Drexel was thrilled. As soon as he got home, he ate his lemon tart and then changed into shorts and a t-shirt, and put on his runners. He took his new basketball and squeezed it, smelled it, bounced it and tried to spin it on his finger. Grinning with glee he placed the ball on the passenger seat of his small Toyota and then set off for the outdoor basketball courts at the local park, whistling and trying to remember the tune of the Globetrotters’ theme song.
Two hours Drexel spent at the courts—jump shots, lay-ups, three-pointers, dribbling between his legs—all his skills were well below average. But boy did he have fun. He returned home sweaty and exhausted and thoroughly happy. He set the ball on the couch, grabbed a drink and then sat down and watched T.V..
On the Tuesday afternoon he returned to the basketball courts with his ball and imagined he was starring in the NBA playoffs. This time, though, there was a strong cross-court wind that blew his jump shots off course: he hit about one in ten. Drexel, perhaps due to having worked all day, was not feeling as energetic as he did during his previous b-ball session. His calf muscles ached. There were mosquitoes this time, too. He went home after forty-five minutes, tired and disappointed, tossed the ball on the couch and played video games.
On the Friday afternoon Drexel geared up and drove to the basketball courts. It was hot. Some guys were playing two-on-two on one of the courts. He sat in his car and stared at the courts for ten minutes, then sighed and drove home. He threw the basketball on the couch, where it remained, untouched.
A week passed.
It was a rainy Saturday afternoon. Grey skies and cool winds made indoors seem especially comfortable. Birds trilled and squawked, splashing and ruffling their feathers in the gathering puddles on Drexel’s front lawn, while he laid on the living room floor, eating chips and watching Netflix. He suddenly felt uneasy, like someone was watching him. The television volume seemed to cower under an oppressive silence expanding around him and filling the room. The silence was almost tangible; it closed in on him.
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