You are getting bored of this.
Every week is exactly the same. You come in, this bizarre drunkard regales you with a non-fiction tale, and you leave. Every single week, like clockwork. At first it was funny, then it was fascinating, then it was creepy. Now?
Now, it is boring.
There has to be more to life than this. True love, maybe? Salt n' Straw ice cream? Actual football games? There is more out there, you just know it!
But here you sit, The Drunkard guzzling a cavalcade of alcoholic liquids next to you. You search on your phone, trying to find universal truth. Why isn't there a hashtag for universal truth?
The Mysterious Drunkard clears his throat, and you roll your eyes. This guy again. Who gives a shit, really? Golden Tate is actually a clockwork automaton. Cool, but that doesn't pay the Gee-Dee bills, does it? You take a swig of your cranberry juice.
The waiting gets to you. You feel your will to resist snap.
You stare at him, panting. A sigh escapes your lungs as he begins to speak.
When the cries of thousands reach a feverish pitch, when our attacks of offensive design are repeatedly rebuffed, and when our formidable defense has been rocked back on its heels...that is when Bobby Wagner is at his most deadly.
He is a punch to the chest. Body blows: impact after impact, until ribs turn to gelatin, until breath is fleeting, until the flesh of our enemies is swollen and tender like a week old apple. Bobby Wagner does not tire, he does not flag, and he will not stop.
He fills our breaches, while you fill your britches.
Wagner is a blue and green wrecking ball, unyielding and built to destroy. Like Seahawk cavalry, Bobby rides to where he is needed the most. Trouble brewing near the A Gap? Number Fifty-Four flies to their aid, smashing the attackers. A hole has opened straight up the gut? He spearheads the defensive charge, beating back the enemy and sealing the rift in our defenses.
Bobby Wagner is an adamantite chastity belt. You can pound away as much as you want, but you ain't penetrating shit.
Many the Crimson Songbird has tried to sunder our buttresses, seeking to exploit the size of our defenses by countering with speed. But Bobby is always there, flagellating our foes until they beg for clemency. They plead with him, seeking to appeal to his humanity.
Unaware that humanity is not a facet of Wagner's makeup.
Thousands of years ago Bobby Wagner was born under a blood-red moon, in a land undreamed of. He fought his way to dominance, and became a barbarian chieftain; driving his enemies before him, bumping n' grinding with sabertooth tigers, and headbanging to Dio. All with amazing hair. More beast than man, he was covered in the furs of his prey, and the skins of his foes. His ferocity was so great, that he shattered the will of all who opposed him and his people. Robert watched over his clan with the vigilance of a hawk, and calmly dissuaded all would be aggressors from tampering with his many villagers by politely decapitating them, and sheepishly planting their tarred heads on the spears that surrounded his lands.
He excelled to such a great degree at defending his village, that he eventually angered a nearby sorceress-queen, or snake-witch, or murder-lady. Look, I don't know what she was, but she wore a metal bikini and sacrificed people with a twisty knife. Which, frankly, is pretty rock and roll, so maybe chill out with all the questions?
Anyway, this gal was furious that Bobby was sticking her minion's heads on sticks. Those he had not killed returned to her, their spirit broken in twain. Angered beyond reason, she called her priests to her. They wore skirts and had, like, goat skulls for helmets. She let them know that she was not going to stand for this horseshit anymore, because she was the most beautiful woman in the world. To be fair, that is pretty conceited, but we have established that I'm not the morality police. Regardless, her priests agreed that she was hot, and did not deserve to have her evil minions murdered. So they devised a sinister plan to eliminate the offensively defending chieftain.
The Sorceress arranged for fifty-three virgins to be brought to her towering temple. There, she promptly sacrificed them all, pouring their life juice into a giant reservoir. She called upon her mistress to hear her pleas. Suddenly, from the vat of crimson liquid there emerged a figure, oxygen-rich essence slipping from her form like a linen death shroud: Fahtí-Nínær, The Blood Goddess.
The goddess decided to grant a single request from the super-hot princess. The bikini-clad bimbo considered briefly, and then asked that Fahtí-Nínær dispose of Bobby Wagner, the barbarian chieftain. The Blood Goddess, obviously a bitch, agreed.
Bobby was sitting on his throne of skulls, overlooking his village and cleaning his massive steel ax, when a strange feeling came over him. Then, the evil goddess struck.
He felt as though the inside of his noggin bone was being scraped with a jagged piece of metal, and that his eyes were boiling in their sockets. Wagner let out a scream as his soul was ripped from his body, and thrown far into the nether regions of the world. It soared high into the air, and then began descending towards foreign, swampy terrain below. Faster it fell, plummeting towards the earth, directly at a bale of turtles who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
With soundless impact, Bobby Wagner's soul landed firmly inside a big-ass alligator snapping turtle. This would have been awesome, except that it sucked. Wagner had gone from a mighty barbarian king to an amphibious reptile in a matter of seconds. Bobby was unsure what to do, so he just played it cool: swimming around, eating fish, and having turtle sex. He became used to being an eternal turtle, and slowly made peace with his transformation. This calm existence lasted for a millennia.
