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BIG TWELVE-HEARTED LEAGUE

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THE MACK ADAMS STORIES, VOLUME 1:

BIG TWELVE-HEARTED LEAGUE

Mack walked across the plaza and into the building. It felt good to be out of the sun. Belmont was always cool. Today Will was there.

Will poured them glasses of Doctor Pepper. Mack liked to drink the Doctor Peppers Will poured. He knew how to put the ice in so that you could drink it all day long. The ice always felt good on Mack’s teeth. Mack knew you could drink Doctor Peppers all day long. You could do it and not become a rummy.

"Have a cold drink, Mack," Will said.

Mack took the glass. He drank it. The ice felt good on his teeth.

"I miss Nebraska," said Mack.

He never thought Nebraska would leave. Now they were gone.

"We always beat Nebraska," Will said.

"We did," Mack said.

They looked out the window. The sun was bright on the plaza. They drank and thought about Nebraska.

"The Pelini brothers are rummies," said Will.

"They’re all right," Mack said. "Bo is a good guy."

Mack would say someone was a good guy even when he was not.

"Mack, you always say someone is a good guy even when he’s not," Will said.

Mack thought about it. He knew Will was right.

"Anyway, it’s a shame they left," Mack said. "A twelve-team league with ten teams is lousy."

"We still have Oklahoma and A&M," Will said.

"It’s not the same, Will," Mack said. "It’s not the same without Nebraska. A twelve-team league with ten teams is a lousy deal."

"Stoops is a rummy, anyway," said Will.

Will would say someone was a rummy even when he was not.

Mack thought about Stoops. He thought Stoops might be a rummy.

"Stoops is a good guy," Mack said.

Will sat quiet.

"Thinking about it doesn’t help any. There’s just no damn use," Mack said.

Mack would swear when he drank Doctor Peppers. But not in front of women. Mack thought a man should not swear with women in the room. Will swore when he drank Doctor Peppers. He swore even when he did not. Will swore in front of women, too.

They sat and talked about the Pac-16. They talked about the places they would have gone. Mack thought about the fishing they would miss. Waco was not a good place to fish.

"We could have fished in California," Mack said. "Fishing is good there."

Will thought about California.

"And watched bullfights at San Luis Obispo," Will said.

Will didn’t know if they had bullfights at San Luis Obispo. All he knew was that it sounded Spanish.

"The players would have liked that, Will," Mack said.

Mack knew there were no bullfights in San Luis Obispo. But it didn’t matter. It was all done with now, finished. Things had gone wrong. It was probably all for the best. He was tired. He drank off his glass.

"Let’s go watch film, Will," said Mack. "It will be cool inside and we can watch film in the dark."

"What about Greg?" Will asked.

Mack looked at his glass. It was empty.

"Greg is a good guy," Mack said.

Will sat quiet for a long time. He drank his off glass. He did not look at Mack.

"Let’s find the Major, Mack," Will said. "Let’s find him and watch film. I’ll pour us drinks and we can watch film with the Major."

"Yes. Let’s find the Major," Mack agreed.

Will poured Doctor Peppers and they went to find the Major. Will had put the ice in just right. It was hot outside, but they would be cool in the dark with their drinks. They would watch film with the Major and not think about Nebraska anymore. Unless it was Nebraska film. Then they would have to think about Nebraska. They would think about Nebraska as they watched film and drank with the Major. It would be a good thing