The Eagles were dead, Kenney knew that. With Carson Wentz sidelined for the season and with an Amber Alert put out for the defense, he knew they were dead as door nails. So, with nothing much else to do over the Christmas holidays, and given his natural aversion to human contact, the mayor settled in with some non-sugary drinks and snacks at City Hall, and dozed off.
Suddenly, he was awakened by a loud crash. Opening his eyes, he saw Chuck Bednarik. Kenney asked “Who are you?” showing he wasn’t the sharpest pencil in the box, since Frank Gifford was lying supine at Concrete Charlie’s feet.
“In life, I was the last 60-minute man in history. And I’ve come to warn you to mend your ways.”
“What do you mean?” asked the mayor, perplexed.
“I’ve been wandering around for over 50 football seasons, watching what’s been happening to this city, and it seems you’re not going in the right direction. No siree, Philly has gone soft, Jimmy Boy.”
“Are you worried about the football business? It’s OK, we might still make it to the Super Bowl, even though …”
“Football business? Mankind was my business!!! Emphasis on the ‘Man’ part. See this?” he said, kicking the comatose Gifford.
“Yes,” cowered Kenney.
“We’ve lost our guts, our soul, our dignity in this here city, Jimmy Boy. There’s no one around who could flatten Gifford today. Those stupid pink hats cut off the oxygen to their brains.”
Kenney took a bite of a vegan muffin and sighed.
Bednarick continued: “I’m here to help you get back to the Jimmy you once were, the one who wore feathers and glitter and eyeliner on New Year’s Day like a real man! You will be haunted by three spirits tonight: the Ghosts of Philly Past, Present, and Future. Pay attention.”
He then picked up Gifford with one hand and, with the other, crashed through the locked door, even though an open window would have been easier. He was that kind of guy.
Kenney shook his head in disbelief. “It’s just a dream,” he muttered.
And then, from behind, a voice boomed: “You crumb-bum, it ain’t no dream!”
His blood running cold, he turned around to see Frank Rizzo, raising his hand as he did in that statue the mayor wanted to move, only it looked a lot more threatening when it was pointed directly at him.
“I’ve been watching what youse have been doin’ to my city, Kenney, and I’m just sick of it.”
Kenney stammered. “F-Frank, there’s a new breed of person here now. They don’t like racists and sexists and people who eat red meat. They got their Birkenstocks on my throat. I can’t help it. I mean, I’m a South Philly guy, too, but it’s not easy these days.”
Rizzo rattled his nightstick.
“Listen, you little crybaby, stop caving in to the commie pinkos. Be a man! And about those schools, stop listening to Helen Gym. We need excellence in the public schools, and if the teachers can’t do it, we’ll send in a couple of police officers.”
Fading away, he shouted: “You move my statue and I swear to God I’ll be so pissed, I’ll make Attila the Hun look like a faggot.”
This was not going well for Kenney.
At that moment, he looked up to see four guys in prison jumpsuits approaching, arms linked. He recognized a former congressman, a former district attorney, a former councilman, but couldn’t place the fourth until the guy spoke and he heard the mangled dipthongs.
“It’s me, you little creep. Vince Fumo.”
“But Vince,” said the mayor, “I thought you were out of jail.”
To which Fumo replied: “I liked the food, sue me.”
The four spoke in unison: “We are the Ghosts of Philly Present, where many politicians end up getting indicted. Don’t be like us, Jim. Don’t anger the feds. Play nice with Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions. They don’t like mouthy liberal progressives who keep people from drinking Pepsi but let them get stoned on weed and stink up the parks. Beware …”
And then they disappeared in a puff of marijuana smoke.
Kenney was feeling woozy (decriminalization at its best). He’d had enough ghosts. But there was one left.
There, with a Bible in one hand and a football in the other, appeared Carson Wentz. The injured quarterback looked at the mayor and, with the kind of smile you don’t see in Philadelphia (unless it’s right before they mug you), said:
“I am the Ghost of Philly Future. Don’t listen to the others. God loves you just the way you are.”
And with that, they shared a Chick-Fil-A sandwich.
God bless youse, everyone.