Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reading About Writing About Writing


Anchorage - There are rules of writing, and you should probably attempt to break them all, and I’ve tried to toss in a few every now and then, you know, so we can all hone our writing skills. For instance, they say don’t never end no sentences with a preposition or use double negatives. Don't use no impressive Latin or French or arcane words and phrases that only you and your favorite novelist knows. Stuff like that.

Then, you’ve got to have something to say, right? Some interesting shit that can hold the reader’s attention. You’ve got to do that right up front in the first graph, then build the middle, then wrap it up in a bow with a catchy ending, a surprise ending, an interrogatory ending, a moral to the story ending, a wouldn’t ya know it ending, a there ya have it ending, some kinda bullshit ending, or whatever, but for certain, you’ve eventually got to end it.

Same way with every graph. Every graph is supposed to contain a kernel, a colonel, a bit of the story, the gory details, the questions, the elaboration, the continuation of the philosophical premise, the accumulation of bullshit, the furtherance of the argument, the cause, with a stamp at the end.

And then, or maybe before then, you’ve got to come up with a title*, like this one**, came to me just now, way down here in the 4th graph. So what? Who cares? You can come up with a title any damn time.

You can start with one. You can toss one out and come up with another, and you can mull it over when you’ve completed the work, wondering, ‘Now, what am I going to call this shit?’ Sometimes it has something to do with the content, but sez who? Sometimes not.

You can call it anything you like, it’s UP2U! And that’s why I encourage you to continue to write.

and proofread your work.

Wait a minute. Did I say, ‘Anchorage?’ no. that’s not right. Lemme check. Where the f…



*The absolute MOST fun of writing, isn’t it? I hope it is for you, too!

**You could carry this one on out ad infini…to the stars.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

No More Detainees


Oh, by the way; can we start calling them 'Prisoners of War' again, and drop all this 'Enemy Combatant' and 'Detainee' shit?



Sunday, February 22, 2009

You Should Have Been There

You Should Have Been There*

LOS ANGELES - I have no idea of how much the final tab is going to be, somewhere in the neighborhood of $4,700, maybe over 5,000 bucks. I had to rent the tuxedo and the limo and chauffeur, and have the right kind of shoes, haircut, and of course, there was the coach-class round-trip air fare, hotel bill, my plant and Darla’s fees,** but after that, the costs dropped dramatically.

Probably the most difficult part was finding the appropriate most beautiful white woman in her thirties to accompany me to the presentations. After I convinced her how much fun it was going to be, and that I was picking up her expenses and taking her to dinner, she overlooked the fact that she didn’t know me, and thirty years separated our ages,*** and said yes, ‘on conditions.’

Well, it’s not like getting married. “I not asking you to marry me, for Christ’s sake,” I told her. “I’m your escort.

"C’mon, Darla. It’ll be fun," I told her. "I’ll get you copies of the footage. You won’t get closer. What were you planning, watching it on tv? And why do you need a massage?”

“It’s Carla,” she said, agreeing to go if only we could continue throughout the evening, to dinner, and then later at a nightclub, her conditions, ‘since we already had the clothes and the limo and everything.’

“The important thing is the act,” I told her. “Don’t look at anybody directly. Look above their heads, past them, smile broadly, and wave occasionally left, and then to the right.

“Don’t point,” I told her. “I’ll do that. Just wave and keep moving. Remember to keep moving. Absolutely don’t do any interviews. Act incredibly important, like, above everybody, like they’re all your fans, like you’re one of the nominees, and everyone there is waiting to see YOU. They’re there for YOU. Suck it all in.”

“I think I can get my lips around that,” she said. “Do you have the tickets?”

“We don’t need no tickets when you’re acting as important as us,” I told her. “You don’t see no Big Names handing anybody no tickets. If they stop us at the door, it won’t matter. We will have already walked the carpet, tread the red rug. We’ll play it by ear from there.”

