[Baseball super-agent Scott Boras and a tall, female assistant enter the opulent "Club 19" at the lavish St. Regis Hotel in Monarch Beach, California. At a secluded table, Boras sits with Bill Friday. The assistant greets Friday with a brief kiss and a shiny, Red Delicious Apple. The agent, dressed in a silk, red-on-red, Westmancott suit, smiles confidently.
After a long week at the Major League Baseball General Managers meetings in and around South Orange County, the mood of the participants spotted milling about the hotel was guarded, and the expressions on the faces of the teams' representatives, tight.
Standing at the agent's shoulder, the assistant looks with furtive hope in the journalist's direction. He carries a digital recorder in one hand, and a near-empty crystal glass of Tennessee Whisky and slowly melting ice in the other. The journalist sets both on the table in front of him. Pressing the "rec" button, he speaks.]
Bill Friday: If you have no objections?
[The agent tilts his head graciously.]
Friday: Scott Boras, thank you for your time.
Scott Boras: We'll see if you're thanking me when this is all over. You've met my assistant, Evie?
Friday: Yesterday... by the pool.
Boras: So she said. She's a huge fan of your work.
Friday: So it seemed.
[The journalist shifts nervously in his chair.]
Friday (cont'd): Anyway, the big news here at the meetings, as always, seems to surround you and your clients. This year, that buzz is being heard about one client in particular - the Dodger's Manny Ramirez.
Boras: Bill, I must correct you... Free Agent Manny Ramirez.
Friday: Sorry. I guess it's true you are in the details. Free Agent Manny Ramirez. According to the rules of Major League Baseball, Manny's most recent team, the Dodgers, have until November 14 to tender a contract offer, before he may pursue offers from other teams...
Boras: Already, I tire of this subject. The Manny deal is done. My minions in the Dodger's front office have shown Frank McCourt the error of his mendicant ways, and even now he is willing to fill our coffers with the overflow of his sacrificial love...
[Evie leans over the agent's shoulder, whispering something in his ear. The agent nods.]
Boras (cont'd): ...What I intended to say was that like any elite athlete in this sport, Manny's elite qualities will prove to pay for themselves. I believe both parties will come to a mutually beneficial agreement that will have the Dodgers in the World Series and Mr. Ramirez in the Hall-of-Fame before a single snowflake can descend upon my kingdom.
Friday: This off-season, the list of your clients numbers sixty...
Friday: ...with twenty of them...
Friday: ...with twenty-one having filed for free agency. So many...
[Friday hesitates. He looks up at the assistant. She twirls a lock of her long curls between her fingers while looking deeply into the eyes of the journalist.]
Boras: Do not cower. Ask your question, insolent one.
Friday: I'm curious. It's being said that, during the course of these negotiations with many General Managers that somehow, you've been seen in several different places simultaneously. Exactly how is that possible?
Boras: It's not. I merely convey the illusion of omnipresence. Much like the shortstop turning the "phantom double-play", I cannot, of course, be both on the bag and half-way down the right field line at one-and-the-same time, now can I? It's simply a matter of perception. And yet this little parlor trick also serves a dual purpose, as do all who serve me. That this belief gives my clients such great faith in my abilities, engenders a lifetime of unwavering loyalty, which is of great benefit to me during prolonged contract negotiations.
Friday: And the other?
Boras: It scares the holy bejeebers out of the GM's. I believe the world is a better place for those of us who learn to make fear our friend.
Friday: According to the available figures, as an agent, you receive upwards of $150 million annually in commissions alone from your sixty...
Friday: ...sixty-two clients. Now that you seem to have conquered Baseball, do you have any other plans?
Boras: Plans? Men plan... I laugh.
[The agent laughs.]
Boras (cont'd): In the past, Major League Baseball has done well to serve me, as it has my clients. Yet I am transcendent. Shortly, I shall move beyond the petty schemes of those who think themselves rich but are poor, into that for which I have prepared myself, lo these many years.
Friday: So, you'd like to be the next Commissioner of Baseball?
