Hedo Turkoglu sits on a fold-out lawn chair that is positioned just outside of the three-point line of his outdoor, (half) basketball court, built on the Southern side of his Orlando home. With sunglasses on to protect his eyes and a towel around his neck to absorb the perspiration that is the result of the swamp-like Florida atmosphere, he blankly stares at seemingly nothing. Mouth slightly agape and hands on his knees, he is the picture of the deceased soul within a body that is technically functioning.
Suddenly, he snaps to life. Grabbing the Spalding to the right of his chair, he slips on his orange loafers, rises to his feet, and hoists a shot:
“HEDO FOR WIN…” he says, in his best attempt at mock play-by-play…
“AH! NO. AGAIN. NO!”
The ball trickles off the court and ceases to move as it gently settles against the side of his house. Hedo sits back down, discouraged, and takes an alarmingly aggressive sip of his Skyy Vodka (“Passion Fruit” flavored).
He starts to slump back into his chair, but is interrupted by the sound of the rear sliding door opening…
“HEDO! WHAT YOU DO?” a woman’s voice says.
“Leave alone, woman. I listen to my Moby now (grabbing for his iPod). NO MORE YOUR DEMON VOICE!”
Hedo’s wife bursts from the home and heads directly at him. After quickly closing the distance, the two have a brief yet unremarkable struggle over control of the iPod. Without much effort, she rips it from his feeble hands as he lets out an almost childish groan.
“CURSE YOU, woman,” he sadly mutters. As soon as the words leave his mouth, he attempts to spit upon her, but his lack of energy or commitment to the maneuver leaves him lathered in his own saliva.
“What happen to you, Hedo?” she says. “You used to win basketball shots. You used to points score. Now, YOU LOSE – no longer win maker!!”
“I MAKE POINTS! BALL!” he shouts, pulling himself back to his feet and grabbing another ball that lies nearby. He takes one dribble and fires another bomb…
(the ball misses the right side of the backboard by a good two feet and lands with a dull thud on the top of the Saab that is parked behind the hoop)
“ARGGH!” he shouts. Crumpling to the ground, he starts to sob.
“Look at you now,” says his wife. “Pathetic. Not even man.”
“No,” he softly utters, through tears. “I am still obtain dreams. I am big time shot accomplisher. I am…”
“YOU ARE NOTHING,” she interrupts, voice thick with Turkish venom. “We come back to good place, and you fail. We go to Puhoenicks (Phoenix), and you no play good. You play in Canada with Criz Borsh – ONE OF BIG THREE NOW – and you STINK!”
He continues to sob, and then pulls his phone from his shorts.
“What are you doing,” she says, glaring down on him with disgust.
“I call C-Webb. He get me back on… (sniff)… he get me back on team in California. WE SMILE AGAIN.”
She slaps the phone from his hand.
“IDIOT,” she says. “That man no longer play. Yet, somehow, he STILL more good than you!”
She turns to walk away, but Hedo calmly grabs her by the hand.
“Wait,” he says, looking into her eyes with a redemptive stare.
“What? What do you need to say?” she calmly asks.
“Can we order us pizza?”
The wife jerks her arm away and defiantly heads back into the house. As the sliding doors slams shut, Hedo crumples back to the ground, sheds a few more tears, and promptly falls asleep.
– Wes Lilliman is done with Hedo. Console him on Twitter @WesDestiny