Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Just Another Night On the Road - Or Not

This is another piece that I recently got back to after a few years' hiatus.  It's got some problems, but ultimately I like it.  It was originally written in the first person, but I think I am going to try to do this thing in the third person.  It's also got two different scenes and moods, but then so does life sometimes.

New writing after the jump - let me know what you think!

<p>There were a few flakes of snow on the windshield of Mike’s car</p>

There were a few flakes of snow on the windshield of Mike’s car.  Clouds of steam hid our faces.  The cold had me short of breath after only a short walk.  Tommy and Mike settled into the cold seats and waited for the car to warm up. 


“So what do you think,” asked Mike, blowing into his hands.  Tommy’s teeth were actually chattering.  It took a conscious effort to form words.  “Well we can beat them, but not every night of the week.  The big kid is good and they don’t turn the ball over.”


“Yeah.  Did you figure out the thing they are doing on the fast break?  Do they release the forward early?  Or were they just that much quicker than

North West

?”  Mike shifted the car into gear and drove across the near-empty parking lot


Tommy squinted at his notes in the dark.   “Well on a long shot they were staying in to rebound, but once

North West

established the post, they kinda sagged off on the weak side.”


Mike drove with both hands on the wheel.  Tommy thought he could probably walk faster.  The pale green of the instrument lights made his face glow.  Mike licked his lips.  “Want to go to The Cemetery for one before we head back?”




No one ever has just one at The Cemetery.  Tommy had been there every time he had been to

North West

since 1993.  Two guys were playing pool when he and Mike walked in.  Billy was behind the bar.  “Ahhh!  The Chancellor guys!”  he boomed.  “Sit down.  Have a beer!”  Why Billy liked Tommy and Mike was simple.  They always came in if they were in town, and often they spent lots of money. 


That night they had three or four beers each and Billy bought Tommy a shot of Jack for the road.  It was midnight when Tommy and Mike got back out into the cold.  Mike took a deep breath of freezing cold


air.  “Mmmmmm. I think it’s warmer.” 


“I think you need to give me the keys.  You are apparently fucking drunk.  It’s like eight degrees,” Tommy bitched.


“Nah.  I’m fine.  Let’s go.”


The thing about basketball coaches is that we can talk about games and players forever, mused Tommy.  Mike remembers every game Chancellor has ever played.  He remembers details Tommy forgot before the game was over.  He remembers player names, how many they scored on us and what we should have done to stop them.  Tommy sighs, thinking, I just love to talk and I’ll talk hoops with anyone anytime.  The 6 pack Tommy bought as we left the Cemetery made the ride fly by.


By the time we got back to Pickle’s it was close to 2. Some guy held the door for us so we could get in.  Danny Scallan started to tell us he was closed, but stopped when we waved.  George Omirou laughed, “Do I even need to ask where the fuck have you guys have been?”


Danny brought more beer.  The notebooks came out.  The SportsCenter relay started on the big screen.  We each gave our reports.  George took notes of his own. At 3:15 the bar was as clean as it ever got and Danny wasn’t bringing anymore beer.


George looked into his little pocket calendar.  “Ok Tommy, we’re at Washington Learning at 2 tomorrow.  Meet me at the gym at 12, or 11 earlier if you want to do the practice plan.”  yawned George.  “Mike, you’re off for PTO night, but you need to call the Annunciation kid.  Mic, you and Matt have Eastridge at


at 7.  Gimpy, if you actually made practice tomorrow it would be nice.”


Leaning against the bathroom wall trying to focus on getting out the door, Tommy hoped that he would make it home.  Was this what it was all about?  Yeah, he mused.  This was pretty fucking good.  He blew his breath out hard and went thought the swinging door into the now brightly-lit bar. 


“Yo Tommy, you got a second?” Danny called.  “You ok there?”


“Yeah Danny, fine.  What’s up?”


“Well I probably shouldn’t say anything, but I have known you guys forever and …”  Danny trailed off.


Tommy frowned, suddenly sober. “Yeah?”


“There were two guys at the bar this afternoon when I came in.  Drinking Scotch both had suits on.”  Danny twisted the bar towel in his huge hands.  “I wasn’t really paying attention until I heard George’s name.  I mean, it’s not a common name.”


“Yeah.” Tommy said, still not sure where this was going.  “So who were they?  What were they talking about?”


“Well they got pretty quiet when I came over and chatted them up.  I thought maybe they were friends of his.”  Danny looked up at Tommy.  “Maybe I should talk to George about this.” 


“Yeah sure, Danny.  Whatever you want,” Tommy shrugged.


“I just know you are his best friend and all, so I thought you could tell me if anything is going on with him.”


Tommy’s patience for the conversation was fading quickly.  “Huh?  What the hell are you talking about Danny? We’re in the middle of the season.  Nothing’s going on except fucking basketball all day and night. What are you asking me?”

Danny looked at him and said, “Well they were talking about what Chancellor would be like next year after George was gone.”


“Huh.” Tommy sat back in the bar stool.  “Well that’s weird.  Wonder what that is about.  Are you sure you didn’t mis-hear the name?  Can I have some Jack?”


Danny pointed at the door. “Get the fuck out of here.  It’s late and I wanna go home.”


He came around the bar with his coat and pushed Danny toward the door.  “C’m on.  You need to get home and I need to go to sleep.”


As he locked the door, Danny called out across the empty parking lot, “You gonna talk to George about this?”


Tommy stopped and thought for a moment. “Yeah.  He’ll know what to do.  He always does.”


“If I thought that, I woulda told HIM,” said Danny as he climbed into his car.

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