Jamal Murray walked up to Nikola Jokic in the locker room after the game. “Hey Nik, some of us were gonna hit up the clubs tonight. You in?”
“Nah, you guys go ahead,” Nikola answered. “I just want to relax tonight.”
Jamal accepted this reasoning without complaint; after all, Nikola often declined to take part in some of the more raucous social events that his teammates were fond him. “Sounds good, man. Text if you change your mind. Oh yeah, way to go on the big game tonight, you made that Nurkic guy into your bitch.”
Nikola smiled sheepishly. “He played hard and he played well. It was a good game.” But with Jusuf having been brought into the conversation, Nikola couldn’t help but wonder why he hadn’t heard anything from his ex-teammate. Jusuf was well-known for his vocal and violent displays against Nikola, and now that they were in the same building, the time seemed ripe for another such display.
The locker room was slowly clearing out. Nikola finished getting his stuff together and prepared to head home, but not before hitting up one of his favorite late-night burger spots.
“The usual?” asked the cashier as Nikola walked into the cramped, somewhat dingy burger restaurant.
“You know me to well,” Nikola said, getting out his credit card.
The cashier began to ring up Nikola’s usual order. “Two triples, one with bacon…big fries, extra dip…large chocolate shake,” he murmured, hitting the corresponding buttons on the register. When the order was all entered, Nikola inserted his card, paid, and went to sit down. The restaurant was quite a ways away from the arena, so there were only a few other diners present.
As Nikola waited, he thought he heard sounds of a fight coming from the kitchen. He didn’t pay them much attention; one of the regular cooks was known to be a hothead. That was what made the burgers so tasty. However, when he heard the crashes of kitchenware hitting the floor, he looked back towards the kitchen with concern. Usually these fights were strictly verbal, not physical. The cashier, looking confused, went back through the swinging door to see what was happening.
“ORDER UP!” bellowed a loud, unfamiliar voice from the kitchen. Suddenly, the door swung back open as the cashier stumbled back through it, holding his face as though he had been punched. Following him was somebody very familiar to Nikola, somebody who was the last person he would expect to see in the back of the restaurant.
“I HAVINGS FOOD FOR YOU, NIKOLA!” Jusuf yelled, holding a tray of food that actually seemed to be Nikola’s entire, correct order. “COME AND EAT!”
The one couple left in the restaurant quickly grabbed their coats and headed for the exit as Jusuf advanced menacingly towards his former teammate. “I making special for you, Nikola. Chef Jusuf they callings me for quality of my recipes!”
Nikola didn’t want to know in what foul way his food had been tampered with. “I’m sure it’s great, Jusuf, but I’m not really hungry…”
“DO NOT TELLING LIES!” Jusuf roared, grabbing one of the paper-wrapped triple cheeseburgers off the tray before flipping the trayful of food into Nikola’s face and chest. “YOU ARE HUNGRY AND NOW…YOU WILL EAT THE SPECIALLY CHEF JUSUF CHEESEBURGER!” Before Nikola could get out of the way, Jusuf dove forward towards him, brandishing the burger as if it were a weapon. The two big men tumbled to the floor, tables and chairs getting knocked aside.
“EAT! EAT! EAT!” Jusuf yelled, jamming the messy cheeseburger into Nikola’s face over and over again. “EAT THE BURGER WHICH CONTAINING MY SPIT! IT IS YOUR DESERVING!”
In the chaos, Nikola could see that the cashier had dragged himself to his feet and was calling somebody on the store phone. But he couldn’t keep his eyes open for long, because condiments were flying in all directions, blinding him. He didn’t want to rebut Jusuf’s words in case he ended up with a mouthful of tainted food. Instead, he struggled physically, kicking his legs to get Jusuf off from on top of him.
The effort was futile. Jusuf was too big. So Nikola had no choice but to try to cover his face with his hands as Jusuf grabbed a handful of french fries and started smashing them into Nikola’s face. “DELICIOUS, ARE YOU NOT AGREE?” Jusuf yelled gleefully. “THEY ALSO FEATURING SPIT AS SPECIAL INGREDIENT!”
Distantly, Nikola could hear the sound of police sirens getting closer. Jusuf evidently heard it as well; he abruptly stopped his absurd, food-based assault. “Not only is Nikola ruinings career, he is ruinings criminal record also…” he whispered with a paranoid mutter. “Must escaping!” He ran back through the kitchen and out the back door just as a squad car pulled up in front.
“Damn it Jusuf,” Nikola said sadly, looking at the scattered remnants of his well-deserved postgame meal. “Why?”