We headed straight to the court after school. We were hoping to get there first and, you know, establish position. No luck. When we rounded the corner, I could see the older kids were already there.

“What, do these guys live here now or something?” I said.

They were just slinking around and shooting lazy jumpers, so I guess they were still warming up. As we walked toward the court, I saw an iced tea can lying on its side with a sticky brown puddle drying up in front of it. And it had company. More of their junk was scattered around the court and kicked into the corners, with bees and flies buzzing all around it.

Mike and Deuce were both standing up straight with their game faces on, and I did the same. It felt like a war movie, like we were marching into battle.

“This is it,” said Deuce.

“Game on,” I said.

“Let’s do this!” said Mike, a little louder.

We were close enough now, and their biggest guy looked over.

“Well, well, well,” he said. “Look who came back for seconds.”

I decided right then not to play into their trash talk.

“Three-on-three?” I said, all business.

The older kids looked at each other. They knew it wasn’t really a question.

“Be our guests, ladies,” said the first guy. “We’ll even give you the rock first. But it’s make it, take it after that.”

“Sure, no problem,” I said, ignoring his insult. “What are we playing to?”

“Seven,” he said. “Get you three home before your bedtimes.”

I looked over at Mike and Deuce to see what they thought. That was a pretty short game. A lot of times we’d play to eleven or even fifteen. And make it, take it — with the team that scores getting the ball back — it could be over in a flash. These guys were probably just trying to get rid of us. On the other hand, it would only take a few good shots and a couple of lucky bounces to get us to seven, no matter how much older they were.

“Sure,” said Deuce.

“Whatever the score,” said Mike. “We’ll get there.”

“Funny,” said the second-biggest guy. “I don’t remember the last game going that way.”

Without even really thinking about it, we’d already sort of matched up against the other players. I was standing in front of their tallest guy, and Deuce was matched up against their shortest. Up close like this, you could see they had a height advantage in every matchup.

“What’s your name?” I said to my man, Captain Peach Fuzz.

“Carlos,” he said, sizing me up for about the fourth time.


“Armory?” he said, with a little smirk to show how funny he thought he was.

Courtesy of: nydailynews.com