Fighting Shaq

Posted on August 13, 2010

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Fighting ShaqA few nights ago, I watched Shaquille O’Neal fight Sugar Shane Mosley. Not much of a fight, really. Knockouts are not allowed, and the rounds are only two minutes long (the 5th/last round was only a minute.) Most of it looked like a very large man abusing a retarded child. Mosley won by unanimous decision. As staged as this spectacle was, it made me realize that I don’t ever want to fight a guy as big as Shaq. I’d even worry that my 9mm isn’t adequate to drop a guy that big (no threat to the big guy; I’m a huge fan.) If this nightmare death match were to ever actually occur, it would probably go just like this:I was sitting in the club last night, when the DJ announced that “we have a superstar in the house tonight!” I looked up from my watered-down $7 Hennessey to see a crew of large, well-dressed black dudes walking in the door. The entire group seemed to be hovering around the man in the middle who towered above the rest of them. He wore an oversized royal blue tailored suit and matching derby. His shirt, hat trim, handkerchief, and socks were lavender. As they reached the VIP area, I realized that it was Shaquille O’Neal. He smiled and greeted people far more important than myself. I drained the remainder of my drink and ordered another, sorting through the few crumpled singles I still had. I went to take a piss.Being a miserable prick/15-year retail veteran/amateur facilities critic, I was sure to urinate next to the toilet and on the wall; soaked the whole corner.

(I do this from time to time to let club/bar/restaurant/store/gas station owners/managers know that I am silently critiquing and rewarding/punishing them for their restroom-cleaning efforts. If it’s clean when I walk in, I respect it and treat it well. If your restroom is marred by unimaginative/unoriginal/amateurish graffiti and smells like a sack of cat-piss-scented assholes, I GIVE you a reason to go in there after the place closes for the night and mop it. It is only okay to do this at places you don’t frequently patronize; only to complete strangers who seem like they have it coming.)I returned just in time to see the bartender completing my drink order. Service went further downhill when he saw my last seven crumpled dollars on the bar. He had added 1/4 inch of Henn to a dirty glass full of ice.  He turned and glared at me. His next insult was to carry my drink to the sink and fill it most of the way with tap water, staring at me the entire time. The worst part was, he used the warm water knob. Finally, this shiny-shirted bastard topped off my glass with a slight spritz of DIET cola for color and stirred the concoction with his middle finger. As he took my filthy money, I was suddenly glad that I couldn’t afford to tip him. (Hopefully HE would be the one to clean the restrooms later.) I decided:

“Damnit, I’m KZ. Shaq is about to find out that _I’M_ in the house tonight!”   

As drunk and stoned as I was, I had no business still being in the club. I should have been 86ed and placed in a homeward bound cab against my will three hours ago. As my confidence/distain for people far richer than me/poor self-esteem surged, I made a beeline for the VIP. I walked in slow-motion across the dance floor; well, the strobe lights/swaying crowd/pounding beat/free ecstasy pill made it seem like slow-motion. As it was still technically a “drink,” I sipped my cognac water and staggered through the room. When a dancing woman spilled my drink on my new knock-off Fendi flip-flops, I got side-tracked and nearly vented all my pent-up rage on her. My mind suddenly flashed a thought of the thick platinum chain Shaq was wearing on the way in. I simply walked away from that dancing bitch and went to find Mr. O’Neal. I spotted the VIP entrance about ten feet away, guarded by two 300+ pound goons in nice shoes. These guys immediately sized me up and decided (before I even spoke) that there was no way I was going to talk to the big man. I understand their position. At this range, I could see the grip of a stainless Beretta under the guy on the left’s tight shirt. Both of their torsos seemed bunched up with concealed body armor (funny how I was that faded and could still assess those crucial details.) Having peeked into the VIP room once on a past visit, I was relatively familiar with its layout. O’Neal would be on one of three black leather couches around the corner and five feet back. He would no doubt be flanked by a few hired ass-bruisers and club sluts. At 150 pounds, I knew that physical intimidation alone wouldn’t win me a face-to-face meeting. I had to think fast; I looked at the muscle mountain on the right and shouted,

“I have Mr. O’Neal’s money!”

