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Rattling the Wrong Cage
Leigh Montville
December 13, 1993
Despite being baited by boorish bar patrons, Charles Barkley refuses to hide
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December 13, 1993

Rattling The Wrong Cage

Despite being baited by boorish bar patrons, Charles Barkley refuses to hide

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There is so much work to do. I ride with Charles Barkley across the landscape of America, the two of us tying up our horses outside the arenas and sports taverns of the land. Our hats are pulled low. Our spurs jingle-jangle as we walk. The dust of the trail covers our well-worn jeans.

"Sarsaparilla," Charles says to the bartenders.

"Make it two," I say.

The idiots await. Always the idiots. They always have a fresh comment, a stupid request.

"Hey, Charles, what's the matter with those Phoenix Suns?"

"Hey, Charles, why'd you miss those free throws?"

"Hey, Charles, sign these 48 cocktail napkins for everyone I know. Write legibly, too, so they know it's really you."

The liquor always seems to be working its evil ways with these people. Or maybe these people simply are stupid. Hard to say. There are so many good people out there, regular sports fans, but there also are so many idiots. So much work to do.

"Hit 'em," I tell Charles.

"Do I have to?" he asks.

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