A letter to the Editor, Grand Rapids Press, May 23, 2012:

A Teacher’s Ode to SB 1040
While others work a full calendar year, I enjoy gobs of vacation. While the Average Joe could lose his employment at whim, it is harder to fire me than it is to sell Amway in Canada. I receive guaranteed pay raises, and I get free donuts each time one of my clients has a birthday. Although I have enough college credit to fulfill a PhD program, I am an expert at zilch. Although the Average Joe would rather have his job than mine, he offers unsolicited advice about how I could do mine better, cheaper, and longer. By virtue of my humble position, I am an underachiever; suspect of laziness, pedophilia, and ignorance. Were I to debate the above, add whining, too.
Here’s the rub: I don’t care. Sure, it is disheartening when the bashing hits a critical mass; when one cannot open a newspaper, scan the Internet, talk to a friend or relative, or overhear a restaurant conversation without absorbing the mass critique of the job. The zillion irritating, belittling, frustrating things that happen weekly on the job are only bearable because I know I’d miss it. I’d miss the potential of actually teaching something, which has the same odds as a batter hitting a ball – often leaving me feeling like I’ve struck out. I’d miss children at their most precious stage of life – before they become Average Joes. I’d miss the perverse dichotomy of the huge responsibility I have without the accompanying authority.
Shame on me.

Tim Fournier
Teacher
Grand Rapids

Season Finale

La Espalda Peluda
Escrito por Sr. Suave



Pepino Suave sits on a Durango park bench, his back to the adobe-walled Church of the Most Padrisimo. He shares the bench with Christina “La Espalda Peluda” Angelerez, an adopted member of the local Mennonite tribe, taken in years ago because her boyish frame and bristly back were considered a sign of good fortune. She fled the tribe days ago, as she found the Mennonites, “too sarcastic”. Having squatted on the park bench for days, Mr. Suave finally hired her as trainer and groomer of Pepino’s loyal ass, Newt. It was more an effort to re-claim his favorite park bench from the stinking, pitiful, wench, than an act of altruism
Newt lies in front of the park bench, grazing lazily in the grass and serving as an ottoman for Mr. Suave’s gangly, outstreched legs.
La Espalda Peluda slouches next to our protagonist, sipping on a bottle, soaking in tequila and regret. She waves off clouds of flies, and quietly simmers over her lost promise as the hairy-backed,  boyish, token of prosperity for the “Yokels”, the inbred Mennonite clan of the Durango high desert. She smells of urine, fermented agave nectar, with hints of  Love’s Baby Soft, and plums.
Lost in her loss, she is deaf to Mr. Suave’s chatty monologue:

I am Pepino Suave. Some years ago, after my mariachi career was scuttled by the greedy promoter “Papa D”, I took my donkey Newt and his burden of a half ton of uncorrected spelling quizzes and standardized tests (I moonlighted as substitute elementary school teacher at a Durango public school), and set out to seek vengeance on my rivals: the bastard Papa D, scheming headmaster of a corrupt Chilean orphanage, and the idiotic Will Ferrel, a Gringo actor and thief. Yes, Papa D. stole my good name, and Ferrel my movie concept. Alas, my efforts to redeem my good name were in vain, as fate took care of that for me.


Sr. Suave pulls a newspaper off of his bench mate (E. Peluda used the periodical as a bedspread throughout the previous night. “Rent’s cheap” she reasoned in a 7-Marlboro-packs-a-day-voice. Stevie Nicks-esque). He shows the  front page  to the camera,. The headline screams:

“Papa D Indicted”

 The lead explains Papa D’s claim that he’d never imagined an orphanage run by Catholic priests and financed by teamsters could be corrupt. “Oh me, oh my”, he is quoted as saying.


Mr. Suave continues:


Yes, this Papa D., he steals the identity of an innocent man, Tim Fournier, to try to ruin me. Who could believe that I have another life, a life as common and dull as this Mr. Fournier? And this wife of his, is it she that wears the pants?  Give me one day with that fellow, and I’ll make a macho out of him. A few hours with a tequila bottle, a couple of girls, and a cock fight, and we’d put some hair on his back, no? (he nudges the miserable mennonite, she responds with a fragrant burp).
I digress. This Papa D cabron, is only half of  it.  I was also  searching for el idiota Ferrell.  I nearly wore out Newt on the hot streets of L.A. looking for the goofball. Again, luck beat me to it.

