Thursday, August 27, 2009

Some Sherman Alexie

Not sure about the legality of posting this much word-for-word, but he can write me a letter if he wants.

Excerpt from Sherman Alexie's Whatever Happened to Frank Snake Church in his collection of short stories Ten Little Indians:

Seven days a week, Frank drove the city and searched for games. He traveled from the manicured intramural courts at the University of Washington to the broken-asphalt courts of the Central District; from the violent and verbose games in Green Lake Park to the genial and clumsy games at the YMCA; from the gladiator battles under the I-5 freeway to the hyperorganized leagues at Sound Mind & Body Gym. He played against black men who believed it was their tribal right to dominate the court. He played against black, brown, and white men who didn't care about any color other than the green-money bets placed on every point and game. He played against Basketball Democrats who came to the court alone and ran with anybody, and Basketball Republicans who traveled in groups of five and ran only with one another. He played against women who endured endless variations of the same dumb joke: Hey, girl, you can play, but it's shirts and skins, and you're running skins. He played against former football players who still wanted to play football, and former wrestlers who wanted only to wrestle. He played against undisciplined young men who couldn't run a basic pick-and-roll, and against elderly men who never missed their two-handed set shots. He played against sociopathic ball hogs, wild gun runners, rebound hounds, and assist-happy magicians. He played games to seven, nine, eleven, and twenty-one points. He played one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three, four-on-four, five-on-five, and mob rules, improvisational, every-baller-for-himself, anarchist, free-for-all, death-cage matches. He played against cheaters who constantly changed the score, and honest freaks who called fouls on themselves. He played against Basketball Presbyterians who refused to fast-break, and Basketball Pagans who refused to slow down. He played against the vain Allen-Iverson-wanna-be punks who dribbled between their legs, around their backs and missed 99 percent of the ridiculous, driving, triple-pump, reverse scoop shots they hoisted up but talked endless and pornographic trash whenever they happened to make even one shot. He played against the vain Larry-Bird-wanna-be court lawyers who argued every foul call and planted themselves at three-point lines and constantly called for the ball because they were open, damn it, more open than any outsider shooter in the history of the damn game, so pass the freaking rock!
Frank played so well that he earned ( and re-earned) a playground reputation and was known by a variety of nicknames: Shooter, Old Man, Chief, and Three. Frank's favorite nickname was Oh Shit, given to him in July by a teenage Chicano kid in MLK, Jr. Park.
"Every time the old Indio shoots and makes one of those crazy thirty-footers," the Chican kid had said, "his man be yelling, 'Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!"

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