Imagine this, your son – Streetlamp Le Moose – classy motherfucker. He turns 5, starts going to Preschool – the first day, his teacher is doing roll call and gets to his name. She looks up, creases her brow and reads again, sure that she made a mistake. ‘Streetlamp?’ She says. Her brow still furrowed, looking around at the collection of eager kids cross-legged at her feet.
Enter, Mr Streetlamp, is he wearing a Sesame Street shirt? No. He’s wearing a shirt, tie too – he looks at the teacher and says ‘Yes Miss?’ – classy. The whole class is looking at him now, admiring his fashion sense, his awesome name, his doubley good name. The rest of them – their name is only good for a girl or a boy, but for both – this kid surely must be a God.
‘Oh my, Mr Streetlamp,’ the teacher will say, ‘you sure have a unique name.’
‘I’m a unique guy,’ he’ll reply. Turning to the cutie decked out in her floral dress next to him and shooting her a wink.
Fade to black.
Third grade, Streetlamp starts making ripples through his Primary School. People have a problem? Streetlamp will sort them. Lost a ball? Streetlamp has got your back. Skip rope gone missing? Streetlamp got you.
He’s earning the admiration and respect of those in the years above him, and soon enough, he’s becoming this local legend – Streetlamp, the man that gets things done. His unique, amazing name has pushed him to be a unique, amazing gentleman – kind hearted – check, brave – check, athletic – check, intelligent – you betcha.
His reputation precedes him, the kids graduating that year are going to go to their middle schools, and the legend of Streetlamp Le Moose will spread further. The kid that’s unstoppable. The classy motherfucker that does what’s right, and does it well.
Seventh Grade – Time to start middle school. Hormones start to kick in. By now, there are some overdeveloped dickish guys teasing him. You know what Streetlamp does? He doesn’t fight back, he doesn’t wage warfare against them, he just grins. Every night he runs, every night he works out – his muscles are starting to develop – his facial structure, impeccable. He’s beautiful.
The bullies aren’t caring though – they’re just continuously ripping into him, day after day. So what do you do when you’re pushed, repeatedly, Snap? Not Streetlamp. Streetlamp waits until they’re seperated from one another, approaching and befriending each one on their own. Gets to know them, finds out that the bigger one – George, he’s secretly in love with this girl, and been trying to rip on Streetlamp because he’s a baller and the girls love him, trying to prove that he’s more attractive by bullying him.
So Streetlamp, the good guy that he is, goes and approaches the girl, starts talking George up, telling her what a great guy he is really. Soon enough, they’re going on a date – the kind of cheesy date that 7th graders go on, that trip to the movies where they gingerly hold hands half way into the movie and she blushes and his breath increases in pace, nerves racing, heart pumping with such ferocity.
Fastforward, Streetlamp the Freshman (Fresh Man) – His rep has spread through the HighSchool already. You remember that cute girl in the floral from Preschool? Yeah, she goes to the same one. She’s developed pretty well – looking beautiful. First day of class, the teacher’s doing roll call, she looks at the list, furrows her brow – looking up. She lowers her head, reading again. ‘Streetlamp… Le Moose?’ she says.
He looks up from the discussion he’s having with one of the buddies that he’d made through George – talking about cologne or something like that – ‘Yes Miss,’ he says. He looks around, catching the eye of floral girl – winking at her once again.
She giggles – blushing.
They start dating a few weeks later, her names Abigail, it’s a good relationship – he treats her well, not needy – not clingy, but just enough attention for her to feel loved, for her to spread the rumour that he’s an amazing boyfriend, and an amazing guy.
Junior Year, Streetlamp and Abigail have broken up – it was mutual. It wasn’t because there were problems in the relationship, Floral girl just started thinking that they should see other people, she didn’t feel like she was good enough for him. He always treated her so well, and she’d never dated a guy before. It was feeling too serious, and she didn’t want to get serious so soon.
Streetlamp? He didn’t mind, he made sure they remained friends – they still eat lunch together most days, take the same classes and talk a lot. He started playing football, Quarterback – Coach is saying that his AP Calc and Physics classes are really helping him with his arch, and his AP classes in Ancient history have made him a master strategist.
