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Music is Forever Episode 4: The Basketball Game
At the apartment, Anil is just tying his shoelaces when the phone rings. He says "Jon" to himself and picks up the phone after three rings.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm coming," he says, without bothering to ask who is on the phone.
"Enh? What are you saying? I'm your mother, da!" says a familiar voice.
"Oh, sorry Mom," Anil apologizes. "Can't talk long, going out to play basketball."
"Well, we haven't talked to you in a long time. Where have you been? I tried calling you all this week! No answer." Anil's mother was very worried. Her son was the carefree, boisterous American young man, not the quiet, careful Indian child people expected.
"Well, I've been kinda busy," Anil lied, scratching the back of his neck. "You know, work and stuff."
"Don't work too hard, ma. Where is that girlfriend of yours? What is she doing?" Anil's mother, like Sangeetha's, disapproved of their forward living arrangements but was used to her son getting his way. In fact, she felt that Sangeetha, being so "Indian" in manner, was a good influence on her son, who had all but disowned his heritage.
"She's at music class. She'll be back later if you wanna talk to her." Anil preferred letting Sangeetha and his mom talk. They seemed to get along, and it helped keep his mother from asking him embarrassing questions.
"Yes, I'll call in the evening. Hey, send me a tape of her singing, I still haven't heard her!"
"Ok mom, sure. I really gotta go now."
"Ok ok. Take care, dear. Don't strain too much."
"Yup, bye." Anil is halfway out of the door.
"Bye!" The longing to talk more is in her voice, but she reluctantly puts down the phone.
Anil tosses the phone onto the sofa and starts the car.
Jon is waiting and trying to call but the phone is busy. "I TOLD him to get call waiting," he mutters to himself.
He dribbles the basketball outside his apartment idly. When Anil finally arrives, he yells, "What's up, man? I've been waiting forever!"
"My mom called," Anil says, apologetic. "We've still got some time."
"Yeah, you're gonna need the time. I predict 105 to nada." He laughs.
Anil will not stand for this. "No way, I've been practicing. You're going down today!"
They walk to the court and begin playing. Jon makes a smooth two-point throw, but Anil manages to steal the ball away. When he tries for a dunk at the neck, Jon knocks him out of the way. Anil falls away and lands on the asphalt on his side, panting.
"Good one," he says and pulls himself up.
A few locals ask if they can join. Three of them are together. One is a tall Jamaican, with dredlocks and an accent. He introduces himself as Isaiah. The other two are white teenagers, a girl and boy named Lisa and Mickey. Lisa grins and flirts with Jon, her sparkly "Om" t-shirt glinting in the sunlight.
They begin playing, three against two, without further introduction. Lisa and Mickey are surprisingly aggressive players. Mickey shouts "foul" repeatedly and Lisa pushes against Jon and Anil to steal the ball from them. Isaiah is a graceful player, with neat layups and reaching the net easily at his height.
Soon Anil and Jon are down, 23 to 10. Again Anil tries to jump and dunk the ball into the net, but now Mickey shouts "foul! foul!" and Lisa pulls his shirt from behind.
He lands heavily sideways on his left leg, Lisa still clutching him. Isaiah manages to land on his knees to one side, and Jon grabs Lisa away.
Jon says, "Anil, you okay?" But he doesn't answer. They shake him, and he slowly wakes an entire minute later.
Anil groans. There is a dull pain in his leg, but when he tries to move it, the pain sears to his hip. "Aah!" he yells, biting his tongue.
Jon tells Isaiah to watch him while he calls an ambulance. Isaiah gives Lisa a dirty look and Mickey consoles her.
She is crying, sparkles from her shirt in her hand and now smeared on her face.
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