The dog days are NOT over. We’re not even at college football yet.
NOTE: All of these people did not actually say any of this. This is a work of fiction.
please, please, please do not sue me
Scene I: The Locker Room
(One man sits alone on a stool in the center of the stage. It is Mark Few.)
MARK FEW: Can we not do this? I don’t want to participate in your shenanigans. We’re a contender now, and I want to be treated as such.
UNNAMED MID-MAJOR MADNESS REPRESENTATIVE (UMMMR): You’re stuck here, buddy. It’s brand synergy time. I want to align your principles to the core values of Mid-Major Madness. Without core values, a business is a rotting log, a termite-infested piece of garbage thrown onto the Internet to be eaten by the lions of Not Vox Media.
MARK FEW: Have I not entertained you enough?
UMMMR: There is unfinished business.
[enter Maximilien Robespierre, an NCAA investigator type, Michael Corleone, and Kelsey Plum]
KELSEY PLUM: I’m better than this.
UMMMR: You certainly are!
MICHAEL CORLEONE: [brooding] Why have I been summoned to this council?
UMMMR: We must build...brand synergy.
MICHAEL CORLEONE: How does brand synergy affect me and my business?
NCAA INVESTIGATOR: I have looked into Mr. Corleone’s businesses, and I cannot penalize him because he didn’t commit any NCAA violations during his time at the head of the crime family depicted in The Godfather.
KELSEY PLUM: If I had 30 dollars for every time a man has referenced The Godfather out of context, I could purchase every basketball team on the planet.
MICHAEL CORLEONE: Great, so I can leave?
MARK FEW: This is unbelievably awful content.
KELSEY PLUM: This is the dumbest article I’ve ever been included in, and I’m not even really being included in it.
[enter Virginia Woolf, Mookie Betts, and The Author of this Piece. They set down folding chairs on-stage]
UMMMR: Tristan, for the last time, I don’t want any more of your nonsensical offseason content if it doesn’t pertain to college basketball! We are building brand synergy between ourselves and every single mid-major school. We do not need to be antagonizing Gonzaga fans even more!
AUTHOR: Who says this does not pertain to college basketball?
VIRGINIA WOOLF: I’d say that everything in life doesn’t pertain to college basketball, because it was not widely played during my lifetime; yet as the world turns, we are subjected to more and more idleness to be filled by the iron shackles of what is seen and unseen. Also, I am hungry.
MOOKIE BETTS: I don’t know any of the characters in this play.
NCAA INVESTIGATOR: I believe we are investigating whether DePaul had the bag or not. Which I am not liable to mention.
KELSEY PLUM: Vox Media? This is technically part of Vox Media? They’re paying you for this?
UMMMR and THE AUTHOR: In a way, yes.
[MARK FEW picks up a microphone]
MARK FEW: Audience members! Post-modernism is a joke! Irony is a dead letter! Please purchase tickets to our home games.
[RICK BYRD enters from stage left accompanied by TACKO FALL and MIKE DAUM and tackles MARK FEW.]
MIKE DAUM: Investigate 311!
KELSEY PLUM: The worst thing about the late 20th and early 21st centuries is men thinking they can be cool or ironic by simply referencing another cool or ironic thing another man did. Hence, David Foster Wallace fans. Also wasn’t Virginia Woolf one of the OG proprietors of this? What say you, Virginia?
VIRGINIA WOOLF: I am realllllllllllly hungry.
THE AUTHOR: Hey, I like David Foster Wallace!
UMMMR: Do your endless attempts to become David Foster Wallace build brand synergy for Mid-Major Madness dot com? I think they just make you even more of a sadboi.
MICHAEL CORLEONE: What is a sadboi? Are they like my late brother Fredo?
MARK FEW: (struggling under a headlock from RICK BYRD) Did you...not...have that guy executed in The Godfather Part II.
KELSEY PLUM: That’s another hypothetical 30 dollars.
VIRGINIA WOOLF: It is a tragedy that all who walk this earth are bound to hypothetical amounts of money, love, and passion. It is an even greater tragedy that women never leave that hypothetical space. But seriously, does anyone have a sandwich?
Scene 2: The Chase Bank in the Oculus in New York City
MOOKIE BETTS: We seem to have miraculously shifted venues. Why are we here?
UMMMR: I am trying to have some PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT so that we can further the expansion of Mid-Major Madness. I expect it will look like the video I will display now:
THE AUTHOR: I’m just here to check off my quota of posts for the summer.
UMMMR: Which you are woefully, woefully behind on.
THE AUTHOR: What did you do with Russ?
NCAA INVESTIGATOR: Mr. Steinberg was removed from his role as a college basketball blogger after being implicated in DePaul having the bag. His role in aiding and abetting the corrupt, no-good, Oliver Purnell is well-documented.
THE AUTHOR: DePaul had the bag all along?
NCAA INVESTIGATOR, RICK BYRD and MARK FEW: Yep.
KELSEY PLUM: I’m just going to take this time to say that mid-major women’s college basketball needs more content on Mid-Major Madness.
THE AUTHOR: Good idea!
UMMMR: That does not fit with my Gonzaga-based brand synergy, which is why I kidnapped Mark Few to use his likeness in offseason content.
VIRGINIA WOOLF: A light goes on and the stage is illuminated, now it goes dark, now strange figures wrestle in twilight. [stands up] What’s happening? What is this bank? What shall be done about it? All that said, I really, really need a f***ing sandwich, it feels like I haven’t eaten in decades.
[VIRGINIA WOOLF exits and is replaced by MY WIFE]
MY WIFE: This needs to end.
THE AUTHOR: I thought you implied our marriage was already over?
MICHAEL CORLEONE: I’ve seen this one before!
MY WIFE: Not that marriage, your stupid play!
MAXIMILIEN ROBESPIERRE: Eh bien, si rien de productif lié à la cause de la liberté française et au culte de la vertu ne se produit, je vais partir.
THE AUTHOR: Holy cow, is that Maximilien Robespierre? I didn’t even notice he was here!
MAXIMILIEN: Au revoir!
MY WIFE: Same. This is a really dumb piece of writing.
KELSEY PLUM: I feel like some of these characters are being shoehorned in to increase the diversity of the cast.
THE AUTHOR: No, I’m just naming things off the top of my head. Mookie Betts is on my fantasy baseball team.
VIRGINIA WOOLF: [returning to the room, carrying a platter of Chipotle burritos] I stole this.
MARK FEW: [currently being sat on by TACKO FALL] I smell Chipotle.
UMMMR: Ugh, you know what, if this is the best brand synergy I’m going to get, I think we can end the article.