The Distance Between the Spurs and Lakers: A Race for the Number One Seed
The following fiction was inspired by what appeared to be the inevitable eclipsing of San Antonio by the Los Angeles Lakers. The Spurs’ insurmountable lead in the standings had dwindled to almost nothing, but then their three game winning streak, coupled with the Lakers’ losing streak of the same number, occurred, relieving some of the drama between the two franchises’ remaining regular season collision. Now the battle between these two teams may have to wait for the spotlight of the postseason. Also, if you like the style of this piece, then check out the ebook EVERYTHING THAT DUNKS MUST CONVERGE: ACT ONE that was just released by Deckfight Press yesterday.
Manu Ginobili waited impatiently at the red light, surrounded by other impatient drivers, burned out on work and burned out on life. It had been a long day for the adventure capitalist, testing parachutes and flame retardant suits–he never sold something he hadn’t personally tested–and that was before he got the message on his iPhone: his Pop was dying. And now he was racing against daylight, rushing to get home before the man, whose stern paradigms he had flailed so wildly against as a youth he was now permanently existing as a scorched earth campaign searing with spontaneity, passed from this world to the next.
The light turned green and Manu revved his engine, ordering the other drivers to part before him. He gunned it, weaving in and out of his lane, crossing over yellow paint borders, as the sun dissolved on the horizon.
He was alone now, in the darkness. The moonlight falling through the windshield like sand through an hourglass, spinning the radio knobs into silver spools of spider web. Manu turned down the howling sounds of Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper,” the shrills of his voice sounding too desperate and in pain for a son fighting against outside forces that wanted to take away all his burdens and all that had made him a man. He rolled down the windows and allowed the cool night air to embrace him. The night became his passenger, and the empty highway became his soundtrack.
Eyelids can grow heavy on a dark highway, when what’s behind you is all that’s ahead of you too, and so it was with Manu. His head began to nod, and car wavered in its route swerving onto the ridged asphalt that jerks drivers awake. He fought sleep by shaking his face violently and grunting.
As sleep continued to win the battle over Manu’s consciousness, he was seized by the sensation of bats swarming around his head. He jolted up in his seat, as the roar of batwings shot through the car’s interior in a gust of wind, and from whatever cave they were fleeing, he could hear the hungry rumbling of a diesel engine. A golden light filled the highway like some haunted lighthouse that meant ill will towards all passing ships, as Manu became suddenly aware of how close in proximity he was to the moonlit guardrail.
He took control of the wheel and guided the car back to safety. With survival pulsing through his veins and his eyes wide open, he looked over to his left and saw, in purple and gold, the words Bynum & Lamar: For All Your Moving Needs, and in the cab, he could see two men perched like vultures on top of the highway.
Feeling like a church mouse, Manu accelerated into the shadows that lay beyond his headlights.
Miles down the road, Manu was forced to stop on the shoulder, his gas tank empty. In his drowsiness and the shock of the semi-truck bearing down on him, he had forgotten to look for a gas station, and now the physics of locomotive transportation had brought his race to an end. He checked his iPhone–no signal–and out the window, he could see stars that were already fading and already dead. He climbed out of the car and started walking, hoping to find an exit or that maybe that semi-truck of death might come barreling down the road again, to give him a lift. The truck never came, and he wondered how two vehicles on the same road, headed in the same direction, might not share the same destination.
He wondered if his Pop was still alive, and felt that the night no longer embraced him, but had swallowed him hook, line, and sinker, until they were one and the same.
As mentioned earlier, I just put out an ebook with Deckfight Press. It features eight basketball short stories/vignettes. I hope it’s entertaining for both NBA and indie fiction fans alike. And thank you for allowing me to self promote.
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