The Wildcats Make the Second Round: A View from Heaven
A Play in One Act
Curtain opens on
Wildcat Heaven: a Victorian-style drawing room. Walls are furnished
with plush purple drapes, which are painted with clouds near the top.
Dry ice provides a foggy, cloud-like effect across the stage floor.
RICKY BIRDSONG sits in a purple velvet chair, stage left. JOHN EVANS
stands next to a fireplace, rear. He is holding a basketball, and
leaning against a grandfather clock, the face of which is eerily
glowing purple. OTTO GRAHAM enters, stage right.
GRAHAM [pumping his right fist and carrying a French horn in his left, he strides in front of a massive painted rock, center stage ]: U Rah Rah! How about that those last two minutes?! Crazier than an Evanston councilman! And that Vandy foul! How on Earth?
BIRDSONG [smiles coyly]: Well, Fisher-Davis may have had a little nudge into Bryant. . .
GRAHAM [mocking shock]: Ricky? You?
BIRDSONG: Actually, No. But I might have put someone up to it, someone perfect for the job.
Air Willie races onto the stage, slips, and slides through the fog on his jaw.
EVANS: Speak of the devil!
AIR WILLIE: pfffffffffffff. Blrp.
BIRDSONG: His airness works in mysterious ways.
EVANS: I tell you, boys, I never thought I'd see the day. Northwestern,
not only in the Tournament, but advancing on its first try.
BIRDSONG: John, you didn't see the day. In fact, you didn't see basketball, period.
EVANS: So? Here in Wildcat Heaven I've taken great pride in how the
boys have overcome their frustrations with the indoor foot-ball and
have carried forth. I think all us boys can say that, no matter from
which Northwestern era we hail.
Frances Willard enters, stage right.
WILLARD: What's all this 'us boys' shit? [She double-fists a bottle of Colt 45 and a flask of Old Crow. She is rip-assed drunk]
GRAHAM: Holy Johnny-off-the-pickleboat, Frances. Save some for us.
WILLARD: Go blow it out your French horn, Automatic. I gotta make up for lost time. [Pounds]
EVANS: Sorry to interrupt the festivities, but I have an important message from He-Whose-Name-Must-Not-Be-Rhymed.
Everyone else on the stage, including Air Willie, suddenly shrieks.
EVANS: What?! Ricky, Hell no: he's
The-Original-He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. And his final horcrux, by the
way, was the Wildcats' NCAA drought. No, I'm talking about
ALL: Oh, Lunt!
EVANS: Exactly. Orrington informs me that the Wildcats play Gonzaga later today.
BIRDSONG and GRAHAM, together: Gonzaga! Noooooo! We're doomed!
EVANS: I am afeared so. The team of the Northwest Territories is to
face the even team-ier team of the even more Northwestier Territory.
From Washington State comes the Pale Horse, the bringer of
Northwestern's unmaking. The finisher of our dream. For how can the
Wildcats compete with this mountain of a team? This premier of seeds?
WILLARD: What?! Man up, assholes! Gonzaga is a great team, but it's not the '96 Bulls.
AIR WILLIE: sssssffffffftt.
WILLARD [finishes off the Old Crow; spikes the flask onto the floor]:
Look, this Wildcat team has already achieved more than we thought they
could, right? So why not one more game? Forty minutes of hard-ass work,
and a lifetime of great memories. You think Gonzaga is unstoppable?
Have you seen Law when he's on a tear? What about McIntosh. That
bastard knocked down 25 points on Thursday; he's not going to cower
like a little bitch against some school from Washington. [takes out a Pabst and a pencil; shotguns the can]. Screw that! Let's play nuts-out, for ONE MORE GAME!
BIRDSONG: Frances, you might be right. Terrifyingly plowed, but right.
Lindsey has scored at least 14 points in his last four games. What's so
magic about the 'Zags? They put on their basketball shorts just like
the 'Cats do.
GRAHAM: You mean with the help of their valets, in their dressing parlors?
EVANS: Now you're just perpetuating NU stereotypes, Otto.
BIRDSONG: The 'Cats are shooting nearly 50% right now, and their ten
wins on the road this season match the record you helped set, Otto, back
in '43 and '44. You know, I think they can do it.
AIR WILLIE [bursts]
WILLARD: Randy! Rashidi! Bobby! Matt! Marcel! Max! Tex! Get your asses in here! The game's about to start!
GRAHAM: You know Tex Winter's still alive, right?
WILLARD: Never mind, Tex. The rest of you: grab a keg, get your purple
banners, and help me re-inflate Air Willie. He's got a few more nudges
to deal out.