(Welcome to the reading room!  If you’ve been here before, you know the drill.  If this is your first time, head on back to They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), where the story begins.  Those who’ve missed a couple days, just go back to the number where you left off.  Sincere Thanks to all who are stopping by…please enjoy the tale, which continues below)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( vi )
     TRENT BAYBERRY ENTERED HIS APARTMENT BUILDING, hair still damp from his shower at the gym, and he shivered, as his shoulder- length locks had cooled in the morning autumn air. Since walking out of that last meeting at Stallion headquarters, he had continued his exercise regimen for nearly a month and a half. He went to the gym in the morning and then again in the afternoon, as he replicated the two- a- days; the double workouts held each day during the team’s training camp. The team no longer followed this pattern, now that the season was well under way, but Trent knew this was his only resort, to stay in shape, as negotiations dragged on.
     Once reinstated on the team, all pressure would be on him to produce. He had every intention that soon, the sports journalists would be recounting a triumphant return, and would scribe Trent’s proficiencies, as he would put his money where his mouth was. There was no secret to the dispute.
     Day in and day out, updates appeared on the sports pages across the country. Fans made phone calls, to New York talk shows locally or ESPN Radio nationally, and ranted that ownership needed to loosen their purse strings, if the Stallions had any hopes to save the season. Trent had done nothing but compliment his team during interviews, saying he knew they would do what was right. He had his ‘Aw shucks’ persona down to an art form.
     He opened his mailbox just inside the foyer, and was pleasantly surprised as the contents were lesser in number for a change. He greeted the security guard in the lobby and rifled through the bills and junk mail, as he walked toward the elevator.
     He stopped his sorting at a square envelope, addressed in raised gold lettering. A hand-written note was attached with a paper clip: ‘Sorry, this was put in my box by mistake, and I forgot about it for a few days.’ There was no name on the note. He crumpled the clipped paper, then put it in the right jacket pocket of his running suit.
     As he exited the elevator on the sixth floor, his cellphone chirped from a small outside pocket of his bag. He checked the incoming screen.
     “Yes Adam…
     “Yeah, I just got home, I haven’t forgotten…
     “At the stadium in an hour and a half.” Trent bent down and unlocked his apartment door, using a key from the lanyard around his neck. He pressed the phone between his ear and shoulder.
     “You said this will take about four hours, right?…
     “It can’t take longer than that…
     “Because there’s a quarterback skull session tonight and they can’t have it without yours truly…
     “Yep, the ad agency delivered the uniform yesterday, everything fits. But Adam, I’m wearing my own cleats…
     “Because those shoes they sent over are stiff as a board…
     “Then we’ll have mine polished…
     “I’m not getting blisters for a deodorant I don’t use…
     “I’m not going to start…
     “Whatever. I’ll keep one in my medicine cabinet, OK?…
     “Anything new…
     “They’ll cave, just keep pressing for the number you and I talked about…
     “Come on, you’re watching the same games everybody else is, aren’t you? The offense was sputtering during preseason. For the opener they went belly- up in Cleveland, the next one they got embarrassed in Dallas, and the last game they squeaked a win, by one point. To a team that’ll be in the basement at the end of the year…
“Hell, Adam, the team won’t even vote for a permanent Captain until this is settled…
“Everything is still cordial, but they’re sweating now. These games count, and I’m not in them…
“I’m only showing up for the films and meetings, as long as they let me use the stadium for stuff like this. Did you talk with Gatorade?…
“Told ya. They see this thing coming to a close soon…
“Don’t get all pansy- ass on me now, Adam…
“Keep pushing, I’ll see you there.”
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