The Stanzi Identity

[Bumped by popular demand. We figured it needed a Beyond Photoshop, though so we made one. Enjoy.--OPS]

The year:             Sometime in the future

Location:             Iowa City, Iowa.

A male body is found unconscious near the University of Iowa football complex with a minor, but odd wound to the head and other small cuts and abrasions on his body. The man is carried inside the complex and head trainer John Streif is summoned. 

It is unclear how the man got there and he gives the impression that he has amnesia. Streif is treating the man when he notices a money belt-like pack around the man's waist. In it appear to hold some rumpled newspaper articles and an old photo of former Iowa offensive coordinator, Ken O'Keefe. Streif who had thought he knew the man's identity, is now nearly certain. He tells the man that he believes his name to be Richard Stanzi. As Streif attends to the man's head wound Richard Stanzi, as he is known, awkwardly reveals to Streif that he has come to town attempting to retrace his previous life in Iowa City. 

"Mr. Streif I seem to have inexplicably repressed my football past, and I don't know why."


He tells Streif that for the past few days he has walked the campus in hopes of triggering memories, but instead he has been mysteriously attracting attention from people who have given him adulation, some almost appearing to worship him, others seeking his autograph or to be photographed with him - but all unhelpfully assuming he already knows why. He begins to suspect, on the basis of circumstantial evidence, that he may have been a college quarterback. Streif confirms his suspicions and offers to have him meet with a man in town who might be able to help him piece things together. On the spur of the moment, Stanzi agrees in hopes that he might be able to retrace his life. Streif calls the cell phone of Pat Harty, a former sports reporter who had since become a used car salesman.

With Harty's help, Stanzi begins a psychological journey to discover what might have been his life as an Iowa quarterback. Harty determines that it might be best to take Stanzi to the scene of his earlier football accomplishments, a massive yet mysterious brick building known as Kinnick Stadium. Harty asks as they enter the vast, empty stadium, "Remember this place?"

"Vaguely. Just vaguely," whispers Stanzi as he stares in wonder.

Harty takes Stanzi to midfield. Repeatedly scratching his head, Stanzi is unable to piece together any factual details of his past. Harty tries to trigger some memories. 

"Richard, in 2009 you played a very athletic Arizona Wildcats team. In that game the defense was incredible and you had a nice game, but a play that might stick out in your memory was an interception in the first quarter. Do you recall that?"

"No, I don't. What happened?" Stanzi inquired.

Harty explained to him that he threw a Pick Six.

"An interception, eh?"

"Not just any interception. One that's run back for a touchdown. This one was memorable as it was a devastating turn of events at the time," explained Harty.

But Stanzi had no memory of it. He said he had some faint memories of a couple of long completions, but says he's just unable to recall the interception.

"What about Arkansas State, two games later that season?" asked Harty. 

"What did I do that was memorable in that game?" asked Stanzi hopefully.

"Well, the most memorable thing unfortunately was another one of those Pick Sixes."

"Hmm. No, I don't recall any interceptions. But I kind of remember throwing a long deep pass to a really tall guy, for a touchdown. And, wait, I remember another pass to a slowish white guy."

"Chaney?" replied Harty.

"I'm sorry. I don't remember any names. But that was a touchdown too, I think. I can't be sure."

"It's okay. But you don't remember that Pick Six to the Arkansas State linebacker at that very crucial moment in the game?" probed Harty.

"Did we lose?" asked Stanzi.

"No, no. You won. But..."

"Yeah, sorry. I just don't remember that Pick Six. But I do recall those touchdown that I think about it"

Harty searched deeper, "What about the Michigan game?"

"Tell me more," said Stanzi.

"It was on National TV. The stadium was full and, well, you did something very memorable. You threw your first pass for a touchdown."

"I did? I don't recall that at all," said a bewildered Stanzi.

"Well, it was a touchdown for them Richard. You threw the pass directly to a Michigan cornerback who ran it back on your very first play from scrimmage."

"So. Another Pick Six?" asked Stanzi sheepishly.

"Yeah. You remember!" said Harty.

"No. I don't." Then Stanzi asked, "Hey, did we win?"

"Well. Yes. You won that game too."

Then Harty delicately approached one more memory. "Do you remember the Indiana debacle Richard?"

"Indiana. Let me think. I vaguely remember a team in white with bright red piping. On Halloween?"

"Yes! Yes!"

"I kind of remember me throwing for lots of yards. And maybe a few long touchdowns too?"

"Well, yeah, that all happened Richard. But certainly you recall throwing five interceptions in that game?"

Stanzi was dumbstruck. He couldn't believe what he was hearing, "Five interceptions? Are you sure? In one game?"

Harty replied, "Oh yeah. Five. In fact, you threw four interceptions in the third quarter alone. Surely you remember that!"

Stanzi searched his memory.

"Richard, you have to remember those five interceptions," pressed Harty.

But Stanzi had no recollection whatsoever. "I do recall throwing some touchdowns, but I am afraid I just don't remember throwing any interceptions. Sorry."

The two men would continue to go over more games that season. Harty again and again trying to remind Stanzi of crucial interceptions he had thrown and critical fumbles he had lost, none of which Stanzi would remember.

Eventually Harty came to a realization, "Richard, you don't remember any interceptions that you've thrown? Ever?"

Stanzi thought for a moment. He closed his eyes, and went into his deepest thought yet. After what seemed like half an hour Harty suddenly saw a recollection flash across Stanzi's face. Harty explored, "'ve got something?"

"Yes. Yes, I think I do."

"Tell me! What is it?"

Stanzi began, "I do recall one interception. I threw it in a game against a team in green."

"Michigan State! Yes. Yes!" said Harty who was energized; they were making a break through.

Then suddenly, Harty had a frustrating thought.

"Uh, wait a minute Richard. You didn't have any interceptions against Michigan State."

"I didn't?"

"No. Not one," said an exasperated Harty.

"Oh, wait a minute. That's right. Now I remember. That was called back because of a defensive holding call."

Harty looked distraught. He thought they had made a break through but it was as if they were back to square one.

"Hey Pat. I'm sorry."

The two men began walking toward the locker rooms when Stanzi asked, "I'm just curious though."

"Yeah Richard?"

"Did I do anything else in that Michigan State game that might have been memorable?"

Harty thought for minute....

Unless otherwise expressly indicated by BHGP editors, this FanPost is strictly the viewpoint of the author and is not endorsed by BHGP in any way.

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