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Mike Mularkey Holds A Press Conference: A One-Act Play

Scene: Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator MIKE MULARKEY strides to the podium. A room full of reporters, led by dastardly inquisitor JEFF SCHULTZ, prepares to pepper him with questions. They can’t help but notice that MULARKEY is wearing a smoking jacket, a monocle and a degree in nuclear physics around his neck on a gold chain.

MIKE MULARKEY: Hail, fellows! I am ready for the mental stimulation your meaningless questions provide me. Though with this group, it really shall be less of a jog than reaching for grapes from a fainting couch, mmm?

CUB REPORTER: Is that a monocle?

MULARKEY: Indeed! It was a portion of my inheritance from the great General Winterbottom C. Mularkey, hero of the Malaysian-Romanian War of 1859. Perhaps you’ve heard of him, or seen his likeness on the family crest?

MULARKEY gestures toward the giant image suddenly projected behind him. The shield bears three men in helmets running straight into bayonets, with a beaming man with mutton chops above them.

CUB REPORTER: I…I’m afraid I haven’t.

MULARKEY: Perhaps if you were more literate, my dear boy. Perhaps if you were not an outside source.

Reporters stare at humiliated cub reporter. MULARKEY laughs imperiously.

SCHULTZ: May I ask you a cravenly question from the world of the outsiders, where the germs run rampant and the women are loose?

MULARKEY: My good man, you may inquire about whatever bagatelle you wish. These conferences are meant to be open to ideas of all stripes, even those of the mangy alley cat caterwauling outside my window!

SCHULTZ: Were you aware that the offense you helm has been outscored 61-13 in the third quarter? That’s pretty grim. Is that a cause for…

MULARKEY interrupts, throwing his head back and clutching his sides as his imperious laughter echoes throughout Flowery Branch. Somewhere, MICHAEL TURNER has Vietnam-style flashbacks to running up the gut.

MULARKEY: We try to score every time we get the ball, so that’s irrelevant to me. How dare you question my brilliant third quarter strategy, which is modeled after the great Winterbottom C. Mularkey! Why, those three points are worth 61 points to a lesser squadron! Every missed pass is meant to aerate the turf, you know.

D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER: Forgive me for asking, but wasn’t Winterbottom Mularkey’s strategy to capture a village and then exchange swords and muskets for palm fronds and sticks?

MULARKEY: Indeed! Those islanders never saw it coming, and he was victorious! As is my mighty Falcons squadron, whose pauldrons gleam with the blood of the vanquished!

DOL: I think historians agree that he lost pretty much every battle he ever….

MULARKEY: IRRELEVANT! I shall now hold forth at great length about my discovery of subatomic particles that when loaded up with quark-sized footballs, can rush for two yards a carry before being destroyed by a team of gluons!

SCHULTZ: A couple more questions, if you’ll deign to answer them.

MULARKEY: Ah, the rabble! So inquisitive.

SCHULTZ: Going back to your second half adjustments. Are there any? It seems to me that opposing defenses are making adjustments at halftime to counter your schemes, and you’re not making changes. Would you say that…

MULARKEY laughs imperiously, nearly spilling his 30-year-old scotch on his smoking jacket.

MULARKEY: Of course I do not change my schemes! Would you ask God to change the stars? Would you ask Marie Curie to ingest less radium? My plans lead us to success every week! The general public and yourself would not know that unless you studied film, knew what the game plan was and knew what was happening in the first half and not the second half.

Besides, everyone knows that 14 points is enough to win a contest of strength upon the gridiron. Truly, I blame this Dutch fellow who runs the defense. His mustaches are bristling with incompetence!

BRIAN VAN GORDER: Leave me out of this.  

CRISTOBAL ROJOHOMBRE: Senor Mularkey, un pregunta. Do you think perhaps the answer to the offensive woes is to replace the middling Matt Ryan with the virile student of history Chris Redman, who has long idolized the Generalissimo Mularkey?

MULARKEY: Are you even a reporter?

Everyone stares at ROJOHOMBRE. He self-consciously fingers his giant mustache.

ROJOHOMBRE: I be quiet.

SCHULTZ: So you’re saying you don’t second guess yourself? Even though fans are clamoring for your head, analysts are questioning your play-calling and your team has scored thirteen points in third quarters all year?  

MULARKEY: Ha! I laugh imperiously. I certainly do not second guess myself. I do not even firstly guess myself, for Michael X. Mularkey is an offensive mastermind whose teams score invisible points you outside sources cannot even see, because your feeble eyes are not attuned to the waves of excellence that radiate off myself and the good men who toil under my gargantuan brain.

DOL: What?

SCHULTZ: (undaunted) Are you feeling any heat?

MULARKEY: This is heat? Ha! It is as though I am tucked against the frozen bosom of a featherless penguin, which is how my great uncle Ineffective Q. Mularkey survived his three month sojourn to Anartica in 1921!

MULARKEY: In an entirely unrelated matter, I am sweating through my smoking jacket and must retire to my chambers to prepare my squadron for the Panthers of the Carolinas this weekend. It is most certainly not because I am feeling any heat whatsoever. I shall answer no more of your queries, you vile mountebanks!

MULARKEY flees Reporters sit in stunned silence. SCHULTZ scribbles in his notebook "Falcons doomed." The CUB REPORTER clears his throat.

CUB REPORTER: Is he always this imperious?