|King Malcolm IV: A three-act play
By Greg Garber
A Three-Act Comedy/Tragedy Starring (in order of appearance):
Bryan, Joel and Edward Glazer … as the king's jesters
Rich McKay … as the War Secretary
Tony Dungy … as General Dungy
Bill Parcells … as Lord Tuna
Marvin Lewis … as Major Lewis
Steve Mariucci … as General Mariucci
Al Davis … as The Evil Axis
Jon Gruden … as The Fair-Haired Boy
With Greg Garber … as The Narrator
This is a work of fiction; any resemblance to true-life persons or events is strictly a coincidence.
Jesters (in unison): The public demands action. They're looking for a head. The blame can't possibly lie with upper management … before they call for our heads, let's sack General Dungy.
Malcolm IV: A splendid idea. Do it swiftly. Oh, I almost forgot, who wouldst thou replace him with?
Jesters: Whilst maintaining in public that General Dungy's job is safe, we have been having ongoing private conversations with Lord Tuna, a man of substance. He has agreed to a four-year contract.
War Secretary: Hey, hold on. Why was I not apprised of this? General Dungy is a fine man.
General Dungy: That should count for something, shouldn't it?
Jesters: Nay, sir, it is all about the bottom line. General Dungy, you have not produced. You have been truly offensive without being offensive, if you take my meaning.
War Secretary: Don't you know my father, John, was the first general of this kingdom? Like, who's the War Secretary here?
Jesters: It's just a title, man. We pay the bills around here, so we're really in charge.
Malcolm IV: With all due respect, General, my jesters tell me that Lord Tuna is the best. He comes at enormous cost, but that's the cost of doing business these days. Perhaps you have a future in the midlands.
Narrator: And so, the king and his court alerted the media for a grand press opportunity, but at the very last moment, Lord Tuna balked at the terms and conditions of the contract.
(Exiting) Excuse me, I have a man I need to see about a horse.
Malcolm IV: Damn. This could pose some serious issues. I am sick at heart. Who else is qualified to command my armies? I bid you, make haste.
Jesters: Uh, we're working on it. We'll get back to you.
War Secretary: His name is Major Lewis and he is skilled in the ways of defense. His resume is brilliant. He reached the Big Game once, and he killed.
Jesters: We will deign to break bread with this man.
Narrator: And so, Major Lewis, who was currently employed by the Lord of Baltimore, was summoned. After a long journey, he sat down with the king's men and discussed tactics.
War Secretary: How would you propose to right this listing ship?
Major Lewis: There is no offense like a good defense.
Jesters: That may have been true a century ago, but have you seen the black and silver warriors from the other side of the kingdom? They have catapults and hot oil and all manner of gruesome weaponry. I mean, you're not going to beat these guys 9-3.
War Secretary: I'm sure he could bring in a worthy tactician to bring some heat to the attack.
Malcolm IV: Enough! Enough! The jesters are correct. We are in need of a man who is trained to attack, not defend.
Jesters: Thank you for your time, Major Lewis. You have accomplished much in your career. We trust you will find alternative employment, even if it is in the service of a mad man.
Major Lewis: (expletive deleted)
War Secretary: 'Tis a well-taken answer. I, too, am pained. Clearly, something is rotten in this castle by the bay. I am sooo out of here. I must think on things; fortunately I have a few personal days coming.
Jesters: That would be General Mariucci. A superb tactician, but he is not appreciated by his king. He is still under contract, but we might be able to work something out. He seems unhappy; he is troubled by some lean and hungry types in his midst.
Narrator: Thus, two of the Jesters were dispatched to meet with General Mariucci. After a warm initial response, his feet grew cold.
General Mariucci: Look, if I doest you a favor, what shall I receive in return? I need to see the green, if you know what I mean, the quid. That, and some power over personnel. Oh, and did I mention that my wife isn't thrilled about the prospect of relocating?
Jesters (as their eyes meet): Yes. Well. We thank you for your time, General Mariucci, but we think we're going to go in a different direction.
Narrator: And so, the jesters went in a different direction and returned to the kingdom empty-handed and dejected.
Malcolm IV: I am afraid we have no choice…
Jesters: Aye, it is something we have been dreading for some time now.
Malcom IV: We have no choice. The public is unruly. I fear for our well-being and the future of the kingdom. The time has come to do the unspeakable. We must deal with the Axis of Evil.
Axis of Evil: I charge thee, speak!
Malcolm IV: My friend, we find ourselves at the sticking point. We are in need of a military leader and you have such a man leading your ranks. We understand he is miserable in that position, possibly because he's working for you. Let us take the Fair-Haired Boy off your hands. We're happy to do you the favor.
Axis of Evil: Not so fast, my maladroit friend. Why should I do you a service? You and your [expletive deleted] league have done me wrong on numerous occasions. Fortunately, my lawyers are the bomb, baby.
So, if I am not mistaken, I hold all the cards here.
Jesters: True, that.
Malcolm IV: What is it you want then?
Axis of Evil: Immortality and, OK, a few hours with Heidi Klum.
Malcolm IV: I'm not sure even I can arrange that.
Axis of Evil: Then it will have to be unsurpassed wealth and power.
Malcolm IV: Done. Have your people hook up with my people and work something out.
Narrator: And so, a deal was struck. The Axis of Evil got unsurpassed wealth and four strong warriors to be named later. The Fair-Haired Boy, still the youngest general in the global military community, surpassed the Axis of Evil's unsurpassed wealth by a considerable sum. The king and his court, were thrilled. After considering and approaching at least eight candidates, they finally had their man. They introduced him at a hastily arranged press opportunity.
Jesters: We took our time and we got the man we really wanted. We couldn't be more thrilled. Really.
Malcolm IV: The Fair-Haired Boy is the answer to our issues of waning firepower. He is a skilled field general with a proven track record.
Fair-Haired Boy: I'm happy to be here. The king has addressed the issues facing this kingdom with intelligence and patience. I look forward to the challenge.
Long live the king!
Greg Garber is a senior writer for ESPN.com.