A Terrifying Task

Several weeks ago Master Zach returned home from the rink in a violently dark mood. The clear, wintry skies were swallowed up by roiling, ink-black clouds, and thunder rolled ominously as Master Zach stormed into his study and locked the door behind himself. Many hours passed as I fretted in the hallway outside, hoping to hear some indication through the heavy oak panel of what Master Zach was doing within. Finally the door was unlatched, and he summoned me in.

I had never seen Master Zach like this before. His countenance was changed, his features twisted with rage, his eyes burning with dark passions, and complexion appearing feverish as it was lit by nothing but hissing firelight. He settled himself in the creaking leather wingback chair behind his desk, and indicated with the slightest wave of his trembling hand that I was to pull up a chair opposite him. When I had at last managed that deed, he stared at me for what seemed like several eternities, his eyes searching into the very depths of my soul. He must have found what he was looking for there, because he suddenly broke the silence by saying, “Boxworthy, man, I trust you with every element of my being.” His voice was naught but a rasp, sounding as though it was painfully wrung from a bone-dry, tense throat.

I nodded at him to continue. I take my trustworthiness very seriously.

He slid a sheet of paper across the surface of the desk, the paper shaking slightly under his still-trembling hand and the gleaming mahogany reflecting the diabolical, dancing light of the fire. “This is the list,” Master Zach croaked. “Let no one see it. Memorize the names. And then destroy them.”

I did not want to believe what I thought he was asking of me. I pretended not to understand. “Destroy the list?” I asked with false obtuseness.

Master Zach’s eyes shone with a terrifying light. He whispered his response, the words not so much spoken as thought with so much venom as to be audible, “Destroy the men.”

The names of the men I am to destroy are:

Sidney Crosby
Vincent Lecavalier
Daniel Alfredsson
Scott Gomez
Dany Heatley
Marian Hossa
Ilya Kovalchuk
Alexander Ovechkin
Mike Richards
Jason Spezza
Eric Staal
Martin St. Louis

I committed the list to memory instantaneously, then put the paper into the fire. Master Zach didn’t say another word as I left the study.

I have called all the henchmen into action on this task. It will take every resource we have at hand to destroy each of these men sufficiently and in time to make it so the National Hockey League sees fit to name Master Zach to the All-Star Team. I would have suggested Master Zach simply work harder on the ice to increase his scoring totals, but I was afraid of what he was — and still is — capable of.


Hard Work, Undone

In October Master Zach gave me an extensive list of instructions for packing for the upcoming All-Star Game in Atlanta. Today I spent several hours unpacking it all.

I feel compelled at this point to unburden myself of a terrible secret: I am responsible for the downfall of the New Jersey Devils. It all began with a simple task appointed to me by Master Zach, a task I have undertaken often enough to have made it the simplest of routines. He requested that I slip a “mickey” to Mr. Zajac before a practice session so that he would appear sluggish and be demoted to Robin by the coaching staff. Perhaps because it has happened so many times, Mr. Zajac has taken to keeping all his drinking vessels tightly covered while in the dressing room, so I attempted to circumvent this obstacle by doctoring the water bottle at the bench that I suspected he would be most likely to use. During that particular morning’s practice, Mr. Zajac managed to avoid the offending water bottle comletely, and instead Mr. Matvichuk quaffed deeply from it, as did Mr. Elias. When I explained the mishap to Master Zach he was delighted by my workaround, and suggested I doctor more bottles before the next practice to increase the chances of Mr. Zajac partaking of them. Mr. Zajac is uncannily capable of avoiding being slipped mickeys, and has avoided my handiwork with alarming alacrity. With each passing day I have tampered with more and more water bottles, until I have been putting Master Zach’s “knock-out pills” into all of the bottles. The end result is that the Devils players are, to a man, in a constant drugged state, with the exception of Mr. Zajac, who has finally been slowed by severe dehydration. Master Zach is pleased with the results I have achieved, but I cannot help but feel as though this is a situation that has escalated out of control.

A Difficult Task

There are times when Master Zach’s faith in my abilities is welcome and most encouraging, but other times his faith is misplaced, perhaps even blind. Now is a time that falls in the latter of those two, as it appears he does not recognize my vocal and verbal shortcomings. While I am an uncannily gifted turtle-of-affairs, I am also merely a turtle, and as such, am incapable of speech. Yet Master Zach insists I am the man for the job in his latest dastardly scheme. He has commissioned me to make a recording on which I am to speak highly of Master Zach’s defensive prowess, two-way play, selflessness and of how he generally exceeds Dainius Zubrus in all measures of competence. I am then to secret the recording in a play-back device somewhere near the bed in which Coach Sutter sleeps, and turn the device on to play during the night, so as to subliminally plant the notion in the coach’s mind that Master Zach should replace Mr. Zubrus on his line. I inquired to Master Zach as to his motives here, as he has never before shown an interest in playing on the Devils third line, and furthermore, it should come to him as quite a demotion. He reminded me most vehemently that Mr. Zubrus’ linemates are Mssrs. Pandolfo and Madden, who have, of late, been shockingly adept in the arts of scoring goals. But of course. I was foolish to have doubted Master Zach’s clarity of thought, but again, I fear I will be of little use in this case, as my voice has been inaudible on each of the recordings I have attempted. Only time will tell if this scheme bears fruit.

Revenge Ledger, 10/12/07

At the beginning of last season, Master Zach sent me on a dastardly plot to undermine Captain Patrik Elias’s mental stability. It is no secret that Master Zach has his eyes on that coveted “C”, and putting Elias off his game seemed the most direct route to getting it. He locked himself in his study for two days, advising me to not to interrupt him for any purpose whatsoever. Not even to deliver his dinner on a silver tray. After the two days he presented to me two plots:

1. Drop a small army of termites into Elias’s equipment bag.
2. Fill the equipment bag with the variety of ersatz snakes that are packed in novelty cans labeled “peanuts”.

Since I could not in good conscience give my vote of confidence for either plot, Master Zach assumed I found both too devious to pass up. He asked me to combine the two “genius” plots. As a result, I filled Elias’s equipment bags with joke peanut cans filled with termites. I observed Elias closely and can confirm he never once opened the cans. In fact, the only soul who saw them was the assistant equipment trainer, who tossed them in the nearest refuse receptacle upon their discovery. However, Patrik has developed a troubling mental instability. As far as Master Zach is concerned, this is a direct result of his plotting. I am not inclined to dissuade him of such.

A Spot Of Good PR

Tonight I saw an opportunity to take my own initiative to promote Master Zach somewhat in his professional field. Before this evening’s game against the Panthers of Florida, I spotted the Fox Sports Network production truck with its door open, and no crew within. Seeing the coast clear of eyewitnesses, I slipped into the truck and logged into the graphics program for the pregame informational material. I found there the line assignments for the game to come, and tampered a bit with the way they had been arranged. Those who watched the game on television may have taken note of my handiwork — instead of the Patrik Elias/Dainius Zubrus/David Clarkson being first, I made them second and promoted Master Zach/Travis Zajac/Brian Gionta to the top line. I have no doubt Mr. Elias will never be made aware of my manipulations, and I have no intention of informing Master Zach. That is just the kind of turtle-of-affairs I am.

Revenge Ledger, 10/4/07

After Master Zach suffered a disheartening loss to begin his latest National Hockey League campaign, he requested I send telegrams to Mssrs. Lecavalier, St. Louis, Richards and Prospal. Each telegram was made to look as though they had come from the front offices of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and each one simply read, “You are fired”. I have my doubts about whether this will even the score in the grand scheme of life, but Master Zach was adamant that he felt much better after the deed was done.