Nobody quite knows how he does it – 8 AP classes in Junior year while being the Quarterback of the #7 ranked team in the country. He practices incessantly, studies even more. It should take it’s toll on his health, but it doesn’t, he stays on top of it all.
By now, the whole school knows who he is, and there’s a non stop stream of Sophmores and Juniors approaching him in the hallway asking if he wants to come to this or that party. He’s the sweetheart of the school, and the sort of boy that every girl in the school fantasises about. George? Linebacker on the team, best buddies by now – him and the girl dated for a while but it’s well and truly over now.
Enter Friday night; House party in the suburbs. Streetlamp rocks up with buddies late, 10 or 11 at night. Everyone is well and truly drunk. A huge cheer erupts when they walk in – he’s handed a beer as soon as he enters. He offers it to George – he doesn’t drink, his mind is his best instrument, he doesn’t want to damage it.
Senior’s hanging by the staircase, she’s wearing an olive miniskirt and one of those ripped tees. Her hard body, tightly encased. ‘Hi Streetlamp,’ she says.
‘Well Hi There.’
‘You want to come upstairs with me?’
Fade to black.
Senior year, Streetlamp and Abigail have drifted apart.
He’s dating the tightbody. She’s 18 months older, going to college nearby. He thought there might be some issue due to her being college, him senior year, but no such issue. He was a local hero by now – the football team was speculated to be #1 in the country this year with him as the QB – Schools all over the country were scouting him.
People latched onto her to be friends by association, she filters all the ones that aren’t good people – she’s good like that. He’s studying pretty hard, and training too – it’s a big year for him. He spends half his time at the college taking classes, the other half is at the school, a few classes being taken, but the majority spent devising new plays for the Football team.
He’s turned into a natural born leader.
He goes out to one of the girlfriends college parties. While he’s there, he gets introduced to this girl – Amber. Now, Amber isn’t what he’s used to – the girls that surround him are the typical preppy ‘Forever 21’ shoppig silicon clones of one another. Amber though, she was witty, dry, ironic and twisted.
They become friends, no romantic inclinations. The girlfriend gets worried. Streetlamp tells her not to, Streetlamp only has loving enough for one girl – and that’s her.
Few weeks later, Amber and Streetlamp are becoming pretty tight – Amber reveals she’s a lesbian. Streetlamp, being the classy motherfucker/good guy that he is doesn’t care. Instead, he puts some feelers out and finds a few girls around her age that he thinks she’ll like.
He sets up a few blind dates. The first one, didn’t go so well – they didn’t get along. The second, it seemed to go great, but Amber wasn’t a fan. She’s getting pretty distant with him, he asks her what’s up – she reveals she actually is in love with Tightbody.
Streetlamp Le Moose, being deserving of the good guy name, sets up the threesome. Amber gets to live out her desires, Tightbody gets to experience the typical lesbian phase in College, and he sits back.
The news of his sexual prowess spreads. Tightbody ends up falling for Amber, and they start dating. Streetlamp Le Moose, Angry? Nope. He’s happy for them. He’s proud.
Graduation. Valedictorian, #1 Football Team in the Country, Accepted a Place at Stanford doing Pre-Law. He gives his speech and talks about his life, how he’s been empowered and how he’s lucky to have such a loving and caring family. How his dad is his hero. He starts crying – he doesn’t hide it. He keeps his chin up and lets the tears roll down his face as he tells them about all that his mother and father gave up for him, how they taught him to be the person that he is today.
A lot of people are crying along with him.
After the ceremony, the principal shakes his hand, telling him that it’s the finest speech that he has ever heard.
He throws a party that night, he asks his mother and father to stay home and celebrate with him. He’s still not drinking, but he lets everyone around him drink. Nobody gets too wasted out of mutual respect for him.
The doorbell rings. One of his buddies starts to get up to answer it.
‘No, dude, relax! Have a good time,’ Streetlamp says.
He opens the door and who’s there; Floral.
His voice catches in his throat, he stammers for a second, ‘H-hi,’ he manages to spit out. He’s never been tongue tied around a girl before. She’s got long auburn hair now, it goes past her shoulders, and she’s wearing a floral print dress.
‘Nice dress, I haven’t seen you in one like that since…’ His thought trailed.
