The N-Files, Volume III
By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor
PHILADELPHIA (BASN/BASN NEWSROOM) — Later that same evening…
N-Files Glossary: UPS (Ultrasonic Pulse Scanner); BIG UPS (Bilateral Integrated Ghost Ultrasonic Pulse Scanner);
RATs (Residual Audio Templates); MAUS (Mobile Analog Uplink Source)
RBG (Red Black Green, aka Reparations by Graduations); MAMA (Modified Analog Masking Apparatus)
The crowd at Bob & Barbara’s was bustling, but a bit subdued, given the end of the workday.
A popular watering hole with the locals in Center City, many a question was asked and problem solved over liberal applications of “the Special” – a shot of Jim Beam and a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.
Butch, the resident psychologist, and potent potables pusher failed to notice the four Black men wading through the crowd to the back tables…
But his ears did pick up shortly after hearing the first few chords of Fishbone’s “When Problems Arise.” Turning toward to the digital jukebox, a voice hollered over the din. “Gimme a beer and tomato juice, please.” As Piper walked back toward the tall brother with the horn-rimmed glasses, Butch broke into a smile.
“Piper – what’s goin’ on’ baby”?” as the two shook hands. “Where’s your crazy ass cousin Mike? I thought he and the other Sports MCs was gonna come down and do another podcast.”
“Well, Wendell’s down South right now, and Chris is teaching as far as I know. Are you still listening to “The Batchelor Pad?”
“Oh, yeah – those two brothers and your cousin are really gettin’ in that ass,” laughed Butch. “So – I’m running low on tomato juice; only you and Mike order that shit when you come in here. Ask for something else.”
“Okay,” smiled Piper. Nodding slightly toward the back tables, his tone lowered. “How about a pizza, four beers and some privacy for starters – it would be greatly appreciated.”
Butch paused, then turned toward the bar – “Jackie, pass me the wheel, please.” An attractive, middle-aged dark brown woman reached down beneath a section of bottles and tossed a huge metal ring in Butch’s direction.
He caught the ring – a huge key chain – with his free hand, the other still puffing on a cigarette. “Not bad, huh – Eagles should sign me up right now. Come on.”
Following Butch, the two men walked the length of the bar and slid left as Piper gave the ‘hi’ sign to his colleagues. “Oh, brother man, please,” laughed Piper, “unless you’re gonna run the rock, don’t give Andy Reid another excuse to throw the damn ball.”
The men stepped up to a metal door, which opened up to a private dining area and six small tables. “The pizza will be here in 10 minutes, and the first round of beers is on me.”
“You are the best, Butch. I put in $20 of tunes in Jukezilla, so that should keep things hummin for a while,” said Piper as the others began to sit down. Butch then pointed toward the corner table. “There’s a volume control knob next to that speaker if you need to quiet things down – and don’t worry about privacy – the only person coming back here will be me,” as he turned and closed the door.
The four sat down, and Executive Director Mack McClain spoke. “Gentlemen, I know it is starting to get cold outside, but based on the information you have turned in, MAMA’s hot – and cookin’ up some intriguing stuff.
“From Agent Wheelwright’s diligence, the data from Vegas was very telling. The ghost images on the printouts showed major action on Denver, and I mean huge plays.
So many whales were placing so many high five figure and low six – figure bets, if Captain Ahab had seen it, he would’ve said, ‘Fuck Moby Dick.’”
The laughter was momentarily intermingled with Butch’s reemergence into the room, with beers and pizza placed on the table as McClain continued. “I heard the MAUS playback on the ride down, and I agree with Agent Piper’s hypothesis – Washington’s overall talent was far superior to Denver’s that year – but their inner redneck got the better of them in setting the line for Super Bowl XXII.
Williams and Washington were three-point underdogs, so a lot of Denver Bronco cash got sucked up like an industrial-strength Hoover in Vegas.
“The RATs were doing some pretty good squeaking themselves; we picked up some good latent audio. A lot of resentment afterward – a lot – but clear indications that the sore losers believed Vegas had missed the boat on ascertaining the odds,” finishing the thought with a hearty swig of his beer.
Several bites and another round of brews later, each man gave an account of where they were that day and what happened after the victory. “Okay, Agent Piper,” mused McClain, “we got some smoke and some fire – where do we go with this?”
Piper’s ears picked up as the first strains of Grover Washington Jr.’s “The Sea Lion” creaked out over the speakers. “Well, Chief – I’m guessing going further back may not be the best move right now.
