A lumpy figure in a cheap fedora and a creepy raincoat walks unevenly in the loading dock of the Worlds Most Famous Arena. "Man, the LA Forum has really degraded," He says.
Meanwhile, an equally lumpy figure in an equally cheap fedora and an equally creepy raincoat walks equally unevenly in the loading dock of Madison Square Garden. His raincoat is soaked with rain, even though he is indoors and it has not rained all day. It is late afternoon, but the figure wouldn't know that, as the figure has not been outside for days. It is the all-star break. This is what the figure does. He sees the person he is looking for, and strides over to block his path.
"Things are coming to a head, Smew," Says the figure.
"Could you stop calling me that, Coach Todd?"
"No, I can't," snaps Coach Todd, "And if you'd seen... even half.... of what I'd seen, you'd understand why."
"Ok, coach, whatev-"
"NOOOOOOOAAAAGHGHHGHHHGHH!!!!!!!" Screamed Coach Todd widening his eyes and placing his hand on Brewer's chest.
"Coach....," began Brewer, looking to the side. The first time Coach Todd had screamed at him like that, it had startled him. Now, he was used to it. So were most of the Knick team.
"It's the Melo!" Coach Todd muttered urgently, "He's going to destroy you. If he hasn't already. I pray... I'm not too late."
"Naw, coach, me and Melo are cool."
"YOU'RE NOT COOL!!!!" screamed Coach Todd, eyes dangerously close to popping out of his head and spittle flying past his mustache, "You're not cool," he continued more calmly, "You're like the opposite of cool. You think you're Arthur Fonzarelli, but you're really Richie Cunningham."
"Coach," replied Brewer, a smile forming in the corner of his mouth, "I don't think I'm Arthur Fonzarelli."
"YOU THINK YOU'RE ARTHUR FONZA-FUCKING-RELLI SMEW, FUCKING BELIEVE ME WHEN I SAY THIS TO YOU! I AM NOT FUCKING AROUND IN THE SLIGHTEST AND IF YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR FUCKING CAREER YOU WILL... Oh, what the hell. You don't. You don't care." Coach Todd turned away, a tear forming in his right, non-cybernetic, eye.
This got Brewer's attention.
"I care, coach. I do. I care."
"Then you will listen and listen good," continued Coach Todd, staring intensely at Ronnie Brewer's
left nostril, "The players on this team are specifically chosen for this team. Yes, they have basketball skills, but they also have something else. A genetic personality trait, almost an abnormality actually, that allows their game to thrive despite the tracheonic scintilla-magico rays that Melo naturally sends out. He doesn't do it on purpose. The rays hurt him as much as anyone. But when they hurt others, those others need to go, and they're hurting you. We thought you had the trait - you don't. I've seen it since the beginning of the season. No one believed me. Woodson wants to wait the 2 years until it smacks him in the face. The rays are talking, Smew... THEY ARE TALKING and you know what they are saying? They are saying, 'Don't shoot smew, you suck'."
"Coach, Melo tells me, like, every day, 'Keep shooting Ronnie, those are gonna fall'."
"Ahh... yes, I even have a recording of that on my iPhone!" Coach Todd reached into his back pocket and pulled out a battered iPhone and struggled with it. "Damn things, they're made for people with lady-fingers.... AH! Here it is!"
Coach Todd showed the phone to Brewer. The phone showed a movie of Carmelo Anthony
at practice, saying 'Keep shooting Ronnie, those are gonna fall'.
"See, coach?" Said Ronnie, "It's just like I s-"
"AH! But now look what happens when I put it through the special app I downloaded. Everything else was free, but this was fucking 4.99. Everything I want is always 4.99. Anyway, look."
When Coach Todd hit play, the image of Anthony suddenly turned into a melange of pinks and purples, and Melo's face turned into some sort of slithering zombie face. When Carmelo spoke, instead of the encouragement, a hissing voice emerged, saying "NO SHOOT RONNIE. I AM SHOOTER. YOU MISS I SHOOT MORE I HATE YOU".
"Hm," said Brewer, "You say you paid 3.99 for this app?"
"4.99," replied Coach Todd.
"That does sound legit," Brewer said, rubbing his chin.
"Oh, it's legit," continued Coach Todd, "And you're a good guy Ronnie, a coach’s dream. a FUCKING DREAM Ronnie. These rays work slow. But they work. I saw them destroying you. I said, no. No, I will not let this kid turn into some sort of leather jacket wearing greasy haired cool cat that's secretly a lawyer on Arrested Development."
"NO! Jesus, Smew, THE OTHER GUY!"
"OK, man, I don't watch a lot of TV. Jeez."
"Look Smew. I just want you to know... anything I did, I did for you. You know those defensive and offensive pointers I've been giving you?"
"Yeah, coach, I think I'm close to turning the corner with that."
"No Ronnie. I've been telling you the wrong thing. On purpose. So you'd stink it up on the court. So that maybe, just maybe, they'd cut you or ship you out... and you'd have a chance. A chance, Ronnie - that's all I wanted for you."
"Man. I knew something was weird. It's like that Doctor that operated on my arm. I knew something was wrong. It turns out he came from the future to intentionally mess my shot up."
"I know that doctor, Smew. He's a friend of mine. Believe me, if he hadn't done that, well, you wouldn't have an arm right now. Lebron wouldn't have a championship either, but you'd be armless. You're one of the good ones Smew. We take care of you."
"OK, coach, I guess….but what am I gonna do? I can't just quit. You're not the GM."
"I'm here to tell you, my plan has worked. They're going to trade you... to the Okla-fucking-homa THUNDAAAAAA!!!!" The sound reverberated uncomfortably through the Garden’s hallowed halls for precisely 27 seconds.
"Trade me?" Brewer finally replied, "For who?"
"FOR NO ONE SMEW!!! FOR NO ONE!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA"
"But why would the Knicks
do that unless... they wanted the roster spot... but for.. who... ?"
"This is where my sacrifice comes in," Replied Todd intensely.
The sound of a basketball is heard, and a not-quite-6'9" figure emerges from the shadows.
"K-mart?" says Brewer, squinting into the darkness.
"Yup," replies K-mart, grinning broadly, "10 days of cash money, baby!"
"K-mart eats tracheonic scintilla-magico for breakfast!" offered Coach Todd, with a pained smile.
"I don't understand, coach... how is this a sacrifice for you?"
Coach Todd reached behind his head and the sound of a zipper was heard. Gradually the raincoat, fedora, doughy skin, and mustache fell to the floor and a dark figure emerged from a squaut to his full 6'10" height.
Brewer stared in disbelief. "Tim.... THOMAS?"
"Fugazi," Replied Todd/Thomas, "Fugazi, for you, Smew. Now GO!"
Ronnie Brewer dropped his equipment bag, turned, and ran down the hallway as fast as his legs could carry him, never to return ....until 2023 when the Knicks signed him as a 37 year old free agent.
ONCE A KNICK........