Rudy Gobert reclined in the chair on his porch, sipping a small glass of chartreuse. In front of him stretched the expanses of his finely-cultivated Victorian garden. Here and there, a dazzling peacock would appear in a pathway, strutting self-assuredly. Rudy could see a few of his gardeners tending to the flora. Sometimes it was so hard to hire good help…
“Monsieur Gobert, I have retrieved the stats you have asked for!” came a high-pitched voice to Rudy’s left.
Rudy set down his glass of liqueur and looked to the side, where a large stack of printed documents had been placed on the table. “Remi, you fool! How many times do you need to be reminded, I have no use for such unwieldy amounts of paper!” Rudy swept the stack of paper to the ground, causing his assistant to squeal with panic and scramble to reorganize the disordered documents.
“Stop this nonsense, Remi!” Rudy commanded sternly. “Stop it at once!”
Eyes wide behind his glasses, Remi stood up straight, a few of the papers clutched haphazardly to his chest. “Sir, I beg your pardon, but these are the very stats you requested, and now you act as if they are not of interest to you.”
Shaking his head, Rudy pinched the bridge of his nose in his fingers. “It’s not that, Remi. The stats are of utmost importance. But, I gifted you a tablet computer not long ago, and much of your precious time would be saved if you used that instead of tabulating stats by hand. Do not forget that my ironing has gone neglected for three entire days. I am running out of suits to wear, so wrinkled and creased they have become.”
“I’m so sorry, Monsieur Gobert, so very sorry,” Remi said sadly, looking down at his feet. “I have the tablet with me right now, sir. I will look up the needed stats at once.” But Remi was clearly not used to doing things in this new way, and much time elapsed before he spoke again. Rudy resumed his admiration of the work of his gardeners. If Remi had not been so intently focused on the screen in front of him, he would also have asked for another glass of chartreuse, as his was empty.
“I have found the stats for Evan Fournier, sir,” Remi finally said, meekly looking up at his master.
“Tell me,” Rudy said, one long finger idly circling the rim of his glass.
“Fournier only managed to dunk nineteen times during the season, sir. He was limited by injuries, but this still is quite a pathetic number compared to your own total, sir.”
Rudy smiled. “What an ugly little man that Fournier is. It pleases me greatly to watch him struggle on that directionless team of his. Remi, please continue.”
There was a slight pause as the next player was brought up. “Alexis Ajinca fared somewhat better, sir, dunking 28 times. It is possible that he could raise that total, as the New Orleans team has qualified for the post-season, but he is unlikely to eclipse your monumental total for the season.”
Rudy laughed a hateful laugh. “Ajinca and I go way back. He has long thought himself to be the superior player, but that unfortunate misconception can now be put to rest. While we are similar in height, his diet is such that fat deposits cover his entire body like a newborn baby in a blanket! Besides, New Orleans is such a foul city. The real Orleans, jewel of France, should be embarrassed to share its name with such a sewer as that place.”
Remi nodded in agreement. “Very true, sir, very true indeed! I also have here the total for Nicolas Batum, if you would like to hear it.”
“Do not tease me, Remi! Rudy wishes to hear what you have to tell.”
“Batum mustered twenty dunks this season, pending the results of the playoffs,” Remi said. “A player known for his dynamic playmaking would be expected to make more, would he not?”
“He would,” Rudy concurred. “A violent and crass man, that Batum is. I do not like him. I believe there is one more player that I wanted to be informed of?”
Remi’s voice trembled with excitement. “Yes, sir, just one more. The fat man, Boris Diaw. You will be happy to learn that he could only conjure a singular, lone dunk out of his blubbery loins.”
Rudy began to laugh loudly, startling a peacock that had wandered close. “Do you know what that means, Remi?”
Shaking his head, Remi was silent.
“Why, my dull-witted little servant, that means that I am the best French basketball player who has ever lived! Now, bring out the fine champagne, and we shall celebrate!”