“If you have to moisten your smile, your teeth, remember to do so with your mouth closed, I told her. “I’ve seen women caught on tape doing that, and it looks bad. You don’t want to look bad. You want to look like a pro, like you’ve done it all before. And please go easy on the makeup.”

Darla convinced me she could do it. “I AM a pro,” she said. "I know what I'm doing."

Everything went pretty much as expected, except for the over-and-above expenses for the limo and driver, and the over-and-above mascara. Arriving early, we got out there, with a HUGE fucking press crowd all around, pressing the velvet ropes, guys opening the doors for us, Darla exposing a long leg and eyebrow-raising cleavage upon exiting the limo, my plant yelling out, ‘THERE THEY ARE!’, flashes going off all over the place, microphones thrust into our faces, reporters asking questions.

We waved them off and proceeded down the carpet. Keep moving, just like a Presidential receiving line.

Up close to the entrance, a reporter, not the guy I hired, managed to stop Darla, asking, since he didn’t know who the fuck she was, “Y…you look absolutely ravishing. Who…what…what are you expecting tonight?”

“Dinner at my favorite dinner club, and then dancing and champagne, maybe get laid,” she replied, flashing a big smile and looking past him into the crowd of admirers, waving a cute little wave with just her fingers.

The correspondent, clearly momentarily stunned, stammered, then spit out, “I mean, your chances?”

“Best actress in a lark,” she said with an arm-waving flourish and broad, recently, like that afternoon, teeth-whitened smile as I tugged gently on her arm and led her away.

We never got in, directly, being turned down a separate walkway at the entrance and led off to the side where an embarrassed underling with a checklist asked for credentials, which of course, I couldn’t produce, but acted offended and arrogant,****livid, and upon the verge of creating a public stir, until he finally acquiesced and escorted us to the ballroom.

We eventually got shitty seats, but that didn’t matter either. What mattered was the clock ticking on that limo rental.

After leaving the awards and crashing some banquets and parties where I was ignored and everyone fixed on Darla, we skipped dinner because neither of us was hungry, and kept drinking champagne till Darla threw up on her way to a ladies’ room, then had to be dragged out, passed out in the back of the limo, and then finally got deposited back at her apartment at about 3:30 a.m. Overall, I would have given her an Oscar for her performance.

She mumbled some unintelligible shit as she stumbled into her place with the stolen flowers and souvenirs we’d picked up. She had managed to give her phone number to a few lucrative prospects before becoming totally incoherent, so for her, it turned out to be a far better night than working the street.

As for me, I still need to get a look at the footage my man got. He said he got some pretty good shit, documentary quality. You probably never saw us on the air, since I’m sure we got edited out of everyone’s shows, although all their cameras were rolling.

But what made it all worth the money, besides seeing Darla all spiffy like that, was playing the part of a reluctantly smiling, slightly stiff, coked-up studio exec behind sunglasses with a glitzy date, and hearing all those local on-location field producers and reporters asking one another as we passed, “Who’s that? Who’s that? Whoooo the fuck is that?”


*You might be thinking, ‘How can this be? They (the Academy Awards) haven’t even happened yet!” You’re right, but you’re forgetting I’m a day ahead, over here.

**Gown and jewelry rental, hairdresser, nails, pedicure, facial, teeth whitening, tanning booth,***** oil/aroma massage, and going hourly street fare rate for six hours.

***thirty, forty, fifty years difference don’t mean shit in Hollywood.

****In a tuxedo, you’re going to look great. You could be anybody.

*****She looked some kinda pale from only going out at night.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

'Eye In Sky' Bird To Lose Orbit, Maybe Wreak Havoc


WASHINGTON - NASA space officials disclosed today that a ‘very, very large’ spy satellite has lost power and propulsion, and sometime in late February or March will impact the earth. The satellite could contain hazardous materials, according to a NASA spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, with respect to the sensitive nature of the satellite’s mission.

The announcement comes just on the heels of another space misadventure, when a US satellite collided with a Russian satellite over Siberia. Although confirmed by both governments, neither would comment further on the matter.

Reporters asked, “What do you mean, ‘could’ contain hazardous materials?”

