Wednesday, February 29, 2012
GW Basketball All-Stars, Episode 4: The Case of the Cursed Jersey
Written by Don Pitz. Illustrations by Seth Melton. Seth Melton is available for hire. You can find more of his work at meltonium.com
The George Washington University Men’s College Basketball All Stars work every day to spread the joy of basketball. They encourage others to live an active lifestyle with proper nutrition. The League of Bad Guys is dedicated to bring chaos and evil. They know the power of basketball is the greatest force of good in this world, and could bring us peace and prosperity. Who will win this struggle?
Last episode, The League of Bad Guys went back in time to try to get Kurtis Blow to write a rap song about how he hated basketball. That matter has since been resolved.
The GW Basketball All Stars are writing in their food journals at the Fortress of Basketball-tude. Their neighbor Gary enters without knocking on the door. "Hey, GW All Stars! It's your crrrazy neighbor!" says Gary. The All Stars cheer, happy to see their friend again. “Say, Pops. I was exercising, and I think I injured my mattah ewe.”
“What’s a mattah ewe?” asks Pops Mensah-Bonsu.
“Nothing. What’s the matter with you?” asks Gary. They all laugh together. Gary exits.
The ghost of Yinka Dare appears before them. “GW All Stars, the world needs your help! Kopriva is in trouble.”
“What’s a Kopriva?” asks Pops Mensah-Bonsu.
“Oh, Pops” says Mike Hall. “Kopriva isn’t a thing. John Kopriva is a Freshman Forward on GW’s basketball team. What happened to Kopriva?”
“I’ve invited him to explain the problem”, says the Ghost of Yinka Dare. John Kopriva enters.
“Hey, GW All Stars, it’s a real honor to meet you all. I hope one day I can join your squad. I’m about to head to a road game at Cal, but there’s a problem with my jersey. It’s been whispering to me, telling me to do bad things”, says John Kopriva.
“What kind of bad things?” asks Mike Brown.
“Well, it was telling me all day yesterday that I should hang out with Attila Cosby,” says John Kopriva.
“Why would it be bad to hang out with Attila Cosby?” asks Pops Mensah-Bonsu. Shawnta Rogers whispers something in his ear. “Oh… wow. Never mind”, says Pops Mensah-Bonsu.
“Today, it’s been telling me that I should pass the ball to Jabari Edwards. If I go to the Cal game and do stuff like that, we’re going to lose. What should I do?” asks John Kopriva.
Mike Brown says, “Well, first off: You’re going to need to leave your jersey with us. You’ll need to wear some other jersey to the Cal game.”
“But this is my lucky jersey!” says John Kopriva.
“Trust me, there is nothing lucky about hanging out with Atilla Cosby”, says Shawnta Rogers. John Kopriva hands over the jersey and exits. “Alright, GW All Stars, it looks like we have to exorcize a demon.”
“Not quite a demon, but you’re close,” says the ghost of Yinka Dare. “John Kopriva is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Milwaukee is Algonquin for ‘The Good Land’. I think somebody embued his jersey with an Algonquin spirit. I don’t want to bore everyone with all the details, but you need to go to the spirit world of Algonquin mysticism.”
“How are we supposed to do that?” asks Mike Hall.
“Well, the good news is getting to the spirit world of Alqonquin mysticism is the easy part,” says the ghost of Yinka Dare. “I’ve invited Religion Professor Dewey Wallace from GW. He’ll explain how you can go to the spirit world of Algonquin mysticism.”
The Professor enters and teaches them how they can go to the spirit world of Algonquin mysticism.
Meanwhile, at the lair of the League of Bad Guys, they’re all talking about how they hate John Kopriva.
“I hate Kopriva because he not respect Triad,” says Mr. Kim.
“I hate Kopriva because he gave up football to play basketball,” says Comrade Chaos, in her thick Soviet accent.
“Grongo smash John Kopriva,” says the mindless oaf Grongo.
“Yes, well… I think we can stop worrying about John Kopriva,” says Number One Bad Guy. “I’ve got wonderful news. I’ve discovered how we can conjure an Algonquin spirit.”
"What good that do?" asks Mr. Kim.
"What good WILL that do," corrects Number One Bad Guy. “I’ve imbued a spirit to Kopriva’s jersey. I’ve commanded the spirit to whisper to Kopriva to do bad things, like hang out with Attila Cosby.”
“What so bad about hanging out with Attila Cosby?” asks Mr. Kim. Comrade Chaos whispers something in his ear. “Oh, wow… never mind.”
“John Kopriva will give in to the spirit’s powers of suggestion. He’ll start doing bad things and it will completely discredit GW’s basketball team. The world will be ours! It's really a foolproof plan. The best part is the GW All Stars can't do anything about it." They all laugh maniacally together.
The GW All Stars arrive at the spirit world of Algonquin mysticism. It looks like a meeting place by the water. They see former Native American basketball stars, like Jessie “Cab” Renich, Clyde “Chief” James, SuAnne Big Crow and Jim Thorpe. They also see Chief Henry, Zach Morris’ tutor from the Saved by the Bell episode “Running Zach.” They approach Chief Henry.
“Excuse us, Chief Henry, but we’re looking for a spirit that has taken over a basketball jersey to do evil things,” says Mike Brown.
“GW All-Stars! It’s great to see you here. I think the spirit you are looking for is the one known as Chief Slapaho. He’s always up to no good. Look for the room that looks like you made it backstage at an Alice Cooper concert. You’ll find him there,” says Chief Henry.
The GW All-Stars encounter many strange things on their journey, far beyond our own comprehension. They finally see Chief Slapaho, speaking to a spirit form of Kopriva’s jersey. He is whispering “Eat red meat with every meal.”
“Chief Slapaho! Your reign of terror ends now,” yells Mike Hall. “We command you to leave Kopriva’s jersey at once!”
“Ahh… the GW All-Stars. You are like the breath of a buffalo in the winter,” says Chief Slapaho. “You are not in the position to command anything. I say we leave this up for the Great Spirit to decide. I will gather my team of famous American Indian basketball players, along with Chief Henry, to play you in a game of Rez Ball. If you win, I will give up Kopriva’s jersey forever. If you lose, you will stay in our spirit world and entertain us for all eternity.”
The GW All-Stars accept his challenge. In the locker room before the game, they discuss their strategy and try to figure out who they can recruit as their fifth player. Former GW basketball player Chris Monroe enters the room.
“Chris Monroe! What are you doing here?” asks Shawnta Rogers.
“I travel to spirit worlds a lot. It’s fun!” says Chris Monroe. “Mind if I play with you guys?”
Will the GW All-Stars banish the spirit of Chief Slapaho from John Kopriva’s jersey? Will they spend the rest of eternity stuck in the Algonquin spirit world? Will anybody get my “Saved by the Bell” reference? Find out next time!