Friday, September 18, 2015

Free Throw

A sweltering afternoon in August. The air is as thick as corn soup. I'm playing basketball.

Practicing is a better description, because not many people are out for recreation on this hot day. I'm playing by myself, taking jump shots, scrambling to get my own rebounds before the ball bounces off into the abutting river or the mud puddles surrounding the court.

It's peaceful. Serene. Despite the heat.

Damn, it's hot, though. My gray Timberland T-shirt is black with sweat. Perspiration is dripping into my eyes from my unkempt hair. I wipe my forehead with my forearm and see a residue of white sodium speckles.

Time to head home. Drink a 500 ml bottle of Gatorade and take a nap with the air conditioner on blast.

But first, free throws.


The basketball communion wafer.

Appease the gods.


I set my feet; my right foot half an inch ahead of my left.

I jimmy my waist until I feel comfortable.

I bounce the ball three times (the holy trinity), and spin it in my palms to get a good feel. This ball is a baby sucking on mother's milk.

I bend my knees slightly, square my shoulders, raise my arms, and shoot.


The sound of a basketball going through mesh is the most satisfying sound known to man. The sperm-egg analogue is obvious.

I shoot nine more free throws. I make them all.


A cold October night. I'm covered in blankets and shivering. I have a fever. The fluorescent lights are blinding and hurting my eyes.

A nurse tells me, nicely, that I have lost my left arm. I tell her she's crazy, because I can still feel it.

Then the morphine drip puts me to sleep again.

I dream that I am shooting free throws and playing piano.