“It either does or it doesn’t,” the spokesman said. “Therefore, it could.”

Reporters pressed for answers. “Does what? Impact the earth, or contain hazardous materials?”

“It’s going to impact the earth," he said. "That much is certain. Hard and fast and out of control. And we know you are writers. That much is certain.”

Gordon Johndroe of the National Security Council said, “Numerous satellites have fallen harmlessly out of orbit. We are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite will cause.”

The official said the satellite could harmlessly splash down into the Pacific, like the last time, or crash into someone’s house in Fenton, Iowa, a chance in 200 million, he said. “You’d have better odds at hitting the lottery, or going down in an airliner,” he laughed.

Tom Mackelry, of western Australia, wasn’t laughing. A large portion of the former Skylab, which was expected to fall into the remote Indian Ocean, rained down upon his house in July of 1979, six years after its launch, destroying the home.

“If I hadn’t gone for dog food, I’d have been a goner, too,” said Mackelry, sitting poolside in his large mansion in suburbia Queensland as an outcome of a negotiated government settlement. “My pets and wife wasn’t so lucky.”

In a worst-case scenario, the official said the satellite had ‘a very, very, very, very low probability’ of striking a city like Dallas. But if it did, without revealing the nature of the onboard contents of the satellite, he said the "entire city would in all likelihood require evacuation. People would need to mobilize on extremely short notice."

“These kinds of events are always iffy,” he added. “It could be a simple splash down, or a complete unprecedented disaster. We’re hoping for the western Pacific, or one of the Pacific rim nations, but it’s never a sure bet. A pissant's puff in space equates to 10,000 miles on earth.

“Even our best brains are in an office pool, ten bucks a pin, picking out points on the map,” he said. “One guy even picked a Home Depot in Des Moines. Said he saw it in a dream. Most think if we miss, we'll hit somewhere in China or the North American continent.”

When pressed for additional details, the official said, “Well, whoever is the closest wins the whole pot.”

The U.S., Russia, India, France, England, Germany, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, Qatar and Yemen currently have zillions of satellites in earth orbit. Even the tiny Asian country of Laos is getting in the game with its first satellite launch, scheduled for later this year by state-owned Lao Telecom.

'Now we wir hab our own saterrites with this raunch,' said a recent official release from the LPDR’s government news agency.

In Mexico City, the Deputy Foreign Minister said of the planned late-March Lao launch, “If they can pull it off, I think we can, too. I believe we can get in the game, my friend. How much does it cost?”

NASA was reluctant to say exactly how big the satellite was. "Let's just say it's big," the spokesman said. "Bigger than a breadbox."

"But smaller than what?" asked reporters.

"Smaller than the Houston Astrodome," said the offical. "Smaller than Fenway Park."

Reporters asked how much advance notice people will have. The spokesman said, "From now until re-entry, it's ten dollars. After that, the price goes up to twenty. We shut down bets ten minutes to splashdown. Like I said, it's coming in hard and fast."

When asked how big the event could possibly be in a worst-case scenario, the NASA official said, “There's no telling the potential at this point. We'll know more in a couple of weeks. Right now, we're already up to twelve hundred dollars.”


Monday, February 09, 2009

Deep In The Jungle

Deep In The Jungle

Luang Prabang, Laos, - You could say, ‘deep in the jungle,’ but that’s a relative term, because around here, and by ‘here,’ I mean everything within a thousand miles, everything is deep in the jungle. Actually, I’m across the river from the city, not at ‘the village’, but downstream about five kilometers where I had the boatman drop me off after haggling over two dollars for too long.

And besides, I always wanted to use that phrase, and in this case, in a title. Cool, huh? ‘Deeeep in the jungle.’

“This is as good a place as any,” I thought, settling in with the laptop on a good sitting spot in the shade. You might be wondering, ‘Howzat nigga gettin’ a wifi signal from deep in the jungle?’ and I use the term, ‘nigga,’ generically, because like our new president, everybody knows his momma was white…been all through that, but look at things…everybody is calling him a ni…naa…an outright nation’s very first ‘African-American President.’

