By Danger Guerrero
[Scene: In the Phillies High parking lot, where Jimmy, Ryan, Cole, Cliff, and Chase are walking toward the school and discussing their big persuasive writing project for Mr. Mackanin’s English class]
Ryan Howard: Man, this paper is killing me.
Cole Hamels: Me too.
Chase Utley: What’s the problem?
Ryan Howard: I mean, I think it’s going okay, but I’m having trouble addressing all the potential counterarguments. I keep feeling like I’m missing something.
Cole Hamels: Exactly. Every time I think I’m done, I notice a new hole where Mr. Mackinin could cut in and be like “But, did you consider…”
Ryan Howard: I know. I hear his voice saying “Buuut” all the time. It’s driving me crazy.
Chase Utley: Well stay focused, guys. I’m sure you’ll get those messy “but” holes cleaned up eventually.
Jimmy Rollins: [freezes, eyes grow wide] Wait. Wait. WAIT. Did you just say … ahahahaha AHAHAHAHAHA. MESSY BUTTHOLES. AHAHAHAHA. OH GOD. AHAHAHAHA.
Cole Hamels: That’s not what he meant, Jimmy. You’re so immature sometimes.
Jimmy Rollins: … AHAHAHAHAHA. I CAN’T BREATHE. AHAHAHAHAHAHA.
Cliff Lee: [chews gum, sprains jaw, is unable to talk for the rest of the school year]
Ryan Howard: Hey, look. What’s Superintendent Amaro doing?
[The boys walk closer and see Superintendent Ruben Amaro wearing a hard hat and holding a megaphone]
Superintendent Amaro: … a little to the left. Little more. Little more. No, back a little. Yes. There.
Cole Hamels: What’s going on, Superintendent Amaro?
Superintendent Amaro: Time’s come for some renovations, boys. Out with the old, in with the new. Hey, what the hell is wrong with Jimmy?
Jimmy Rollins: [is now laying on the ground and gasping for air between fits of laughter] AHAHA MESSY BUTTHOLES AHAHAHA
Chase Utley: He’s fine. He just… He’s fine.
Superintendent Amaro: Anyway, yeah. As I was saying. Renovations. Time to fix the old girl up.
[An engineer approaches holding blueprints]
Engineer: Okay, so here’s what I’m thinking. We’ll start with the cafeteria. Roof’s leaking pretty bad. We need to take the whole thing apart and start with all new materi-...
Superintendent Amaro: Whoawhoawhoa, pal. We just put $100,000 into the cafeteria a few years ago.
Engineer: Yeaaahhh… but it’s leaking. There’s three inches of water in the kitchen right now from last night’s storm.
Superintendent Amaro: Leave it for now. Lemme make some phone calls and see if Orioles High wants it. We can take it apart and ship it there. I can probably get them to give me two, maybe three school buses for it. It’s still good, see?
[Ruben Amaro knocks on brick wall outside of cafeteria, the bricks he touches turn to dust]
Engineer: O… okay. Well next we gotta talk about the windows. They’re a mess. Probably gonna need to replace them all.
Cole Hamels: It does get pretty cold near the windows in the winter. My snot froze once.
Superintendent Amaro: Ahhhh, quit your whining. Windows are fine. We’ll look at them again after the school year. Next.
Engineer: I think you should reconsider. If we put in new ones with better insulation now you can cut your heating bills considerably right away. Over the long-term, this one’s a no-brainer. You’re just delaying the inevitable.
Superintendent Amaro: [slides sunglasses down nose, narrows eyes] Next.
Engineer: Well, uh, the next thing has to do with the courtyard. Got some real problems in there. Your guy Beeker pointed it out.
Superintendent Amaro: Beeker? Who the hell is Beeker?
Beeker: It’s me, sir. Jeff Beeker. I’m the environmental consultant you brought in last month to assess the grounds…
Superintendent Amaro: Oh yeah! You’re that nerd the school board made me hire! Poindexter, right?
Beeker: Actually, sir, it’s Beeker, as I’ve pointed a number of times.
Superintendent Amaro: [gives Beeker a noogie] Ahhh, classic Poindexter. Now what’s this about the courtyard?
Beeker: Well sir, the courtyard is getting overrun with bugs and weeds that are slowly devouring all the other plant life, and it appears years of treating the problem with off-brand foreign weed killers and pesticides has left the entire area in a state of toxic mess. It is my recommendation that we quarantine the area so we can do soil studies to determine the extent of the damage, and whether the area presents a health hazard to the students.
Superintendent Amaro: Janitor Carl handles the weeds and bugs.
Beeker: Yes, well, I think that may be part of the probl-...
Superintendent Amaro: [yelling off to Janitor Carl, who is walking into the school carrying what appears to be a bottle of anti-freeze, a box of matches, and a can of hairspray] Carl! You got those bugs under control?!
Janitor Carl: Bout to give ‘em what for, boss!
Superintendent Amaro: Carl’s got the bug problem under control. Next.
[Ryan and Chase begin coughing, first slowly, then building to loud and phlegmy, which has been happening with alarming frequency ever since Chase started having Ryan hit him grounders in the courtyard during study hall]
Beeker: But sir, I really think y-...
Superintendent Amaro: Sorry science boy, I just trust Carl’s eyes on this one. What else you guys got for me?
Engineer: See, this last thing is interesting. You know those trailers you bought last summer to use as classrooms instead of putting money into a new addition?
Superintendent Amaro: Yeah…
Engineer: Turns out you actually don’t need them. Enrollment didn’t go up as much as we all expected, so if you wiggle some things around in the classrooms, you might be able to turn around and rent them out to other schools that are crunched right now.
Superintendent Amaro: Great. What are we thinking? Four, five hundred thousand per?
Engineer: $500,000 per what?! Per year? For all of them? That’s incredibly hig-...
Superintendent Amaro: Nah, per trailer, each semester. I’ll go as low as 350.
Engineer: That’s … no one’s gonna pay that. They can just buy their own for that price. And then some.
Superintendent Amaro: No deal then.
Engineer: So, let me get this straight: we’re doing nothing?
Superintendent Amaro: Eh, I’ll get Janitor Carl to slap a coat of paint on the hallways. That oughta freshen the place up. Good talk, gang. Thanks for the input.
[Superintendent Amaro dismisses the engineer and his staff, takes a long, deep breath, and admires his work]
Superintendent Amaro: Still got it, Rube. Still got it.