Williams’ Super Bowl win is a demarcation point.
The common thread everyone in mainstream media wanted to push is how successful trends are copied; having said that, we didn’t see teams in the league busting down the doors to bring Black quarterbacks on their rosters, even if for merely cosmetic reasons.
“My thinking on this is with our knowledge of the power grid and the range capability of the BIG UPS and RATs, we couldn’t get enough information to put together a solid composite on Warren Moon.”
“Warren Moon?” Queried Agent Buchanan, “how do you connect the dots with Moon & Williams?
“Moon wasn’t a quarterback that lucked up into a championship game. He came down from Canada with a fistful of rings that he earned under center, not holding a clipboard – five consecutive championships.”
“Of course, they didn’t validate it here, but he wasn’t the first to come down from Canada – he was simply the first one they couldn’t ignore.”
“Yeah,” piped Buchanan, “but what about Joe Kapp?
He was Mexican.”
“Yeah, he was – but the League wasn’t concerned with that. He was Anglo enough in appearance to suit them. And Chuck Ealey and Condredge Holloway had already won Grey Cups up there – but the League wasn’t going to allow them to get a shot at QB down here. My Eagles brought Pete Liske down from Canada after he played half-ass for the Calgary Stampeders, but he stunk up the joint once he got here.
“Besides, in Moon’s case, his man Hugh Campbell came down from Canada to take a position with the Houston Oilers, almost as if to smooth the way for Moon to start without any, shall we say, ‘front office politics;’ but because of the uncertainty in getting ghosts from Canada, I’m thinking the closest connect to Williams and any conspiracy is right here in Philly.”
“Ah ha – you’re talkin’ Donovan McNabb, huh?” said Agent Wheelwright.
“No, Wheels – we’re talkin’ Randall Cunningham,” said Piper. “The ‘Ultimate Weapon’ used to rock this city, but they never gave him the tools to finish the job and follow Williams to the Super Bowl.
“Gentlemen, I hate to be an old fart here, but duty calls, and I need a further debriefing on all this before I head back to RBG Central,” said McClain. The four men got up to leave, with Agents Piper & Wheelwright heading out the door.
As Piper was introducing Wheels to Butch, McClain pulled back on Agent Buchanan. “A moment of your time if you please, sir,” as the door closed; Buchanan stood, a tad perplexed.
“Craig, we go way back, brother; we came out of Academy together. The thing I have always admired about you is when you hit on something, it’s never a ripple – it’s a tidal wave.”
“What’re you talking about, Mack?
“When you asked Digital Donna to place that BIG UPS in Pittsburgh, the images were sparse at first, and it looked like we weren’t going to get much of anything. But Donna then resets the scanner for 1988, and we ended up with reams of information regarding SB XXII.”
“Out of Pittsburgh?” said Buchanan. “That’s buck wild! They weren’t even in the mix with the…betting?” Buchanan paused as he caught up to the thought initially running in his head. “Oh shit, Mack.”
“Oh, shit, indeed. You’re feelin’ me, Craig. It wasn’t just Pittsburgh. Every major urban center, every part of the country threw down action on that game. Piper’s just scratched the surface of this; the betting in Vegas was one thing – but the illegal action was probably increased tenfold on a dollar to dollar basis.
“We then followed up with a couple of well-placed RATs, and we picked up fascinating audio streams – people putting deposits on houses, auto purchases, college funds started; one stream even included a dozen people who won over $30,000 after the game after pooling their cash into one large bet; and the vocal patterns would seem to indicate most, if not all of the voices – were Black.
“It wasn’t just the money bet, Craig – this was a Joe Louis moment! John Elway was the ‘Bum of the Month’ – and he didn’t even have a clue.
“When Williams had that kick – ass second quarter, it brought the ‘trickle – down theory’ – from the suburbs to the ‘hood.”
Agent Buchanan nodded affirmatively, his mind racing as he took the weight of McClain’s words. “Just about everything I’ve already said to you I will likely repeat in some form to the other agents after full de-briefing,” McClain sighed.
“But, Craig – you are gonna have to be very careful when you return back to your home base. There was a significantly strong overture of backlash encompassing the area where you live.”
A knock on the door prompted Buchanan to back away and grab the knob.
“Craig, “as McClain grabbed his arm. “Watch your back, brother.”
To be continued…
Copyright (C) 2009 Michael – Louis Ingram all rights reserved.