Then when a full-blood comes along, they’ll say, ‘The Very First REAL African-American President,’ and thereafter call all the white guys the 44th, 45th, whatever number, ‘Real White Presidents.’

Haven’t said too much about…up to now…about race and politics in general since back during Bush’s first-term, post-911 fear frenzy and I pissed off Doc House and maybe some other people with a cartoonish sketch of Cheney and Bush in the oval office, with Cheney sending Bush out for coffee and doughnuts…but the imagined dialogue surfaced later as reality, and my sentiments on the war got vented. A Saturday Night Live kind of a thing. A joke. Doc took it personally, back when a person was either for us or against us, a patriot or not.

Except for, back when everybody thought Hillary was a shoe-in, and I wrote that ‘nigga UP in the White House’…now, ‘The CEC’, The Chief Executive Crib…essay, picking on the rednecks in S. Carolina and the senate. Everybody else, Kenya, France, Germany, all over the world…jubilant. Turned out to be. And what can be more exciting than hope?

In any case, I haven’t heard from Doc, since. And so, for the most part, I’ve just been trying to make you laugh, sticking with the social observation and wannabe humorist, which, after a career of serious formulaic journalistic and academic writing, is the most liberating and fun and challenging writing there is, to have you have a belly laugh when you're all alone, or have you say to whoever is in your house, “HA. Listen to this…”

Who cares about incomplete or run-on sentences? Isn’t that the way thoughts work?
Run-on? Incomplete? Where was I?

I mean, I can't tell you how long it's been since I had a complete thought. It's more like, one. One continuous, long-ass thought.

except when it's turned off.


What do they call it?...permutations?...generations?...if you send my stuff to six people, asking them to send it on to six, and so on…I think I can have everyone in the world on my bloglist after six permutations. You’ve seen that Microsoft pay-out (‘my friend is a lawyer, and she says it’s for real……got a check for $2,430…’) float through several generations that everybody in the world has seen at least three or four times, so let’s give it a try. Why the fuck not?


I’ll keep track. Have them contact me by email for ‘add to send list.’ Thanks.


Where’s all this dirt coming from? Everything up here…the jungle, the houses, the streets, the people, their clothes…everything looks like it could use a good wash off. A wash down. A downpour. Even the air is dry and dirty, with fine, grainy particulate matter settling in on the computer screen, my skin, everything.


Shrink asked me a few years back, when I told him I had returned to SE Asia several times, “You ever go back to Vietnam?” He looked at me funny, a sort of sideways glance, blink, glance at the floor, look back up with direct gaze, when I told him no.


Yeah, black people claim him, all of Africa claims him, the whole, whole world except for the congressional republicans, y’know, claim him as their own. Mix-blood (we don’t say ‘mixed’) people historically bring people together, ‘sitting on the fence’ my sister Wasonna used to say, and not being claimed wholly by ANY race,* on a basketball court, pow-wow circuit, or fraternity, until you’ve done something special that can make them all proud. What race? The human race.

Yes! He’s one of us.

And for the bros trying to shuck and jive, dribble, carry the ball into the end zone, or educate and legislate ourselves into social respectability in the dominant society, we are driven by an ultra…‘fit in’ drive…to always be successful by pursuing a middle path, often playing a roll in bringing others together. It’s in they blood.

Failure isn’t acceptable or expected. Rejection can be devastating. ‘Oh, don’t take it personally, but could you just, uh…leave?’ Well, nobody likes rejection; on the playground, on a date, sales rep, job app, promotion, jump shot, fellowship, grad school, bank loan, parole board, Nobel Prize, Person of the year.

‘You should have won Oscar.’

*'You see what I'm tryin' to say, my bruthas and sistas? You need to keep with your own kiiiind.' - the last line in my, 'The Honorable Rev. Lewis Farrakhan' comedy sketch.**

**What the hell. You'll probably never see me do this on stage, or the HBO special, so:

Farrakhan is delivering his message to his followers, with the sing-song way he does, rising up on his toes and flapping his arms like a chicken.

