I've finished my Sports Post, and look forward to a tall, cold glass of buttermilk, to settle back, and to relax around something other than four empty walls
As I wipe my forehead, and turn to go inside, a man in a floppy hat approaches and holds the door for me. But?...Is this?...Can't be...? Can it? He enters behind me and walks briskly toward the far booths. Another man awaits. They shake hands, and he scootches into the booth.
I feel it throughout my body. I know who it is. Right here. It's Al Pacino. Oh, boy. I can't let this get away, I have to listen in. So I move quickly, and slide into the booth right next, and...
"Al, glad you could make it. I got something here that's a killer, trust me."
"Mo Silver," says Al. "I've haven't heard from you in two months. My agent loses my number, I'm supposed to believe?"
"So," says Mo. "What are you, in costume? Crazy fans will attack...I get it. Anyway." He sips his coffee. "Paterno."
"Paterno?" Pacino frowns, and squints at Mo. "What? Wait. Don't tell me. They're doing a movie about Joe Paterno? No way. After all that 's gone on, you want me to play Paterno? Please, Mo, say it isn't so? Who would be so crazy...?"
"Me. I bought the rights to do the book, 'Paterno.' It's mostly about his last two years."
"And you're looking at me? Come on. If he was some kind of Mafioso, there'd be no problem. But this guy?
"You'll be perfect."
"No question I can do it. Last time I played a blind man, I won an Oscar. Coaches yell a lot. I like that in a character...but...?"
"This story is stranger than fiction," says Mo. "We have to capture the insanity of it all."
"So...that's why I got a guy on Facebook asking me about my next picture, could I do justice to the subject? Did you tell anybody about this?"
"Well, I think I might have..."
"You didn't...Oh man...Mo?"
"I thought you'd jump at the chance to do this. An incredible roll, Al."
"Maybe for Peewee Herman. He'd go for it."
"I'm serious here. I though about him but he doesn't look anything like Paterno."
"You want to glorifying this guy? Who remembers the football anymore. It's all so sick."
My buttermilk arrives. The waitress smiles, then looks over, directly at Pacino. He's sitting right there...but...no recognition. She glides right on by me, with coffee for Pacino.
"Who's better at real-life characters. Come on. Kevorkian and Roy Cohn. You've done football before, 'Any Given Sunday.'"
Al sits back. "Maybe...If it's done Noir. Black and White. Like an old B movie. That way you'd get people to pay to see it. But...those movies were about killers, and guns, and wild psycho crazy..."
A man spoons a scoop of Potato Salad. He waves from the adjacent booth. "We heard you talking about doing a movie about Joe Paterno. Isn't it a little too soon to come out with something like that. We just lived through it."
The man next to him, forks Cole Slaw, "You'll never get Al Pacino. He'd never do it. I'd be afraid of who I was sitting next to in some dark theater." They laugh.
"Joe Pesci," says Potato Salad. "There's the guy for Paterno. But Sandusky...?"
"I don't know how many movies I...ah...Pacino's... got left," says Pacino. "They need an out of touch, crotchety, old codger who thinks he can still act. They need Clint Eastwood."
Cole Slaw slaps the table. "You know who looks a lot like a younger Sandusky? Andy Dick."
Potato Salad smiles, "Might work as a TV Movie. 'Tonight, on ABC Family...'"
"You guys think Pacino's the guy? His last football movie, Any Given Sunday, really sucked."
Al slumps, and puts his head on his fist. He shakes his head.
A large man, wearing a Phillie's Cap, approaches the booth. His voice is loud. "You won't be making a movie about Joe," His face sweats, his eyes glare red.
"We don't want your film crews to campus anymore, jerks filming us without our permission. No more."
Al and Mo sit up straight. "What?" says Al. "Who are you?"
"All you Hollywood types are freaks." He points at Mo. "It'll be more crap. Let it go. You're not making any movie about Joe. I'm warning you." His hands shake, his lips tremble, his breath heavy.
"Why are you yelling at us?" says Mo.
"I know you. I've been following you..."
"Facebook," says Mo. "Damn."
Such a loud voice, I turn, and look up at the guy. An open suit coat, a sloppy tie, shirt tail out. A gun sticks out of his belt.
I freeze. He's not kidding. Don't panic. Think. What to do?
"No one," very loud now, "and I mean no one's going to disgrace Joe. Why don't you **** make a movie about the hard working people, the students, people who care about what happened. They live this tragedy every day."
His hands are now fists.
"Joe didn't do anything wrong. He didn't molest anybody. He didn't see anybody molest anybody. And you're not going to say he did."
He pulls out the gun, and waves it at Al, then at Mo.
Silent sucking gasps throughout the place.
No thought, it's now. I inhale, and punch out at his hand, hitting his wrist. He wobbles, but holds on to the gun. His mouth drops, he growns, and he looks at me.
Oh boy. Head down, I slide out of the booth, grab a fork, and jab it high on the man's right arm. Like slow motion, he stares down at the fork, then at the blood. Then back at me.
His legs buckle, and he goes down on one leg. He lets go of the gun and grabs for the fork.
The gun? Well, it bounces off the the table, onto the floor, and, Ka-Whoosh.
There's a combined jump throughout the places.
And who gets it. Right in the left butt? Pacino. In and out and into the back of the booth somewhere.
Eyes big, Al blinks, and falls sideways into the booth. "I've been hit. I've been hit. My pants. I just bought these pants."
I twist, grab my glass and throw buttermilk in the gunman's eyes. As his hands jut up, I crack the glass against his forehead. And if that wasn't enough, he takes a staggering boot shot in the ribs from Cole Slaw.
Crawling, he gets to his knees, then he's up and running. Through the tables, he pushes a waitress to the floor, careens off the glass door, and outside onto the sidewalk.
I'm after him, yelling "Call 911," not sure how close to get. He ducks into the Kinkos at the corner. Knowing there's a back door, I see him fly out of it and into his car.
The sirens are there, so I point as the motorcycle cop skids up to me, and he's off in chase. Our gunman now stands no chance. None.
Meanwhile, back at the Montana Grill, paramedics patch up Pacino's butt, while he struggles a smile with every autographs.
Mo thumbs his iPhone. "Mo Silver here. Harrison Ford, I'd like to talk with...he's out of the country?"
"Mo, come on. I've been shot over here. Shot real bad."
"Yeah, yeah," he says. "You'll live. I gotta get somebody else now. I'm wondering, maybe I can get Gary Busey...or Weird Al. He hasn't done anything for a long...Wait. I got it."
Mo thumbs again. "I'd like to talk to Woody Allen. Yes. Yes. Now we got us a Movie."
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