Wednesday, January 7
Scene from an as-yet-unrealized future.
Setting: Five years from now, late fall turning into winter, a large spare room on the third floor of a house in Georgetown. Save for a hardwood walkway leading from the doorway to the opposite side of the room, the floor is covered entirely in green plastic panels with identical rows of little bumps, and the walls are covered with the same kind of panel in blue. Buildings and vehicles are scattered amidst thousands of Lego bricks of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Two grown men are sprawled amidst this chaos of multicolored plastic: D, a doughy, bearded Caucasian in his mid-thirties, and K, an athletic African-American man in his mid-twenties. They both sift determinedly through the mounds of pieces, occasionally picking one out to snap onto their creations; D pauses from time to time to check on a baby napping in a bassinet in the corner.
K: You got any flat gray things over there?
D: Yeah, what size you need?
K: Four dots by . . . six dots. Two of 'em, if you got 'em.
D: Yeah, here you go.
D: What are you making, anyway?
K: Well, I already made the "Knight Rider" car, now I'm making the truck for it to drive up into.
They work in silence for a few minutes. D checks the bassinet again, where his infant son is still sound asleep.
D: That spin move you pulled on Umenyiora the other day was sick, by the way.
K: Thanks. You like the seats I got you?
D: Fifty yard line, fifteen rows up? Fuck yes I liked 'em. We saw everything.
K: I'da gotten you a skybox if you'da wanted one.
D: Aw, hell, if I wanted to watch it on TV and get waited on I'd just as soon watch it at home. Being in the stands is way better.
D: Fuck. Why can't I find any blue lights to match this red one?
K: Thought you said you had some.
D: Yeah, but they're all the wrong kind. These are all round ones with a bump on top. I just want a flat, square one. It has to match the one on the other wingtip.
K: Why not just use a round red one with a bump on the other side?
D: See? This is why you're my friend.
D snaps the red and blue lights into place and eyes his creation critically.
K: What's that, an Airbus A380?
D: Yeah, but I can't get the tail to look exactly right. The real one is longer and sweeps up a lot more gradually than this.
K: I think it looks fine.
D: That's nice of you to say. (pause) Hey, you want to stay for dinner tonight?
K: Uh, sure. Your wife ain't gonna mind, is she?
D: Pffft, no. Besides, I'm gonna be doing all the cooking anyway.
K: What you cookin'?
D: Macaroni and cheese.
K: With the crispy stuff on top?
D: Fuck yes, lawya.
D: Figured we'd eat some mac and cheese, whip out another one of the James Bond DVDs . . . you still haven't seen "You Only Live Twice," right?
K: No, that sounds cool. Can't stay out too late, though. Practice is early tomorrow morning. Big game at Dallas this week. Playoff implications.
D: Oh, you don't need to remind me. I'm all over that shit. Plus Clooney asked me to TiVo it for him.
K: You know George Clooney?
D: Yeah, I thought I told you. He's a cool guy and everything, but he's always bumming favors off of people -- "TiVo the Monday-night game for me," "Hey, write me a screenplay for this movie I want to do," blah blah blah. Funny motherfucker, though. He's gonna be swinging by here in a couple weeks, actually -- you should come by. We're gonna do Wii bowling. Clooney loves that shit.
K: Yeah, man. Long as we've clinched home-field by then. Zorn's been riding us pretty hard lately. Always starts gettin' tense this time of year.
D: No, I hear you.
K holds up his creation, a black semi truck with a huge gray trailer. He flips open the back door of the trailer and a black car pops out.
D: Baller. Did you even do the inside of the trailer, too?
K: Check it out.
D: Aw, it's got the little computers and everything. Lemme go get my camera, we'll take some pictures of it.
K: Thanks, man.
D produces a digital camera and takes several pictures of the truck and the black car.
D: Awesome. We'll put these up on the Web site tonight.
K: You know what, man? I love my teammates and everything, but I think you're my best friend here.
D: Aww, you're my best friend too, Knowshon.
D's wife, W, appears in the doorway, her arms loaded with shopping bags from a number of upscale stores.
W: Well, it looks like my boys have been busy today. What'cha been making?
D: Knowshon built the "Knight Rider" truck. Here, show her.
W: Wow, that's impressive. Y'all gonna be ready for some dinner in a little bit?
D: Yeah, I'm gonna make macaroni and cheese. Can we eat it while we watch one of the Bond DVDs in the family room?
W: Well, I suppose.
K: You're the best, Mrs. G.
W: But don't forget, first you have to write me up a draft of that proposal for the nursing school's multimedia series.
D: Uh . . . what?
The green-and-blue room and the brightly colored smattering of Lego bricks dissolve into a grim bluish-gray cubicle, where D is sitting in a desk chair, fitfully shaking himself out of what was probably an unplanned midday nap. His boss, B, stands over him quizzically.
B: Our proposal we're going to take with us to the nursing-school meeting on Thursday. You got my e-mail about that, right?
D: Oh, yeah . . . right. Yeah, the meeting.
B: You need to start responding to those e-mails. Sometimes I'm not sure whether you've gotten them or not.
D: Oh, yeah, I meant to. I've just . . . had a lot on my mind lately.
B heads back to her office. Once she's safely out of view, D moves his mouse to switch off his computer's screen saver. When his desktop reappears, his Web browser is displaying the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Web site, where a banner headline reads: UGA'S STAFFORD, MORENO DECLARE FOR NFL DRAFT.
D sighs audibly . . . wistfully.
D: Someday, Knowshon. Someday.
(Seriously, good luck, Knowshon. Wish you would've stayed a Dawg for one more year, but with that NFL paycheck, you're gonna be able to buy all the Legos you can handle. GATA.)