"Brother and Sisters, you need to take a drive in the COUNTRY! You need to take a look AROOOUUUUNNNND.

"You don't see the...horses...messin' around with the COWWWZ.

"You don't see the...chickens...layin' up with the DUCKS.

"You don't see the billy goat...tryin' to mount a...a...a HOGGG..."

Big black brother standing behind with sunglasses and a hat from Morocco, with his arms folded across his chest, interrupts and says in a deep baritone voice, "Oh yes you do!"

Farrakhan is surprised, stopped in his delivery, turns and says, "Whuzzat?"

Man repeats, "Oh yes you do."

Farrakhan turns back to the congregation and says, "Never mind what I said about the billy goat. You see what I'm trying to say, my bruthas and sistas? You need to keep with your own kiiind."


Wham Bam From Monk, Man

One of the old monks was walking by, smoking a cigarette. I’d seen that guy before, and jumped up, fell in behind him, caught up, walked alongside, and slipped him a pack of smokes. A hand slid out from under the robe and took the cigs, then he motioned for me to follow him back to his digs at Wat Hosien, just across the street.

Once there, he ‘tied me up’ with a prayer and a couple of those cloth bracelets that say, ‘I’ve been to the temple’, or ‘I’ve been to some kinda ceremony’, and then he jumped up and gave me an amulet.

And then he asked for 190,000 kip, writing the figure out on a notepad. For paint, he said, pointing to the bucket.

Well…the whole deal was kind of overwhelming, because for one, I was really uncomfortable on that mat, like, my knees were killing me, and two, I forget what two was, but I didn’t ask for a mantra or blessing or anything…and then he hit me with the kip request. It’s like, wham, bam. From the monk bro, bro.

“I…I…can give you half?” I told him, then about five steps away from his quarters after saying goodbye, I thought, ‘What the fuck. It’s for the temple,’ and returned and gave his aide or whatever, another 50,000. The guys goes, like, ‘For me?’ standing in the doorway, motioning to his chest, the old man standing in the background.

I threw up my hands and shook them, saying, “Up to you.”

Sounds like a lot, but it’s twenty-five bucks. Land of a million elephants. Land of 20 million millionaires. Everyone is a millionaire.


Keeping It Simple

In a walk through the video store, all of human activity, discounting children’s cartoons, is reduced to four arenas; comedy, suspense-filled action, drama, and horror.

Is that all there is? Laughs, suspense, drama, and horror?


It Must Be Me

“Weren’t you in the movies?” asked the Thai man at the airport, a stranger I’d never seen before in my life.

“Yeah,” I replied, whipping out a pen like I was accustomed to signing a million autographs. As he quickly produced a scrap of paper, I asked, “Who do you want this made out to?”

"Make to Ba Tinh," he blurted.

"How do you spell that?"

The scrawling was illegible, and I wondered what he would tell people whose autograph he got as he thanked me effusively, walking away, looking at the signature, beaming.


After consideration, I think I could pull off this ruse with three or four friends, all rushing up for an autograh in an excited huddle. Why? For all the 'Hoozat?' expressions on everybody walking by, is why. An airport is the perfect place.

I know a lot of you would be up for it as long as you got your turn in the spotlight.
Well, let me tell you, being a celebrity isn't what it's cracked up to be.* You wouldn't like it, day in, day out.

Can't eat in public without being hassled by some jerk wanting an autograph; can't go to the beach without assholes and their cameras; can't do jack shit without everbody and their cell phones in your face for their U Tube publication. It's like living in a fucking cage.

*'Don't you know who I USED to be?'


Deep In The Jungle

Back away from the river, deeper into the bush, where the dwellings were few and far between, and not a tourist in sight, I found an abandoned temple, overgrown with vines and jungle, quiet as a thought or an ant walking down a banana tree leaf.

Somebody, like the monks who stayed there a hundred years ago in tiny quarters, had been buried there, it looked like, with stacked brick and stone markers indicating where their bones, or ashes rested.