Mr. Suave pulls another newspaper off of the unshaven park troll and shows it to the camera. This headline shouts: 

“Will Ferrel Indicted”

The lead explains Mr. Ferrel’s claim that he never imagined that a guy from Boise could dupe him into investing in a corrupt orphanage run by Catholic priests and financed by teamsters. “I must have been stoned out of my mind!”  said the actor.

The camera pans back from the headline to  a full view of the entire  park and church facade. Among the people under the steeple appear the forms of Small Breasted Raquelita, the Big Busted Former Linoleum Queen/Secretary, Raul the Handsomest Cowboy, A Few Lonely Cowboys, Madonna, President Obama,  a Dozen Reporters, Fournier, 17 Secret Service Agents, an Average Breasted Woman,  Los Tres Primos: Tiger, Nicky, and  Talea,  Luna the Dumbest Dog of the Desert, El Pelo, an Old Man and his Wife (flanked by sturdy aluminum lawn chairs), a Cranky Judge, a Sleepy Jury, a Medium Breasted Government Prosecutor with Big Hair,  A Lawn Gnome, President George H.W. Bush, Two Senior US Air Force Officials and a Limo Driver, Mr. Ferrell and Two Young Chicks,  Tinta and Tim, Papa D and Mama D (dripping with bling and  followed by a line of 1, 472 Chilean orphans).
Ferrell turns on the boom box perched atop his shoulder, and kicks up the volume. 
The crowd breaks out into a flash mob of dancing to “La Macarena”:
(must be played while reading last paragraph. Double click and minimize)
Pepino Suave joins the merry fray, lifting La Espalda Peluda over the mob, where she crowd-serfs from one end of the plaza to another, smothered in her own vomit and shame. As the forlorn wench is passed back to Pepino’s side of the park,  her slimy cloak causes him to lose his grip and she falls to the pavement head-first. A loud “crack” of her spinal cord rings through the plaza,  followed by a matching loud”crack” of The Linoleum Queen’s strong right hand slapped ferociously against Mr. Suave’s  bestubbled left cheek.  Suave stares, stunned, into the camera for a few silent moments. 
Ferrell cuts the music, and all surround the hairy little creature. Pepino Suave cries:

She’s dead!
The plaza falls silent for a five-apple count. The crowd then shrugs in unison, Ferrell hits the power button, and dancing resumes. 

Credits roll while camera pans the plaza and the entire third chorus of La Macarena is played.
Cut to black




Escenario 15

Escenario 15
“La Foto”
Escrito por Mama D.
Place:  Rapidos Grande, Michigan
Time:  Saturday night
Scene:  The driveway of Tim’s house where Tim sits alone in the car, the box of props from El Jefe’s office next to him on the passenger seat.  We can see the silhouette of Tim’s wife, Tinta, cleaning the kitchen.  As we follow Tim’s wandering eyes in the the twilight of the evening it is clear that while Tim has been gone Tinta has painted the house, chopped two cords of wood, installed a satellite dish, mowed the lawn and planted her beloved Tulips.   Across the street, an unmarked van sits with two videographers filming away.  Tim meanwhile gets back to rehearsing his “coming out” speech.  He was very much regretting not telling his beloved Tinta sooner…
“…and so Tinta, mi amor, every time I said I was going out to buy a Grand Rapids Press on Saturday mornings I was actually catching a private plane for Florida.  So while it looked like I was just trying to get out of trimming the hedges, I actually was working at my other job…”
Tinta moved toward the front window and looked to the sky.  Even through poor lighting and glass her Northern European radiance shown through.  Comfortable in her wooden shoes, she munched on her sixth apple of the day.  Sunday, the Lutheran Sabbath, would come early so she closed the blinds, shut off the lights and moved toward the bedroom.
Tim knew it was now or never.  He left the car and pulled out his keys to unlock the front door.  The camera men were immediately right behind him.  As he fumbled getting the keys in the lock, Tinta opened the door.
“Tim, there you are” she said lovingly.  “Did you ever find a copy of the Saturday Press?”
“Er…no.  Tinta, we need to talk.  I have things to tell you and I hope you will still love me after I tell you them.”
“Tim, I married you for better or for worse.  I am assuming that whatever you have to tell me will only make things better.”
They enter the house with the camera crew in tow.  They sit on the couch and Tim begins to blather his whole story.  The camera crew diligently stays with the scene but as Tim starts to go into great detail of what makes a great telenovela, they eventually start filming all the awards that Tinta has won over the years; first as an All-American field hockey player, then as an academic standout at a prestigious “presidential” university, then as a public servant as multi-time teacher of the year.  All this was interspersed with awards from the Michigan State Fair for her tulips and strufwafel cookies.  A single gold record from Tinta’s album from her singing and songwriting career completed the set.
Mercifully, Tim got around to the events of early today and the camera team rejoined the story just as Tim pulled the picture from his pocket.
(Show prop picture again)

