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First North American Rights, Boys Against Girls.

Boys Against Girls
Shelley Allsup
First North American Rights
BOYS AGAINST GIRLS
“So,” I say, casually picking up the basketball and passing it from one hand to the other.“You still suck at the game?”My husband ignores me as I pathetically attempt to dribble. The ball hits my big toe and scampers off under the still torn apart 1927 Roadster. “Hmmm,” he says, his back to me, his eyes and concentration focused on the workbench and not me. I retrieve the ball and bounce it over and over again. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. The sound resounds throughout the garage until the ball finally hits the tip of a paint can. Andy stops and looks back at me over his glasses with eyebrows raised. I look back with innocence, one hand on my hip as I casually toss the ball up in a spin, attempting to get it to magically whirl on my finger. It barely grazes my index finger, yet still jams it causing me to curse, then the ball careens off, knocking over a rusted coffee can full of bolts. “Bring it on, Sister,” my husband taunts so softly I barely hear him. Turning back, he nonchalantly attempts to wipe the grease from his fingers. I dance around him, dribbling the ball. I pass it between my legs then catch it with the tips of my newly manicured fingernails. I bounce the ball out of control and it flies out the back door of the garage. “Kids! There’s buried treasure out back! Follow me!” I race like a lunatic, out past the old barn to the tired looking basketball hoop. I heave the ball in the direction of the net, never
coming close. I’m winded before my kids even join me. My son looks around for a sparkling of gold as my daughter peers with reservation at the ball, which has bounced into the weeds. “Where’s the treasure?” my son asks to humor me, I’m guessing. “We’ll look later, let’s play ball against Daddy,” I say, already sweating. I steal the ball from my daughter who was sweet enough to retrieve from the piles of goat poop I hadn’t yet had a chance to clean up. I dribble with both hands, making a wide arch around the half court. My daughter lunges
at me, stepping on my bare toes.
“FOUL!” I laugh evilly and hobble toward the hoop. My daughter pouts as I turn and pass her the ball. She lightens up and proceeds to play one square.
Alex, my son, pounces on her, stealing the ball with his one good arm, leaving the broken one to stay snuggled in the sling which holds his hot pink cast in place. “Be careful,” I warn, still a mom. He shoots and the ball flies straight up in the air. We all run for cover and Kristi grabs at it. My husband finally shows up; Max the Boston terrier following obediently behind. Kristi bends the top half of her body all the way forward, the ball way back between her legs
then snaps it back up, making a gallant effort in the direction of the rim. It sails through the air and lands in the mud behind the hoop. “Boys against girls!” my husband sings, running past me and slapping my butt. Since he is the only one wearing shoes we let him get the ball. “Okay, Kristi, guard the broken armed boy, I got your Daddy!” I leap over to where my husband stands and immediately start jumping like a frenzied kangaroo. He passes the ball easily and the game begins. Kristi grabs hold of her brother’s shirt as he drags her around the court.
“Shoot!” My husband’s words chime out from behind me. I smile at the desperation in his voice. Alex immediately shoots, misses the basket by a car length and the ball falls flat. Kristi hits him with her hip and sends him flying. She jumps on the ball, rolling around on it with her stomach until she’s sure she is open. Rolling herself toward the basket, she finally stands. “Kristi, that’s cheating!” Alex yells and tries to roll the ball out from under her. She kicks
him away and shoots. I dive for the ball and turn. I’m totally covered by Gigantor the hubby. I dribble, turn sideways, stop, reverse and head in the other direction. “That, my dear, would be traveling.” Andy tries to take the ball but I bounce it on his knee and continue on. I pass the ball to Kristi who runs full speed for the hoop, shoots underhand and MAKES IT!

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“One to Zero!” I yell. I slap my partner a high five as Alex throws the ball in. I throw myself in front of it but twist my ankle on some branches, brush and a pile of goat poop. My husband catches the ball and tosses it into the basket.“Two to two,” he smirks and gives the ball to Kristi to throw in. “Foul!” I yell, “There is foul on the court. Interference!” Goat poop was smeared in long smears on the court. Kristi has apparently already thrown it in and is running like a gazelle around her brother, the ball never quite touching the soiled concrete.
“Kristi you need to dribble!” Alex yells. She attempts to once but the dog gets in the way. The ball bounces off his back and careens out of bounds. “Interference!” I giggle madly but Andy has already thrown it back in to Alex who jumpsover the goat who has decided to play, and throws the ball in a wide arch. SWOOSH!!
“Four to Two,” he giggles and throws me the ball. The goat charges and I fall over him screaming as the ball once again goes out of bounds.
“The goat is on your team, OUR BALL!” I lunge for the ball, turn and throw it. It hits thebackboard and veers off toward Andy. He scoops it up as Kristi jumps on his back. He passes itto Alex.“SHOOT!” Andy screeches and Alex does. It falls short and Kristi jumps down, grabbing it. Max is barking his head off then proceeds to throw his dinner up all over center court. Kristi runs, slips in the gooey mess and goes down.“Eeeeehwww!” she screeches, dropping the ball. I lunge for it but land straight on a sticker and Alex intercepts. I grab his ankle as my husband hollers in desperation,
“SHOOOOOOT!”
“Where’s my partner?” I grab at Alex but he gets away. He passes the ball to Andy. Two nails pop off my fingers as he escapes. My husband lifts him up and the ball goes into the hoop. “Six to two,” my husband helps me up. I guard both, since my daughter is soaking her soiled feet in the goat’s water dish. I steal the ball as the last of my nails leave marks in my husband’s arm then sail away. I throw the ball at the basket. Nothin’ but net! “Six to thirteen!” I act like I’m about to throw the ball in but keep it as if I’ve passed it to myself. The goat knocks the boy out of bounds and he lies in the grass panting. It’s only me and Gigantor hubby left. He totally fouls, grabbing the ball out of my hands! He meanders up to the basket. I rush him from behind and pull his shorts to his ankles. I steal the ball back and throw. It hurtles over the basket and into the neighbor’s yard. “We Wiiiinnnn!” I yell with glee as hubby drops down next to my panting son. “What? You’re done?” I start to follow as my feet catch in the last of the slimy doggy hurl. I do the splits, the goo traveling up the back of my thigh. Kristi has joined the pooper party along with the dog and goat. I lay on top making sure they all get a portion of what’s left on my leg. “Ooowwee!” Kristi wipes her portion on the goat. Disgusted, the goat gets up, leaving us with a fresh trail of pellets as she goes. “Sure beats watching TV,” my son says to the sky. Panting, we all agree.

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