Carlisle turned, in surprise.
"Monta, the game's not for a couple hours! You're a bit early."
Monta smiled. "Better three hours too soon than a minute too late, coach."
"Absolutely. The trainer's over there, go get warmed up."
"My kingdom for a horse, right coach?"
But Monta had already moved on.
Soon, it was gametime. The first game of the season. Anticipation hung in the air like a flock of pigeons. Nervousness swelled like a tentative chord on a college freshman's guitar.
"I know some of y'all are new," Dirk said, in the pre-game huddle, "but you'll get used to things quick. Just play your game, step into your shots and run the offense, alright? And if you get mixed up, don't be afraid to ask."
"That's right," ‘Trix said.
"The valiant never taste of death but once," Monta said.
"I don't think I..." Calderon began, but the whistle blew. The other Mavericks looked at each other.
Soon they were into it. The thud of basketball on hardwood. Dirk got it in the high post, and the familiar noises began. "Right behind you, big man!" Wright shouted, letting the star power forward know he was open near the rim. "Trailing!" Jose shouted from the three-point arc.
"Once more into the breach dear friends, once more! Or, close the wall up with our English dead!"
Dirk stopped. "Does that mean like...are you cutting to the rim? Is that.." an opposing player poked the ball away and rushed downcourt for an easy layup. Dirk cursed.
"New guy's kinda weird, huh Dirk?" ‘Trix whispered. "I'm sure we'll get used to him" Dirk whispered back, but there was a worried look in his eyes.
At halftime, Monta interrupted Carlisle's halftime speech with something about being bound in a nutshell and having dreams. Then warned that the other team was about to get lit up "like when Birnham Wood came to Dunsinane". Then he asked if anyone else wanted a "fat capon" or a "flagon of ale". Then, gesturing towards VC's boombox, he demanded "some of that sweet food of love."
When it was all over, the Mavericks had lost, largely thanks to some poetry related miscues. Monta clapped Dirk on the shoulder. Dirk whirled on him, eyes angry. "Just don't! Okay! Just don't! What are you going to say, some weirdo quote? Just...keep it to yourself! Okay? Jesus!"
"I was just going to say there's always tomorrow..." Monta said, a hurt look in his eyes. Dirk looked at him, then sighed.
"I'm sorry, man. You know I got a new baby, I haven't been sleeping, you just...I'm sorry. We'll all get used to each other soon."
Monta nodded. "Tomorrow, man."
"It creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death."
"I am SERIOUSLY going to freak out on you right now, Monta."
"Alas, poor Yorick."
"I'm going to murder your face off."
Monta grinned. They'd learn to love him, eventually. Everyone did.
He had it all.