A pleasant feeling of waking in the morning and ambling downstairs to the living room. I hear the familiar sounds of a tennis match, batted balls and squeaking sneakers. I walk toward the television, and the scene comes into focus – but strangely. I think I see a half-size tennis court on the screen, with revelers far too close to the action. Warzard sits in an easy-chair next to me, his face unmoved by the broadcast.
I take a closer look: it appears to be Mary Pierce playing in the far court, with the near-court player’s back to me. And then my vision sharpens, and the scene goes askew. Between Mary and the other player, I see Monica Seles in the middle of the court, bound at the wrist to a maypole. There’s no net; the two players exchange light volleys, badminton-style, with Monica in between them attempting to swat the balls down. An exhibition match of the most juvenile variety? We should be so lucky. No, I need to take my eyes off the action for a second to see the real exhibition: the players. They’re naked. But for a parti-colored lanyard round her neck, there stands Mary Pierce in all her stark naked glory. Monica and the unidentified near-court player as well.
Monica snares an interception. The crowd roars like it’s 1992 all over again. But no, there’s no player swap; Monica stays at the maypole for the next exchange.
I look to Warzard for some enlightenment:
Czardoz: Naked tennis?
Warzard: Rupert Murdoch.
Czardoz: Oh, is this some kind of private party he’s holding?
Czardoz: Why are they naked?
Warzard: You know, bribes, money, the usual.
Czardoz: Oh. . . But . . . why is all this happening? Why is it on TV?
Warzard: I don’t know.
And why should he have to know? Ours is not to reason why. Ours is but to do and die. I thought gravely to myself, perhaps this is what our boys died for in Fallujah.
An unwelcome noise, and I woke from the dream. And all that remains is a beautiful memory.