Author: Rick Tobin
“You can always get someone to do your thinking for you.”
—Gordie Howe, famous hockey player
“I want him off the ice. I don’t care if you have to take him out!” Patterson adjusted his dress pants over his stuffed pin-stripe executive suit.
“Boss, you can’t mean that. It’s a game, for God’s sake! We have to adjust.” Coach Billings took a deep breath as he monitored the blood rising in the team owner’s neck and face.
“A game? Listen, Billings, we hired you to win the Stanley Cup, not be a cheerleader for the competition. We’re going into the finals. Every U.S. team is behind us…but that foreign monster goalie has got to go.”
“There’s no rule,” Billings responded.
“No rule? His shoulders are seven feet wide. He’s nine feet tall. For the sake of decency, he has three legs. What does that do to our children when they see that? I’ve got daughters…and a wife.”
“Please don’t ever pull that card when we’re in front of the press. They’ll crucify us. There go our merchandise profits.” Billings shook his head and let out a huge pressure-relief sigh.
“Really? They made that thing into a bobble head, showing his horns. That’s pure Satanism!” Patterson slammed his flabby hand on the mahogany office table.
“Okay, first, they don’t even understand that concept where he’s from. They respect everything like it was full of consciousness…even the puck.”
“What are you talking about, man? Have you been drinking?” Patterson stood over the slouching coach in a threatening posture. “I was a forward for fifteen seasons. Those kinds of beliefs belong inside some hippy commune, not on the ice. What about deporting it?”
“Speaking of ICE, they have no authority. The Canadians gave all of that species citizenship last week. They’ve all moved to Canada. What can I say? They love the frozen north where even the Inuit won’t go. Must be like their home world. We can’t deport Canadians.”
“If we only could,” Patterson snapped back, moving away from the bullied coach to push his face close against the tenth-story window. “Those Canucks would let an aardvark play if it gave them an advantage. Probably let them coach, too.” Patterson rolled his fingers back and forth over his arthritic thumbs.
“There’s another possibility, but it won’t help us until next year. We’re working with the former employees of SETI.”Billings straightened and leaned forward for some support.
“The astronomers that looked for life in the universe by listening for radio signals.”
“Oh, those losers. So what?”
“They’re working with the Department of Defense; they have a research group called DARPA. Right now they’re sending out messages to the same region of space where our foe came from.”
“We figure every life form has enemies. Maybe we can get them to show up before next year, make a trade deal, and do some creative signing when they land. You put a threat like that on our team and I guarantee their goalie will lose it. What do you think?”
“Me? “Patterson groaned, turning. “I’m going to look for another sport.”