“Honey, can you help me with my bow tie?” Greg calls to his wife, his cold and clammy hands unable to twist the blasted piece of ribbon into the correct shape.
“Give me one sec! I’m getting the baby sitter set up with the kids!” His wife replies.
She trudges up the stairs a few moments later, hands wrapped delicately around Greg’s neck as she coaches him through the night’s plan. “What’s the plan for this evening’s affair, sweetie?” She asks.
Greg is all too aware of his wife’s delicate hands wrapped around his neck as he gives his reply. “We’re going to go to the charity auction, but we’re not going to bid anything. The $20,000 book advance is for the kids’ college funds, not anything else. Don’t bid on anything…” Before Greg is able to finish answering, Mrs. Wissinger interrupts.
“Exactly! We can’t afford to waste this cash on something frivolous…”
“…Unless something really cool comes up for sale!” Greg finishes his wife’s sentence triumphantly.
“NO! NO BIDDING AT ALL! NOTHING! NADA! ZERO! ZIP!”
“Okay, okay. I get it. No bidding.” Greg replies in submission.
“Thank you.” Mrs. Wissinger says, unaware of the deceptive nature of Greg’s tone.
I earned that money. That book advance never happens unless I’m almost killed and almost imprisoned when Liam was kidnapped. Tim and I worked hard to co-author our masterpiece, Neeson and I: A friendship not worth dying for: a non-fiction account of the Liam Neeson kidnapping, Wissinger trial, and ongoing investigation into Neeson’s disappearance, a story told by Greg Wissinger and Tim Maxwell, best of friends. I can’t believe Akis called the title wordy and wanted to change it. Greg continues his thoughts. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my many, many, many years on this planet, it’s to always trust Tim’s opinions. He’s never had a bad take, despite those nasty Andrew Wiggins rumors that never seem to die down.
Greg’s internal dialogue occupies him through the drive and its conclusion coincides with his arrival at the venue. A sweaty, long-haired galoot of a valet jogs to his door. “May I take your car, sir? My name’s Bryant and I’ll be taking care of your vehicle for the evening”
“Thank you, sir. May I ask you a question?”
“What are your thoughts on Naz, or Admiral, or Tako, or Iggy?”
Mystified by the attendants rambling, Greg quickly ushers his wife away without bothering to respond. “What a sad shell of a man.” He says to his wife. “And did you smell his apricot cologne? Pathetic.” Mrs. Wissinger agrees.
The power couple strides into the venue, dazzled by the sheer opulence before them. An attendant awaits them, a curiously bearded creature sporting a nametag of Richard, who guides them to their table. Moments later, the largest man Greg has ever seen approaches their seats. A thick Polish accent muddles the seven-footer’s words as he introduces himself. “My name is Kevin Gortat and I’ll be your server tonight. Would you care for a drink?” The Wissingers order their beverages and enjoy a luxurious four-course dinner over the next hour, but Greg’s taste buds barely brush the delicacies. His heart is in another place, for the bidding will soon begin.
As soon as the dessert plates are cleared, an auctioneer approaches the podium at the front of the vast space. He raps his gavel quickly, almost as quickly as Greg’s heart is pounding in excitement.
“Ladies and gentlemen. If I may have your attention, we will now begin the charity auction. Tonight’s theme is NBA role player memorabilia, one of the most sought after categories in the sports collection world. We’ll start with JJ Barea’s Nike socks that were worn in Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals. Do I hear $600? $600 to number 53. Do I hear $700? $700 to number 41. Do I hear $800?”
Greg’s hand automatically snatches his bidding paddle, but before he’s able to raise it, Mrs. Wissinger’s hand clamps over his arm. “No bidding.” She reminds her husband as her eyes bore into his. “No bidding” Greg replies.
A tortuous hour passes as Greg watches treasure after treasure land in the greedy hands of those around him. Kyle Korver’s mouthpiece heads to a gentleman one table over and a pair of Jordan Farmar’s shoes are delivered to a wealthy looking old crone in the back, while Rip Hamilton’s facemask is sold to a group of friends to Greg’s right. It’s near unbearable.
