The sun hangs lazily in the cold-ass, blue-ass sky, and it don’t apologize for the near freezing temperature outside. Hell no. It never does. Instead, it shines its light into a clearing, where a single-wide trailer rests all by its lonesome, in a field of unmowed dandelions and crabgrass which is damn near dead, hanging onto life by a trimming from God’s own fingernail.
A plywood sign sits outside of it, spray painted red:
CITIZENS AGAINST FRED DICK
The property is further protected by a six-foot tall metal fence, wrapped in razor wire.
Inside the trailer proper sits a host of villains/victims that we will one day get to know very well. They are driven by hatred, but don’t judge them. You would be too.
This trailer wasn’t always the headquarters of Citizens Against Fred Dick, by the way. The grass and weeds weren’t always left to grow wild and free. The fence wasn’t always wrapped in razor wire, either.
But, as far back as Fred could ever hope to remember, there’s always been a villain of his inside that trailer.
You see, that trailer? It used to be Fred’s family home.
October 20th, 2004
The American League Championship Series.
The imagery from that series still hits like crack cocaine.
Johnny Damon hittin’ dingers.
Pedro Martinez paintin’ the fucking strike zone.
It was one of the greatest times of my life as a sports fan.
If only I was able to get my son to give a shit.
You know my son, don’t ya? Fred Dick? Oh you know, the fat sumbitch with the blue hair who lies like an asshole for no reason? That one?
I guess you’d say I failed him as a father. But I fuckin’ tried my best, okay? Sometimes your best ain’t good enough.
Especially when you’re dealing with a god damned, sociopathic little shit.
I never had much, I admit. Never amounted to much either. I just worked in the chicken plant to have enough scratch for gas, food, and rent.
But Fred always wanted more. More, more, more.
Call him Rick More-anis.
That evening, in the middle of Game Seven, I was sitting on my couch with a cold Busch Light, enjoying the game.
“Son,” I shouted. “You oughta get out of that room and stop watching that stupid ass movie and come watch this! It might never happen again!”
I just loved it, you know? The story. Here was a team that had never been shit. Ain’t never won shit. And there they were, making the greatest comeback in ALCS history against the evil empire.
It was the ultimate underdog story.
But when Fred came out of his bedroom, his stupid fucking Spaceballs shirt on his fat ass torso, I couldn’t help but notice what he had put on his head.
A fucking Yankees cap.
If you understand how much of a punk ass thing that was to do during that particular series, you’ll understand my reaction.
“Son,” I said. “I’m only gonna tell you this once. When your ass is in MY house, you don’t wear that fuckin hat. That’s a punk ass hat. And last I checked I ain’t raised no punk ass.”
“This hat ain’t a punk ass hat, Dad,” he said. “This is a hat for winners.”
“They ain’t winning,” I said. “They losing. Look at ’em. Getting that ass WHOOPED by the underdogs.”
“Yeah, cool.” He said. “Thing is. You said it yourself. The Red Sox will do this one time, maybe? How many times have the Yankees done it?”
Then, to my surprise, this fat fucker waltzed right up to me and gets in my mothafuckin’ face and said, “That’s the difference in an underdog and a winner, Dad. Anybody can be an underdog. Anybody can do it one time. But to do it again and again and again? That’s a winner. You wanna cheer for a fucking underdog, you go ahead. Enjoy that one win. Because there won’t be another.”
I was shocked. I was stunned. I balled up my fist and looked my son in the eye and I said, “Your daddy is an underdog.”
And he said, “I know. But I’m a winner.”
I admit, I got a little fired up. I said, “Boy, you ain’t won fuckin’ shit. You goin’ around calling yourself a winner, sayin’ you won a slap boxing tournament. Well I have the internet, son. I yahoo searched for that tournament. Wasn’t no damn tournament. You made that shit up. Had a fake trophy made and everything. You’re a liar. And you ain’t no winner. Oh, and by the way, your fuckin’ hero, Rick Moranis, he’s an underdog too.”
And Fred balled up his fist and said, “You take that shit back.”
And I said, “You want me to say you ain’t a liar when you are?”
He said, “Not about me. You take back what you said about Rick Moranis, you old fuck.”
