(Brett Favre’s eyes snap open; he’s on a sandy ocean beach, the tide lapping his face as it draws back into the ocean. He slowly pushes himself up, trying to understand where he is. He sees the Don Hutson Center sitting on top of a stony ridge along the beach.)
Favre: Just … (slowly standing up) … wanna play ball …
(He shuffles and stumbles his way to the center, his sea water-saturated white shirt and red gym shorts weighing him down; before he can get too far, two men in Packers security clothing accost him)
Security Man 1: Stop right there! We’ve got private OTAs going on inside!
Security Man 2: (into a headset) We found an intruder. Do we take him alive? (he waits a beat, then nods in response)
(Favre is sitting inside the main office of the center, looking across a desk at an old, frumpy man)
Old Man: (his voice shaking with age) What are you doing here?
Favre: (his eyes glued to the ground) I’m here … to play ball. That’s all I want to do.
Old Man: (he looks at a Nerf vortex football on the table before him) This is all security could find on you … (he picks up the football, tossing it between his hands) I knew a man who had a football like this once. It would always be a perfect spiral no matter how poorly he threw it.
Favre: I just want to play … ball …
(Favre is sitting around a table with Bus Cook, his wife Deanna, Peter King, Jon Gruden, Jared Allen and Brad Childress in his home in Mississippi; everyone is dressed impeccably except for Favre, who is dressed in a dirty white T-shirt and red gym shorts)
Favre: I’m getting out of the game. Touchdowns are too hard to throw.
Cook: Goddammit Brett, you can’t flake out on us now! There’s $13 million on the table!
King: Let me just take this time to tell you what an honor it is to see you play. I feel like I’m watching Jesus getting a blowjob from Mother Theresa every time you take a snap.
Gruden: I’ll do ya one better, Brett — it’s an honor just to know you exist! Your friendship is the one thing in my rancid life keeping me going!
Allen: I’M FUCKIN’ DRUNK
Favre: But my ankle is ouchie.
Childress: Yes, but do you know what us more ouchie, Brett? The sting of how last year ended, how everyone was laughing at you after that final pick. You don’t want to live with that pain until you’re an old man, do you?
Favre: (eyes get wide and he sits up slightly) Sidney catch it!
Deanna: Brett, you should play again! You look like you have so much fun out there, especially when the Saints are being pirates on your ankle.
Childress: Look, Brett — the Vikings need you to play. The NFL needs you to play. You need you to play. You need that second Super Bowl to define your career.
Favre: Yeah, but … (in a singing voice, throwing his arms outward operatically) I don’t know if I wanna plaaaaaaaay … ball!
King: (Shakes his head) He’s too indecisive. The third preseason game is coming up, we’re not going to get him back to Minnesota in time.
Allen: FUCKIN’ JACK DANIELS
Deanna: How will we pay for all our possum traps without that $13 million? Brett, you have to go back!
Favre: (slaps his hands together and points across his body) You gotta cross, Sidney! Sidney, c’mon!
Gruden: Whatever decisiveness he had off the field has left him. He’s just a jumbled mess of hard-nosed football instincts in that oversized noggin of his now.
Cook: So are we screwed? Is he going to goddamn waffle the entire year?
Childress: (Puts his hand over his chin, rubbing his stubbly beard) Well, maybe there’s a way. But I’m not sure we can pull it off …
Deanna: I’m willing to try anything to get Brett back playing the game he loves so much that he can’t decide whether he wants to play it every year.
Childress: Well, back when I was coaching at UW-Madison, the science department had this device, where you could go … inside someone’s dreams.
King: Inside …
Gruden: … their dreams?
Allen: FUCKIN’ DRUNK?
Childress: Well, it was mostly for extracting plays from players from other Big Ten schools so we could know what they were going to run. But there were some experiments done where they would actually … insert ideas into other players’ minds, through their subconscious. To sabotage their play.
Cook: You mean, to make them throw into double coverage and the like?
Childress: Yeah, and trying to catch passes with their buttcheeks. We had some success, but …
King: (leaning in) Are you saying we should … plant the idea of coming back being the right thing to do in Brett’s head?
Gruden: You mean … inception?
