When the masked intruder bursts in through my front door, I barely react. There is a part of me that was almost expecting this intrusion into my home. I am sitting at my kitchen table, enjoying a late breakfast of S’mores flavor Pop-Tarts, a just reward for having finished another productive day of highlight compilation.
“You will make a Jeff Teague highlight video,” growls the man, whose clothing coverage is so complete that I can’t make out his skin color or any other identifying feature. All I see are two eyes – even the man’s mouth is covered. He reaches towards his side, implying that he has a gun or other weapon kept there.
“No I won’t,” I reply with a calm voice after gulping down my bite of Poptart. But my voice does not give away the true worry I harbor in my heart. I don’t normally keep a weapon cache in my kitchen, so I am vulnerable to this man. I think of my kitty Japurri Purrker, who is trained to deal with situations like this, but he is sound asleep at the opposite end of the residence after a filling early-morning snack of Fancy Feast.
Now the man does bring out his weapon, a gleaming-sharp knife. “Does this change your mind, asshole?”
“Nah,” I respond. “Too many assists for my taste, and nobody cares about Jeff Teague anyway.” I wonder why I’m being so flippant with this obviously aggressive and enraged man.
He yells and charges at me over the top of the table. I duck under the table as he slides across its smooth surface and crawl underneath it to get to the other side. But the man recovers quickly, and he tackles me from behind as I run out to my living room. When I feel the cold metal of his blade press against the side of my neck, I immediately stop resisting, knowing that a wrong move could spell the end of my life. “Eleven assists is too many,” I whine.
The man begins to drag me towards my computer, no doubt intending to force me against my will to make the video. I whimper and complain, but I am secretly pleased by this turn of events, for most of my hidden weapons are located around my computer area. He props me up in my office chair, and with a single command of “now”, I begin the clip-gathering process.
The process of creating a highlight video is so automatic for me that my mind is free to formulate a plan. I still have no idea if Japurri is awake or aware of the situation. I can, however, see in the glossy reflection of my monitor stand that the intruder is restless; he’s shifting from one foot to the other, as if nervous about how long he has to wait. When I see him glance nervously out my window, I am ready to act quickly.
Quickly darting my hand underneath my desk, I pull a concealed shuriken, or ninja star, from my computer’s CD tray and fling it over my shoulder. The grunt of pain is all the confirmation I need. I turn around to see the shuriken cleanly stuck in the left eye of the masked man. He drops his knife and falls to the ground, moaning in pain and grasping at the ninja blade embedded in his face. His black ski mask is soon saturated with blood as he tries, and fails, to remove the shuriken.
His noisy injury has roused Japurri, who trots over to investigate. After a quick sniff reveals that this guest is most certainly unwelcome in the house, he hisses and begins to scratch the man’s face. After a minute of this attack, the mask is in tatters, and I can discern the man’s true identity.
It’s Jeff Teague himself. I stand over him, feeling no sympathy. “Eleven assists is too many,” I repeat, but now my words drip with gloating irony. “But I will make your highlight video regardless. It pleases me to know that I will not have to make any more of them in the future.” Returning to my desk, I complete the video, heedless of the dying man behind me. Japurri runs to the kitchen, then returns with a Pop-Tart in his mouth. He bounces into my lap, offers me the Pop-Tart, then purrs happily.
All in a day’s work for DownToBuck, highlight maker extraordinaire.