Luka Doncic drove down a wide street in a Dallas suburb that he had never even heard of, much less visited. On either side of the road were a multitude of restaurant choices representing every cuisine known to man (or at least the ones that were a part of the average American’s culinary lexicon). It was truly a glorious vision of Western consumerism the likes of which would never be found in his homeland of Slovenia.
The other restaurants had no pull on him. Luka had one particular fast-food establishment in mind, and his phone was telling him that he was getting close. Indeed, now that he looked up from his phone, he could see the sign for it in the distance! Frustratingly, a red light conspired to delay him, and his decision to pass the time by looking at pictures of the restaurant’s menu on his phone only exacerbated his impatience.
Finally, he was pulling through the drive-thru of that far-flung Taco Bell. There were, by his count, at least fifteen different Taco Bells that were closer to his apartment than this one was, but chances of running into somebody he knew from the Mavericks would be less out here. He wasn’t technically supposed to have any Taco Bell. Ever. The team nutritionists had him on a very strict meal plan, and the faux-Mexican fare that Taco Bell offered was not represented in that plan.
For an extra layer of anonymity, Luka pulled his hoodie over his head, donned a pair of sunglasses, and sunk low in his seat to obscure his height. From this position he placed his order, not even needing to glance at the menu board as he rattled off the names and quantities of the various items he was craving. Many of his choices had substantial modifications applied to them, a technique that his teammate Dorian called “TB Hax”.
Embarrassingly, in the middle of the order, Luka lapsed into his bad habit of referring to the Crunchwrap Supreme as a “Supreme Crunchy Wrap”. However, the order-taker, who seemed unusually competent, didn’t miss a beat, even when Luka requested extra Fritos, crispy tortilla strips, and creamy jalapeno sauce to two of the crunchwraps while the other three crunchwraps were upgraded with shredded chicken and diced onions.
When Luka finally concluded his order with a large diet Baja Blast, the man on the other end gave him the total ($47.02) and told him to pull up to the next window. Thinking that the man’s voice had an odd familiarity to it despite being garbled by the low-quality speaker system, Luka did his part of the well-practiced drive-thru routine and pulled his car forward. Hopefully the cooks at this location were fast; he didn’t know how much longer his stomach could withstand not having any delicious Taco Bell food filling it.
“Hello Luka,” said the man who was taking the drive-thru orders, and the fact that he had just been referred to by his first name caused Luka to realize that something very bad was happening.
Somehow, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle had just taken his order. A grossly gluttonous order. For Taco Bell.
The drive-thru lane was narrow. There wasn’t enough room for one car to pass another. Luka frantically beeped his horn at the car in front of him, needing to escape this confrontation. However, when none other than Mavs owner Mark Cuban leaned out of the other car and waved at him, Luka knew he was trapped.
“You know you’re not allowed to eat fast food,” Rick said.
“And you know that breaking team rules will result in punishment.”
“Especially when you went to such lengths to conceal your bad behavior.”
“Well, I had no choice when I found out you were using Cubes’ venture capital connections to track my GrubHub orders.”
Rick turned around to address one of the cooks in the kitchen. “Dirk! Look who finally showed up!”
The familiar face of Dirk Nowitzki appeared from around a corner. “Ah, sehr gut! My favorite tubby rookie come to eat something he shouldn’t! Naughty naughty naughty!”
“I’m not a rookie anymore and I’m not tubby,” Luka replied dourly. “Can you just make me my food? I paid for it, after all.”
“Actually, you never did pay for it,” Rick pointed out. “You only ordered it. But we knew you’d be here eventually, so we’ve got a week’s worth of healthy premade meals for you to take home.” Luka was handed a large bag of plastic containers that reeked not of flavorful, greasy grade-B beef, but of utter disappointment.
“Just one burrito. Please. Just one,” Luka begged, but all he got was a piteous look from Dirk and a stern shake of the head from his coach.
Disappointed and hungry, he drove away. However, before he turned back onto the street, Luka grabbed his phone, preparing to search for the next-closest Taco Bell. Before he could do that, though he received a text message. From Rick Carlisle.
“Don’t even bother. I’m already there.”
Luka looked back. Rick had disappeared from the drive-thru window.