The Ingenious One: A Retrospective
As a waif floats ‘neath the neon glow—a ghost fettered to both confusion and helplessness—so a dejected and anonymous man finds himself opposite his shallow reflection in a barroom mirror. He calls out over the clanking glasses and whimsical laughter: “Laphroaigs—two please,” he raps the bar with ringed knuckles, “a double, neat, for me and my friend.” The Bartender scans the man’s sphere, “Friends?” “Myself…and me.” The Bartender nods and busies himself with the man’s order. “The Broncos won,” I say as I occupy an empty barstool next to the man—the man who’s known throughout the world as, “The Ingenious One.” “Won? Who?” “The Broncos, you know: football?” He looks at me, greasy haired and unshaven, “Football is one, my friend, and it’s not American.” The Bartender slaps the Ingenious One’s drinks on the counter. “I see you found yourself,” the Bartender says, eyeing me. “No, for me, the Laphroaig, I know not this man,” the Ingenious One says while sniffing his Scotch. “What do you have from Bottom Line Brewery?” I ask the Bartender. The Ingenious One, sitting next me, frowns. “What?,” I inquire. “This beer is diarrhea mouth, no?” “Diarrhea mouth?” “Yes, tinkle-tinkle.” I ignore him as the Bartender slides a cask-conditioned ale my way. “Aren’t you supposed to be locked in a hotel room, and as I hear it, ‘curled in the fetal while humming Wagner?’” The Ingenious One sets his Laphroaig down and turns towards me. I continue: “You’ve disappeared from the spotlight and, as the story goes, were last spotted drifting from bar-to-bar in LoDo. Some say you’ve relocated to your home country; others that you’ve been walking Colfax in drag. So: which is it? I mean, you’re the only manager to ever Treble in three different leagues in one year—the Trebled Treble. You’re world renowned. What’s going on? And I want the truth, no bulls—-.” The Ingenious One responds: “Am I man or myth? Am I whole? This only God can answer, well, God and Sir Alex, though sometimes I confuse one for the other. Yes, I have won the Treble, many, many times. Yes, I am a living legend, but no, I do not wear drag and I do not know what this ‘fetal’ is, but it still remains: FC Dorning is near last place. I have only one answer for my critics—” “Holy deuce!” I cut him off as two things simultaneously happen: one, horrific screams fill the barroom; and two, bursting flames engulf the bar’s stage (reportedly started by the pyrotechnics of the local ‘80’s hair band, Hop-Lock Juggernaut, whose front man, James Daly, is now being held by the Denver Police Department for both neglecting city fire codes and allegedly fixing Fantasyship matches). By the time I escape the chaos, the Ingenious One has disappeared, like Gob the Magician at Daddy Bluth’s funeral. Sadly, I never learned what the Ingenious One was preparing to say in that instance before Hop-Lock’s fire—that unmasked moment of rare vulnerability that the brilliantly famous so often circumvent—but one thing remains, like a sixth-sense prickling sensation: throughout the Ingenious One’s entire career, he never lost another match.