Visions Vol. 4 – Heat vs. Knicks

Patrick Ewing was dressed and in character as The Undertaker at Madison Square Garden’s center court logo, standing at almost 8 feet tall with the boots and the hat.

The EwingTaker gazed with entirely black eyes toward MSG’s rafters, reminiscing on the days of his youth, finding an odd sense of comfort within a familiar site: the lack of Knick’s NBA championship banners after 1973.

An unsettling breeze filled the air. The whole arena was nearly pitch black, save for the emergency exits.

A distant murmur captures The EwingTaker’s ear. The ominous whispers slowly grew louder into an unsettling garble of incoherent speech, peppered with shrieks of pain. The arena’s dark, empty seat sections began to ripple with unexplained movement.

Hundreds of undead, bloodthirsty, retired Miami Heat players began slowly emerging from the empty stands. Surrounded and outnumbered, The EwingTaker pulled two desert eagles out of his long leather coat, aiming one at the slowly approaching undead Tim Hardaway and the other at undead Alonzo Mourning. The other Heat zombies began making way for undead Dwayne Wade and undead Shaq as they hobbled toward the EwingTaker.

A young, unfamiliar voice rang out from above. “It’s our turn now, pops.”

A hail of bullets rained down from the upper seats onto the undead retired Miami Heat zombies.

The EwingTaker blankly stared in muted surprise – it was Julius Randle, unloading into the Miami zombies with an orange and black assault rifle.

The 2023 Knicks emerged around Randle, armed to the teeth and with a cyberpunk swag that had them all looking like they came straight out of a scene from The Matrix (1999). The zombies were decimated.

A maniacal, evil laugh echoed throughout Madison Square Garden.

Deep, bellowing barking and hissing sounds began to ring out through the dark arena. A pack of about a dozen snarling, gargantuan werewolves entered the upper seat sections parallel to the Matrix Knicks. The animals were as tall as the EwingTaker on their hind legs, each having a tattered, personalized 2023 Miami Heat jersey.

The Heatwolves all howled at once before charging directly at the Matrix Knicks. A nasty battle erupted.

Pat Riley appeared on the jumbotron, but he was also Emperor Palpatine at the same time.

“I suppose we’re ready for round three. What do you predict, old friend?” Emperor Rileytine taunted.

” . . . Knicks . . . in six,” The EwingTaker calmly retorted while headshotting zombies with effortless accuracy.

Emperor Rileytine laughed so hard that he started violently coughing and spat out his cigarette. He lit another one while catching his breath and wiping the ash off of his $100,000 suit.

The battle rages on.


Tightrope Walking

So close, yet so far once again, he was on the roof of the wrong building. He tried to open the door leading back downstairs; locked.

His back lay on the gravel and grit of the pebbles spread across the roof. Hands behind his head, the grey sky creeped along. Feet crossed, jacket unzipped and jeans ripped, he closed his eyes as the rain fell.

He awoke after what felt like an eternity. His surroundings hadn’t changed except for the sky, a smug grey now a cloudy black, save for the streetlights near and the skyline from afar. He turned his gaze from Manhattan’s lights to a solitary window, directly across from his rooftop sanctuary.

Window closed, lights on, white curtains parted, he began to regain hope. He knew those picture perfect curtains, just as if he had seen them yesterday.

The temperature was dropping. The cool Autumn wind was now a stinging gust, sure to be below freezing. His socks had some holes; his shoes had more. Underdressed, malnourished, and down to his last few cents, his long journey had come to a halt right at the end.

They had made arrangements before he left. Every night at 11:11pm, she would look out of her living room window, onto the street, waiting for him. Before he made the jump. Before he turned all his pesos into dollars, stuffed whatever he could into a tattered backpack and took off.

He said he would be there by September. Before he got beaten and robbed in Alabama. Before he narrowly escaped ICE in North Carolina. Before traveling from house to house, doing odd jobs for next to nothing. Before begging in broken English for 5 weeks in DC. He scraped money together for a Chinatown bus and a few calls to her on payphones.

As the November winds frosted his young face, she prayed and prayed, prayed and prayed again for him to get to her safely. A love she may have lost, but hopes to God she didn’t. She worked at the daycare in the morning and at the hotel in the evening. She said a prayer whenever she could for her love to come, but hadn’t heard from him since his troubled lips whispered “Te quiero tanto” on the phone two weeks ago.

Stuck on the roof, there he was, beginning to shiver from the frigid Northeast winds. He looked across to the white-curtained windows. He knew. He knew it had to be where she lived. He memorized her address, for the most part; he knew she was in apartment 5C. One street off makes a big difference when it’s below 30 degrees and are stuck on a roof.

He saw the roof doorway of the building across slightly ajar, light peaking through the cracks. A solitary cable ran from his roof to hers. He hoped with all his heart and soul it was hers; deep down, he knew.

He approached the barrier surrounding the rooftop. The cable connected the two buildings over their wide, adjacent alleyways, about forty feet apart. Looking down, he saw a 5 storey difference between the roof and the concrete floor.

Slowly, timidly, he placed both hands on the freezing cement ledge, brought both legs over, now sitting on it. He tapped one foot lightly on the cable; a thick cable, no shock, not slippery. He planted his right foot as firmly as he could. He felt his weight depress the cable. Adrenaline and fear consumed him unlike ever before. He knew the cable would bend, but not break under his weight.

He remembered the one time he went to the circus as a child, and cautiously lifted his left arm while holding onto the ledge with his right. As the sky decorated his filthy hair and clothes with light snowflakes, he knew that he had to find shelter. The shivering young man planted his left foot in front of his right, and let go of the ledge.

Before he knew it, one foot had stepped in front of the other; right over left, left over right, right over left, left over right. Small, balanced steps, he took, each leading him closer to the roof ahead. Arms spread, legs moving, he found an unexpected rhythm in his footwork. He focused on the cable ahead, not on the concrete floor below, and recited prayers to himself over and over. Right over left, left over right, right over left, left over right. A gust picked up over the alleyways, but he was not deterred. He had come too far to fail.

He reached the opposite ledge. He climbed over, arms chilled to the bone, and fell onto the opposite roof. He hurried into toward the door, not looking back at the aerial gap he had just conquered.

He ripped the door open to the warm, well-lit building. Down the stairs one flight, his stiff, wet legs descended, and he was on the 5th floor. He slowly approached the door marked ‘5C’, with tears already falling, warming his frozen cheeks. He rang the bell several times and yelled her name, a faint cry at best. He heard frantic footsteps and many locks unlocking.

The door opened. There she was.

They embraced like never before, with more passion then they ever would again. She had a rosary in one hand, cell phone in the other, with the time on the screen reading 11:11pm.

%d bloggers like this: