Darkness is all around. It had been like this for hours. “There has to be more than black,” he thinks to himself. The surface below feels like a sponge on his feet. He doesn’t like it but continues on. The air; freezing cold. Arms extended, he finds a slippery wall to support himself. He slowly lowers himself to the ground to rest his weary legs. His stomach grumbles with hunger. His mouth ever-so dry. This was not the place he envisioned.
A loud roar interrupts the chilling silence. He puts his hands over his ears until it ends. Just as frustration had reaches its peak, he hears the sound of laughter. Lance is fed up.
“Hello!?” shouts Lance. “Is anybody out there?!”
Suddenly, music fills the air.
“Who’s there?! Show yourself!” replied Lance.
A match strikes and a light appears. Two figures stand in the distance. One is upright holding a long stick while the other is hunched over. Adjusting to the light he hadn’t seen for hours, Lance places his arm over his eyes as he attempts to make out the faces.
“Don’t be frightened. You’re safe, brother,” said the figure.
The figure comes closer until Lance finally recognizes the face of the man standing tall.
“Joakim? What are you doing here?” asked Lance.
Joakim Noah is wearing clown make-up and has a forced smile on his face. The stick he’s holding has an old teddy bear tied to it with thumbtacks attached to its ears. Joakim’s eyes are bloodshot red, like he hadn’t blinked in ages.
“I’ve been here for years, brother,” said Joakim. “So has little Perk here. Isn’t that right, Perk?”
Lance looks at the figure hunched over. It was Kendrick Perkins, foaming at the mouth.
“Perk?” said Lance.
“Oh, Perk doesn’t speak your language anymore,” said Joakim.
“Is he ok?” asked Lance.
Joakim pulls out a decaying raw fish and throws it over to Perk, who catches it with his mouth and begins to devour it.
“He’s never been happier,” replies Joakim. “You’re going to love it here, brother.”
Lance looks over at the wall on his left and sees written in spray paint, “ALL HAIL KING JET.”
“Dear God,” he whispers.
Fear begins to creep up on Lance. What had happened here? These were once highly respected basketball players. Now… this is what’s become of them. Was this the fate of everyone who got inside LeBron’s head?
“Come. Let me show you around.” said Joakim. “The others are excited to meet their new brother.”
“Others?” Lance replied.
Joakim just laughs and starts to walk, as Perkins joins him.
Lance closes his eyes and says softly to himself, “No regrets.”
(To be continued…)