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Jerry reviews the menu and sends a request from his new roommate: "Turkey neckbones need to b added."
Jerry sends Stacey a text message with an ultrasound picture. "This is my daughter at two pounds," he writes. A girlfriend in San Antonio will give birth in two months. The stakes are higher than ever for Jerry. Maybe he's finally growing up. He and Josh eat together, work out together, study the plays together. Now in his fourth NFL season after flunking out of Illinois, Josh has become a starter on the Cowboys' defense. Jerry is on the verge of making the active roster.
On Friday afternoon at MADD headquarters, Debbie Weir finishes a busy week. The holidays are the worst time of year for drunken-driving fatalities. There are candlelight vigils to organize, symbolic red ribbons to be tied on cars. Next Monday, MADD will send out a press release celebrating a milestone in the fight against drunken driving. In 2011, for the first time since MADD was founded, fewer than 10,000 people were killed in drunken-driving crashes. Only 9,878. One every 53 minutes.
Weir is nine months into her job as MADD's chief executive officer, which comes with a corner office on the seventh floor of that glass and polished-stone building overlooking John W. Carpenter Freeway. Beyond her curving window in the cloudy afternoon, cars pass beneath a railroad bridge. New photos keep arriving, new pairs of eyes to stare at Weir as she walks through the hallways: A college kid in yellow running shorts. A woman and her three daughters. A boy with blood on his face and a teddy bear under his chin. The sun sets on Irving, Texas, and 50 people leave MADD headquarters after another week of failing to work themselves out of a job.
Friday night comes, and the temperature remains in the 50s. It's a good night to go out. The Cowboys don't go wild as they did in the '90s—Jerry Jones, the owner, has spent a lot of time and money reining them in—but at least some enjoy the nightlife. If you're a young pro athlete and you want to see and be seen on a Friday night in Dallas, you'll probably wind up at the Privae Members Lounge.
From the outside it doesn't look like much, sitting behind a Burger King off Walnut Hill Lane in a freestanding hulk of yellowish concrete. As a whole, the nightclub is called Beamers, but on the left side an outdoor stairwell under a black awning leads up to the entrance of Privae. The dress code is posted online. Men may not wear Ed Hardy or Coogi or ball caps or V-necks. Women are encouraged to wear heels, dresses, skirts and high-end designer clothing. "From time to time," the code says, "we make exceptions to our door policy and you WILL see people inside the venue who are out of dress code. It is NOT your place to get upset and/or point them out to management or security. There is a reason they were allowed in the club and will NOT be explained." It doesn't say all Cowboys are allowed at all times in all attire, but it might as well.
Inside you find plush booths by a long bank of tall windows through which the chosen few can look down at the dancers on the floor of Beamers. By midnight the room is nearly full, and if you want those women in heels and dresses and skirts and high-end designer clothing to visit your table, it's not a bad idea to spend several hundred dollars on a bottle or two.
At 1:05 a.m. on Twitter, a message comes from the account of a local event promoter: "I have 12 #Cowboys in theeee building!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #Privae"