Marco Buscaglia




The Specialist

By Marco Buscaglia

Illustration by Alex Fuller

Illustration by Alex Fuller

On the far northwest side of Chicago, in an alley tucked between Melvina and Merrimac avenues, Victor Zelant hits his fifth free throw in a row.

The fifth is the hardest, he figures. You can knock out one or two in a row, but that fifth is a killer. Hit the fifth, Victor tells himself, and you get in a rhythm. Hit the fifth and the rest are expected.

The light above the garbage cans in the alley illuminates his bare arms, the arc of the ball creating an orange rainbow to the hoop on this unseasonably warm October night.

He shoots. Swish.


Victor has been shooting free throws since eight o'clock, after he finished a bowl of beef stew while studying for a science test and watching Family Feud. It's been more than an hour ...