Rip Van Arsdale

Here's the true part of the story: I watched Game 6 of the Lakers' series in a bar in Las Vegas, because my anniversary falls dangerously close to Memorial Day every single year.

Whoever has a made a journey into the Valley of Sin surely remembers that first time he came over the hill. Passing through the Hoover Dam, amid the sun-burnt Europeans, skin-cancer ridden retirees, sweaty children in tow to thirsty parents and hungover 19-year-olds trying to assuage their guilt with some learning, there is a sense of expectation.  Around the bend, you are tempted by a river-side gambling saloon -- just a few hands, you think.  Thinking better of it, you drive through Searchlight, idly wondering if it has the same tourist attraction as Pahrump.  Through suburbia and over the hill, you can see (if you're lucky enough to come at night) the Gilded City and its tempting skyline. Off in the distance, as if a sea liner on the open ocean, it beckons to you with the promise of expensive games, free drinks and indulgences of the flesh.  Most important of all -- it offers the chance to forget, to leave your prior life behind and to start again.

As you descend into the Valley, you may notice a pyramid with a light sending its beacon to the heavens; no doubt the reason why the aliens chose to settle in nearby Area 51.  At the other end, a watch-tower overlooking the peasants and doomed ones; no doubt put into place by the casino owners and developers to track your movements.  On that strip of real estate, if you had visited many months ago, you may have encountered JSun.  Descended from the Sun Clan, a proud family that had withstood the Altercation at Alcindor, fired the Shot Heard 'Round the World, saved City of Chicago from riots after Game 5 and vanquishers of the river-faring Bowen Horde, JSun had none of the martial prowess of his forefathers. 

When I had observed JSun, he appeared to be of good moral nature and meek in his character.  His popularity and easy-going spirit was likely the result of being a hen-pecked husband.  In point of fact, he was in the Valley of Sin during the days in which this transpired due to the nagging nature of Mrs. Sun, and it came at the great cost of failing to stand by his clan members in their great moment of need.  That moment of need, as you may remember from the internet archives (if indeed they still exist and were not part of the Great Google Purging of July), was to turn back the eastward migration of the Vanessas and their Diamond Rings.

Alas, after the Vanessas continued their eastward migration and overtook the Western Province of Ireland.  Although many complained that the migration was illegal, The Suns failed to protect itself with any walls or other protective measures.  I am sure you know that story, though, and this story is about our erstwhile protagonist, whom you most likely have not heard of before.

His charisma was great, and no doubt due to his easy-going nature.  When he walked down the street, all manner of persons clamored to great him.  Well-dressed men opened doors for him, long, sleek, black vehicles paraded him along the promenades, scantily-clad women brought him drinks and other women were unable to restrain their joy or ample bosoms.

As with all men to whom great power came too easily, he failed to exercise any great responsibility.  He lacked even the simplest ambition to awaken before the noon hour. His lodging was a shambles, with clothes lain strewn, linens asunder and empty whiskey bottles laying about.  When his wife nagged him to clean, it is reported to have been heard that he bellowed, "Slag off!" as he tossed one of the empty bottles and called for a cleaning wench. However, once she appeared, he regained his outward persona (the one he rarely shared with his wife) and the wench willingly washed away all signs of weariness.  Calming the waters, he gave his wife his wristwatch to exchange for whatever wares she may wish.  The wench waited behind to wind up her work.

His treatment of his children, too, left much to be desired. His son, JSun2, an urchin begotten in his likeness (but with much more promise due to his innate intelligence), promised to inherit the land, was left behind with his aging mother, dressed in nothing more than tattered Spooners and raggedy sandals.

JSun cared not whether his whiskey was dark and aged or clear and moonshined, whether his beer was lager or pilsner, whether his wings were dipped in "hot" or "fire" sauce.  His happy, well-oiled and foolish disposition led to increasing volleys from his unhappy wife. To deal with her incessant complaints, he developed a well-refined shoulder shrug, titled head, begging eyes and reach for the wallet. 

His sole companion was Bluntman, and their sole form of communication came though his smart phone.  JSun even grew to look on the Smart-phone-Bluntman with contempt, for they were co-conspirators in idleness.  The essence of their e-communications seemed to concern their fascination with the former Sun Clan affectionately known as the Full Frenchman and his missions to mate with meaty maidens.

