Searching for Andre Dawkins

SCENE: 10 P.M., FRIDAY NIGHT. INSIDE THE PENTHOUSE OF A HOTEL ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF ATLANTA.

The man took a long drag from his cigarette and exhaled.  It would be another long night of questions from the man-in-charge.  This late in the season, though, he was used to it.

“What’s the status?”

“Nothing new, sir.  We thought going to Atlanta would bring us closer to finding him, but our intel must have been wrong.”

The man tapped his cigarette twice before bringing it to his lips.  He paused for a second.

“Something might show up tomorrow.  But I think our best hope will be Charlotte in a week or so.”

The man-in-charge sneered.

“Dammit, James.  You’ve been saying that for weeks.”

“I know, sir. I’m sorry, sir.”

“I hope you know how important this is.  We need to find him.  We need to use him.”

“I’m very aware, sir.”

“Then do something, dammit! We’re running out of time.”

“He is known to disappear like this, sir.  He was with us in Madison Square Garden before disappearing and reappearing in Maui without a trace.  He slinkered off after the St. John’s game and wasn’t found for weeks.  You know this is how he is, sir.”

The man-in-charge spun around in his chair and glared.  He wasn’t about to listen to this drivel much longer.  He stood and walked to his hotel window overlooking the Atlanta skyline.  Chick-Fil-A billboards filled his vision.  He craved for a char-grilled sandwich, but he knew it would have to wait.  This was too important.

There was a knock at the door.

“Answer it.”

Nate James put out his cigarette, then walked to the door and opened it.  It was Jeff Capel, the greenhorn.  He entered with a nod to James, then spoke.

“You called me here–”

“Yes, yes, I know, I called you here.  Now sit down, Capel–we have a task for you.  Capel, you remember a player for us named Andre Dawkins, don’t you?”

“Yes, sir, he was quite–”

“Capel, when I ask you a question, I only want to hear ‘Yes, sir’ or ‘No, sir,’ OK?”

“Certainly–I mean, yes, sir.”

“Good.  Now, Andre Dawkins–he was part of a dying breed.  A dead-eye shooter with athleticism to boot.  One of the most dangerous to ever walk on the Atlantic Coast.  He put the ball in the basket like no other–he had a jump shot you could make sweet, sweet love to.  When he rose in the air, three points were a guarantee.”

“Yes, sir.”

“From time to time, he would put on a performance that would last from pregame to the final buzzer.  A symphony of sorts.  It was assumed he could shoot like this for hours, days, even weeks.  A rowdy band of his even took to chanting ‘Dre All Day’ during such exhibitions.  You remember this?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Unfortunately, these performances were nothing but a tease.  That Dawkins up and left after a showdown in Tallahassee.  No one knows why–maybe he got an offer in the Cuban league and jumped ship.  It’s unclear what exactly happened.”

“So then, where is he–”

“Capel, Capel.  So young and naive.  If we knew where he was we’d have tracked him down by now.  We’re Duke.  We have this type of power.”

“Sorry, sir.”

“Point is, that homeless man who’s been wearing number 20 these past four games isn’t getting the job done, and frankly, I think people are starting to catch on.  He’s scored three in four games, and they were all against Wake.  That doesn’t even count–Paulus could have scored three against Wake.  He’s killing our team.  We need the real Dawkins back.”

“So what should we–”

The man-in-charge put up his hand for silence.

“James, please show Capel why he’s here.”

Finally, the man had something to do.  He reached into his back pocket and retrieved the item that had spawned this investigation.  The man cleared his throat.

“Mr. Capel, do you know what these are?”

“I’ve only really seen them in film, coach, but are those what I think they–”

“Yes, Mr. Capel, these are ‘3-goggles.’  And not just any ‘3-goggles,’ but–”

“Dawkins’ ‘3-goggles.'”

“Yes, Mr. Capel.  Perhaps a relic from Friday’s pre-game antics, or maybe just from a halftime shoot-around.  Tests are being run on them as we speak.”

