Thursday, June 7, 2018

Installment 6.7: Lessons from Street Ball

Domo Hudson was trying to listen to the lady who handed out the bug-juice.

He had overheard them talking last night.  They were concerned that the POWs would not drink the stuff.

As far as Domo was concerned, it was like drinking liquid candy.  It had been a long, long time since he had tasted anything so sweet.  The fact that it was salty did not detract from the sweetness.  It reminded him of BBQ sauce.

He was listening to the lady and trying to do what she was instructing.  He knew that she wasn't going to be handing out any of the bug juice until she was satisfied.

He heard one of the other tent leaders behind him muttering “Bool shit.  Bool shit.” as the woman explained how they needed to clean their hands and clean the Igloo coolers.  Domo glanced back at DeLeon, one of his homies, and could tell that DeLeon was getting frustrated too.

Domo knew DeLeon from playing streetball back home.  Hispanics might outnumber Blacks five-to-one now but there was still some turf where the Hispanics feared to tread, and the streetball court was one of them.

Streetball resembled basketball the way lacrosse or hockey resembles soccer.  Basketball, in its purest form, is not a contact sport.  Streetball in its purest form is an impact sport.

Status was earned by playing streetball.  The best players got the best courts and  could walk-on and play anytime they wanted.  DeLeon Redd was not the best player but he was plenty, damned good.  He could hit three pointers at will and was a magician with the ball.

Domo was in one of the middle tiers.  He did not have the hands to be a great shooter and nobody had ever cared enough to determine that his eyesight was desperately in need of correction.  Also, he was only about 6'-2”.  He compensated for his diminutive stature (by streetball standards) by being heavily muscled.  He played forward like a bulldozer and was an “enforcer”.  Domo and DeLeon knew each other's strengths and weaknesses in an intimate, almost intuitive way.

The Hispanic who was behind them and muttering “Bool shit” was getting louder.  They knew from experience that he was a whiner and was going to try to cut to the front of the line.

DeLeon and Domo increased the distance between them.  DeLeon moved a quarter step back and Domo moved a quarter step forward.  That created an avenue between them.  It was an invitation.

Frederico Jimenez finally ran out of patience.  He started pushing toward the bulk container where the bug juice was dispensed. 

There is a “Freddy” in every group.  He is the attention whore who makes everything take twice as long as it needs to.

Freddy got an unexpected hip-check as he brushed past DeLeon.  Freddy turned his head away from Domo as he started to curse DeLeon.

Freddy never saw Domo's elbow coming.

There is an art to throwing an elbow and Domo was a consummate artist.  The key to throwing a devastating elbow is to tense up all of the muscles in your body and to rotate with your core.  It helps to line up your forearms and use the basketball as a load path.  In this case, the Igloo cooler Domo was holding was nearly the same diameter and stiffness as a streetball.

Domo's rotation was slow, almost languid for most of the strike.  It was if he were casually turning to see the kerfuffle.  The acceleration was rattlesnake quick for the last four inches, and, unless you were watching very carefully, was so fast that it was unseeable.  Domo's arms and torso rebounded after his elbow connected with the flat of Freddy's chin.  They returned to the position they would have been in had he continued to rotate at the languid pace.  230 pounds of muscle hit Freddy like a sledge hammer.

When Freddy regained consciousness in the infirmary tent he would learn that his jaw was fractured in three places and a concussion.  He had no recollection of how that happened.

“Maam,” Domo said in his deep, resonant bass as he looked down at Freddy, his face a study of innocence, “with all due respect, will it be possible for you to speed up the instruction so no more soldiers faint?”

Martha stepped up the pace.  The plan was to transition to dropping off trailers loaded with 4 juice IBC and 2 disinfectant IBCs and pick up trailer with the empties.  They needed somebody to manage the trailers, to ensure the Igloo containers were disinfected and to call when the last juice IBC was close to empty.  There were not enough farm workers or SD-LA forces to coordinate all of the activities so the POWs had to select leaders among themselves to manage the juice distribution.

When it came time for the POWs to select a couple of people to police the distribution of juice, the group unanomously chose Domo and DeLeon.

Next Installment

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