BJH: Hi, Imaginary Mike Conley. Been a few weeks. How are you?

IMC: Yeah, buddy! Been getting ready for the playoffs. I’m good.

BJH: Yeah. ::Silence.::

IMC: Already?

BJH: What?

IMC: Awkward silence? So early in the conversation?

BJH: It’s just… well, nevermind.

IMC: Talk to me.

BJH: Yeah. I shouldn’t. It’s… like, this is the time to be optimistic. You know. Anything can happen. Never give up. Grit ‘n’ Grind!

IMC: “But…”

BJH: I don’t wanna watch ya’ll play the Spurs.

IMC: Why not?

BJH: It’s gonna be depressing.

IMC: ::shrugs::

BJH: I’m not trying to be an ass, dude. I’m just saying ya’ll just don’t have a shot in hell of…

IMC: Tell me what you really think, though.

BJH: It’s just… no.

IMC: Why not?

BJH: It’s nothing to do with you, buddy. You’re amazing. And I’m not just saying that because you agree to appear on my blog. It’s just… well, the rest of the squad. You know, Z-Bo looks like he’s carrying a bag of bricks out there. He’s got to get hot and stay hot. Allen is out. He’s like the spark for the fire. And if there’s no fire, there’s no heat. And Gasol. Fuckin’ Gasol. Gasol gives me heartburn. I mean, first half of the season Gasol is a monster. Second half of the season Gasol is meh.

IMC: Anything else?

BJH: Yeah, the supporting crew is not always supportive. You can’t count on any of them.

IMC: Wow.

BJH: I know, it’s depressing, but…

IMC: It is.

BJH: …it is, what it…

IMC: Your only focus is winning.

BJH: is. (beat) What?

IMC: Winning. That’s all you care about.

BJH: And?

IMC: I mean, I want to win, but…

BJH: (interrupting) But, what? (defensive now) Do you want to win, Mike? I mean, really do you?

IMC: Look, if you’re gonna be wack, I’m gonna cut out.

BJH: You’re not going anywhere. Answer the question! Do you really want to win?

IMC: I don’t know. Do you!?!

BJH: WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT ME. WE’RE TALKING ABOUT YOU.

IMC: I’m sorry, are we in a huddle right now? Is this half time? Are you Coach Hutchinson?

BJH: I just don’t want to watch ya’ll, if you can’t play like you want it.

IMC: You know, I don’t even know what that means.

BJH: It means, Mike, that if you don’t really want it, you can’t win and if you can’t win, I don’t want to watch.

IMC: So don’t watch. I gotta…

BJH: Okay, I’ll watch. But Gasol has got to be a fucking beast. A FUCKING BEAST. HE HAS TO BE SO HUNGRY FOR IT YOU HEAR HIS STOMACH GROWLING AND YOU THINK IT’S A FUCKING GRIZZLY BEAR ABOUT TO EAT YOU.

IMC: Buddy, seriously. Don’t watch. You can check the…

BJH: (more interrupting) And Z-Bo’s gotta put the bag of bricks down. And every game at least one guy off the bench has to have a monster game. And of course, you’re real counterpart is going to have to be consistently above and beyond. No slip ups. Okay?

IMC: Gotta go. Games started.

BJH: Okay, don’t let me down.

IMC: ::running off::

BJH: I’m turning ESPN on now!

IMC: (voice fading in the distance) Enjoy the game!

BJH: (sotto voce) Good luck in 2017 NBA Playoffs, Imaginary Mike Conley.

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