After the Game

September 21, 2012
“Rick! Ball! NOW!” screams Shane. I toss the ball to him, an alley-oop. He jumps up and tips it into the hoop. The buzzer goes off. Game over. We beat Cross Town High. We’re state champs.

After the game, we’re all in the locker rooms, reeking of sweat, congratulating each other, monster and gatorade all around. Shane grabs my shoulder. “Dude, why didn’t you pass it to me?” “I did,” “Yeah, but not fast enough. C’mon, man, the crowd wanted to see me sink a dunk! Do-re-mi. Not you. Me.” I shrug him off, gathering my jersey and duffel bag. “C’mon, Rick, you could’ve been faster. Now the cheerleaders won’t follow me around!” “Whatever dude,” I blurt out, leaving the locker room. I rush out the building, getting into my SUV. On the way home, I turn on some Metallica. The music calms me down, but not enough to get Shane out of my head. Shane, who always has to be the center of attention. Shane, who hates me for some inexplicable reason. Shane, the star of all the sports teams. I crank the music higher, just as a red corvette whizzes past me. That’ll be Shane, flaunting his family’s money to the cheerleaders, heading off to the mall. I pull into the driveway and head into the house. My family’s asleep. Of course. They never cared for my sports. They wanted me to be a physicist like my Dad, or a lawyer like my Mom. I want to go into the NBA, but I have no support. It’s just me. Gad, I’m sick of Shane’s abuse. Tomorrow, I’ll teach him a lesson. Judo lessons, don’t fail me now. I know we’re not supposed to, but what the heck. I nod off.

My shoulder bumps some freshmen. “Shane, just leave me alone, I don’t want to hurt you,” I murmur. “Oh, c’mon, wannabe,” laughs Shane. “You gonna take me? I’m bigger than you, stronger than you.” “But I have 2 advantages,” I say, a fist curling up behind my back. “And what would that be, wannabe?” says Shane. “I’m smarter than you, and I’m smarter than you,” “That’s only two, idiot,” says Shane. “That’s because I’m twice as smart as you,” I say, as my fist shoots out from behind my back and shotguns Shane in the stomach. He regains breath quickly, as a crowd gathers around us. “Nobody does that to me and gets away with it!” He screams, a right hook coming at my kidneys. I slump down, avoiding the punch. He goes with a left cross. I grab his arm, using his momentum to throw him into some lockers. Shane gets back up unsteadily, but not before I get him with a flying knee to the chest. He gasps, falling to the ground. The aide pops up out of nowhere, grabbing us both, ushering us to the principal’s office. I know I’m in trouble. i’ll probably get suspended. But I don’t care. He had it coming.

The principal turns towards us as we sit down in his office. “Boys, what happened?” he asks. “He attacked me, sir,” whimpers Shane, trying the pity angle. “I did no such thing,” I retort. “I warned you not to mess with me, but you persisted. So, I reacted the way anyone would; I whupped your butt.” The principal looks at us. “I’m going with Rick’s side, Shane,” he says. “However, You’re both getting suspended all next week. fighting is intolerable here.”
After we exit the office, Shane pins me to the wall. “Listen, wannabe, I’m through taking your crap. You embarrassed me in front of everyone. You ridiculed me. Me, star of the sports team-” “Not everything is about you, Shane,” I say as I shrug him off. “Grow up.” I head off to my next class, leaving Shane to wallow in his own failure.


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