“You remember the plan?” John Collins said into his walkie talkie.
“I told you a hundred times, I remember the goddamn plan,” said the voice of Kent Bazemore, a voice which hissed with interference thanks to the cheap communications hardware that John had shelled out for. “You’re getting a big head here and I don’t like it. Don’t go around thinking you’re some kind of genius mastermind or something.”
“I am a genius mastermind, though,” John replied from his remote location behind the Atlanta Hawks’ front office. “A genius masterplan such as this could only be concocted by the superior intellect of a genius masterm-”
“Shut up, shut up, he’s here!” Kent interrupted urgently.
“Remember the plan!” reminded John one more time before he put down the handset. He was concerned with his teammates’ attitude towards the operation; however, there was nothing to do now but nervously wait in the shadows of the bushes he was huddled behind and hope that Kent came through for him.
A few minutes later, John heard the voices of Kent and Lloyd Pierce, the newly-hired head coach. As planned, Kent was talking very loudly and animatedly so that John could hide himself fully while the two walked by on the landscaped lawn of Hawks HQ.
Lloyd suspected nothing when John silently crept up behind Lloyd, slipped a blindfold over his eyes, and then, before Lloyd could do more then yelp in surprise, threw a heavy burlap sack over the coach’s entire body. Kent immediately went silent as this happened; the goal of this was to cause Lloyd to think that Kent had perhaps been abducted as well, or had fled the scene, and that he was not actually one of the abductors himself.
The sack was swiftly tied shut before Lloyd could put up too much of a fight. The wiggling bundle emitted muffled yells as it was carried to the getaway car for the next phase of the operation.
The abandoned country church was a perfect setting for John’s plan. Kent roughly escorted their guest into the building as John prepared his costume, which consisted of some vaguely Catholic imagery, including a papal miter, a flowing white robe, and a large cross on a chain. He also donned a black face mask so that he couldn’t be identified by his facial features.
Examining his appearance in the car’s side mirror and deeming it acceptable, John walked into the church a few minutes after Kent and Lloyd had entered. Kent had already adorned the altar with dozens of lit candles. Lloyd, still blindfolded, was seated in a chair in front of the altar, sitting perfectly still and probably wondering if he was about to get murdered. Kent stood to the side and slightly behind Lloyd, as if reminding him that any attempt to flee would be a bad idea.
John took up residence behind the altar, cleared his voice once, then boomed, “Lloyd Price, tremble before your new GOD!”
“What do you want from me?” Lloyd wailed, and, for his part, he was actually trembling with startled fear.
At John’s cue, Kent took a baseball bat to a nearby pew, which was already heavily damaged like most of the furniture in the decrepit sanctuary. Lloyd yelped and cowered at the sound of the destruction. Once Kent had finished destroying the pew, John resumed speaking.
“You must make John Collins the focal point of the team and give him as many touches as he wants.”
“And Kent Bazemore too,” Kent supplied.
“Yes, and Kent Bazemore,” John confirmed. “THUS SPOKE JOHN THE BAPTIST!” Deciding that the time was right, he had Kent rip the blindfold off of Lloyd’s head so that Lloyd could see with his own eyes the terror that confronted him. The spooky visage mottled by flickering candlelight would surely make him think that he was undergoing some kind of depraved religious initiation.
Lloyd looked at John in his mask for a few seconds, confused. Then, he turned around to ascertain his surroundings, and saw an unmasked Kent standing around awaiting further instruction. “Kent? What the hell is going on here?”
“I dunno, ask him, it’s his plan,” Kent mumbled, pointing back at John.
“John, why the hell are you doing this?” Lloyd asked, correctly guessing John’s identity.
“I am not John Collins, I am JOHN THE BAPTIST, sent by God to ensure justice and fair minutes distribution on this Earth!” John proclaimed.
“John, if you don’t drive me back to my office right now, you’re not getting a single minute the whole season,” Lloyd said angrily. “And take off that stupid outfit, your symbolism sucks.”
John sadly removed the papal miter. “Got it, coach.”
“I still get minutes though, right?” Kent asked. “I was totally peer pressured into doing this.”
“Honestly, you’re both probably going to get suspended for some large amount of games, so I wouldn’t count on it,” Lloyd replied.
Kent looked downcast. “Oh. Hadn’t thought of that. Well, let’s go then.”
As the three of them walked back to the car, John rued the day that he had picked Kent over Taurean to help execute his brilliant plan.