“ …and here is the picture I found in the box.  The man in the cowboy hat is my boss, El Jefe.  The other guy I am assuming is that trouble maker Pepino Suave himself.  This explains everything.  The only thing that is nagging at me is one time when I asked El Jefe’s secretary to describe this Pepino Suave guy, she described him as a ‘hideously ugly duende, or troll like character.’ Frankly, I think the dude in this picture is a pretty handsome guy.”
Tinta looked that the picture, then at Tim.  She then said in her best diplomatic voice “Thank you for translating “duende” for me, I just don’t know what I would do without your translating skills (knowing full well that she spoke Spanish significantly better than Tim did).  I think this Pepino Suave guy is kind of cute in his own creepy little way” as she pulled Tim’s trucker cap off his head and gave the seven or eight strands of hair a playful tussle.  “Why don’t we get a good night rest and tackle this bright and early in the morning?”  Tim hustled to the fridge cracked an Amstel light beer and went off to bed while Tinta did her nightly ritual of 100 push ups and 100 sit ups.
Xxxxx
Scene II:  Sunday morning.  We see Tim alone in bed, snoring like a badly calibrated chainsaw.  We see Tinta coming in from Lutheran sunrise service and taking her Dutch Apple pies out of the oven and placing them in the window sill to cool. 
As Tinta lay awake all night formulating a plan it was clear to her that two things needed to be done.  First, make amends with Will Ferrell and second, force a confrontation with Pepino Suave to bring this telenovela/TV realidad ordeal to a close. She had only Sunday in which to get this done.  As reigning teacher of the year she had no intention of being even one minute tardy for opening bell on Monday.  She offered the camera men a slice of pie and some hand pressed Dutch coffee.  The cameramen were much obliged.  
After finally rousing slumbering Tim, she got him in the car and they off to the Grand Rapids International airport.  They boarded a private plane which Tim assumed to be owned by his production company (DUMP).  Upon entering the plane he found he was completely mistaken.
Two Senior US Air Force officers stood at attention and snapped a salute that Tinta returned.  “At your service Senorita Tinta” one of them said.  Tinta responded with a sigh, “It’s Senora Tinta now.  Thank you for coming on such short notice.  We need to fly to Burbank, California.  Once there I will need a limo and a driver to take us to the following address” as she handed over a computer generated dossier to the other officer.  He took it and nodded his head.  Tinta continued, “Please treat these videographers as our guests.”
Within seconds of strapping in, the plane ascended as quickly as any plane Tim and the cameramen had ever been on.   This was old hat for Tinta, in fact the pokiness of this plane reminded her of boat ride to Tunisia with her college buddies while studying, and moonlighting for the CIA, in Italy.  “All those romances for the sake of her country,” she reminisced. 
Xxxxx
Scene III:  The limo arrives at the house of one Will Ferrell.  In the limo are Tinta, Tim, the two cameramen, and a distinguished looking gentlemen who had joined them at the airport and the box of props from El Jefe’s office.  The gentleman held a notary stamp in one hand and a plaque in the other. Tinta rings the intercom on the iron gate as Tim looks on.
Intercom:  “yes?”
Tinta:  “Mr. Ferrell please.”
Intercom:  “Mr. Ferrell is not in, I will take a message if you like.”
Tinta looked at her watch.  She really wanted to get this finished because she thought there might be half a chance to decorate her garden windmills (which were not only a mini-tourist attraction but generated power for her entire house) if she could get home soon enough.  She had not anticipated that Will Ferrell would not be home.
Just then a tall man with curly hair wearing a Kenny Powers sweatshirt and shorts that, well, were frankly way, way too short jogged to the gate.  The man was accompanied by two young ladies that would have been right at home on South Beach and were dressed like it.  The man was Mr. Ferrell in the flesh.  Tinta let her eyes take a quick trip over “Tierra Ferrell.”  She felt like a school girl.
