When Klay Thompson answered his ringing doorbell and saw Steve Kerr standing there, he knew something serious had just gone down. Coach never came to visit in person. If it was something important, Steve would call; for anything else, a text message sufficed.
“Steph made another Three-Point Shooting Amulet,” Steve started, correctly assuming that Klay would know what he was talking about.
“Duh, I already knew that,” Klay replied. “I even tried to destroy it with a homemade nuke but Steph turned my own weapon against me.”
Steve seemed preoccupied with his own thoughts and didn’t even acknowledge the fact that Klay’s story made no sense. “Using some ancient sorcery, he opened a portal to another dimension, thinking that would enable him to master the amulet’s power, and went through it. We don’t know if he’s coming back, or what condition he will be in when he does. Just thought you should know.” Steve’s voice sounded tired and defeated.
The fact that Stephen had upstaged him yet again made Klay very annoyed. First, Stephen had used arcane magic to create a new amulet, then he had refused to loan the amulet to anybody else, then he had thwarted Klay’s attempts to destroy it, and now he had somehow traveled to a different dimension so he could become an even better three-point shooter. It wasn’t fair. “I guess I’ll have to create another interdimensional portal so that I can run in and save Steph from his own pride,” he said in an offhand way, trying to not to sound bitter.
“I doubt you could pull off the intricate ritual necessary, but sure, go ahead and try,” Steve said wearily. “I’m gonna hit up the league office and see if we can get some kind of hardship exception.” He turned away and returned to his waiting car.
Klay closed the door with a plan already forming in his mind.
The library closest to his house was somewhat of a magnet for the homeless. Klay carefully stepped by them, ignoring their pleas for aid, as he entered the front doors. He hadn’t stepped foot in such a place since high school, so instead of searching the stacks himself, he approached the reference librarian, who looked pleased that somebody needed her assistance. “I need books about magic,” Klay said.
“That would be Dewey Decimal Class 793.8, do you need help finding it?” the woman answered.
“I got it,” Klay said as he walked away. He knew enough about libraries to find things if he knew the Dewey number. However, when he got to 793.8, all he found were books on how to do card tricks and other parlor magic. He stormed back to the reference desk. “When I said ‘magic’, I meant real magic, not this fake sleight-of-hand crap.”
The woman looked offended at being talked to in such a rude manner. “133.4 then,” She replied shortly.
“You’d better be right,” Klay muttered as he walked to the other side of the library. He regretted being so mean, but news of Steph’s accomplishments had soured his mood, and he hadn’t smoked anything yet that day. When he got to the specified section, he saw that their collection of books in the 133 range (“Specific Topics on Parapsychology and Occultism”) was limited. Nevertheless, the titles on the spines looked somewhat promising, so he grabbed them all in his arms and proceeded to the checkout desk.
After going through the trouble of opening a new library card and paying five dollars for a library-branded tote bag to carry his stack of books, Klay walked back out to his car. On his way there, he had to pass by the same homeless people, but this time, one of them said something that caused Klay to pause: “If you’re into the occult, man, I got some stuff to share with you.”
Klay faced the man, a 30-something man with dreadlocks and a ratty outfit. “Yeah?”
“For real, man. I’ve summoned demons. I’ve summoned succubi. Incantations, man. Rituals.”
Looking side to side to verify they weren’t being overheard, Klay asked, “You know anything about…portals?”
The man’s eyes grew wide. “Portals? That’s heavy-duty, man. But I got something here…” He fished around in his garbage bag of possessions before pulling out what appeared to be a nearly-empty liquor bottle. “This is portal-potion. I’ll sell you all I’ve got left for three hundred bucks.”
Klay was hesitant. It could be a scam. The man seemed to pick up on this. “I know it sounds a little bit crazy, man. Maybe it is. But I went to other dimensions by using this stuff.” He sloshed the contents of the bottle for emphasis. “Take it or leave it.”
“I’ll take it,” Klay replied, digging three hundred-dollar bills out if his wallet. “How do I use it?”
The man seemed caught off-guard by this question. “Uh, it will be in those books you got there,” he replied, pointing at Klay’s tote bag. “It’s too dangerous too say out loud, man.”
Klay nodded. “Got you. Thanks bro.” He shook the man’s hand and walked to his car in a much better mood. He was confident that, with his newly-acquired knowledge, he could generate a dimensional portal and rescue Stephen.