“Come on dude, just log on. It’s not like you have anything better to do.”
Jaxson Hayes rolled his eyes at the over-the-phone wheedling of his teammate Nickeil Alexander-Walker. He was bored, but not so bored that he could be convinced to start playing Runescape again. “I actually do have something better to do,” he replied.
“It’s fun, man,” Nickeil protested. “Real nostalgia trip. And if you play the old-school version there’s none of that pay-to-win microtransaction crap.”
Jaxson stared at his bedroom ceiling like he had been for the past two hours. The quarantine had sapped his will to do anything. “I’ve got a huge Steam backlog of real games that I’m working through. You can call me every day if you want, I’m never logging back in to that time sink again.”
“I’ll be in Karamja grinding swordies if you change your mind,” Nickeil said. Then, the call ended. Jaxson put his phone back on the beside table and resumed his ceiling-gazing. He wished something interesting would happen to reinvigorate him. Running around a virtual world bopping virtual enemies with a virtual sword to collect virtual loot did not qualify as “interesting”.
The doorbell rang. Jaxson lay there for a bit, wondering if he had gained the ability to influence reality solely through the power of thought. When his mental commands for a beautiful woman to walk through his bedroom door failed to result in such an occurrence, he decided that he hadn’t gained that ability. But who was ringing his doorbell?
Despite his resentment towards the COVID-19 quarantine, he was taking it seriously, and that meant no visitors to his apartment. And it couldn’t be a deliveryperson either, because his lunch (a Popeye’s feast fit for a king – or a rookie seven-footer) was already accounted for (it was in his tummy), and all his expected Amazon deliveries were safely in his possession.
Maybe the cute Latina who lived upstairs from his had lost her cat and was wondering if he had seen it. Maybe he had gained new mental powers after all. With that alluring thought in mind, he walked to his front door and opened it.
It wasn’t the cute Latina. It wasn’t anybody cute at all. It was NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
And he was wearing something very unbefitting of the title of commissioner.
“Hello Jaxson,” Adam said.
Jaxson paused. What was the proper title of address for the man who was, when it came down to it, his boss? He couldn’t think clearly. Adam’s outfit of a tight periwinkle-colored tank top and a electric-blue pair of small running shorts was distracting him. “Hey,” he finally replied, deciding that conventions of formality didn’t really apply right at that moment. “What’s up?”
“I’m here to…you know,” Adam said, staring through his spectacles directly at Jaxson’s eyes.
“No, I don’t know,” Jaxson replied. He was very confused right at that moment, but he figured that if this unexpected visit was about him getting suspended for his weed habit, Adam wouldn’t have been so coy about it.
“I think you do know,” Adam pressed. “After you got snubbed from the Rising Stars game, you had a suggestion for us.”
The memory of the regrettable social media video came back to him. He had posted it in a fit of frustration and then immediately regretted it. As he thought about it more, a horrifying realization flooded through him. “No. No way. Uh-uh.”
“Let me in, Jaxson. This is what you wanted, isn’t it?” Adam said, trying to squeeze past Jaxson’s imposingly large body to enter the apartment. “Let’s do this.”
“Man, it was just a figure of speech,” Jaxson said, feeling a bit panicked at the whole situation. He was ready to close the door in Adam’s face, but feared that he could be fined for doing something like that. The lack of game checks was already being felt on his bottom line. “I definitely didn’t mean for you or anybody else in the league to actually, uh, do that to my thing. That was not a serious suggestion.”
Adam looked confused at Jaxson’s reluctance. “But we snubbed you,” he said. “The board of governors voted that we needed to repay you for our grievous error.”
“We’re cool,” Jaxson said. “No need for repayment at all.”
“You sure?” Adam asked.
Adam shrugged and walked back down the hallway of the apartment building, leaving a shell-shocked Jaxson standing in the doorway. Slowly, he turned back into his apartment. Back in his bedroom, he picked up his phone. “Hey Nickeil, yeah, I’ll play Runescape with you. Oh, no reason. Just to take my mind off things I guess.”