‘Since Preschool, I know.’
She smiled at him.
Second year of College, Starting QB of the Stanford Cardinal.
He’s got a passing rating of 176.4 over the season. His coach says that he’s really become a leader in the team. A lot of the pro teams are looking at him, he’s being pressured into declaring for the draft. It’s a dilemma, Streetlamp loves Football, but he also loves learning.
He’s sharp witted in his Law classes; topping the yeargroup. He’s been asked by his professors to help TA’ing some of the first year classes. They’re pretty boring; he didn’t really enjoy them the first time around, but Streetlamp has never been one to turn down an opportunity.
First day as a TA – Introduction to Corporate Law. He turns up about 20 minutes early and takes a seat in the third row back. He’s always wanted to pull the cliched ‘Talk to student, Make comments about the Lecturer, Walk up and become lecturer’ move. He sits down next to a girl – cropped brunette hair spiked up at the back, a biker jacket on.
‘Well, you’re a rare sight in a class like this,’ he says, turning to her.
She turns to him, grinning. ‘Streetlamp?’
‘Abigail? I hardly recognised you.’
She laughed, ‘It’s been an interesting year.’
‘I can tell.’
A middle aged man walked in, heading down the stairs towards the front of the stage.
‘You’re taking first year law?’ She asked.
‘Something like that.’
The man took the podium, scanning the students. ‘Ah, Streetlamp, just who I wanted to see. Get on up here,’ he says – the attention of the whole lecture theatre suddenly on him.
That year, him and Abigail get close again, friends – they talk most nights. It turns out their dorms aren’t that far away from each other. Turns out that she’d gotten into pre-med at Harvard, but dropped out during her first semester. She’d taken to goign out every night, partying hard enough to make most college students envious.
She’d changed. She was no longer a sweet girl, but she was an amazing one. She never acted like an idiot around him, or sucked up to him, or tried to be cute – she was just who she was.
As the year progressed, the football season wore on. They were going undefeated in their division. Two other teams were undefeated too though, it was uncertain whether or not they’d go to the BCS. When they were selected, there was an uproar. Everyone just presumed it was because of Streetlamp that they’d gotten through.
That year, they win the BCS.
Third year, last year of Pre-Law.
Abigail and Streetlamp start dating. The Coach of the Cardinal’s didn’t like it to begin with. There was a lot of conflict – he thought that she was bad for him, that she was dangerous. The cropped spikey hair and leather she always wore – even in the dead of summer didn’t help Streetlamp’s case.
It was a Tuesday night that the sparks truly flew. Streetlamp was sitting in Coach’s office, a combination of Mahogany and Red lush carpet (Coach had been given a raise after the BCS championship).
‘It isn’t acceptable Streetlamp. I can’t have my star athlete going around dating somebody like that. It isn’t just about you anymore. It’s about your career, it’s about the public perception, it’s about our fans and the teams that are scouting you – that want you. Is it really worth risking all of that for -‘ he paused, a look of disgust on his face, ‘her?’
‘Quite frankly coach,’ he said, staring him straight in the eyes, ‘I couldn’t care less. I try to always do what’s right, and to always be honest, and that’s what I’m going to do now. Abigail is the girl that I care about, that I love, her appearance be damned. She is the single most kind, caring, intelligent and brilliant girl that I have ever met, and if you were to ask me to give up either her or football. Well, I’d have to have a long think about that.’
‘Boy, I’ve been where you are before. I’ve cared for, god damn – I’ve loved girls with more of me than I care to admit, but this is your future. This is the rest of your life. She isn’t the type that you marry. She’s the type that you fuck for a few years, spend your fortune on and then leaves you for your best buddy.’ He inhaled, tearing up a little bit, ‘I just don’t want to see you hurt by her Streetlamp.’
‘I understand Coach, but you have to understand me. I’ve known her for most of my life, I’ve trusted her with all that I am, and she hasn’t betrayed me. Sure, we have rough patches, we drift apart sometimes, but we always come back. We. Always. Come. Back. Football is one thing coach, but a life without the girl that I love – that’s something completely different.’
They sat in silence for a little while. Coach staring at his desk and Streetlamp, at his lap.
