The two who dared look, two young women sitting at the bar of The Dutch, could not look away.
Those who dared look up saw a man, six foot six, close cropped hair and beard: Black Armani slacks, crocodile loafers, black silk shirt and fitted black blazer with a flash of red in the lining. On his arm, a sylph in gauze. A waiter respectfully unscrewed a lightbulb over the booth in the back of the restaurant and they sat. He slouching as if owned the place, or at least all the people in it. She, as if proud to be well regarded chattel, Those who couldn't look shivered from a draft that seemed to come inside their marrow. How could they feel so cold on a Miami night?
The man, if you could call him that, gestured as if to snap his fingers. The waitstaff as invisible as obsequious can be, rushed a black ipad to the back table.
A clawed finger replayed the clip again and again: Spurs guard Manu Ginobili slapped down hard with his left hand in an attempt to strip the ball from Anthony Tolliver’s grasp as the Timberwolves forward turned to launch a shot from just inside the 3-point line.
That hand. That left hand quick enough to slap down a bat. Broken! At last the insult will be repaid. Basketball players age—the dark lord does not.
The two women who dared look rose from their seats and floated, heads tilted and necks barred, to the back booth, where their lord awaited his supper.
* * * * *
"In this kind of situation, you can’t predict it," said Tony Parker, Ginobili’s backcourt running mate. The now stately Tim Duncan stared at the tote-bag Manu's abulita gave him, embroidered with "Veintiuno".
Tony continued, "You go for a steal, and it happens, but Manu goes for a steal so many times, I almost want to say it can’t ever happen to him.
"Why now? That’s an answer for the basketball gods." Slipping into his native French he tried he tried his own answer, "Trop Vieux?"