The distant chime of the microwave breaks my concentration and I look up from my work. As I get up from the desk where the wizardry of my highlight-creation takes place, I congratulate myself on having the ingenuity to set up an automatic Pop-Tart warming mechanism, but remind myself that my genius does have an upper limit; I have yet to devise a suitable way for the completed Pop-Tarts to be delivered automatically to my desk.
As I walk to the kitchen, I come across my little kitty, Japurri Purrker, going the other way. Carried carefully in his mouth is a plate holding two Pop-Tarts, still steaming from their recent microwavement. So I do have an automatic delivery system for my snacks – the downside is that the delivery system likes to take a lot of naps and is, for that reason, not as reliable as I would like. I reach down to give Japurri some ear-scritches and take my Pop-Tarts (apple cinnamon flavor) when there is a violent knock at the door.
I am not expecting company, nor do I ever expect company. My life as a highlights hermit is, by definition, a lonely one. But I am expecting a shipment of computer components that requires my signature, so I jog over and open the door.
“We need to talk,” LeBron James says, walking into my entryway before I even have the chance to invite him in.
“I don’t know if we do,” I say lightly. “If you want to make requests of me, you have to donate to my Patreon first. Those are the rules.” LeBron seems slightly agitated, so I start walking the more advantageous location of my office, knowing that LeBron will follow.
“Rules don’t apply to me,” LeBron says. “You are going to make me one of your dunkamalations whether you want to or not.”
“Dunkilations,” I correct automatically, noting that LeBron is hyperventilating in anger now. “And, no, I don’t think I will. Besides, why would a player of your caliber want to be featured on a YouTube channel that is known to be the den of scrubs and role-players?”
I know the answer to that question. LeBron prefers the editing style of my videos to that of every other highlight maker. But he can’t admit that to my face without losing leverage. Instead, he does something that is both expected (from my past dealings with NBA players) and also completely unexpected: he rips off his clothes.
Underneath his comfortable everyday attire is a full cowboy outfit. Somehow, he is even wearing a cowboy hat, even though he had no pocket big enough to store such an article. Two Colt Peacemakers are holstered at his hips until they are in his hands and pointed at me. “You’re rootin’-tootin’ for a shootin’, Mr. DownToBuck,” he snarls, and now his words are inflected with a western drawl that he didn’t have before.
I quickly glance at the door of my office and see Japurri standing there, awaiting instruction. I make the special signal to him using my toes and he scampers off to make his preparations. LeBron doesn’t notice anything. He is still breathing too heavily, waiting for me to make a move.
I, too, discard my clothes to reveal my ninja garb. I don’t have revolvers, but I do have hidden pockets loaded with shurikens (ninja stars). To his credit, LeBron doesn’t shoot me while I sort through my drawer of miscellaneous objects to find my battle-tested pair of nunchucks. I bring them out and hold them in front of me. “Let the walls of this chamber be stained with crimson carnage!” I yell.
The guns begin firing, but my practiced skill with the ancient Japanese weapon allows me to deflect LeBron’s bullets with ease. My expensive computer equipment is in danger, so I stand in front of it and allow the bullets to ricochet into the walls. I do a half-backflip and launch myself off the wall while withdrawing a shuriken from my pocket, giving myself the perfect angle to throw one of the deadly blades right at LeBron’s chest.
He laughs as he thrusts his hips to have the shuriken bounce off his belt buckle and right back at me. “You’re just mad that I formed a superteam with AD,” he says as I fall to the floor to avoid my own weapon. I roll and dodge to avoid more gunshots, swinging the nunchucks with tiring speed, wondering what’s taking Japurri so long.
Just as I think that, I see the turret of a miniature tank at the door. Slowly, more of the tank emerges, with Japurri’s head sticking out the top of the treaded vehicle. LeBron, still, notices nothing as he tries to press his advantage. For some reason, I think he wants to kill me, even though doing so would result in no dunkilation for him.
All it takes is one round from the tank turret. LeBron is hit in the back and falls forward onto the floor, where he groans pathetically. Japurri hops out of the tank and crawls onto LeBron, seeing a warm place to take a nap.
I stand above him and slip my shinobi mask off. “Never underestimate the power of DownToBuck.” I pause, then add, “And Japurri.”
Japurri purrs. LeBron moans. I smile.