Mr. Ferrell jogged in place, “Can I help you?”
Tim stepped up and  said, “Mr. Ferrell, I am the Executive Producer of Amor Asqueros…”
The words didn’t leave Tim’s mouth before Ferrell unleashed a wicked right hand cross that caught Tim flush on the cheekbone.  Tim, who as a TV executive was living in a second dimension, was currently now living in a third dimension,  and living peacefully.
Tinta immediately was half filled with rage, half filled with desire and half filled with concern that she would not be back in time to catch up with her daughter after her weekend near the epicenter of Apple growing, Fleetwood, Pennsylvania (State of Washington be damned) with the Future Apple Growers of America.
Tinta stepped over Tim and said, “Will, I have a proposition for you.”  
Will arched his eye brow.  “You do?”  
“Not that type…unfortunately,” Tinta sighed as she looked at her sleeping Tim sprawled out on the asphalt.  
In hushed terms, Tinta laid out the proposition to Mr. Ferrell.  Ferrell listened, asked a couple of questions, shrugged and  gave her the affirmative shake of the head.  Out of the limo came the gentlemen with his notary stamp and plaque.   Tinta retrieved some legal documents and they were placed on the hood of the car.  Ferrell signed away and pulled his identification out of his shorts.   The older gentleman then proceeded to notarize all the documents.  Once the task was completed, Tinta put the documents in a brief case and into the car. 
After putting away his notary stamp, the older gentlemen straightened his tie and presented the plaque to Ferrell.  Clutching a proclamation, the older gentleman read out loud:  “I, George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States do hereby proclaim you the one thousand and FIRST recipient of the Thousand Points of Light award program.  Why you are receiving this award and why am I going over my quota is not important.  What is important is that my trusted aid and confidante, Tinta my favorite intern, has asked that I give it to you.”
Ferrell and Bush Forty-one posed for a quick picture by one of the camera men and for another one taken by Ferrell’s gate security camera.  Ferrell and Bush Forty-one shook hands and gave each other a “bro-hug.” 
As Bush 41 stepped back, Ferrell and Tinta stood looking in each other’s eyes.  “You know my lawsuit was ironclad” said Ferrell.   “But between your sweet mouth and your unfortunate husband being forced to catch the matinee version of the ‘Ferrell gun show’, I figured dropping the suit was the least I could do.”
Tinta reached into her bra she pulled a DVD copy of “Casa mi Padre” and Ferrell shook his head with a smile and pulled out a sharpie out of his running shorts. He signed the DVD cover, “To Inky, ‘Mi Amor Asqueroso’ Will XOXO”
With that the limo driver opened the trunk and Will, Tinta and Bush 41 picked Tim up and threw him in the back.  Before closing the trunk Tinta reached into the prop box and presented the jogging girls with the small cup bra and the dog collar and told them “share.”  She then gave the unread copy of “Applebee’s America” to a perplexed President Bush.  Finally to Will Ferrell she handed the big busted garden gnome.  “A memento of my visit,” she said, accompanied with a soft kiss on Ferrell’s cheek.
Videographers, ex-Presidents and Tinta hopped back in the limo.  As the limo speeds away, we can see Ferrell mimicking something with the garden gnome that is sexually inappropriate for network television viewing (but OK for cable viewers after a certain time in the evening) as the jogging girls look on laughing.  
Tinta turns around and faced forward.  She pulls an apple from her bag and starts to eat it.  “OK, Pepino Suave, you’re next!” she says to no one in particular.  She throws “Casa Mi Padre” into the the limo’s DVD player and they all start to watch.
Scene closes with the muffled sound of a snoring miscalibrated chain saw coming from the trunk.
(See back end of limo departing down the road)
El Fin

