Brandon Ingram felt a draft of air rush across his body. This unexpected sensation roused him to a half-awake state. A few seconds passed before he realized that there was no reason he should be feeling a breeze; the windows of his brand-new apartment were perfectly sealed against the elements, and he never opened them.
Looking around, Brandon quickly realized that he was not in his own bedroom. The bed he lay upon was small, ratty, and uncomfortable. The peeling wallpaper heavily water-damaged. Apparently, there was no air conditioning to beat back the oppressive New Orleans night-heat; he was sticky with sweat. In the dim moonlight he could hardly see.
Feeling a bit panicked, Brandon tried to figure out how he would have ended up in what seemed to be an abandoned house. Even if he had been partying, which he hadn’t been, none of the people he partied with lived in such poverty. Likewise, if he had gone to a girl’s house and found it in this condition, he would have quickly found an excuse to leave.
He got up and tried to open the bedroom door. It was locked, and not only that, but the lock itself looked newer and more solid than anything else in the room. He went to the window to perhaps get out that way, only to see solid iron bars in front of it. He was trapped.
When he realized his phone was missing as well, that was when he began to yell for help.
Not ten seconds after he started yelling, a noise which surely would be heard in the quiet neighborhood, the door unlocked and swung open. He was abruptly tackled by somebody that was, somehow, larger than him. In the shadows, it was impossible to know who it was, but Brandon’s hunch was that it was an NBA player. NBA players were the only class of people who could match him in size. But why would an NBA player abduct him and hold him hostage in an abandoned house?
“He shouldn’t be awake yet,” the man said to an unseen accomplice. “You sure you gave him the right amount of sedatives?”
“I thought I did,” the other man replied. Suddenly, a very bright flashlight was turned on, temporarily blinding Brandon. Eventually, his eyes adjusted to the radically increased amount of light in the room and he could better see who his captors were.
One was his teammate Zion Williamson. The other looked like ex-NBA player Jared Sullinger, but it couldn’t be, because Jared had never weighed 400 pounds like this man did. In any case, Brandon was tired of having his breathing restricted by the very heavy Zion lying on top of him. “Dude, get off.”
Without warning, a McDonald’s cheeseburger was shoved into his mouth. Brandon had no choice but to chew it and swallow. Zion’s attempts to feed Brandon the other half of the sandwich were met with close-lipped protest.
“Get used to it, man,” Zion said, continuing to prod his teammate’s face with the fast food item. “You’re not leaving here until you get some more meat on your bones.”
Brandon used a burst of strength to knock Zion off him and get to his feet. “You’re holding me prisoner to feed me food?”
“What else would we be doing?” said the man who looked like Jared Sullinger but probably wasn’t. “You’ll never dominate the NBA looking like an anorexic toothpick had a baby with Manute Bol.”
“I’m dominating the NBA just fine with my current amount of mass, thank you very much,” Brandon retorted. When he was cornered and then grabbed by two sets of strong hands, he struggled to free himself, but eventually had to consent to being led to the house’s decrepit kitchen. “Just look at KD. He’s skinny as hell and doing just fine.”
“Funny that you should bring up KD,” Zion said. “Jared, show him.”
The man who was apparently Jared Sullinger forced Brandon to his knees and painfully turned his head to look underneath the kitchen table. There, in a cage and looking rather portly, was Kevin Durant. A half-eaten chocolate cake was in front of him. He had frosting all over himself and was sitting in a pool of vomit. “Please let me go,” he intoned in a dead voice.
Brandon felt waves of revulsion mixed with fear. If these two men could reduce the mighty Kevin Durant to the pathetic fat slob now in front of him, they could do it to him too. When he was dragged back to his feet, he saw that Zion had gotten a platter of food from somewhere. In a normal setting, the huge piles of barbecued meats and home-style side dishes would have made Brandon salivate. Now, the same sight filled him with primal terror.
“Into the cage with you,” Zion said, and Brandon was powerless to stop himself from being thrown into a cage much like Kevin’s. Kevin watched the proceedings with a blank stare. “We’ll let you out when you’re as big as me.”
“Or as big as me,” Jared said with a deep belly laugh that almost, but not quite, drowned out Brandon’s renewed screams.