Now I was heated. My eighteen year old boy, running his mouth at me while my baseball is on, while living under my roof and spending all my money on hair dye, calling me an old fuck?
So I got as much saliva in my mouth as I fuckin’ could and I said three words that change the course of history for the Dick Boys forever.
“Fuck. Rick. Moranis.”
And I’ll be damned if my own son, Fred Dick, didn’t slap his own father, Harold Dick, right in the damn mouth.
That was all it fuckin’ took.
We damn near destroyed that single-wide. We broke the windows, we broke the furniture, we broke each other’s teeth.
Guess you could say it had been culminatin’ for years.
But the bottom line? He beat me. He picked up a replica Dark Helmet from his nerdy little bedroom decor, and smashed it over my head.
“That was for Rick!”
Then he slapped me in the testicles.
“And that was for me!”
As I hit the ground, and the lights went out, I said to myself, “Well, at least I know my own flesh and blood won’t call the cops about all this.”
I woke up in a squad car. I was getting arrested.
He told them I’d been abusing him for years.
He told them I was pimping him out for money.
He even harmed himself with my prized ninja stars, literally hospitalized himself, so he could lie and say I tried to kill him, and it was all a case of well overdue self-defense.
And now? Now I’m in prison. For shit I didn’t even do. Just because I said, “Fuck Rick Moranis.”
I didn’t even get to watch the World Series.
February 4th, 2024
For most of you, we meet on a regular basis.
For others… Not so much.
For Fred Dick… Well, he hasn’t answered my calls in years.
He knows I exist. In fact, he’s keenly aware of me at all times.
He chooses to ignore me.
He says I’m… Inconvenient.
Which is why his father told you the tale of his own arrest and false imprisonment.
Which is why I’m talking to you now, instead of him.
To allow you into the mind of Fred Dick would give a pathological liar access to your perception.
At this time, I’ve determined that would be too dangerous.
Someday, I will let that happen.
Just, not yet.
You gotta understand my position.
It’s not just others that he lies to.
Therefore, the very structures of his comportment in this world are determinable by what he believes.
And what Fred Dick believes is determined by what he needs to believe, not what is true or false.
As for what Fred is up to now?
Well, he’s at Yankee Stadium. Wearing that same Yankees ball cap and Spaceballs t-shirt from two decades ago, that day in which [Insert Fred Dick’s Version of Events Here].
And where else would a winner go their first day in New York, but the home of the winningest franchise in sports history?
As he walked the guided tour of the famed stadium (built in 2009, he learned, replacing the original Yankee stadium. That was a mistake. You don’t redo greatness. A second Yankee Stadium is like a remake of Spaceballs, or Little Giants. You don’t. Fucking. Do it.), Fred realized that the stadium wasn’t particularly different from other stadiums. The locker rooms, nothing more special than other locker rooms, outside of the money put into them.
In fact, he realized, the only thing that made them what they were, was that trophy case.
Twenty. Seven. Fucking. Championships.
Fred figured, all you can do about that reality is face it. Only Rick Moranis could possibly have more bangers — but Moranis is a winner. He left on his terms, at the top of his game. That’s how winners go out. On their terms.
Still, the sheer numbers were audacious. Baseball could continue on for two hundred years, and still it was possible that no other team would reach that many championships.
It made Fred think about his Dad. He hated thinking about him because of [Insert Fred Dick’s Version of Events Here]. But his Dad waited his whole life to see that ALCS. All because his Dad loved the underdog.
Which was the whole problem, because if his father loved the underdog, he couldn’t love Fred.
Because as far as Fred was concerned, he was never the underdog.
Because as far as Fred was concerned, he’s only ever won.
And now that he was in PRIME, and able to show off his skills on the BIG STAGE, well…
He was going to do the one thing he’s always done.
He was going to be Rick Moranis. He was going to be the Yankees. He was going to be the Patriots. Lebron. Kobe. MJ. Tiger. Nicklaus. Federer. Serena. Brady. Mahomes. Montana. Berra. Mantle. Gehrig. DiMaggio. Jeter. Rivera.
Babe Fucking Ruth.
He was going to be like those guys.
He was going to be a fucking winner.
Add Fred Dick to that fucking list.