Escenario 14

CHAPTER 14
 ANOTHER DIMENSION
Escrito por Joe D.
Place:  South Beach Miami, El Capital de Latino America
Time:  A Saturday, mid afternoon
Scene:  A spectacular swimming pool and gardens surrounded by swaying palm trees, all discretely gated from the white sands of South Beach and the azure ocean.  The weather is post card perfect. Even though it was early by the South Beach clock, beautiful people (underscore beautiful) were already lounging by the pool.
Just inside the gate to the beach we see a man dressed not unlike one of his personal heros, Sonny Crockett of the late gringo telenovela de tiempo primero, “Miami Vice.”  This man with a stubble of red beard looked every bit the 80’s undercover cop in his pastel chino pants, matching colored sport jacket and purple Tshirt. 
Yet, while this man certainly looked like he was part of the South Beach scene, he was not “one of them.”  What set him apart from the rest of the tan bikini clad denizens was his paleness, a telltale sign that Miami, or any where with sun, was not his home.  The man did not choose to hide the fact he was not a full time member of the beach party scene.  Not with his faded old school “University of Detroit Titans” snapback trucker hat affixed over his balding head and boots better suited for shoveling a sidewalk of snow than walking a sandy sun kissed beach.
xxxxxx
“Tio Teem!” yelled one of the buxom, and severely underclad, party goers.  Immediately the attention of the entire pool snapped to the gated ocean entrance.  “HOLA TEEM!” they shouted in unison.  
Our pasty white man in pastel surveyed the scene.  While his eyes were focused on the decadence in front of him his mind kept slipping back to his other life  The mundane one where he was a substitute school teacher living in a place that Madison Avenue scores demographically as “other.”  Sure he married well – and thank god his daughter took after his mother.  But his family, along with all his exceptional siblings, their extended families, all his students and all his friends were all constant reminders of how “uncool” how people perceived him to be.  
What his family, students and friends did not know is that in this alternate universe Tim was considered to be very cool.  His one-time bizzarre and frankly unhealthy preoccupation with telenovelas eventually led to a part-time job with Divertido Universial Mundo Producciones (or to its detractors, DUMP), a major supplier of product content to the Spanish speaking television world.  Over time Tim’s nerdy hobby led to him becoming a successful television executive with all the deserved trappings and benefits that the regular world only dreams.  As he surveyed the pool he was checking those benefits out now.
“God, I love this country” he mumbled to himself.  “To the winner, the spoils.”
Tim made his way by the pool toward the mansion.
“Mimosa, Tio Teem?” one of the hotties tempted.
Oh, Tim thought, if it were just any other day.
“No, guapita.  Nada para mi.”
Guapita put on her best frowny.  “But Teeeeemmmm!!!”
But Tim had already strode past.  The down side of living the life in the greatest country on the planet is sometimes the bill is due and work has to get done.  Today was one of those days.  Today’s problema was Amor Asqueroso.
xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Scene II:  Tim walked through the palatial doors of the estate and to the office of his boss, the patriarch of DUMP, who literally was called by everyone “El Jefe.”  As Tim got to the waiting area he becomes cognizant of a two-member film crew silently following him around and filming him.
Tim reached for his cell phone and looked at his text message from the day before:  AMOR ASQUEROSO…Consigue tu CULO aquí abajo!   First time he had ever received a message like that from El Jefe.  He was on the corporate jet first thing in the morning.  Probably should have thought of a better of excuse to his wife than “Honey, going to go try to find a paper.”
For the record, the telenovela Amor Asqueroso, or “AA” for short was not Tim’s creative idea.  When the treatment for AA crossed his desk Tim thought the concept, put forward by some complete nut job named Pepino Suave, was a complete non-starter and deposited it in his circular file.  But somehow it hit the desk of El Jefe who liked the premise for some insane and unexplainable reason.  So Tim decided it was in his best interest to become the adoptive parent of AA; loving and nurturing the show in much the same manner parent would a child – a child that they had absolutely no control or influence over.  
Not to say that Tim was completely hands off with the AA production.  Tim solved a significant problem when some busy bodies from the Estado Durango and some Slavic nation in Eastern Europe joined forces to hire some environmental “whack job do-gooder” named “Ms. Manion” to represent them over the fall out of the bombings that occurred in episodes Seven and Pasqua.  He eventually bought her off for two Red Sox tickets, some Tequila, and an introduction to a young gun Bostonian to play center field for her co-ed softball team.  The cleaned up enviornmental report meant no law suit and everyone, including Ms. Manion’s softball team, ended up a winner.
