Santo’s car wreck and subsequent passing had opened a windfall of emotion and everyone wanted a piece of it. The bigger the tragedy, the more stirring, moving and heart breaking the loss the bigger the windfall of warmth, sympathy and attention created a centrifugal force equal in it’s confusion and attention.
It had been two weeks since we lost our brother and I’d already had enough. And for the Young Guns and the hooligans that were our greatest fans, once apart of UNLV there was worry. I’d had enough worry. I hated worry. My mother worried. I laughed it off. I believed in me. Worry wanted to bring me down. Worry wanted to give the naysayer, the status quo, the rich kids immune to risk or charity a critical victory in the choices and views they upheld.
I hated worry. I I wanted change. But that was something valuable like stock options and it was not reserved for asshole maniacs. White kids that thought they were black. Utter confused laughable mall kids. One thing for sure was that there was a spotlight. And we had leverage. And two Friday’s after that fateful night in what seemed like years we were ready to take something for us. Lemonade. And thankfully I had down ass bitches in my grade. Girls that shared it all in that magic # of the year of your high school graduation to water down my instincts and allow some light to peer through. They had in idea. I was in. It was Friday. It seemed I hadn’t been in school for one since my freshman year.
The girls in our grade like all girls had grown up faster than us. They were advanced young and in some way enjoyed watching us catch up. These then were fast times for kids in Madison MA. And so when Kim told me her idea, I was in, in, in. It was to be a personal student sanctuary held by Kim’s parents for just us. And within a sentence I had the narrative I’d strike with my housemaster Mr. Robinson. The old what about Bob? It was ballsy enough to where Kim + E Double the authors of what amounted in my eyes to legendary shit believed principals WOULDN’T HAVE THE AUDACITY TO CHECK UP OR NOT BELIEVE US. I agreed. After all those are the best scams. The ones you don’t get caught, Santo would want us to do it.
This would be a theme I’d justify every retarded decision I’d make over the next twelve, count them, 12 months. I made my presentation, Kim handled hers and we gave names like a list @ PHD in the meatpacking district NYC on a Friday night. The only times I ever gave names. I cried. It was easy. And just like that I rounded Scully, Goldy and Magic and we made our ways over to my home girls Kim. A loving soul whom I shared my first song ever written in the 7th grade with, Keepen it Together.
There were about twenty of us there when it was all said and done. The first beer cracked before eleven AM. I was sixteen. And like always school remained an after thought. And the Doors played loudly on the stereo and we smoked weed and watched Waco Texas burn live on CNN. And we danced. I came home drunk and when pressed by my mother faked a panic attack. Just like basketball and the full court press, you panic a panicky squad! It was smart coaching. And I was ahead of my time sadly my education took yet another daily hit of nothing in such a charming zip code of academic elites I’d hear my Junior High art teachers voice in my sleep, “I hope you have a kid just like you.”
The following week as April hit mid month we had our forgotten basketball banquet. Coach Farias always reminded us that most teams didn’t have a nice banquet and get free team jackets. The Big Guy had come out of Fall River, a place where basketball was a religion. He’d taken Fall River and the lessons he learned from famous Rollie Massimino his understudy at Madison, and those relationships that formed the bedrock of the programs philosophy.
It seemed by 1993 Madison MA was getting tired of the basketball program and it’s successes. The town had too much money in a deep national recession to not have the local pie divided. It related to everything and not just tragic teenage death. And I had the disorder when it came to detention. I renewed my faith in spitting out my Ritalin everyday at noon. The banquet: I’d been released from school to help set up the shindig. It seemed I was attending just as many classes as last spring the reason however now the game was giving me credits instead of stripping them for being AWOL in regards to everyday class.
The Big Guy would join me after lunch to monitor our progress setting up the annual banquet. There was a piano at the church that had allowed us to host there free of charge. I played the entertainer he played the star spangled banner, “you just need one!” He laughed. “Just play one, and stop, people will think you can play. You got to no when to quit. You gotta leave them wanting more.” Back and forth it went we were on the same page. Firing on all cylinders.
And later that evening a tribute to Santo was played, a sad, sad reel of highlight’s from our past season set to Eric Clapton’s recently released, “tears in Heaven.” It was seemed so fittingly sad, “of course this song from this guy just dropped.” I’d say to Magic. Jay Lawson a former Madison basketball captain and collegiate coach of a regional powerhouse attended as a guest. He delivered a touching tribute to his former coach my current teacher. There was a standing ovation everyone except our current star Rashad Wilson who was seated next to me.