I didn’t have my own money, let alone for any for Shaq. But keys open doors; and these dumb bricks were not about to fuck up their boss’ cash flow. My knockoff Gucci shades/Prada track suit/Armani ball cap must have done the job. Luckily, I didn’t have to check the time on my fake Rolex (discreetly spelled R-O-T-E-X,) flash my aluminum foil grill, or make it rain with board game (or photocopied if you’re a real player) money to convince them that I indeed had Shaq’s money. At this point, they must have thought that my 40 diamond chains were real (under black lights in the club, K-Mart costume jewelry makes one look iced out!) He told his pal,

“Roscoe, watch him. If he rush, break both his damn arms. Hold on.”

The flunkie turned and went into the room. I could smell some skunky dro in the air, and wanted in on it. I asked the armed human barrier, “Man that smells good. Hey, let me hold a joint? Just one, man; a pinner!” He responded

“Naw man…ain’t got none. I don’t do drugs.”

Lying bitch. I sipped my room-temperature Hennessy and smiled. I asked the bodyguard, “How are your gun-fighting skills tonight? You sharp?” As he leaned forward to choke me or go for his piece, his friend suddenly reappeared, surely saving my life. He gestured with his fingers for me to follow him. I attempted to pop my collar, as I had just been invited to VIP by Shaquille O’Neal. I realized that my shirt was missing two buttons, so it was not possible to do so. Oh well. As I was two paces from entering the promise land, I was brought to a halt by something ahead. Shaq himself had unassed himself from his soft, plush couch and come out to see what the commotion was. I stood face-to-chest with a basketball legend. Somehow, he had changed clothes in the past three minutes. His icy chain was still on, and at this distance, I noticed the piece hanging on it. It was a diamond-encrusted plaque that read, “I CRUSH HATERS.” (I recognized it from Johnny Dang’s website.) He said,

“You got my money, huh? How much; and for what?”

The ruse continued; he must have thought his funds were inside the fake Louis Vuitton bag on my back. Little did he know that the bag only contained a change of clothing, half a bagged lunch, and for some reason, shredded newspaper. I smirked, broke eye contact, and sipped my drink again. I replied,

“Shaq, if I did have money for you, it would be leaving with me tonight along with that watch and anything else you got.”

It took the big guy three full seconds to wrap his big-ass mind around what I’d just said. He immediately threw up both arms to stop the beat-down I had coming from the two now-advancing security guards. Shaq smiled and said,

“If you ain’t got my money, why are you here?”

I unloaded a lifetime of frustration on him, sounding a lot like the Madd Rapper:

“Mr. O’Neal, I don’t have shit. You have everything. I’m not a hater by a damn sight, but it pisses me off that I can’t find minimum wage work anymore, but athletes/celebrities/politicians are way over-paid, even when they perform poorly. I lived in Florida while you played in Orlando and Miami. I lived in Ohio while you played in Cleveland. How you could miss three consecutive lay-ups, from inside the paint, during a Playoff game, I’ll never understand. The dope game dried up, home invasions are too risky, and identity theft is hard. I’m trying my hand at extortion; starting here with you tonight. It’s time to start giving back to the hood, big man. Run your pockets, take off that shine, and take up a collection in that VIP before I get all Belly up in here.” Shaq was shocked by my undeserved sense of entitlement. He asked me,

“You just playing, right? What’s your name, man?”

To which I replied,“I am KZ, bitch. KZ Concepts. I do art and creative write-ups. You could be paying me tonight to coat a Bentley with unique king/queen/jack finish. Unfortunately, the world has yet to learn about my custom royalty art. Therefore, I’m here to take your shit. My money; yes or no?”Shaq said,

“Hell no, man. You want anything from me, you gonna have to get it after you drop me.”

I didn’t appreciate being denied funds, so I decided to push the envelope.

“Look All-Star, I’ll make you a wager. I will fight you for it. I’m going to beat you into a heap of bitch meat in front of all these people. Keep your goons out of it. If I win, I get that chain, all the cash you got on you tonight, and whatever you’re driving.

If I lose…well, I won’t. Be a man, accept my challenge, and only lose a small percentage. The financial hit will be worse if I follow you home and clean out your crib. Maybe meet the fam, you feel me?”There was now an audience. I lit a Newport and spit on the floor. Shaq must have picked up on how intoxicated I was; even I noticed how badly I was slurring throughout my speech. I could tell he didn’t appreciate me bringing his family into it. He smiled and said,

“My man, you are going to leave here in a bad way tonight. I ain’t no gangster so you ain’t getting dumped in the woods. You’ll be taken home AFTER I teach you simultaneous lessons in class, the value of hard work, and not mouthing off to strangers.”

I reminded him,“You ain’t a stranger, bitch! You’re Shaq…the guy who got all his shit took tonight after getting stomped out by KZ! My touch is a gift; I should bill you for the beating I’m about to give you!”

I was being super abrasive/belligerent/out of line. With that attitude, I _deserved_ to lose. After explaining to his people that he would handle it, Shaq turned back toward the VIP room and announced,

“Motherfucker, I’ll see you in the middle of that dance floor in three minutes. Don’t leave. I’m gonna show you how to dance.”

I was about to make the obvious gay joke at his expense when he shouted,

“No homos!”

 He disappeared into the VIP. As he had just taken mine, I wrestled to come up with a new insult. After a minute had passed, a club employee reminded me that I had a fight now two minutes away. I ordered a bottle of Louie 13 and told them to put it on Shaq’s tab. They didn’t. Instead, the dickhead behind the bar poured a shot of bottom-shelf Mr. Boston vodka and brought it to me. He started me a new tab, of course. (You’d think that fighting Shaq would earn you a free drink, but no.) I slammed the shot and tried to pocket the shot glass. He caught me and demanded it back. As I handed it to him, the asshole bartender said,

“Bro, you bit off more than you can chew. You ate the whole turkey, and are about to choke. Do you realize what’s going on right now?”

I told him,

“I got this. When I’m done with him, I’m coming looking for you for watering down my drink. Go fuck your dead mother.”

I turned my back on him and attempted to mentally prepare myself for the fight. However, my side talk with this table-wipe had eaten up my remaining pre-fight two minutes. Shaq suddenly reappeared. He was flanked by all the parasites who had been pole-jocking him in the VIP. At least fifty people came out of there; I had no idea the room could accommodate all those people. I wondered if the fire inspector would be making his rounds tonight.Shaq had taped up his knuckles and put his rings back on! He had also changed clothes again. This massive man went from wearing a suit, to street clothes, to a super hero costume! I decided to dismiss it as mind-games he was trying to play. Having played “Shaq Fu” on the Super Nintendo ten years ago, I felt I was already pretty in tune with his range of moves. I had played AS him; how could I possibly lose TO him? In the game, I was defeating monsters; one mortal man would be a cinch. I wondered if we would be taking it outside, as these types of events typically migrate outdoors to circumvent rules and shit getting broken inside. I was quickly informed that Shaq himself OWNED the club. He was willing to renovate if necessary to avoid witnesses/paparazzi/police seeing/recording/breaking up the fight. Fine with me; now I was really glad I had peed on the bathroom floor. Shaq was now in front of me again. Standing this close to a giant man is like standing dangerously close to a horse. It makes you kind of uneasy. I slid my pack of Newports into my right pocket, cleverly giving me a way to slide my fingers around the pair of brass knuckles inside. As I realized they were not in my pocket, my opponent calmly asked,

“Sup player? You looking for these right here? You left them in the restroom.”

He was holding my brass knuckles. (I knew they were mine, because I had carved kings and queens all over them; they looked tight!) Shaq said,

“You know it’s illegal to carry these in this state? I’m a sworn police officer; I could arrest you for this. I could already arrest you for a lot of things tonight. You solicited marijuana from my security staff. Roscoe doesn’t do that stuff, and neither do I; even though they did name Sour Diesel for me. Why you drag Roscoe into this? He don’t have nothing to do with this. I’m about to beat you like you owe me money. Any last words?”

