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"You're lucky to have gotten out of that alive!" I said after The Juan, fellow taco inmate, finished a story involving a friend behind the wheel, who shouldn't have been on a bicycle, presenting his vehicle into the kitchen of a family preparing dinner.  But somehow, all The Juan had suffered in the passenger seat was a dislocated shoulder.  

"I gotta get back to work."  

"They can wait.  They've waited thirty minutes already," I said, as we were in one of those ongoing rushes with which any one in the service industry is all too familiar, when the entirety of Tarrant County has decided within one hour to arrive at the same place, and all effort and resistance by its workers are futile. 

It was then I received a telephone communication from the David Tucker:  Another One Bites The Dust, he opined, above a picture of an athlete in purple who had joined this mysterious transfer portal I've heard so much about of late.  

"Oh not another one!" I said, and seeing the line clawing its way to the kitchen door, I decided it was a perfect opportunity to call The Barry Lewis.  

"Where are you going?" asked the Ximena.  

"To make a phone call," I said.  

"We have a line!" she said. 

"Nope.  You have a line.  I've got The Barry Lewis on the line.  Best of luck!"  

I stepped outside, crossed the street to the garbage dump, and phoned him.  I received four offers to leave a voice message before I found his voice in its living glory. 

"Not you," he said. 

"None other." 

"What now?  Have you done your rankings yet?" 

"One torture at a time, dear man.  One at a time.  I'm calling about this transfer portal business." 

"Okay."  

"The David . . ."

"Just David." 

"The David Tucker says that some guy named Jayhvion Gipson . . . do you know who he is?" 

"David said who he was in the message.  A linebacker." 

"What's that?" 

"Continue with your question."  

"Jayhvion Gipson has entered the transfer portal."  

"So it would seem."  

"Here is my query.  How many people are allowed to enter a transfer portal?  What happens if a whole team enters a transfer portal?  Why would someone want to enter a transfer portal in the first place?  If a whole team enters a transfer portal does that mean that the season is cancelled for the team that has no team?  Could the transfer portal be manipulated as a means to destroy a rival for nefarious reasons--by picking up their best players?  And what is a transfer portal?" 

"That wasn't a question.  That was an interrogation." 

"My time was limited." 

"I'll address your question this way.  The transfer portal is designed to empower college athletes to have more determination in their careers.  Teams and colleges that have better things to offer a given athlete will entice them, and they may enter a transfer portal to see what offers are made available to them."  

"We've had a lot of guys enter the transfer portal." 

"So it would seem." 

"We're going to need a bigger boat." 

"So it would seem."  

"Dear Barry Lewis, that is how it is!  There is no seem!"  

"Worry not.  TCU will have a team come September." 

"How do you know!" 

"Not every athlete is going to enter the transfer portal.  And not every athlete who does is actually going to leave."  

"How do you know!"  

"I just know."  

"This is a matter of faith.  And I think it sucks." 

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"I wish I could disagree with you."  

"Barry, do you know what a metaphor consists of?"

"Saying a thing is what it isn't." 

"It consists of a vehicle and tenor.  The vehicle is the concrete thing being compared.  The tenor is the idea carried along by the comparison.  So when I say my love is a red rose newly sprung in June . . ."

"Let's not let ourselves get carried away here." 

"The rose is the vehicle, the concrete thing supporting the rose, the idea." 

"What's your point?" 

"The transfer portal is the kamikaze.  It's out to destroy TCU football as we know it."  

"It's more like a car full of teenagers that have no idea where they're going.  Every man for himself.  And on that note, I'm out.  Goodbye." 

Click. 

A car full of teenagers on a road to nowhere, I thought.    

I jobbed for another hour and decided to lick my wounds by making my merry way to Ye Olde Bull and Bush on Montgomery 76107 (please, no direct correspondence; all mail will be summarily returned).  

I made my way to the bar, intending to sidle up next to the The Stubbs when he saw me, jumped as if I'd struck him with a cattle prod, and shouted:  "I'm out!" 

"Why, dear Bobby?" 

"No, man!  I'm not doing this!  I'm not standing near you!  Since you've started this KillerToad business." 

"It's Frog, you blasphemer!" 

"I've been stabbed in the ass by a dart, beaten near to death by a giant, run over, vomited on, shot, I've had my foot crushed by a keg . . ." 

"Not to mention poisoned," I muttered. 

"What's that?" 

"Nothing, Bobby." 

"You're bad luck, man.   I mean you're my friend and all.  But if I spend another day with you I'm going to end up in an insane asylum, the hospital, or the morgue."  

"In fairness, you were shot by a paint gun." 

"It still hurt!"  

"But not dangerous." 

"I'm calling an Uber.  And I'm going to wait for it outside.  And I'm not talking to you or seeing you again until at least December."  

"Good to see you, too, Bobby!" I said, asking The Big John to pour a Guinness, if it so please him.  I waited for the muddy Guinness to congeal into its granite black fullness, with its creamy binding of foam at its crown, when I heard the screech of tires on the road outside and a chorus of screams. 

I ran through the door just in time to see a yellow sports vehicle spin past the adjacent road, fishhook in the middle lane and circle at high speed but seemingly in slow motion until its rear climbed the curb and slammed into a green Audi.  But I heard no metallic slam.  Rather, the high tenor of a man's voice screaming something such that cannot be reprinted here, lest Sports Illustrated ban me for life, and I don't want to give the Baylor Administration the satisfaction.  

"It's Bobby!" someone shouted.  "They've run over Bobby!" 

"The Stubbs!" I shouted, and made my way to the Audi, on the other side of which, sure enough, the Stubbs was, dead where he stood, slammed between the rear of one vehicle and the passenger side of another.  The car moved forward a few feet sufficiently to free The Stubbs of his resting place, and he was caught in the arms of The Little John, who wept over him.  Police were already there, shouting for those in the car to get out.  And one after another, parked in the middle of the street, they went, girls in miniskirts who were no older than eighteen if a day, all sober enough to walk backwards, hands on their head, without stumbling despite a half dozen firearms directed toward them. 

"You killed him!" I shouted.   

And dear reader, recognizing that it is considered poor etiquette for a writer to explain his metaphors to a discerning reader, I am a humorist and therefore view etiquette with some contempt.  Thus, my metaphor:  the yellow vehicle is the transfer portal, its drivers their athletes, the Audi the alternative school of so much promise, and standing dead between the two, the dear Stubbs, is TCU's football program.  

"Did anyone need an Uber?" someone in a black suburban asked.  "What happened here?" 

I returned to the bar.  Someone had swiped my Guinness. 

"Where's Bobby? He walked his tab," The Big John said. 

"I'll pay it.  He's not going to be walking any more, I'm afraid."  

And I gave a prayer for the soul of the dear Bobby Stubbs.   


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