Previous entry available here
A quick note
I've decided that this unofficial game preview will be the last one of the 2013-2014 season for the following three reasons:
- Writing about the same opponent for up to seven games in a row sounds much less fun than writing about a new one every night.
- I could really use the extra free time that I usually devote to these.
- I would like to enjoy this year's playoffs without having to worry about deadlines.
I want to thank all of you, especially the loyal few who checked in every week, for letting me post this silly junk on your website. I honestly did not expect that these would be tolerated for very long, so your support and engagement has been a delightful surprise. I've been a Spurs fan for over a decade now, and, like many of you, I've come to regard this group of professional athletes and coaches with an almost inappropriate amount of love and trust. In the space of just a year or two, I've also come to feel the same way about this online fan community. Y'all are great.
I intend to keep writing stuff for the site during the playoffs and beyond, but I just wanted to give you a heads-up that this series of posts is concluding for now. Again, it's been a really great experience for me to write and publish all of these, and I hope that some of you - let's arbitrarily say, uh, nine of you - had a good time. If not even nine of you liked it, then it was a complete waste of server space.
Skip strained to pull the oars through the choppy black water. Her teeth were chattering between ragged breaths, and she had no idea what direction she was headed in. She just kept rowing.
She'd had nothing but bread and water for days, leaving her arms weak and shaky. The stiff breeze coming over the water tossed her hair about and chilled the sweat droplets on her forehead, but she didn't bother to mop her brow. She pressed on.
Flashes of the past few days danced through her fevered brain. A gunship on the horizon, gaining on her and Edgar in their little rowboat. A hulking freak of a man covered in fur pelts, growling at Edgar.
You gonna die for her, buddy?
Edgar hesitating, then stepping aside as the men lunged for her. Then, darkness. She'd been shut away below deck for what seemed like days. Occasionally, a board would creak or a few rays of light would flicker into view around the edges of the doorframe. Mostly, though, it was utter isolation.
Had they planned to kill her? Sell her? They'd given her no hints, just bread and water at irregular intervals.
And then there was Edgar.
Tears welled in her eyes as she remembered how he'd given her up. Just like that. Part of her knew that he'd had no choice, but that didn't make it any easier. While she'd been dragged away, screaming and pleading, Edgar had simply stared into the water, lost in a private moment of ... of what? Grief? Relief?
She dwelled on that moment, turning it over in her mind, just as she had done for most of the previous few days. She was finally snapped from her reverie by the sound of oars breaking the surface nearby.
"Skip?" a voice whispered.
She turned to see another lifeboat approaching from her right. Edgar's face was lit by the glow of a lantern in his lap.
"Skip, I ..." He trailed off, seemingly unable to vocalize his thoughts.
"Hi, Edgar," she said. She allowed herself to stop rowing as he approached. He'd be able to overtake her within seconds, anyway.
"I'm sorry, Skip," he said. He looked indecisive, as if he wasn't sure what to be sorry for.
"I understand why you did it," she said. "Did they imprison you, too?"
Edgar met her with sad eyes, then shook his head.
"Well, did they let you go free?"
He shrugged. "They said I could go, but" - he averted his eyes - "I didn't."
She thought about it for a second, then slumped in her seat. "Oh, god, Edgar."
"You joined them?"
"You left me down there in the darkness, alone, while you were hanging out above deck with those animals?"
"They said ... well, they said that I had two options. I could take off on my own, right, with nothing of value in my possession and no one to look out for me, or I could join up and earn my keep. Plus ..."
"You could split the proceeds from my sale."
"Are you going to bring me back there now?"
"Skip, they're following me. Did you stab Ralph when you escaped? He's dead. They said I'd be dead, too, if I didn't find you."
"And if you do find me, I'll be dead."
They sat in silence for a long moment.
"Come with me, Edgar. Let's make a run for it." The words sounded silly to Skip even as they left her lips.
He gave a sad smile. "I told you. They want at least one of us. If I suddenly disappear, they won't stop until we're both dead."
Skip looked past Edgar, out to the horizon, and thought she could make out a dim flicker above the waves. She shuddered.
"I'm not going with you," she said.
"I know." Edgar took a deep breath, then reached for his oars. "So long, Skip."
She didn't know what to feel toward the man. She was despondent, enraged, suspicious. Above all else, though, she was exhausted.
"So long, Edgar," she replied. She sat up in her seat and gripped the handles, then lifted the paddles out of the water. "And thanks."
The lantern's glow steadily receded until it became a distant twinkle bobbing on the water's surface, and then, at last, went out.