In the months that followed my hiring as “janitorial shift manager” at the NBA headquarters, I laid low and did my assigned work without complaint. During all those lonely evenings, where I supervised a crew of four janitors but also selflessly undertook any cleaning projects that were exceptionally distasteful or onerous, I engaged in discreet surveillance of all aspects of the NBA’s operations.
After being targeted multiple times, in the course of my normal life, by exceptionally beautiful women who attempted to derail my NBA highlights channel on YouTube, I knew that Adam Silver himself had a personal vendetta against me and my highlights empire. Using a fake identity to gain employment in the building that served as both the beating heart and the pulsating brain of the NBA as an organization, I had placed myself in perfect position to enact revenge on the NBA by any means that presented themselves.
Within weeks of starting my position there, I had excelled at my duties to the point where every room of the building was open to me. However, that elevated level of trust showed in me by my superiors did not immediately translate, as one might think, into unfettered computer network access. My knowledge of typical enterprise-level network architectures, while vast, was useless when faced with a network that was so tightly controlled and monitored.
So, instead of hacking into computers, I did things the old-fashioned way, investigating the documents left in unlocked filing cabinets, discarded into the trash, or, in some cases, left in plain sight on desks, as if the executive occupants of these offices couldn’t imagine that a janitor would be able to comprehend written English. And it was during one of those trash-hunting expeditions that everything I thought I knew about the NBA was ripped apart.
Adam Silver’s office is not significantly larger than those of his underlings, but it is significantly higher-up, occupying a corner of the top floor of a Manhattan skyscraper, and the ceiling is significantly taller, giving it a palatial feel which threatens, but ultimately fails, to sow intimidation in my heart. As I enter it, I note that it is meticulously kept, with not a single paper document or article of furniture out of its place.
I suspect the room is watched by one or more security cameras. To even try to open any of the desk drawers or cabinets would be folly of the most extreme variety. All I can do is take the trash and recycling out to my janitorial cart, dump them, and inspect the contents later when I am out of sight of any camera. All this thought takes place in a split second.
Stooping over the blue bin containing a few recycled items, however, my attention is grabbed by a document which says in bold letters at the top, “Concerning the Covert Elimination of Unauthorized YouTube Channels.” I can’t help but read further down the page, where many of my rival NBA highlight makers are listed, along with plans on how to sabotage the efforts of those highlight makers. I see the subheading “DownToBuck” and my breath catches. I know I shouldn’t be lingering, but my curiosity is too great.
There is a tap on my shoulder. Blood running cold, I slowly turn around, and find myself face to face with Adam Silver. He is pointing a gun at me. I know next to nothing about firearms, but the gun looks very dangerous.
“I knew it was you the entire time, DownToBuck,” the tall man snarls at me. “You thought you were so clever with your ruses, but nobody can outsmart the NBA. Nobody.”
Without warning, a volley of bullets hits my leg. I scream out in pain. More bullets hit my left arm and my torso. Adam could have killed me instantly with a shot to the head, but instead, he has opted for the route of slow death. Blood pours from open wounds as I writhe in mind-shattering pain.
A small mew emanates from above me. A ceiling panel dislodges and out falls a tubby, but agile, cat. The cat lands gracefully on the desk, then trots over to where I weepingly lay on the bloodstained carpet.
“Japurri…” I mutter. “You came.”
Japurri Purrker, my little kitty, begins to lick at one of my more apparent wounds. His sandpapery tongue introduces an extra measure of pain that is ultimately meaningless against the backdrop of agony that I currently experience. Seeing that his licks do not comfort me, he instead curls up in a ball next to my bullet-ravaged body. Feeling his softness distracts me from my imminent demise. Adam is silent, seeming content to watch me die without further gloating.
Then, an unexpected, and deafeningly loud, voice fills the air. “NOBODY HURTS MY BEST FRIEND!”. Vision dimmed, I lift my head up to see what is happening. Adam, forgetting me, whips around and points his gun at the new threat.
In the doorway to an office, astride an overburdened goat, is a twelve-foot-tall statue made out of 3D-printed purple plastic.
The statue is alive. And the statue has come to rescue me.