Ginobili vs. Dracula, Chapter 35

In which we linger at the moment before the instant it all changes.

"I got a Wheaties box!!!!


Ron Artest did a fancy twirl with his black top hat. The affixed purple and yellow feathers fluttered like demented parrots.  Ron Ron let loose another holler.


A few shades, habitually mimicking the memory of press credentials, shuffled in the back of the conference room. The rest had long since floated street side looking for a better story.

"Come on, man, the CHAMPIONSHIP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Ron-Ron had not removed his yellow home jersey since the Game 7 tip off, three days ago. He felt great though. His 40 minute nap around 4:30 am -- ten minutes after Adam Morrison handed him that funny cigar -- gave him just the break he needed to rock this press conference.


The living dead gaped. Some checked their mobile devices.

At this moment, it occurred to Ron that something was not right in Los Angeles.

It felt like the Palace -- like that moment before the instant it all changes. Ron still felt guilt when he saw his old Indiana teammates: Steve Jackson, Jamal Tinsley, and Jermaine O'Neal. He remembered Larry Bird. Larry believed in him and he let him down. Not again. That's not what you do when you are from Queensbridge.

Ron leaned to the mic once more. This time he spoke steadily, careful to articulate, "I want to be good at those moments that count."


* * * *

The living population of Los Angeles numbers around 9.5 million. The sixty to seventy thousand faithful gathered for the Lakers victory parade could not be counted amoung them. 

Most ambled passive, disinterested in the Lakers players. Some of the men clawed through trash cans for stray bugs. The women all wore gauzy stuff and seemed to float about on wings of feathered hair. But when Dracula's float approached they thronged and undulated in a chaotic unison.

Dracula's float resembled a fin de siècle parlor but upholstered with roses -- the young yellows of fresh blooms entwined with the deep purples of nearly wilted reds arranged in arabesques trimming the sides. A favorite bride napped on a divan of soft leaves snuggled in blanket of woven orchids. Thick brown hair cascaded about her pale shoulders. Another auburn bride, barely covered by negligee thinner than a slip of moonlight, lay on her stomach on a rug of zebra skin, considering her move in an ongoing game of Go with her master. 

When living, the Count's refined taste softened his brutal lust. Even in death the Dark Prince preferred brunettes.

Along the parade route, black fires kindled by the remains of looted storefronts sucked the light from moon and stars. The pitch night droned with 8 million weary screams, timbres of terror, shame and ecstasy overtoned.

With a quick swipe of the claw over the iPhone 6G, Dracula Twittered:

@ Parade. LA sucked! LOL

What doubts still chaffed the Dark Prince like the bit of truth lodged in a rumor? He knew the sun would rise from the east ...

Whatever. Carpe Noxtem. He texted Ron Artest:

Punch yourself in the face.


* * * * *

Twenty miles from the outskirts of LA proper a man in a powder blue jersey affixed with a yellow sun dribbled a basketball down IH-10, as if he were jogging into a half-court set.

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