Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"He's On Fire"

It was the fourth quarter, twenty seconds left. We were down by two and in a time-out. We had possession. Coach suggested a backdoor screen and start Ryan with the ball. I nodded my head, but I had other plans.

At the sound of the whistle, I removed a small canister of kerosene from my shorts pocket and doused myself in the stinky liquid. As my opposing defender stared on in confusion, I scratched a strike-anywhere match on the wooden floor and lit myself ablaze. I ran to the top of the key, my body glowing bright orange. The heat was incredible and the odor of my burnt flesh stung my nostrils. I ran, flailing my arms at the other team, trying my best to catch their uniforms on fire. My scrotum blazed like one of the Green Goblin’s pumpkins and I could feel my potency diminish in stinging bursts.

I called for the ball and Ryan delivered. A chest-pass right to my gut. I dribbled twice and planted myself on the three-point line. The nearest defender was ten feet away, repelled by the heat on my body and the intensity in my eyes. I felt an incredible humidity as the sweat on my face boiled. I knew I only had one chance to drain this shot. This was for the state championship, all the marbles. My shoes melted into the floor. This is it, I thought, as I coughed on the sour-roadkill stench of my smoldering pubic hair and I saw coach wildly pointing towards the other side of the gym, where the fire extinguisher was located. Not this time, coach. My flaming play may be a bit unorthodox, but today it’s going to win us a championship.

Three seconds…two seconds. I hurled the ball, aiming for that sweet spot. As the buzzer rang out, the ball sailed through the rim, dead-center. Nothing but net. I screamed with joy and collapsed to the floor. Immediately, I was engulfed in white foam as several upstanding citizens from our community doused me with fire extinguishers. The other team cheered, thrilled that I was okay. The wild hero who had risked his life for the sake of his team would live to see another day. I would have cheered, too.

Two weeks later I woke up from my coma. I have been dictating this story using my left eye, my only functioning body part, to my assistant, Elena, who informed me that my amazing shot landed in the other team’s hoop. I have been asked to not return to practice, and when my skin regenerates and I regain the ability to walk I must return my uniform to Mrs. Anderson’s room before 4:00.