From: Dublin Noir, ed. Ken Bruen, Akashic, 2006
Gary Phillips's entry in this Irish-themed anthology follows Zelmont, onetime Atlanta Falcon washed out of the NFL by drug problems. Now playing American football in Europe, he meets Maura, a willing, well-endowed fan of his career.
Taking Maura back to his hotel room, Zelmont starts to crave crack. Maura sends him to a slum for a fix, and violence ensues.
Phillips does a great job characterizing Zelmont's perception of himself and others. Both are obviously distorted by drugs and fame, yet they seem perfectly natural to Zelmont and believable in his voice. In true noir fashion, even after crashing through this story, he retains the delusion he can pick up the pieces.