His phone was ringing.
Derrick Jones Jr. didn’t feel like looking to see who was calling. If he went five days without saying a word to anybody, as had become the norm while he was quarantined inside his apartment in a Miami high-rise, that was fine by him. Then again, his phone was set to block calls coming from anybody not in his contacts list, so whoever was calling him was somebody that was worth talking to. Maybe it would be his agent letting him know that the season was starting back up.
It wasn’t his agent. It was his teammate Jimmy Butler.
Derrick weighed his options. In these times of social isolation, it was important to be there for teammates who were reaching out. Even if you suspected that the teammate in question was going to place more burdens on your already overtaxed mental health. But the chance that somebody as strong-willed as Jimmy would be calling looking for support from a friend was remote.
Eventually, after ten rings, Derrick answered his phone. The deciding factor was the fact that he didn’t particularly want to become known as the antisocial teammate who messed up locker-room chemistry. “Yo Jimmy. What’s up?”
“You get a girlfriend yet?”
At these words, Derrick remembered back to the previous summer. Jimmy had, for some reason known only to him, made it his personal goal to get his new teammate a girlfriend. “Uh, not yet.”
“Derrick, come on. You’re a professional basketball player. In Miami. There’s ladies everywhere. And you’re telling me that you’re still single and alone?”
“Well, it’s not like I can go outside and just find girlfriends,” Derrick answered as he looked out his window. The normally busy street below him only had a few cars lazily driving down it. “In case you forgot, they shut down everything so that we don’t get the COVID and die. That’s why we’re not playing basketball right now.” He decided not to mention the fact that he wasn’t even interested in having long-term female companionship.
“Sounds like you’ve got a motivation problem. I’ll come over and we’ll work through this. And since I’m the leader of the team you have to listen to me.”
“You know I’m not gonna let you in,” Derrick said, but the call had ended before he finished his sentence.
There was knocking at his front door. Derrick steadfastly ignored it, not emerging from his bedroom even when Jimmy started yelling through the door. The neighbors were just going to have to deal with a little bit of noise until Jimmy got bored and went away.
This tactic seemed to work. Eventually Jimmy stopped pounding on the door and left. However, Derrick’s problems weren’t yet over.
“Hey Derrick!” yelled a voice through the bedroom window. In dread, Derrick turned to see Jimmy standing on the other side of the window. The window of his apartment on the 34th floor.
“Jimmy, how the hell did you get up here?” Derrick asked. “You could have just called my phone like a normal person.”
“I paid the window washer guy a couple thousand in cash.” Jimmy answered. The window washer looked uncomfortable at being implicated. “And why would I call you when I came over here specifically to talk to you in person? Hey, you’re still looking skinny. It’s the off-season, man, you gotta put on some muscle.”
Derrick rolled his eyes. “The playoffs are still happening. Bulking up too much would mess up my shot.”
“You don’t have a shot to mess up, so you’ve got no excuses,” Jimmy said. “Hang on, I’ll be right back.” He handed the window washer another wad of cash and spoke some instructions to him.
Derrick thought about escaping to one of the internal rooms of his apartment, one with no windows, but was morbidly curious as to what his leadership-crazed teammate would do next. Probably insult his jumpshot some more. It wasn’t that bad, was it?
An hour later, Jimmy had returned with the sheepish-looking window washer. He reached down and brought up what looked to be a 50-pound dumbbell. “I don’t see any weights in there so I thought I’d bring some for you.”
“That’s really generous of you, but you didn-WAIT, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
Jimmy flung the dumbbell at the window with as much force as he could muster. Derrick dived out of the way, but the heavy weight merely cracked the window and then fell 350 feet down to the ground. This did not deter Jimmy from retrieving another similarly-sized dummbell and also throwing it. This one smashed through the window and landed on Derrick’s bed, causing Derrick to retreat into his kitchen. Meanwhile, the newly-rich window washer tried to pretend nothing was happening.
“DJJ come on! Quit being a pussy!” Jimmy yelled as he proceeded to toss an entire set of free weights into his teammate’s residence. His voice was now very clear with no glass in the way. “Do you want a girlfriend or not?”
Derrick pulled out his phone and quickly texted two words to his agent.