Doubleday, E. Lynn Harris, Guest Contributor, Kingett Reads

Kingett Reads “Basketball Jones” Chapter 10

In chapter 10 of Basketball Jones the drama and angst clash into a huge argument between AJ and Dray over the baby, and I am utterly mortified and titillated all at the same time. Intrigued? It’s time for Kingett to read Basketball Jones.

This chapter is only three pages long and it also does not have a lot of things to talk about. It consists of AJ and Dray having a bit of a tiff…well, okay, an all-out tiff because Dray didn’t tell AJ that Dray and Judy are having a baby. The two boyfriends confront each other in the living room and angst ensues, as well as a bit of drama, but AJ gets a real chance to shine here because, up until this point, he’s been holding in a lot of feelings because he’s been worried that this security blanket will crumble into dust. AJ feels hurt that Dray would even go ahead with something as unfaithful as having a baby with another woman. This hurts ME to read, and I just want to weep on two levels. One, because Dray really is an idiot, and two, because Dray does love AJ but can’t show it because he doesn’t know how to show it.

Seriously, Dray has to be the blindest man I have ever met in my life. His entire argument is that AJ should know what this will do to Dray and his career if word ever gets out that AJ and Dray are boyfriends.

They both get so heated they square off, as if they are going to duel right there in the living room, but they continue to argue, saying stuff that they have been saying throughout previous chapters. The only thing that’s different from now and the previous times is that AJ as finally reached his breaking point, so he’s just letting every little thought ooze out of his mouth, hoping to slap Dray a little with words.

Dray, on the other hand, isn’t even apologizing to AJ. He’s apologizing at the current situation. Dray isn’t even telling AJ he knows how this is hurting AJ, he’s just saying sorry, and that yes, this definitely stinks, but this is how it has to be for now, and this can’t change, and AJ knows why.

“The baby. When were you going to tell me? Do you know how humiliating and hurtful it was to find out about it from my trainer, or better yet the newspaper and the Net?” Cisco’s face flashed in my head and I wondered if I should tell Dray how he had tried to seduce me. I still wasn’t sure what all that was about, but maybe that would make Dray jealous and he would realize he could lose me. That’s one thing that sometimes annoyed the hell out of me. Dray was so damn cocksure he had me in the palm of his hand, and it might do him some good if he knew I had other options.

The keeping Cisco a secret decision is bugging me because it wouldn’t take a genius, especially after the events that happened in Chapter Nine, to figure out that AJ and Dray are boyfriends. Cisco could use that to do some serious damage because Cisco has information on a lot of Dray’s assets because, I’m guessing, the two have had to meet at some point. Cisco would have met with the coaches, and I’m sure the main team manager or something, and then Cisco could have some tools to do whatever. AJ doesn’t even tell Dray about Cisco, however, so I am gritting my teeth as I am listening to the two argue and not really solve anything.

Even though Dray isn’t the brightest bulb in the box, I don’t think he’s a bad person, he’s just really dumb. Does he love AJ? That, honestly, I don’t know. I don’t know how much Dray understands about the dynamics of this relationship, because he only seems to know the little things, such as AJ will miss him when he’s gone for days on end. Judy will be hurt if she knows. I believe he knows obvious things such as that, but I don’t believe that he knows how AJ feels and how trapped this is making AJ feel. Dray has a limited perspective of this relationship, and I don’t know how I should look at Dray as a character. Perhaps I’m short with him because he is so clueless and he doesn’t even understand what he’s doing has, or will have, deep rooted consequences for all of the people involved. Being in the closet is one thing but having a double gay life, with a kid, that’s a different ballgame, and this will make a mountain out of an anthill. Dray doesn’t even get how hard this is on AJ, but he does love AJ. What does that love mean for Dray, exactly? Sex? A man to look after? A man to show off to? Is this all just a big thank you because Dray didn’t know how to say thank you to AJ in college? I don’t understand Dray and his line of thinking, but it all seems very simple. For example.

“I was going to tell you. But no time seemed like the right time. And I didn’t want to tell you over the phone. We see each other so little that when I’m here all I want to do is hold you and make love to you. Besides, do you know how hard it was going to be for me to tell you Judi was pregnant? I already have you feeling sidelined in my life, so I knew hearing about the baby would upset you. There was no easy way to come out and say it.

Dray is the kinda man who will say whatever just to change the immediate situation… sigh. I don’t know if I should feel sorry for Dray because he isn’t getting this at all, that this double life hurts AJ because to AJ it feels like a giant slap in the face, or AJ, because AJ is with someone who is really dumb.

The chapter ends with them kissing, but not really solving anything because the two have been arguing about responsibility and such. I’m wondering if Dray will ever get it, that this closeted persona is even worth it. Sure, straight people hate gay people sometimes, but it’s a lot better than hurting people with lie after lie. I’m wondering what Chapter Eleven will bring. We will see next week!


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