From the people who brought you fan fiction of Guylight: The Story Of Vampire Lane Kiffin.
I must not sleep with my dog wet, I say to myself. I must not sleep with my prize hunting dog wet. The pale, brunette, figure in the mirror reminds herself of this because she has to, because her roommate got sick and left so many things undone. A stained Music City Bowl shirt sits on the floor. An entire pile of bacon-stained dishes sit in the sink. She never puts a paper towel under the meat when she cooks it in the microwave, and now the inside is covered in a thick film of pig tallow.
My roommate is named Kentucky. We are too broke to afford our own places. I hate her most of the time.
I take the coondog and tack his protesting form to the clothesline outside. He wails sadly and I am sorry but it is the only way he will get dry. He hangs from the line like a dog hangs from a clothesline--badly, and with his ankle monitor he looks like a dog hanging from a clothesline with an ankle monitor he got in a probation violation on his leg.
I would be on my way to work at the local college where I work at the library on most days. It is where i am most comfortable. I eat normal food in normal ways in normal town. I am without detail and I am not ugly. My name is Sandra Reader. I have never read a decent piece of pornography in my life.
This is not a normal day. I have to drive to the big city of Knoxville to deal with a major donor to our football program--the enigmatic mysterious cipher phantom sphinx Derek Dooley of Doolin' Around Industries. I get in my car. One of the average ones you can relate to. Probably a Honda Civic. Those are everywhere, just like the pounding sound of my heart in my ears when I finish driving, because driving scares me just like rabid squirrels do.
My heart is pounding because my heart is pounding.
Breathe, breathe, I tell myself. There are no rabid squirrels in my glove compartment.
I drive to Knoxville.
The elevator at Neyland spills out onto the first floor and I scramble like I'm running out of the pocket for dear life. I race for the open love seat and thumb through her words like I'm desperately seeking oxygen. My heart steadies itself and regresses to a regular but ever-so-slightly faster than normal rhythm. I can breathe again.
All the employees are...there are no employees. Post-it notes are stuck everywhere. They read "If you need something, contact Derek Dooley personally he's around here somewhere also apply for this job online at monster.com." My heels click on the floor like the clicking of heels that click on floors.
The office is far too large for one man. No one shows me in except the post it which is labeled "Derek Dooley's secretary." It is a beautiful, blonde Post-It in heels, just like all the others. The feeling of abandoned luxury washes over me like a scented bath rub.
"This office is far too large for one man," I say to the seated man in the desk. He wears orange pants and a white golf shirt. From reading the internet I know he is 43, but there is no way the seated Adonis in front of me is 43. He looks 25. No, 22. Finally, no--this beautiful bronzed half-Lesbanese man is not a day over 15. His hair stands on his head like a well-shorn head of hair or chocolate icing made to look like hair."
This. This is what desire feels like.
My heart pounds.
Dooley looks up. "Oh, hi. You're looking at my artwork, aren't you?"
How did he know?
"You said that out loud. Because you're looking at my artwork."
Thirty-six painting line the walls. "This one is Jonathan Crompton fumbling."
"And this one is Jonathan Crompton, fumbling."
"And this one...that's also Jonathan Crompton, fumbling."
"And this one is Tyler Bray in a hoodie on a Pegasus listening to 8 Ball and MJG play a concert on Venus."
"Evocative. What is this one?"
"That's Clay Travis being ripped to shreds by a thousand bluetick hounds. It's a personal favorite of mine."
"What are you doing after graduation, Calistandraxalenderia?"
Strange muscles in my stomach clench as he says my name.
"I'm sorry Coach Dooley, my name is Sandra."
Strange muscles in my stomach clench as he says my real name that I forgot because of desire. My face flushes.
"Oh, I'm sorry Sandra. Look we have a great internship program here."
He gestures to his huge, empty office that has no one but the beautiful post-it notes who run the building. He seems lonely, this beautiful man, as if everyone had left him in a gigantic white building with orange accents and aging bags of pork rinds.
"What would an internship...entail?"
"What did you major in, Sandra?"
"You're gonna be our next defensive coordinator."
"Is that...hard?" I flush. Strange muscles flex again in a feeling that can only be desire or a cheesy gordita about to explode through my lower intestines like the rush of love itself but it's probably desire I think. My heart pounds, which I also hope is desire and not something I ate.
"Oh, you bet it's hard alright."
He smells of unlaundered jersey and some inexpensive, Piggly Wiggly brand body wash. It's… Intoxicating. I inhale deeply getting lost in the moment.
"How...hard?" My heart pounds. His eyes meet mine. They are like tiny dark stones filled with minerals and dirt.
"Oh it's hard. Our linebackers are under some native American curse that blows up their ACLs after two games in the lineup, our defensive line's half the size of a quality UFL line, and our secondary bleeds like...."
"...like a bag full of blood that's full of blood?"
"...you didn't major in English, did you?"
"I've never read any other book ever except this one."
"Which one--never mind. Here, take this film and go tell me what you see. Report back to me."
I blush. "So you like being...in control?"
"Well, I guess I have to. There is literally no one else to report to because I am the only person here."
He hands me a clean DVD labeled "Alabama/Tennessee 2011." It bears the handwriting of a man who owns Sharpies and who sometimes uses them to label DVDs. I am overcome with..is this lust? It must be lust.
"Is this movie...erotic?" I flush.
"Not unless you're into snuff films. Or midget porn if you're referring to my former employer."
I could not stop thinking how dangerous this man was. I wanted to submit to him.
"When can I come out of the room, master?"
"It's Derek, or coach, and...shit, I dunno. How about when you've seen enough?:
I quiver. "How will I know when I've...when I've had enough?"
"That ought to be sometime in the early third quarter or so. That's as far as any of my assistants could make it without vomiting blood and chunks of awful stuff I'm not even sure was food. I'm not tying you down or anything, but try to make it until then."
He banishes me to my quarters. I have a job, but also something else: a master, and also a $50 Pilot gift card he tells me to use wisely. Who are you, Derek Dooley? And why do you make me watch such horrible things in the dark?
My employment--and my real education--has only just--apparently-begun.