As the days of his anniversary vacation wore on, his relations with the wife worsened.  He spent increasing amounts of time sitting silently and idly staring at stupendous screens showing several struggles for supremacy.  Drinking beer he cannot remember, sipping either whiskey or moonshine and eating an unknown spice-level of small chickens, he watched his clan lose the final sporting match of the year. 

Eventually, he arose with his Bluntman-smart-phone and began to make the walk to return to the wretchedly waiting wench.  Just then, someone called out his name.  He turned to see a man standing in armored orange garb.  On the breastplate, the man wore the coat-of-arms for the Suns clan.  Beneath the coat-of-arms was the crest of the serf's lord -- "19" -- representing the Lord of the Bell Tower.  Realizing his good fortune and and eager to join the company of anyone but his wife, he turned to great this stranger-turned-friend. Cradled in one of the man's powerful forearms was a round ball; in the other was a yard of beer that was obtained through victory in a feat of strength.

They left together, entering a long chariot and standing as it drove. Passers-by waved to them and screamed with excitement.  The conquering heroes were taken to their Olympic amphitheater; in the Garden, they were greeted. 

Inside, games on a square screen were being played around a square fixture.  At other places, far in the back, JSun could see hazy figures spinning in circles atop what he could only guess were larger circles.  The men around the square were evidently entertaining themselves but they wore melancholy faces.  As they approached the men, the men stopped and glared.  All at the once very uncomfortable, JSun began to back up but was met with his new companion's large hand -- dangerously close to his neck.  JSun was directed to one of the circular tables and laid his eyes on the spinning figures.  He, too, was given a yard of beer -- even though he had bested no person in any competition.  His apprehension faded away by degrees as the night wore on.

On waking, he found himself near the screens where he had first met the Lord of the Bell Tower.  Rubbing his eyes and holding his forehead, he thought to himself, "Surely, I have not slept here all night."  He found that his his Bluntman-smart-phone had lost its battery charge, so he could not call for help.  He returned to his 12th-floor dwelling to find that his card-key no longer operated the security device. Dread overtook as he imagined the wrath of his wife.

JSun travelled back to the village of his clan.  Unable to charge his Bluntman-smart-phone, he logged onto the internet at the library.  "How do you vote?" asked the poll, "Dampier or Siler?"  Not having an answer to the question, the bloggers accosted him.

"From where do you come?" they asked.  "Are you a Griffinite or a Babbyite?" they prodded.  When he could not answer, they accused him of being a spy.  JSun assured them that he was simply looking for his old friends, companions and warriors.

"Well, who are they?" they asked.


"He left the country some time ago.  Some say he went searching for the Northwest Passage.  We've not heard from him since."

"Steve Kerr?"

"Surely you jest!  He died several months ago.  Every Thursday on TNT, we replay his image in his honor."

"The Apostrophe?"

"He rejoined General D'Antoni in an attempt to defeat the Evil Army of South Beach.  Although he will likely fail, his 'Q- Factor' has gone through the roof."


"He's a Warrior now, and should fare well with the the coup that deposed Nellie."

JSun's heart became hard and cold.  These answers puzzled him.  Voyages and departures of this nature require enormous lapses of time.  Further, he had no knowledge of things such as the South Beach forces rising up or the Nelson Revolution. He had no courage to ask about any other friends, but did have the strength to ask, "Does anybody here know JSun?"

"Sure," exclaimed two or three, "here is his facebook page."  He stared at the picture, as confused as could be, because that picture looked to be a younger he. 

At about this time, P-Sun arrived on the e-scene.  He looked closely at the words, the snark and adoration of all things Boris Diaw, and exclaimed, "Surely this is he!  For him it was only one night, while it was many months for all of us!"

It was determined, however, to take up the opinion of Zona.  He was a wise person of great age and extraordinary memory.  He is claimed to have known the moderator "PhxStan" when he was still "srp."  He, too, proclaimed that verily JSun was back from Vegas.

To make a long story short, the company broke up and JSun returned to live with his son and daughter.  He quickly acclimated to the changes.  The younger generation oft inquired as his wisdom and perspective, given that he had been on each side of the Great Divide (that is what the Sun Clan had come to call the departure of Kerr and Stoudemire).  He, however, was no wiser and had no greater insight than before. 

He remained a simple, smiling, happy man fan.

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