(Dashboard lights and the glare of headlights streaming north on the opposite side of a divided highway illuminate the interior of a tow truck, driven by Black Sox GM and part time South Side driver Vic Caleca. Sleet from a mid-November storm is pelting the windshield, and the truck’s wipers are slapping back and forth).
Vic Caleca: Damn it. How hard can it be to find a Chevy Suburban in the breakdown lane? Those things are big as tanks.
(He keys the microphone of the truck’s dash-mounted radio)
Johnny, where did you say that truck was? I’m about a mile south of the Sibley Boulevard exit and I don’t see squat.
Johnny: Should be right around there. You in the southbound lanes?
Caleca: Yeah … oh, wait. I think maybe I see it up there – has the orange abandoned tag on it.
Johnny: Yeah, that should be it.
Caleca: OK, I’ll grab it.
Caleca: Answer phone …
Vinnie Vitale: Vic, that you?
Caleca: Yeah, I’m kinda busy right now, Vinnie. (Pulls over to the shoulder in front of the suburban and activates his flashers).
Vinnie: Yeah, well, not busy enough, apparently. Where the hell are you?
Caleca: I’m in one of your tow trucks, Vinnie, about to grab a Chevy Suburban and take it to a mechanic.
Vinnie: (Sounding surprised and pleased) Yeah? Billy get you set up with a schedule?
Caleca: Oh, yeah. I pulled the overnight tonight, Vinnie.
Vinnie: Oh. Well maybe that explains why you left three of our best young guys open to the expansion draft.
Caleca (Sounding shocked): What? No way. We combed through that list the league sent us of the eligible players and … wait. Who do you think we left unprotected?
Vinnie: Well, Cleide, Moelling and Sosa for three …
Caleca: Hey, there is no way we would leave them unprotected. They were not on the list of eligibles. I even asked, and they said that the list we were working with was right and go ahead and submit your names.
Vinnie: Yeah, well, a little birdie told me the league screwed up on that first list and issued a new one about, oh, four hours ago.
Caleca: Damn it, Vinnie. This is not my fault. I mean, how can I know that when you’ve got me out here on the Bishop Ford Freeway looking for abandoned trucks?
Vinnie: Watch your tone, Caleca. I still haven’t forgot that trade …
Caleca (Sighs): Fine. Sorry. But, Vinnie, I’m out here in the sleet, not back in the office waiting for the league to message me.
Vinnie: Bitch, bitch, bitch. Well, get that damn Suburban back to impound …
Caleca: Nah, it’s supposed to go to a mechanic over in Hammond …
Vinnie: Screw that. It'll take too long. Just take it to our impound lot and get back to the office and fix your screwup.
Caleca: I hardly think the league sending out the wrong list is my screwup.
Vinnie (sounding annoyed): Yeah, well, it will be your screwup if you don’t get it fixed. Capeesh? You know Cleide’s my guy. We lose him, we’re gonna lose you somewhere in the Little Calumet …
Caleca: Jesus, Vinnie. OK, I’ll get back there and see what I can do.
Vinnie: I’ll tell you what you do, you get on the horn to Rectenfeld …
Vinnie: You know, the commish. Rectenberg …
Caleca: You mean Rectenwald? Matt Rectenwald?
Vinnie: Yeah. That’s what I said.
Caleca (Sighs again): OK, Vinnie, I’ll contact the commissioner’s office and see what they can do to help us out.
Vinnie: You do that. Oh, and Caleca?
Vinnie: Don’t scratch that Suburban. We’ve got a reputation to uphold …
Vinnie: What was that?
Caleca: Have a good night, Vinnie.
Vinnie: Yeah, that’s what I thought you said. Have a good one. Fix the thing with the commish, and take good care of that Suburban.
[The call ends, and Caleca checks for traffic and then climbs down out of the cab into the driving sleet.]
Caleca (muttering to himself as he pulls up the hood of his yellow rain slicker): Don’t be a sap, I thought. This Mumbai job sucks. Go to the BBA. Bright lights, big city … what a moron …