I promised to my favorite cross country runner, Brandon Laks, that I would update the blog this week. While I've had plenty to write about (the Browns play heading into the bye, a farewell to the Indians, LeBron James, etc.) I haven't had the time to put anything together.
So what you will see in this post is an excerpt from my short story, entitled "The Carpool", for my Creative Writing class. If you like what you see, leave me a comment or send me an e-mail and I'll send you the full story - it'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry, it'll make you question everything you've learned in life. OK, I made that last part up, but you get the point.
So without further ado...
Rainy days in the summer are such a waste, almost like spending nine bucks to see that big blockbuster movie that’s just terrible. My friends and I are still young enough to avoid the 9-to-5 jobs of our parents, so we try to enjoy the sunny summer days as much as possible before entering the real world. Golf, basketball, home run derby – if the sun was out, so were we.
Usually a day of rain means a day of Madden or Grand Theft Auto, but my buddy Dave called me and said a group of guys were going up to the Weston Rec Center to play basketball. In the midst of an eight-game road trip, the Captains didn’t require my interning abilities for another few days, so I readily agreed.
Our pickup games carry the intensity of a championship heavyweight fight. First to 11, win by two, we’re tied at nine and Dave finds me in the corner spotted up for a deep ball. Swish. Ballgame. I tapped my heart twice and pointed to the sky, the way I honored Katie after every made basket and every strikeout.
As we paused to catch our breaths before starting round two, I heard a familiar voice behind me. “Nice shot,” Ashley said, as she emerged from the weight room.
“Thanks,” I replied with a smile, using my shirt to wipe the sweat from my brow. “How long have you been standing there?”
“Long enough to see you make that shot and” - she paused for dramatic effect – “airball that 10-footer the last possession.”
“Oooooooh!” echoed seven guys at once, and my face, already reddened from the long, tough game, turned a deeper shade of crimson. I grabbed the ball, sitting innocently underneath the basket, and tossed it to Ashley. “Let’s see what you got,” I challenged.
She shrugged and took the ball back behind the three-point line. Ashley checked the ball to me, then took two dribbles to the right and froze me with a stutter step. She broke my ankles with an Allen Iverson-esque crossover dribble and blew by me for an easy left-handed layup.
Ostensibly my friends, the guys howled with laughter, jeers and cheers. Muttering angrily to myself, I stormed to the three-point line and waited for her to come back and check the ball. Ashley strolled back leisurely and tossed me the ball. “I don’t think I mentioned this, but I was the conference player of the year my junior and senior year in basketball,” she stated matter-of-factly.
“Wonderful,” I gritted through clenched teeth, preparing for my patented dribble-drive-spin move that kept the boys on their heels. On my first dribble, though, she reached out, slapped the ball away, and in one motion grabbed it and stepped behind the arc. Her shot rang pure and true, and the slaughter was on.
I managed to score three points on her, more luck than skill. She polished me off with a step back jumper that rivaled Michael Jordan’s. “Good game,” Ashley said, before walking away to the exit and leaving me shaking my head in wonder.