Glen Perkins Gets Initiated

SCENE: Hammond Stadium in the early afternoon. The Twins trail 3-1 and all of the kids in the stands have given up on watching the game, leading to a distracted atmosphere in the bleachers. It's the fifth inning and Glen Perkins has just finished his work, and is now headed to the clubhouse. He heads down the ramp, and then...

WHISPER FROM THE SHADOWS: Psst! Perk! C'mere!

PERKINS: What? Who's there?

WHISPER: Just c'mere a minute, would you?

Perkins steps into the shadow of a doorway that he's walked by a thousand times without ever really seeing. Somehow, the light from the clubhouse and the light from the tunnel to the dugout don't quite penetrate into this alcove, and it takes a minute for Perkins' eyes to adjust to the dim. When they do, a figure looms up out of the darkness.

PERKINS: Joe? Is that you? What the -

MAUER: Shhh! Don't talk, we're not supposed to talk before you go inside for the initiation. Just be honest and everything will be okay, all right?

PERKINS: What the heck are you talking about? Inside here? The sign says "Groundskeeper's Sund."

Even in the shadow, we can see Mauer's grin.

MAUER: Well... signs can lie.

Mauer places his hand against a panel just to the right of the door. The panel glows orange, as if it's suddenly superheated. Mauer removes his hand, and suddenly, there's a blinding flash, like a laser cutting through the door; a blue flame, a tiny blue flame, quickly traces an outline of the state of Minnesota upon the door. A pause, and then the door swings open. Mauer, looking back at Perkins, motions him to follow through the door.

Perkins only gets a brief glimpse of the people sitting high above him, surrounding the room, before a spotlight shines on him from above, blocking his vision. A voice issues from on high.

VOICE: Glen Perkins, you come before the Council Of One Of Us Today to be formally initiated into our group. Your new contract comes with great remuneration, true, but also with great responsibility.

VOICE #2: Hurry up. Happy hour's over in like 45 minutes.

VOICE #1: Why do you even want to go to happy hour, Herbie? I saw you pouring Pabst over your cereal this morning.

VOICE #2: Bird can't fly on one wing, buddy. Or, in my case, nine wings.

PERKINS: Hey, I recognize those voices! That's Neal Broten and Kent Hrbek!

VOICE #1: SILENCE! Before you can speak, you must perform the Paul Bunyan Feats Of Strength!

PERKINS: What?

MAUER: Just go along with it, it's the only way.

VOICE #1: In order to prove your worthiness as a Minnesotan, you must eat this large chunk of lutefisk!

PERKINS: (recoils) Geez... it smells like a rotten fish covered in blue cheese.

VOICE #1: Eat it!

PERKINS: No!

VOICE #1: Why won't anybody ever eat the lutefisk?

MAUER: I did.

VOICE #2: You liked it too, ya weirdo.

MAUER: Mom said always to give things a chance!

VOICE #1: Now, Glen, it is time for you to take the Oath. Do you solemnly swear to never again criticize management or do anything else that will make you look like anything other than a humble, happy-go-lucky guy from Stillwater? Do you swear to get a cabin up north and talk about how much you love fishing? Do you, in short, swear to conduct yourself like a Minnesotan?

PERKINS: Uh... yes?

VOICE #1: Then we declare you One Of Us forever! Brad, turn off the spotlight.

BRAD LOHAUS: Why do I have to run the lights?

NEAL BROTEN: Because you went to Iowa, you filthy, traitorous hobo! I knew we shouldn't have inducted you when you were on the Timberwolves for like three months. It was a mistake. That's why you have to clean the bathrooms and Randy here gets to be on the selection committee.

RANDY BREUER: That's right.

PERKINS: Can I go now?

KENT HRBEK: Not yet! Glen, you have to understand that now you're part of the club of high-paid, famous athletes that are from Minnesota, things are going to be different for you now. You don't have the luxury of being young or irresponsible any more, or ever complaining about anything. You have to be the perfect husband, son, father, brother, uncle, and friend. You have to act like you're as at home on the mound as you are at a church potluck, like you're the star athlete that reads to kids at the local public library.

PERKINS: What's in it for me?

HRBEK: Oh, you can get away with anything. The media around here is entirely made up of Minnesota natives, except for LaVelle E. Neal, and he knows to stay quiet. They're on board with everything we do here.

MATT BIRK: I used to murder a drifter once every August, just to get ready for the season. I'd bring the bodies to Pat Reusse's house. Nobody ever was the wiser.

BROTEN: Sidney, you want to say anything?

SID HARTMAN: What? What? I think the biggest mistake Calvin Griffith ever made was firing Billy Martin!

MATT BIRK: Oh God, here it comes.

BROTEN: Sid! Enough about Billy Martin!

MAUER: At my induction he rambled on for a half-hour about John Kundla. Kevin McHale had to stun him with an ironing board to get him to shut up.

PERKINS: Wow. Just... wow.

HRBEK: Before you go, three things you need to know. First, if the cops find a gun in your car, tell them it's for duck hunting. They know what that means.

DAVE WINFIELD: Second, under no circumstances should you play for New York. The people are mean, and they smell worse than Lohaus over there.

LOHAUS: Hey!

BROTEN: Shut up, you intemperate, malodorous hippie!

HRBEK: And finally: you're One Of Us now. Not just one of us, but One Of Us. It's the greatest honor you can have, so use it wisely.

Perkins and Mauer leave the room. They catch Justin Morneau outside the door, trying to peek in. The door slams, and behind the door, faraway voices are heard, shouting, "NO CANADIANS!"

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