Klay Thompson pulled his trenchcoat closer around his body, feeling conspicuous in his hiding spot underneath the Golden Gate bridge. Suddenly realizing that his greater-than-average height might give away his status as a basketball player, he hunched over to make himself appear shorter.
Finally, after what seemed like hours of waiting, but was probably closer to twenty minutes in actuality, a furtive foreign-looking man approached Klay’s spot among the overgrown grass and broken concrete. “You the guy?” the man asked in a thick Russian accent.
Klay had arranged for a meeting with somebody at this spot and at this time, but he wasn’t sure what his co-conspirator actually looked like. He didn’t want to get embroiled in some kind of drug smuggling operation or anything like that, so he countered, “Depends. You the guy with the peepee?”
“Peepee” was the code word for the substance that Klay had recently arranged to buy. After much stumbling around the most obscure reaches of the deep web, under the cloaking shadow of the Tor anonymity network, he had eventually found somebody willing to sell him what he sought: weapons-grade plutonium.
“Yeah, I got it right here man,” said the man, who Klay knew only by his online handle “RarePeePees”. A bag was produced containing a chunk of metal, dark gray in color.
Klay looked at it with eyebrows furrowed, as if he was carefully scrutinizing its quality, but really, he didn’t know the first thing about what plutonium was supposed to look like. He had always imagined it as having a green glow about it, and making a faint humming noise, but this was just a silent blob of metal. It could be any metal, as far as Klay knew. Most metals were gray just like this one. “How do I know this is the good stuff?” he asked sternly.
“It comes from a real-life nuclear program,” the man answered. “If I told you anymore you would probably end up on some watchlists.”
Nervously fingering the large wad of cash in his pocket, Klay said, “I don’t want to get ripped off.” The conversation paused as a homeless man, visibly drunk, tottered past them, relieved himself on a rock, and passed out in a nearby patch of weeds. “If this stuff doesn’t work, I can make your life very unpleasant,” he threatened in a quieter voice.
The man laughed. “Sure thing, Klay.”
Klay was so startled that the man knew his name that he almost ran away right then. “Uh, I don’t know who Klay is. I’m not Klay. My name’s, uh, Greg. I’m Greg. Not Klay.”
“Drop the act, man. When your government runs two-thirds of the world’s exit nodes, even Tor isn’t anonymous.”
Klay sighed. “Okay, you got me. I’m Klay Thompson. How does that affect anything? Just give me the peepee and I’ll give you the seventy-five thousand in unmarked non-sequential bills and you’ll go back to your third-world dictatorship and I’ll go back to my lavish San Francisco condo and everybody will live happily ever after, the end.”
This speech had the desired persuasive effect on the man, and the bag of plutonium was exchanged for the pile of cash. When the transaction was complete, the man asked, “You know you’re not supposed to smoke that stuff, right?”
“Of course I know that,” Klay lied. He had, in fact, been contemplating chiseling off a few flakes of the plutonium to put into his bong. The high he got off of a radioactive substance was sure to be the dankest ever. “I’m not dumb.”
The man shrugged. “Just making sure. Lung cancer would basically be the least of your worries when your esophageal lining turned into molten lava and suffocated you.”
“I don’t even smoke weed ever, so I obviously wouldn’t try to smoke plutonium since I don’t even smoke weed at all,” Klay reiterated. “I gotta get going. Thanks for the peepee, and, uh, for not killing me I guess.”
“The pleasure was all mine,” said the man. “If you need any clues on the manufacturing of advanced nuclear weapons, I’ve got hundreds of pages of leaked technical schematics in PDF format for just a couple hundred thousand.” He briefly shook Klay’s hand, then began to walk back up towards the road.
Klay stood there for a while, looking at the baggie which contained a very sought-after specimen of a very rare and expensive element. The man’s final offer had caused him to think about the next step of his plan, or, more specifically, the fact that he didn’t have a next step of his plan. He wasn’t a scientist, he was only a basketball player, and he didn’t know what one did with plutonium to integrate it into a nuclear weapon. He had been so focused on the first step, which was obtaining the plutonium, that he had neglected to consider how it fit into his goal of wresting control of the three-point shooting amulet from his teammate Stephen Curry.
Deciding that a good long hit on his bong (his plutonium-free bong, he reminded himself) would help him figure out what to do next, Klay pocketed the plutonium, pulled his cowboy hat low over his face, and began to walk back to his car.