The beginning of my new screenplay [Ed-M: ...that's not a screenplay]. I hope you enjoy!
Three men appear exasperated, angry and desperate inside of a meeting room in the Ohio State athletic department building. Two older men and one young, athletic man. One of the two men stands inches from the young athlete’s face, screaming a desperate plea for information, while the other looks out from between two old, wooden window blind slats in dismay. Outside the building, a ravenous mob of reporters, having smelled blood in the water for too long, is advancing on the creaking, groaning, old structure, shouting horrible curses and demands for interviews and information. Inside, the men grow louder. Their voices slam against the walls of the cramped room and die, echoing off of the scuffed linoleum tile and dented drywall.
“Terrelle, you’ve got to tell us what you’ve been up to with these cars! Where is the missing football equipment? They’re coming for us. There is no way to get out of this thing if you don’t help us. They’ll take us all down! We’ll be ruined.” Doug Archie’s voice was strong, but the quarterback is non-compliant, and the requests for information go ignored.
“I can’t, man. I can’t! Everybody does stuff! Gets free tats, steals gear from you, steals gear from me. I can’t say nothin’!” The pack of reporters continues to advance on the building. It becomes obvious they could not be turned away by attempting to dismiss FOIAs on bogus claims. The fear in Gene Smith’s eyes as glances back into the room at Archie is evident.
“They’re on us, Doug. We gotta get out of here, now.”
“Terrelle, you idiot! Don’t you get it! Your future will be destroyed! We can’t protect you if you don’t help us now”, froths Archie. “Dammit, talk”, he curses, throwing a Hayse-esque punch that sends Pryor tumbling out of his chair onto the linoleum, a sheen of fear sweat flying in all directions from his ebony brow. The muscular young man lays there for a moment, and suddenly, a small chuckle gurgles from deep in his throat and a tiny slit of a grin crosses his lips; a spark of revelation flashing in his eyes.
“You know, I’ve always hated being an ‘amateur’ athlete. Hard work. Long hours. No pay. No right to profit from my image. But also… no real responsibility for these things. Right now, you’re definitely telling me I have responsibility that will hurt me in the future.” Archie and Smith glanced knowingly at each other as they realize the jig is up.
“You spend years fostering an environment of see-no-evil, and then suddenly you issue empty threats to attempt to appear in control of the program. A Compliance Plan within a Compliance Plan. Very good. But there are better ways to keep control of your program!”
In another world, OSU compliance has bigger problems, and Archie and Smith both suddenly find themselves awakened and falling backwards into a tub of water. They emerge soaked and angry over their failure. Things are getting worse. More information and former players are coming out of the woodwork. The NCAA investigation is getting more and more severe. The notice of allegations response is due soon, and they’re no closer to any of their goals. A homely and overweight department intern hands them each a towel. It is obvious that she has not washed the OSU jersey she considers "office wear" in weeks. The two are visibly nauseated by the smell of stale nacho cheese. She cuts short their torture by issuing them a depart order, right out.
They depart on her barking order, "President Gee wants to see you both, now."
They arrive to the meeting to find Gee waiting, seemingly calm and collected, but with some sort of a problem obviously furrowing his brow.
“I’ve requested you here because I understand that you are the best at infiltration and collection, correct?”, begins Gee, not lifting his eyes from the documents he is scanning to acknowledge the men. His bow tie bobs at his throat as he speaks.
“It’s true. We are. We don’t need a regular compliance department. Forget forms and investigations and what-have-you. If we need information, we will get it right from the minds of those who have it”, responds Archie, with Smith silently nodding in agreement.
“Tell me”, utters Gee in a lower tone, shifting his eyes slightly to peer at the two over the top of his sheet, “is the reverse also possible? Instead of taking an idea from the mind of a target, is it possible to implant an idea?”
“You’re talking about Inception. Implanting an idea into another person’s mind and getting them to believe it is their own”, says Archie, somewhere between breathlessly excited at the prospect and struck silent at the audacity.
“Yes, exactly”, responds Gee, his posture stone solid, his eyes focused so as to burn out a response.
“It would require a very special target and a very special idea… but it might be possible.”
“You see”, begins Gee again, standing up and approaching the two men, "the severity of the allegations has forced the university to sever ties with Coach Tressel." Smith, who had been turned slightly to lean on a nearby pillar, stands upright and walks nearer to form a close circle of three.
“It wasn’t our planned course of action, but it was the time to act. In order that Tressel might maintain his godly image among fans, we first allowed him to call it a resignation,” says Gee, holding out a small stack of printed sheets, stapled in the upper corner. He begins to flip through the sheets, one at a time as he brings up each talking point. “Later, the fan base became very angered with the fact that the university would allow Tressel to take the fall, and so we began a transition towards calling Tressel’s dismissal a “retirement”, and eliminating the fines that had previously been imposed”, continues Gee, still flipping sheets. “Now, however, we have released the University’s response to the Notice of Allegations. As you can see, our strategy relies on making Tressel the sole and privately responsible culprit for any and all transgressions. So-“
Suddenly, Smith cuts him off in a fit of realization at the entirety of the plan. “And so, you need to implant the idea in the mind of the NCAA that Tressel was, in fact, fired for incompetence and willful rule breaking, when you’ve spent the last few months giving him gentle shoulder massages as he leaves the university, declaring your full support for him over and over again.”
Gee smiles a devilish grin at Smith and begins to nod. “Precisely… is it possible?”
“Ordinarily, I’d say no way,” starts Archie slowly, his brow deeply furrowed in calculations. “But with the NCAA… maybe.” Archie rises from his chair and begins to pace. His footsteps clatter and echo heavily in the cavernous tile and glass office, but he seems unaware, rubbing thoughtfully at his chin.
“I’m not sure, but I think Auburn did it, implanting the idea that Cecil Newton was behind the entire Cam fiasco… but they had some evidence to work with. You’re talking about a complete fabrication… It’s gonna be tough… and I’m gonna need a hell of an architect.”
And the three began to plot the specifics of the caper late into the night.
What do you think? Have I got the next summer blockbuster?