Streetlamp’s voice croaked as he started to speak again; ‘If you’re asking me to choose between football and the love of my life, you know the answer.’
That season, they went undefeated again with Streetlamp starting every single game. His passing rating sat on 192.1 for the season, and the speculation surrounding his decision at the end of the year was making the news every single night.
A lot of the pro teams have been flying out their coaches to talk to him. He’s not sure. He’s conflicted; ambivalent.
It was late on a Friday that he decided to seek advice. He called his father; the rock of his life. The man that had always been there for him, loved and cared for him. The man that would give up everything for his son’s happiness.
‘Son,’ his father had said, ‘You’ve always loved Football, but you’ve always loved helping people too. I think that’s the quality that I most admire in you. You’re a special kid, the best son that a father can hope for, and one that I’m so very proud of.’ Streetlamp could hear his father crying now, ‘I don’t know what decision you’ll make, but I know you, and I know that whatever decision you come to is going to be the right one.’
Draft day 2032.
Streetlamp is paraded across the stage along with the rest of the speculated top draft picks. He wears a nice suit with a plain white shirt underneath and a crisp dark tie. Just looking at him, you can tell that behind those eyes lurks an incredible intellect.
The introductory proceedings stretch on for half an hour, but finally, they’re backstage again. Streetlamp sighs, his nerves holding his chest in a vice.
‘It’s going to be fine honey.’ She says, hugging him tight to her chest.
‘I know. It’s just. Wow.’
‘Who would’ve thought, hey?’
‘Who would’ve thought.’
‘I always knew, I read a story about you once,’ said his Father, joking to relieve the tension. ‘Best god damn story ever written.’
Streetlamp laughed. ‘That’s ridiculous.’
‘Loosened you up though, didn’t it?’
There was a short silence. Streetlamp rubbed his eyes.
‘Did you get much sleep last night?’ His mother asked.
‘Not enough.’ Streetlamp said, ‘the nerves, y’no.’
‘First pick, I’m telling you son. LA Jaguars – your new home.’
The introductions are done – the elderly Peyton Manning stands in front of thousands of fans – millions watching live at home.
‘The first pick of the 2032 draft goes to the LA Jaguars.’
A tense minute passes. Streetlamp watches the action on a small tv in the backstage area – a camera up in his face.
Another minute passes. He starts to panic. Abigail clutches his hand. Staring at her, he can’t help but smile. Over the last year, she’d traded her cropped hair for a longer style, and her leather in for sweaters and blouses. She never did say why, but he suspected that word got back to her about his confrontation with the coach. He’d asked, but she just denied.
‘… and with the first pick of the 2032 NFL draft, the LA Jaguars pick… Streetlamp Le Moose!’
His jaw drops, exhaling deeply, his eyes wide open. His mother and father are jumping up and down screaming, Abigail is clutching on to him tighter than ever. ‘You did it,’ she says, ‘you did it.’
The day after, the contract had been drawn up, including the special circumstances. The news story broke that night ‘Streetlamp Le Moose – Signed for $47 million over 7 years. Reported to also be attending Law School as well.’
He’s taking the degree externally.
He’d told his father the day before the signing. He’d been accepted to Yale.
He hesitated briefly, enough time for a grin to stretch ear to ear.
‘You may now kiss the bride.’
With that, he removed the veil from over Abigails face. She smiled back at him. Her hair was well past her shoulders now, and stuck a little to the veil. He wiped it off, tucking it behind her ear.
‘I love you, you know.’
She smiled ‘I know.’
In that moment, during that kiss, he felt like he’d never kissed a girl before, like this was the beginning of a lot of firsts.
He slipped the ring onto her finger, it was simple – plain. White gold with an inlay of diamonds.
She slipped his on, plain gold. It contrasted beautifully with the 2 over-designed superbowl rings on his right hand.
The same year, he stood in front the graduation class of Yale Law School.
‘I don’t know very many of you,’ he said, ‘and that’s a shame. I don’t doubt that you’re all wonderful people, and it pains me to have not had the opportunity to meet and spend time with you all. We have all had a tough few years, struggling through Corporate Law and the intricacies of Civil Procedure, but, we made it.”
