Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Streak - 12

Abstracted, Evan walked over to the rack and selected one of his bats, thirty-four-and-a-half inches of ash in black finish. He climbed the steps of the dugout and tried to take the measure of the situation. He batted third these days, after second baseman Esteban Guerra and Kyle. Esteban was on first base and Evan couldn't remember the last time they'd started a game this way. Kyle approached the plate, squinting at center-right field, where he likes to think he'll hit it. He made little golf swings with his bat. "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath blared from the PA speakers.

Make a joke and I will sigh and you will laugh and I will cry

The umpire pointed the ball live and the music faded quickly. It was like parents just walked in and turned the knob down on an awful racket. Evan put on the bat weight and swung a little, feeling its clumsy heft. He often imagined what it would be like to swing an impossibly heavy bat, a bat of solid lead. A bat that a strong man could barely hoist an inch or two off the ground before letting it dent the dirt with a terse thud. Evan didn't know why he thought of this. When he looked out the window of a train he imagined a motorcycle racing alongside it. Always.

Kyle took the first pitch, a fastball, for a strike. It was unclear to Evan how Kyle got home the night before, or if he even did, or if he fucked the one girl or the other or maybe both. He was high as usual and drunk as hell as far as Evan could tell. Evan lost his appetite a little once the girl who'd been designated for him was unable to articulate the phrase I glow. Nice girl, though. Rough life. Stripper. Whore. Evan felt bad. What was her name? Gepetto?


Kyle was hopping like a pogo stick and clutching his left hand, pausing only to rub it spasmodically and then start hopping up and down again.

"Jesus, Jesus, FUCK!"

The catcher and umpire gave him wide berth and stood maskless, gazing dully at his mad dance. The ball was somewhere in the dirt. Finally, Kyle's body seemed to calm to a simmering state of herky-jerky agitation and he paced in a tightly circumscribed figure eight. Trainer Mike trotted out, gut pouring over his belt, and consulted somberly with Kyle before escorting him to first base. Two on, no outs. Evan was at bat.

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