“Larry! Larry!” Stephen Curry yelled, running after the Indiana Pacers GM in an isolated hallway of the Pacers’ arena. “Wait up!”
But Larry Bird not wait up. Instead, Larry quickly turned left into what appeared to be an even more disused corridor. Stephen sped up, continuing to call the basketball legend’s name. He suspected that Larry’s hearing was perfectly fine, and that there was a reason that he was being avoided. A very specific reason.
Finally, Larry seemed to have cornered himself, having entered a hallway with no exit and no unlocked doors to hide behind. He turned around in distress, face red and sweaty. “Just leave me alone, okay?”
“I need to ask you a question,” Stephen said, becoming unnerved by Larry’s demeanor. “About the-”
“I know how that sentence is going to finish and I don’t want to talk about it!” Larry wailed. “Just let it rest!” He seemed near tears.
“So you know,” Stephen whispered, leaning in closer. “You know about the three point amulet.”
Larry made a half-hearted attempt to walk past Stephen, but was stopped by a light hand to his chest. His face bore an expression of extreme anguish. “I do know. Oh, how I wish I could forget.”
“Steve Kerr destroyed it last season,” Stephen supplied, remembering again the chaotic scene at Oracle Arena.
“That is the most troubling part of all!” Larry said sadly. “I know the amulet to be destroyed, yet its grip on my heart has not lessened, its toll on my body has not relented!” Catching the widening of Stephen’s eyes as he said this, Larry continued, “It holds sway over your soul as well, does it not, Stephen?”
“It does,” Stephen said. “Do you know how the amulet came to exist?”
Larry tensed up and glanced suspiciously at the younger man. “There is some knowledge in this world, Stephen, that must not be uttered. And there is some knowledge that must not even be known. It would be wise not to seek further answers to the questions you pose.”
These ominous words stunned Stephen so thoroughly that he now made no attempt to prevent Larry from leaving. Soon, he was all by himself in that far-off corner of the arena, filled with doubt, but also, strangely, filled with an icy certainty as well.
– – –
Stephen ambled through the jet bridge, feeling exhilarated. After having conducted discreet interviews with several people close to Larry, he had determined that, during the NBA preseason in the autumn of 1979, Larry had taken several unexplained trips to London. This was the same preseason that saw the three-point line used in the NBA for the first time. The timing was too perfect to be a coincidence: the secret of the amulet resided somewhere near or within that great and storied city.
However, he would need more guidance than that if he ever hoped to obtain the metaphorical key which would unlock the secrets of the three point amulet. Walking out of Heathrow airport, he quickly hailed a cab and direct the cabbie to Oxford University. Upon his arrival, he headed to the building he knew to house the university’s history department. If anybody held the secrets of the enchanted three point amulet, it would be the well-regarded scholars belonging to the oldest history department in the world.
Stephen even had a specific professor in mind: Martin Doyle. There was no evidence that Larry had ever spoken with Doyle, but there was scant evidence of anything that Larry had done while visiting Britain; besides, Doyle was the world’s foremost expert on Elizabethan occultism.
It was good fortune or something else that allowed him to find the man sitting in his office with the door open, seemingly welcoming company. “Excuse me, Dr. Doyle…?” Stephen ventured, standing hesitantly in the doorframe.
“Yes?” Doyle asked, looking up from the journal article he had been reading but not visibly annoyed by the interruption.
“I wanted to ask some questions about your area of expertise.”
Doyle raised an eyebrow. “You have my attention.”
Stephen had already phrased the question in his mind in order to sound more educated than he really was, and thus, make Doyle more relaxed in what knowledge he might offer. “The preoccupation of 16th century British thinkers with alchemy and demonology is well-known. However, I’m curious as to whether sorcery was also practiced, and simply repressed in the historical record.”
Doyle pressed his fingertips together as he spoke. “There is evidence to suggest it. Some manuscripts mention in passing the casting of spells and the enchantment of objects.”
Stephen saw his opening. “I have a specific object in mind.”
Doyle chuckled lightly. “Go ahead, my lad.”
“It’s just a fable,” Stephen demurred. “The three-point shooting amulet…”
“LEAVE MY OFFICE AT ONCE!” Doyle bellowed, suddenly bolting up from his chair. “I REFUSE TO DISCUSS SUCH FOOLISHNESS!”
That was all Stephen needed to hear. He mumbled an apology and quickly left the building. Once outside, he knew what his next step must be.