Trash Talk Fridays: Fire vs. Houston Dynamo
This weekend the Chicago Fire play the Dynamo. So gather ’round the campfire boys and girls as OTF’s Ricardo Ortiz brings you a cautionary tale from suburban Houston…
“Let go of the box Timmy, we’re not allowed!” Jack hollered, as he tried to jerk the box away from Timmy’s hands.
“Stop being such a wimp Jack! It’ll be fine!” Timmy said, as he triumphantly wrestled the box from Jack’s hands and plopped it on the bed.
Their parents’ bedroom was warm and musty in the mid-morning Houston sun. The curtains – left drawn because groggy mom and dad left for work early that morning – filled the room with a hazy orange glow. Jack and his older brother Timmy had waited all morning hiding behind the bushes in the front of the house, fooling their parents into thinking they had already taken the bus to school.
The boys watched their dad leave in his shiny SUV – “World’s #1 Dad” mug in hand – and twenty minutes later watched their mom drive away in her white hybrid Sedan. Then, quietly and as stealthily as possible, Timmy and Jack snuck back into the house through the window with the broken latch and crept upstairs – all so they could finally get a look, a glimpse, into the Dynamo Box.
Jack frowned as he stared at the box. His heart was racing. Suddenly, all the things their mom had told them about it came flooding back.
“Don’t ever, under any circumstances, look into the box. You hear me boys? Your Dad, he has his umm…quirks, and they’re for him to deal with. You boys will understand when you’re older, and hopefully you’ll turn out different.”
Jack remembered her grim and serious face when she whispered the warning to him and his brother on one of the many weekends their Dad was gone. They didn’t know where or why he went, and it only happened from around Springtime through the Fall. All the boys knew was that dad would always return either manic or dejected, in the midst of passion or in the throes of melancholy.
Now, looking at the box itself, Jack felt even more scared. He had no idea what could possibly be inside.
He took a step closer to inspect the box lid. On it, written in permanent marker, was the word “Dynamo.” It was sloppily written, the letters ‘m’ and ‘o’ trending downwards as if the author, in the midst of depression, had almost given up halfway through writing. Underneath it, written in pencil and all capital letters were the words: “Third time’s the charm.”
Jack had no idea what these words meant. He had heard his dad whisper them to himself late at night, or whilst sitting quietly in his reading chair, angrily clutching a dirty orange rag.
Timmy gave Jack a sudden shove from behind. “Go on, open the box wimp! Or are you scaaared?” he said tauntingly.
Jack shrugged him off and slowly stepped closer to the box. He could hear his own heartbeat drumming in his ears and his fingers tingled with a warm electric sensation as he slowly reached for the lid. Lifting it towards him, Jack slowly opened the lid with one hand on each side, and carefully bent closer to peek inside.
Inside there were only two things: a dirty orange shirt with old ketchup stains running down the middle and the discoloration of armpit sweat under each sleeve. Next to the shirt, bundled up in a corner of the box, was an orange scarf, its colors fading and its ends frayed and disintegrating.
“That’s it?!” moaned Timmy, as he lifted up the shirt to see if there was more underneath. “Mom doesn’t want us to look at a stupid shirt?”
Timmy sighed and threw himself on the bed, splaying out his arms and groaning in frustration as he buried his face in the pillows. Jack however remained completely entranced, his eyes fixed on the shirt.
Softly, in the back of his mind, he could hear a very faint whisper calling out to him. “Dyyyyyynamoooooo Dieeeeessseeeel,” it said quietly.
Suddenly, Jack felt compelled to try on the shirt. He didn’t know where the urge came from or how it entered his head, but it seized him so casually and suddenly that he didn’t even question it. As he lifted the shirt out of the box, he could feel a strange power radiating from it, coursing through his body and almost lifting him up.
The voice in the back of Jack’s head grew louder and stronger. “Cooooomeee to meeee Jaaaaack, put on the shiiiiiiiirt.”
Slowly, he slid the shirt over his head. It was huge on him. The sleeves came down almost to his hands, and the shirt went all the way down to his knees. Inside, though, it made Jack feel powerful and strong. The promise of opportunity and success suddenly came rushing into his mind. He could see championships, and glory, and trophies, and the success of a thousand victories all laid out before him.
Then, in an instant it was gone, taken away just as quickly as it had come. Left in its place was only sadness and longing, a sense of coming within mere millimeters of achieving something extraordinary and then having it taken away. Hollow inferiority and bitter regret filled Jack.
“Hey! Bring it back, bring back the good feelings!” Jack called out in vain as the sudden disappointment took him by surprise.
Now, his hands felt clammy, and he could hear himself breathing heavily.
“Bring what back? What are you talking about?” said Jimmy, staring at him from the bed.
“Jimmy looks scared,” thought Jack. He tried to speak, but his words caught in his throat. He could feel a cold sensation spreading over his body, making him feel weak and distant.
“Beeeecommeeee one with meeeeee Jaaaaaack. Beeeeecomeeeee the Dieeeeeesssseeeel.”
Jack tried desperately to take the shirt off, to call out to Timmy for help, but every passing instant made him feel colder and more distant, as if his mind was being pushed away from his body by something larger, bigger, and strangely furrier.
“Uhhhh Jack, is that fur coming out of your ears?” an alarmed Timmy asked as he slowly backed away from and off the bed.
Suddenly, Timmy’s eyes were huge with fear. His face had gone pale, and he tripped over some clothes as he gaped up at Jack.
Before him stood a monstrosity: a half man, half gigantic demon fox, contorted in the sickly birthing throes of an unnatural and hellish melding.
“Heeeelppp meeee.” the thing called out in a faint rasp that sounded like Jack’s voice, “Heeeeellpppp meeee.”
Timmy, trembling with fear, tried to stand up. “J-j-j-jack?” he called out faintly.
Suddenly, the monster turned to look straight at Timmy, its red eyes glowing with supernatural hate and the forbidden eldritch wisdom of countless millennia. Its fox-like snout growled at Timmy, and with a voice that sounded like the deaths of a trillion stars, it spoke.
“Who’s Jack, boy? My name is Dynamo Diesel!”
Timmy didn’t even have time to scream before the demon scooped him with a clawed paw and ate him whole.
No one ever knew what became of the two Texican boys. Many assumed they ran away to the brighter, more serene lands to the north. They had heard of a mystical place, a metropolis of possibilities that was once a giant wild onion field.
But this was merely the stuff of legends.
Most Houstonites, however, use the boys’ disappearance as a cautionary tale. In hushed voices, huddled around TV dinners, they always say: “Houston Dynamo, not even once.”
OTF’s Ricardo Ortiz is the unofficial philosopher and firebrand preacher of the Chicago Word. Follow him @RickHardTimes