Red Light Rogie
The door clicked shut behind several serious-looking professional types in suits. With grim faces, they found seats around the conference room table, forming a wall of scowling gazes, grey suit jackets, and a general air of disapproval.
Opposite the officials, a lone, muscular man leaned back in the reclining office chair, his legs stretched out under the table and head turned, looking out the window at the light snowfall common to the region during the depths of winter. His air of insolence for the proceedings made the grim faces tighten even more. Clearing his throat, the oldest member of the group, a still-imposing man likely in his sixties, started the hearing.
“Mr. Heaton, may we get this over with? You requested this hearing in person, after all.”
With a rude sigh, Rene Heaton straightened and motioned with his hand in response. “I didn’t request the meeting,” he replied, his voice a low growl. “My agent did.”
“Well, then, where is your agent?” asked another member of the committee. “Is he running late?”
“No,” Rene replied, “I fired him. I hate meetings.”
“Ahh, ummmm…we’ll make this quick then,” the older man said, glancing as several of his compatriots grumbled under their breath. “Mr. Heaton, you’ve made quite a name for yourself in just over two seasons of minor pro hockey. A league record for misconducts and fighting majors. Altercations with officials, both on and off-ice, teammates, coaches, and even fans. Multiple suspensions. And I can’t even begin to count the damage you’ve done to arena property.”
“In short, your brand of hockey makes a mockery of this great sport, the image we are trying to project, and the efforts of both your teammates and your opponents. I’m afraid, Mr. Heaton, your career, at least in this league, is at its end. However, you have the opportunity to defend yourself, as is your right under our agreement with the players union, though what you could possibly say to change our minds I cannot possibly imagine.”
With a wicked grin showing missing teeth made even more sinister by the permanent tattoo of a black eye that was his trademark, Rene Heaton pushed back from the table, gripping the edge, and leaned forward.
“I got nothin’ to say about it,” he said, the grin widening. “I just wanted to leave you somethin’ to remember me by.” With a sudden grunt, Heaton heaved, lifted the table and sent it flying against the glass window. The thick glass held, but a spiderweb of cracks formed, ruining the pane. With a sharp laugh, he turned to regard the shocked league officials, and spit on the floor.
Before anyone could react, he turned, slamming the door open, and stalked out into the hallway. As he walked, not caring if anyone followed, he pulled the business card he’d been handed before the meeting from his pocket.
“I got somethin’ better to do now than beat on these pansies,” he said, to nobody in particular. “Time to get in the ring and do some real damage.”