So, the plane touched down. I sat in between some dude that had a little too much of Vegas and some chick with large pretty brown eyes.

He smelled like he was broke.

She smelled good.

I like girls that smell good.

She kept looking over my shoulder trying to read the book I was chewing into.

“Whatcha reading?” she finally asked.

“William Kittredge. He kicks some major ass,” I said, jumping my eyebrows. “You should give him a stab. I’d give you this copy, but I don’t know you that well so you’ll have to shell out your own duckies.” 

She laughed.

I like making girls laugh.

Especially ones with large pretty eyes and that smell good.

I love women, period.


I had a running joke with a friend that when I arrived we’d get a game of basketball going when our schedules allowed. She’s an ol’ pal and back in our high school days we played hoops.


Jackets and all.

She was a point guard.

So was I.

She had a passion for the sport back then (still does) and even went to college to play. I had a passion for weed and music and doing anything that would keep me out of the house. So, in essence, I sucked. But I was a three-year letterman, so I guess I had a little something going.

“We gonna get this fucker going or what?” I said, lacing up my sneakers.

“Really?” she said, flashing her fabulous blue eyes. “You want some?”


I hadn’t played basketball in years. This broad runs a thousand miles a week and looks like an eighteen-year old. She’s around twice that age and has heads snapping everywhere she goes. She’s stunning.

But I’m a dude and will do anything to mix things up. Even if that means I’ll be on the shit-end of the deal.

I’m playful that way.

Or a jerk-off.

Being the gentleman that I can sometimes be, I gave her the ball first.

“Ball in.”

It took us a bit to get things going. We were playing on a home court so we had to make the needed adjustments.

I scored first.

Nailed a ten-foot jumper. All net. All Reno. I shot my arms in the air like I was Bono sucking up all that good rock and roll light.

“Oh, lord. Someone’s in deep trouble.”

Then it quickly went downhill from there.

She was, and still is, a great defensive player and had me locked in. She still had solid technique, eyes on the center of my gut, feet shuffling, and the only option I had (other than barreling over her Man-Style) was to try my luck in getting her on her heels, getting a good look, and going for the jumper.

It worked a few times but the jumpers weren’t jumping.


Then she started driving on Reno. I forgot my technique and watched her zip by me.

One point.

Two points.

I hit another jumper. And then another.

I was feeling good.

Sweat fell off my ugly face.

The sun was high and casting white light over the valley.

But in the end, oh yes, she got me. Came flying by me like Michael Jordan and dropped in the final point.

5 to 3.

“Home court advantage!” I screamed, sweating like a pig, out of breath, but smiling big because I found some pleasure in her taking me out. ”You cheated! You suck!”

“Kiss my ass, Romero.”

It was a blast. A cool time indeed.

Forrest Gump said that life was like a box of chocolates.

And you know, I think he was right. 

I like chocolate. Especially the ones that See’s Candy cooks up. The ones with the sprinkles.

But maybe life is also like a game of basketball.

A strong lay-up.

Boxing out.

A jumper that needs to be hit.

Being a team player.

Making the pass.

Playing good D and making sure nothing gets by your ass.


Ball in.

Ball in.

Ball in.

I don’t know.

You tell me.

(Anyhow, here’s to girl victory. You fuckers.)

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RENO J. ROMERO was born in the badlands of El Sereno, California. A bona fide Las Vegan, he also lived in the dirty South for three miserable years, where he was introduced to depression, grits, humidity, and sweet tea. A graduate of UNLV, the Southern Nevada Writing Project, and seedy bars, he enjoys Chinese food, Tamron Hall, the Trickster, and football. He currently writes poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction from the California desert, living among rattlesnakes, old bones, and biker speed. He's been published in various publications including Falling From the Sky (short story anthology), Celebrity Poets, and Central Speak. He can be reached at [email protected]

One response to “Ball In”

  1. […] up to Sacramento only to get his ass kicked in a game of basketball against a beautiful […]

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