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Episode Twenty "It Happens"


A little less than 24 hours after Keenan’s lust for Miranda began to hit overdrive, Tommy Berlini’s dream of winning a championship were crumbling. His team had been up 3-1 in this seven game series against Houston until dropping the last two.

They had the lead in both games and were mere minutes from advancing to the finals for the second time in three years. But both times, “Prince” Sebastian ran out gas.

Tommy and Red lamented the next course of action in the visiting coaches office.

“Dammit Red. That is it. Call somebody, his mother or something. We know he is not just sleeping with his wife so don’t call her. Hell, call Ed “Too Tall” Jones or something. Anybody. This guy has got to stay out of the bars and casinos.”

“I know it. I checked in on him last night at 11:30, and he was in his room. He was going to sleep. What am I gonna do, go in there at 2 a.m. and see if he is still there. The man just has no conscience. But you have got to lay off him. Sometimes it seems like he is partying so much right now just because you wish he would quit drinking and settle down.”

“He is a grown man making millions. He is acting like he is 17-years-old for Christ’s sake.”

“Well even if he does try to finally get some sleep tomorrow night, it is probably not enough time to get him totally back in shape. It is what it is for Sunday.”

“Maybe and maybe not. What if on the slight chance we get lucky at home — and I mean lucky with the way we have played the last two games — do you remember how he was the first time we got to the finals with him? That’s when all of this crap started.”

“Let’s worry about that after Sunday night. I’ll get someone to shadow him but you have got to calm down. The guys can’t see you so despondent.”

“I'm not despondent. I’m pissed off.”

“Well then they can’t see you pissed off then. Come on, Tommy, shake it off. We got a three-hour flight back to Phoenix in a couple of hours. All of us. Sebastian too.”

“I know it. I know it.”

“Get it together, then, we got work to do.”

“Right.”

Tommy was able to put on a good face for the rest of the trip but he was fuming inside. He could feel his best shot at a world championship slipping away. Sebastian had all the skills necessary to go to the Hall of Fame, and on the court he was a mastermind. But off it, he was wild and reckless. He had at least two women in each town. Sebastian reminded him a lot of Billy Spikes, he thought.

It might have been at that very moment when he realized he wanted to get rid of Sebastian. He wasn’t worth it. Better to lose from the back of the pack then collapse when it is so close.

Spikes never recovered after he was traded. Maybe Sebastian would be the same way. While celebrating that thought a bit, he remembered that Spikes' trade had, in a way, led to Miranda being forced to live with Chief Montoya after he was removed from his job in disgrace. A little girl should never have to grow up in the home of a bitter old man.

Trading Sebastian, though, was just business. Montoya was bitter because Tommy made sure he was tarnished and replaced him with his former No. 2, Barrick.

By the time the plane landed at Sky Harbor at 3 a.m., Tommy had made up his mind that Sebastian would be gone in a year, maybe less, maybe more, but he would be gone.

By the time he headed back to his house, it was a little after 4 a.m. and the sun was just beginning to spread its light across the eastern sky.

Walking in, he was a bit surprised to find the lights still on in the living room, and pizza boxes and empty bottles of rum scattered throughout the room. The door to the patio was also wide open so he walked out to find Shaun just sitting on a lounge chair, drink in hand staring at the sky.

“Shaun?”

He jumped up like shot from a cannon, all the while keeping the drink steady and level. It was likely that he spilled nary a drop.

“Don’t mess with me Uncle Tommy.”

“Calm down, Shaun, where the hell is everybody?”

“In there. But you don’t want to go in there.”

“Why not?”

“Because they are dead. I killed them.”

“Who, Shaun? Who did you kill?”

“Miranda and that fucking cop. I caught them fucking in the pool house and I fucking killed him.”

Shaun pulled a gun out of his shorts pocket.

“He had left his pistol on the floor and I just grabbed it. When he came at me I shot him.”

“What about Miranda?

“Well, she ran over and grabbed the gun and it just went off. I don’t know how that happened, but I know I did shoot the sheriff. Ha. Get it?”

“Give me the gun.”

“No way.”

“Please, Shaun.”

“No way. We are going to get to the bottom of some shit right now.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean like you are going to get on your knees and beg for your life, asshole,” Shaun said as he leveled the pistol squarely at Uncle Tommy.

“Wait,” Tommy said quickly.

“No, get on your fucking knees, old man,” Shaun said and quickly was right next to him, gun at his forehead.

“Okay, okay. Just don’t do anything stupid.”

“You are a hell of a person to tell other people what stupid is. It was stupid to fuck my Dad over. Now, beg.”

“Please.”

“Not good enough! Beg, you piece of shit. What? You don’t think I will do it? I killed two men last week. Guidano’s dead and now the same thing is going to happen to you.”

“No, Shaun.”

“Yes, Tommy! The only thing I want you to know first is that you didn't just fuck over my Dad, you fucking killed him, too. My Dad’s stroke was all because of you. My mom’s overdose, all of it. Yea, my Dad made mistakes, but you were his friend for God’s sake. You were family. That is not the way family treats each other. You are the worst of mankind and you deserve to die. You deserve to die before you infect anyone else with your selfishness. You are a pig and killing you is nothing worse than slaughtering a sick pig. You make me sick. Do you understand that?”

Tommy began to cry, partly because he feared for his life, but also because he feared for his after-life. He knew he had done little in his grown-up life to be proud of. He had killed and destroyed more than he had built. In the end, he wasted his life and ruined the lives of others.

“You're right, just do it, just fucking do it.”

“You read my mind, Uncle. Say hello to Guidano for me.”

Just then, two cops busted in through the back gate, screaming, “Police” and waving flashlights. Shaun turned and ran as fast as he could towards the line of shrubs and trees that separated Tommy's house from the neighbors, and the two cops were hot on his heels.

Tommy followed the scene through a bewildered stare, relieved at not being dead.

“We will shoot you. Stop where you are,” the police shouted.

In reaction, Shaun whipped around and leveled his gun at the police.

He hit the ground in what seemed like a millisecond.
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