If anyone would be arrested, it should be him for dropping that first CD! I recognized that the deck was stacked against me 52-0. The only way I would come through this unscathed would be to fight dirty. I took a breath as if I were about to say something, and immediately kicked at his nuts. Shaq’s tall; I had to jump to connect, but squarely connect I did! Unfortunately, my toe got hurt worse than his crotch. I was puzzled.

“Oh, we got a dirty fighter, huh? You like to hit below the belt before we even start, huh? Bulletproof nut-cap. I’m the man of steel, bitch!”

 He also tried to give me one last chance at backing out.

“You sure you want to go through with this? You’re seriously about to get hurt. Call it a night. Don’t even worry about apologizing. Just go home and sleep it off. My people will get you a taxi. No harm, no foul. You’re pretty drunk and probably not thinking clearly.”

Like a true hard-headed jackass, I snarled back,

“You scared? You realize I’m gonna bring you down a few pegs in front of these broads? I’ll bet your drink ain’t watered down, you rich son of a bitch! How your nuts feel? You wanna go? Cause we’ll go!”

 Shaq sighed. Like the true class act he was, he immediately addressed my “broads” remark,

“You think it’s cool to come out here and disrespect these lovely ladies? Disrespect my friends and me? Fine. We’ll go. By the way, I know that’s been you peeing on the floor in the men’s room. You think that’s funny? Somebody has to mop that each time. When I get done here, you’re going in to clean that stall.”

Without admitting anything, I quickly attacked him again. When I dropped my smokes into my pocket, I had palmed my trusty KZ Burner; a custom Bic lighter. Without considering the consequences of doing so, I hurled it up at his head. The beautifully-lacquered lighter struck his temple, corner-first. It bounced off his dome and disappeared into the crowd. They began chanting,

“SHAQ! SHAQ! SHAQ!”

I could nearly see the steam come out of his ears. His kind-hearted smile wrinkled into a mean mug and a pulsing vein began showing on his forehead. With lightning speed, Shaq reached out and grabbed me by the shirt. I expected to take a punch or two, so I decided to taunt him instead of fighting back. I screamed,

“Rape! Hey everyone, Shaq’s got his hands on a dude! Eew!”As he gripped my wrinkled shirt collar with his left, Shaq cocked back and released a right at my face. He punched my nose flat. Blood squirted from both nostrils. I glanced at the mirror on the wall and realized that I now had one large nostril, still gushing blood. Obviously intending to use a wide assortment of moves, Shaq released my shirt and shoved me against the mirror I was looking at. The mirror shattered and I fell. Glass and insults rained down upon me. Somebody in the crowd threw their Grey Goose & cranberry on me. I wish they’d saved it for the break between rounds. Blood and cranberry juice stained the entire front of my wife beater. As I tried to stand, Shaq kicked his big-ass size 22+ foot toward me, pinning the side of my head to the wall. Somehow, he managed to use his other foot to deliver about ten kicks to my rib cage. He dropped me to the floor, but didn’t back off. He put me in a head lock; the kind that finds his every bicep-flex choking you. He was still wearing his wrist watch, and put it in front of my face and said,

“You still want this? You still gonna take it? This is a limited edition C.I.A rose gold Perpetual Oyster. It has a pull-out garrote. I’ve put 200 carats in the band alone. President Obama gave me this watch. You still want to take it? I could kill you with it!”

As God had previously deemed it necessary for me to go through my adult life without hair, Shaq pulled me to a standing position by my scalp. In all the commotion, I had failed to notice that he had managed to change clothes again. It must be some Jedi mind trick. When this drunk, you rely on ONE identifiable outfit to recognize people. When I turned to the crowd to find my costumed nemesis, Shaq (now dressed as a genie,) shattered a champagne bottle across my face. I spit out two teeth and opened my eyes. I wiggled with my tongue and spit one more. I spat, and blood ricochet off Shaq’s left foot. I pointed and laughed at him, realizing that custom-made blue silk genie shoes were probably not cheap; and I had just ruined his.

“That movie sucked. I can’t believe you sold out like that!”

