All Morty Finsternick wanted out of life was to get through one
Sunday at work without hearing the score of the game played by
his beloved Green Bay Packers. All he wanted to do was get home,
pop a cold one and enjoy the game on tape, start to finish, all
alone, as though the Pack were on live.
But every week something or somebody would ruin it for him.
Once, his flipping brother-in-law in Sheboygan called and gave
the result away just by his tone of voice: "You're gonna luvvvv
watching this one!" Another time, just as Morty was rewinding
the tape, the final score scrawled across the bottom of the
screen on Headline News. He'd even heard the outcome on the
classical radio station on the way home. That was Beethoven's
Fourth Symphony. Speaking of fourth, what about that amazing
fourth-quarter Packers comeback?
God, Morty hated working Sundays. Since when did a kielbasa
company need a 24-hour customer service line? Like, there was
going to be some kind of kielbasa emergency? Help me! The cheese
kielbasa's got my little girl!
Every week he became a little weirder about it. He yelled at
people. He began answering his interoffice calls with,
"Don'ttellmethescore!" His wife wondered if he didn't need to
see a therapist. He was developing a facial tic. Finally, on
Week 13, after 12 straight weeks of frustration, he went from
cubicle to cubicle, warning people, "Don't tell me the score of
the game today! I'm taping it! Just don't!"
November 8, 1999
"But--" said Stan from sales.
"Ach, ach, ach," said Morty, cutting him off.
He stuck a sign on his cubicle entrance: DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT
TELLING ME THE PACKERS' SCORE!
"But--" said his best friend, Howard.
"Ach, ach, ach," Morty said, shooing him out.
At first, things went pretty well. When he wasn't resolving the
nation's kielbasa emergencies, he had his headphones on,
Whitesnake full up. He avoided his E-mail, the Internet and his
pager. He put a black cloth over his fax machine.
There was one near miss: Freddy the Fin from customer service,
the guy who bet everybody five dollars on everything, came
roaring into Morty's cubicle, yelling loud enough to make the
Walkman useless, "O.K., I got a fin that says the--"
In a blink Morty was on him, knocking Freddy backward and
putting a hand over his mouth. They bounced hard into the ficus
tree. Fin's eyes were as wide as Frisbees. "Not another word!"
Morty growled, pushing on Freddy's mouth. "I...am...taping...
A half hour before quitting time, just to be safe, Morty hid in
the custodian's closet, with a flashlight and three back issues
of Packer Report. Then at 7 p.m., he sprinted down the hall, out
the back exit and into his Honda. (He'd made sure to turn the
radio off that morning.) He was flying now, only six blocks from
home. Then he had a horrifying thought. Damn! The new bank on
the corner had one of those outdoor electric tickers that
flashed the news. Didn't it run NFL scores on Sunday?
Panicked, he swerved onto West Kilbourn Avenue, nearly hitting a
woman on a bike. He fishtailed until he got the car back under
control. Then a worse thought hit him. If he went any farther,
he'd go right by Major Goolsby's, the biggest sports bar in
town! If the Packers won, people would be spilled out onto the
street! If they lost--nobody! A total giveaway!
Possessed, he knifed across two lanes of traffic and turned into
an alley, where he nailed a dumpster with his left fender and
then a telephone pole with his right, sending him into a spin.
He plowed through the back door of the dry cleaners. When the
cops arrived, they saw Morty lying there in his Packers
sweatshirt, a gash in his forehead and a silk camisole hanging
off his glasses. "Hey, buddy," said the cop. "Just because the
Morty couldn't help himself. He bolted upright and ran at the
cop. He didn't even know he'd been shot until he felt the mush
where his thigh used to be. In the ambulance on the way to the
hospital, woozy from the drugs, he could hear the paramedics
"Lousy day," said one.
"Damn straight," said the other. "Don't you hate it when the
Packers have a bye week?"
Morty tried to rise to choke the man.
"Ach, ach, ach," said the paramedic.
Just to be safe Morty hid in the custodian's closet, with a
flashlight and three back issues of Packer Report.