Drawllin

Hickory

The Post-Apocalyptic Diary Of Nick Collison (The Final Chapter)


The water is so blue, Diary. Blue like the jerseys we used to wear for road games. Blue like the river that used to wind through Bricktown (Perhaps I have selective memory on the latter). 

I can’t believe I made it. The ocean. My God. This is some promised land, Diary. It reminds me of the first time I ate at a Charlie’s Chicken. The voices of angels mix with the wind. What I mean is, some pieces of Heaven broke off and fell down here.

There are people here, Diary! Writing those words brings rivers to my eyes. NBA players, past and present, are here! Mark Price! Nick Van Exel! Ivan Johnson (of course)!

These last five miles were seven eternities, Diary. I grew weary, but I pushed through. The world tried to screen me, but I held tight to hope’s hip, and I chased it, sticking with it the whole way, because that is what I do.

I forgot what it was like to talk to someone that is not me. The event has not slowed down Van Exel or his mouth. He chatters like a cricket on a warm summer night. Like Tim McGraw and Nelly. Over and over again.

They have pickup games here, Diary. I played yesterday. They fashioned a rim out of a hollowed out old hubcap from Ivan’s Escalade and they used old bits of shredded T-shirts for a net.  It was the first time I had picked up a basketball since the event. It felt strange to me. I was Stella, though. I got my groove back. I drew twelve charges over the course of three games. It is like riding a bike. We played to 21 by 1’s and 2’s. I guarded Ivan. What a rhinoceros he is. I imagine we will become good friends. Perhaps a new world version of the Bash Brothers. I will be Fulton and he will be Dean Portman and we will run these courts and this new world as they ran the ice. Quack quack, Diary. No cake eaters allowed.

There are around a hundred people here in this community. It is up to us to repopulate the earth now. Beyonce is here. Jay-Z is not. I guess she was right. She is a survivor. I will have to battle Van Exel and Ivan for her affections, but I am confident. I’ve listened to If I Were A Boy several times today and I’ve got a hot eight bars waiting for her. I know what she wants.

There will be a campfire by the water tonight. We will make s’mores. I imagine myself and Ivan will joke about The Sandlot together. I will be Ham and he will be Smalls and we will reenact that iconic scene. You’re killing me, Ivan, I’ll say. Mark Price will play the guitar. There are whispers he has worked on covers of some Haggard songs. Here’s to some Okie from Muskogee then, Diary. Hopefully this will also become a place where even squares can have a ball.

We will rebuild this nation, though. It will not be easy, but we will do it. I think Van Exel will be elected our leader. He’s got a way about him. A certain regality that people will undoubtedly vote for. President Van Exel has a pretty nice ring to it. By the way, he still shoots his free throws from 17 ft.

The main strip of town we have named Ocean Avenue at Ivan’s behest. Apparently he is a closet Yellowcard fan. I will not throw stones. There are still discussions going on as to what we will name this new city. Mark Price wants to name it New BEEFtown in honor of how he learned to shoot a jumper. Van Exel wants to name it after Stacey Dash in some way because apparently she had a profound affect on him. When I told him that she didn’t have it like that anymore he looked at me with knowing eyes.

"Trust me," he said, “‘Fore all this happened, there wasn’t a thing she was Clueless about."

I do not argue with him.

Ivan wants to name it after his favorite movie: Angels In The Outfield.

In what capacity, I ask him. He does not know. He is only amazed that the kid from that movie wound up being in 500 Days of Summer. Again, me and Ivan will grow to be good friends. I see that clearly.

I want to name it Los Rossville in honor of the great poet who provided me with untold amounts of strength on my journey to the sea. 

Life is good now. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with Beyonce. Her love’s gonna have me lookin so crazy, Diary.  The life I lead from here on out will be full. Full like The Peake was come playoff time. Full like the prophet’s was.

I’m getting money so you’ll never hear me talking petty
Tatted on my stomach, rich forever, Makaveli
Fifty million, hundred million, it’s accumulating

That is me now, Diary. I’ll be getting money. I’ll be rich forever. I might even get a tattoo on my stomach. I’ve thought on it for awhile now. I think it will read, “This boy done met the world”. Because I have, Diary. I have met the world and its end head on and I, like my bride to be, am a survivor. I will keep on survivin’. 

Lives are stories. Stories have chapters. I suppose this chapter is over. Thank you for listening, Diary.

I finally found my sunset. This one reminds of the Oklahoma ones I grew accustomed to the last few years. Spread out across the horizon, stretching a few infinities each direction. Every color you see a mixture. Pink and orange and purple. Fading in and out of one another like Kevin used to when I’d pin down for him and his man went topside off the screen.

It’s a good sunset.

I’ll ride off into it now.

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