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“Kyle Stanton sucks! Kyle Stanton sucks! Middle fingers up, he doesn’t care about us!”
My fans shouted outside my windows at the top of their lungs for the seventh night in a row.
This is getting ridiculous …
Peering through the blinds, I noticed that the group of three hundred strong looked a lot larger today. In place of their typical, “Eff Kyle, He’s in Denial!” signs, they’d painted, “End Our Sorrow! Trade Him Tomorrow!”
Besides those things, their setup was all the same: A wooden, six-foot pyre for burning every edition of my jersey, a massive dartboard that featured my face, and a makeshift stage and microphone where they took turns shouting insults up at my condo.
It didn’t matter that an endless parade of rain and hail had poured over them every single night this week; they were determined to feed me every bite of their venom.
“Kyle Stanton will never get us to the Super Bowl again!” A redheaded girl, who looked no older than seven years old, shouted into the mic. “He’s too busy starring in underwear and cologne commercials!”
“Damn right!” “You tell him!” “Keep going!” The crowd cheered her along, and they lit the pyre for another jersey.
I looked over to the far side of the street and squinted, noticing a group in all-green linking their stereo systems together and preparing a fresh set of eggs to throw.
Is that my condo’s security guard?
“We see you up there watching us!” A grey-haired man shouted through a megaphone. “You make me hate being a Falcons fan, you piece of shit!”
“Yeah!” A guy in a blue hoodie yelled into a different one. “Since ‘It is what it is’ and you don’t care about keeping your promise to bring us a championship, why don’t you do us all a favor and go fuck yourself, Kyle! You’re not worth our while!”
Thanks to those final two lines, the crowd fell in love with a brand new chant.
“Done with Kyle! Not worth our while!”
I shut the blinds and picked up my phone, scrolling down to my agent, Taylor.
“I’ve already emailed the NDA to you,” she answered on the first ring. “Just make sure to get a picture of the woman’s I.D. so I can do a quick background check before the two of you do anything. Oh, and make sure she’s not a New York fan first.”
“I haven’t called you about something like that in years, Taylor.” I rolled my eyes. “I’m calling because I need to get the hell out of Boston tonight. Have Charlie pick me up as soon as possible.”
“I’m sorry, what did you just say?”
“I need Charlie to take me to the private airport, so I can clear my mind in Cabo or something.”
“You can’t fly out of town days before the first round of the playoffs, Kyle.” Her voice wavered. “Like, do you know how bad that would look to your fans?”
“You mean, the fans that are currently outside?” I heard something shattering against the windows and rushed over to look again.
My neighbors—my fucking neighbors, were directing the fans exactly where to fling bobblehead toys. The local police were standing with their arms crossed, clearly taking their side in all of this.
“We have a bye-week next week,” I said. “I don’t care how it looks to anyone. Get me out of here.”
“Um ...” Taylor sucked in a slow breath. “Kyle, my dad would kill me if I agreed to help you do this. He’s giving me the reins to this agency for a reason, and I can’t risk this right now.”
“After you have Charlie pick me up, you can talk to me about your dad practically handing you a silver platter in life, Taylor. Call Charlie. Now.”
“All you have to do is win, and all of your fans’ anger goes away, practically overnight.” The words rushed out of her mouth. “Think about this long and hard, before you make things even worse. Let’s rewind back to last season, back when you were happy, so you can—”
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