Other than external issues like the environmental issue, Tim had no real role in the story line of AA although he was titled the show’s executive producer.  Sure, he did have to remind the office romantics that “Pechos y amor son iguales” when they kept clamoring about “Where is the ‘Amor’ in ‘Amor Asqueroso’?” but Tim did that for all his shows.  As long as the show got ratings, and it got ratings because it brought what any decent telenova should bring to the party, breasts and violence, Tim didn’t pay it any mind.  At least until the text from El Jefe yesterday.
Finally the door opened to El Jefe’s office.  Tim walked inside and the camera crew followed.  The office was spectacularly appointed in fine Corinthian leather with the exception of two lawn chairs that looked woefully out of place.  Finally it dawned on him, the chairs from AA’s episode 10.  Tim appreciated the irony.
“Teem, please seeeat!” said El Jefe motioning to the chairs and looking right at the camera.  Tim sat in one of the lawn chairs.  Behind El Jefe’s desk was a bank of television sets, today all posted to various sporting events.  El Jefe was a degenerate gambler and loved to put his money where his mouth was.  Playing to the camera, El Jefe pointed to the center console.  
“Today Teem, we bet big on your equipo the Michigan Lobo-ines!  They play at “La Casa Grande” and los idiotos in Vegas give me points!  This is money for free!”  Tim wondered why his beloved Michigan, one of his alma maters from his mundane world, would be the underdog at home but immediately he focused back at the meeting at hand.  His early analysis:  this wasn’t going to be so bad after all.  
El Jefe looked under his desk and pointed at Tim’s boots.  “Forget your sandals again!” El Jefe barrel laughed.  Tim started to relax and thought it might be time to get on the cigar and cocktail program after all.  Tim glanced to his right looking for the cigar box and saw two good size boxes on the boss’s otherwise immaculately clean desk.  
At this moment, El Jefe sat up in his chair and spoke sternly.  “Teem,” he intoned as he moved the closest of the boxes in front of him, “you have a problem.”  El Jefe tilted the large box forward so Tim could see inside.  “This box contains a lawsuit brought against us by Senor Will Ferrell.  Our attorneys say he is going to ruin our company and it is all because of your stupid show.  Your treatment of him, one of Norte America’s greatest gifts to the world, has been rude and unfair!” 
Tim was speechless.  Tim actually liked and admired Will Ferrell.  Besides, his wife confided in him that Ferrell was her favorite actor, particularly after she saw his naked bottom in the movie “Old School” and she told him that she thought Ferrell’s tush reminded her of Tim’s.  And now he was getting blamed for Pepino Suave’s treatment of Ferrell?  
“Teem, you must redeem yourself and fix your mistake.  I want you to make amends to Senor Ferrell immediately and bring this Amor Asqueroso to an end.  I want Senor Ferrell satisfied and Amor Asqueroso finished and I want it done NOW!
Not like anyone could tell, but the blood had run completely from Tim’s face.  He sat there in silence with sweat starting to drench his JMU Fighting Dukes t-shirt.
El Jefe then pulled over the second box.  “In this box are all the props that your friend Senor Pepino has supplied us.  Use them as you will” he said with a flourish.  “Or burn them!”
Tim sat transfixed as El Jefe continued gravely, “If you do not move on this problem starting this very instant and complete the task I assigned you, you will be FIRED!  FIRED I SAY!”  El Jefe said this as he was looking straight into one of the cameras.  Then El Jefe paused as the camera switched positions and he looked at the camera again from the other direction and repeated himself with the same verve as before “…you will be FIRED!  FIRED I SAY!”  
“Cut” said one of the camera men and El Jefe smiled broadly at Tim.  “Teem, you are going to star in our first programma realidad!  Isn’t this exciting!!!”  
Xxxxxx
El Jefe grabbed a cigar, a bottle of Cuban rum, slapped Tim on the back and headed pool side.  Tim stood up and started fumbling through the box.  He didn’t doubt for a second the wishes of El Jefe.  He briefly checked out some of the contents as he fumbled through the box:
  • A limp cucumber
  • A dog collar
  • A urinal cake
  • A small cup size bra
  • A clearly unread hardcover edition of “Applebee’s America”
  • Several timing detonators 
  • A garden gnome with the biggest breasts he had ever seen
Tim collected himself.  He looked up and his eyes wondered to the big screen in the center.  He focused just in time to see a caravan of football players dressing in shock trooper full white uniforms barreling down the field toward one of the end zones.  As soon as the player passed the end line the score appeared on the bottom of the screen:  1:27 2nd Quarter, Boise State 34, Michigan 0.  The camera flashed from the end zone celebration to the dejection of the blue and maize on the field, on the sidelines and in the stands.
The totality of the events reminded Tim of a book he used to read his daughter only slightly paraphrased to capture his current situation: “Tim and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”
Tim dropped his eyes back to the box.  Something caught his eye.  Something he had not seen before in any of the prior episodes.  Perhaps this might be the key to bringing this entire bad dream to a close.  The something that caught his eye was a picture.  He picked it up and studied it further.  A small, but real, smile started to crease his lips, accompanied with the slightest sense of relief.  
“And so the journey begins…”  Tim, the TV executive, was back in the saddle again.
(Camera focuses on picture)