I STRUT UP ASHBY AVE. glowing in my fresh green suit, a little parade of neighborhood kids whistling and running alongside by the time I get to the park. I stand at the sideline; I didn't come to play. The game stops. Regie, coiled in mid-shot, absently releases as his jaw drops to the baseline. He doesn't even watch. The shot flops. The ball blazes orange, pinginging away from the hoop in a couple of sharp arcs but nobody notices much less makes to rebound. The abandoned thing pitter-patters my way and, rocking slightly between just-polished shoes, weeps at my feet. "Damn! Murdock!" Regie finally manages to speak, "where do you put the batteries in that thing?"
"Haven't you heard?" I palm the ball. The bright rubber beads reach back at my flexed fingers, my gargantuan grip. "This is the new army uniform." A collective awshit overwhelms the South Berkeley Pickup League. Everyone is dumbstruck, squinting over at me across an infinite expanse of misty asphalt and jungle like I'm already dead. I plant my feet and pump. The measurements are just right. "It's for sly motherfuckers like me who can't be spotted by the Cong--because we're ten thousand miles away." Swish!