Tyler Herro rang the doorbell three times in quick succession and impatiently waited. He knew the occupant was at home because he could hear music playing from inside. He was about to spam the doorbell button some more when the door finally opened, revealing a confused-looking Kelly Olynyk standing there in a bathrobe. “Oh, hey Tyler. Was I expecting you?”
“You should have been, I sent you a text two hours ago saying I was coming over.”
Kelly fished his phone out of the extra-deep plush pocket of his robe. “Ah, sorry, I didn’t see it. My ten-vinyl Hawkwind boxset just came in yesterday and I’ve been chilling to it all morning, listening to their early discography in order. It doesn’t include ‘Church of Hawkwind’, of course, which was more like a solo project with the Hawkwind name slapp-”
“Kelly, nobody cares about your prog rock obsession,” Tyler interrupted.
“Space rock,” Kelly corrected. “You coming in or what? I can put on my “music for normies” Spotify playlist if you don’t want to trip out to 70’s psychedelia, and I’ve got Rossino’s Pizza on speed-dial.”
“Do you ever feel like Duncan Robinson has co-opted your role on the team?” Tyler asked.
Kelly didn’t answer Tyler’s non-sequitur for a few moments. “No.”
“But he totally did,” Tyler pressed. “You and me, we were supposed to be the white three-point specialists on the team. Then he came in and made more three-pointers than both of us combined. Doesn’t that piss you off?”
“I haven’t really thought about it too much,” Kelly said. He reached into his other pocket and extracted a half-eaten slice of toast. The jelly dripped from his mouth as he tried to chew and talk at the same time. “You’re telling me that you’re jealous of Duncan for being really good at shooting threes?”
Tyler rolled his eyes. If Kelly actually read his text messages instead of ignoring them, they wouldn’t be wasting their time having this conversation. “Jealous? Why would I be jealous when I’m clearly the better shooter?”
“The stats say otherwise.”
Tyler ignored this jab. “To answer your original question, no, I’m not coming into your hippie hovel, since we’re going to go over to Duncan’s place and intimidate him into never shooting a three-pointer again.”
“Have fun with that,” Kelly said. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a date with my bong and a large pepperoni with extra cheese.” With that, the door was closed in Tyler’s face.
“I can’t believe you talked me into this,” Kelly whispered. Him and Tyler were crouched in the bushes outside the house that Duncan was renting in a Miami suburb.
Tyler, who had been cautiously peering into the window of Duncan’s kitchen, sunk back down into the thick foliage. Reminding Kelly that his next contract would be much larger if his three-point volume was higher had been a surprisingly effective motivator for the big man. Now, Kelly’s size and Tyler’s baseball bat would certainly cause Duncan to acquiesce to their demand for him to shoot fewer three-pointers
Tyler chanced another quick peek into the window. Duncan had just grabbed his gym bag off the counter and was walking towards the door. “He’s coming! Get in position!”
When Duncan opened the door, his two teammates were standing on either side of the stoop in a very menacing way. But Duncan barely looked at them. His eyes had bags under them and his posture was slumped.
“You look tired, bro,” Tyler mocked. “What’s the matter, too busy stealing our touches and our shot attempts to sleep?”
“I haven’t slept for weeks,” Duncan intoned listlessly. “I keep having these dreams about a strange book that contains terrible yet intoxicating secrets, and then when I wake up it’s like I didn’t sleep a single minute.”
The thought that Duncan might have access to powerful knowledge, yet was withholding it, enraged Tyler. “Maybe while you’re having your stupid dreams I’ll come over here and beat you up until you’re awake.”
“In that dusty library of my dreams, I am eternally taunted by the promise of a great mystery’s unlocking. To be beset upon by the fists of a jealous teammate would be a more joyous fate.”
“Stop talking like a weirdo,” Tyler said. “When games start up again, you’re not going to be taking any more threes, got it?”
Duncan sighed deeply. “Just as well, I’ve got a hitch in my shot now. It’s linked to my troubling oneiric expeditions and that damnable tome, I’m sure of it.”
Tyler was disturbed by the fact that Duncan either didn’t realize or didn’t care that he was being threatened. Silently, the two of them watched Duncan get in his car and drive away.
“I want that dream-book,” Tyler said. “He’s too much of a bitch to even read it. Do you think if I touch him while he’s asleep, it will transport me into his dream?”
“Probably not,” Kelly answered. “And I have a feeling that you’re going to regret meddling in strange phenomena that you don’t understand.”