Zach LaVine looked over at his ringing phone with disinterest. He was in the middle of a very productive session of Euro Truck Simulator 2 (one of the few video games he wasn’t terrible at) and didn’t want any interruptions while he made his deliveries. If the call was something important from somebody important, they would hit him up through Steam chat.
Ten minutes later, that hadn’t happened, so Zach forgot about it. However, when he finally closed the game four hours later, he noticed that his phone was telling him that he had been left a voicemail. It was from an unknown number, so it was likely to be spam, but he started listening to it anyway, just in case it was some company bypassing his agent to offer him an endorsement deal.
“Hey Zach. It’s, uh, Nikola Vucevic here. I know that we’re not good friends but I, uh, I wanted to let you know that Aaron’s going totally nuts down here in Orlando. Aaron Gordon. You beat him in that dunk contest and he never forgot it. For the past two weeks he’s been sending weird messages to our group chat about, like, stealing your ACL’s. It’s super weird. I wasn’t gonna call but today I accidentally saw him on his phone looking at flights to Chicago so, uh, I guess you should know that Aaron is going to come try to steal your ACL’s so you should watch out. Um, that’s it. Sorry for the weird call. I swear it’s not a prank. Uh, bye.”
Zach shook his head. He fully believed Nikola’s words; the described behavior was consistent with how Aaron had behaved towards him ever since their shared dunk contest experience three years prior. But what, exactly, did Aaron intend to do to “steal” his anterior cruciate ligaments? Was he going to cast a magic spell or did he actually plan to perform amateur surgery on his rival? The second option was very worrying to Zach, as many things could go wrong if Aaron was left on his own with sharp objects and a misguided vendetta on his mind.
Zach sat at his computer, clicking through the myriad full-color video feeds that his new home security system let him choose from. Every inch of the outside of his house was covered by at least two cameras, and his phone would get notifications any time something out of the ordinary was noticed. Zach was glad he had acted fast; Nikola had left another voicemail saying that Aaron had left a suspicious note to his team about “visiting Illinois today to see the corn museum”.
“More like visiting his nemesis Zach LaVine to harvest his ligaments,” Nikola had said.
Confident that Aaron’s imminent arrival would not catch him by surprise, Zach began making other preparations for their upcoming meeting. If things went according to plan, neither of them would have to incur bodily harm.
Lying in bed that night, Zach was too restless to sleep. His sense of anticipation for the attack on his ACL’s meant that he could only stare at the ceiling and listen for weird noises.
It was almost three in the morning when Zach finally heard something. A car door closing. Jumping up to his computer, he switched his surveillance software to the camera that pointed at the street. There, he could see a man dressed in all black creeping up to the front door, carrying a backpack that was undoubtedly filled with bootleg surgical tools.
Zach’s plan didn’t call for a confrontation outside the house. He waited in his upstairs bedroom for Aaron to pick the lock of the front door; if Aaron failed to do that, the side door was unlocked. Either way, he would have to walk through the living room to get to Zach, and that’s where the replica dunk contest trophy (made out of tinfoil) stood on the mantel.
As expected, Aaron eventually got into the front door. Zach switched to his living room camera and could see Aaron’s ski-masked face gain a surprised, then gleeful, expression as he reached for the trophy. At this point, Aaron couldn’t resist announcing his presence. “I got your trophy, Zach! And now I’m coming for you!”
Zach grabbed the small paper bag with the words “Zach’s ACL’s” written on it and ran down the stairs. “Oh no! Not my trophy!” he yelled in mock surprise, ‘absentmindedly’ waving his ACL bag in front of Aaron’s face. “Please give it back!”
Aaron swiped the bag out of Zach’s hands and opened it to look at the two raw strips of bacon inside. “Ha! Fool! Now I can put these ACL’s in my knees to gain your power!”
“Give those back! Those are mine!” Zach pleaded, making a few ineffectual grabs at the bag which Aaron kept out of his reach.
“No chance. You’ll never dunk again!” Aaron gloated.
“Noooooooooo,” Zach moaned, falling to his knees in anguish. “My career is over…and not only that, but by stealing my trophy, you officially have become the 2016 NBA slam dunk champion!”
This thought caused Aaron to cackle wildly. “See ya, Zach! Enjoy your retirement!” And then he was gone, leaving Zach to wonder what would happen if bacon was implanted in a human knee.