Inside a small open-air communal building, four of six square interior columns bore carved reliefs in stone, looking not anything like Khmer or Thai, but like Burmese influence. One of them looked like a man with long arms, thick lips, big belly and big ears, with his hair tied up in a knot atop his head. Over him was an eye.

On the column across from him was another figure, a skeleton with a concave abdominal cavity, scooped out like a bowl. He too, had that all-seeing eye over him, same same dollar bill.

On an adjacent column was a Buddha-like figure in a meditative pose with the hands folded in his lap. It had a serene expression and had a symbol over its head, like an idea, a sort of duplicate question mark without the dot.

Across from it was another figure, this one looking like a merchant with beads and belongings in a sack slung over his shoulder. He had a long neck, was dressed like a Turk or Myanmar, and had the same symbol over his head as the meditating figure, except backwards, like a mirror image of the other one.

I stood looking at the four figures, trying to comprehend their meaning. ‘This must be a hermitage or burial place,’ I thought, not sure, and put out a tobacco offering beneath the Buddha figure. ‘I think I like this one,’ I said to myself, out of the four representations; you had the skeleton, the meditating figure, the Turkish merchant, or maybe wandering monk…I’ve seen that guy around before…and I didn’t quite know what to make of the big lip African-looking guy.

As perplexing as the four figures were, someone had drawn two other figures on two of the columns with black paint that had been partially erased by time and weather. One appeared to be a British officer smoking a pipe with an idea or something over his head. That same symbol. The other drawing was very disturbing, startling, a picture of me, and seemed beyond coincidence, just for me to see.

Just then, I heard a rustling in the underbrush and turned to see a wild water buffalo leap across a drainage ditch. He looked up at me in surprise, stared a few seconds, then lumbered off further into the jungle.

He was followed by a cow. She stopped short of the ditch, freezing in her tracks and staring at me in amazement, like, ‘who the…what the…what are YOU doing here?’ look on her face. After staring at me in fixed, stupid, wide-eyed wonder for a good thirty seconds, she bolted across the drainage ditch and hurried into the jungle after her mate.

After taking my medicine, times three, I was suddenly overcome by an extreme drowsiness, unable to write or think, hardly. The tile floor of the place was filthy, but I needed to lay down, right away, and just take a breather, y’know, so I stretched out on the floor, thinking about those four figures.

‘This could be a good place to die,’ I thought, thinking about how I would eventually be discovered by someone, because the road wasn’t too far away, and it looked as if people occasionally came there on a worn footpath to drink in the solitude of that quiet place. I could feel my heart and respiration slowing down, and my head swooning, swimming, drifting into a warm, dark, and dreamy place.

How appropriate that place, how uncannily drawn to that spot. Was that the purpose of my travel, to arrive there?

‘Found in a remote jungle in northern Laos.’ If I failed to awaken, everybody would understand. I had out-lived all my genetic uncles. The kids were getting on with their lives. There were no outstanding debts, and I owned little. Everything was tidy and swept and uncomplicated. The last few essays would eventually be lifted from the computer. For the kids, there could be a book in the works, maybe a major motion picture. The packages were in the mail. My passport and identification were right there in the shoulder bag. I was alone, except for the pleasantly chirping birds. Nobody knew me here.


Well, obviously that didn’t happen. I awoke and walked upriver to the dock, and got passage back to Luang Prabang. Maybe next time. Maybe next time, take a friend.


Court Attitude

We Can Try

Luang Prabang, Laos – I said to one of the staff today, “I leave in a few days. Tonight, we drink Beer Lao,” to which he responded, “We can try.”


More Top Eight Favorite Moves

By now, you’re probably wondering, ‘Ok, then. What’s your sixth favoritest move?’

That would be on defense, 1977, South side Chicago, 173rd and Martin Luther King Drive, four-on-four. Nigga name Jeri-Curl Earl and Iceman Ike coming down the court on a two-on-one fast break, and I’m back peddling on defense, stopping in the paint.

