Mike D’Antoni holds the box. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers gather around it. They stare at the box. On it, there is a picture. The picture is what the puzzle will look like if they ever complete it.
There is a barn. The barn is red. It looks like a normal barn. There is nothing different or unique about it at all. There is a cow standing beside the barn. It eats some grass. The cow looks like it could be in a Chick-fil-A commercial.
There is a setting orange sun in the upper left corner of the picture. You can see the top half of it above one of the rolling hills that continue on behind the barn.
To the left of the barn is a chicken. It is standing there, very content.
That is all. The grass is green and the sky is still blue, save a layer of orange that tinges the top of the hillside.
The puzzle is 1,000 pieces.
“Alright,” says D’Antoni, “Quickly now.”
Kobe grabs the first piece he sees. It is black and white.
“This is part of the cow,” says Kobe, “Right here is where the cow will go.”
He sits the piece down at the center of the table, moving the scattered ones aside.
Dwight has grabbed the piece that has the head of the cow. He has also grabbed the piece that holds the head of the chicken. He is poking Devin Ebanks to try and get his attention. Devin doesn’t want to turn around. He starts tickling Devin. Devin turns around.
“Dude”, says Ebanks, “What? I’m trying to pay attention.”
Dwight adjusts his headband and giggles.
“Dev. Dev. Look,” says Dwight.
Dwight holds the head of the cow and the head of the chicken together and makes them kiss. He makes a smooching sound as he does it.
“They love each other,” says Dwight.
Devin Ebanks takes off his shirt and leaves the room.
Robert Sacre has been watching the whole time and has not stopped laughing.
Kobe grabs the pieces from Dwight.
“Stop playing, little boy,” he says, “This is serious.”
Dwight pulls up his right arm sleeve and walks away with his head down. He does push-ups in the corner of the room.
“It shouldn’t be this hard, fellas,” says D’Antoni, “Where’s Pau?”
Pau stands at the back of the group on his tip-toes, trying to see the box.
“I’m here, Mike,” says Pau.
“Well, what do you think?” asks D’Antoni.
Pau speaks softly and nobody can hear his mumbles.
“Bam,” says Kobe, “Another piece of the cow.”
“Very good, Beanie Baby,” says D’Antoni as he pats Kobe on the back.
Pau puts in headphones and listens to Daniel Powter.
Steve Nash sits on the opposite side of the table. He is trying to get everyone’s attention.
“Maybe we should start with the corner pieces, you guys,” says Nash.
“Corner pieces,” says Metta World Peace, “Did someone say something about someone doing something from the corner?”
“I’ve been working on a lot of stuff from the corners,” continues Peace, “Mainly shooting threes from there but still…”
Steve Blake is performing vigils on himself at the back of the room while Antawn Jamison tries to convince everyone that this isn’t the hardest puzzle he’s ever tried to put together.
Chris Duhon is in another corner talking on his BlackBerry.
“No, Coach K,” he says, “I’ve tried getting out there but nobody listens to me. I wish Reggie Love were here.”
Outside Jordan Hill has found a bicycle and is riding around the parking lot in circles.
D’Antoni stands up and attempts to bring everyone together but they are all occupied with other things.
Kobe has finished the cow by himself but nobody else has helped and Pau sits criss-cross applesauce in the floor and plays with the zipper on his jacket.
Dwight is now being cheered up by Robert Sacre. Sacre is doing impersonations of Mark Few. Dwight is laughing uncontrollably despite having no clue who Mark Few is.
Metta World Peace is telling Jodie Meeks about a dream he had where Bob Balaban and Paul Giamatti ride a giant crab and come after him until he wakes up. Meeks doesn’t look up from his phone until Peace starts to describe how he hooked up with Nancy Grace.
Everybody is occupied with everything else, though, and D’Antoni has pulled out his iPhone, clicked the camera, flipped the view on the camera around so he can see himself, and started to primp his mustache.
Kobe leans up off the table and sees the rest of the room. Disgusted, he puts his hands on his hips, untucks his shirt with a snake on it he bought at a gas station, and walks out of the room as Robert Sacre head butts a wall.