Shot at the Buzzer

My old cousin Eli used to read a section of the Hagaddah every year that was a crowd favorite.  “What has afrighted you, O, Mountains, that you skip like rams, you hills that you skip like young lambs?”  The poetry in his voice was perfect gravel, a workman’s voice, rough and expressive.   I find myself distracted lately, and to that end I go pull the timer off the refrigerator and give myself five minutes until the buzzer to figure it out.

OK, I bring the ball up court in an arena full of ghosts.  Nobody here, who am I talking to?  A rhetorical question? you ask, rhetorically.  At the half court line, 4:12 left on the clock.  Thinking about long dead Eli, he seemed ancient, yet ageless, at 80, 82, 86.   In the last years of his life  we became good friends as I interviewed him like the host of a popular, immensely entertaining talk show.   Forget about the last time I saw him, in the hospital bed, tied down but barely restrained, brain shut down, eyes unseeing, only the will to fight left, fists clenched, fighting that motherfucker death.

1:40 on the clock, no time outs left.  I look over at coach and see he’s gone too, just two black holes in what used to be his face.  Somewhere a plaintive tone signals the one minute mark is now history, can hardly see the damned basket.   Give me the pill, I got the shot.

Do it, Sarge!  The troops call out, 20 seconds on the timer, 14.  Got the ball, 6 seconds, come on, come on.  Time.

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