‘Today,” he started, staring out at the crowd ‘we stand not students, but Lawyers. We stand as the guardians of justice. We stand as the defenders of good. We stand as the people that can make a physical, tangible change to the world for the better.’
‘I want to tell you all a story. In middle school, I fell in love with a girl. I ran into her again in my second year of pre-law. She didn’t look like she used to, or act like the person she once was, but love doesn’t discriminate.’
‘I had to make on of the hardest decisions of my life that year. My coach asked me to choose between playing football and being with the person that I love. He asked me to choose because of how she looked, of how she was perceived, of the person that he believed that she was judging only on the superficial. I chose her.’
‘That day, it struck me, there’s a lot of people in this world that judge and believe based solely off the superficial. There are a lot of people that don’t care to take the time to get to know somebody, to care for them and understand them. I ask everybody here today to remember this, and hold it as tightly as I do.’
‘It is our job now to fight for people who can’t fight anymore, it is not our job to judge them for how they got there. It is our job to create permanent, lasting change – not to make our world appear better, to make it actually better.’
‘I would like to leave you today with a quote; “The real judges of your character aren’t your neighbors, your relatives, or even the people you play bridge with. The folks who really know you are waiters, waitresses, and clerks.”‘
His office overlooked the field. Deep, white lines punctuated the lush grass. ‘Ever going to upgrade to astroturf Sir?’ Streetlamp asked.
The franchise owner laughed. It was a deep laugh, jolly even – he was the type of man that could make a child believe there was Santa for a few more years. ‘I can’t stand the stuff,’ he said, ‘if it’s not real, it can’t be good.’
‘Ah, I’m a bit the same, I’ve been almost too careful since Chair came along.’
‘Chair? Your son right?’
‘Yes sir. Chair De’Burlap.’
‘Interesting name. Strong name.’ He said, his brow creased, nodding. ‘You think he’s going to become a legendary quarterback like his father?’
Streetlamp laughed, ‘I’m not a legend yet sir.’
The owner, suddenly taking a stern tone, ‘Son, you will be after you sign this. You do understand what this makes you, right?’
‘The highest paid quarterback in the league?’
‘The highest paid quarterback in the league.’ He shook his head. ‘What’re you going to do with all that money?’
‘Good Sir, I’m going to do good.’
‘I’m sure you will son.’
That night, Streetlamp picked up his phone. He went to speeddial and pressed 1. His fathers voice met him on the other end of the line.
‘Hey dad,’ he said.
‘Streetlamp! How’re you going? How’s Chair?’
‘We’re good dad. I signed the new contract today.’
‘I saw – it’s all over the news. $180 million, it’s a lot of money.’
‘That it is.’
‘Any plans for what you’re going to do with it?’
‘I’m opening my own charity. I’ve been doing a bit of pro-bono work with sexually assaulted women,’ he paused, ‘these women dad. They’re broken. They’re violated and they’re broken. It’s like somebody has reached inside and stolen all that is theirs. Removed any safety in their life.’
His father remained silent on the other end of the line. He knew by now when Streetlamp just needed to compose his thoughts.
‘I can’t make it all better for them dad, but I can try to help them.’
‘That’s very noble.’
‘It’s just the right thing to do.’
‘You always do the right thing.’
Streetlamp heard the doorknob jiggle, and watched as Abigail got home.
‘Hey babe, good day?’ She’d shed the baby weight amazingly quick.
‘It was great, I’m just on the phone with Dad.’
‘Tell him I say hi.’
‘Was that Abi?’ Streetlamp’s Dad asked.
‘Sure was. She says hi.’
‘I’ll let you go then. Tell her I say hi back.’
‘Okay, Bye Dad. I love you.’
‘Love you too son.’
Streetlamp leaned back in the chair. His head throbbing.
‘I saw the news,’ said Abigail.
‘It’s hard not to now-a-days.’
‘$180 million is a lot of money.’
‘How much are you pledging to the charity.’
‘I wanted to talk to you about that. I was thinking…’ his sentence trailed off.
‘I was thinking I’d pledge $170 million. If you’re okay with that.’
‘I’m more than okay. I’m proud of you.’
‘Breaking news: Jaguars’ star quarterback Streetlamp Le Moose has called a press conference.’
