Part II, The Script
When the final horn echoes through the arena, Tommy Heinsohn only allows himself thirty seconds to savor the moment. He counts the seconds down, just as he’d counted down from 4.1 seconds to 0.6 seconds moments earlier, and in that time, the exponentiality of the curve of his smile grows larger and larger. This is a measured act, and when he is through, he nods, stands, and makes his way towards Walt Clyde Frazier. As he touches the shoulder of Frazier’s taupe polyester suit, there is a flash of light, and again the two find themselves sitting at that same pub.
“You know, Walt, that man, what was his name? Woody? It seemed like he was trying to get under our skin the other night, with that talk about how we got here.”
“Yes,” Clyde says distractedly. Something has caught his interest. He slides off his stool and makes his way towards a dark corner of the bar. Seated at a square table are four large black men, each wearing an orange headband and an orange and blue jersey with the number seven knit to the back. All four of them have pints of some dark brew in front of them, and each’s nose hangs less than a centimeter above the rim of his glass. The quartet is motionless except for the occasional slowly drawn breath or clenching and unclenching of fist.
“Carmelo?” Clyde says.
“Yeah?” one of the men says. Another sighs loudly. A third slouches back into his chair and rests an arm over its back. The last shakes his head then takes his headband off his head and flicks it towards a bar stool. It’s a perfect shot; the headband catches the backrest of the stool and hangs there. The other three Carmelos take their headbands off and follow suit until all four headbands hang on the corner of the barstool.
Heinsohn shows up just in time to offer sarcastic applause.
“Carmelo,” Clyde says again, “there were ten of you before. Where did the other six go?”
The slouching Carmelo looks up from the table and makes eye contact with Clyde. He offers a pitiable smile. “Yeah, I had it going,” he says.
Clyde nudges Heinsohn, who is now standing at his elbow. Heinsohn grumbles. Clyde nudges him again. He whispers into Heinsohn’s ear, “I know it’s in your head; say what you know must be said.”
“What my dear friend Clyde wants me to tell you is that your game score in game one was 3.8. Tonight it was 38.3. I’m going to give you a Tommy point for your game tonight. Don’t, ah, don’t spend it all in one place.”
“He’s right, ‘Melo. Your game score was higher than Chris Paul’s, and his team beat the greatest of them all,” Clyde says. “That puts you 37th all time for a playoff game game score. Guess how many of the players above you on that list lost their game.”
One Carmelo says to the table, “I don’t remember Clyde being such a nerd.” This comment seems to cheer up all the Carmelos. They share a laugh. Perhaps due to Clyde’s unchanged expression, those widened eyes, a side-effect of The Event, one of the Carmelo Anthony’s says, “I dunno, Clyde. How many?”
“Three,” Tommy says.
There is a commotion at the door. A small black man enters the pub carrying and large rectangular object wrapped in a plastic bag. The object is larger than his entire upper body, so large that it covers his face all the way up to his black and brown plastic frame glasses. He wears a jersey as well. It is a bright orange and blue, and on its back are the letters F-I-E-L-D-S.
The words, “PER of -4.5,” come out of Heinsohn’s mouth.
“O-Rating of 23,” Clyde says, then covers his mouth.
“Win Score of -0.132,” Heinsohn says, louder this time. He begins to walk towards the man. As he walks, however, a voice comes from the bar. It is Woody in his tuxedo.
“Oh hey, Spike, how is the movie going?” Woody says.
“It’s going fine,” Spike says, heaving the object up onto the bar. He looks to Heinsohn and Clyde and says, “It’s not my best work, but at least it’s paying for those court-side seats.”
“You’re here for these two, I’m guessing.” Woody says, gesturing towards our heroes. “The boss had me write it down. He said you’d be here at midnight on the dot, and here you are, and if I had a watch I’ll bet it would say midnight on the dot.”
“That’s right, Woody. You are exactly right. Clyde, Tommy, come here. I want to show you something.”
Clyde and Heinsohn walk up next to Spike, and Spike says, “I have pleasantries that I’d like to share with one of you, and unpleasantries that I’d like to share with the other, but there’s no time for that now. I have to show you something.” Spike yanks the plastic bag from the object, revealing an ancient looking book. Clyde and Heinsohn lean over and read the title: “Playoffs: Boston Versus New York, a screenplay by DJS.”
“This,” Spike says, “Is a very powerful book.”
“It smells funny, and like money,” Clyde says.
“It does smell funny,” Spike says, “and it can make people act funny too. At least that’s what people say. Some say it predicts the future, others say it is defined by the future, that the words on the page change to fit whatever future is going to come.”
“Well,” Clyde says, “Why don’t you just read it and see if what’s in it comes true?”
Spike smiles. “Well,” he says, “as you can see, it’s pretty long, and the writing, to be honest, it’s pretty terrible and confusing, so what I’m trying to say is that whenever I try to read it, I fall asleep, so you two, I saw you here, and I thought, ‘Well maybe these two will have better luck than I have had reading this big boring book,’ and that’s why I called you over here.”
Clyde raises his hand towards the book. “May I?” he says.
“Wait,” Woody says, “Hold on a second. Weren’t you telling me something the other day about needing some secret pass–”
“That’s it,” Heinsohn says, cutting off Woody. “I’ve had enough of the mumbo jumbo here,” he says, and he reaches for the book, and as he touches it, a blue-gray vortex forms, and in 3.2 milliseconds Clyde and Tommy shrink away to nothing. They reappear on a bench in the largest park in the largest city of the largest constitutional republic on this planet. Neither can avoid the sense of this city’s gravity, that the weight and will of it will have some bearing on the event soon to take place at its very heart.