Fade Away Page 31

Myron’s lucky streak continued when it came to his defensive assignment: Leon White, Greg’s roomie-on-the-road and best friend. Myron and Leon bonded a bit while playing, the way teammates and even opponents often do. Whispering quick jokes in one another’s ear while lined up chest-to-chest for an inbounds pass. Patting the other guy on the back when he made a nice play. Leon was a classy guy on the floor. No trash talk. Even when Myron burned his butt on a fade-away eighteen-footer, Leon offered only words of encouragement.

Coach Donny Walsh blew the whistle. “That’s it, fellas. Take twenty foul shots and go home.”

Leon and Myron exchanged a half-handshake, half-high-five the way only children and professional athletes can. Myron had always loved this part of the game, the almost soldierlike camaraderie; he hadn’t had that in years. It felt good. The players partnered themselves up in groups of two—one guy to shoot, one to rebound—and went off to different baskets. Myron lucked out again and hooked up with Leon White. They each snatched a towel and a water bottle and strolled past the bleachers. Several reporters were perched up there for the practice. Audrey was there, of course. She looked at him with an amused smile. He resisted the temptation to stick his tongue out at her. Or his ass. Calvin Johnson had been watching practice too. He wore a suit and leaned against the wall like he was posing for a candid picture. Myron tried to gauge his reaction during the scrimmage, but of course Calvin’s expression remained unreadable.

Myron shot first. He stood at the foul line, feet spread shoulder length, his eyes on the front rim. The ball back-spun through the hoop.

“I guess we’re going to be roommates,” Myron said.

“That’s what I heard,” Leon said.

“Probably won’t be for very long.” Myron took another shot. Swish. “When do you think Greg will be back?”

In one motion Leon grabbed the bouncing ball and swooped it back to Myron. “I don’t know.”

“How’s Greg feeling? The ankle doing okay?”

“I don’t know,” he said again.

Myron took another foul shot. Another swish. His shirt, heavy with sweat, felt right. He grabbed the towel and wiped his face again. “Have you talked to him at all?”


“That’s funny.”

Leon passed the ball to Myron. “What’s funny?”

Myron shrugged, took four dribbles. “I heard you two were tight,” he said.

Leon gave a half-smile. “Where did you hear that?”

Myron released the ball. Another swish. “Around, I guess. In the newspapers and stuff.”

“Don’t believe everything you read,” Leon said.

“Why’s that?”

He bounce-passed the ball to Myron. “The press loves to build up a friendship between a white player and a black player. They’re always looking for that Gale Sayers–Brian Piccolo slant.”

“You two aren’t close?”

“Well, we’ve known each other a long time. I’ll say that.”

“But you’re not tight?”

Leon looked at him funny. “Why you so interested?”

“I’m just making conversation. Greg is my only real connection to this team.”


Myron started dribbling again. “He and I used to be rivals.”

“Yeah, so?”

“So now we’re going to be teammates. It’ll be weird.”

Leon looked at Myron. Myron stopped dribbling. “You think Greg still cares about some old college rivalry?” There was disbelief in his voice.

Myron realized how lame he was sounding. “It was a pretty intense thing,” he said. “At the time, I mean.” Extra lame. Myron didn’t look at Leon. He just lined up the shot.

“I hope this don’t hurt your feelings or nothing,” Leon said, “but I’ve been rooming with Greg for eight years now. I’ve never heard him mention your name. Even when we talk about college and stuff.”

Myron stopped right before releasing the ball. He looked over at Leon, fighting to keep his face neutral. Funny thing was—much as Myron didn’t want to admit it—that did hurt his feelings.

“Shoot already,” Leon said. “I want to get out of here.”

TC lumbered toward them. He palmed a basketball in each hand with the ease most adults palm grapefruits. He dropped one of the balls and did a handshaking/slapping ritual with Leon. Then he looked over at Myron. His face broke into a big smile.

“I know, I know,” Myron said. “Thumped, right?”

TC nodded.

“What exactly is thumped?”

“Tonight,” TC said. “Party at my house. All will be revealed then.”

Chapter 14

Dimonte was waiting for him in the Meadowlands parking lot. He leaned out of his red Corvette. “Get in.”

“A red Corvette,” Myron said. “Why aren’t I surprised?”

“Just get in.”

Myron opened the door and slid into the black leather seat. Though they were parked with the engine off, Dimonte gripped the steering wheel with both hands and stared in front of him. His face was sheet-white. The toothpick hung low. He kept shaking his head over and over. Yet again, the subtlety. “Something wrong, Rolly?”

“What’s Greg Downing like?”


“You fucking deaf?” Dimonte snapped. “What’s he like?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to him in years.”

“But you knew him, right? In school. What was he like back then? Did he hang out with perversive types?”

Myron looked at him. “Perversive types?”

“Just answer the question.”

“What the hell is this? Perversive types?”

Dimonte turned the ignition key. The sound was loud. He hit the gas a bit, let the engine do the rev thing for a while. The car had been jacked up like a race car. The sound was, like, totally rad, man. No women were in the nearby vicinity to hear this human mating call or they would surely be disrobing by now. Dimonte finally shifted into gear.

“Where we going?” Myron asked.

Dimonte didn’t answer. He followed the ramp that leads from the arena to Giants Stadium and the horse track.

“Is this one of those mystery dates?” Myron asked. “I love those.”

“Stop fucking around and answer my question.”

“What question?”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies