Marreese Speights was walking to the bench after being subbed out of the game for the final time when he felt a prickling sensation around the bump on the side of his head. His mind barely had time to register a thought of impending dread before there was a sudden, violent jolt of pain from the cyst. “Unnnhhh,” he moaned through gritted teeth, doubling over and clutching his head.
“You feelin’ okay, Mo?” asked Nikola Vucevic, who was just two feet away from where his teammate was groaning. “You got a headache too from watching the Lakers chuck up so many bricks?”
“My cyst! My cyst!” Mo wailed, attracting concerned glances from the rest of the players sitting on the bench. “Aliens use it to send me messages!”
Nikola furrowed his eyebrows. “Yeah man. Aliens. Got it.” He tried to lean to the side to observe the game, the view of which was being blocked by Marreese’s body.
Suddenly, the PA announcer’s voice was cut off in the middle of announcing a personal foul, and was replaced with that horrific screeching voice that Marreese was all too familiar with. “We’re coming soon, Marreese! Soon, all of humanity will be enslaved by the indomitable might of our star-borne superrace!”
Marreese, overcome by nausea and pain, collapsed onto the hardwood, prompting more confused looks from the bench and nearby spectators but no aid from his teammates. “Don’t you hear it?” he whimpered, his eyes clenched shut against the unwelcome visions that were now being transmitted into his mind, visions of searing nuclear hellfire, merciless alien brutality, and an inhospitable earth, charred and blackened by advanced alien weaponry. “Don’t you hear their messages of doom?”
Nikola shrugged, looking annoyed by Marreese’s antics. “Nah man. Whatever the aliens are telling you must be in your head.”
In defiance of Nikola’s words, the PA system continue to blare alien warnings. “You’re the chosen one, Marreese! The one to carry our terrible message of utter terrestrial devastation! But nobody listens! NOBODY BELIEEEEEEVES YOOOOOOOOOOOOU!”
Marreese opened his eyes to a squint and saw that the jumbotron was now playing the same scenes of Earthly annihilation that had been forcibly placed in his mind. But none of the crowd seemed to notice the grisly images of dismembered human corpses and gloating alien overlords that appeared there. “SOON MARREESE! SOON, HUMANITY WILL BE NOTHING BUT AN UNFORTUNATE FOOTNOTE IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE!”
Just as suddenly as the pain started, it went away, and the PA announcer’s voice returned. Staggering to his feet, Marreese flopped into the nearest chair and leaned back in it, sweating and panting. “Nik, you gotta believe me, the aliens are coming soon, they’re gonna destroy us, and-”
“Yeah, cool story Mo,” Nikola interrupted. “Can you shut up now? I’m paying attention to the game.”
Marreese sat there in silence as the game finished, wondering who would believe him, and what the cost would be if nobody did.