In a distant future, humans have lost. The mascots of the college football world banded together, overthrew the government and killed any in their way. With the country now divided into five conferences, the few humans left do what they can do survive. One mascot turned its back on its kin, refusing to ever spin again after The Uprising. This is its story...
The year is 2044. Another 100% humidity day and scorching sun in what used to be Central New York leaves any living thing scurrying for shade. A single, round mascot carries a meager basket’s worth of edible vegetation to a shack built from the remains of a Wegman’s. That was the hardest to watch; When the ACC officially took over, only Food Lions were left standing.
You would have no idea that this mascot used to be one of the “big ones.” Sparse with furniture, a few toys are scattered on the dirt floor. A few old books line the one shelf, with the only reminders of pre-Uprising life held in the copy of Bleeding Orange. The children are at the lake with Clementine, and for the better. Today, the rent comes due and there isn’t much to pay Triangle Pack with.
The shack shakes as they approach. Normally, they’d send their general, Lawrence, to collect. But this isn’t the first time there isn’t enough to pay rent. The Commissioners can’t be bothered to come up from Tobacco Road Citadel, so they’ll send the next worst thing. The weathered football helmet slams on the brakes, kicking up dirt in the old mascot’s face.
First out, Champion Wuf. He doesn’t go by Mister anymore, not after what the B1G did to Mrs. Wuf. After she died in The Uprising, he went mad and the Commissioners finally gave him a “National Championship,” to rein him in to their causes. If it was just him, this wouldn’t be so bad. But out next? Demon Deac. He made a helluva Faustian bargain, and now was legitimately a Demon when the Commissioners needed him to be. If he was here, it meant the worst one was here, too. 8-Ball leaps out, only held in check by Deac’s powers. The old mascot felt empathy through the fear; 8-Ball was the greatest weapon of the ACC and the commissioners amped him up so high during The Uprising, he could never go back to normal.
Deac, the only reasonable one of the bunch, approaches first. “So, my old, orange friend. No family around today? For the better. This is the fourth straight week you’re short, and Lawrence wasn’t doing enough to change that. Normally, we let you... “Yankees” do what you want. We’re hardly interested in anything up here now that metropolitan television markets are meaningless. But we can’t appear soft, like you, to the rest of the Power 5.”
The old orange just keeps it’s eyes down, silently holding in rage. He knew what was coming next.
“Otto, you’ve made a vow of pacifism and silence since our glorious Uprising, so I’ll make this simple: Wuf and 8-Ball here are bored. If you don’t have your rent today, I’ll let them play with you for five minutes. If you don’t have double rent by next month? They get your family until they’re tired. So, are you going to pay us in full today?”
Otto keeps its head down, and silently shakes no, tensing every muscle. The next five minutes hurt, but it’s bearable. The next part is the real pain.
“You have 30 days, Otto. Or tell Clementine to start running now.” They peel off, laughing as Otto lays on the ground, wondering how two months rent will appear. As if on cue, another figure towers over, holding out a helping hand.
“Sorry I couldn’t get involved, I don’t got the spunk I used to. But I got a solution to your problems.” The fur is as white as ever, but it’s mangled, and far more unkempt than when they were rivals. “I know you ain’t talking, but your buddy Jonathan is going to bail you out of this mess...”
To be continued...