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Free At Last, Free At Last 

Charlotteans by the thousands poured into the streets on Friday when the NBA announced that league owners had liberated our city from association with notorious sleazebags Lemonhead Shinn and Trailerboy Wooldridge. Crowds of revelers gathered on the Square, blocking the streets and diverting traffic, but no one seemed to mind. Many motorists, in fact, blew their horns in celebration as word quickly spread around town. The Plaza Midwood area became one huge party, with kegs popping up on every corner and bands playing impromptu sets of celebratory rock on the steps of the neighborhood library branch. NoDa was clogged with revelers, with music blasting from several businesses and area residents dancing with the homeless all up and down North Davidson. Dilworth, Third Ward, and the Beatties Ford and Elizabeth areas were the scenes of more spontaneous, street-clogging celebrations, while Myers Park remained sleepy and folks in the suburbs watched it all on TV.

"I hate like hell to lose the team, but it's worth it to get those two apes off our backs. God, what a couple of assholes - I can't believe they're finally outta here!" screamed longtime season ticket holder Bill Burrows, standing outside his Dilworth accounting business, hanging on to a Heineken with one hand and his receptionist with the other.

Others voiced similar sentiments.

Clothing store owner Misty Goff said, "I knew I'd be happy when it happened, but I had no idea! I feel like the city has a second chance now, like we've been washed clean. Hey, want a beer?"

"I love the Hornets, but not enough to put with those two jerks' shit. There's just something about 'em that reeks of used car salesmen. No, that's not fair to used car salesmen, forgive me. Shinn and Wooldridge, I don't know, they're just. . .seedy. . .grubby, lowlife. I'm sorry, they just make my damned skin crawl," explained tire salesman and acupuncturist Larry Blanton, suppressing a shiver.

As night fell Friday, people began shooting fireworks at scores of places around town, and a sizable but good-natured crowd gathered outside the Hornets' offices chanting, "Bye Bye, goobers" and "Bite me, Ray." The revelry continued sporadically on Saturday, with spontaneous parties spilling out into the streets in several areas. Police reported few arrests on Saturday.

"We haven't had a lot of trouble," said Officer Patty O'Brien. "People are in a good mood, they're so happy to be rid of the Goober Twins, they're not causing too many problems other than a little too much drinking. But hey, who can blame them? Those bastards are out of our lives and it's a happy day."

A good week for sinkholes: A 15-foot wide sinkhole suddenly appeared downtown in the middle of Church Street. Police blocked the street for a couple of days and traffic, which had already been a mess due to a super-sized architects' convention, became more hellish than usual. . . .City and county "leaders" came back from their fact-finding-and-drinking trip to Indianapolis all jacked up about putting a baseball stadium in Southend, which is fine by us, but then some of them started making more noises about building a money sinkhole, otherwise known as a tenantless arena, downtown. . . .In the third game of the Nets-Hornets playoff series, David Wesley bumped noggins with Nets star Jason Kidd, putting both of them out of the game temporarily and opening a huge gash over Kidd's right eye.*

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