A dark blue Crown Vic pulled up beside them. Stenciled on the door in large letters: Dodgers Obedience Guard. In smaller letters: Protecting Dodger Glory Everywhere.
The D.O.G. inside pointed to the curb, “Pullover. NOW!”
Blue lights flashed wildly.
Manny jumped. “What do I do? Try to out run him?”
“Dog looks real mean,” said Sporty, the sports writer, in the back seat.
“Say something!” said Manny, starting to gasp. “Mr. B., talk to me. You're my agent.”
“I'm thinking. Better stop, I guess, but let me do all the taking.” said Mr. B.
Sporty pulled out his little tape recorder. “This will be good.”
Manny was drinking a can of Mary Jane's Super Klean 13. “Crap,” he said. He gulped it down, burped, looked around and smiled.
As he pulled over to the curb, off balance, he fumbled the can into the glove compartment.
The D.O.G. was right at the window. “Open up.” he said. He stared into the window, blue aviator glasses, blue smokey hat.
“Hey, man. What'd I do,” said Manny, rolling down the window. “I' didn't do nothing.”
“What was that in the can?”
“This is highly irregular, demanding such from law abiding...” said Mr. B, the agent.
“Did I say you could talk,” said the D.O.G. “Sir, my name's Sgt. Joe Sunday. What were you drinking? Tell me it wasn't...illegal in some way.”
Mr B., the agent, took a small card out of his wallet and handed it to Manny.
The card read: 'If stopped by Police, CHP, Border Patrol, IRS, D.O.G , Parks and Recreation Officer, Fashionista or an angry Giant fan, proceed as follows:
Say either: “I did not do it,” or “I did nothing wrong.” or “It was that way when I got here,” which ever seems appropriate, but sticking with #1 is probably best.
Say, "You know who you're talking to?"
Try a bribe
Plead the McGwire defense
If this doesn't work get down on your knees, cry, say you're oh so sorry
“I asked you a question.”
“You know who you're talking to?" said Manny.
“Your signed two year contract.” He snapped his fingers. "Hand it over. Now.”
Manny pulled out a $100 bill. Sunday looked at it over his blue glasses. “That's it, $100?”
Mr B. whispered to Manny, and pointed at the card.
Oh yeah” said Manny. “Hey, I don't have to tell you nothing. McGuire never had to answer that?” Manny look pleased.
“Who?” said Sunday.
"McGuire, Mark McGuire, you know the home run guy. You stupid?”
“You mean Mark McGwire? You been reading unauthorized material? They always spell it wrong." He peered inside the car. “Who are these other two. You get permission to talk with them?”
“Permission? Well, not yet. This is Mr B., my agent, and that's Sporty, writes for the...”
“I know you guys. OK, out of the car. And if you run, I'll shoot you where you stand.”
Sunday stood there waiting. “And don't think we can't cut you. You've been suspended, your production, oh boy, and you getting $20 mil a year. Get real.” He breathed deeply. "Please, tell me this isn't happening."
“But Jim Thome, he's playing and he can't hardly walk.”
“What do you know about Jim Thome?” He saw an open copy of the SportingNews on the back seat. “Who said you could read that. You're not supposed to be thinking about anything but Baseball. Not salaries, who is on the DL, negotiations.” He fanned himself with his clip board.
“And what is that?” He saw a small bottle of pills on the dashboard.
“Just some pills...my back's been hurting,” said Manny. “Called Greenies.”
“What?” said Sunday.
“Greenies,” said Sporty. ”Benz, bennies, road dope, dex, dexies, lightening, bumble bees, chicken powder...”
“I know what they are,” said Joe Sunday. “I'm not stupid.” He took the pill bottle from Manny and looked at it closely. “Hide these. I don't want to see them again,” and tossed them back onto Manny's lap. He stood back and said, “Okay, everybody, out of the car.”
He looked down at his clip board, “Sporty, the sports writer, I don't see your name on my list. You're not supposed within 10 city blocks of Manny. Boy, this is going to cost you plenty.”
All three got out of the car and stood at attention on the sidewalk.
Sunday stuck his face a inch from Manny's. “Talking with your agent, without permission. Associating with a known sports writers. In your car no less.” He ripped the small tape recorder away from Sporty, and stomped on it hard with his blue leather boot.
“This is all going into my report...”
As screams came form the trunk.
“What the hell...don't tell me.” Sunday stopped, and his thumb slowly went up. “Pop it.”
"I'm oh so sorry..." said Manny, as he popped the trunk.
“Well” said Sunday. “If it ain't Hannah Hannah from Santa Ana. The Sports Lady. Trying to hide from me, again huh?”
“I was kidnapped, Joe. All I wanted was an interview...”
“I knew it was wrong,” said Mr B, “so we did what we had to do. She's unauthorized, so we were going to take her to Palm Springs, way away, just to talk...”
“Unbelievable.” Sunday stared at her. “Well? Let's go. OUT! We don't have all day.”
Getting no help, Hannah struggled out of the trunk, ripping her tight skirt up the side in the process.
“That won't work with me, sweetheart,” said Sunday, “I got a wife, two kids and a pit bull named Bad Boy. I'm real happy. Besides you'd have to rip it way higher than that.”
She moved quickly and stood between Manny and Mr. B., the agent.
“All I wanted was human interest stuff.” said Hannah.
“Digging up smut. All it was. I know your type, Hannah? And do something with your hair.”
Mr B, the agent, elbowed her and pointed to his card. She blinked, and with a ripped skirt and six inch stilettos, Hannah made her move, off, breakneck, down the sidewalk, high tailing it toward the cab stand near Spagos.
“She won't get far, I know where she lives.” said Sunday. “Okay guys. Listen up, and listen up good.”
Joe Sunday paced in front of the men, hitting his baton on the palm of his hand, “All we hear today is pros going off the reservation, getting their pictures in the paper, drugs, sex, getting shot, whatever. I'm your Guardian. You're no good to us if you lose respected with the fans. Steelers didn't guard their QB close enough. Problems now with college players. Went AWOL. Off the reservation.”
He walked back to his car, threw the clip board inside, and came back. “Assembling with unauthorizeds, sports reporters in your car, meeting your agent without permission. All adds up to no good, Manny. And trying to out flank me, hiding Hannah in the trunk.”
Joe Sunday turned and surveyed the tall buildings along Wilshire Boulevard. He sighed. Then looked down and shook his head.
“Get in the trunk.” He pointed to Mr B. and Sporty.
“What the hell?” said Mr B.
“You're not serious?” said Sporty. “You can't make me...”
“And gimme that cell phone. You can pick it up at Will Call.” said Sunday. “Any questions?”
“IN,” said Sunday. “And let this be a warning, Manny. Too nice a day to be inside doing paper work. You were never stopped. You never saw me. I see any of you together on my watch...,” He rubbed the handle on his Glock, holstered at his side. Then he poked each in the stomach hard with his nightstick.
They both coughed, and crawled in. Manny slid behind the wheel.
“Just a warning...THIS TIME.”
“You won't have any problems, sir,” said Manny. “RBI's all I'm thinking about.”
“Yes sir,” and off he sped, hellbent, dreads blowing in the breeze, happy it was only a warning.
That's my take. What do you think? How far should a team owner go to keep his players in line. Run wild or straight jacket?