:  "Hmm... looking at yer saddle there, ye may be wantin' the upgraded package for but a crown more... that'll get ye a full saddle blanket beatin', armor-allin' the leather, re-cushion the seat and cantle; and, since I like ye, I can throw in a shoe rotation for free."
Tyler:  "Well me arse's been complainin' rightly enough.  I'll..."  Horse Farts... "LADY MARLA, for shame."
Carny Lady:  "O, Her offence Is rank It smells to Heaven... Whoooeee... I (cough) heartily recommend ye add the Emissions Over'aul, which includes a good clean-out, filter installation, fiber-enhanced feed, plus ye get one o'these pine tree deoderant horn hangers. T'will run ye a pound more, but I'd wager ye'll both find it worthwhile.  Don't s'pose yer've a coupon, eh?"  (At which point, the Carny Lady, trying to look sneaky while pulling a coupon from under the counter) whispers, "This 'ere'll save ye 3 pence."
Tyler:  "Verily, yer generosity be as ample as yer bountiful bosom.  So, what be the damage, then?"
Carny Lady:  "Wat a sweet lad y'are.  Fer noticing me knockers, I'll knock'er off another 3 pence .  Lessee then, that's the Upgrade Package and Emissions Over'aul, less the (winks) double coupon discount...um, that'll be 1 pound 2 shillings + tax is 1 pound, 1 crown, and 3 pence.  And I'll see that the good Lady Marla be ready sometime between 2 and 8 today."
Tyler (with extreme difficulty, counts out the coinage and hands it over):  "Thanks again, m'Lady.  What time ye get off today, if I may be so bold?" 
Carny Lady (stowing the payment, and also re-setting the fart-sound / stink thingamabob of her own creation): "Oh, I'm never off, Sweetie."   (And indeed, she never was.)

Sir Tyler takes a look at the map, pores over it for 27 minutes, realizes it's upside down, and starts over.  "Ahh... tis much better this way."  After 43 more minutes, he wads up the map and throws it in the waste receptacle, having learned absolutely nothing.  "I prefer following me own direction.  After all, hast it not at all times gotten me to the place I currently be?"  Sir Tyler is nothing if not utterly logical. 

So off he goes, stopping first at the Court of Food... and yes, he supposed he did want fries with that...and the value of Super-Sizing being so logically presented, he did so opt...and sure, he supposed he could manage a pre-packaged slice of lemon-meringue pie.  Leaving the Court of Food, Tyler immediately proceeds to the aptly placed privie, whereupon he promptly relieves himself of no small part of the bargain he had purchased mere minutes earlier. "Well, I s'pose I should be about me other business now." 

Nourished, purged, and resolute, Sir Tyler resumes his mission, making it as far as the next tent, whence he hears:  "Yo, Handsome Homey."  Irresolutely turning, Sir Tyler asks:  "Doth thou be talkin' to me?"

Svetcecil_medium Welcome to SvetCecil's House of Discreet Pleasures 

SvetCecil:  "Mmm..umm.You be one fine lookin' knight." 
Tyler (clueless, as expected): "Pleased to make yer acquaintance.  In what manner may I be of service unto thee?"
SvetCecil (laughing heartily):  "You crackin' me up, boy!  Question is, how can I be of service to thee?  What be ye lookin' fer today?"
Tyler: "Oh, might ye have any information about..."
SvetCecil:  "Lemme tell ye wat's goin' down here. I can offer a comfy bed and all yer needs fulfilled by a fine lady that knows her stuff.  Ye gittin' what I be sayin' son... 2 hours for just tree-fitty.  Now how's that sound?"
Sir Tyler is nothing if not a magnificent processor of information. Thinking..."I could use a nap after feasting, and if this lady knows stuff, she could help with me mission."
Tyler: "Ye got yerself a deal, Mr. SvetCecil." 
SvetCecil:  "Cool, m'man. You got any I.D."
Tyler: "Idee 'bout wat?"
SvetCecil: "You one funny knight.  HAVE YOU GOT ANY IDENTIFICATION?"
Tyler:  "Oh, of course, 'ere be me license card." (hands his I.D. to SvetCecil, who promptly frowns)
SvetCecil:  "Yer a curly short o' 21.  Now me, ordinarily I'd probly let dat slide.  But says 'ere, ye be the true son of Sir Narrator.  If I was to let ye in, I might git written out, ye see?  Uh, just move on along, ye fine young, and still undefiled young knight."
Sir Tyler, being nothing if not a quick learner, immediately thinks; "Note unto self... engage not in conversation with men wearing purple suits, matching hats, and gold bling.  Noted and filed."  ... then promptly forgotten.

