October 2nd, 2005


Master plan

I hit my bicycle brakes and skid to a stop on Wyckoff near a schoolyard to answer my cell phone. Damn afternoon cloud blocks my satellite and by the time I flip open my clamshell the signal goes dead. That's when the rubber bounce of a ball catches my ear and my eyes snap to the left. I see a basketball coming down, smacking concrete, and making small hops until it dribbles towards me like a magnet. I look up and see a hulk of a black man, dressed in oversized sports gear, walking at me like a juggernaut covered in molasses. I make eye contact with The Hulk and he looks at me with the cold stare of a ghost. The ball has rolled to a complete stop perfectly between us. I should feel a sense of danger but there is a puzzle piece missing to this picture and so I feel nothing but caught in a hook. The Hulk stops before the ball and bends down and that's when the reveal is made. Behind him, a good 30-feet away, is a wheelchair parked in front of a basketball hoop. In the wheelchair is a little boy wearing thick eyeglasses. His arms are mangled yet spaz with hyper activity. He has stumps for legs. The hulk retrieves the ball, looks back up at me with those far away eyes, cracks a tired smile, and turns around. Doesn't matter how many times he's got to go get that ball or if it takes all day, that kid in the wheelchair is going to get one in the hoop.