An Exclusive Excerpt of Carl Pelini’s Novel
Last week, news broke that Carl Pelini is, among other things, an aspiring novelist. Here at Tunnel Walk of Shame, we’ve been blessed with an advanced excerpt of one chapter of the book! Gotta say, it’s pretty scintillating stuff. Hope you enjoy it.
A Tale of Two Titties
By Carl Pelini
Chapter 6: Film Study
Midnight crept quietly into the film room. Cal Panini’s eyelids battled gravity as yet another mobile quarterback decimated his defense on the TV’s in front of him. Fucking dual-threats, he thought, taking a another dignified sip of Sailor Jerry’s from his FAU tumbler. Neat, with chopped up sleeping pills, just the way he liked it.
For years, the nights hadn’t been kind to Cal, and tonight was no different. The pressure of his first head coaching gig coupled with the intense pangs of heroin withdrawal made Cal feel like maybe the whole world was out to get him, just as he’d always suspected.
The last thing a headache like that needs is a loud knock on the door, and yet, there it was.
“Great! Who is it now?!” screamed Cal, carelessly brushing a stack of old Hustlers into the “sin bin” he kept under his desk.
The door creaked open, and what slid through brought a tear to the old ball coach’s bloodshot eye.
“Is this a bad time?” inquired a mysteriously tall drink of water.
Cal read her t-shirt: MS. TEEN BROWARD COUNTY FLORIDA 2007 SECOND RUNNER-UP. It fit snugly over her misshapen breasts and tucked in unevenly to the elastic waistband of her stonewashed jean shorts. “No,” smiled Cal, “it’s not a bad time at all.”
“My name’s Brenda, and I need to talk to you.” This chick clearly meant business.
“I’ve got all the time in the world for legs like those,” said Cal, melting her heart and lady zone simultaneously.
“Please refrain from that kind of talk,” replied Brenda. She was a classic hard-to-get case. But Cal was a classic about-to-get-hard case. “I’m here to talk to you about your conduct here at Florida Atlantic University. I’m a special prosecutor hired by the university.”
Brenda’s nuanced flirtations sent Cal’s head into a tailspin. His palms sweated, or was that just condensation from the glass of Sailor Jerry’s? With these humid Florida nights, sometimes it was impossible to tell. Flustered, Cal pulled out his trusty pack of Newport Slims, and lit the end of one without breaking eye contact with Brenda. Immediately, he realized he’d lit the wrong end, and the cigarette erupted in flames. But Brenda got the message.
“We’ve had reports of repeated drug use, alcohol abuse and misconduct with female staff members, college students and a smattering of senior citizens,” continued Brenda, clearly saving the best for last as a subtle hint to Cal about what she was really there for.
“I see my reputation precedes me,” said Cal, puffing a minty halo of Newport smoke into the ever-decreasing space between he and Brenda. She’d moved to sit at the other side of his desk. He didn’t ask her to. He didn’t have to.
Cal told his story for the millionth time. The drug use and alcohol abuse was medication, from his days in ‘nam. He hadn’t fought there, but he traveled there on a bender in 2006 and had been trying to erase the memories from his mind ever since. You go to bed with a chick only to find out she has two penises, and then we’ll see how much alcohol you need to keep the monsters in the closet when you turn in for the night, cowboy.
Cal moved onto allegations three through seven. In his mind, he cursed his legendary libido for getting him into yet another jam. But secretly he hoped that same libido would land him in a whole different kind of jam: lady jam. A vagina, for the layperson.
“Guess this wouldn’t be the first time my tongue got me in trouble,” said Cal, with a wink.
“That’s consistent with what some of your character witnesses told me,” said Brenda. “Like your little brother, Bob Panini.”
Bob, of course! At that moment, Cal could’ve hopped a Greyhound bus to Nebraska to choke out his little brother. “That son of a bitch.” Bob Panini was always the favorite, the altar boy, the one who kept his bulbous nose cleaner than a fake Vietnamese prostitute’s second penis. It figured he would’ve tried to badmouth Cal, he was always jealous.