Earl give up the rock to Iceman above the top of the key and Iceman puts it on the ground then fakes the give back to Earl and goes on up for the slam.

I know the nigga is selfish, and ain’t no way in hell he’s gonna give it back to Jeri- Curl, especially with them hos watching, and him wearing brand new Adidas low-top kicks, so I act like I’m going for his fake, with my OWN DAMN head fake, and with perfect timing and anticipation, go right on up with the nigga, slappin’ his shit into the bleachers right out of his hand as he was pulling the trigger for the slam.

Having been taken totally off balance and out of rhythm, he landed on his back underneath the basket, and I said, “DON’T BE BRINGIN’ NO BULLSHIT IN HERE!” as he was laying there trying to catch his breath, to the delight and amazement of everybody there, hooting and slapping high fives, who didn’t expect me to cuff the Iceman’s shit.

(this could end right here, but of course, there's always more to the story. You wanted in-depth, didn't you?

I was runnin' with three brothers, Flash, Face, and Circus Shot, but over there, it sounded like, 'Sirca sha'. We went up against Iceman, Jeri-Curl, Evander 'Ev' Dooley, and another brother named, 'Lateshow', but it was really 'Lake Shore', a nickname. Don't ask me how he got it. I didn't know the last names, either, except Ellis and Dooley.

Iceman, Jeri-Curl, Ev, and Lateshow had held the court for over an hour when my game come up, and I had already got my team together, with Circus Shot being our only weak link. There was a reason he had that name. Face was incredible from the outside, and Flash could score at will against anybody out there, so I figured we could take those guys, and we did.

I must say, however, during that game, in which, with that rejection in the above story of the Iceman's shit, I was redeeming myself from an earlier play down low in the paint when Lateshow pulled an offensive board and put it on the ground on the baseline, then with his back to me, gave a head fake like, one dribble and he's going right back up with a turn-around jumper, except he put it back down and went on out to the three point line, turned and cashed it.

I wasn't even in the play, defensively. When he gave that little head fake down on the baseline, it lifted me out of my shoes. I was all up in my chest, hyperventilating and thinking I was going to stuff his shit, anticipating him going right back up, but he didn't. That was one of the best fakeouts I've ever seen on the court, and he wasn't even looking at me. He KNEW I was there).


The fifth? That was a series of fakes, on offense from the top of the key. The guy was over-aggressive, guarding me too fucking close, so I raised the ball high over my head and faked a strong two-handed overhead pass, directly over his head, then quickly pulled it back and hid the ball behind my back with one hand.

The guy spun around, looking for the ball, snapping his head left and right like some kind of wind-up jack-in-box clown, then spun back around when he saw everybody, now laughing, looking at him. When he spun back around to me, I pointed a finger, like, ‘there it is’, and gave an eyeball fake like a shot was going up from the corner, my eyes following the imaginary arc of the ball.

He spun back around again, with his back to me, looking all around in the air for the shot, and that’s when I brought the shit from behind my back and went around him on the left, down the lane, and laid it in, saying, “Chump Change!”, as I took it up, everybody laughing too hard for help-out ‘D’. 1983, Thursday night student/faculty pick-up game, against Dr. Zee, chair of the Psychology department.

He shouldn’t have been guarding me. It was a mis-match from the beginning, but he thought he could shut me down, insisting on guarding me, despite the skepticism of his teammates, a decision he came to woefully regret, his ego greater than his skill.

Word of the game, and the move, of course, quickly circulated among the faculty, grad students in the department, and soon across the entire campus, and thereafter, behind his back of course, was no longer referred to as ‘Dr. Zee’, but, yes, you guessed it, as, ‘Chump Change.’


In the aircraft, a guy from deeper in the plane pushed past me in a hurry as I reached into the overhead compartment. He stopped about six rows ahead, jammed by everybody else in the aisle waiting to de-plane.

He was at baggage claim, waiting along with everyone else, and I thought about how ugly and foolish impatience is, and how sometimes I get that way.