Shake Milton opened his eyes, took one look at the unfamiliar surroundings, and wearily closed his eyes again. He knew he was dreaming, and attempted to will himself into waking up. However, when he next opened his eyes, the scene hadn’t changed, and there was still the hardness of stone against his back rather than the softness of his bed.
From his perspective lying flat on his back staring upwards, Shake could see stately stone walls rising to the…sky? Yes, the sky. There seemed to be no ceiling here, just a covering of gray clouds that shimmered with the golden glow of some light source located behind them. He sat up to see if he could deduce his location by looking out one of the 12-foot-tall cathedral-style windows, however, beyond those windows was to be found nothing but a well-lit, yet empty, void.
Shake got to his feet. He still wasn’t sure if he was dreaming or not. Everything felt very real to him, and he had a clarity of thought that was uncommon for his dreams. Looking around for somebody to interact with, maybe ask questions of, he saw nothing. While there were plenty of indications that this place was meant for human occupation (benches adorned with cushions, architectural flourishes clearly designed for human observers, etcetera), there were no indications that there was anybody here but him.
The stone-built walls seemed to go on forever in both directions. He wasn’t in a room so much as a hall. Thinking that he might meet somebody else if he looked around a bit, Shake started walking in an arbitrary direction. North? South? It didn’t matter. And, as he walked, he found that most of the worries of his “real” life as an NBA basketball player didn’t seem to matter anymore, either. Despite the strange circumstances of his arrival in the hall (he didn’t remember falling asleep at any point), its serenity was having a very positive effect on his mood. While there was no apparent way to exit the hall and return to his real life, he found that he didn’t mind the idea of being there for a long time.
Shake was so caught up in his own inner peace that he didn’t initially notice the man coming towards him from the opposite direction. He only realized that there was another person there when they were practically on top of each other. This other man was wearing a white robe, which caused Shake to notice for the first time that he himself was completely unclothed, naked as the day he was born.
“We’re glad you’re here!” the man said, holding out a silken white robe which Shake took. “Put this on.”
“Who’s ‘we’ and where’s ‘here’?” Shake asked while he stuck his hands through the arm-holes of the robe and belted it with an attached length of golden cord.
“We’re in the Hall of the Thirty Point Scorers,” the man answered. “As to ‘we’, you don’t need to concern yourself with the details of it all. The Hall remains purposely enigmatic to its visitors. However, I am Carlos Delfino, Guardian of the Thirty Point Hall as appointed by the Hall’s Overseers.”
“Nice, a secret club,” Shake said with a smile.
“Kind of,” Carlos said. “I don’t usually do this, but I want you to follow me. I have something to show you.”
Shake followed Carlos back the way Shake had come from. However, just a few paces in that direction, they came to a small kitchenette. This was confusing to Shake, as he would have certainly noticed the refrigerator on his first pass-through, but then remembered Carlos’ words: the Hall was supposed to be an enigma. Not every question could have an answer.
“We just installed this yesterday,” Carlos said, pointing at a machine that was sitting on a countertop. “One of the Overseers must have had an inkling. I’m not privy to their thought processes.”
“What is it?” Shake asked.
Carlos pushed a button on the side of the contraption which caused it to loudly whirr to life. “A milkshake machine!” Not ten seconds later, two fully-formed, delicious-looking milkshakes in a glass dropped out of a slot on the front. Carlos took one for himself and handed the other to Shake.
Shake drank the shake through the provided straw. The flavor of it was indescribable, a mixture of chocolatey, fruity, and nutty flavors that should have clashed but instead formed a delectable unity. The cold refreshment contrasted with the gentle warmth he felt on his skin. He closed his eyes as he savored it. When he opened his eyes to compliment the chef, however, he found that Carlos had somehow disappeared.
He was alone again.
Curiously, Shake pushed the button on the machine again. Another shake came out, a different color from the first but looking just as delicious. He took it and found a bench to sit at. The pervasive feeling of serenity, which had been broken when he had encountered Carlos, was returning. With a peaceful mind and a neverending supply of delicious milkshakes, Shake knew that he was in no hurry to depart from the Hall of the Thirty Point Scorers.