The fading glow of the Oakland evening shines on the face of Steph Curry, the sun setting on his dreams and the day. The day that was supposed to be his. Now, in the cold of his living room, he stands at his window, high above the rest of the world, and declares something into the camera on Klay Thompson’s phone he thought he’d never say again.
“Mommy, I don’t want to go to school today. I want to stay home and bake cookies with you.”
Thompson presses the red button to stop the recording.
“Good,” he says, “It is finished. It’ll be on Instagram in minutes.”
Curry stays at the window, the sun having gone below the horizon line. Oranges and reds and California purples fill up his sky.
“You don’t have to put that up,” says Curry.
“Always the same thing with you,” Thompson says, “‘You don’t have to do this’. ‘Don’t shoot’. ‘Pass me the ball’. ‘Klay, I’m open!’ ‘Klay, look at my ridiculous engagement photos! Please?!’ Enough! You lost a game of Candyland. These are the repercussions.”
“But we’re teammates,” says Curry, “Can we not have fun and just play a game?”
“You think this is a game?” asks Thompson, “This is Candyland. This is Molasses Swamp, and we’re sinking. We are at the top of the Gumdrop Mountains and the blizzard is setting in. We are being tossed around in the Ice Cream Sea. We are lost in the Lollipop Woods and the bears, bears made of Laffy Taffy and nugget, give chase.”
Curry runs to him, gets on his knees, and presses his hands together in front of him. It is a prayerful pose.
“I want to understand what you mean, Klay. I do. But what is the goal of this? What is the endgame? People think me a child already. If it comes out that I’m quoting Daffy Duck lines from Space Jam after he gets flattened by one of the Monstars then I’ll be ruined.”
Thompson leaps to his feet, curls his fingers under the bottom of the game board, grabs, and flips it. The Kids fly across the room. The blue one clangs against the window. Another, either the red or the yellow, clicks off a coffee mug with the words “Davidson Dad” on it. The green one lands in a cup of milk that rests on the red carpeted floor near the yellow couch.
“Ruined? Ruined?” begins Thompson, “Ruined is what I did to you today, yes. But so what? The world has a right to know I’m better than you. I am King Kandy.”
Curry stands behind the couch, his hands gripping its yellow leather. Thompson watches the screen of his phone as he uploads the video.
“You’re a monster,” says Curry, “You’re Lord Licorice.”
“And what if I am?” asks Thompson, “What if I am the evil? What if the world didn’t know it, but it needed me? What if, in the clearest places that their eyes won’t look for fear of being scorched, they could see beyond the dead of my eyes and find that we all need someone to hate. We need an adversary. There must be some grey.”
Curry has tears in his eyes and on his face and he stands with clenched fists now.
“I don’t know this person in front of me,” he says.
“Yea, you do,” says Thompson, “I’m the man who killed Mr. Mint. The guy who got rid of Mamma Gingersnap. The guy who removed the crown from Queen Frostine’s head and turned her back into a Princess. I’m the day after the end of the world, man. I’m your Apocalypse.”
Curry falls near the window and doesn’t bother getting up. He’s defeated. Has been since the start of the summer, really. When the season ended and the fun stopped. Between the tears he can see the blurs of a day that’s ended, the black night coming to greet him in seconds. He buries his head in the soft red shag and tries to think about home.