Originally appeared in the.eeel, 2016

Shut up and show me the pumpkin spice
By Lauren Dixon

It’s a jack-o’-lantern slaughter-fest out there on the fifty-yard line, with the number one running back in the AFC Malcolm O’Leary carving out his glory. Wearing a pumpkin for a helmet and shoes carved out of sweet potatoes, O’Leary has gone off the field of sanity but he’s still an unstoppable chariot when it comes to carrying the ball. His newest catchphrase is “Shut up and show me the pumpkin spice!”
Word on the street is O’Leary’s been having trouble with his sniffer, but we couldn’t get a word out of him about that complication when we caught up with him in the locker room. He’s been unstoppable on the field, his organic tuber cleats just blindsiding defensive tackles left and right. And that’s just during the game. We’re told O’Leary went toe-to-toe with Bennett Jackson after last week’s game, but neither O’Leary nor Jackson will say a word about the tussle.
Ruby Gladstone is here with a few bites from our last run-in with O’Leary.
SportsLine: Now, Malcolm, you’ve been ruthless as never before out there on the field. Where’s this strength coming from?
O’Leary: I gotta say, you don’t know strength. You don’t know ruthless. What I do out there, that’s not strength.
SL: What would you call it?
O’Leary: I call it pumpkin spice. You gotta know how to shake it just like all those fall colors come tumbling off the trees with the wind. My pumpkin spice, it’s like the wind, yo.
SL: (laughs) Okay, it’s pumpkin spice. How’d you harness all of that energy?
O’Leary: You don’t harness the pumpkin spice. It comes to you. You just go out there and sit with it and it comes.
SL: Like the wind?
O’Leary: (nods) Like the wind.
SL: Okay. What about off the field? How do you deal with that kind of spice then? Did that have anything to do with your dust-up with Bennett Jackson after last week’s home game?
O’Leary: Hey, it comes when it comes. If Jackson, if he wanna come running when I’m in my pumpkin zone, let him. I’ll let him have some of the spice. I’ll let him get a taste.
SL: Are you still talking about football?
O’Leary: What else you think I’m talking about? Ain’t no football without pumpkins. Ain’t fall without football, you know?
SL: Yeah, sure. The NFL has fined you a number of times for refusing the standard helmet requirement, citing numerous safety violations, yet the past few weeks you’ve continued to take the field in your bright orange, carved up jack-o’-lantern helmet. What has your coach (Jerzy Akins, four-time Superbowl winner) said to you about the fines?
O’Leary: He don’t have to pay it, I do. It’s my life. They come at me, talking all this talk about concuss this, concuss that, but I tell you, I never felt better in my life. It’s the pumpkin spice. All them fall leaves drifting across my field, ginger and cloves and nutmeg. I’m not crazy, I’m not concussed. I just see the game for what it is. As sweet as pie. As spicy as you make it. But me, I’m the spice. I’m the cloves, I’m the nutmeg that make the pie what it is. You remember that.
SL: There you have it. A little ‘taste’ of Malcolm O’Leary’s pumpkin spice in action. Back to you, Edwards.
Thanks, Ruby. With O’Leary just pounding his opponents to pulp, we wonder what’s to become of the number one Pumpkin Spice when the gourd splatters one last time.

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