At last, Sir Tyler spies a sign that reads:  SOLDIER INFO CENTER     LEFT    0.1 KM
"Hot diggity," thinks Sir Tyler as he begins meandering to the right, fortunately encountering another sign:  NO,  YOUR OTHER LEFT
Getting his bearings at last, he soon arrives at a cluster of tents, bearing signs as follows:

Sir Tyler promptly enters the first (Agents') tent and boldly approaches the first desk in line. 
Tyler: "Good sir, I see by yer nametag ye be Mr. Rosenhaus."
Rosenhaus takes a mighty swig of bourbon and replies with a right impressive belch.
Tyler: "Okay.  Um, I seek information about Field Attack Squad Leaders.  Might ye be able to 'elp me out?"
Rosenhaus (swig):  "Next querstion"
Tyler: "Right.  What be yer thoughts as to the best in the Selection pool?" 
Rosenhaus (swig):  "Next querstion"
Tyler: "Of the free agents available..."
Rosenhaus (swig):  "Next querstion"
After 23 questions similarly answered, Sir Tyler (being nothing if not decisive) moves to the next desk.

Tyler:  "Ah, Mr. Condon, I see.  Perhaps you overheard my questions to Mr. Rosenhaus."
Condon:  "See here young knight, ye 'ave the look of nice, if naive, lad.  So, rather than toss ye out on yer arse, l'll first offer a bit of advice."
Tyler: "That would be so..."
Condon: "We be player agents.  We get paid when our clients get paid.  There be this thing called a lockout... players ain't gettin' paid.  Contracts ain't gettin' negotiated.  Ye do understand that 3% of nuttin' is nuttin', don't ye boy.  I'd be drunker than Drew, but I can't afford the booze, and Drew the bastard won't share.  Try the next tent over.  They be rollickin' and frollickin' in there.  So, fudge off."
Sir Tyler backs slowly out of the tent, for he is nothing if not aware when danger is near.

Opening the flap to the Experts' tent, Sir Tyler's spirits lift immediately, as he hears the sound of great debates being enjoined all about the spacious room.  He notes there are many names and numbers scrawled upon slabs labelled so and so's "Big Board" and so and so's "Mock."  He hears the names Newton, Gabbert, Locker, Mallett... over here, and McNabb, Kolb, Palmer... over there.  Then, to his horror, he sees that these names are spewing from the mouths of disembodied talking heads.  He sees two heads near the front with the names McShay and Kiper etched into their foreheads, literally gnawing each others' ears in a feverish battle.
Being nothing if not shrewd, Sir Tyler eventually realizes he's not going to garner anything in this tent beyond extreme nausea.  "On to the next then," thinks Sir Tyler.

And so, moving on, prior to reaching the Fanatics' tent, he hears the sound of snickering a bit off to his right... no, your other right, TylerThat's my boy (sheesh).  Strolling over, he sees a man fishing in a rather large pond.

Fis(c)herman (still snickering):  "Find wat ye be needin' yet laddie?
Tyler:  "Not e'en close.  I see no way to complete me mission, tryin' as I be to cypher through such vast amounts of information.  So, 'ow goes the fishin' today?"
Fis(c)herman:  "Caught a few, threw most of 'em back.  'Tis a well-stock'd pond, yet most the fish are crap.  So, wat might ye be fishin' about fer today, if ye dont mind me askin'?"
Tyler: "Not at all.  I've been sent forth from the Kingdom of Carolina on a scouting mission to find our best option as Field Attack General."
Fis(c)herman:  "I can give ye the answer right now, and won't charge nary a penny. And I can give ye as much research as ye be needin' to back it up.  Not that I'll be givin' ye all me tricks, fer t'would be foolish to give away me own golden goose; at least that's wat I be ahopin' fer."
Tyler (now getting really excited): "Oh please, tell me at least that which ye can." 
Fis(c)herman:  "In the great midwestern flatlands, where corn is king, there be a young squire. From wat I can measure, the boy's got greatness in him; so far as I'd e'en liken 'im to young Sir Tom Terrific, now king of the lounge-about hippies.  The squire's name is Stanzi"
Tyler: "Why yer daft, 'tis wat ye be. I've traveled for months, asking questions of all I came across, and ye be the first and only to give me this cornfed Stanzi.  Newtons be all about, as be Gabberts.  Even found a few Ponders; most notably espoused by an enchanting lass travelin' with a giant black cat.  But Stanzi?  They'd 'ave me 'ead on a spit if I told'em such."
Fis(c)herman:  "I care not wat ye think, boyo.  Ye can stick it up yer arse, fer all I care.  But, I'm bettin' me own bottom shilling Stanzi'll be the best soldier in the upcoming great Soldier Selection."
Tyler (walking away laughing): "Stanzi, OMG."
Sir Tyler returns to the main drag and heads for the Fanatic's tent.  He could still here the crazy man chuckling, and ever so briefly Tyler felt a strange sensation, which soon passed.  For Sir Tyler is nothing if not dismissive of the seemingly absurd.

