1. Wednesday, February 20, 2002

    anna called crying and crying and crying. 

    i said, let it out, baby.

    Anna got her ass beat in Dubai today, by the number one tennis player in the galaxy, Ms. Venus Williams.

    “i hate my life. i hate it. oh, God!” Anna wept.

    Dubai is just like any place in the world when it comes to women’s tennis. They come to look at Anna, but come to watch Venus and believe it or not, but this has started to bother the white Russian.

    “i am going to quit. i fucking hate this all. these people look at me, and God only knows what theyre really thinking. and i show up and they criticize and they gawk and they boo and they cheer and they point and they oh, tony.”

    and i sit on the phone in the wee hours trying to listen, trying to be a good friend, but im no different. what can i tell her?

    as bad as Russia was for the blonde bombshell, nothing could be worse than trying to be a young Black teen tennis player in Compton. the Williams sisters are stronger, meaner, leaner, and more focused than any girl named Anna will ever be.

    “what did you say?” she asked.

    apparently i had been thinking out loud.

    and the tears flowed harder.

    Anna is one of those girls who could cry all night if you let her. various shades of grief and tears. she’d wail for a while, sob for a bit, bawl for some time.

    near the end of the conversation she was just snorting and whimpering a bit and then she asked me how my day was.

    i said it was pretty good, i got an interview with the lovely and talented Jai from nubienne.net, got some sweet emails from some nice people. and a Cub fan from Chicago, I reckon, gave me $40 and became the first Stone Pimp, oh, and some other guy who thinks he knows me gave me a buck, a VP of some tv thing, i dont know.

    she said, “people are really giving you money?”

    i said, “well, yeah. of course. they want to see me riding in a Snoop DeVille.

    Anna laughed and you could hear a buggar bubble pop in her nose, and then she blew it really cutely.

    “You’re not going to get any Snoopy Ville.” she laughed.

    “It’s a Snoop DeVille, and yes, I will get it,” I said.

    “Do you have any idea how many people are going to have to give you dollars here and there for you to get that crazy car?” she said.

    I wanted to tell her that I would get that car way before she would ever beat one of the Williams sisters and win a tournament, but I knew one of those rich oil guys would be trying to paw her as soon as I hung up with her, so I kept it to myself.

    “I can wait, Anna. Just let me ask you this.” I said. “When I get my Snoopy Ville, will you take a ride with me in it?”

    “Tony Pierce, I will be proud to take a ride in that car if you get it.” Anna Kournikova said from Dubai.

    “Well, good. Now you go work on your backhand and stay away from those Arab discos in the basement of some young tycoon’s palace. And change that blue outfit, it’s bad luck.”

    “OK, I will, bye love,” Anna said and hung up.

    And as soon as I hung up the phone rang again, and I picked it up and I said, “Anna?”

    And it was Ashley and she said, “what did you just say?”

    “I said, ‘And how are you Ashley Sunshine?'”

    And Ashley huffed and slammed down the phone.

    Have no fear, though. She called back again. And she had a few things to say to me as well.