Week Zero: A Horror Story
What happens when the schedule-makers toy with the fabric of the universe.
|Scott Hines||Aug 28, 2019|| 1|
[a hotel in Orlando, Florida, in the late evening hours following the #8 Florida Gators’ narrow escape against unranked Miami in their “Week 0” game at Camping World Stadium]
DARRYL, A GATORS FAN: Whew, that was quite a game. A bit sloppy on both ends, but I guess that’s to be expected in the first game of the season — especially when we’re starting early! I think Feleipe Franks is gonna have a big year, but he was shaky tonight. Hey, a win’s a win, though, right?
[he changes out of his jean shorts and into an XXXL Tim Tebow jersey, worn like a nightshirt]
DARRYL: Anyways, time for bed. Better set an alarm so I can get on the road early tomorrow.
[picks up his iPhone]
DARRYL: Huh, that’s weird. Clock on my phone isn’t working. Well, I’ll have to hit the Apple Store on my way back. I’ll just have the front desk give me a wake-up call.
[picks up room phone]
DARRYL: Hi, I’d like a wake-up call at 6am tomorrow, room 318.
FRONT DESK: Sir, we show that room as vacant right now.
DARRYL: That’s odd. I checked in last night, two night stay. Darryl Smith.
FRONT DESK: Sir, Mister Smith checked out a week ago.
DARRYL: Come on now, son, I—
FRONT DESK: Please do not prank call us, we need to keep this line open for customers. [click]
DARRYL: This is ridiculous, I’m going to call Sheila. [dials] Hey, hon, it’s me.
WOMAN ON OTHER END: I’m sorry, who is this?
DARRYL: Sheila, don’t mess with me tonight, I just watched a lot of boneheaded pass interference, and I’m losing my—
WOMAN: Sir, I think you must have a wrong number.
DARRYL: It’s your husband! Darryl!
WOMAN: Is this some kind of sick joke? My husband disappeared years ago. [click]
DARRYL: What in the name of Danny Wuerffel is going on here?
MAN EMERGING FROM THE SHADOWS: You’ve fallen into the Week Zero Zone.
DARRYL: Who are you? What are you doing in my room??
MAN: [extending handshake] Name’s Kenny. I manage a Runza in Grand Island. Well, I did, until I fell into this place after the Huskers’ big game against Penn State. Boy, we sure gave Paterno and his squad what-for.
DARRYL: Pa... terno?
KENNY: Yep. Sure was worth traveling all the way to New Jersey. 44-6! We’ve had some great matchups with them last few years. Almost makes me want to join a conference so we can have regular rivals like them. But, they’re in the Big Eight, that’s a stable conference. They wouldn’t take an independent like us.
DARRYL: What... what year are you from?
KENNY: 1983, of course.
DARRYL: That’s not possible! It’s 2019!
KENNY: Right, so here’s what happened. The college football schedule-makers, they try to make money. Occasionally, in doing so, they play god with space, time, and the fabric of the universe. Every once in a while, they create a “week” untethered from traditional chronology. It makes them a lot of money, but there is the risk that a handful of fans will fall into a timeless netherworld, and possibly be trapped there for all eternity, screaming into an empty void.
DARRYL: I just thought this was what Orlando looked like.
KENNY: Yeah it’s not that different.
DARRYL: I guess things are sort of eerily-lit, and there’s some slow-motion snow-falling effect. It’s like that show, Stranger Things. You seen it?
KENNY: Nah. Joe Piscopo in it? That guy’s hilarious, he—
DARRYL: No, it’s this whole sci-fi thing, really nostalgic for the ‘80s.
KENNY: Why would anyone be nostalgic for the ‘80s? We’ve got a Cold War with the Russians, a senile president and they’re tearing down the rainforest.
DARRYL: [nervous chuckle]
GUY: [appears in flash of light] WHAT THE HECK? WHERE AM I?
DARRYL: Timeless netherworld untethered from traditional chronology. What game were you attending?
GUY: I was watching my beloved Cal Golden Bears take on Hawaii in Sydney, Australia in the year 2016. They called it…
DARRYL AND KENNY: Week zero.
KENNY: Man, Cal, you guys had that amazing play to finish off last season. Well, last season to me, I’m from 1983. I’m sure you’ve had lots of highlights since then.
GUY AND DARRYL: [nervous chuckle]
GUY: So, how do we get out of here?
KENNY: Well, there’s bad news and there’s good news. The bad news is, as far as I can tell, we’re trapped in this timeless netherworld untethered from traditional chronology for all eternity.
DARRYL: What’s the good news!?
KENNY: [flipping on TV] we can watch every season where USC started highly-ranked and then collapsed, whenever we want.
GUY: Won’t that get old?
KENNY: Hasn’t yet.
Thanks for reading, listening to, and supporting The Seventh Circle! If you haven’t caught up recently, we’ve put a lot of great stuff out in the last week. Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports joined us for a pair of episodes this past weekend, covering both Mizzou sports misery and a full-fledged Top 25 “hell scenario” preview of the coming college football season.
The previous week, Dr. Ricky L. Jones, Chair of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville, joined us for his own pair of episodes — first, talking about sports in his hometown of Atlanta, and then a deep-dive discussion on the notion of “sticking to sports”. We’re really pleased with the response this has gotten.
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Welcome to hell!