An Ellis Johnson Carol

Act I – Morrison’s Ghost

Scene: filmroom at the Charles F. Crews Football Facility, deep within the bowels of Williams Brice Stadium
Enter Assistant Head Coach in Charge of Defense, Ellis Johnson

Johnson: (searching) Where’d I set that hat down? Where? You’d think a brim that big would be easy to find! Hey, what the heck is that?

Enter a Ghost, dressed in black, chain-smoking.

Ghost: Elllllliiissssssss. Elllllllliiiiiiiiiisssssssssssss.

Johnson: (startled) Uh, yeah?

Ghost: You cannot leave us, Ellllliiissssss.

Johnson: Um yeah, about that, I’m not commenting on that right now-

Ghost: DO NOT TRIFLE WITH ME, ELLIS! I know you interviewed for another job – a head coaching job at a mid-major school. You cannot do this Ellis.

Johnson: (blinking hard) Hey now, wait a minute, who the heck? – I’m, I’m not commenting on it, and STOP STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT WALL, YOU ARE FREAKING ME OUT!

Ghost: My apologies, Ellis. (floats to a more natural, non-wall, position) but we both know it is true, you are planning to leave and I am here to warn you of the dire consequences of such an action.

Johnson: (recovering somewhat) Hey look, buddy I’ve gotta be me. I’ve got only so much time on this earth- no offense, mind you – and I’ve always dreamed of being a head coach. This looks like my last opportunity.

Ghost: You will be visited tonight by three ghosts–that’s three counting myself, as (ahem) space, time, and internet literary memes are somewhat limited–and each will show you the folly of this course of action. (floats into dark hallway)

Johnson: (aside) I musta sucked on one too many chiclets.

ACT II – The Cadillac

Enter 2nd Ghost, wearing a garnet #37 jersey

Ghost 2: I am the ghost of Gamecocks Past! Ellis, you must not leave us. We have worked too hard.

Johnson: But, hey – its my big shot. Well, its my shot, anyway. I want to be the head man.

Ghost 2: Remember Ellis, remember? You were the head man before – at the Citadel. How’d that work out for you, Elllliiiiisssssss?

Johnson: You forgot about my year as Head Coach at Gardner Webb!

Ghost 2: Of course I did, EVERYONE forgot about it. Which brings me to my point: Name the three head coaches before Fedora at Southern Miss. Go on, name them.

Johnson: There was Bower, and then there was – wait, wait I worked for one of them!

Ghost 2: You see? You see, Ellliiisssss – if you go to Southern Miss you will never be heard from again! Plus, and this is why I’m here as the ghost of the past: most of your career is already behind you – why uproot your family now? SC Vested Retirement, Ellllliiiiiiisssssssss!

Johnson: Hmmm – listen! This is too big of an opportunity to turn down!

Ghost 2: Too big? Too big! What do you think is bigger, Elllliiiisssss? Head coach at the third best college in Mississippi, or Defensive Guru in the best football conference in America? Think about it Ellliiiisssssssss (fades into cloud of mist)

ACT III – Another Ellis

Johnson: One more – there is supposed to be one more – hey who’s there?

Enter tall Ghost wearing a suit and carrying a microphone.

Johnson: Hey, Todd! Todd! Man I can’t tell you how glad I am to see a friendly face!

Ghost 3: Hold on Elllllllliiiiiissssssss-

Johnson: Not you, too? You’re still alive – you can’t be a ghost!

Ghost 3: Have you ever heard me call a game, Ellliiisssss? Haven’t you ever wondered how a normal human could speak and think the way I do? Have you ever seen the movie Beetlejuice? Well then you have your answer: I’m already dead, Elllllliiiiiissss.

Johnson: (whimpers)

Ghost 3: Don’t take the job, Elllliiisssssss. Don’t take the job. It will turn out worse for you than the ’89 season did for me.

Johnson: But, but, I don’t understand – If you’re dead, but currently employed by SC, but not a future coach or player, how can you be the Ghost of Gamecock Future?

Ghost 3: You misunderstand Elllliiiissss, I’m not the Ghost of Gamecock Future, I’m the Ghost of Gamecock FutureS. See, I’ve worked out this little revenue sharing system, it’s very innovative. Just let me explain it to you with this pyramid graph, Elllliiiiisssssss . . . . .

Johnson: (passes out)

ACT IV – Head Ball Coach

Scene – Several days later. Southern Miss Athletic Department Press Room (also serves as supply closet and locker room).

Johnson: . . . So for those reasons I am proud to accepted the head coaching position for the Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Ghost 1: DAMN IT
Ghost 2: DAMN IT
Ghost 3: We may not be Alabama, we may not be LSU, but we sure aren’t Souther. . . Ah, DAMN IT.