It is a cloudy day in Philadelphia. The Sports Complex is a desolate place; empty parking lots, vacated stadiums – only the ghosts of sun-bathed tailgates are here.
A small family – Dad, Mom, and Son – are making their way down the sidewalk; tiny figures in the grand emptiness. The dad wears a three-cornered hat from a gift shop. The mom wears a bonnet. Their arms are full of bags of souvenirs.
The dad leads them up to the left field gate and gazes in at the empty stadium.
MOM: Just a quick look, hon. The train leaves in an hour.
DAD: I know, I know.
SON: What is this place, dad?
DAD: Well, son, this is where the Phillies play pro ball! My dad used to take me here, back when they had some great players – Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins…
DAD: Those were fun times. I even had a bolg.
SON: You mean a blog?
Dad shakes his head and rolls his eyes irritably.
DAD: No, son; part of the joke was that it was purposely misspe—
Suddenly, the shutter flies up on a nearby ticket booth. A greasy, red-eyed RUBEN AMARO is there, wearing a stained, soiled suit. He is caught as much by surprise as the family is.
Dad shields his family from the madman.
DAD: What the hell?!
RUBEN: Hello there! You must be here for today’s game!
They stare at him in silence. Dad looks back at the clearly empty stadium, then to Ruben again.
DAD: What? No.
RUBEN: Oh, well you should be! We’ve got a great team this year! Going all the way; I can feel it!
The parents exchange glances.
MOM: Yeah, we don’t… have any change…
Ruben laughs this off.
RUBEN: “Change?” Please, we’re the Phillies! Like we need your petty offerings! We have a lucrative, billion dollar TV deal on the way, you’ll all see!
DAD: Yeah, we don’t know anything about that. We’ll be on our way now.
RUBEN: Well maybe you’ve heard of… the Philly Fan-addict!
DAD: The… wait, the Phanatic?
RUBEN: That’s right, the Fan-addict!
Silence. A cold wind whistles through the gate.
DAD: Are you saying “Phanatic” or something… else?
Ruben laughs uproariously.
RUBEN: Listen, I’d have to be a piss poor general manager to trade away the rights to the Phillie Phanatic for Todd Helton. So that definitely didn’t happen. We just rebooted our mascot! Now he’s the “Fan-addict!” He’s addicted to you fans! That makes way more sense!
DAD: I don’t think I want my family to be a part of this.
RUBEN: No, you do! You do.
Ruben speaks into a baby monitor that was clipped to his belt.
RUBEN: Yeah, Fan-Addict to the left field gate. Now.
Ruben looks up and grins cheesily at the family. Minutes later, a filthy, greasy Philly “Fan-Addict,” who looks like the Phillie Phanatic if he’d been hunted for sport and been hooked on street drugs for decades, approaches.
RUBEN: Ha, ha! Look at ‘im! He’s in a twelve-step program… to your heart.
MOM: We don’t–
RUBEN: [To Fan-addict] Do the thing.
Fan-addict’s shoulders drop despondently.
RUBEN: Do it.
Fan-addict starts to do a weary shuffle of a dance.
SON: Mommy, he smells horrible.
MOM: They both do, honey. Just do what we did on the subway and pretend you’re watching a movie on your phone.
Son pulls out slick, expensive phone.
SON: (Choking back tears) I’m watching a movie about a baseball team that is made up of best friends who never get old and are always at least competitive!
Mom pats son on the head.
MOM: There you go, son. (Bites fist) There you go…
Ruben, now holding a megaphone, shouts orders at the Fan-addict as he dances.
RUBEN: That’s it, twenty-three skidoo! We rehearsed this! DO IT BETTER!
Son is now crying.
DAD: Please, I’m begging you. We’re not going to buy tickets.
RUBEN: No, no – don’t decide yet. We haven’t even gotten to the big finish.
Fan-addict’s head pops off, revealing a grizzled Kyle Kendrick, who gasps at his own mistake.
RUBEN: KYLE! I mean – WHO ARE YOU AND WHY ARE YOU WEARING THE FAN-ADDICT’S SKIN YOU PSYCHOPATH!
Ruben coughs up some blood.
RUBEN: Oh, man, see! I’ve got the fever! Look at me, bleeding Phillies red! Don’t you want to be a part of – pick up that fucking head Kyle I swear to god – don’t you want to be a part of this fun!
Dad eyes the curiously abandoned stadium. A family of sea gulls is feasting on what looks like a human hand. Part of a bathroom sign detaches from the wall and crashes nearby, scattering them.
DAD: When do you guys even play?
RUBEN: Oh, we’re actually playing right now!
KYLE: I’m pitching today.
Ruben notices the family quietly conversing with each other.
DAD: I’ll distract them and then you guys run.
RUBEN: Wait! Don’t go! It’s free dangle hat night!
They look back. Dad vomits. Son turns away. Mom stares in horror.
MOM: That’s… that’s a dead musk rat.
RUBEN: Yeah! You put it on your head!
He does this this. Its grotesque limbs, tail, and now open jaw hang off the side of his head.
RUBEN: …and it dangles.
The family flees. Kyle throws up into the Fan-addict head.
RUBEN: Whoa, hey now, Kyle. You better not be headed to the DL. Bullpen’s tired. We need you to go deep tonight.
KYLE: MY FAMILY BETTER BE ALIVE YOU SICK BASTARD
- 700 Level
- Crashburn Alley
- High Cheese
- House That Glanville Built
- Philadelphia Will Do
- Philled In
- Philly Gameday
- Philly Gossip
- Phoul Ballz
- The Good Phight
- The Insider
- The Zo Zone
- Where's Weems?
- Who Does He Play For?
- Zoo With Roy