Everyone’s world has ended.
Everyone’s except for mine.
I am still here.
Not like that man who liked his sister and got killed by Russell Crowe and did pills and sang simple country songs with depth and married Reese Witherspoon and felt up sand women and wrestled with Phillip Seymour Hoffman and shredded up a jail cell. That man was weird. I miss Letterman. Nay, I am still here as the grass is still here. Scorched and not what I was, but resilient. I will bounce back, as the grass does, stronger and more lush. I am a man. By all accounts the only one left. The world needs me. I must be there for it, as it is still there for me. I am Nick Collison…and I’m bout to go HAM on this apocalypse.
I write this in a ditch. This is not Iowa. Not my Iowa. Orange City is long gone. I must get to the water. I need to find the ocean. There may be life there. I have seen no one for months. I have lost track of how long it has been since the incident. A year? Maybe more.
I was in the gym running stairs when it happened. I don’t know what it was. A meteor or an asteroid or a bomb or something from a Nic Cage movie. I only know it was loud. The whole gym shook and I ran into the locker room and I was spared. I woke up under a pile of rubble and the sky was black and nothing else moved. The earth was as still as Pat Riley’s hair.
I am now constantly on the move. I miss the court. I miss running ‘Angle’ with James. I miss Russell’s lane forays and Kevin’s 30 footers. I miss Kendrick’s smile. I miss Serge’s wagging finger. I miss Scott’s hair gel and being able to make fun of Mr. Bennett for wearing his grammatically incorrect playoff shirt over his button up. I miss Maurice. How his subtle quips and stories of the old Philadelphia 76ers would brighten my day.
They are gone, though. All of them. I write this for myself, because there is no one left to read it should I pass on. And I shall pass on. I shall pass like Rondo in a nationally televised playoff game. I shall pass like Russ when he has an open dunk on a breakaway and Kevin is trailing. I shall pass like my gas after I eat at Eischen’s. Heaven did exist within those grease stained walls in Okarche.
The sun is only out for a handful hours anymore. It is blood red. Red like my shins and knees after a dive to the floor for a loose ball.
My iPod ran out of battery today. I was listening to Teflon Don and dreaming of blowing money fast. But money is nothing anymore. Fire is currency. Bourbon. Blankets. I do not know if I will get to an outlet that works anytime soon.
I try to rap the words as Rick Ross does, but I cannot. I have the rhythm inside me. I know this. I ache for it to surface. Alas, I was always Nate Dogg. Never an alpha, but one incredible role player. There were alphas. You had your Dres and your Snoops and your Pacs. But they are all gone, now a part of the dust and earth. Now it is only me. I am what is left. I am THE alpha.
I have written the word “alpha” so much that I have started thinking about the Power Rangers. Where is my Zordon? His face was weird. His voice was low like Kendrick’s eyebrows. I need to hear a voice that is not my own. I am Alpha without the Rangers. I have no one to help. Purposeless. Like Raymond Felton’s life if all-you-can-eat buffets did not exist.
Ay yai yai (Moves robot arms up and down and lights shine across my face and tells Billy, that overalls wearing Blue Ranger, to stop being so lame).
I rap to myself because I need a noise that is not the wind. I went through the whole of The Blueprint yesterday. I rambled through Song Cry as I looked to the heavens. I wanted to feel and taste the rain. I can’t see it falling from the sky, so I gotta make this song cry. Drops did not come. At night, when the rest of the earth is asleep, I can hear the wolves. They are Rick Flair and they howl.
My heart beats fast. Fast like Royal leaping off the bench to meet us as a timeout is called. Fast like Joey Crawford with technicals. Fast like Craig Sager moves when he finds out Brooks Brothers is having a sale.
I sing my favorite Dave Matthews song to calm my pounding chest.
Stay. American baby. I hope you stay. Beautiful baby.
The deep cuts are where we can find the most peace.
I saw a bird yesterday. It flew above me and its white was welcome among all the grey. Like Kevin walking in to a gym to shoot jumpers that had previously only been occupied by Shawn Marion.
I miss Chesapeake, though. And oh how I will miss the playoffs. I had been intending on asking Jimmy Goldstein who his hat guy is this next year. This hat of leaves and rags will have to do.
There is no plus-minus here. Not in this world. I cry over this.
I call on my fundamentals to save me daily. I pray they continue to listen. I try to screen my thoughts. I try to block out my emotions. I roll towards the hope that is the ocean. I will rebound from this tragedy. The world is big, but so am I. And when the world charges at me, as I know that it must, I will take it.
For now I must go. It is time for dinner. I must forage. It is getting dark and I see the sky flash silver in the distance. The rumble will come soon.
Death is driving right for my heart. Its head is down and it does not look up to see what is in its way. I have to get there. And my feet have to be outside the circle when I do. May I rotate to help as I always have…with speed.