Chris Bosh was wandering the White House halls while the rest of his team was in the Oval Office. It had been a long day for the team in Washington and he needed some time away from the cameras. Too much glad handing. Too many fake smiles. The President hadn’t even commented on his shoes. Only on Dwyane’s. So, he went exploring.
He had a White House Intern take his picture in front of a portrait of Bill Clinton. He chatted up the Secret Service. He kept asking one strapping young sir named Preston if he could please listen to whatever was going on in his earpiece. Preston smiled and denied. Bosh wandered into bedroom after bathroom after office, trying to find something to hold his attention.
He found himself in the Lincoln Bedroom.
He walked through it slowly. His eyes ran all along the walls and he tried to think about the movie Lincoln and if it was accurate in comparison to this room. Sally Field had freaked him out and all that forced exposition at the beginning of the movie had bothered him, so he stopped thinking about it.
He walked over to the mantle above the fireplace. Several books rested on top of it. His eyes panned the mantle left to right as he read the titles of the books. Hymns Ancient and Modern. The Book on Mediums. A Gift to Young Housewives. The Chemical History of a Candle. The Bible.
Bosh was tired. He felt weak. He’d been playing a lot of the 5 this year, and it had worn on him. So much time rebounding outside of his position. He needed strength. He reached for The Bible. His hand touched the brown leather and pulled. The good book did not move. He pulled harder. This time the book moved, but not from the mantle. It was connected at the bottom, and only the top had some give in it. As he was about to let go of it and further explore, the wall began to turn.
Quickly it rotated, unveiling a room with a ping-pong table at its center and a 54 inch flat screen in the corner. On the television was a previously aired episode of Pawn Stars and a tan man stood in front of it with his back to the rest of the room. Bosh was out of it, shocked by what he had just discovered.
“I’m sorry,” said Bosh, “I don’t know what happened.”
“I do,” said the voice.
The man turned. It was Joe Biden.
“You were swept up by the spirit,” said Biden, “Weren’tcha son?”
Bosh rubbed his eyes.
“Mr. Vice President,” said Bosh, “What…what are you doing here? What is this place?”
Biden had a Budweiser in his right hand, the remote for the TV in his left, and a cigar in his mouth. He was wearing a red, White House issued Under Armor tank top and a pair of blue University of Delaware lacrosse Nike shorts. He wore no shoes.
“Oh, hell, Chris. I cain’t hardly get anything done over at the EEOB anymore,” said Biden, “People always yipping at me. This place lets me relax a little bit. Want a beer?”
“Sure,” he said, “That’d be great.”
Biden went over to the mini-fridge in the corner of the room opposite the television.
“Bud’s gonna have to do,” said Biden, “I haven’t had a chance to run to the store in a bit. Inauguration kept me busier than I’d intended. Jill keeps asking me to put some 312’s in here or whatever they are. Being a little more chain than ball lately between you and me.”
Bosh was looking at the ping-pong table. It’d been forever since he’d played.
“No. Of course,” said Bosh, “I won’t speak a word of it.”
Biden handed him the beer and smiled at him.
“I see you’re admiring the table here,” said Biden as he ran his hand along the table top, “You ping the pong a little bit do ya?”
“It’s been a minute,” said Bosh, “But yea. Used to play all the time in Toronto. Winters up there you don’t want to go outside, so we’d stay in and paddle a bit.”
Biden went to the other side and grabbed his paddle. On the handle it read “The Joe Show”. Then he went over to the iHome in the corner of the room.
“We’re playing, then,” said Biden, “And if we’re gonna play, so are the Counting Crows.”
Biden pressed play and Colorblind began to come forth from the speakers.
“Duritz, man,” said Biden, “Dude pulled Aniston. Got to respect a guy like that.”
“Well, Bosh 2.0,” said Biden, “Let’s pop the top on this then. That reminds me. Before you take off, don’t let me forget to get some Pringles later.”
Bosh nodded. Biden picked up the ball.
“Let’s PING it out,” Biden said.
“P,” said Biden.
Bosh returned the serve.
“I,” said Bosh.
Forehand by Biden.
“N,” said Biden.
Backhand by Bosh.
“G,” said Bosh.
He left the backhand weak and hanging and Biden smirked and ate it up. Huge forehand slam that went sailing past Bosh’s flailing left hand. Biden hopped up and down.
“Can’t put the ribs in front of the bear and expect him not to eat,” said Biden.
Bosh lowered his eyebrows and cracked his neck.
“It’s like that, huh?” asked Bosh, “Alright then, let’s play.”
Back and forth they went, each side taking a lead, momentum seesawing with each and every serve. Biden was an old pro. He tried to keep the ball where he could use his massive forehand to his advantage. Bosh used his length. He was a spider. Just all over the place.
Game point came and Biden was up 20-18.
“Your serve, Chrissy,” said Biden.
“Chill with all that, Joey,” said Bosh.
“I’m in your head,” said Biden, “I live there now. Rent’s super cheap.”
Bosh served, powerfully. Biden barely got a paddle on it. He sent it soaring over the net. It bounced and it bounced high. Bosh got his legs underneath him and readied another hammer. Bam went the paddle to the ball. Again Biden nicked the ball high and again Bosh readied himself for a monster forehand. Biden backed up four steps in preparation for the shot, only Bosh over-thought it. He tried to sneak a soft hit just over the net and Biden was light on his feet. He charged the net and smacked a forehand at Bosh. Bosh fended it off with a backhand, but the wily Biden was too smart. He waited patiently on the return and when it arrived he hit the ball softly and twisted his wrist as he did so. The ball hit the table on the other side of the net and stopped dead from all the backspin. Bosh lunged at the ball.
Bosh hung his head. He threw the paddle down on the table and finished off the rest of his Budweiser. Biden walked to the other side of the table and held his hand out.
“Heckuva game, son” he said, “Heckuva game.”
Bosh shook his hand.
“You better get back to your group, though,” said Biden, “I don’t need Barry to come sniffing ‘round here. He’ll want to play and, oh, what was it ole girl on the YouTubes was saying? ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that’.”
He led Bosh to the wall that had spun him into the room earlier. On the wall was a picture of Isla Fisher.
Bosh turned around. On a day where he was supposed to be praised, he had been humbled. He was thankful for that.
“Thank you, Mr. Vice President,” said Bosh, “I needed that.”
“Hey,” said Biden, “No problem. It was my pleasure.”
“Don’t forget to get those Pringles,” said Bosh.
“S—, I appreciate that reminder,” said Biden, “Start looking for that 15 footer more, alright?”
Bosh nodded yes.
Biden tugged on the picture frame and away Bosh spun, fading off into the other room as Adam Duritz started singing about being accidentally in love. Biden nodded and found irony in that. He turned back into the room and grabbed the remote. He pulled up his recorded shows on the DVR and clicked Duck Dynasty.
“Alright Si,” said Biden, “Whatchu got for me today?”