Psychic Hoop Dreams
by Arnold Rudnick
The score was 43-42. I don’t know whose brilliant idea it was to toss me the ball, but I had four seconds to take a shot. If I made the basket, the Jackson Jaguars would win the division championship for the first time ever.
“C’mon, E.S. Pete!” Rodney’s voice echoed through the gymnasium, along with shouts of “You can do it!”
I released the ball just as the buzzer went off and… woke me up.
I wouldn’t have given it much thought, but I should mention that a lot of my dreams come true.
I mean the nighttime sleeping dreams, not my goals and wishes, though I’m pretty sure those will happen, too, at least with some hard work and patience. Like the time I kissed Casey Grant after the sixth grade dance. I had dreamed about that since kindergarten.
I grabbed a quick breakfast – “the most important meal of the day” – and got on my bike and raced to school to find Casey.
“I had the same dream,” I told her. “What do you think it means?”
“Wow. Three nights in a row,” Casey said. “I suppose you might be about to become the first sixth grade basketball star in the history of Jackson Middle School. Or… it means you don’t have ESP after all,” she laughed.
Casey had the cutest laugh, more of a giggle, that I always enjoyed hearing – when it wasn’t directed at me.
“What’s so funny?” Rodney Bell came over and asked. He and I had become unlikely friends ever since he figured out I had ESP. Who was I to argue with the biggest kid in the whole school?
“Pete’s gonna make the winning basket in the championship game,” Casey told him, giggling again.
Maybe he’s not psychic after all, Rodney thought, wondering if that meant he should start beating me up again.
“It’s just a dream. And I didn’t say it was the winning basket. I woke up before the ball went in,” I explained.
“I don’t know, Pete,” Rodney said, apprehensively. “Basket or not, it seems pretty darn unlikely that the Jaguars would even make the championship finals.”
“Or that you would be on the team,” Casey added. “No offense, but try-outs were yesterday.”
They were both right. “I guess it’s just a silly dream.”
We headed to our homeroom, where Mr. Davenport took attendance and made the morning announcements, ending with, “… and basketball tryouts were extended.”
Casey and Rodney exchanged an uneasy look. Rodney was glad I still “had it,” whatever “it” was. Casey was worried I was a freak and, for a split second, wondered if we ever had kids whether they would be freaks, too. Casey Grant wondered what “our” kids would be like. Wow! I hoped they’d have her looks.
“If you are interested,” Mr. Davenport continued, “report to the gym after school.” The bell rang and we headed off to first period.
Before we went into Miss Johnson’s math class, Casey grabbed my shoulder.
“Are you?” she asked.
“Huh?” I had been daydreaming about our kids.
“Are you going to try out for the basketball team?”
“Of course he is,” Rodney said.
“Yeah, I guess,” I replied. “But could you just tell me one thing?”
“Sure, E.S.?” Rodney said. “Whaddaya need?”
“How do you play basketball?” I asked.
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