Childress: No, not quite inception in Brett’s case. The idea is already somewhere in that mass of horseshit he calls a brain. What I’m really thinking of is the doubt that’s preventing him from choosing that idea.
Deanna: … to remove the idea of retirement from his mind?
Childress: Yes … more of an, interception than inception, I suppose.
Cook: (leans back in his chair, incredulous) Goddammit … you mean you’re trained in this Willy Wonka bullshit?
Childress: (Smirking) How do you think the Badgers won those Rose Bowls during my tenure?
Gruden: The old Graybeard!
Deanna: The Big Kid!
Allen: JIMMY BEAM FOR BREAKFAST
Favre: (Looking at them quizzically) Hut hut hike?
King: Yeah, should we be talking about this with Brett? Might that undermine the plan a bit?
Childress: With most people, probably. But for one, I don’t think he was listening; and two, he’s going to have to help us. If his dreams are half as jumbled and nonsensical as his waking mind, we’re going to need his guidance to navigate his subconscious.
Childress: Exactly. It’s like there’s Favre’s brain … and then there’s Favre. And we need to get to his brain, and Favre’s the only one who can get us there.
Cook: That’s an awful lot of “ands.”
Childress: When you find a better way to construct those sentences, you can let me know, honkey. So are you in, No. 4?
Favre: Can I play ball if I say yes?
Childress: (smiling) I certainly believe we have a shot at that happening, Brett.
Favre: What about touchdowns? Two-point conversions? John Madden???
Childress: We’ll have all of that and more, Brett, if you guide us through your dreams so you can play for the Vikings again.
Favre: Hooray! Packers fans will love me even more!
(Out in a field on Favre’s property, there are seven chairs lined up side by side, propped precariously on wooden stops; a string is attached to all of the stops, connecting to a football laying on the ground; the group of seven from the meeting are standing around Childress working on the dream device near the chairs)
Childress: I’ll have Tavaris Jackson plug us all into Favre’s dreams, and we should have a good two hours of real-world time to get in there and intercept the retirement idea.
Cook: But how do we get out of the dream?
Childress: With a kick — the sense of falling that wakes you up from a dream. (Nods toward the chairs) After an hour and fifty minutes, we’ll have Tavaris hand the ball these strings are attached to off to Adrian Peterson. About thirty handoffs in, he should fumble the ball away, kicking out the stops and sending us on a fall.
Deanna: (smiling and waving to Peterson and Jackson) Hi there!
Gruden: You disrespectful thug! Brett is a legend, and you could learn a thing or two about hard-nosed play and hustle! You, with all the talent in the world, just refuse to put your nose to the grindstone like my dear, snow-white Brett —
King: Gruden! Save the racist player analysis for later! Just stay focused on your part of the plan!
Cook: Brett, are you ready for this? I mean, it’s going to be dangerous going into a dream within a dream within a dream …
Favre: I dream big. I’m always looking downfield for that big play.
Cook: (frowning) Right. (Turns to Childress) Are you sure we aren’t walking into shit city with this dumbass guiding us?
Childress: It’s risky, yeah. But the reward of another season of Favre is too great to ignore. (Stands up) All right, Tavaris! Set us up!
(The group of seven sit in their chairs, all hooked up to the dream device)
Childress: Everyone drink the shot glass to the right of your chair. Jared Allen has mixed up a drink that will knock us all out solid for an equal two-hour time period.
Gruden: Why the hell is he going with us?
Childress: Dammit, you try to tell him to go away. Nobody even invited him to Favre’s house in the first place. And he’s so damn drunk all the time!
Allen: SHOTS YEAH FAGGOTS WE’LL GET WAAAASTED
(Everyone takes their shots in unison; they lean back and begin to drift away)
King: The mind of Brett Favre! What a scoop this will be on that turd burglar Don Banks!
Childress: We’ll see you on the other side, Brett … see you … (eyes closing) … next season …
Favre: (falling asleep) Blue … 42 … set … (he drops his shot glass, and everyone is asleep)
(Jackson and Peterson look at the group for a moment; Jackson walks toward the sleeping seven, pulling out a black sharpie)
Jackson: I’m going to draw the biggest, gayest dicks all over their faces …
TO BE CONTINUED