Standing under the scalding water, DeMarcus cleaned himself ponderously. Thoughts were frenziedly hurrying in and out of his brain. Had he just played his last game in Sacramento? Would he like Seattle? Would that cute cheerleader Kelsee continue to cheer for the team, or would he have to leave her behind? He closed his eyes, trying to calm this mental barrage and let the water take him away.
When he opened his eyes again, he wished he hadn’t. There was a small fairy sitting on his shampoo bottle. Now questioning the sturdiness of his sanity, he blinked several times, hoping that he was just having a stress-induced hallucination, but the fairy was still sitting there.
“Okay. I’m goin’ crazy, but I swear there’s a fairy in my shower,” he said, not wanting or expecting a response. But a response he got, a response in a tiny, angelic voice.
“You’re not going crazy. I’m the basketball fairy, and I’m here to grant you three wishes.”
Cousins squinted as water ran down his face, a bar of soap forgotten in his hand. “Fairies can’t grant wishes. Only genies do that stuff.”
The fairy’s positive demeanor seemed to have no limit. “Not true, DeMarcus! The fairyish race is one of wish-granters, but to avoid unnecessary harassment of the meadows we call home, we don’t publicize ourselves. Genies, due to the sturdy nature of the lamps they inhabit, are not as cautious, and as such, are the ones who are portrayed as granting wishes in the media.”
The fairy continued, “But the time for introductions has concluded! You must consider carefully the wishes your heart most desires, and I will bring them to reality.”
DeMarcus didn’t need much time to think of his first wish. “I wish,” he began, “that my shower could be nacho cheese instead of water.”
The fairy looked confused. “Okay, sure, whatever you want. Nachos are pretty tasty, I guess.” She waved her wand, and immediately the clear water spraying from the shower head turned into gooey, orange-yellow cheese.
DeMarcus sighed in contentment as the warm foodstuff caressed his unclad body. “Man, I don’t know if I even need any more wishes. This is pretty awesome. Hang on, I got some tortilla chips in the cupboard.”
Upon his return, DeMarcus’ shower had filled with two feet of nacho cheese sludge. As if it was the most normal thing in the world, he turned off the spigot and stepped back in, chips in hand. “So, I got two more wishes, huh?” he said in between crunches. “Let’s see. Well, if I’m going to have this unlimited supply of cheesy sauce coming from my shower, I guess my cupboards better have a never-ending supply of tortilla chips.”
The fairy’s face now showed faint traces of frustration. “Which brand?”
“Okay, done,” the fairy said with a wave of her wand. “But I have to tell you DeMarcus, most basketball players have wishes that consist of more than an infinitely-regenerating supply of an individual food item. I want you to think carefully about this.”
DeMarcus suddenly turned somber, as he at last remembered the deepest desire of his heart, the desire he had harbored ever since he had been first ejected from a basketball game at the age of six, the desire which, in his darkest times, consumed him in an overpowering ache.
“Fairy lady, I don’t wanna be a headcase no more. I don’t wanna be a cancer. I just wanna be a good teammate and play the game the right way.”
“That’s more like it! I can easily fix your mental state if that is what you really want. But this has far-reaching implications for every aspect of your life. You may lose friends, you may gain enemies. You will be radically changed as a person. Something like never-ending Tostitos is a simple material want, but a personality change could potentially alter you to the point where you are no longer DeMarcus.”
DeMarcus sighed. “I want this. I want this so bad. I feel the potential filling me, but every time I am ready to let it out, the bad part of my brain stops me.” Tears now trailed down his cheeks, mingling with the orange strands of cheese. “Give me the right attitude. Please. That is my final wish.”
The fairy’s wand was waved for the third time, and, fully consumed by tears, DeMarcus sunk to his knees in the cheesiness of his shower.
Has DeMarcus finally cast away his demons? Can he fulfill the boundless potential that we all see in his play on the court? We won’t find out until next season…