“Milton Powers is dribbling down the half court line. Seventeen seconds left on the game clock, the last seventeen seconds of his career. The home crowd are on their feet,” the play by play commentator thundered into the mic, “they will not make the playoffs this year, not even close. But if Powers makes a pass, and his teammate scores, Powers will become the All-Time Assists Leader in NBA history!”
“And what a way to end a great career, Bob,” the depth analysis commentator nodded, “breaking the All Time Record in your retirement game. Now that’s what I call going out in style. Scarface ain’t got nothing on Milton Powers!”
“He passes to Stokely and cuts through the defense. Stokely gives it back to Powers, contended by Whitfield, and- Oh! What a play! Magical crossover by Powers, and at his age! He shakes off Whitfield and passes to Shelton, the rookie! He’s alone in the paint! Jump straight up, son, dunk this rock! Shelton rises in the air, it’s really happening, it’s gonna be an All Time NBA Assists Record for Milton Po- OH NO HE MISSES THE DUNK! LAMAR SHELTON, THE ROOKIE, MISSES THE DUNK! THE BALL BOUNCES OFF THE RIM! THE DREAM HAS TURNED INTO A NIGHTMARE!”
The game clock hit a big fat zero and the buzzer echoed across the shell shocked arena.
“Wow, Bob. That’s just unfortunate, you know? Could have been-”
“Oh no! Powers is confronting Shelton! He’s pushing him around! Bench players and assistant coaches swarm the floor and try to break it off, but Powers is absolutely out of control! He’s spitting and yelling and scratching! Don’t do it, Milton, please, not like this, not like this!”
The home crowd started booing, some at the retiring legend who’s trying to assassinate his rookie teammate, and some at the clumsy rookie who failed the dunk and ruined the party.
“Let me tell you something, Bob,” the depth analysis commentator sighed, “some of these guys aren’t getting any sleep tonight.”
* * * * *
The parking lot outside the arena was empty but for a few cars, as one would expect it to be in the middle of the night, hours after the game. Milton Powers peaked out of the arena. The coast was clear. He stumbled across the lot, fumbled for his car keys and collapsed into the driver’s seat of his BMW.
Lamar Shelton rose in the back seat and buried the muzzle of his gun into Milton’s neck.
“What the fu-”
“You! Are you stupid?”
“Drive, bitch. You wanna getcha head blown off?”
That gun sure felt cold against Milton’s skin. He swallowed his pride and navigated the car out the lot and into the main road.
“So you were drinking all this time in the locker room, huh? And don’t bother saying it ain’t so, ‘cause I could smell the booze before you got in the car.”
“Go fuck yourself.”
“I froze my ass off waiting for you.”
“Where am I driving?”
Milton had a bunch of stuff to say about that, but he held his tongue. The gun was still protruding into his flesh.
“I did it on purpose.”
“The dunk. I missed it on purpose.”
“Swear to God.”
“Because you’re a piece of shit, Milton. At practice. At the hotels. On the plane, on the bus, in the locker room. Always on my case, humiliating me, pushing me around.”
“Oh come on, all rookies have to go through-”
“Oh yeah? What about the time you took that G string from one of your hookers and swapped it for my dental floss? I had shit stains in my teeth, man. In my teeth.”
“Yeah, well, sorry about that.”
“No, you’re not.”
“Fine, I’m not. You got me.”
They kept driving for about a minute before they resumed:
“So what happens now?”
“What happens now? Now I’m gonna kill you and I’m gonna make it look like suicide. People are gonna say you did it because of the record, and then they’ll blame me for your death. And they’ll be right too, but for the wrong reason. I can’t wait for that shit. I never had a secret like that, a secret for real. I’m dying to know how it feels like.”
Milton swerved the car and smashed it into an electric pole. His air bag popped and his seat belt locked, keeping him safe, but Shelton wasn’t as lucky: He catapulted between the front seats, crashed through the windshield, hit the electric pole and kept rolling on the ground before he finally came to a stop.
Milton got out of the car, shook his head at the sight of his totaled BMW, collected the gun from the asphalt and set his foot on Shelton’s shoulder, turning him on his back and pinning him down. He hardly had to apply any pressure at all: The rookie had broken an unknown number of bones, and all that blood he was coughing suggested severe internal bleeding.
“Looks like I’m having a change of plans for the summer,” he actually managed to speak, “coach told me to work on my defense, and then he could give me more minutes. He said if I worked on my defense, I’m gonna have a great career. Now I guess I’ll have to be in the hospital or some shit, huh?”
“Sorry about this,” Milton cocked the gun.
“No, you’re not.”
“You got me,” he pulled the trigger and nipped the rookie’s career in the bud.
The cops found him lying in the back seat of the trashed car, gobbling whiskey from a silver flask and mumbling about his record. The gun was resting on his stomach, rising and falling along with his breathing. The rookie's body was still on the asphalt outside.
The district attorney did not have to look hard for a motive.
Originally published on theslowhello.com , an award winning website that features free snacks and light beverages.