“I don’t even want to know what’s going on here,” Tyler Johnson commented as he walked towards his locker, which was right next to Kelly Oubre’s.
“No. You definitely don’t,” Kelly replied as he pulled on the ninja outfit that he had ordered online. Once this garment was on his body, he took out several snakes from their tank in his locker and put them in his pants pockets. “But the curiosity in your gaze is apparent to me, Tyler. So I will explain it to you.”
“Whatever,” Tyler said as he checked his phone for messages.
“Today is the day of the final battle,” Kelly continued, taking a goateed, Warriors-jerseyed voodoo doll from his locker and staring at it. “On this glorious day, when I enter into combat with my arch enemy Klay Thompson, our years-long conflict will have its final chapter written. Only one of us will emerge from the fray alive, and destiny has destined that the victor will be me, Kelly Oubre Jr.”
Tyler was still looking at his phone. “Cool.”
Devin Booker, who was nearby and had overheard, came over. “Today’s the day, huh?”
“Yep,” Kelly answered, holstering his self-designed, 3D-printed plastic machine gun to his ninja pants. “I would ask you to wish me luck, but I won’t need it, because preparation is more important than luck.” He patted down his pockets to make sure he had everything; the sudden impact caused the snakes to wriggle around in concern. “And, knowing Klay as intimately as I do, he will not have prepared at all for the multi-faceted, carefully-orchestrated onslaught of Kelly Oubre Jr.”
“I’m coming for you, Klay!” Kelly yelled as he kicked open the door of the visitor’s locker room. “It ends now!”
The few Warriors players left in the locker room looked startled that an opposing player could just enter their locker room unhindered. Klay himself was sitting at his locker, looking confused.
Smirking that his opponent had been caught completely unawares, Kelly executed his plan. Withdrawing the snakes from his pocket, he threw them at Klay, confident that he would be able to command their attack using his power of snake-speech. Klay recoiled at the thrown reptiles, standing up to get away from them. “What the hell?” he yelped.
“Attack! Attack, my minions! Attack Klay Thompson!” Kelly yelled, but the snakes weren’t listening; scared, they were slithering quickly away to hide under the furniture in the room.
Kelly had planned for the failure of this phase of the attack. He aimed his 3D-printed gun at his enemy and pulled the trigger before Klay could do more than widen his eyes in surprise. However, this, too, failed; the firing mechanism malfunctioned, causing the fragile gun to blow apart in his hands, spraying shards of blue plastic everywhere. Klay managed put his arms across his face to protect himself, but Kelly ended up with a face full of plastic shrapnel, not to mention severely burned hands.
“It’s not fair! Stop using your advanced spiritual warfare techniques to rebuff my attacks!” Kelly whined. Moving to phase three, he got into his ninja stance, knowing that his well-practiced ancient martial arts techniques would easily kill Klay. However, he was nearly blind because of the searing plastic projectiles that had hit his eyes, and his rapid-fire series of spins and kicks hit nothing but air. Seeing that Klay had somehow used his mind powers to form a protective shield around himself, Kelly got closer and did some more kicks, but tired himself out so quickly that he fell to the floor.
“Dude, stop,” Klay said.
There was one more thing left. Triumphantly, Kelly pulled the Klay Thompson voodoo doll from his pocket and began to beat it against the floor. “Die, Klay! Die! Die! Die!” With each death proclamation, Kelly slammed the doll to the ground. But Klay just stood there in confusion even when he was supposed to be wracked with full-body agony. Seeing this, and having no more phases of attack to skip to, Kelly began to weep bitterly. “I hate you, Klay. I hate you!”
“Why do you hate me?” Klay asked.
“Because…” Kelly started, before pausing. It occurred to him that he didn’t even remember the reason for his hatred. He had harbored the hatred for so long that it had become a part of him, requiring no reason for its continued existence. “Because…I DON’T KNOW!” His bitter tears only became stronger with this confused revelation.
“Hey, come on man, get up,” Klay said, grabbing Kelly’s hand and pulling him up off the floor. “We’re cool, man. We’re cool.”
Kelly wiped the tears off his face with the sleeve of his ninja shirt. “You don’t hate me?”
Klay pulled Kelly into a hug. “Nah, man. We’re good.”
After initially being startled by the hug, Kelly relaxed and returned the gesture. “Yeah. We’re good.” For the first time in over a year, his mind felt clear. It felt free. Free of the hatred of Klay Thompson. And now, the tears he shed were tears of joy. Tears of pure friendship.
It felt so good not to hate.