Chapter 27 The Dreamers
"Hey, Ben," I said, as I had just called to find out if Ben was available this afternoon. Doing anything around four today?"
"What's up," asked Ben.
"I'm in the Knights and have practice at four today," I announce. "Thought it might be good if you could drive over to the court and park in an inconspicuous spot and keep an eye out, you know."
"No problem," replied Ben. "Maybe about fifteen after, though. I've got a lab that usually runs right up to four. I'll get there as soon as I can."
"Thanks," I said. We both hung up.
I made my way over to the cafeteria and sat at a table alone. I quickly ate and went back to his room. The phone was ringing as I entered the room.
"Bob, Sergeant Jenkins here," announced the voice at the other end. "Just wanted to let you know the surveillance team is set up on the third floor, across from Beaupre, the building has the Molina Bakery on the first floor. We have also set up shot-gun microphones on each of the corners of the court fencing. We are having this done right now with our people disguised as a city electrical maintenance crew installing new night illumination poles. We should be able to see and hear just about everything that goes on from now on."
"Isn't that a little extreme," I ask?
"No, the more I thought about Motown Matthews being around, the more I thought we should get into place quicker," stated Jenkins. "We have got to stay one step ahead. This is happening quicker than any of us thought."
"No problem," I said. "I called Ben and he is going to be hanging around the court in a parked car, just for some moral support."
"That's O.K.," approved Jenkins, "but our people will be there to. Take care. Call if you need something." Jenkins hung up.
"That's good," I answer. "I got to get some sleep before practice this afternoon."
I awoke to the alarm I set for 3PM and quickly went to the bathroom and brushed my teeth and dressed in the same clothes I had on this morning. I made the same trek to the court I had made earlier, only briefly stopping at a small grocery store for an apple.
I found Mookie, Marvin, and the rest of the Knights shooting at the far end of the court. They spotted me and motioned for him to come over. I did, bending over to go through the torn chain link fence to enter the court area. I looked around to see if the white BMW was around. I did not see it anywhere.
"Come on, cracker, hurry up," shouted Mookie. "Life expectancy is short around here, get the lead out."
I picked up my pace to a jog and was greeted by smiles by both Mookie and Marvin.
"Here's the guy we were tellin ya about," announced Marvin. sounding like he was introducing the team's "sleeper-selection" in the NBA draft. Mookie waved his hand and bowed with a sweeping motion and announced, "Cracker, the Chicago Knights".
Members of the team began mumbling various greetings with an occasional snide remark reaching my ears.
"Bob, what's your last name, anyway," asked Marvin?
"Lollar, Bob, the crackerman, Lollar," I said. "Anything else you need to know see my agent."
"Ya, like that's real or what," said a voice from the back.
"Shut up, Moochie," said Marvin. "We takin care of our boy here. Save your trash for the court."
"Ooo, somebody call my cardiologist, my heart just skipped a beat I'm so shook up," said Moochie.
"More like your gynecologist," announced Mookie. "He called to say your "late” again." The team gave it up all at once.
"Come on," I said. "I came here to play some ball not go over your medical records."
With that I moved down to the basket and began shooting. The others followed. They all took turns shooting and shagging balls for about fifteen minutes. A tall, thin black man moved onto the court with a whistle draped around his neck.
"O.K. boys circle up for a minute," said the husky voice. "Move in close for some announcements."
The team move into the center half-court circle around their coach. He looked around then finally fixing his eyes on me.
"You must be the guy Mookie called me about this morning," announced Dave McKay, the Knight's coach. "This team can use all the help it can get. This team of gunners and no defense could use a little talent and discipline for a change. You might even bring a little "divine inspiration" to this group of misfits, as well. God knows we may need more of that."
"Nice to be here, coach," I said. "Just want to play a little ball."
"That's about all this team does is play a little ball, once in a blue moon," replied McKay. Glad to have you aboard. "Now, listen up. Our game rained out last Friday is rescheduled for tonight at 7pm, right here."
A moan goes up from the group. Obviously, this was not great news to some.
"Coach, I can't make it tonight, I have night classes to finish my diploma," said one team member.
"No problem, Martinez," replied McKay. "That's more important. Does any body else need to beg off tonight?"
No one else responded to Dave's question. The game would be on at seven.
"We're only going to walk through our offense for Mr. Lollar here to get accustomed to our system before tonight," announced McKay. "Since we very rarely seem to actually RUN any of these plays during an actual game, they may be NEW to some of you as well. Mookie take the point. Gentlemen get the lead out".