Thursday, October 05, 2006

Lowell Eddy is my nemesis and he bats in the five spot. I bat sixth. Don't know how it all began. A perceived slight in the clubhouse – was it that dreary rain delay when we played cards with Raul and Esteban and Trainer Mike? I ridiculed his dealer's choice, some follow-the-queen claptrap. He spat a wad of chaw at my feet and said at least he didn't strike out not just once but three times last night, one time lookin'.

"Twice," I protested.

"Twice lookin'?" he asked, with mock, journalistic seriousness.

"No... twice... total," I explained lamely. Jesus, it sucks to have to explain something like that. Never be in a goddamn position where you're explaining you only struck out twice. "Never fucking mind."

"Two time, three time," he argued dismissively. "Three times a lady," he added bizarrely. Mike chuckled. What a moron.

"I done tired of gettin' on base and havin' you strike out, Kel," Lowell said, shaking his head. "I can get up there on first, 'cause I got a hit, took one for the team, whatever, I'm a man, see, and I can tip my hat and salute Old Glory and make the base my pillow. 'Cause I ain't goin' nowhere."

Mike hooted and snorted with glee. Raul and Esteban chuckled darkly. Only 'cause they like a fight.

Mike always had a towel draped over his right shoulder. Never did it bother me more than at this moment.

Suddenly I threw my hand in Lowell's face and it was a pretty good one, too. Ace-ten, suited, as I recall. There could have been upwards of $350 in that pot.

"Fuck you!" I said. Accent on the fuck. And I clomped away in my cleats. Over my shoulder they were laughing and going ooh-ooh. Like a table of little girls in the cafeteria. God I hated them all at that moment.

But mostly Lowell.

And Trainer Mike.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I came back from the game half wasted and reacquainted myself with my ludicrously sparsely furnished apartment. I was starving and all there was to eat was ramen noodles in the brown package signifying beef.

Why do I have beef? I wondered. I know I fucking don't like beef. But upon closer scrutiny it wasn't beef-brown, it was teriyaki-chicken-brown. A duller, beiger shade. I boiled it in too little water and dashed it with cracked pepper. I drank a beer and ate it watching SportsCenter, with shrapnel shards of pepper, that rugged, brutish spice the Portuguese once pried from India, popping dark and dirty on my tongue.

I reflected vaguely upon the night's events.

I play third base for the Centropolis Eastmen, the most glorious and hallowed professional baseball team in all the land. And we had lost to the hated River City Hounds by four runs to three.

My name is Kelly Minter.