Shaq sits his kids down in a circle in the middle of the basketball court.
Shaq: i've been doing a lot of thinking. i want more. maybe Jim Rome is right, maybe i didn't work as hard as i could have during my dominant years. maybe i'd have more rings. maybe working out at the gym didn't have to take away from my aspirations to be the next Robert Redford. maybe i could have been the gentle giant everyone loved AND had as many chips as Tim Duncan, Mr. Old Man Riverwalk Himself, whom i admire greatly. he went about his business in such a quiet way the church mice prayed for him cos they thought something was wrong with him. but alas i can only be me, the boisterous practitioner of the martial arts and cop everyone at least respects. but i want more. i want to be involved in something higher. i am a large man so i see things from a unique perspective. my head is in the clouds from my stature. there's time enough for everything, you just have to schedule better. i want to be a real rapper. i wish i was a little bit taller.
little LeBron: i'm sure Bron will accept you into his circle.
Shaq: the camera dude gave you all ipad minis, huh? this new generation. it took you only seconds for y'all to get online, create profiles, and have half of this continent following you.
Shaq scrolls on the kid toy till he comes to LeBron's heartfelt tweet to that young woman athlete who had an incurable brain disease and passed away recently:
LeBron (tweeted out a minute ago): i will never forget you. you are an inspiration to me and my family. your story touched me, it was the greatest thing i've ever seen on SportsCenter. your fight wills me forward along the march, teaches me to live life to the fullest. we will meet again someday in Heaven.
lil Bron snatches his screen back from his second-favorite player.
Shaq: those things are like cigarettes, boy, watch out, they'll fry your brain. i'm not sure your head can handle the immensity of what's on the internet, it's like this big...
LIL BRON CLICKS ON THIS LINK. YOU SHOULD, TOO, THIS LINK, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK.
Shaq: see? i told you, there's weird shit online. it's a pile as high as the old sky of creative nihilism.
Lil Bron: language.
Shaq: sorry for shit.
Lil Bron: no, nihilism, such a painful concept is indeed too delicate for my still-forming ears and kid brain. oh, and call me Source from now on, please. i don't want the ending before i have a chance to start.
Lil Bron: it's what my name means.
Shaq: now that's fresh and new and exciting and burgeoning.
Source: no it's ancient from what my moms says. she looked it up on the internet.
Emblem: where's the big fella? i miss his counsel now that i'm no longer on the council. doctor, heal thyself as they say. i got that saying online.
Premier Sunsong: he's on the court. do you think we should inform the rest of the nations that the devil is on our side?
Emblem: too early. let's see what happens, something always happens and then we react to it, that's how humans work. how are your fries?
Sunsong: scrumptious, fluffy, hot and heavenly. our little village has modernized so fast. too fast?
Emblem: too late, the swell of progress marches on and everyone follows. the next new thing comes along and we humans glom onto it and sap it of its energy. we need an energy that will resist human urges.
Sunsong: you're using peppercorn sauce? that's disgusting. use the bajan pepper sauce, it's tropical, we're in the tropics after all.
Emblem: u fancy huh? you're rubbing off on me and i'm supposed to be the worldly one. but in fact for all my world travels i am a simple man of simple pleasures. i like ketchup. i was tasked with keeping our village alive. it would not have lasted another century the way it was going. it survived. now you oversee our village's thrive. i'm afeared we have skipped a few levels, you heretofore ketchupless guys should have been impressed with the ketchup i brought over but there are tons of unsued ketchup bottles stowed away in the cargo of the CNN ship. when i journeyed i was unable to keep a good ketchup balance in my sack. i'd have four ketchup bottles in there each with a bottom layer, not quite used up. i knew in my head that there were two or three more good squeezes left but my heart yearned for a new bottle full of ruby red. it was a pain to lug around all those bottles in the desert. the plastic bottles turned to glass in the heat.
Sunsong: speaking of newer models, what finally is the deal with you and all the village women?!!! that shit hurt when they would all come up to me like we each had a collective timeshare on your time so they earned the right to blab on about the time they spent with you.
Emblem: i'm not as popular as you think. those other wives meant nothing to me, i had to have em, we all had to follow the ancient outdated code. those women wanted my machine, not my human machine. they were all pregnant and needed me to deliver their babies, i was the only one they trusted with this delicate task since the village witch doctor died. my "European" training was mystical to them, more mystical than the strange yellow dust the witch doctor would smear on their faces when he did his ceremonies, which is still mystical to me. i am not the father. right?
Sunsong: in time. i see what you did there, i saw those air quotes you formed with your fingers just now. i want your bod.
Emblem and Sunsong kiss each other's noses.
Sunsong: sorry, hun, all i have time for, i'm very busy.
the witch doctor of the village, recently passed but always named CCC though nobody in the village ever knew his real name cos they were scared to ask, sits at a long white medieval table with Kurt Cobain on the other side. CCC stands for Construction-paper Circle Chain, Construct for short. Kurt gets a kick out of calling him Circle Jerk. the two men put on their birthday-party hats with tight strings around their jaws and look down. Construct forms a string of construction-paper circles stapled together that reaches down from the clouds all the way to Trent Reznor's mansion. Trent takes a moment from his 50th birthday bash, a quiet gathering of family and few friends, to look up from his absinthe goblet and acknowledge Kurt with a nod. Kurt nods back.
Kurt: i wish i would have talked with that guy more, we had so much in common. a half century for my man, a testament to survival.
Construct: this chain is as thin as my previous medical knowledge, hurry up, it's already breaking apart. staples are such silly things to keep things together once you die and see what really keeps it all together. man did i have a lot to learn when i got here. i was way off but now i can say that i'm all caught up and please call me Doogie from now on.
Kurt: we've already broken up, forever. but not forever. for now, we can give the fans what they wanted, a duet.
Kurt picks up his powder-blue guitar and starts to strum. Trent sprinkles some air dust with his free hand's fingers to the arched ceiling of his mansion which forms the bottom layer of beats. his partygoers don't see this but his wife does. the song sounds like an industrial version of "Please Forgive Me" by Bryan Adams.
Shaq is scrolling scrolling scrolling on Source's insta while Source fishes out a basketball intractably stuck in a bush. Shaq was distracted and REALLY missed that free throw.
Shaq comes upon this in the comments of a pic of a bush:
---get it? i wish i could just leave my comment as is up there but i have to explain it so nobody gets offended. comments can't be simple anymore, they must be fancy and clever.
---okay buddy, thank you, goodbye now, i have to go, i'm very busy running my empire.
a giant meteor strikes the Earth with a godly force. it rips apart the shoreline forming an eternal chain of waves which empty out into fountains of tsunamis on the other side. a giant ring of fire is created at the impact zone, one half of the circle on land and the other on top of the water not caring that it's water, burning bright no matter what.
Emblem: i felt that over here! and i smelt that! time to deal. i can smell fire anywhere now.
Sunsong: sad but true. nothing else matters. i have a feeling no deal will work. as ever we have to fight, i wish it weren't so but we're under attack. we humans are always under attack, it's how we work.
Emblem: um, let's see, ah yes, looking it up online, oh, master of puppets, let's be the masters this time, not the puppets. we have a hulk. we have Manny now. where the hell is Manny?
Shaq: legends come and legends go. legends leave us, leave us to grow, to learn from them, to use them as our own, to be the leaders we were meant to show.