Cal explained Bob’s jealousy to Brenda; how he’d wanted the job at FAU, the beauty queens, the lifestyle, all of it. He talked about the coeds, who Bob hunted with the veracity of a free safety, only to watch their fluttering hearts lead them into Cal’s waiting arms. He talked about Tyler Smartinez, the boy Bob called “the son he never had” despite the fact that he has a son. The picture he painted wasn’t pretty, but Cal was never much into painting, unless it was the cool body painting thing they did to Kate Upton in the SI swimsuit issue. Cal pondered what he’d have to do to get that job, creating an awkward 15-minute silence, which Brenda finally filled.
“It’s pretty clear that you have some serious issues, Cal,” she said.
It was time to quit fucking around. “Brenda, what’s my job here?” asked Cal.
“You’re the head football coach, kind of,” answered Brenda, trembling with anticipation.
“And how did I get that job?”
“You were hired after successful stints as a defensive coach at other schools,” said Brenda, probably breathlessly.
“That’s right. You know what they used to call me? The D Coordinator. Because I know how to manage the D. I know how to motivate the D. I know where to put the D to make the D successful. Do you catch my drift?” said Cal. He was now fully spread eagle on the desk, the hand-sewn seams of his Dockers nearly bursting open. “The question you gotta ask yourself, Brenda, is if you can handle my D.”
“Mr. Panini, I think I’ve heard enough.” said Brenda.
“Perfect.” Cal smiled. “I like a lady who likes a little less talk and a lot more action.”
Brenda stood up and glided through the still-open door. Then, she turned back. “This is my card. I will need to find you a good lawyer. Please call me when you’re not visibly intoxicated and you’re ready to talk about next steps.”
Cal swung his leg back up on the desk and reached for his bottle of Sailor Jerry’s. “Will do, Brenda. And you let me know when you’re ready to talk… about the D.”
The door closed. But not on opportunity. Cal had Brenda right where he wanted her.
Legal disclaimer: this is a parody. I mean, when the real thing comes out it may be more similar to this than I could ever imagine, but for now, it’s a parody.
Game Week: Nebrasketball (2014)
I can’t believe I had to write a Nebrasketball comic. I really can’t. I have no idea how to write a Nebrasketball comic. There is no Taylor Martinez. There is no Imani Cross. We don’t have round-the-clock access to who these guys are, what they’re like, what they do, etc.
All I know is, I have to do this. I love Husker Sports and we are staring at something completely unprecedented in its history: a men’s basketball team that not only matters, but looks like it might matter for a while. A coach that wants to build something more than his resume, players that want to be a part of an origin story, and a fan base that’s starting to overcome its Post-Traumatic Nebrasketball Disorder long enough to enjoy success, and create more of it.
How fucking fun is this? Remember when we all sighed and turned the page on the Tim Miles hire? And even once we started to recognize his value, we assumed it wouldn’t pay off for a few more years. And here he is, transforming transfers into all-conference players and Doc Sadler recruits into the kind of aggressive, proactive players Doc Sadler could never seem to produce. It’s unreal. And it is so fun.
So here it is. Your first ever Husker Hoops comic. I mean, this might just suck. I’m gonna warn you now. But TWOS has always been a celebration and parody of the things I love and hate about Nebraska football, so with the basketball team stepping up to the plate, it’s time to have some fun with them, too. Mostly with Mike Peltz. Look at Mike Peltz. Scroll down and look at that picture of him corn-holing Doug McDerpitt. What a glorious human being.
This week in the tunnel… fuck it: it’s Nebrasketball time.
Game Week: The 2014 Gator Bowl
It is fitting that a program that can’t seem to get out of a rut also keeps experiencing bowl game deja vu. Of course we are playing a mid-level Florida bowl. Of course it’s Georgia again. And of course its Aaron Murray-less Georgia, denying the only storyline (redemption) that would’ve made this an interesting game. I mean, at least give us Alabama so we can ogle AJ McCarron’s mega-babe LADY FRIEND. The bowl system is fucking terrible.
