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Authors: Eric Walters

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Triple Threat

BOOK: Triple Threat
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Book 8

Triple Threat

Triple Threat

Eric Walters and Jerome “Junk Yard Dog” Williams

Copyright © 2004 Eric Walters and Jerome Williams

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and
retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in
writing from the publisher.

National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication Data

Walters, Eric, 1957-
Triple threat / Eric Walters and Jerome Williams (Junk Yard Dog).

(Orca young readers)
ISBN 1-55143-359-1

I. Title. II. Series.

PS8595.A598T75    2004    jC813'.54     C2004-905878-9

Library of Congress Control Number: 2004113950

Summary
: The eighth installment in Eric Walters' popular basketball
series for young readers with a contribution by NBA player Jerome “Junk
Yard Dog” Williams.

Free teachers' guide available.

Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its
publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government
of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage's Book
Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP), the Canada Council
for the Arts, and the British Columbia Arts Council.

Cover design by Lynn O'Rourke
Cover and interior illustrations by John Mantha

In Canada:
Orca Book Publishers
Box 5626, Stn.B
Victoria, BC Canada
V8R 6S4

In the United States:
Orca Book Publishers
PO Box 468
Custer, WA USA
98240-0468

07 06 05 04 • 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed and bound in Canada

To quote my friend, Steve Coleman,
this book is dedicated to all those who
take the time to help others ‘rise up.'—
EW
I dedicate this book to all my fans in
the Dogg Pound, for all your support in
making my dreams a reality. —
JYD

1

“Man, it is so hot,” Kia said as she collapsed onto the front lawn of my house.

“It's hot,” I agreed. I walked off the driveway—the court—and sat down beside her, using the basketball as a stool.

“It's not just hot, Nick. It's so hot that the pavement is practically melting. So hot that moving almost hurts. So hot that I just want to lie down in the shade until it's not so hot anymore.”

“Like I said, it's hot.”

“I don't want it to be hot anymore.”

“Kia, you hate the cold. You spend the whole winter doing nothing but complaining about how cold you are. Now that it's not cold you do nothing but complain about the heat. Aren't you ever happy?”

“When I'm happy I'll let you know.”

“I can't make it cold, but do you want something cold to drink?” I asked.

“Yeah, that would be great, but how about if we wait until after I beat you.”

We'd had four games of one-on-one. I'd won all four. Kia was a good player—the best girl player I knew. Heck, she was probably the best ten-year-old female player in the whole city.

We'd played together for years and years, and over that time we'd always been pretty even. But not the last few weeks. Not today. Today I was hot in a whole different way.

“Do you really want to play another game?” I asked.

“Of course I want to play,” she said.

“But I thought it was so hot.”

“It is. So hot that the only thing I'm willing to do that doesn't involve sitting in the shade is playing some basketball.”

“How about if we get that drink first?” I suggested.

“No. First I beat you and then we get a drink.”

“A hot drink?” I asked.

“Why would I want a hot drink?” Kia asked.

“If I keep playing as well as I'm playing, it'll be winter before you beat me and you'll be wanting
a hot drink because you'll be complaining about the cold.”

“Funny, very funny.”

Kia got up from the lawn and sauntered onto the driveway. I got up off the ball, picked it up and followed after her.

The second my shoes hit the blacktop I felt the heat radiating out of the pavement. It felt like the asphalt was actually squishing a little bit under my feet. On the grass, in the shade, it was hot. Here on the driveway, in the mid-day sun, it was
so
hot. Not that I was going to admit that to Kia. If she wanted to play, we'd play.

“You want first ball?” she asked.

“Loser gets first ball so I guess that's you … again.”

She snarled at me. Taunting Kia probably wasn't that smart a thing to do. But what did it matter? Part of me even wondered if I should throw the game. The sooner she won the sooner we could go in and get a cold—

“And don't you even think about throwing the game,” she said, reading my mind.

If anybody but Kia had done that I would have been shocked and surprised. Kia could read my
mind. And I could read hers. Best friends are like that, and we'd been best friends forever.

