"And Simms catches the rebound from USC," says an NCAA announcer, noting the young red-haired man currently dribbling the basketball down the court. "He seems to be outrunning the other players. He shoots and he scores."
Andrew stands up and claps, along with almost everyone else in the stadium; the home team scores another basket.
"And Simms scores another one for PSU," says the announcer. "The NBA recruiters must really be impressed."
The basketball player from the opposing team takes the ball and tosses it to a teammate. Then the rush begins again. The home team is on the defense this time. In the frenzy, one of the players fall, and a foul is called by the referee against PSU.
The crowd in the stands start booing the call. One of the home team's players-the man called Simms-walks up to the referee and yells.
Then, in a surprising move, he shoves the referee so hard that the referee falls.
"Oh my God," saya reporter. "What is this? Rusty Simms has just assaulted one of the referees! The judges have now disqualified him for the rest of the game! No doubt this will not be the last Mr. Simms will hear of this incident. PSU has now asked for a time out."
"I can't believe he did that," says Andrew's girlfriend, Darlene. "I mean, you can't object to a bad call by shoving the referee."
"Well, he did," replies her boyfriend. "And he got disqualified. He might even be expelled from the team."
They see the PSU coach and the players all gather during the time out. and then the horn sounds. USC is given two free throws, and the designated free thrower makes both shots. After the free throws, the ball goes back to PSU.
"Looks like Mel has the ball now," says Andrew, his eyes tracking the basketball player who has been their friend since high school.
The horn sounds indicating the end of the second half.
"And here USC beata PSU, eighty-four to seventy-seven," says the announcer. "PSU was doing really well when Rusty Simms was playing."
"He was MVP last year, as I recall," replies the co-announcer.
Andrew and Darlene walk up the steps towards the exit of the stadium, their arms around each others waists. They see the crowds of people, most of them disappointed, heading for the exit and the parking lot beyond. They can see the stadium staff closing the program booths and the souveneir stands. They do not pay any attention to these mundane activies; they only pay attention to each other.
"Let's talk about something else," says Andrew as he and his girlfriend exit through a glass door. "How's this band thing going?"
"Well, we're gonna go to Steph's house in the West Hills to record our demo tape," answers Darlene. "She has a basement, you know. And we were in Beverly Hills yesterday, passing out fliers for our band."
"Yeah, you told me that yesterday. Got any bookings?"
"No, not yet."
They both head for the RTD bus stop. The basketball game is now nothing more than a distant distraction in their lives.
That same basketball game is in the forefront of Rusty Simms's mind.
"Dammit Simms, I can't believe that you goddamned shoved the referee!" yells Coach Carter, a black-haired man in his late forties. "In front of the whole goddamn student body as well as every college basketball fan in L.A. with a cable box!"
"Sorry, Coach," says Rusty. "He made a bad call and I lost my temper."
The coach turns his back against the basketball player. "If I didn't need your skills, I'd kick you out of the team. I'll have you run fifty extra laps around the track instead. You'd better not do this again, Simms."
Rusty goes to the locker room and opens the locker. He goes through his stuff and takes out two bottles. One is filled with green Gatorade, the other contains white pills.
"Are you sure this stuff is good for you?" asks Rusty's teammate, Melvin Jenkins.
"It's just a performance supplement, Jenkins," replies Rusty. "It's perfectly legal and it doesn't show up on any drug test."
"Did you see a doctor about it?" asks Mel. "And what about that outburst?"
"I just lost my temper, okay? Sheesh." He looks at the bottle with the little white pills. "I'm gonna need to see Eddie."
"You're lucky that the coach didn't kick you off the team, Simms."
"I'm the best in the team, Jenkins. The school needs me."
Andrew walks up to the apartment complex and takes some keys from his pocket. He unlocks the door and enters the courtyard. He climbs up the concrete stairs and unlocks the door to his apartment.
He enters the living room. He sees his rommate, Paul Stokes, holding a Super Nintendo Entertainment System controller, playing Super Punch-Out!! He goes into his bedroom and places his Jansport backpack on the bed. He removes the books and a notebook from the backpack and places it on a small wooden desk in the corner.
Looking around the room, Andrew sees a laundry basket filled with dirty clothes. It isd his habit to put clothes in the laundry basket.
"I guess it's time to go down to the laundry room," he says.
He carries the plastic laundry basket with both hands. He notices Paul is no longer using the Super NES, is instead watching a television show. An image of a fighting ring appears.
"And now we have an amateur challenger," shouts the emcee. "Now people, guess how long he will last in the ring?"
"What's this?" Andrew asks his rommate.
"Uh, every Wednesday No Holds Barred-that's the name of the show- has an amateur face off against one of the professional. He wins a thousand dollars if he beats the professional. I don't remember any of the amateur challengers winning though."
"Figures." Andrew decides to watch for a little while; dirty laundry can wait a minute or two.
The amateur challenger appears, dressed in some garish outfit, reminiscent of the outfits super heroes-and super villains-wear. And so the fight begins against a professional calling himself the Patriot, clad in a red, white, and blue outfit. The amteur throws some punches, and the Patriot just ducks and weaves.
