Life had gotten significantly more luxurious, Rudy Gobert decided, since he had a sofa placed on the porch. Now, he could recline in the cool shade, just a stone’s throw from the entrance to his expansive Victorian garden. A ceiling fan ensured that the proper amount of breeze was directed towards his face at all times, and a bottle of Romanée-Conti, acclaimed the world over as the finest product of France’s prolific vineyards, waited on the end table. Next to the wine was a delicate plate of pungent, crumbly blue cheese, paired with water crackers. Life could truly not get any better.
“Monsieur Gobert!” squeaked a voice from behind him, causing Rudy to scowl at the harsh noise. “I have brought up on this screen the stats that you asked for.”
Rudy, annoyedly, raised himself from his reclined position just enough to see his bumbling servant, Remi, brandishing a tablet computer with two hands. “Remi, come closer to me and please use a softer voice. You are disturbing my lovely peacocks.”
“Sorry, sir, so very sorry!” Remi whispered. “I will try very much to keep quieter from now on!” He trotted meekly towards the sofa, still holding the tablet in front of him. Halfway to his destination, however, he tripped on an uneven floorboard, and as he stumbled the tablet escaped from his grasp and tumbled to the floor.
“Oh no!” Remi exclaimed, forgetting his master’s request for quiet. “Such a generous gift, and here I’ve gone and dropped it on the ground, so clumsy is poor little Remi, so very, very clumsy,” he chastised to himself. Picking up the device and tapping its buttons, his face became even more downcast. “Monsieur Gobert…I fear I have broken it. It does not turn on.” The short-statured, rat-faced man seemed near tears.
Rudy sighed impatiently. “It’s fine, Remi. We can address it later. For now, you can use my phone to access the stats I require.” He fished his iPhone out from his pocket, placed it on the nearby table, and reclaimed his fully-reclined position. “But, please, for the love of god, do not pick it up in your hands. I have not forgotten the instance where a bowl of hot bouillabaisse was dropped onto my lap. There is a reason you are not trusted to help me rearrange my statues and paintings.”
Remi looked pained as he remembered how furious his master had been when the hot seafood soup had been dumped upon him. Amid a chorus of soft “sorry”s, Remi knelt at the end table and resumed his searches. However, the small screen was perplexing to him, and it was many minutes before he finally spoke up again. “Sir, I have brought up the totals for Joffrey Lauvergne, if you would like to hear what that vile impostor has been getting up to.”
Grinning while sipping on his newly-poured glass of wine, Rudy was glad that his inept footman had at least developed a proper hatred for other French players. “Yes, Remi. Tell me.”
“The man Lauvergne only dunked 37 times during the entire season, sir,” Remi announced. “How pathetic.”
“Pathetic indeed,” Rudy concurred. “Go on.”
There was some scrambling on Remi’s part to bring up the next number. “Ian Mahinmi, sir. He was allowed just as large a role as you were, despite his obvious inferiority. His paltry total of 52 dunks is a stark indictment of his basketball skill.”
Rudy nodded thoughtfully. “Yes. I have long considered him to be among the least notable of the French players. I believe there is one more player who I requested the dunk numbers of?”
“Yes, Monsieur, just one more. I have his total right here.” Remi covered his mouth with his hand and lightly giggled to himself while looking at the screen.
“Do not delay with childish games, Remi. Continue.”
“You will not believe it, sir. Axel Toupane, the rookie, only dunked it one time during the entire season.”
Rudy allowed himself a brief chuckle. “That man is truly worthless, and his face is displeasingly rectangular in shape, as if he has been fed a steady diet of steroids since his birth.” He took another small sip of wine, savoring its sublime taste and exquisite bouquet. “It does not surprise me that his soon-to-end NBA career contains just one dunk. Thank you, Remi.”
“My pleasure, sir, always such a pleasure to serve you!” Remi said happily. Then, his eye fell on the broken tablet, and his happiness was swiftly extinguished. “But, your gift to me, which I have so foolishly broken, so foolish Remi is…”
“I will have it repaired,” Rudy said. “And when it is fixed, I will acquire for it a heavily-padded case so that even your maladroit tendencies cannot damage it. Now, please, return to my ironing! It has been neglected for three days now.”
Remi scurried off to do as his master commanded, and Rudy was again left alone. The stats he had been furnished had pleased him greatly, for they indicated one thing very clearly: there was no reasonable contender, other than Rudy himself, for the title of greatest French basketball player.