Even now I hear the patting of the ball against that wall, back and forth from Jack's hand.
We played handball there, for the sheer concentration of tramelling the ball within the small area. Begun as a dare in our childhood it was a ritual whenever he and I met up. We used the same ball that Jack had, one with a green copper banding that his grandfather had given him.
I always wondered about Jack's unerring gift for hitting the target bang on. The night that the city lights shorted answered my question. Jack continued patting the ball, even in the sooty blackness. I gave up, reaching out to the wall to steady myself, waiting for a passing car to illuminate our positions.
I can still make out Jack's outline, in my mind. His figure seems to cut a hole in the night, moving and running, anticipating each shot - striking right and the ball hitting up against the wall. It was unnerving how he could do it. I watch him, entirely rapt by his fluid movements.
Enfolded within that flowing rhythm it was easy to see later how I had missed what Jack was really aiming for in the end. The ball hit a high raw wire, one of those not covered by conduit. I turned just as the arc of electric struck him. The scorch marks are all that remain of Jack on the alley wall and the floor. And the charred ball which I kept.