“You think you can just go waltzing through our neighborhood, punk?”
Ryan Anderson drifted in and out of consciousness. He could not respond, even if he had the mental acumen to do so; he was bound and gagged, laying on the rough hardwood floor of some abandoned New Orleans house.
“I said, you think you can just come into our turf and think everything’s all fine and dandy? Yo, let this guy loose. He ain’t goin’ nowhere.”
Ryan was shocked to alertness by a dousing of extremely cold water. Opening his eyes, he saw a group of five men, all holding weapons of varying potency. One of the men undid his constraints. The leader was right; he had neither the ability nor the desire to move from his current location.
“Yo, I think this is Ryan Anderson!” one of the men exclaimed. Ryan shook his head feebly to indicate that, no, he was not Ryan Anderson, but it was futile. The others agreed in a chorus of “yeah”s and “mm hm”s.
“Shut up, shut up!” It was the leader speaking again, an extremely fat black man wielding a shotgun. “Hey, Ryan, where’s your buddies? Where’s Anthony Davis? Where’s Tyreke Evans?”
Ryan debated about answering. He knew what he had done to Tyreke and Anthony, and the rest of his teammates and coaches. Their smoldering bodies still haunted his thoughts.
“What do you mean, they’re dead? You killed ’em or something’?”
Again, Ryan questioned whether he should answer with the truth. Technically, yes, he had killed them, in that he had turned his arm-mounted flamethrower on them, but he was coming to realize that his actions weren’t his own.
“Not me. Someone else. The Smoothie King. I barely escaped. Please, I need to get to Smoothie King arena. Just let me go, please.”
“You goin’ after the Smoothie King? Now there’s something I can get behind. Me and him go way back. Hey, Maurice, get this guy cleaned up. And Quincy, go grab this guy some firepower. Me and him are gonna talk strategy.”