Prophet Report #4
by Smith Holbrook

   ***SOUND EFFECTS: An old man with a highly intrigued sense and deep Cajun dialect speaks slowly, lumbers along, gravelly droning this while hypnotized: “…the affect, the effect, deflect-shuns, respect. Prophet ballers gone global, ain’t that the goods? Brought and still bringin’ a holy wholesome Appalachian brand to ESPN, those children of God. Credit where it’s due and when; time’ll tell the truth, coax the waxy soft season along. Offbeat thought jus’ made its way through, unrelated as may be…now: dining room ceiling is more floor-like than dining room floor; a super glued, tattered basketball appears to defy gravity up there, southeast corner. Mmm.***

  Well…that’s ONE way to start a podcast, right Prophet peoples?! Sssssssmith Holbrook back with ya, you dear and faithful lot…YOW! I’d do this for free, I’m telling you! Let’s count our blessings, send some sizable, pure gratitude to our good Lord upstairs, and suit up! It’s high time we embark on yet another journey into Prophet territory, so let’s get at it—enough horseplay. I’m routinely guilty of horseplay. Alright, let’s see…where to begin? Today, October 28th, is a big day for all our former Northeastern Kentucky Church Leaguers; the calendar 2014-2015 season has officially began!

   ***SOUND EFFECTS: A gun is fired and runners jet off down the track.***

   Each Prophet across America is surely astir with nervous glee today. Opening day, their first new season…a far fetched dream somehow realized. They are prepping, stretching, pinching themselves, they are giving thanks, and they are all going to cry during the pre-game National Anthem. God bless them. Let’s be steadfast in our prayers that our boys make the most of all this; this, this…amazing…and most unlikely opportunity they have been given.

   OKAY! Here we go. Today we are going for the “Scoop, Nit Grit, and Undertow” on a bold and brave Prophet and current Charlotte Hornet, Chet Marsh. Here we go Prophet Nation!


   Our highlighted Prophet, Chet Marsh, is 26 years young; he was born in an expansive, beautiful barn, deep in the woods of Greenup County—a peaceful little notch known as Argillite. Argillite, interestingly, is a “fine-grained sedimentary rock composed predominantly of indurated clay particles.” Thanks Wikipedia, consider yourself referenced.
   Chet is a man of curiosity, dignity, and competitive drive unmatched by almost anyone I’ve encountered. When he was 8 years old, he finally summoned the courage to become outwardly concerned with his papa Ollen Marsh’s bitterly deep-seated resentment toward the only neighbors around—the Mullins’, who lived a full mile away, separated by a few hilly fields abounding with cows, horses, along with various working/dilapidated tractors and excavators. The countryside is beautiful out there. Anyway…one day, while gigging for frogs with his papa in the crescent moon shaped pond behind the barn, Chet addressed his visibly absent, oppressed, and grumbling creator. “So are we the Hatfields or McCoys, papa?” Chet playfully asked with a smile, desperately trying to raise his papa’s morale and ease the apparent seriousness of it all. “Why is it you and Will Mullins always at odds? We are neighbors, and I have all the same classes as his boy Harris—we ain’t know why the fightings for between you and his daddy, but we know we ain’t supposed to be friends on account of how quarrelsome our families been.”
   Ollen Marsh sighed heavily, but regarded his son’s questions with respect—he’d been expecting them to be asked soon enough. He lit a Pall Mall Lite with a match, and then with a sudden ferocity he buried his five-tined gig into the pond’s muddy floor. Slowly, he let the gig emerge from the pond, revealing two skewered, meaty frogs. Ollen gazed over at his astonished son with a loving and thoughtful smirk, a practiced visage. A “counterfeit face,” as Chet recently recalled to me in our talks. Papa Marsh then slipped an old, silver flask from an inside jacket pocket and slugged the remainder of it down. “Betsy’ll deep fry ‘em for us if I ask nice,” he said to Chet as he simultaneously coughed and laughed. “And about our friends cross the way, the neighbors Mullins’ you want know about…well, it’s a done deal. You’re old nuff to know. The hate is a century old, original stems from a turf war involving a sycamore they tore down that was on our land. NOT theirs. They did it out of spite; they knew how meaningful it was to us. Dispute date back to your great grandpap. Infidelities of forbidden nature was involved too. Never we like each other, and same for you; that Mullins boy is forever your enemy. Means ya harm.”
   Chet didn’t talk to his papa Ollen much at all after that heart to heart by the moon pond. He tried with all his heart, sometimes, before his papa got too drunk by flask, but he ultimately had to chalk it up as a lost cause. Instead, he spent the bulk of the spare time in his youth shooting basketball with his sister and mother on the makeshift barnyard goal he crafted one day while skipping school. His best friend Harris Mullins helped him build it.


