“It’s a mixed up world, when that racist looking Cleveland Indian mascot’s still working, and I’m here every day filling out forms trying to get any job,” complained Chief Noc-A-Homa. The Chief had been making this same complaint every day since 1983, when he had been unceremoniously crapped from the employ of the Atlanta Braves baseball team. The Chief complained to whoever listened, and those who didn’t. It didn’t matter, The Chief had nothing better to do. He knew he had no chance of getting picked up by another team and that he was doomed to spend his remaining days in the Unemployed Mascot Welfare Center.
There were a lot of Native mascots in the Center. There was the Indian Warrior who had been dumped from the Golden State basketball team, sitting next to Willie Wampum, who had been dumped by Marquette U. in the same year. They took turns riding the horse, Warpaint, that had been fired from the Kansas City Chiefs football team.
“Sure, they fire the horse, but keep the team name. Right, blame the horse. Blame the mascot your team sucks, come on!” The Chief raged to the walls. The walls answered in muted echo. “And why fire me? Why break up my marriage to Princess Win-a-Lotta? What did we do? You hypocrites! You’ve still got the Edmonton Eskimos and The Washington Redskins! I’m just Chief Noc-A-Homa! I’m the good guy! Princess Win-A-Lotta didn’t hurt a fly!”
The door of the Center opened and in shuffled the recently released mascot of Jazz College, The Shooting Junkie.
“Is this A.A.?” asked The Shooting Junkie. “I’m looking for a place to crash.”
The Chief didn’t think this burnt out shell of a man could be a mascot. “No, this is the Unemployed Mascot Welfare Center. A.A.’s across the hall.”
Suddenly The Shooting Junkie perked up. “There’s an unemployment center for mascots?”
“Yes, and give me an L!” The Chief waited for an L that wasn’t coming. He tried again, “Come on, give me an L!”
“L,” The Shooting Junkie mumbled. He wasn’t in the mood for giving Ls.
“Give me an, E!”
“E,” The Shooting Junkie humored The Chief.
“Give me a V!”
“Give me an E!”
“What does it spell?”
The Shooting Junkie hadn’t been paying attention. “Steroids?” he guessed.
“What? Can’t you spell?”
“Look, man, maybe you guys can help me sue Jazz College for breaking contract.”
“Contract for what, drugs? Are you some sort of lab experiment gone wrong? Did somebody spill you from a petri dish?”
“No, I’m their mascot. Well, I was, til they fired me. But, I had two more years on the contract.”
“Hold on. You’re a mascot? You actually represented a team?”
“Yeah, The Jazz College basketball team. I’m The Shooting Junkie.”
The Chief was stunned. He had always considered the job of a mascot to be honored and sacred. Though he berated and belittled them constantly, The Chief had great admiration for all his fellow mascots, for he knew the pressure and responsibility it required. Now he saw that any druggie dropout could be a mascot. “Well, it’s no wonder why they fired you, look at you! You can barely stand up!”
“Hey, brother, you shoulda seen me. I could shoot threes while shooting up, I was the real deal. Then they fire me cause of my drug problem, but, they’re the ones who gave me the drug problem. I mean, they named me, The Shooting Junkie, what did they expect? I mean, my God, I’m just hurting myself, what about that bastard, The Fighting Irish guy over at Notre Dame? That guy’s always looking to punch somebody; I’m peaceful, man. I shoot my baskets, shoot up some heroin, then pass out on center court, and the players have to play around me for the whole second half. It really gives home court advantage, cause, my guys are used to playing around me, so, it gives them the edge. Why’d they fire me?”
The Chief was filled with a rare sense of compassion and empathy for this poor shriveled up mascot. The Chief saw so much of his own story in the pleading eyes of The Shooting Junkie. “Get out, you’re not welcome here,” he said to him.
The Shooting Junkie stepped back at the force of the words. “Who are you to speak?”
“I am The Chief.” The Chief placed his hands on his hip, gun-slinger style.
The Shooting Junkie struggled to define reality from insanity, as he looked across the room at a horse playing poker with two men dressed in loin cloth, so, he was in no mood to fight a man who called himself, The Chief. “Ok, Chief, could you just point me to the window, I’ll fly home.”
“Use the door, it’s right there.”
The Shooting Junkie went across the hall to Alcoholics Anonymous and found a more welcoming environment. After finishing their twelve step program, he changed his identity from The Shooting Junkie to The Prudent Accountant, trying to get back into the mascot market. He found his new persona as difficult to find work as his old, so, eventually, after a series of failed job interviews, he gave up, built a cabin in the middle of the forest and started blogging.