“Dude, air ball,” Evan said as the basketball missed the hoop by six inches. Max ran after it, then threw a long shot into the basket.
“My secret weapon,” Max said.
“What is?” Evan asked. “Inconsistency?” Evan made a clean jump shot, then blocked Max’s attempt. Max made a show of dribbling the ball off Evan’s foot.
“Unpredictability, my man, unpredictability.”
As Evan slurped water from the hose, Max munched on a pocketful of peanuts. He waved to Joe coming from the house.
“Hey, ladies,” Joe said.
“Dude, we got locked down,” Evan said.
“Did you eat all the peanuts?”
“No, I did not eat all the peanuts,” Evan said, and pointed the hose at Max. “He—”
“Whoa, dude!” Max jumped out of the water stream.
“Sorry,” Evan said, and turned off the hose. “Anyway, some lame-o brought a water pistol to math class.”
Max cracked up. “Wasn’t me, wasn’t me.”
“It was funny but it was weird. Then, in the aftermath, after math, it was quittin’ time.”
“The aftermath was no math,” Max said, and knocked fists with his pal.
Joe grinned at them. “Yeah, I remember that feeling. That little high you get when you’ve won a temporary stay of execution.”
Evan was nodding. “Yeah… what d’you mean, temporary?”
“Temporary, Einstein. As in, wait ‘til tomorrow.”
“Sorry, no test tomorrey,” Max said. “Or the tomorrey after that.” He smacked Evan’s hand, but not a high-five. More like a middle-four. Joe picked up on Evan’s waning enthusiasm.
“We got to vote,” Evan said. “Either we could do it tomorrow and miss the assembly, or we could do it as a take-home test for half the points.”
“Ah, the fog is clearing,” Joe said. He picked up the ball and dribbled toward the basket. He had a lean throwing style. His first shot went in. Evan and Max took turns rebounding to him.
“See, a take-home test is fools’ gold,” Joe said, running up under the hoop. “Looks like an easy A, and then you actually have to solve the problems. He—she—who’s your teacher?”
“Lightfoot!” Distracted, Joe’s hook shot was a little wide. “Mizz Lightfoot. She led you to believe you chose the no-brainer option, didn’t she? Open book? Just like homework?”
“When in fact she expects hundred-percent scores.”
Evan stared at Max. “When’s the last time you aced your homework?”
Joe banked another one in. “And the half-points thing, that’s a scam. Means you’ll have to do it again down the road to make up the rest of the points.”
“Great,” Evan said, downcast. “I voted for tomorrow. Get it overwith.”
Joe patted him on the back. “It’s not your fault.”
Evan desired a good run to the park, and he agreed to stop at the grocery store. Joe practiced his freethrows waiting for a fresh supply of peanuts.
©2010 Pam Wells