D’AULAIRES’ BOOK OF MEMPHIS MYTHOLOGIES: Marc Gasol, the Watchman of Memphis

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Lakers

In the Time after Time, but before the Grindhouse, but definitely after the Time of Pau, but still not quite in the Time that Matters, was that other time that became known as the Time of the Purge, or as the Cleansing, or as the Abolition, or the Coup, or the Expulsion, or the Liquidation, or the Cleanup, or, better yet, the Crushing. Yeah, in the Time after Time that became known as the Time of the Crushing two brothers who were not yet brothers came to the place atop Big Country’s skull and taught the world how to grit and how to grind.

When the Black Mamba took Pau hostage, he left his eye in a poplar tulip, and from the knot where he left his eye blood ran down the tree’s bark. Then, before he lost his head, the wise sage Hubie Brown had leaned into the tree and breathed into the knot. Seeing Hubie make out with the hardwood really freaked Pau out so he commenced to chopping off Hubie’s head and placing it in a wooden bucket before retreating to the Painted Area of the Farthest West of the farthest west. Little did Pau or anyone else know, however, that Hubie’s strange passions were indeed magical acts. From the knot where Hubie had kissed the tree, a bearded face that saw the world as Pau saw the world took shape. And this face was called Marc Gasol, the Watchman of Memphis.

He was called the Watchman because he dreamed that Idris Elba would one day play him in a movie and because he was the keystone in the defense of the Painted Area. And his eyes could see to the ends of the world and back. And his ears heard every blade of grass bending in the Big Country.

He was not called the All-father because he was a tree that devoured its own children. When fruit with faces grew on his branches, he would pluck them down with his arms that used to be branches and ask them their names. A rotten apple might answer, “Javaris Crittenton.” Or a bruised banana might answer, “Kwame Brown.” But, no matter, Marc’s response was always the same—he devoured them. And so, in hindsight, the Crushing had begun.

With each fruit Marc Gasol, the Watchman of Memphis, devoured the more his bark became skin, his leaves hair, and his roots legs. Soon he was as big as a tree, but able to move like a god. And, in kind, he became lonely and therefore longed for companionship; after all, he had been formed by parts—the eye and blood of his brother and the breath of his brother’s sage. These were great gifts, but they also caused him to never feel whole.

So in that Time of times that became known as the Time of the Crushing there was an even briefer time that became known as the Waiting.

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