Upon reaching the Fanatics tent, by far the largest yet, Sir Tyler was happy to see part of a familiar face.

Sir_rhys-loyd_medium Tyler: "Sir Beast, 'ow came ye to be 'ere." 
Beast:  "I be the bouncer, young Tyler. 'Tis still me duty to put bread on the table.  Ye do be knowin' wats goin' on inside 'ere, right?"
Tyler:  "Battle Fanatics peaceably debatin' wat their teams' be about, or so I thought.
Beast:  "Think thee agin, young'un.  Read the lesser printing 'neath the larger sign."

CLUB of Fanatics In Generally Honorable Talks

Tyler: "Whooo!  Ye know I must enter herein, Sir Beast" 
Beast: "T'was figgerin' as much.  I've 'eard'em speak of ye with great reverence since startin' 'ere.  Canst ye imagine me own surprise.  Still, can't  be lettin' ye pass unless ye be knowin' the rules."
Tyler: "T'was me wat wrote 'em Beast.  I reckon I can recall a couple."
Beast: "So give , or get the fudge outa 'ere."
Tyler:  "The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club! Third rule of Fight Club: if someone yells "stop!", goes limp, or taps out, the fight is over. Fourth rule: only two guys to a fight. Fifth rule: one fight at a time, fellas. Sixth rule: the fights are bare knuckle. No shirt, no shoes, no weapons. Seventh rule: fights will go on as long as they have to. And the eighth and final rule: if this is your first time at Fight Club, you have to fight.   Holy shite, how'd I do that.
Beast:  "Proceed."

Some hours passed, it's hard to say how many, before Sir Tyler emerged.  Sir Beast remained on guard.
Beast:  "Well, definitely yer nose be broke, looks likely a couple of fingers, maybe your left arm as well.  No, yer other left, ye damn'd fool.  Oh, there be a sizable dent in yer helm as well."
Tyler:  "I feel fantastic.  If'n ye be thinkin' I'm lookin' bad, ye should see the other bloke."
Beast: "Aye, he came out a bit ago. There be the bloke over by SvetCecil's brothel."

Chuck_norris_medium Tyler:  "Oh, he'll be sore come mornin', doubt it not Beast."
Beast: "Right."
Tyler: "T'was good seein' ye Beast.  I best take me leave now.  I'll be needin' to pick up me 'orse up front."
Beast (letting  rip a great belly laugh): "So, me boy, 'ow much did she skim ye fer?  Neveryemind, be takin' care o'yerself.  I be hopin' to see ye soon, when the dust doth clear."

Returning to the gate, Sir Tyler finds Lady Marla right where he left her.
Carny Lady: "Well, sure'n ye be lookin' like ye made quite a day of it.  I'm 'oping ye got wat ye came fer."
Tyler:  "Aye, buxom one, I'm believin' I did indeed.  So how's me 'orse gettin' on."
Carny Lady:  "She's right as rain, all perfumed up and ready to ride."
Tyler (mounting Lady Marla):  "Good day to ye, missy.  I'm thinkin' now ye might regret declinin' me earlier offer."
Carny Lady:  "I'm givin' to think ye may be right.  Ooh wait, I be thinkin' we could pop that dent out'n yer helm there afore ye leave.  No extra charge, 'ceptin' a bit o'time wit me back in the hayloft."
Tyler: "Another time, per'aps.  Think I'll be keepin' it as is fer a bit.

And so Sir Tyler rides away, his mind more clear than he can ever remember.
Lady MarlaHorse Fart

Sir Tyler smiles, then chuckles, then begins to laugh: for Sir Tyler is nothing if not a lover of the ironic.

Narrator: So ends scene 1 of Chapter 4.  In our next scene, if there is one, we'll return to BOA Castle and see what's happening on the home front.

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