Friday, June 13, 2008

The Streak - 1

Yankees third baseman Evan Benjaminson stood on the west side of Fifth Avenue around the 90s, up by where the park wall's about chest-high and there's that field, whatever it's called. An elderly black man on a nearby bench who appeared to be wearing red lipstick called him Toby.

"Toby, you said you was gonna call me!"

Evan turned around slowly and examined the familiar parade of city traffic: buses, vans, yellow cabs and black sedans.

"I knew you was not listenin' to me! Stop lookin' at dem cars, Toby!"

It was twilight in July in New York City, limestone glowing rosy in the sun. Earlier, the Yankees lost their second of four against the division-leading Baltimore Orioles and Evan was looking for a way to forget that now. He ducked into some Irish bar on Lex, a cookie-cutter dark-wood pub, and tried in vain not to glimpse a reference to his team's travails on the screen. But sure enough, the crawl insinuated itself into his consciousness: "Yanks lose 24 straight - any end in sight?" He had two scotches on the rocks and slouched into the men's room; when he emerged, he tiptoed around some animated conversation at one end of the bar about Jim Bosworth, the Yankees' manager. Of the should he be fired right away or sooner variety.

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