You've Done Your Research

“This, my friends,” Cricket announced dramatically, “is an advanced pickleball.”
“It’s full of holes,” I pointed out dryly.
“Yes, that’s what a pickleball looks like. But this is, like, better than any old pickleball.” Cricket’s bespecticled, blue eyes shone with Christmas morning exitement.
“In what way?” Lin asked suspiciously.
“This one’s got rubber incorperated into the design, making bounce higher, but it’s hollow, so it plays faster.”
“You’ve done your research, haven’t you?” the umpire asked, amused.
“Look, can we just play?” Lin & I asked in stereo.
“Alright, chill out,” Cricket moaned reproachfully. “Xiaoli serves first.” He handed me the queer ball.
I held it in my sweaty hand. It felt good, to my surprise. Memories of old ping-pong matches and strategies flooded my nerve-wracked brain, lined up with military neatness, begging to be put to use. A small smile curled at the corner of my mouth dispite myself.
I bounced the ball a few times, then released a fiery serve hurtling over the net.

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