Another night at the B n B, another half-pint of Guinness down. I was at one of the several wrought-iron tables of the patio, surrounded by a half-circle of friends, including The Jeremy and The Natalie, The Gordon, The Ned, and The Artist-Formerly-Known-As-Yeezus-Now-Known-As-The-Bobby-Stubbs. Our lit cigarettes flickered through the evening air like fireflies, and a blanket of smoke hung over the table as though, beneath the table, something were being slowly roasted.
"So why not Yeezus, Bobby? You wore it so well," I said.
"Oh don't remind me! I wore it too well! I'm being sued!"
"That would make one hell of a suit," I said. "By whom?"
"You're suing yourself? That sounds like a terrible personal problem, Bobby."
"No, you dolt. Kanye. He's claims that in taking the same name, I violated his Name, Image, and Likeness. I have effectively stolen his identity, according to him. And his lawyers."
"You need a lawyer?" I asked. "Because I got a guy. The Immortal, J, Esquire, my dearest friend, present company excluded."
"I'm on good terms with the Kingdom of Heaven. They have one lawyer in their employment. His name is Thomas More."
"He isn't bad," said The Gordon.
"But rusty. He stopped practicing sometime in the 16th century," said The Stubbs, in despair.
"Did you explain to Kanye that the name came on the authority of the Good Lord in all His magnificent glory?"
"Well, I didn't. Kim did."
"Say who what Kim who?"
"Kim did. His ex. Kardashian," said The Stubbs. I gave him a look of bona fide respect; I must admit I did not know the man had it in him.
"Doesn't she know a few lawyers?" I asked.
"Isn't she seeing Pete Davidson now?" said The Natalie.
"Presumably when she wasn't seeing me," said The Stubbs.
"What brought it out of her, I wonder," I said. "I mean, whatever you think of Davidson, he's good-looking, and, occasionally, actually funny, especially when you turn the sound off. Then there's Kanye and, well, no accounting for taste, I reckon."
"Chicks dig immortality, dude," said The Jeremy. "Even in the age of Ryan Gosling, Jesus is still the most popular eligible bachelor in the history of the world. Just ask any of the ladies in a convent."
"He's right," The Gordon said. "Trust me, those nuns love him and they don’t lie. I can attest as the one good Irishman at the table."
"But we do not know that Bobby here is immortal. We only know that he survived his wake."
"Surviving death once is a good start, I would think," said The Jeremy. "And anyhow, it's more than any of us have ever done. Even more than Pete Davidson, never mind Kanye."
"Frankly,” said the Stubbs, “I would have passed on the whole business. Have you ever been smashed between a Hellcat and an Audi? It hurts something awful, let me tell you. You don't walk that one off. I certainly didn't. Then there were the hangovers. I thought from my time in heaven I was cured forever of them. In that regard I am mortal for certain. And then you have a woman you've never met hot to trot and jump your bones and a jealous ex geared up to sue you for it, all over a name."
"Or the pretext of one," I said.
"What's in a name after all?" Jeremy said.
"If you were immortal, I wouldn't have thought you would have had bones to jump," I suggested.
"Either way, I'm screwed!"
It was then I received a text communication from The Barry Lewis, informing me that UT could boast three Big 12 championships over the course of one day. Evidently, they were, for some reason, proud of the fact.
At the exact same moment, The Ryan Zeller, Fearless Leader, shared an article involving the great Nick Saban, bemoaning the potential deleterious effects of NIL to the future of college sports.
"Lady texting you?" asked The Jeremy.
"One did. But not that kind. She is my boss."
"I thought your boss was a dude," said The Stubbs.
"The kingdom of Hell knows many bosses. They are legion. She's simply at the top of the pile."
"What's she have to say? You're finally fired for not knowing anything?"
"Unfortunately for all parties involved, no. It appears the worry of NIL is general in the current cultural climate, college sports notwithstanding."
"What's the fear?"
"It appears that if a team can't attract talent by the old-fashioned method of winning, they can simply buy them. Naturally all the talent is going to go in one direction, to those programs willing to offer the most money. Which would at least partially explain UT's abandonment of the Big 12 in favor of the wealthier SEC, as well the fact they won three Big 12 championships yesterday."
"How are they doing in football?" The Jeremy asked.
"According to The Barry Lewis, terrible."
"Well, The Barry Lewis told me not to quote him."
"Never stopped you before," said The Stubbs. "I can't even get you to refer to me by my name, Bobby. Even when The Good Lord anointed me The Yeezus. Nevertheless, you still insist on calling me The Stubbs."
"Great point, Stubbs" I said. "He says that basketball sucked too."
"According to The Barry Lewis, they were the nation's #1 baseball team . . ."
"There you go."
". . . until they sucked and will be lucky to finish 5th in the Big 12. Which is stupid because there are only nine teams."
"So it begs the question what they did win at," said The Natalie.
"An excellent query to which I can provide no answer. But I can tell you what TCU did win at."
"Rifle," I said. "We are the National Champions in Rifle. Those girls beat Army."
"Yes. For Title IX reasons, TCU has guaranteed Rifle as a women's team. And they kicked Army's ass."
"This does not surprise me," The Natalie said.
"Which gives me a great notion! And would suffice to satisfy all parties present regarding our concerns of NIL, including The Stubbs!"
"Lay it on me," said The Stubbs.
"According to you, Kim already did," said The Gordon. "Which would make such an action redundant."
"This is what we do," I proposed. "We activate our women's Rifle team as a deterrent. We have the head coach send Kanye a cease-and-desist letter under penalty of death. And as for UT, they can keep any player that survives their wounds when our Frogs are finished with them!”
"In other words, we shoot them all," said The Jeremy.
"If they don't give us what we like, yes," I said. “They have the lawyers and the money. But we have the guns! Warren Zevon would no doubt approve.”
"I like it," said The Stubbs, and he began to cackle, raising an amber glass that flickered brilliantly in the light. "What an idea!"
"Sounds like a movie I could make," said The Katreeva, aka., The Kat, who evidently overheard our conversation before joining the table. We all gave her our greetings.
"Kat! Long time no see!"
"All I can see is the title I'm more than a little in love with."
"What's that, Kat?" I asked.
"The Killer Frogs."
"Might have an NIL problem there," said The Jeremy. "The name is taken by bossman's employers."
"Oh they'll love it. We need the publicity," I said. "And anyhow, they're not litigious, unlike others."
"To The Killer Frogs!" proposed The Natalie.
"To The Killer Frogs!"
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