“I need to head to the lady’s room. Can you handle yourself while I’m gone?” Mrs. Wissinger’s question snaps Greg out of his self-loathing. “Of course, dear. This stuff isn’t really interesting to me anyway.” He adds a dazzling smile, the one used to originally sweep his dear wife off of her feet in college, to ensure her confidence in his control.
“Perfect, I’ll be right back and we can head out of here.” She calls over her shoulder as she leaves the room.
Greg’s cold and clammy hand strokes the bidding paddle lying face down on the table before him. He resists the temptation of a can of Mountain Dew consumed by Caron Butler and even looks away as a Jack Cooley knee wrap sells for $3,000. Greg laughs to himself, mocking his own addiction to spending. I’ll be just fine.
Smack. Smack. Smack. The auctioneer’s gavel snaps everyone to attention, every side conversation silenced at once. “Ladies and gentlemen. The evening is nearly at an end. We have one grand item left for bidding.” The peddler’s speech is interrupted by the noise of several attendants struggling to push a gargantuan display to the center of the room. The drama unfolds slowly as the auctioneer pulls a velvet cord to drop the curtain protecting the mystery item, and the crowd gasps in awe as the display is revealed.
“Tonight’s final bidding item is from both an NBA role player and coach. He played for the Lakers for several years before moving onto other teams.”
“Luke Walton!” Someone shouts from the crowd.
“No, good sir. Although that acquisition would be spectacular, this prize was once owned by Tyronn Lue. Few knew of his passion for Hawaiian instruments, and the display behind me comes as only one piece. Ty permanently attached each ukulele to his bedroom wall once he mastered the individual guitar, and the only way to keep the treasures intact was to remove the entire wall at once. Any bid over $5,000 will automatically qualify for free shipping and installation, as this great piece of historical evidence weighs over two-thousand pounds!”
The crowds excitement builds as the auctioneer moves to start the bidding, and Greg realizes one thing. He was meant to own this beautiful work of art. As the hammer smashes into the podium, and before the bidding can even truly begin, Greg leaps from his seat and cries “I BID TEN-THOUSAND DOLLARS!” The wide-eyed audience is stunned by such a bold opening statement. The auctioneer turns to the crowd. “I have $10,000. Do I hear $11,000? Going once, going twice, and SOLD to the man with the sweaty brow!”
Those around Greg slap his arm good-naturedly, impressed by his casual show of wealth. An attendant approaches the table and organizes the delivery. Everything is bliss until Greg feels a tap on his shoulder, expecting another congratulatory admission from a fellow attendee, he finds his steaming wife instead.
“What. Did. You. Do?”
“I, uh, I bought something.” Greg says.
“And how much did you spend? She asks.
“Um…all of it.” Greg mumbles.
“Did you say all of it?!” His wife demands.
“Yes! But you didn’t even see what I purchased. It’s right over there!” Greg points to his newly acquired prize.
“That giant display of instruments? That thing is huge? How are we even going to haul it home?”
“Free shipping and installation is included!” Greg replies, thrilled to solve at least one issue in his marriage.
“I hope you’re happy, Greg. We had a perfectly functioning home, something that really seemed to be on the right track, and you go and try and fit this into the picture.” His wife replies as she storms off.
“Oh, I’m thrilled!” Greg calls back.
“I know it’s a huge gamble, but I think our house will find a major upgrade in my Lue uke wall ton!
(Editorial Note: We are so, so sorry.)
Welcome back to the Royal Mailbag! We have a special post-season (not to be confused with the postseason, which is a mystery not yet known to many of our fan base) edition for you. Since the end of the season, the Kings have fired Dave Joerger, fired Brandon Williams, and hired Luke Walton, while they still await a massive decision by Harrison Barnes, as well as the draft and free agency on the radar. There’s lots to talk about, so ask away!
We’re also welcoming any potpourri questions as well, whether that’s Will’s favorite movie, Tim’s least Kings play of all time, or Tony’s standard order at Chipotle. Anything goes!
To ask either type of question:
-You can comment below
-You can reach us by email at: [email protected]
-You can tweet the @SactownRoyalty Twitter account, or you can tweet us directly at @TimMaxwell22 and @WillofThaPeople
-You can ask our Sactown Royalty Facebook page!
-You can snail mail a letter to Curly Headed Coach Way, Sacramento, California 95842