Nodding, but annoyed, Repass left. There was another knock at the door, and Sid Farlow, the former All-Pro tight end, appeared. "Sit down, Sid," Boots said kindly.
"What is it, Coach?" Farlow asked. "Why did you call me here?"
"This isn't an easy job for me, but I'm going to have to let you go," Boots said. "There's just too much competition, and I have to cut somebody."
"Are you sure, Coach?"
"Look, Sid, there are eight guys besides you on this team all doing a book with the same title: Story of a Season. I got five guys all doing Team of Destiny, and I got to let one of those go, too. You see, the way I see it, I'll carry five or six Story of a Season, I'll keep four Team of Destiny, another four Countdown to Victory, three Fourteen Violent Sundays, two or three On the Long Road to the Super Bowl and a couple On the Road to Glory. Then I'll flesh it out from there with some specialty stuff—a couple Story of a Rookie, one or two how-to books and a religious thing.
"So you got to cut me, Coach?"
"Look, Sid," Zorro replied. "If I let you go now, early in training camp, I know you can catch on somewhere else. On a lot of teams a guy like you with hard-cover experience can win a spot easy. I hear on Atlanta they're stuck with a couple of stiffs on the suicide squad who—get this—got no more than Sunday supplement deals.
"Sid, I'm leveling with you. You know what they say about this game—your publisher goes first. Well, you're still hanging in there with yours. Sure, you can't move for those ancillary rights the way you used to. You can't reach the slicks the way you could in your prime, and I wouldn't use you in a spot where TV was looking for a special. So, O.K., you're not the talent you used to be, but Sid, you got a lot left."
"I guess you're right, Coach," a downcast Farlow said. "I just hate to leave the Memories. Is there no spot at all left?"
"Well, there's only one opening I can see," Coach Zorro said, "and you'll have to fight a couple of rookies for the job. The title is The Coach—a Man of Destiny."