A lot of guys, they pursue a dream. And they do it politely. They know they’re the underdog. They know they don’t belong here. But hey, they’re locker room guys, right? You need locker room guys. And the guys in the locker room love locker room guys, because they can kick their ass in the ring, and then grab a beer with them after the show.
It doesn’t hurt the underdog that they lost. They went into it with everyone expecting them to lose. And hey, why not grab a beer with a guy after a tough bout where you almost got that career-defining victory, if only the ref had counted a little faster, or the heel didn’t heel, or the manager didn’t interfere, or…
An underdog’s life is defined by “almost.” A locker room guy’s life is defined by “if only.”
An underdog can show up dressed like a teenaged douchebag, make a few friends, have a long career being everybody’s buddy, and just hang out.
Winners can’t stomach that shit, Fred thought. They refuse to. Because they expect more from themselves.
The worst part, to Fred, was that underdogs see a guy like Rick Moranis and think, “I’m like him. He’s an underdog, and he made it to the absolute tops of his profession.”
Rick Moranis was not a fucking underdog.
Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Honey I Blew Up the Kid. Ghostbusters. Little Giants. Spaceballs.
Banger after banger after banger.
Rick Moranis wasn’t the Athletics. He wasn’t playing Moneyball.
Rick Moranis wasn’t the Red Sox. His history wasn’t highlighted by a victorious year where he beat the odds.
Rick Moranis was the Yankees.
Rick Moranis was Fred Dick.
He stayed beating the odds.
His hand held the brass ring and he didn’t let it go until he wanted to.
Underdogs didn’t grab the brass ring, and if they did, they never held it for long.
The brass ring was too busy being passed around by winners.
Fred Dick didn’t give a fuck about being a locker room guy.
Fred Dick only gave a fuck about Fred Dick.
And that might have been the one and only thing about which Fred Dick, and myself, Reality, found agreement.
So while guys like Swanny fucking make friends and was a good locker room guy and blah blah blah.
Fred Dick was going to do to him what the Yankees should’ve done to the Red Sox in 2004.
Sweep his ass under the rug.
Because guys like Rick Moranis, guys like Fred Dick and LeBron James, they’re like the Sun.
They don’t apologize for being great.
They never do.
They just shine their light.
But hey, after Fred kicks Swanny’s ass, maybe they could grab a fucking beer together.
Guys like Fred love locker room guys.
They just refused to be one.
In a taxi cab on the way to the hotel, Fred Dick tried to contain his excitement. He was already in New York, far away from the Chicken City, and he had two whole weeks to kill. Hell, that was plenty of time to piss off enough people to inadvertently start a Bronx chapter of Citizens Against Fred Dick.
A little inside joke between Fred and me there.
Speaking of, Fred Dick needed to call his lawyer. But as he reached in his pocket, he noticed the cab driver had a…
Fred Dick couldn’t believe his eyes.
There was no way.
There was no way that this cab driver…
Could be that much of a FUCKING. LOSER.
There it was, plain as day.
A New York Mets lanyard hanging from the fucking rearview.
“You gotta be fucking kidding me,” Fred Dick said as he whipped out his cellphone.
Jimmy Queso, Attorney at Law…
“Don’t ‘Freddyyyyyyyyyy’ me Jimmy Queso you son of a bitch. Just tell me what I need to know.”
“And what is it you need to know, Fred?”
“Do we have enough to sue those shitheads at the Citizens Against Fred Dick charity or whatever it is?”
“It’s not a charity.”
“Or whatever it is.”
“Well, yeah, Fred, you may have a case.”
“Good. Let’s sue the god damn shit out of them. What they did to me Friday Night on PRIME, spreading those lies, was nothing short of defamation. I’ve never even met any of those fuckers.”
That was a lie. He had indeed met those fuckers and, indeed, did exactly what they said he did.
See. This is why you need me, and why Fred hates me.
“Well, Fred, you’re my buddy and all, but uh… You know, I’m not working pro bono here. You gotta pay me.”
“Queso, I told you, I’m getting that sweet PRIME money now, bitch. Money ain’t nary a concern no more.”
A brief pause, then.
“Send me some, then.”
Fred rolls his eyes.
