“Monsieur Gobert! Monsieur Gobert! Your esteemed guest has arrived!”
Rudy Gobert rolled his eyes at his bumbling, bespectacled butler. “If you weren’t such an intolerable fool, Remi, you would be able to take his coat and invite him in to the parlor without running to me for guidance.”
“Yes, sir! Of course, sir! I will fetch the fat man at once!” Remi squeaked, running back to the front door.
“I would warn you not to use that term for him in his presence, but I’m afraid your mouse-sized brain is incapable of retaining such information,” Rudy called after the short, pointy-faced man.
Thirty seconds later, Remi ushered Boris Diaw into the sitting room. “Monsieur Gobert, your guest.” Boris was looking around in awe at the ornate, Victorian-styled decor of the mansion, but allowed himself to be led to a chair directly across from Rudy. Between them was a low table, upon which lay a spread of coffee, crackers, and fine French cheeses.
“Man, this looks great,” Boris said, eagerly looking over the presented food. “You doing this for all the Jazz guys?”
Rudy finished his sip of coffee, grimaced, and set down his cup. The drink was cold, of course. Nothing better could be expected of that unbearable dullard who posed as a manservant. At least the cheeses had been served at the proper temperature, but that was only because Rudy himself would not allow anyone to infringe on his unofficial title of Maître Fromager. “No, just for my close friend and fellow Frenchman, the renowned Mr. Diaw,” Rudy said graciously.
“It’s too bad we got swept, but the good news is, we get a few extra days off,” Boris said, stacking crackers and cheese together to make a seven-layer “sandwich”. Popping the culinary innovation into his mouth, he immediately began work on assembling another one.
Rudy watched this display with mild disgust for some time before calling for Remi to bring him the tablet computer, with a stern warning not to drop the device, as the error-prone Remi was so apt to do.
“We gonna watch the playoffs?” Boris asked hopefully. “I noticed you don’t have a TV in here.”
“No, my dear friend,” Rudy said pleasantly as he took the tablet computer from his nervous butler, who had gripped it tightly with two hands and walked very slowly while carrying it from the other room. “I have some enlightening statistics to show you.” Noting with displeasure that the web browser had somehow lost its place, Rudy concentrated on re-entering the correct basketball-reference search parameters, then placed the tablet on the table.
Boris leaned over to read it, then chuckled. “Huh. It says I dunked it one time but you’d think I would remember doing something like that. 235 for you, though, that’s pretty good.”
Rudy chuckled in response, but then his chuckling darkened into malicious cackles. “It is humorous to me that you would think yourself worthy of being in my presence, being as monstrously overweight as you are!” he announced. Boris wore a blank look on his face as Rudy continued, “An elite dunker such as myself should never stoop so low as to host a grossly inferior athletic specimen in his own home, but I saw my opportunity to make known my great disdain for you! Now my hate, lying dormant all these months, can finally be revealed!”
“Man, no need t-” Boris began in a hurt voice, before he was cut off by violently sweeping off all the contents of the table onto the floor.
“Quiet yourself! Whatever pathetic words you were about to utter, I do not want to hear!” Rudy bellowed. When Boris showed no signs of continuing to speak, Rudy went on in a softer voice, “You will accompany me to the garden. I have something to show you.”
Boris followed Rudy as the taller man got up from his chair and walked out of the room. “It’s not a good idea to tell your teammates you hate them when they might be on your team next year.”
“Shut up, fat man,” Rudy spat. “You won’t be on the team next year. You have my personal guarantee.”
Now they had reached the gardens of the estate. Peacocks strutted to and fro. The two men walked down a flower-lined path until they reached the hedge maze. While Boris peered inside, Rudy unlatched a nearby chest and pulled out a vintage hunting rifle. “I’ll give you a fifteen minute head start,” he said coldly.
When Boris turned and saw the weapon his teammate was holding, the color drained from his face. “…Head start?”
“I’m going to hunt you. There’s exactly one exit to my maze. Good luck finding it,” Rudy replied, handing a small dagger to Boris, who took it with confusion.
When Boris didn’t move, Rudy fired one shot into the air as a warning. “Or, I shoot you here. But I prefer the thrill of the hunt; the cunning of a human is much greater than that of a beast.”
Boris, eyes wide with fear, took off at a sprint into the entrance of the maze.
“Now you know why Gordon hasn’t been answering your texts!” Rudy shouted. He laughed maniacally as he looked forward to claiming his next victim.