Entry One Hundred: Adam Mahoney, You Just Won!

[This entry is the current story I am working on. This is thirty of who knows how many will be posted. Enjoy it while it lasts...]

Chapter Twelve

Adam pulled into the parking lot of Lincoln High School, his alma mater, and veered to the left, looking for the sports wing of the school. He hadn’t been to the campus in years but it didn’t appear to be radically different from his days roaming its halls so he was confidant a building as prominent as the gym would be easy to locate. And it was. He parked along the outside of the large, metal building, grabbed his bag of new clothes and the shoes for cross training and walked to where the gym and the school building connected. If his memory served him correctly, he thought he could climb through a window near that intersection and gain entry into the gym through the double doors inside. The windows were slats of glass, the kind that rolled out by cranking a handle, so most of them were loose and it didn’t take him long to find one that was easy to dismantle. Once inside, he was happy to find everything unlocked and accessible.

He pushed the handle on one of the double doors leading into the gym and the loud clank of its release echoed throughout the large, empty space. Light was filtering through the windows lining the top of the walls but it was not enough to brighten the floor. He scanned for the big gray box that held the light switches and thought he saw it on the far end of the gym. His shoes squeaked with each step on the varnished parquet floor and the absence of any other sounds amplified his noisy soles. When he reached the light box, he pulled open the cover, the sound of the metal latch releasing giving off a loud popping sound that bounced off the walls, and he pushed the three handles up to turn on the lights. They did not come on immediately but there was an instant buzz, like a large electric razor had been switched on, and the overhead lamps slowly warmed to a slight glow and held, the same routine they’d followed for years. Adam stood and stared at the lights, all of them covered with wire cages to protect them from wayward throws and bounces, waiting for them to kick in to full illumination. As the lights slowly grew brighter and his eyes adjusted to the darker surroundings, he saw a wheeled, metal frame that held several basketballs under one of the basketball goals. He walked toward it, shoes still screeching even though he tried to walk on his toes, and pulled one the balls off the top of the wheeled rack. He bounced it once, caught it and the thud reverberated against all four walls, flying all around him and surprising him with how long the noise sustained above the drone of the lights. He bounced it again, this time pushing it down with his hand twice, two dribbles, and then grabbed it, letting the echoes fade before repeating the exercise a few more times. The noise of the bouncing ball off the floor, singular and unaccompanied by anything else, sounded lonely to Adam. It reminded him of his situation and he knew he couldn’t deal with it, at least not that moment. Combined with the squeak of his shoes, the gloomy duet was too much and he placed the ball back in the rack, bent down, untied and took off his sneakers and started walking toward the locker rooms in his stocking feet. He veered right, choosing to enter the boy’s locker room, “because that’s what I am.” At least that hadn’t changed.

All words and images ©2007/J. Colle

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