Then the Patriot has the challenger in a headlock! He repeatedly punches his challenger in the face. Then he throws him out of the ring!
"And we have a win for the Patriot!" shouts the emcee. "Our challenger is out of the ring. He's gonna be hurtin' for a while, folks. You gotta to wonder what that guy was thinking."
Andrew wonders that for a few seconds, then heads to the laundry room. Leaving the apartment, he walks down the concrete stairs and enters a small room. The room has three Kenmore washer/dryer cominations and a vending machine for detergent and fabric softener. The only sources of light are a window allowing in sunlight and an incandescent light bulb hanging from the ceiling.
Andrew immediately puts a quarter in the vending machine to buy a packet of Tide laundry detergent. He opens the detergent packet and pours it into the washing machine. He then puts his clothes in and places a quarter into the coin slot. A minute later, the washing machine agitates, the clothes inside moving about in the turbulent waters.
"Hey Andrew," says Darlene, walking into the laundry room. "I knew I'd find you here."
"What's up?" he asks.
"I wanted to tell you that we got a booking tomorrow. It's in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills."
"Is some old rich guy paying you lots of money for a private performance?"
"No, it's for a college party. A student here is throwing a rave for anyone willing to pay a cover charge. We get to play."
"That figures. He's out to make a buck."
"Well, we also get to bring one guest of your choice. I want to bring you."
"Thanks, Darlene. You're the greatest. There's bound to be important people attending the event. Maybe I can make my connections, you know." He rubs her reddish brown hair with his fingers. "Of course, my connection with you is..."
"You could get a room, you know," says a young woman with long blond hair.
"Hi, Sandy," says Darlene, acknowledging her roommate. "What brings you here?"
"Laundry won't do itself," she replies, placing the plastic laundry basket on the concrete floor before going to the vending machine.
Andrew Curtis walks out of his economics class at Pacific Southwest University. He walks down a flight of stairs and leaves the building. The concrete walksways between the campus buildings are crowded with students in this late afternoon, some going to the next class, others going home or to part-time jobs.
He spots his girlfriend out of the crowd. They imemdiately walk together, arms around the waist.
"Free Bible Study!" a girl shouts. "Free Bible Study."
Darlene walks over to the table.
"We have Bible study every Tuedsay and Thursday afternoon at five o'clock," says the young woman. "Would you like a flyer?"
"I'll take two," replies Darlene. "Thanks."
Andrew looks at the little leaflet handed to him by his girlfriend. It contains messages and Bible quotes claiming that Christ is their salvation as well as a schedule for Bible study. The Campus Christian Fellowship of Pacific Southwest University is identified as the author.
He throws the leaflet into the nearest trash can. He has more important things to do than study book written by a bunch of old Jews.
The leaflet is long forgotten by the time they reach the Coyotes' Den, which is a small diner serving students and faculty. The place is bright, with white tiled floors and white porcelain tables. There are several Sony color televisions on.
Andrew sees an image of a red wolf on the big screen TV. A caption identifies the red wofl as Red Wolf.
"As a werewolf, I worry about dandruff all over my body, not just my scalp," says the wolf. "So I use Head and Shoulders shampoo to take care of the Dandruff. It has special proteins to cure dandruff. Head and Shoulders is for everyone hairy"...and then the wolf undergoes a swift metamorphosis, until he appears to be a red-haired human male with a goatee.."or not."
"Imagine that," says Andrew. "Super heroes giving product endorsements. What's next, vampires endorsing blood drives?"
"Come on," says Darlene. "I think that commercial was funny. It would be cool if a super hero team were to book my band for a performance at one of their parties. We'd be instantly famous!"
Andrew notices Rusty Simms entering the diner.
"Hi Rusty," he says. "How are you doing?"
"Fine," replies the star basketball player for the Pacific Southwest University Coyotes.
"Did they kick you out?"
"No, they didn't. They need me to win, you know. We're gonna go up against UC Riverside soon, and after that, UCLA."
"You really shouldn't shove referees."
"I have to use the men's room."
Rusty leaves the young couple behind and enters the restroom. He glances at his watch. He then glances into a cracked mirror right above the sink. He remembers that this mirror had been cracked since the previous semester.
Then a man with blond hair cut into a crew cut enters.
"Hey Eddie," he says. "You got the stash?"
"You got the cash?"
"Yeah." Rusty and Eddie enter one of the toilet stalls. "Let's make this quick, okay. I don't want no one to think I'm a fag."
"You want everyone to think you are a fag?"
"You should learn proper grammar sometime."
"I ain't paying you to be my fuckin' English professor." Rusty hands Eddie some cash, and then receives a small cylindrical bottle full of white pills in exchange. "Hey, is this stuff really radioactive?" he asks, putting the bottle of pills into his inside jacket pocket.
"Of course it is," says Eddie. "It gives what you would call an extra kick."
"Well, it certainly works. My strength already doubled since I began using this stuff."
"Well, maybe I'll see you the next time you guys have a game. And don't shove referees."