“If you're so smart,” I said, “what am I thinking right now?”

“You're thinking that the last four games were a fluke and you can't make it five in a row.”

I smiled slightly. I knew there was no fluke. I was pretty sure I could beat Kia almost every time, and it wasn't because I was better than her—well not that much better. It was just that I knew how to beat her.

Kia was a better shooter than me and as good at dribbling and driving. She was even a little bit taller than me. What I had was size. I outweighed her by enough that I could just set up, back her into the key and push against her until I was right under the hoop for an easy basket. That one advantage was enough to win.

“You going to play real basketball this time?” Kia asked.

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Real basketball. Driving the net, breaking somebody down on the dribble, shooting the ball from outside. You know, real basketball.”

“I'll do all of those things. Once you stop me from doing what I'm doing.”

Coach Barkley—our rep team basketball coach—always said that basketball was a very easy game. All you had to do was figure out what worked and keep doing it until it didn't work anymore.

I tossed Kia the ball. She began dribbling. It was the strangest thing—the ball didn't “ping” when it hit the pavement as much as give a little “squishy” sound. It was too hot for basketball. I wanted that drink more than I wanted to play. It was my time to try to read Kia's mind.

“Want to call it a draw?” I asked.

“We haven't even started.”

“I noticed.”

Kia hated losing. Not that I liked it, but she hated it with a passion. Calling it a draw would give her—and me—a way out of having to play another game.

“Before the game starts is the best time to call it a draw. What do you say we call the fifth game a tie?”

She picked up the ball. “I could win, you know.”

“You could. And so could I. If we play, somebody wins and somebody loses. If we call it a draw, we both win.”

“How do you figure that?” Kia asked.

“Because we get out of the sun and into my air-conditioned house and have something cold to drink. Doesn't that sound like a win-win situation?”

Kia didn't answer.

“Well?”

She tossed me the ball. “I'll let you off this time. Let's go inside.”

“Gee, thanks … really appreciate it,” I said sarcastically.

I was hit by a wonderful wave of cool as I opened the front door. I inhaled deeply and let the air soak into my lungs. “Doesn't that feel good.”

“Almost as good as that cold drink you promised me.”

I dropped my basketball into the wicker basket behind the door and we headed into the kitchen. I half expected my mother to be in there, but the room was empty. That meant she was in the basement in her little office, working. She was a reporter with the local paper and did most of her writing down there at the computer.

“What do you want?” I asked as I opened up the fridge.

“What you got?”

“Everything.” I was hardly exaggerating.

My mother always made sure we had a fridge stocked with drinks and lots and lots of snacks—healthy snacks. For most people the words “healthy” and “snack” didn't go together, but my mother made it work. Carrot sticks, oatmeal muffins, granola bars, power bars, apples and bananas and other assorted fruits and vegetables. My house was the hangout not just for Kia and me, but for all of our friends.

Kia reached in and grabbed the pitcher of lemonade. I grabbed a Coke.

“Hope your mother doesn't walk in now.”

“I'm allowed to drink Coke,” I protested. I was allowed to drink Coke, just not as often as I'd like, and certainly not after playing ball and sweating like a pig.

“With so many choices, why would you choose that?” Kia questioned.

“I like Coke.”

“You also like lemonade and power drinks and water. You know that practically nothing's better for you than water when you've been sweating hard.”

“Now you sound like my mother.”

“And what exactly is wrong with that?” my mother asked as she walked into the room.

“Nothing, I guess, if you're forty years old.”

“You better be careful about who you're calling forty,” my mother said.

My mother wasn't going to be forty for a few years. She liked to point that out to my father, who had just turned forty.

“So how are you two enjoying summer vacation?” my mother asked.

“I'm bored,” Kia said.

“Bored!” I exclaimed. “It's only the third day of vacation and you're bored?”

“There's nothing to do,” she said.

“There's lots of things to do.”

“So far we haven't done any of them. All we've done is play ball on your driveway.”

BOOK: Triple Threat
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ads

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