And so it came to pass that Wagner became bored with the cloaca that was hanging around his pond, and he decided to cross a nearby ten-lane highway, to see what else he could scrounge up. Somewhere around lane seven, he panicked (because there were cars everywhere, and he was just a turtle) and retreated into his shell, refusing to move, though the sun baked him.
It was like this that Mr. Peter Carroll found him.
Mr. Carroll was on his way to do some catfish noodlin', when he saw the stranded reptile. He stopped his car, and picked up the turtle, ignoring the traffic buzzing around him. He took the alligator snapping turtle back to his car, knowing that he had just found a new best friend. Once he was safely in his vehicle, he planted a big kiss on the turtles vice-like mandible, and buckled him into the passenger seat.
There was a stunning flash, and where once there had been a large turtle, now sat a large man. He was clad in sodden furs and a metal thong, with an amazing head of hair. Pete probably should have been surprised, but he was not. This wasn't Peter Carroll's first rodeo, after all.
Peter drove Bobby back to Seattle with him, and there they began discussing Wagner's past, and also his future. Mr. Carroll thought long about The Blood Goddess, Fahtí-Nínær, and the misery that she had caused. Wagner was saddened by the loss of the people he had tried so hard to protect, and confessed that he felt incomplete without them. Moreover, he felt keenly the loss of his enemies, whom he dearly loved pounding into submission. After much deliberation, Peter Carroll invited the deposed barbarian king to join his growing horde of heroes, and seek his retribution.
With a feral grin, Wagner humbly accepted.
The Northmen let out savage cries as they lumber towards the battle line, their purple cloaks billowing in the gusts of autumn wind. They are a monstrous lot, heads bedecked with horned helmets. Behind them stands their captain, shaking and unsure, his eyes flicking nervously over the Seahawk defense that opposes him. He feels a hand settle on his shoulder, and turns to look into the calm gaze of his champion, a man who embodies the will of this unit. The man gives him a reassuring nod, and buckles his chinstrap.
As the Northmen's offense prepares to charge, their vanguard begins a guttural chant: "Ay-Dee! Ay-Dee! Ay-Dee!" It is the call of their champion, and its rhythmic cadence assures Ponder of victory. He smiles, as he crouches behind his line. Nothing can stand against their conqueror.
He is Ragnarok incarnate.
Bobby Wagner watches this impassively, thrusting an arm out to stop The Deathbacker from assaulting the line single-handedly. He points behind him, directing his defenses, and turns back to the purple force who dares to launch an incursion against his new clan. Behind their line stands the massive Ay-Dee, and Bobby's gaze falls upon him.
This one. He will do.
Ponder screams out the signal to charge, his voice cracking mid-shout. With a heave the Northmen vanguard drives forward, opening a breach in the Seahawks' walls. Ay-Dee surges forward like a deluge of muscle, his powerful frame sprinting gracefully into Seahawk territory. Mebane shoots out a granite-like arm, but Ay-Dee drives his shoulder through it, fraking the stone appendage.
Bobby Wagner blasts forth from his position, intent on meeting this assault. He spins around a falling tight-end, and with one mighty swing he crushes the larynx of some jag-off, no-name receiver. Suddenly he is facing the rift in the wall, and Ay-Dee is bearing down on him. With an indomitable roar, Bobby lowers his shoulder.
A cacophonous blast erupts...
White light fills Ay-Dee's vision. He can hear his mother, reading to him as a child. His father squats next to him, teaching him the ways of a man. A copper taste fills his mouth, and it feels as though he is flying, high above the blood soaked field below. The impact of his body hitting the turf jolts him into brief alertness, and straining with all his power, he lifts his head.
There standing above him, steam pouring from the grill of his heavily armored helmet, visage covered in shadow, is the symbol of his demise. He begs for a name, wanting to know who ended him. The figure whispers it to him, and Ay-Dee lets his head fall blessedly onto the ground. He must remember the name; his gods will want to hear it. They needs be wary of this "man".
The last thing The Champion of The Northmen hears before darkness claims him is the grinding of bones, and his mother's soft laughter.
As The Drunkard finishes, you wipe the tears from your eyes. What the Hell is happening to you? Crying over a smelly drunk guy?
But you know what it is: it's the waiting. No football for months is eating at your soul, and what rational thought you had is out the window. You are like a junkie going through withdrawals: scratching at your face, digging through trash for spare news stories, offering filthy services for just the hint of meaningful football.
You throw down some bills, and head towards the door. The weather is too pleasant to be cooped up in this dingy establishment.
As you push the portal open, you hear something from the bar that causes you to pause, and sends tingles racing up your spine.
"You'll be back. Forty-Eight days says you will."