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SCENE: AN ALABAMA VIDEOCONFERENCE

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A young recruit walks off the field from spring practice somewhere in the Sun Belt. Two men in black approach him.

Come with me, young man.

Man in black one: Son, please come with us. Coach Nick Saban of the Crimson Tide would like to not have a word with you, virtually speaking.

Man in black two: It will only not take fifteen minutes or so.

Recruit: Um, he can't leave, right? That's in the new rules. He's not...

Fear creeps into his voice. He looks left, right, waiting for an unseen eavesdropper who never appears.

RECRUIT: He's not...here, is he?

MIB1: Not in one way of speaking.

MIB2: And yes, in another way of speaking.

MIB1: He is everywhere and nowhere all at once. Remember this.

RECRUIT: Okay. Where are we going?

MIB1 and MIB2, simultaneously: COME THIS WAY.

The men lead the recruit to a black semi with crimson trim. There is no license plate. The windows reflect the sun and allow no light into the interior of the truck. A semi trailer hums with the sound of machinery hidden inside. Black cables attach to the side of the high school; from a distance, the truck looks like a great alien parasite attached to the body of the building.

MIB1 and MIB2: HE WAITS.

MIB1: Do not disappoint him.

The recruit enters to find Nick Saban's face, eight feet tall, shown on a huge bank of televisions in a dark, cold room.

SABAN: It is nice not to talk to you, recruit.

Recruit: Wow.

SABAN: Yes, be impressed. I am impressive. Recruit, I want to crush you into the fine powder from which men are mixed into football concrete, son.

Recruit: That scares me.

SABAN: I mean to scare you son. Goats tossed into wood chippers. Pain. The sound of mortars pulsing on the battlefront. The calculus of agony divided by the quantum physics of torture. Have you ever cried blood, son, for football? If I asked you to, would you forsake all gods but me and lean chicken breast for dinner? If I tested your resolve to kill by asking you to enter a middle school and begin beating everything you saw just to demostrate your loyalty to me, would you?"

Recruit: Wasn't there a door back there? I mean, there's not even a seam in this wall now...

SABAN: Harm. Walls of Fire. Endtables made from broken bones and glory. The taste of Gatorade and your own blood marrow son--that's victory--

A crackling noise and the whiff of ozone erupt in the chamber.

PETE CARROLL: 'SUP BROSEPH!!!

Recruit: Um...Coach Carroll?

PC: DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE ASTRAL PLANE, DID THEY? The NCAA may regulate the body, but they can't contain my spirit, man. I'm beaming this in from dimensions old Gutterblood up there can't even fathom. This message comes courtesy of the Zephoid plane. The lettuce wraps here are epic, btw. Can you see the turban?

Recruit: Yup. You gone Hare Krishna?

CARROLL: No, I sleep in this. Exactly one hour a night. Gotta get some rest to keep championship form.

SABAN: --mountains of gore are the receipt for victory. We build our castle upon them. Dogs with rocket launchers, son, that's what I'm talking about.

RECRUIT: Pete--can I call you Pete?

CARROLL: Of course. That's one of the many names I answer to.

RECRUIT: Cool. This guy--and pardon my language--is scaring the fucking shit out of me.

CARROLL: Fear is for dead men, friend. You have to get past fear. I recommend some surfing, meditation, or dealing with Boston sports fans for longer than ten minutes at a stretch. They're all soul-cleansing in their own way.

SABAN: And when you carry your friends heads home in a wheelbarrow like gifts from the Bonegod Cremlopath the Almighty, you will understand--wait, are you even listening recruit? Damn this tiny screen. Are you--

Recruit: Uh-oh--

SABAN: CARROLL, I KNOW YOU'RE IN THERE! GET OUT OF HIS SOUL NOW! THIS ONE! IS! MINE!

CARROLL: Time to take the lotus scooter out of here, kiddo. He'll be on the phone to Brand in no time. If you want out of here, follow the light and take a left at the golden unicycle. That'll spit you out somewhere near Malibu. Then we'll hang, do some boogie-boarding, you know, just chill, NCAA or not.

Recruit: Right. Just dive in?

Carroll: Yep, brah. Just that easy, dude.

SABAN: NOOOOOOOO!!! YOU BASTARD I SHALL SEE YOU DRIVEN ONTO THE ROCKS WHERE ONLY THE FOULEST OF BIRDS MAY DEVOUR YOUR FIT AND CHARISMATIC INNARDS!!!

The recruit dives in, and SABAN'S face glows red on the screen. Carroll pulls a pan flute from his pocket, and plays a few bars of "Fight On" before, in a whiff of ozone and crackling, he disappears.

END SCENE