He angrily shot back,“You just set me back $240. You got THAT money, too? And Kazaam was funny. People liked it. It was for the kids. It had a good message.”Of course I didn’t have his money, so Shaq went off on me again. This time, he open-palm slapped me across the cheek bone; right on that special spot that is sure to bruise if it’s even tapped. This wouldn’t have been so bad, but he still had his rings on and everyone had seen it. His NBA rings were turned inward and split my cheek open. The big man tore away his genie garb and was wearing a pinstripe Armani vest and tie. Before I could compliment him on his keen fashion sense, he struck again. Shaq threw up a peace sign which made the crowd erupt in applause. Then, he used the peace sign to jab my eyeballs like I was a Stooge. Even though his nails were expertly manicured, he still managed to open up a deep cut on each eyeball. Every hole on my face was now bleeding. I stumbled around helplessly as I tried to wipe the blood from my eyes. It took a few minutes, so Shaq grabbed the microphone and made a toast to the crowd:

“I want to thank you all for coming out to Club Super tonight. We have had a bit of unpleasantness tonight, but that problem will be solved momentarily. With that in mind, have a good night, tip your bartenders and servers, and drive safely tonight. If you are a bit tipsy, just let someone know and we’ll have a limo take you home safely. Cause drinking and driving is bad news, y’all. Texting while you drive, too. It ain’t worth it. Let me get back to this, folks…”He passed the mic back to the DJ, who introduced Shaq’s surprise musical guests, Fu Schnickens (how cool is that? I have not heard these guys in years!) Even during this fight, Shaq has been nothing but a class act. It’s hard to hate a guy like that. Even then, I was getting first aid at a makeshift tent Shaq’s people had set up for the event, should anybody (I) need it. A team of personal chefs were busy assembling a post-fight barbecue spread. I was hungry as a hostage and it smelled great! When I was finally visually able, I put my cigarette out in my nearly-empty glass and was ready to go again. I grabbed the glass, poured it out, and gripped it as a weapon. I turned to Shaq, who was now mingling with beautiful people in designer clothing. Somehow, he was now dressed like Raiden from Mortal Kombat. I was speechless. The situation went from confusing to downright creepy when I glanced down at my own clothes. While I was blinded, someone must have dressed me up as Reptile. My original outfit had been dry cleaned, and was hanging neatly wrapped on a hanger. I yelled,

“Those jeans better have extra starch, or I’m going to cripple you, you big free-throw-missing machine!”For some reason, Shaq took this insult _really_ personally. Before I had a chance to react, he harnessed the power of lightning and fired a bolt at me. Defying physics, he fell through the floor, and dropped from the ceiling to kick me again. By now, I was pretty low on stamina. I was about to collapse from blood loss, and swayed back and forth. In a sinister voice, the DJ yelled,

“FINISH HIM!”Since he called the shots, not the DJ, Shaq sipped his scotch rather than ripping my head off. He hyped up the crowd again by tossing out some free T-shirts. This gave me a moment to recover. Seeing that I was still alert and upright, Shaq politely gave me fair warning that another assault was imminent.

“You ready? I’m going to punch you horizontal.” As promised, Shaq walked up to me and punched me with his massive left fist. That hand had a four-finger ring on it. The blow knocked me airborne. I tilted backwards, and hovered for a few seconds in midair. I landed hard on my back with a 3-inch Superman logo stamped between my eyes. I thought I was seeing birds Looney Tunes style; turns out it was a flock of doves Shaq released in support of our troops. The crowd went wild. I pried my eyeballs from the back of their sockets and focused on my attacker. Suddenly, the rules changed. Shaq had knocked me right out of my flip-flops. My socked toes were pointed toward the disco ball. This was really embarrassing; I was wearing socks with holes in them (yes, with flip-flops.) Shaq pulled a small pistol from a small-of-back holster. He racked the slide and chambered a round. From the large bore, I judged it to be a compact .45. It had a large aftermarket sight mounted on it. Before I could compliment him on his great taste in firearms, Shaq spoke:“This is a special gun. You have to be a cop to get one. The bullets are coated with a fast-acting paralysis agent. I will shoot off your baby toe from here and disable you at the same time. It’s gotta be the baby toe; for the babies. My agent just told me that if I make this shot, the league will donate $20,000 in my name to Toys for Tots. Great cause, isn’t it? You don’t want to take money from the kids, do you?”  As a matter of fact I did. To hell with those kids! Are those kids going to pay for my hospital stay when he knocks me into a coma? I squirmed to avoid it, but Shaq is an excellent shot. As I took a breath to object, he fired.