   Chet Marsh, quite simply, is a beast. Physicality. At 6’8”, he has an incredible wingspan, and he’s scary tough. As a 7 year veteran in the Northeastern Kentucky Church Basketball Association, he, along with Striver Roark, led the Flatwoods/Wurtland 1st Methodist Prophets to the most wins (consecutive and accumulative) in our areas storied history. He carries unbreakable Church League records in blocked shots, dunks, and meta-game intimidation tactics (a stat rarely mentioned but fully understood by opponents). Chet’s overall field goal percentage is an astonishing 63.2%, and I don’t see the NBA causing a decline in that area. As for his work, Chet chops down trees—he’s a foreman for ASPLUNDH—has been for years. Using a chainsaw while dangling by a knotted rope 100 feet in the air doesn’t rattle him in the least; when we discussed the dangers of his profession, he shrugged it off with a chuckle, stating that, “Hell, I’m nearly 7 foot tall…being afraid of heights would be a laughable conflict of interest for me.” Chet is married to his high school sweetheart Tildey, his best friend on Earth is still Harris Mullins (not to spite his father, these guys are just genuine lifers), and he’s a devoted and loving child of God.


   In a deal struck just a week ago, Chet discovered through a meeting with his Milwaukee Bucks owner that he wouldn’t be part of their team anymore. He told me the owner was, “…terse, just very terse. But I understand, its only business. No love loss, no biggie. I was terse back, and we laughed about it afterwards. We had our first and last dinner together, during which I jokingly accused him of being an ‘absconder who makes these numerous clandestine phone calls daily, a jerk of an owner who treats his players like pieces of mail.’
   Anyway, Chet packed his bags and from Milwaukee to Charlotte he went, the strongest asset of a big time 3 man trade. Quite excited by the switch-a-roo, not sour at all (warmer down south, you know), Chet stepped off the private Charlotte Hornet plane and drew in a deep breath of his new town.
   “I’m going to love these fans,” he said aloud to no one. “And I’m going to play my heart out for this city,” he continued. “Northeastern Kentucky Church Ball to THIS…what a world of possibility God has created—wow, what a show He’s enjoying.”    Just then, Chet noticed a hooded young man jogging toward him on the dark and windy runway with arms open. Confused and delirious, Chet laughed uncontrollably as the stranger on a mission quickly approached. “Some unmistakable familiarity about this loon,” Chet thought aloud between laughs.
   “WEEEEEEEE!!!!” Harris Mullins yelled as he tackled his oldest pal and neighbor. “Guess what, ya frog giggin’ dog?! I jus’ got traded here today too! HAAAAHAH! 2 of us Argillite fellers on the same NBA team…THAT isn’t far fetched!”
   Chet just couldn’t stop laughing. I mean, he tried to stop, couldn’t. Finally he was able to get a few words out: “Not in the least, ya ol’ enemy; long line of illegal tree cuttin’ no gooders, conspirers, thieves.”
   “’Ats right, ‘ats right,” Harris said with a grin as he helped Chet up off the runway.

Tune in next month, faithful sinners and fallen saints. Love and hope. A new season begins…wow, the NBA. Let’s see what our church ballers can do. I’m Smith Holbrook, and it’s—well—it’s Prophet Reporting.