I’ve come to the point that I don’t think Bo will ever win a national title here. And I don’t think this fan base - as it is currently comprised - will either. Bo and the fans have clashed to create a toxic culture where winning doesn’t happen. That leaves us in some sort of Groundhog Day purgatory. And if Bo ever breaks through and wins big here (I think he can, I just don’t know that this is the right environment for him), he’ll leave for a new job in a second. Fun! In the meantime, the current team is about as fun to watch as any I can remember. And they love playing for Nebraska. So I hope they turn the ball over 8 times and still beat Georgia by 10. It would be fitting.
And now, I’m going to take a quick second and abuse this virtual microphone I have. I’m not going to bum you out with a sob story before you read a 91-slide carousel of dick jokes, but the last month has been a difficult one for me [I’m OK. Save condolences and prayers for someone who really needs them. Really.]
That’s why there have been less @tunnelwalkshame tweets. Why I didn’t scramble to write an Iowa comic after the Taylor Martinez tribute. Sorry about that. I wasn’t in the right space to do TWOS things. I might still not be. But I’m still really surprised and humbled by the fact that people look forward to this comic. I know it’s reached a certain critical mass, but it’s still overwhelming. I didn’t ever expect that my hiatus from dick jokes would disappoint anyone.
And I have to tell you, your disappointment means the world to me. Making something that means something to anybody? That means a lot to me. And so I’m hijacking this space for a second to say thanks. After a rough couple weeks, it’s nice to know that I can put a few laughs into your day. I don’t know if this comic is going to be that good, I might be a little off my game. But I think you’ll like it. And I hope you do. I hope you fucking love it as much as I fucking loved writing it.
Now, let’s enter the tunnel. First stop: Jortsville, Georgia.
This is Not the Greatest Quarterback in the World. This is Just a Tribute.
I’ve got a confession to make: I’m a Taylor Martinez fan. I celebrate the guy’s entire catalog. And because Friday is his Senior Day, I thought it fitting to send him off the right way. And after that, I have some thoughts on our mercurial field general. But first, a tribute to the crazy diamond:
Taylor Martinez: Legend from Tunnel Walk of Shame on Vimeo.
Taylor Martinez is a Certified Ridiculous Human Being. Just think about this. Remember the 2010 season opener, and the salacious rumor that Bo Pelini might start an unheralded freshman burner at quarterback? It turned out to be true, and all Martinez did was gash defenses left and right and left again - including Kansas State, whose fans used their “power towels” to wipe away their salty tears. Anyone who makes Kansas State sad is a friend of mine. I liked Taylor from the start. We all did, if you remember. We dreamt of Heismans, conference titles, maybe even a national run. Finally, we had the right set of wheels. We had a chance. In 6 weeks we went from not knowing who Taylor was to putting the weight of 1995 on him.
Like so many things in the Bo Pelini era, nothing really went as planned. Ankle injuries, throwing motions, turnovers, “turf toe.” Breathtaking highs, baffling lows and ridiculous interviews. But Pelini-era disappointments usually carry a silver lining, and this is no exception.
Four years ago, a California kid that nobody wanted as their quarterback came to play football in the middle of nowhere. He arrived at the end of 10 years of dormancy. And no, he didn’t lead us to the promised land. But he showed us what it looked like. He won games, broke records, made us bite our nails and brought us to our feet. He made us wonder how high we could go. Every year, the BCS seemed like a possibility. And for a fan base so disillusioned by a decade of mediocrity, that’s worth something.
We watched him bounce right up from 99% of the bone-crushing hits laid on him. We also watched him bounce back from all the negativity, the heckling, the questions and the scrutiny. And then, to top it off, he called his little brother and said, “You’re gonna love this place.” And also, probably, “Yes, they have a laser tag arena and I got you a season pass.”
Getting up after getting hit makes you a football player. What Taylor did makes you a Husker.
