"Oh, my goodness. This guy's choking on something!" Forks were dropped. People stood to see what was going on.
"Wait, he's not just choking," the same voice yelled. "He also has a poisonous coral snake in his left boot!"
The crowd that was slowly gathering took a sudden step back. Choking is interesting. Snakes are freaky. The afflicted stranger couldn't breathe, yet he had to remain motionless, hoping the snake wouldn't bite.
"What do we do?"
"Get the snake out first!"
"No, you have to do the Heimlich maneuver first, then the snake!"
"But if you jar him too much trying to get the food out, the snake will bite."
"Understood. However, there just isn't much time for anything when a man is running out of air. You have to take that risk!"
The crowd instantly split into factions. There was the pro-snake removal faction. There was the pro-Heimlich faction. They started to shout at each other. A man emerged from the shadows, and jumped on the lunch counter.
"Enough!", the man screamed. "Don't you people realize what's going on here? Have you lost sight of the big picture? We need to act. We need to act NOW!" Almost everyone in the restaurant started to feel instant shame. There was a man that needed help, and here they were, squabbling over just how to hel...
The mystery man on top of the lunch counter continued. "If I'm not mistaken, I think these are the last of the buffalo wings on this man's plate. Good god. Are you people insane?" Brows were furrowed. Shame gave way to confusion.
"You, do you work here?"
"Yes. Yes, I do."
"Good. How are we doing on buffalo wings?"
"Uh, we still have a couple of boxes of regular buffalo wings in the freezer."
The mystery man exhaled as if he hadn't taken a breath in a week. He rolled his eyes. This wasn't much of a problem at all.
"I mean, we have regular buffalo wings, but I think those were the last of the extra-spicy wings."
The mystery man's eyes closed, and his head tilted back. Nothing's going to be easy today. "I'm sorry. What did you just say?"
"Yeah. We haven't had a shipment in a while."
"I...I...there's not much time. Is there a phone in the restaurant?"
"Of course. It's right under the clock there."
The mystery man picked up the phone, and pounded three numbers.
"What city? The whole damned Bay Area. The number? Lady, I need you to listen, and I need you to listen good. I need the number of every Chili's around." He was put on hold, but was able to force a smile at the still-confused throng of onlookers. He had a plan.
"Yes, is this the San Rafael Chili's? Thank god. Look, I'm calling from a restaurant in San Francisco, and I need uncooked extra-spicy buffalo wings. Is that something you carry? Right... Mm-hmm.... Hey, I don't care how old the wings are, but I need them, like, yesterday. Right.... okay... I can understand that. Here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to send a taxi over with more cash than you would think I'd be willing to pay for old buffalo wings. But that's just how I roll. You're going to put the frozen wings in the car, and I'm going to avoid a complete meltdown. Do you understand? Thank you, oh, thank you. If you aren't rewarded in this life, you will be in the next. Thank you."
He hung up the phone, and jumped back on the counter. "People! Everything is going to be okay! We are going to get more buffalo wings!" He hopped down, arms thrust towards the heavens in the universal sign of triumph. Yesssss! He ran out of the diner, pumping his fists, grinning ear to ear. No one else could even say a word.
Meanwhile, the man died BECAUSE WE NEED HITTING AND STARTING PITCHING, YOU FREAK! DO YOU UNDERSTAND? THE SNAKE REPRESENTED OFFENSE AND THE FOOD LODGED IN THE THROAT WAS STARTING PITCHING, OR VICE VERSA, I DON'T CARE! QUIT FUTZING AROUND WITH THE BULLPEN, BRIAN, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY! WHAT KIND OF SICK MANIAC WOULD ACTUALLY GIVE ANOTHER TEAM CASH TO EVEN OUT A TRADE LIKE THIS? RARARHHGHGHG.... GRRENEFNNNGGGGRRRRR....
The skinny: Given the choice of Steve Kline at the $4M we're essentially paying for him, or giving LaTroy Hawkins to another team for free and applying that $4M to the solution to a real problem while hoping the remaining and talented bullpen members can avoid wetting the bed, it doesn't seem like much of a choice at all. Hawkins was much better than Kline last year against left-handed hitters. Man. Talk about buying a new Glade Plug-in for a bathroom on the Hindenburg....