Monte Kiffin, 72 year-old defensive coordinater for the Dallas Cowboys, woke with a start, reaching for the telephone next to the bed.
"Hello," he croaked. "Hello?.....HELLO?" He slammed the phone down in frustration. "Who keeps calling and hanging up? And why is the damn phone still ringing? Every morning, the same thing!"
His wife, Robin, reached over him and stopped the ringing. "It was the alarm clock, dear." She rubbed her eyes. "Just like yesterday.....And the day before that.....And the day before that....."
"Sorry, Mary," Monte scratched his head. "They sound the same."
"It's Robin," she reminded. "And that's alright, dear."
Monte kissed his wife of 34 years on the forehead and creaked his way to the bathroom.
Robin put on her robe and went downstairs to start a pot of coffee. When the Folgers began to brew, she heard the shower running, and smiled. After a minute, the smiled faded and she hurried back upstairs.
Kiffin was in the shower, humming The Beattles' Yellow Submarine, when he heard a knock on the door. "Yes, sweetie?" he answered.
His wife stuck her head in, "Did you remember to take your pajamas off before getting in there?"
Monte looked down. His Lone Ranger jammies were soaking wet and covered in suds. "No, Barbara. I forgot again."
"Well, just take them off and leave them in the shower.....Again. And it's Robin."
Coach Kiffin shaved and dressed and made his way down to the kitchen, the smell of bacon drawing him faster. He walked up behind his wife and gave her a playful pat on the rear and a kiss on the cheek as she stood in front of the stove, working her magic with his bacon and eggs.
Robin smiled and pointed towards the table.
He sat and swallowed a mouthful of orange juice. "The juice is a little pulpy. I don't like pulp."
"There's no pulp, dear."
"Oh. Must've scraped off some more gum tissue, than." Monte felt around in his pockets. "It sucks only having six good teeth. Where are they, by the way?"
"In a jar on the nightstand next to your prostate." Robin brought a plate of food to the table. "Just use your partial, dear."
"Good idea, Betty."
"Robin.....Sorry." Monte sniffed the plate while putting in his dentures. "This looks great, thanks."
"You're welcome, dear." Mrs. Kiffin sat next to her husband and began eating her own breakfast.
"The kids off to school already?" Monte asked between mouthfuls. Robin nodded. "When did they leave?"
Robin shrugged. "About twenty years ago."
"Good. An early start in the morning is healthy."
After several minutes of small talk and another helping of breakfast, Kiffin got up and placed his and his wife's empty plates in the sink. Through a dish towel over his shoulder and started to clear the pans from the stove.
"Sweetie," Robin began. "Why don't you leave that for a moment and come sit with me. We need to have a chat."
"Sure thing, Pat."
Coach Kiffin sat next to his wife at the table. She took his hands in hers and smiled at his puzzled expression.
"Uh,oh," Monte mumbled. "What's wrong? What did I do?"
"One of the kids get in trouble in school? Is it Lane? He's always been a little bossy. Did he get mouthy with a teacher?"
"Monte," Robin sighed, "Lane hasn't been in school for decades."
Kiffin slapped the table. "I knew it! Playing hooky, huh? That boy's gonna get a switch when he gets home."
"Forget Lane for a minute, dear."
"Why? Did he get in trouble in school? He always was a little bossy. Did he get mouthy with a teacher?"
Robin patted his hand. Deep breaths, she thought. "Monte, sweetie, we need to talk about this new job of yours."
"New job? What? I'm not coaching anymore?"
"No, dear. I mean, yes. You're still coaching, but with a new team."
"Great! When do I start?"
"You've already started," she spoke slowly to let it sink in.
"I have? How am I doing?"
"Great, sweetie. Just great. But maybe it's time to step back from football and think about retiring." She paused. "You're not getting any younger."
"Nonsense, Martha," Monte puffed out his chest. "I'm still in my prime."
"You're 72, dear. And it's Robin."
"You're not a kid anymore," his wife began. "I love you more than anything on this Earth, but you're old, sweetie."
Monte scowled. "I'm not that old."
"Monte, please. Your social security number is 4."
"Your legs look like a road map of post-War Czechoslovakia."
Robin smirked. "I was including the craters."
"Sweetie, I only say these things because I worry about you."
Monte sat back in his chair. "I know I have issues with my memory sometimes. But, physically, I'm tip-top. You can't deny that. Especially after last night." He winked knowingly.
"Uh, honey, I turned in early and you didn't come up til well after midnight. And then you went right to sleep."
"Well," Robin winced. "The dog did give you a weird look when you came down this morning....."
Coach Kiffin shrugged. "Either way, I still got it."
"I'm sure Sparky doesn't share your enthusiasm." The Chihuahua sat with his back to the couple, face in the corner.
"We were never that close, anyway."
Robin changed the subject. "And there's the other problem....."
Monte thought for a minute, then rolled his eyes. "Now wait a minute, Esther. I only had to pee twice last night. I wouldn't call that a problem."
"But you only got out of bed once." His wife shook her head. "And it's Robin."
"Robin.....Sorry. But I did get out of bed and go to the bathroom.....Once."
".....And urinated on the fern I had in the tub."
"Again, we were never that close."
Monte's phone buzzed. He checked the text and frowned. "That's Coach Garrett reminding me we have an early meeting this morning."
His wife put her hand on his arm as Kiffin rose from the table. "We're going to continue this when you get home this evening. Don't think for a second you're off the hook."
"Wouldn't dream of it, pumpkin." Kissed her on top of the head and grabbed his keys from the counter.
"Uh, sweetie? You do know where you're going, right?"
"Sure, Robin. Valley Ranch. Garrett and I have a meeting with Marinelli. Gonna go over a few changes I'm thinking about in regards to Ware and Spencer. Why?"
"Just checking. And it's Robin."
"Yeah, I know. That's what I said." Monte chuckled. "We've been married 34 years. I think I should know your name."
Robin smiled. "Good-bye, sweetie. Have a nice day."
"You. too." Her husband gave a short wave and walked out the door. Robin rose from the table and watched Monte snatch a few weeds from the flower bed through the window. Good days and bad days, she thought. Today may be a good day.
Coach Kiffin walked across the street and put his keys in the neighbor's mailbox. He picked up their newspaper, put it under his shirt to make it look like he had breasts, then moon-walked through their sprinkler. Robin put her face in her hands as Monte pulled off his wet pants and started skipping down the street, swinging them over his head. His high-pitched, off-key version of Girls Just Want To Have Fun went echoing through the neighborhood.
Yeah, she thought. Today is a good day.