Nick peeks through the blinds looking out to the quiet street in front of his home. Nothing catches his eye now, but he'll check again in an hour. It's become his normal nightly routine. Suddenly the door opens and Nick nervously looks over. He lets out a sigh; it's just his family returning from Stop & Shop.
"I tried using the debit card but it kept getting declined, so I had to use the credit card," Nick's wife said as she put down the groceries.The latest surveillance photo of general manager Nicholas Wood
"Oh yeah, I need to transfer some funds from our investment account. I completely forgot to do that," Nick replied.
"And I could have sworn a car followed us home. I don't know though. They were probably just lost."
"Yeah, you're right honey. I'm sure it was nothing," Nick said as he took a second peek through the blinds.
"Oh, and someone keeps calling the house but when I answer there's no one on the line."
"It's probably just a nervous telemarketer stunned by the beauty of your voice, honey," Nick replied. He's heard enough though and he knows he needs to put an end to this. He gets the kids ready for bed and prepares to make a call to the only person who can get him out of this situation.
It all started two years ago with Nick's popular weekly column, "Nick's Picks" on YFFL.com. It started off as an innocent gimmick but within weeks, Nick's emails were flooded with fantasy football gamblers looking to take legitimate bets. Nick decided to try it out and got in with a local fantasy football bookie known simply as "The Greek".
The fantasy football gambling life was good to Nick at first. Nick was enjoying the suburban high life: grocery shopping at Whole Foods instead of Stop & Shop, date-nights out at the Cheesecake Factory instead of the Olive Garden and a special anniversary present for his wife - 20-inch rims on the Subaru.
As the weeks went on, Nick's bets got bigger and bigger. Before he knew it, his entire paycheck was on the line every week. Nick didn't know it, but The Greek had him right where he wanted...
YFFL Week 2, 2011, otherwise known as "Black Sunday" to Nick. It was a disastrous week with just two out of 8 picks correct. With thousands on the line, Nick lost it all. He's been in constant debt to The Greek ever since and even worse, The Greek has sent his henchmen to keep a constant eye on Nick and his family.
Nick makes sure his family is fast asleep before he makes the phone call to the only person who can help him.
"Nick, what is up my man? Are you enjoying that six-figure bonus that Merrill Lynch gave to all employees last week?"
"Hey Aceto. Six-figures? All employees?!? I left Merrill a few years ago," Nick replied.Aceto knows better than to mix business with family
"Aw, man. That's too bad. We're killing it this year with all this extra revenue from banking fees. I just bought myself some 1500 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets! Oh, and I bought a helicopter. I guess that is pretty cool too," Aceto said as he tucked himself into bed.
"Hey Aceto, I need help from your family," Nick said, cutting right to the chase.
"What? You mean like Jon?" Aceto replied a bit confused.
"No, your OTHER family," Nick answered.
"Uh oh. Are you in trouble, Nick? Is it the Russian mafia?" Aceto sat up in bed.
"Worse. It's the Greek mafia. Let's just say I could have used that Merrill bonus."
"Don't you worry about a thing. We'll take care of this situation this weekend. Arrange a meeting and I'll take care of the rest," Aceto said as he walked over to his gun safe, opened it up and dusted off his M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle.
Nick made arrangements with The Greek to meet out of town so his family wouldn't be in danger. Aceto arranged to pick him up in his helicopter to fly to the destination.
"Old Orchard Beach," Nick yelled out to the helicopter pilot as they jumped in.
"OOB? Wait a second, who exactly is the Greek?" Aceto asked.
"Matt Pappas," Nick replied. "Who did you think I was talking about?"
"Um I don't know, maybe the Kouvalakis, Tsiklou or Manolakis families!?!?!" Aceto exclaimed. "We can settle this with Pappas using World of Warcraft 'Justice' Points.
"I've tried that. He didn't take the bait. He is a criminal mastermind," Nick said as the helicopter sped towards Old Orchard Beach.
Aceto, four members of his "family" and Nick entered Matt's hideout. Matt greeted them with sniper rifles of his own.
"Have a seat, boys," The Greek said as he pointed to a dimly lit table in the corner with his gun.The only known photo of The Greek, pictured here with one of his lieutenants
Matt walked over to the table and stared down at Nick. "I was at the Maine Mall yesterday, Nick. I snuck into Abercrombie & Fitch because it's the only place you can fart without anyone noticing. I looked at a few of the price tags and I realized something. I can't afford any of their clothes because I don't have any money! Do you know why that is, Nick?" Matt said slamming his hands down on the table.
"Matt, I'm sure we can settle this amicably," Nick said as he began to sweat.
"What exactly do you want, Pappas?" Aceto said carefully. A pistol was held against his temple. "World of Warcraft points? Dime bags? Egyptian cotton sheets?"
"Your materials are worthless to me," Pappas said as he slammed his hand down on the table. "I want the same thing every male that grew up in Yarmouth wants!"
Nick and Anthony looked at each other confused.
"I want to be General Manager of the most prestigious team in the YFFL," Matt said looking at directly at Nick. "That's right, I want to be GM of the Chunky Chickens."
"No way!" Nick said as he jumped up.
"I'll cut you a deal, Nick. If you win the Super Bowl this year, you can keep your GM duties and I'll settle for the White Guys. If you fall short, the Chickens are mine." Matt reached out is hand for acceptance of the deal.
"Fine," Nick said reluctantly as he reached out his hand.
On paper the Chickens look like the Super Bowl favorites, but they remind me of the 2011 Thugs - everything could just go wrong. The Eagles are overusing McCoy and I think it finally catches up to him this year in the form of a nagging injury. I don't see Marshawn Lynch having the same success again this year. Mike Wallace seems destined for a below average year. I like Victory Cruz and DeMarco Murray to contribute but I don't think it's enough to save the Chickens from the dreaded "it's just one of those years". Get ready boys, Matt Pappas is in the YFFL for 2013!
6-7; 588 points; 3rd Place NFC West