Highs & Lowposts – Chapter 2
Banned from the NBA, disgraced star Titus LeVont is faced with rebuilding his life in rural North Dakota and the world of minor league basketball…
Chapter 2 – Dirty Little Secret
(Titus LeVont is awoken by a loud banging at the door of his room in the Plainsman Hotel. He pads to the door as his girlfriend Tamara is still under her sleep mask on the bed and his best friend Lucius is under his sleep mask on the couch. The blinding morning sunlight invades the room as Titus opens the door to find Mayor and team owner Wilbur Hammond’s imposing figure in the doorway…)
Hammond: Titus my boy, get dressed. We’re goin’ huntin’!
Hammond: Thought it’d be good for you to bond with your new coach, Billie Valentine.
(The Mayor steps aside to reveal a balding older black man and his young curly-haired daughter standing by Hammond’s Escalade. The girl waves enthusiastically…)
Titus: Mr. Mayor, all due respect, but it is six in the damn morning. How y’all got sunlight up here this early?
Hammond: (claps hands) Great to hear. We’ll be in the car. Bring a coat!
(Wilbur Hammond shuffles back to the Escalade and Lucius pulls his sleep mask off his eyes as Titus laces up his Timberlands…)
Titus: Ay, man. We might be here a while after all. I need you to find us a weed connect.
Lucius: Can do. I’ll check that motel ‘cross town where the hookers live.
Titus: Ay, see if you can get a gun, too.
Lucius: A gun?
Titus: (nods) I don’t trust these white folk.
(Coach Billie Valentine and Mayor Wilbur Hammond are seated across from Titus LeVont and the eleven-year-old Fiona Valentine on a private helicopter flying north. Wilbur hollers with a wide grin…)
Hammond: We should be in Canada in no time!
Hammond: Canada’s where all the good huntin’ is. We wiped out all the big game in America years ago. So, Coach Billie here tells me he and you know each other.
Titus: (glances at the Dakota Bollweevil coach’s sad eyes and frowns) I don’t think so.
Coach: You really don’t remember?
Titus: Sorry, man.
Fiona: (grinning up at Titus) What’s your favorite dinosaur?
Titus: Uh, velociraptor?
Fiona: Wrong. It’s the pterodactyl.
(In a flea motel across town, Lucius is chatting up some high school dealers when a towering woman with a bulbous Adam’s apple saunters toward them. The kids scatter and Lucius gulps…)
Jack: Howdy, sailor. The name’s Jack. They call me that, ’cause it’s what I do best.
Lucius: What’s good, girl. I’m not really lookin’ for none of that right now, but might you know where a brother can score some fine herb?
(Jack produces a small knife and quickly stabs Lucius in the stomach. Lucius collapses to the asphalt as Jack glares down at him…)
Jack: We run a clean town here in Williston, cowboy.
Lucius: (clutching bloody belly) The fuck, bro?
(The helicopter has landed in a field on the north side of the Canadian border and Wilbur hands rifles to Titus, Billie and Fiona…)
Titus: Ain’t she a little young?
Fiona: (points her rifle at Titus) I bet I’m a better shot than you.
Titus: (holds hands up, stifles a smile) Hey shorty, I don’t want no trouble.
Hammond: We’ll split up so we have a better chance at bagging something. Fiona, you come with Uncle Wilbur up north. Titus, you and Coach Billie stay along the treeline.
(Coach Billie Valentine and Titus LeVont wander along a path of reeds, Titus with his rifle on his shoulder…)
Coach: So you really don’t remember me, Titus?
Titus: (shakes head) Sorry, Coach.
Coach: Well that’s probably because you were heavily inebriated at the time.
Titus: You’re gonna have to be more specific.
Coach: Five years ago, in the preseason. You were on the Bucks, shortly before they traded you, playing against the Jazz. I was an assistant coach at the time. We could tell something was wrong with you. You were 0 for 14 shooting heading into the fourth quarter.
Titus: (snickers) Oh, I remember now.
Coach: How could you possibly?
Titus: I watched SportsCenter the next morning.
SportsCenter Anchor: Now check this out, number one on our Not Top Ten list, Titus LeVont of the Bucks stumbles toward the Jazz bench late in this preseason game and — (clip of Titus LeVont projectile vomiting all over Assistant Coach Billie Valentine) –oh ho ho, and the assistant coach does NOT have a defensive game-plan for that attack. Team sources after the game said LeVont was suffering from food poisoning.
Titus: (grinning) Yeah, I split five bottles of Möet with Puffy in the club earlier that morning. I don’t even remember how many points I scored.
Coach: Zero. You scored zero points.
Titus: (waves his hand) Preseason.
Coach: Titus, I know you don’t take this seriously and you just see the NIBL as a pit-stop on your way back to the NBA. But this is my career. I’ve got a kid to take care of.
Titus: She looks like she can take care of herself. Little Annie Oakley.
Coach: I can’t have you getting high or drunk before games.
Titus: So after, then.
Coach: Titus, don’t you see you’ve been given a gift? You’re a one in a million talent. A physical specimen. And you’re throwing it all away to party.
Titus: Coach, you have my word. I’m turning over a new leaf. My girl’s pregnant. I’m gonna be a dad, just like you.
Coach: Oh…well, congratulat–
Titus: A turkey!
(Titus fires indiscriminately into some brush…)
Titus: I think I hit it! Are we s’posed to be hunting turkey? Is it turkey season?
(Lucius and Jack the tranny hooker are sitting on the curb of the flea motel, sharing a blunt. Lucius presses a bloodied washcloth against his gut…)
Jack: Sorry about stabbing you, sugar. I thought you were a cop.
Lucius: So you would have stabbed a cop?
Jack: Well I couldn’t let you frisk me and find my gun, hon.
Lucius: That is some confusing logic. Ain’t there only like three cops in this town, anyway?
Jack: Look, to make it up to you I can get you and your hoop-shootin’ friend all the kind bud you’ll need to survive this awful town. And I could also– (winks)
Lucius: The weed’ll be plenty, Jack. Damn this stuff strong as a mutha–
Sheriff: Hello, Jack.
(Sheriff Eric Donald is grinning down at Jack and Lucius…)
Jack: (puffs blunt) Eric.
Sheriff: You’ve got a new friend, I see. Say, ain’t you that boy Titus LeVont’s sidekick?
(An hour later, Coach and Titus make their way back to the helicopter where they find Fiona waiting with Mr. Hammond’s pilot…)
Coach: (pats Fiona on the head) Where’s Uncle Wilbur, dear?
Fiona: He says he’s gonna stay here. He has a cabin in the woods. Said it had something to do with the IRS and we should just tell everyone he went missing. Daddy, what’s the IRS?
Coach: (turns to Titus) We gotta go back for him.
Titus: Oh no, we don’t.
(Titus points to a jeep full of Canadian mounties barreling towards them. The three hop into the helicopter and take off…)
Mountie: (shaking his fist at the fading chopper) Come back here, eh!
(Titus smiles and waves at the Canadians as they cross back over the border. He glances down at a new text on his phone…)
Lucius: in jail need bail. lol. L.
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