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Brendan Connolly

Stuff About Me (WIP)

Excerpt #7

Por Ahora Voy by Humberto Tomeo

i was on the greatest basketball team ever

olindo at the one, malcolm at the two, me at a weak three, glenn at the four and jj in the key

we ran the court for one night at frost park, from the first game to when the lights shut off midpass. this was twenty years ago, but bragging rights dont expire

olindo was my childhood best friend. he lived near frost park and i would knock on his bedroom window when the blinds were up and we/d play one on one full court on weekends. he stopped growing early and developed a solid outside shot, he was quick and had some handles, but no real inside game

i played pingpong with malcolm for years at the frost park rec center. he was the most athletic person i/ve ever known, he had a nasty first step and seemed to weigh nothing in the air, always choosing when he wanted to return to earth. he wasnt the best student and joined the marines for some direction

glenn adopted me the first time i joined a hustle at frost park, recognizing my lack of skills and coordination as a basis for good fundamentals. he had the most bizarrely accurate spinning fadeaway shot from the corner, like he was throwing it from his ear with his eyes closed, talking shit and laughing when proven right

everyone knew jj and his brothers billy and delvin, they were a tough family. jj was a rawcut man, dense but slender and did not get out of the way, going after rebounds with mother/s concern, preferring the nuance of shoulder to solar plexus to any open lane

five called downs we put away. this wasnt exactly rare, winning teams can be made from sackcloth and ashes if the mosquitoes are out

we were unspoken fluidity and grace, playing unselfish, controlling the physics of slowed time, waiting for cuts to the hole. we chased shots and crashed the boards, boxing out larger teams. we made up for our mistakes with unlimited fouls because the hand is part of the ball and we reached from the pockets to that sound of rubber of shoe of snapping and breath on toes never heels

glenn adopted olindo that night and bought us gatorade to christen the new family, though that dynasty didnt last long. my game drew to the inside, towards rebounds and assists, my offense taking a backseat to general hustle

glenn renounced his custody of me, telling me i never learned nothing from him as i swung at empty air, his shot hitting the inside of the rim and he laughed running down the sideline calling me former son

a few years later i got into a fistfight with olindo at frost park. he had been telling people i fucked my sister and i wanted to find out why, not accepting his answer. not long after that malcolm died in iraq

i found other courts to play at and other teams to be on, but would occasionally go to frost park and shoot around or see if anyone was playing pingpong, going past olindo/s house, the blinds replaced with curtains

i saw jj once, he looked tough, more dense, cradling a girl/s bike between his legs. he made sure i wasnt wasting my game on white people as i gave him ten dollars, our fingers touched through the chainlink fence and he said he/d see me around

the last time i played against glenn he claimed not to know me, maybe a former son, he said spinning to the corner, the ball hard into the hoop and he ran past half court saying, you see that son? every goddam time, now get off my court


About the writer:
Brendan Connolly lives and writes in Salem, Massachusetts. “#7” is an excerpt from his flash collection called Stuff About Me (WIP).

Image: Por Ahora Voy by Humberto Tomeo (1933-1996). Collage. No size specified. 2013. By free license.

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