In March, I wrote about networks swarming with increased tactile stimulation, blotting out the sun. That was about generations, about time passages but it applies today. The lockout consumes all. I sift through the morning reads, the links, the tweets, covering the subject every which way. I'd been writing my own piece, cataloguing angles on hawks and doves. There was even a title, "Donald Sterling Saves the League". I go back and read it and then I read it again. And leave it unfinished for there is no use. It would only be another pixel in a screen that's resolutely going black.
Instead, here's some words from the tail end of 100,000 other words gathering dust inside a memory stick - a cluster-fuck of characters from a middle aged ad exec to a white wannabe gangsta to a green-eyed Pilate's instructor and a fluffy white pooch with doggie diabetes. An excerpt from the epilogue of 'Coma Dog', unpublished:
Human boombox sounds mixed with the clanging of barbell plates as men grunted and groaned and sweat dripped onto cracked cement. The vocal effects changed to a recognizable rap. "Gonna open a bar in the land of the pretties... lemme tell ya ‘bout the ballad of Peppy!" The lyrics trailed off as exertion took over. 'BK' Kessler had packed on twenty pounds of muscle with a fair amount of fresh ink on his arms, neck and shoulders. He was in the yard with some seriously huge brothers, including the once and future head of a popular R&B label out of Compton. Tonee Domes, though presently doing 10 to 20 for aggravated assault, was a keen observer of new talent, especially when prepackaged with YouTube and tabloid TV fame.
Tonee slid a couple more plates on the bar. "Those shoulders ain’t going to grow themselves, boy."
He heaved mightily, arms shaking, managed to finish his set. Hands wrested the bar away and onto the rack. Another big body took his place. The sun beat down relentlessly. The kid who would have been rich and famous grabbed a dirty towel and mopped his brow, looked out across the terrain, towering walls, razor wire and asphalt angels in t-shirts and denim.
"Those dumbass friends a yours come by lately?"
BK scowled. "Yo thug, those losers don’ mean nothin’ to me now." Todd was back at UCLA, Raymo had found a girlfriend. Both had testified for probation.
"Thug?" Domes laughed without mirth. "Why some white boys talk like that, I’ll never know. Those losers out there walking free and you pumping iron with rapists and thieves."
Bernard’s new muscles and tats could never change his defensive hurt boy look. "I just wanted some street creds is all. If you sign me to the label I want to be able to represent."
"Man, you dumb as they come, rich boy. You like ice, ice baby. People gonna pay to see a Beverly Hills freak show, not some white trash says he’s from Compton. What a you really looking for anyway?"
The kid looked down at his arm. A girl’s face surrounded by a dark mane of hair, looking suspiciously like Marie. What he really wanted was to go home. "I just wanted a little club on the strip, some honeys in silver minis."
Tonee looked at him, shook his head. "No, what is it you’re seeking my man? Nobody dumb enough to steal a dog from their daddy’s movie and broadcast it all over the place. Lotsa ways to get money in this world but I’m pretty sure that ain't one."
BK stared across the tarmac. All he’d ever wanted was to belong. He rotated his shoulders, stretched his arms. "I’m ready for some more reps." One of the giant yard brothers obliged, wiping sweat off the bar.
Domes put a hand the size of Florida on the kid’s shoulder, wasn’t finished talking. "So look at you now. A Beverly Hills boy purposefully commits these crimes, takes some poor girl hostage, on the floor of the fucking Forum for mercy’s sake, winds up doing hard time and gettin’ inked up with the brothas? It’s okay my man, it’s okay. We don’t always choose the life we lead. You in this far, you want to keep it rolling? Not a problem, we gonna put you on the map. You a boneheaded fool though. Let’s put some more plates on."
Bernard sighed deeply, closed his eyes for a moment. A warm orange glow. Walking the beach, a girl with green eyes and killer ass was laughing and sprinting ahead, turning to look back at him. He should have run to catch her. He opened his eyes again. The ring of large men were waiting for him to do his reps.
A few minutes' diversion won't change a thing. The lockout is still here and the lockout will still be here. The owners won't deal with the players because the owners can't deal with themselves. And this isn't to say that my morning reading wasn't good and worthwhile or that nothing meaningful transpired. Derek Fisher wrote a very good letter to the players. Dan Gilbert tweeted about bloggissists. And Tim Donahue wrote a piece as well as I've seen written and it leaves me with one unshakable sense. That the lockout will still be here long after summer has turned to fall and after fall has turned to winter.
Seasons pass and I click on links but there aren't so many now. The union frayed and was no more. The league got lost in filings. Players moved away, refreshment stand workers found work elsewhere if they found work at all. And the writers that remain turn out fruit that refuses to ripen. Why was it that the season was lost again? I don't remember how it began... except that somebody wasn't making enough money. Somebody wanted it to end.