Look, I’m not here to make some grand philosophical statement about what Taylor embodies in all of us, or what he symbolizes to the program. That’s silly. I just love football. And the Huskers are my favorite team. And you know what I learned about Taylor Martinez in four years? He loves football, too. And this is his favorite team. And he had every reason to abandon both of those things, and didn’t. Maybe that is something to learn from. Something to remember next time the sky appears to be falling.
If nothing else, it’s a good reason to cheer like hell on Friday when they call his name. I know I will. He’s earned it.
Thanks for four great years, fuckwad. Good luck out there.
Game Week: Penn State (2013)
This week, a random person posted on Facebook that Bo Pelini has already agreed to resign after the Iowa game and that Jim Tressel was a leading candidate for his replacement. This according to the poster’s “really good source who I can’t tell you who it is but it’s really good and just trust me.” In a rational world, this missive would suffer the same fate as every other fart-in-the-wind Facebook post. But for an information-starved fan base with nothing better to do after watching their team get mathematically eliminated from the Big Ten Title Game and BCS game contention, this qualified as news. It was debated by people who get paid to think about this football team because we are all insane.
I have no Grand Unified Theory on the future of the Huskers. I know we have a good coach who may or may not be capable of great, but who has yet to get over that particular hump. I know we have an AD who has never hired a head football coach. I know we’d be competing for a head coach with USC, probably Texas and - even worse - programs whose coaches leave for greener pastures. And while we can sit here and pretend that every coach in America would agree with our biased opinion that this is the greatest coaching job in the history of ever, objective reason would tell us that’s not the case. So am I thrilled with Bo? Not entirely. Do I think he should stay? Probably, yeah. But we better have a really fucking good escape plan if we fire him. In middle school I broke up with a girl because a prettier girl liked me. THAT’S an escape plan. It’s shallow as fuck, but it’s still a good plan, you know? OK bad example.
I do know this: I created TWOS for weeks like this. Weeks when there’s a bad taste in our mouths from losses and rumors and our faces are permanently glued to our palms. It’s not an endorsement, or a soapbox, it’s just some jokes. And I hope you love it. It helps me to have something fun to look forward to when everything else surrounding the team I love just feels blah. I hope it helps you, too, if only for a few minutes.
This week Bo and Taylor talk about the future, Tim Miles offers unrequested advice and Shawn Eichorst breaks his silence. Follow TWOS on Twitter where, if we do go into a coaching search, some very reasonable and rational conversations will occur. Here’s your comic…
Game Week: Michigan State (2013)
This is the point of year where we all throw our hands up and say, “Oh who the fuck knows what this team is let’s just see what happens.” And that’s the most fun part of the whole year. Every year this team seems done for, and then they rise like a phoenix from the ashes or Carl Pelini from the champagne room.
It’s frustrating when your team’s not winning national titles. For all the talk of conference championships and whatever else, national titles are the benchmark. I don’t give a shit about all the intermediary goals, I want a national title. But it’s not happening this year. So in the meantime, I want a team that fights like hell. I want Ameer Abdullah punishing people. Bo Pelini blissfully ignoring the need for building any kind of positive public image. Fuck everything. Win games. If you’re not winning national titles, that’s the most fun you can have. Because that’s the team that’s loose enough to land a Hail Mary, or let Randy Gregory stop worryin’ and start murderin’. I love it.
This season is not without its disappointments, great and small. But let’s enjoy the last three games. Starting with Michigan State. Sparty’s on edge. It’s 2 am and they’re staring the big-tittied blonde right in the eye, one smooth line away from closing the deal. And the Huskers can stumble half-drunk into the picture, flash a smile and take this fine-ass lady home. Wouldn’t that be fun? Fuck Michigan State.
This week in the Tunnel, Taylor discusses life after football, and Bo gets a new best friend while getting reintroduced to an old enemy. Follow TWOS on Twitter if you’re into that sort of thing. I have to say, your replies to my stupid tweets during the week are funnier than most things I put in the comic. Thanks for that.
But first, your Sparty comic awaits. And it starts with Randy Gregory ripping Devin Gardner’s soul out.