It was early in Atlanta, the city just making its first stirrings of activity. The morning sun had not yet begun its slow ascent over the horizon. The clock struck 6, and the alarm sounded.
It may has well not have. Dennis Schröder, his body trained to a strict daily schedule, had already awoken the split second before the alarm went off. He climbed out of bed and into his clothes for the day, labeled “Samstag” in his dresser. He liked order in his life, and having his fashion choices planned out months in advance soothed this need.
He continued his morning regimen, the timing of which was perfected to an art. He knew how long the coffee took to percolate. He had calculated exactly when to start the toast so that it would be ready precisely as the coffee finished. Not a second was wasted. Arranged much in the manner of his wardrobe, he had an assortment of jams and maramaldes sorted by the day of the week. This was the one daily deviation he allowed himself; any more and he started to feel uneasy.
It was game day. He didn’t like these days as much, but at least it was a home game. He drove to the practice facility, going by his usual route as always, and parked in the spot marked “Schroeder”. He had endeavored for them to change the signage to reflect the correct spelling of his name; his requests had fallen on deaf, or merely lazy, ears. The discrepancy annoyed him.
He walked in to the practice gym. It was still early, and no one else had arrived. This was good; he didn’t like others observing his routines.
He started with three-pointers. He had to make 10 consecutive from 5 points around the arc, all swishes. If he detected even the slightest redirection from the rim, he started over. It has to be perfect. Absolutely had to be perfect.
Given the exceedingly high standards he applied to himself, it was no surprise that he progressed very slowly through the drill. Just as he was about to swish the last one, Anthony Davis walked in. “Hey Dennis!”
The noise startled Schröder badly, sending the shot careening off the backboard. He turned and faced Davis.
“That was my last one, Anthony! Now I have to start again.”
“Oh, sorry man, were you doing that three-point shooting thingy of yours? I don’t see why it matters if you miss the last one. Are you autistic or something?”
Dennis was rankled. “Not autistic, Anthony. German.”