Nick walked into his house and immediately headed up the stairs to his bedroom, where he flung his backpack carelessly on the floor. There was homework in there waiting to be completed, but Nick had a getting-home-from-school routine that could not be bypassed. A routine which involved logging on to his computer and settling down for a solid hour of watching NBA highlights on YouTube while chugging two twenty-ounces of Mountain Dew.
He was halfway through his first soda when a video ad on one of DawkIns’ newest uploads reminded him of his new goal for the day: to research the jump program “BoingAlert” that he had seen advertised all over various NBA-themed YouTube channels. Usually, he ignored these ads and skipped over them when possible, but now, with memories of Jennifer fresh in his head (the math class they shared was the last period of the day), his determination to become a dunker had amplified from a vague “if only” to a concrete desire.
Again he allowed himself to indulge in a fantasy that now seemed more likely than ever, despite his not having done even one leg exercise yet. He was in the gym, taking part in some undefined basketball-related event. The ball came to him. Defying the expectations of all participants and spectators, he took two dribbles towards the basket, then leapt into the air, bringing the ball way back with one hand. As the hushed gym watched in stunned surprise, he threw the ball down through the rim with immense power. He landed back on his feet, grinning smuggly as the gym erupts in cheers. Somehow, he was able to catch Jennifer’s eye among the large crowd; she stood and cheered with the rest of them, and now she ran from her spot in the bleachers to excitedly embrace him…
Nick stopped the fantasy there. He had many ideas about how it could continue, but none of those continuations had the remotest chance of becoming reality unless he focused on the task at hand. Now, he clicked on the link that purported to offer him more information about this “BoingAlert” program.
The first thing he noticed on the page that opened was its lack of professionalism. There were apparent typos and grammatically mangled sentences just on the home page. This didn’t bother Nick too much, though; he knew that most of these athletic programs had origins in eastern European countries or in Russia. What mattered was whether it worked or not.
Skipping the rest of the obvious marketing material, Nick went straight to the example videos. There, Nick saw footage of young men who were roughly his height or shorter throwing down legitimate slam dunks. One BoingAlert graduate even told the camera that he had gone from lazy couch potato to touching rim in just ten weeks.
That was all the convincing that Nick needed. He, too, was a couch potato with dunking aspirations. And BoingAlert seemed to be the jump program tailored to his needs.
“Uh, mom, dad?” Nick began awkwardly after he had finished swallowing his bite of meatloaf. “Can I borrow the credit card after dinner? I need to buy something online.”
“What is it this time?” Nick’s dad replied. “Another computer game?”
“No, nothing like that,” Nick answered. There, he paused, trying to figure out how to describe BoingAlert in a way his parents could understand. “It’s a fitness program. Called BoingAlert.”
“Fitness program?” Nick’s dad repeated skeptically. “So they basically send you a DVD of a buff dude yelling at you?”
“It’s supposed to help you jump higher,” Nick clarified, pushing his meatloaf around on his plate and feeling less confident now that he was confiding his secret plans to others. “You know, to, like, dunk a basketball and stuff.”
“Yeah right!” snorted Becca, Nick’s thirteen-year-old sister. “You’d do leg exercises, for, like, a week, and then you’d give up and just keep playing video games.”
“Shut up, I really wanna do this!” Nick retorted. “It’s a better use of money than you getting dropped off at the mall and buying a million dollars worth of ugly boots to match your ugly face.”
“Behave yourselves!” Nick’s mom rebuked, undoubtedly halting Becca’s snide reply. “I think if Nick wants to buy something to help him improve his health, he should be encouraged.”
Nick nodded eagerly. “Yeah. Healthy! So can I have the credit card?”
“Fine,” Nick’s dad grumbled, reaching for his wallet. “Whatever your mom says.”
“You guys are the best!” Nick said happily as he took the rectangle of plastic from his dad. He quickly wolfed down the rest of his meatloaf, then excused himself from the table to run back up to his computer. As soon as he left the dining room, he could hear Becca complaining about how she never got to use the credit card. Smirking, he went back to the BoingAlert website, added the “BoingBeginner” program to his cart, then went to check out.
In seconds, the purchase was completed. Nick leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes, again imagining how impressed Jennifer would be with his dunking abilities.