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  • Writer's pictureKG1

At the Mic

Semple Jenkins and Junior Boyd bumped into each other outside of a coffee shop they frequented. Boyd was leaving as Semple approached, the spring rain pattering the umbrellas each carried. They still wore face masks.

“Good to see you out here, Semple. I texted you.”

“I finally saw that. I was sleeping pretty hard. Definitely wasn’t hearing no beeps. You good?”

“Trying to be.” A gust of wind pushed through, momentarily threatening their shields. “So much weighty stuff going on in the world. You know we have to get into it. At least the fuss about Slapgate is finally winding down. That’s welcome news to me.”

“I suppose, Junior Boyd. But the whole affair won’t end the right way. Will Smith fake apologies and some kind of rehab stint. Chris Rock way too quiet. He not respecting the power of the word, which is weird given his profession. He a top comedian with top notch wit. But he need to be like Jalen Rose.”

“Basketball Jalen Rose? I like him on ESPN, but what could he possibly have to do with this situation? You want Chris to grow a foot taller?”

“Not that, Boyd. I’m thinking of when Jalen was on the Indiana Pacers and got sucker punched in the head by Knicks power forward Kurt Thomas during a Christmas Day game. Kurt had a big weight advantage. Got ejected. Got hit with a $10,000 fine and two-game suspension that cost him another $50,000 in salary. He later called Jalen “‘a little punk.’”

“That sounds vaguely familiar, Semple. Pacers won that game, I think. I don’t recall the verbal stuff, however.”

“Then you forgetting the best part. Jalen was interviewed after the game regarding his ability to remain composed. He was also ejected but later cleared by the league. During the interview, though, he dropped the jewel: ‘I didn’t respond to him because I didn’t want to get ejected, and I could take it because his punch was weak.’ That was some of the best basketball trash talk I ever heard.” Dude, your punch weak. Ain’t causing no major disturbance here. Ain’t hit nothing hard but your own wallet. Semple had to restrain his animation to keep his umbrella effective. “Jalen couldn’t have thrown a better blow. He came off as the stronger dude, the stronger man. That’s word power. That’s what Chris Rock need to grab hold of. The good part. Yeah, the joke about Jada’s hair was in poor taste. We get it. And the slap did move him, so the optics ain’t the best on that. But it was a sucker slap. Sneak ass move. Given that, Chris held his physical dignity together pretty well. Stayed professional. I just wish he would have chilled on his first spoken response about getting the shit slapped out of him. Nah, Chris, that wasn’t the play. Like Jalen, you had handled the first part. You absorbed the assault even after spotting 5 – 6 inches and maybe 40 pounds. So you had options. You could have tried to square it up physically, which you wasn’t gonna try to do. Definitely not by yourself or during the telecast. We get that, too. The Jalen way is the way. Not all the time but on this occasion. Win at the microphone. You not off to the best start, but even with the delay, the Jalen way is still available. Remember, Will’s big move didn’t match his first reaction either. Chuckle. Chuckle.”

The wind refreshened. Boyd began taking his leave to allow his friend to go inside the shop. In parting, he offered, “Your logic is straightforward today, Semple. I follow you easily on this one. You know how confusing you can be.”

“Confusing, Boyd? Me? I imagine. Just don’t call me weak.”


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