Abigail stood opposite him, adjusting his tie. ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’
‘I’ve never been more sure.’
‘But, you love football.’
‘I love my family more. Last week was too close for comfort, I can’t lose you. I can’t leave you to look after Chair and Annie alone.’
‘You’re a good father.’
‘You’re the best mother.’
She smiled at him, and pecked him on the lips.
A thin blonde woman pokes her head out from the corridor, ‘Mr Streetlamp, Sir. Are you ready?’
‘Yes, I am Jessie.’
He reached into his pocket, making sure that his palm cards were there. Adjusted his suit jacket, inhaled and exhaled exactly once and walked out, making his way on stage.
‘And here he is, moving surprisingly well considering last weeks accident,’ said one news reporter.
‘He’s spent the last week flanked by reports that he’s injured and unable to play for the rest of the season, looking at him now, I feel confident in speculating that those reports are false.’ Another said.
Taking the lecturn, Streetlamp sighed, pulling out his palm cards and scanning the first one before he began speaking.
‘Ladies and Gentleman, Reporters, Sportsfans, the American Public, today, I stand in front of you with two things to tell you. It is with great sadness that I must announce my retirement from the NFL.’
A wave of frenzied whispers crashed over the crowd.
‘Last week, as you all know, I was on the recieving end of a high tackle, and as I’m sure you all know, it rendered me unconscious. Funnily enough, it was being knocked unconcious that woke me up to the fact that I’m no longer a young man. I’m not in the same athletic shape as I once was.’
‘I’m not going to lie to you, it was scary for me. I have an amazing son, Chair De’Burlap, who’s starting preschool this year, and the most beautiful daughter any man could hope for. I could not bear to lose either one of them, or have them grow up without a father.’
‘My father was the lynchpin of my childhood, really, he’s still the lynchpin of my life now. He is the most caring, passionate, loving person in my life, mark my mother, and I don’t think I’d be one tenth of the person I am today if it wasn’t for him.’
‘I’ve been blessed with an amazing career, and a team full of the best people I could ever hope to meet, and I apologise to them for putting them in this position. I’m sorry, but my family will always come first. Marcus Delroy is a brilliant quarterback, and I’m sure the team will be more than safe with him.’
‘I’ve achieved a lot of things over the last few years. I’ve opened my own charity, I’ve defended the rights of women who couldn’t afford defending, I’ve raised money for cancer awareness and for lower-income neighbourhoods. I’ve always had the desire to make the world a better place, and I’ve always aspired to live up to this desire. It is with this in mind that I make my second announcement.’
He looked down at his cards, breathing in and out deeply, ‘In the next election, I will be running as Governor of California. Thankyou.’ He walked off stage.
2056: ‘Ladies and gentleman,’ Streetlamp said, his voice poised, his back straight, ‘I would like to thank you all for your ongoing support over the last two years. I would like to thank you all for your faith in me, and for the faith in my party.’
‘Today,’ he paused, ‘today is the beginning of a new day. The start of a new people. We have experienced economic hardship, political insecurity, civil unrest and abuse of powers in this century, and I am proud to say that I will the be the one to bring an end to this.’
An eruption of applause encapsulated the room.
‘The United States was once a great country. It was once a nation that stood for the very fundamental rights of Freedom, Liberty and Justice. It pains me, as an American, that our fine country was sullied by the irresponsible and reckless actions of a minority put in a position of power, and I’m sure it pains you too.’
‘I ran in this election to give a voice to the people that have never had a voice. To restore the country to a place that judged not on what is presented superficially, but on the quality of their ideas, the strength of their convictions, and on the greatness of their character.’
‘Citizens of the United States, Citizens of the World, today, we have made the first step towards a tangible change for the better. We have made the first step to the enablement of our people. We have made the first step towards restoring our country to the greatness that it once was.’
‘I am thankful, and I am grateful to all who voted for me. I look forward to creating a better country, and creating a better world.’
With that, Streetlamp existed the stage. Abigail waited in the wings for him, embracing him she whispered seductively ‘Hello Mr. President.’
He smiled at her, chuckling, ‘Hello, First Lady,’
This is what happens if you call your son Streetlamp Le Moose. Are you really going to deprive him of that?