Nikola Jokic absentmindedly grabbed his mail out of his mailbox and walked into his house. His thoughts were focused on what he would do during the extended break that surrounded the NBA’s All-Star festivities: it was between playing video games all week to make a dent in his Steam backlog or lying around and doing nothing to make the most of a relaxed schedule after months of hectic travel.
He tossed his mail on his kitchen table and was about to go over to his couch to mull his plans when he noticed a pink envelope peeking out of the stack. Its presence there surprised him; his address was not publicly available, so he got very little in the way of fan mail, and the envelope was clearly not an official communication from somewhere, as it was covered in pink and red hearts.
Valentine’s day had been a few days before. That day, his locker had been full of love letters that had been addressed to him but mailed to the Nuggets organization. All of his teammates, even the G-League call-ups, had also received a large amount of mail from admirers. Much of the day had been spent reading aloud the most desperate, or the most sexually explicit, letters, to the amusement of the others.
But Nikola always enjoyed reading each one, so he opened this latest letter with enthusiasm and began to read:
“My lovely Nikola,
I in love with you so much. Whenever I seeing the handsome face on TV, my heart is fluttering with excitement. When you show smile or laugh, I also smiling and laughing with you. To being honest, when camera is showing you bent down to pick ball up from court, I admire your butt and imagining that I get to see it without shorts on! How crazy in love I am with you!
Now I have traveling from Serbia to meet you personal. I can be girlfriend, then becoming wife, and live devoted life to you forever. By time your receiving letter, I will be outside your house, waiting to declare eternally love to you. I knowing that Valentine’s day is passed, but is my hoping that my letter stands out more when sent on different day..
In envelope also is picture of me. You can see I am not beautiful as supermodel, but also not ugly as gypsy hag. Seeing you soon!
With love and kissings,
Flattered by Anja’s compliments, Nikola returned to the envelope and pulled out the picture inside. He admired her stunning, yet understated, beauty for a while before setting it down. Looking at the letter again, one thing confused him: if she was a Serb like him, how come she didn’t write in Serbian? He quickly dismissed this concern: she was probably just practicing her English for their new life in the United States.
He walked back to his front door and then stepped outside, looking around in the lowering afternoon sunlight for any sight of Anja. She had said in her letter that she would be outside his house; did she know which door was the front door? Or was she hiding somewhere, playing a romantic game of hide-and-seek?
He took another step out his door, then paused. Had he heard footsteps on his roof? Why would Anja be up there? He looked up towards the sky just in time to see a familiar, large body hurtling towards him, but with no time to dodge out of the way.
Jusuf Nurkic slammed right on top of Nikola, seemingly having fallen from the second-story roof of the house. “I KILLING YOU NOW, NIKOLA!” he bellowed as he lay on top of his groaning enemy. “YOU DEAD.”
“Jusuf, what the hell?” Nikola mumbled, his whole body sore from being crushed onto the concrete.
“I tell you what is hell, hell is having career ruin by stupid NIKOLA JOKIC!” Jusuf replied in a deranged voice, beating Nikola’s chest with his fists. “Now you will meet the hell…of my fists!”
Nikola rolled feebly from side to side, but couldn’t extricate himself from underneath Jusuf’s body, so he just covered his face with his arms to minimize the damage that Jusuf would be able to do. Luckily, Jusuf seemed to be very inebriated, so his punches were missing more often than not, and when they did connect, it was without much force.
“Stupid vain Nikola, falling for fake love letter which I write!” Jusuf gloated drunkenly. “He is so desperate for woman to loving him, because ugly face scaring all women away!”
Nikola was just wondering how he would get out of this situation when a distant police siren spooked Jusuf. The larger man stood up quickly, looking panicked. “Nikola call police, how, Jusuf not know, but Nikola call them,” he rambled to himself. “Nikola ruinings career, now want to put Jusuf in prison, but we not letting it happen, no, it cannot.” Jusuf ran unsteadily towards a nearby hedge and tried to jump over it, but only managed to fall into it and get partially stuck. After struggling ineffectively for a while, he finally got back on his feet, and this time, he just ran down Nikola’s driveway.
Wiping off his clothes as he got to his feet, Nikola could only shake his head. “Damn it, Jusuf,” he mumbled before going back into his house.