Ginobili vs. Dracula, Chapter 1

It all began on Halloween night. The Spurs hosted the Kings at the SBC Center when an errant bat flew from the rafters, interrupting the game. The Kings coach ineffectually swatted at it with his clipboard. Rugged Spurs rookie DuJuan Blair shrieked as it approached the Spurs' bench. The vetern players and crowd of 10,000 watched as the hapless bat flew past Manu Ginobili. As if he were rising up to block Dirk Nowitzki, Manu reached up and snatched the bat out of the air, rendering it unconscious with his swift attack. The entire arena chanted his name as the dazed bat was taken back to the locker room. At Coach Popovitch's nod, Spurs trainer Will Sevening rushed to administer sanitizer to Ginobili's hands. The Spurs went on to crush the Kings 113-94 behind Tony Parker's 24 points and 7 assists, but all anyone could talk about was Ginobili and the bat.

After the game Ginobili nonchalantly said the bat is nothing more than a "mouse with wings". Coach Pop confirmed, "The legend of Ginobili grows". But there are older legends.

Four thousand miles away, a clawed hand flung a remote across a dark chamber in rage.

"A mouse with wings! The legend of Ginobili! -- ha. He is nothing to me but a nuisance and this insult will not go unanswered."

A black cape shrouded the large plasma screen tv. The blare of the Sports Center prattled on. As the flat screen's master left his santum, his firm steps echoed unheard from the walls of the forgotten crypt. Unconcerned with the electric bill, a princely mind focused on one thought only: revenge.

Forgotten in the dark of the abandoned the locker room, the tiny bat resumed consciousness. There were no emptied champagne bottles or any signs of the celebration despite Spurs resounding victory. This was but the third game of the season and the Spurs would only celebrate once the Larry O'Brian trophy was theirs once more. If the WOAI Spurs Round-out Junior intern had only dwadled an instant more after unsuccessfully attempting to interview bench player Malik Hairston, he would have spied a strange glowing mist envelop the massage table. From this mist he would have seen the beguiling leg of an alabaster beauty emerge. In a black cashmere dress, clad in knee length leather boots, and her long dark tresses flowing behind her, the strange beauty floated into the hall. Only the trained eye of an experienced beat reporter would have noticed her limp left arm, dangling like a broken wing. The mechanical eye of the seurity cameras saw nothing.

Only one human heart still thumped in the empty arena. Beno Udrih sat on the visitors bench, face in his hands. "George Hill! Tony Parker! -- hummph! Their glory should have been mine. I should be point guard for the Spurs, not these pretenders." Beno's pride was defiant to the most obvious truth: one whose defenses were week could not long play for the noble Spurs. Inattentive, he could only remember the heat of Pop's umbrage; he never heard the wisdom of his words. So Beno sat, a bench-warmer traded to the worst team in the league. Then he noticed he was not alone after all. A groupie! Or perhaps one of the Silver Dancers? "She cannot resist my Euro charms," he thought, as the bewitching beauty approached.

Only if Beno listened, not just to Pop, but to the wisdom of his Slovenian grandmother who repeatedly warned her vain child about the intentions of certain ladies of the night. If only he listened to his friend Rasho, a dull but steady man, who was careful to always be in by midnight and never partook in the decadent pleasures all too available to even the most mediocre NBA players.

Not a living soul remained in the cavernous arena to hear Beno's fading scream.

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