Vol. 1, No. 4: Shammgod Unbound photo

Wolves BackPaul Rousseau

Hooping Under the Sistine Chapel

I pull my niece through the neighborhood

streets in a little red wagon, she’s got snacks and

things, mouth full, munching, she points to a yard

and says, “yesterday, I see a rabbit in the grass blood-ing

and you know what else, it’s eyes were POPPING OUT!”

her voice is like a cluster of marbles circling in a funnel

gaining momentum before they all crash and pour out

of her mouth, we end up at the park and she lunges into a full

sprint toward the swings and of course I’ve got pushing duty, but

I really want to see how many 3s I can make in a row over at the

basketball court, so I quick show her how to use her own legs to

shift all 60 pounds of her body weight back and forth, which doesn’t

last long, about a minute later she’s under the hoop begging me to dish

the rock, instead, I make her chase rebounds for a while until she finally grabs

one and hoists up a shot with both hands as if the ball might burst and shower

us with confetti, it doesn’t even get close to the rim so I give her a do-over, underhand

again, she launches it like a trebuchet over her back and I pretend it elevates forever

caught in a tractor beam to outer space, I squint and point to the sky, shouting “look, look!”

and we imagine that the ball is just a little speck of brown paint on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, an offering, my niece points too and shouts at the sun, “here, take it, it’s your turn!”



One More Year Away from Something Great

After I got let go from work because the CEO refused to take a pay cut, I needed to find some alternative means of income. So I went to my buddy Bill. He always seems to know a little bit about everything. 

Bill and I planned the robbery weeks ago, when the rest of my severance check ran out, but wanted to wait until after our Timberwolves played the Warriors to actually go through with it, in case we got caught. It wasn’t a nationally televised game and he didn’t think jail had NBA TV. There was no chance Bill or I were missing a would-be upset, with half of Golden State’s roster out with injuries. Warriors fans would call it a fluke, they’d say we caught them on a lucky day, and reassure themselves that, for us bottom-feeder Wolves fans, this was our equivalent to winning the Finals. But to Bill and me, a win is a win is a win and looking back at the season, however lowly, nobody is going to remember who was or wasn’t playing that night. There will just be that shiny W, glowing like the letters on the Five Cents Off Gas If You Pay Inside window sign at the Speedway we robbed. And that W will remind us of our potential. It will give us hope that we’re just one more year away from something great. Like the playoffs, or a new job. Please God, make the playoffs.

The Timberwolves face the Bucks at full strength tomorrow. And though Bill and I and the rest of the inmates here don’t expect to win, we prefer rooting for the underdog anyway.