PEPPER THE NOTRE DAME COMEBACK DOLPHIN

Charlie Weis thrashes in his dreams on a hot night in South Bend, Indiana.

CW: No, no...stop saying that! STOP SAYING THAT!!!

Weis bolts up in bed, sitting up and fully awake.

Mrs CW: You all right, honey?

CW: It's horrible. Just horrible. He won't stop talking. He just keep saying "Wake up the echoes!" and "Foam shillelaghs for everyone!" And he speaks in this voice...

Mrs. CW: You're just working too hard, honey. It's just a dream.

CW: ...it sounds like he's underwater. And he's...British. I don't get it.

Mrs. CW: Why don't you go downstairs and have a glass of milk, honey. That'll help.

CW: I'll...I'll do that. I'll be back.

Charlie Weis pads down the stairs in his shorts. He opens the fridge; its white lights casts an unearthly pallor over the kitchen tiles.

CW: Milk, my ass...let's see where I put that sandwich...

Pepper, the Notre Dame Comeback Dolphin: 'Allo there, guv'nah!

MP3 File

CW: OH SWEET JESUS AAAAAAIIIIIGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

Charlie drops his sandwich and runs into the bathroom. He slips on his Notre Dame sweatshorts and windbreaker top hurriedly, jumps in his car, and speeds to McDonald's.

CW: Just some coffee...yeah, it's late enough to start working...I'll just get in a few hours...let my thoughts clear up...have I looked at Michigan's tape lately? Anything new? I'm thinking about a few slants, then a draw, then sluggo to the weak side, then I'll start out the second half running toss sweeps...yeah, that's it Charlie....

McDonald's employee: May I help you?

CW: Just a large coffee. That's all I'm getting, thanks.

EMP: Would you like to try our new EggMcMuffin bites for just 99 cents?

CW: (sigh.)

Charlie drives around.

EMP: That's one order of EggMcMuffin bites and a large coffee. That'll be $2.79...COACH WEIS!!!

CW: Hey, how ya doin'? Good to see ya this morning....

MP3 File

CW: AAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!

Pepper: Charlie WAKE UP THE ECHOES it's comeback time Charlie national championships lesssgo NBC is waitin' guvnah Jimmy Clausen eight Heismans beat USC I have foam shillelaghs for everyone, Charlie! SHILLELAGHS FOR EVERYONE!!!

Emp: Coach, I...

Charlie peels out of the parking lot and drives at eighty-five miles an hour to the Notre Dame football offices.

CW: Okay....just some...yes. I just need some work. I'll check out the voluntary workouts. Yes, that's exactly what I'll do. Ah, the practice field, where it all goes away. It's just about football here. Just about football...

MP3 File

Assistants: Coach, you feelin' all right?

Weis: I gotta talk to someone about this. Someone I can trust.

Weis walks across campus to the chapel and finds Father Thomas, who for some reason looks a lot like a Greek Orthodox priest, but isn't actually, and let's see you try to find a confessional photo on the fly with just the right angles for a proper piece of farkery, eh?

Weis: Father, I'm seeing things. I don't know what's happening, but I keep seeing a dolphin in a blue tuxedo with a green shirt and bowtie. He sounds like he's talking underwater, and he won't stop talking about our football season in unreasonable terms. He's...he's...

The priest looks shaken, but unsurprised.

Father Thomas: My son, I fear you are not alone in this. Others, before, have heard him too.

Weis: Then Father, what do I--

Father Thomas: Oh, Holtz still talks to him. I'd just--

MP3 File

Weis: NO! NO NO NO NO OH GOD NO!!!!

Pepper: Allo, Charlie!

Weis: NOOoooooooooooo.....

Weis runs at a slow, labored trot out of the church. Puzzled bystanders watch as Weis gets in the nearest administration golf cart.

ND Administrator: You'll have to sign for that, Charlie!

Weis drives himself to the office of Dr. Oliver Fallon, respected local psychiatrist.

Weis: Doc, I don't know if I'm even making sense anymore...

Dr. Fallon: Now, now. Let's just get you to lie down here and we'll see what is happening, Coach. Stress puts a strain on all of us, and we all react in very different, often surprising ways.

Weis: I just...I just...

Dr. Fallon: There, there. Just get comfortable. Now we're going to do something I like to do with my patients to get them relaxed and ready to talk about their feelings and what's going on Charlie.

Weis: Okay, okay. I'm...ready.

Dr. Fallon: Very good. Now look into the spinning disc. Now, just listen to the tone of my voice, Charlie. Just the tones, the relaxing, even tones. Feel your weight sink into the couch. It should feel like you're sinking into the earth, like all the weight of the world is just falling away from you, like the stress and anxiety of the day is just washing away from you like the tide, Charlie. Now look at the disc and tell me what you see, Charlie?

Weis: I see...NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

MP3 File

Dr. Fallon hits the intercom. BEEP!

Nurse: Yes, Dr. Fallon?

Dr. Fallon: We're gonna need the Willingham cocktail in here. A full dose and a half. STAT.

Nurse: With the Thorazine, sir?

Weis (screaming): The bowtie! WHY DOES HE HAVE A BOWTIE!!!

Dr. Fallon: Oh, yes. And be a dear and bring the taser just in case, will you?

Nurse: Of course, Dr. Fallon.

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