[Silence fills Club 19 after the echo of the agent's primal cry fades.]
Boras (cont'd): Forgive me. I... I don't know where that came from. Evie Dear, could you fetch me a Single Malt... you know the one. And something for Mr. Friday?
[The journalist lifts the near-empty, crystal glass, jiggling the ice cubes.]
Friday: I'm fine.
Boras: As with all men Bill, I have goal... aspirations. My vision is beyond the childish idylls of sports and entertainment. The administration of my vision will be the consummation of all that is called great in this world's realm.
Friday: Did Obama's people call you too?
Boras: I have never been one for politics, Mr. Friday. Politics is the playpen of grown men who have yet to see they still wear diapers. My vision is of a greater future for all who swear allegiance to my eternal...
Evie: Your Single Malt, Sir.
[The agent leans close to the journalist.]
Boras: She can be yours, you know?
Boras: I'll give her to you. All you have to do is become my voice among...
Friday: Your voice?
Boras: Don't be coy, Bill. You knew that's why I invited you here. I can give you everything you ever desired. Fame... wealth... Evie... everything. And all you have to do is tell the world of my beneficent plan... beyond sports... beyond politics... for all humanity!
[The agent takes a drink of Single Malt.]
Boras: Ech! Evie, you know I take a little ice in my Scotch! I have a good mind to turn you over to A-Rod and Madonna for what you've done!
[The journalist holds up his glass. Smiling, he shakes the remaining ice at the bottom.]
Friday: Allow me?
[Boras smiles as Friday drops two cubes into the Single Malt. The agent swirls the drink in the glass, the melting ice becoming one with the Scotch. He drinks... deeply.]
Boras: With you and Evie at my right hand, no puny power on Earth will be able to stop... aghh! Will be able to stop... Aghhhhh!!!
[Gagging, the agent's eyes seem to bulge in his head. His face becomes as red as his Westmancott suit.]
Boras (cont'd): Deceiver!!! You have betrayed me!!!
[Smoke begins to rise from the agent's ears. The room appears to lose its light, growing darker as the face of the agent glows brighter. Quietly, Evie strokes the skin of the Red Delicious Apple with one long finger.]
Friday: It's the ice. Made from the finest, imported Italian Holy Water. Darren McGavin taught me that one... or was it Sarah Michelle Gellar? I forget.
Boras: Gellar?!!! She belongs to me!!!
Friday: Apparently not anymore.
Boras: But... my plans...
Friday: It's just like you said, "Men plan..."
[In the corner of the now empty room, the agent's body slumps to the table. His face is now a ghostly white above the red of his $100,000 suit.]
Evie: Am I free?
Friday: If that's what you want. Getting free is easy. Staying free...
[The assistant takes the Red Delicious Apple and shoves it into the mouth of what once was the agent. She looks with gratitude... and something more... at the journalist.]
Evie: Come with me?
Friday: I can't. I'm expecting a phone call.
Evie: You have my number.
[Evie leaves. From behind the journalist, a voice...]
Maitre' D': Mr. Friday? It's your call from Mr. McCourt. Will you take it here or...
Friday: I think I'll take it poolside. Is Mr. Ramirez at my table?
Maitre' D': He is, Sir.
[Friday rises from the table. He gestures toward the body of the agent.]
Friday: Take care of this, will you?
Maitre' D': As you wish, Sir. That was Third Base Field Boxes... correct?
Friday: That was our agreement. And complementary parking.
Maitre' D': Of course, Sir. It would be my pleasure.
Friday: And have someone keep an eye on the young lady. I don't want to lose track of her.
Maitre' D': Anything you say, Sir.
[Friday makes his way poolside. An athletic looking man with long, black dreadlocks gives him a wide, slow smile. He greets the journalist with a bear hug.]
Manny: Now about that contract for Rafael Furcal...
ONCE AGAIN: This work is FICTION!!! Under no circumstances did the above conversations take place!!!
[You would think that after this much time...]
Copyright © 2008 Bill Friday