Posted by Chris on Friday, July 19, 2013
Late into a sweltering night, PP stands in the dining room of a large, suburban home, decorated with modern accessories. These accessories include: a long glass aquarium; unwieldy, tall chairs made of light metal; an empty salad bowl made of tempered, frosted glass. He gently places an empty white wine glass on the granite countertop and swallows the last bit.
PP walks down a short hallway decorated with family photos. In one, he wears a Bugle Boy t-shirt with a cartoon cat on it, a pair of brown, 9” oxford shorts, white ankle socks, and no shoes. Standing closely next to him is an elderly white man clutching a cane, his balding head dotted with the spots of old age. They are both smiling and holding hamburgers. He looks at himself in the reflection of the photograph and squints, and wishes his beard came in fuller, and that he owned more than one t-shirt.
He peers into the rooms of his sleeping children, at their glowing, resting faces, and reaching his office, sits in a large green hand chair. There is an old fashioned telephone on the desk next to him. He looks at it with hesitation before picking up. He wipes a single tear off his cheek, and speaking into the receiver, PP asks the old-timey operator woman to connect him to 1-888-GARNETT.
KG (leans back in beach chair): This is Sparta.
PP: Hi, Paul here. I understand it’s late…
KG: I’m on the West Coast right now. I think it’s somewhere around 3, 4PM. It’s fine.
PP: I can’t sleep. They’re going to trade me to New Jersey. Danny needs you to waive your clause so they can get something back for me.
KG: Look, I know this is a long time coming. They’ve been trying to get me to do this for two, three seasons, ever since my knee got fucked up. I just need you to know that there’s no fucking way I dress up as Santa Claus next season. Not even for one game.
PP: They need to trade you, too. They want you on the Nets.
KG: I don’t understand this, man. They push Doc out, they don't resign Tony, they get rid of Big Baby. This world makes no sense to me. I can’t go to New Jersey, where am I gonna get Greek pizza?
PP (sinks into hand chair): I can’t do this alone.
KG: I can’t give up this clause, Paul. Not yet. This is a big deal for me. I wanted to retire with a franchise that had some dignity, respect to it.
PP: Me too. But this is a real bad time for us. The CBA put us in a real bad position.
KG: It was bad. How much money do you think Byron Mullens is going to get?
PP: All of it.
KG: Big men just ain’t built like they used to be.
PP: He wants more than Danny can offer. His hands are tied without you waiving your clause. They can never get Byron without you waiving your clause.
KG: He’s Danny’s style, too. Tall, lumbering, no skills.
PP: For a franchise that has a lot of dignity and respect in its public reputation, it’s incredible how attractive Boston is to free agents.
KG: It’s an awful city filled with old ships.
PP: They’re putting in an “ice bar” as a tourist attraction.
KG: It’s hot outside, even in this mid-afternoon dark. I’m looking at a woman on this beach right now who is dressed like a bumblebee. I don’t know what else I would ever want in a woman. Can I tell you a joke, Paul? I just heard this shit.
PP: I could use a laugh. The thought of going back to Boston after this, I don’t know. I’ve always felt like I’ve worn my soul as a suit, and this feels like all of the moths outside of my pastoral estate have rushed in and are eating this suit, just tearing it apart, and I can’t stop crying. I just can't stop crying.
KG: Let me tell you this joke JET told me.
PP: Thanks, I'd appreciate it.
KG: Ten years ago, we had Bob Hope…
PP (puts head in hands): Oh god, no…
KG: … Johnny Cash …
PP: I’m going to hang up, man.
KG: … and Steve Jobs.
PP: This is actually making me feel worse.
KG: I’m sorry. I’m just trying to take the edge off things.
PP: I know, it’s a joke. Just think about Brooklyn for a minute. They have pickup games there, real ones.
KG: Drew League is gonna be down the street soon. Maybe I should go blow out my knee?
PP: You should, right after you sign with Brooklyn with me. Have you ever had a cronut?
KG: I haven’t.
PP: Let me tell you about these cronuts. They’re half-croissant, half-donut. It’s a thing. They’re filled with cream and jelly and…
KG (interrupts): How does that work? Are they flaky?
PP: They’re flaky. They’re filled with this delicious sweet cream and this jam, reduction, whatever, and they’re topped with raspberry frosting.
KG: That sounds delicious. I love flakes.
PP: I’ve had one. They don’t have it in Boston. They don’t have shit in Boston.
KG: Do they have it in New Haven?
PP: They don’t have an NBA team in New Haven. They have Apizza. It's pizza covered in clams. They got these new Citibikes in New York, this bike sharing network, it looks real great. We could do it together.
KG: I wish they traded us to the Clippers.
PP: Me too.
KG: All right, buddy, I'm coming.
PP: Thank you.
PP hangs up old-timey telephone, and sitting in his hand chair, sheds one more single tear for Boston, his home for so long, a city rooted in history. He glances at his office's walls at the photography, memorabilia, symbols from his life for the last fifteen years. PP wakes his children and his wife, gathers them outside of their home, then lights a match and sets the house ablaze.
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