BAM!

My baby toe was gone. Great shot, Shaq. The venom-soaked bullets had now completely paused my central nervous system. My bowels released. While it clearly sucks to shit your pants in front of a crowd, I was happy that I had done so in his Reptile Costume rather than in my own outfit. Shaq added insult to injury by standing over me with the Reptile costume on a hanger. Out of sheer frustration, I cried out,

“How do you keep doing that!?”

Shaq smirked and said,

“You ruined your draws, player. Here. These will get you home.”He dropped a clean pair of little boy’s Kazaam briefs on my face. No matter how mad I was, I appreciated the gesture. That’s “bro-code” shit. (Note to self: When I get home, wash these and sell them on Ebay. Try not to sit between now and then.) Sensing that the food was nearly done, Shaq came back to ask me if I’d had enough.

“You done yet? I’ve beat your ass for four hours straight. You’ve been humiliated, out-classed, blinded, paralyzed, beaten video game style, made to go doo-doo in your pants, and videotaped for Youtube. Have you learned respect and humility yet? We have some amazing ribs on the grill. You want a plate? Got all the fixin’s, too.”

By now, I accepted that Shaq had beat me fair and square; his riches would be going home with him…this time. Deep down, I knew that I was wrong from the beginning. When this drunk, it can be difficult to form the words to admit when you’re wrong. Just by looking at me, Shaq knew I was sorry. We spoke man-to-broken man. He said,

“Look man, I didn’t get where I am today without a lot of hard work. I’m sure your art business has a bright future. Just stay grinding’ and I’m sure you’ll be a huge success. I know a few guys on the team who would pay to have you coat their rides with playing card art. That’s fresh and original. You’re strong-willed, drew an impressive royalty scene on my bathroom wall, and if you were not so drunk, you’d probably strike me as intelligent. You have balls for ever thinking you could ever take me on. I’m going on home; I’ve got to dedicate a new church to villagers in Central America with Oprah in the morning. I’m going to read my kids a bedtime story and give my beautiful wife that sweet, sweet loving. I’m sure in due time, you’ll be doing the same. Send me a message on Twitter next week. You can start by painting the car I’m driving tonight. It’s a throw-away, so if you suck at what you do, it won’t matter. The job pays five grand. I will however, pay you in rolled change so the boys can laugh at you while you spend it. My friend, you are prime for embarrassing Youtube videos!”

Shaq helped me up and shook my hand. It took a life-threatening ‘super assault’ to open my eyes, but at that point, we understood each other. Once everything had been said, Shaq side-stepped through the crowd to avoid being spotted talking to me. I staggered toward the door to leave. As I walked toward the door, I glanced over at Shaq. He was getting congratulatory pats on the back and fist bumps. Without speaking, Shaq looked up at me. He smirked one last time and tapped two fingers against his breast pocket. Realizing what he meant, I reached down into my own pocket. Shaq had given back my brass knuckles and slipped me a $20 bill. I turned back, unsure what to do next. Somehow, Shaq had appeared in front of me. He said,

“That’s a down payment on the paint job. You ever throw a lighter at me again, I’ll pay Sir Richard Branson to take your ass on a private trip to space and leave you there, you dig? Now get in that bathroom and clean it. There are supplies and a mop bucket in there. I want to be able to eat barbecue off that bitch.”

I did as I was told. When I entered the men’s room, I found my sandals lying in the garbage can, and a pair of brand new Shaq shoes and clean socks on the counter. I reemerged 30 minutes later beaming with pride. I had taken great care to do a good job. With $20 burning a hole in my pocket, I considered my recent financial windfall. I would use this $20 for drinks and bus fare for two. It was time to find a woman to take home before the lights go out!

(Big ups to Shaquille O’Neal for being such a good sport. If you had to leave us in Cleveland, thank you for doing so gracefully. Best of luck in Boston…)

-KZ 

 

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