“In Detroit, it was horrible for me, a nightmare.” That’s the scary sound emanating from the trembling lips of the big Serbian formerly known as a Piston big. Thank god, the nightmare's over, his words not mine. But I had a bad dream too. My dream was full of floating decimal points and I kept seeing this ham like fist wrapping itself around wads of my cash. In my dream the room is hazy with stale cigarette smoke and I’m dressed up like a human cigar, a big tasty Macanudo. My ears are burning and faintly, ever so faintly I can hear Larry Brown’s voice, “Sit down you stupid bastard!” Then I woke up, drenched in cheap sweat, and I remembered I’m not getting 50k a night to play professional b-ball. It’s 2:45 in the morning. I’m sucking down my third Bavarian beer in an hour, it’s a Heineken knock-off. Looking out the window I can see my used Ford with the re-built tranny in the driveway. The remaining few hairs on my head are standing straight up at attention, each weak-kneed strand lying to me, pretending it’ll still be up there in the morning. My eyes are watery and red, real damn red. The calculator on my lap is pissing me off. It won’t give me the answer I want, the one that makes sense. I’m trying to rationalize the cost of a nightmare in today’s world. Here’s the gist of my late night angst, back in September of 2003, Joe Dumars inked the young Darko to a four year deal worth $16,815,062. Leaving the playoff games on the cutting room floor, my calculator says Blondie suited up for 223 games as a Piston. His contract was weighted, meaning each successive year he earned more than the previous one. My late night math indicates the big mans contract for 82 regular games this season was $4,135,200 or $50,429 per game. I’m a little queasy. Since last October he tugged those shorts over his big unmotivated ass in 59 games, he ham fisted $2,975,326. Let’s carry this spooky story a little further, over the roughly 30 months he was in Detroit, his 223 games cost the Pistons $10,436,556. He took home an average check of $46,800 after each game. That scares the hell out of me. In my world of cheap beer and used Fords I either give it my all or someone else comes and gets it. When I took my job I sat across from one serious cat, he said “The job pays this and you got to do that.” I wanted the money, I said yes. That’s the deal. It’s a simple one. Nightmare in Detroit? At $60 grand a year it would take me 166 years to earn what they paid him before his 21st birthday. What can’t be grasped about that basic concept? I pry the sticking Barco-loungers pleather off the bottom of my thigh and head back to the kitchen for one last beer. The big mans words, “horrible nightmare” is reverberating in my head. I’ve watched him in Orlando in the last couple games and its clear to me he sandbagged us. He ripped us off. He was pulling a Vince Carter job. He was working at not working for $50k a night. All week on different blogs and forums I’ve been reading the apologists, “he never got the chance” and “I wish him well in Orlando.” You know what I say? I hope he chokes on one of those big Florida oranges because he’s nothing more than a dry-gulching piss ant. He stole our money. He lied to us. We paid for his “A” game and he gave us a sandbag filled with stinking cat litter. We gave him 10 million bucks and he gave us the shaft. He flat out rim rolled us. Wish him luck? Personally, I don’t care about the damn ’03 draft. I don’t care about Carmello Anthony or Chris Bosh. I don’t care that Joe was blindsided by our less than stellar scouts or that his drafting capability rivals Anna Kournikova’s tennis career. The guy in the uniform cashing that big check still owed us something, an honest effort. A hard night’s work for a good nights pay, instead we were slow ladled stinking Serbian fish head soup. Its 3:10 in the morning and my sheets are still damp. Crawling back into bed, I’m going to try visualizing my dreams, good dreams that aren’t adorned in thick white political correctness. Solid mid-western blue collar dreams about new trucks and hair so thick it has to be combed with a sawed off yard rake. I’m going to dream about snaps and pops and ankles. I’m going to dream about 10 million rusty lead bone screws and a national anesthesia shortage….