Old School

by June 26, 2020 0 comments

Old School #2 we called him
6 feet, salt n’ pepper mini fro, knife-long yellow fingernails
Thick vein straight down his toothpick bicep
6 teeth he had, maybe 8
Swear to God wettest jumper I’ve seen
Ugly like Magic Johnson’s
“Practice!” he used to shout
One night in between games, I asked him,
“How old are you?”
He relaced his black-and-red Jordan Ones
Then he answered, “Sheeeit”
One time he blew past me, so I fouled him hard
Bumped him midair
He spun then landed softly, somehow, on his ass
“My bad,” I told him, feeling awful
“Sheeeit,” he said, fist-bumping me, flashing lonely island teeth
“That was a three-muthafucking-sixty!”
This was the Summer of the Call Center
Cancer patients raging through headsets
Late fees, interest rates, screw your evil company policy
Yessir, yes ma’am, I’m happy to cancel your account, right on it
Late after work, my friend and I would drive to Gold’s Gym
Old School #2 & crew already hooping
I remember thinking, I’m 20 years old
How much longer’s this shit gonna last?
One night in between games, I asked him,
“Why they call you Old School #2?”
Then, “Where’s #1 at?”
He brushed the bottoms of his Jordans
Scratched his fro and said, “Used to be two of us but
The other guy’s dead, so it’s only me now.
Crazy muthafucking world!”
I scanned the court
Half the young dudes from the Big Red warehouse, H-E-B plant
Paychecks dumped on skull tattoos, praying hands
Right then I knew, with relief (remorse)—
I wouldn’t be next in line.

– Alex Salinas

editors note:

OK, a a little longer, so long as we stand down the line. “Sheeeit!” – mh clay

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