ZG: Will I Play in the NBA?

It is the offseason. Our main character — for convenience we’ll call him ZG — sits on a regal yet dingy chaise lounge looking out the livingroom window of the house he is renting. The sun shines, through the vertical blinds and especially, it seems, onto ZG. He watches intently as some kids play hoops across the street.

He goes to his bedroom, slowly walking up the winding stairs. In the bedroom the sun slides through horizontal slats but still attaches to ZG. He begins to strip. We see his sullen ass, his athletic legs. He puts on new clothes, clothes that we immediately might identify as his “basketball clothes,” culminating in a jersey, which is thin, old, but bears his surname. Perhaps his jersey from junior high.

We see his feet from above — from his perspective. They are goofily large.

Next we see ZG in the bathroom, he puts on a blue, yellow, and white headband that hales from a different era, They clash with his athletic goggles. He looks into the mirror and says to himself, “Will I play in the NBA?”

On the porch now, ZG, in full b-ball garb, answers his own inquiry, “It is decidedly so.”

Then he’s playing basketball with the young men across the street. The mood is jocular but competitive. ZG plays well, by his estimation and by ours: we see him make some nice passes, some deep jumpers; he grabs rebounds with ironic authority. But we also see him get hilariously stuffed several times.

The young men start to call him “Professor.”

A game ends, ZG is on the winning team, what seems to be friendly shit-talking ensues amongst them all.

Then there’s the sound of gunfire and ZG is on the ground, coughing, maybe coughing blood.

He laughs a single “Ha.”

Hazily, we see ZG doing things he never did but meant to do: finishing a hand-written letter to someone and then licking the envelope; on his knees with a trowel and packets of spice seeds, donning some silly fishing hat; wildly throwing buckets of paint all over walls in a house.

There are images of his funeral — people eating tacos and saying, “They were his favorite food.”

Finally, an image of a half-nude woman — her top half is nude, her bottom half covered in tight, high-waisted Levi’s. We get the sense that this is an iconic image for ZG. She is backed by drenching sunlight; she is smiling at him and, thus, at us.

But then there is ZG, sitting in the armchair in his bedroom, naked, glancing toward the windows, holding a cigarette. The awesomeness of cigarette smoke snaking through dust motes in the setting sun. The awesomeness of this song:


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