“So, Mr. James, does this mean Dawkins is in the area?”

The man had to smirk to himself.  The greenhorn was catching on.

“That’s what we’re here to find out.  That’s why we called you in here.  The trail is hot, and we have to stay on it as close as we can.  I know this is a lot of responsibility for you, especially in your first year here, but we feel you’re up to the task.”

“Wow, I–I don’t know what to say.  I’m deeply honored.  When do we start?”

The man-in-charge chuckled.

“You start now, Capel.  Time is of the essence–I’m sure you’re aware of the tournament we have next week?  The plan is to locate him this weekend in Atlanta, kidnap him, and then bring him in tow with us to Charlotte.  Difficult, yes.  Improbable, yes.  Impossible, no.  Are you up to the task, Capel?”

“I think so–”

“Capel, I need you to know so.  Are you up to the task?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good.  You and James hit the trail tonight.  You will eat, breathe, and sleep the life of Andre Dawkins until you locate him and can bring him into Phillips Arena.  Let me–again–reiterate how important this is: this team is completely different when it has the purest shooting guard in the conference from when it has the aforementioned homeless man doppelganger.  Dawkins makes this team a Final Four contender instead of a second-round knockout.  We need him, plain and simple.  Godspeed, gentlemen.”

The man and Capel headed for the door.  It would be another long night.  The man needed to give his wife a call, let her know he wouldn’t be coming back till late.  She wouldn’t be happy with him, and he’d need to explain again exactly why he had to–

“Mr. James, what happens when we find him?”

They were at the elevator.  Capel’s question had brought him back to reality.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, once we find him, can’t we just make sure he never leaves again?”

The man shook his head in disbelief–he hadn’t signed up for this rodeo, and he didn’t want to get stuck with no clown, neither.

“Listen, kid.  I’ve been doing this for three years.  Dawkins comes and goes as he pleases.  You can’t stop the process.  After a while, you just consider it part of the job.”

Capel was silent for a while.  This message seemed to harrow him just the slightest bit.

“Will we find him by tomorrow’s game?”

The greenhorn was getting on the man’s nerves now, but he had to admire his pluck.

“Well, Capel, it’s certainly not a layup.  It’s more like a half-court buzzer-beater.  You hope and you pray, but ultimately, you just don’t know with Dawkins.  Sometimes it swishes–”

“And sometimes it rims out.”

“Exactly.”

The doors to the elevator opened.  It was empty.  They entered, hit the button for the ground floor, and sped downwards.

It was showtime.  The night was young, and the hunt for Dawkins was on.

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5 Responses to Searching for Andre Dawkins

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  1. exceptional. thank you, so much.

  2. Donald Cary says:

    This article is a joke. Andre Dawkins does not need to be located. The coaching staff needs to show more confidence in him. He is constantly pulled from games if he misses 1 or 2 shots in a row. The coaches need to give him a chance to find himself.

    1. philip mintz says:

      the coaching staff is not at fault, decent defense, as in today’s game is the reason. He cannot create a shot, doesn’t move well without the ball and cannot defend on the perimeter. He is just the epitome of Duke’s flaws this season and why the team will not make it past next weekend. The upsetting thing is next year will be worse as we have another 6’3″ recruit. If shabazz doesn’t come we will be hoping for a repeat of this year.

  3. William Gunter says:

    The coaching staff is where Dawkins was lost just look behind the bench and the NBA dad’s club resides we can’t pull them out they can go 2 – 17 or other un duke like numbers bu are left in so we can watch big time circus shots that K would never allow except for the pack with the NBA devil instead of the blue devils the USA Basketball insiders. If he want’s to bring us back get the suits off the bench and go recruit som players hand them a visa card and tell them not to come back until they have a singed letter of intent don’t come home the hall of famer does not need the ass kissers on the bench he can handle that assignment what are the other suits doing bed check they are not building confidence in our players like Dawkins!!!!!!!!!

  4. They didn’t find him.

    He should have transferred a long time ago.

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