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The Real Slam Dunkby Charisse K. Richardson
Marcus took a closer look at the basketball court. His gaze locked on the orange circle in the center. It looked like a giant basketball squished flat and tattooed on the wood. He imagined Jason standing there at tip-off with his hands reaching into the air, as if he were grasping for heaven. Then Marcus looked at the basketball goals. Each one looked so tiny. He imagined Jason swirling around like a ballerina and smashing the ball through the little rim all in the blink of an eye.
Rusty walked past the railing onto the court.
“Can we go out there?” Marcus asked.
“Of course,” Rusty said, nodding.
“This is the best field trip ever,” Marcus whispered to Juan. He hurried to the sidelines with the rest of his class. But he stopped just short of the court. With one more step, he would be standing on Jason Carter’s turf. That was special territory.
Marcus took a deep breath and carefully placed his right foot down. Screech! The bottom of his Fly Carters let out a loud noise. The sound startled him. He quickly brought his left foot down before he lost his balance. Screech! The floor cried out again. Then the noise became louder and louder as pairs of his classmates’ sneakers skidded onto the court.
The noise reminded Marcus of the squeaky-clean sound of glass cleaner being wiped off windows.
Finally the noise stopped, and everyone grew quiet. Marcus tiptoed to the center of the court. He could see his reflection in the floor.
It must have taken hours to polish these floors, he thought to himself. He wanted to dash to the free-throw line. But Marcus was scared to mess up the floor’s sparkle. After all, his mother didn’t let him slide around on their shiny dining room floor at home.
Bright lights suddenly beamed down on the court. Marcus knew that was his moment to shine. He quickly lifted his hands high in the air. His hands were grasping the ball he was saving for Jason Carter. Then Marcus imagined the crowd screaming his name. He raised up on the balls of his feet and stretched his body toward the basket. Just as Marcus was about to shoot the ball, he heard thundering footsteps.
“Who is that on my playground, ground, ground...?” a hollow voice cried out and echoed into the bleachers.
The deep voice startled the kids. Marcus wobbled on his tiptoes as he stood in perfect position to release his shot.
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