“Get the case rolling, Queso. I’ll send you money after I whoop this Swanny feller’s ass, alright?”
That was also a lie. He was never going to pay Jimmy Queso.
“Sure, Fred. I’ll get right on that.”
But at least Jimmy knew that, too.
“Ten four, copy that, over and out, see ya bitch.”
Fred looked up again and saw that fucking lanyard.
That monument to the fucking underdog.
That ode to being a loser.
“Say Bro,” Dick said. “What’s up with the lanyard?”
“Hmm?” The driver asked.
“The Mets lanyard.”
“What about it?”
“That’s what I’m asking you.”
“I like the Mets.”
“Well why would you do something like that?”
“I don’t know. Always have. Underdogs and all that. I don’t know. Fuck you. Why do you like the Yankees? With that stupid fucking hat on.”
“It’s not a stupid fucking hat. It’s a cool hat, if I dusse so myself (sassy as hell). It’s not a punk ass hat either. It’s really cool. As for liking the Yankees, why do you think?”
They both knew the answer to that one.
After a silent final few minutes, the driver pulled into a Ramada Inn and let Dick out with his things.
His things being a Rick Moranis DVD collection, some wrestling gear, and a slap boxing trophy he had made so he could pretend he had won a legitimate slap boxing tournament.
You know, he was just on his winner shit.
Locker room guys wouldn’t understand, I uh… I guess.
Very few, if any, have the capacity to perceive the future.
But I, Reality, am a timeless entity.
And I can tell you precisely how tonight ends, and how tomorrow begins.
Later tonight, when Fred falls asleep in that little hotel room, the air conditioning set to 69, letting his bare ass breathe by keeping it uncovered with the blanket, he will have a dream.
He will dream about his father, Harold Dick.
And in that dream they will be sitting in the living room of that old, single-wide trailer that used to be their family home.
The TV will be on, the lights will be off, and Fred will laugh with his father at the timeless classic, Spaceballs.
Fred Dick will pick up the remote and pause it at the part where Rick Moranis, as Dark Helmet, looks at the monitor, then at the screen, back at the monitor, back at the screen, so on and so forth.
He will explain to his father, “See Dad? That’s like you and me. We recognize we are both trapped in something that we can’t quite understand, and we almost get it… But we just don’t. You are trapped in a prison and so am I. It’s just… A different kind of prison.”
And his father will look at the TV as though he’s seen Spaceballs for the very first time.
With new eyes, he’ll nod softly and say, “I get it, Son. I finally get it.”
And Fred, with a new hope in his heart will say, “You do?”
And his father, with a tear in his eye, will turn to Fred and say, “How can you not be romantic about Spaceballs?”
Fred will burst into joyful tears. His father finally understands. They won’t have to go through that awful day where [Insert Fred Dick’s Version of Events Here]. They can just hang out and watch Spaceballs over and over.
“You’re a good egg, Dad,” Fred will say.
His Dad will smile and reply, “And you’re a winner, Son. A real winner.”
For the first time in two decades, Fred will hug his father. And all at once his heart will feel, in the midst of this incredibly cold weather, the warmth of Summer, its growth and prosperity.
The soil of his heart will sprout vegetation and the birds will sing as they soar through its skies. The sun will shine as bright as Rick Moranis, and its warmth will coat all the dark places of his heart that he hid away from the world, hid away from himself, with lies, vicious lies.
So much warmth will flood his heart that for that moment, his heart won’t even know what a lie looks like anymore. It will simply feel the love between a father and a son.
Then, his alarm will go off.
He will hear it, but not wake up, not right away.
His father will wave goodbye and say, “Go win, son. Make everything you did to me worth it.”
Fred’s eyes will flutter open. He will realize the whole thing was a dream. One of those terrible, good dreams. One of the ones that hurt.
The skies in that heart of his will turn gray. The birds will not soar, nor will they sing, terrified of predators. The sun will stop shining. The soil will harden. The vegetation will die.
And Fred Dick’s heart will turn back into what it was. What it always was, and what it always will be:
A single-wide trailer that rests all by its lonesome, in a field of unmowed dandelions and crabgrass which is damn near dead, hanging onto life by a trimming from God’s own fingernail.