Monday, March 08, 2010

The Streak - 61

"Be here now," the woman was saying. What was her name? She stared into Evan's eyes in a kindly manner. It would not do to have forgotten her name. And yet he had. All he could think about her was that his friend wanted to fuck her. What was his name? Kyle.

"Be here now," he repeated.

He was taking batting practice before the last game with the Twins. He gazed up at the quilted ceiling of the Metrodome and wondered if he'd remember that very moment all his life.

He was flat on his back, hung over. Naked. God knows what o'clock. Covered in sweat. Sheet and blanket tangled by his feet. Must've turned off the AC. On the nightstand there was a tumbler full of scotch, pale from the melted cubes. Beside it lay a crystal-cut bowl containing the soupy remains of a garish, all-American banana split. Nuts, cream, cherry, the works. He must have ordered this fucking thing and taken a bite or two before passing out. He took a big thirsty gulp of the watery whisky. Must have been some kinda night. Must have. Martha Stewart's lulling, teacherly voice mocked the sorry scene from the foot of his bed.

"Be here now," he thought.

He was on the phone with his son.

"You're not my dad."

"Ryan, Ryan. Buddy."

"You're not my dad!"

"Don't you say that to me."

"You're not!" Ryan shouted, breaking into tears.

"Ryan, listen to me. Don't you ever say that to me again."

Convulsed sobbing on the other end.

"Calm down, kiddo. When I get home we're going to –"

His son's cries intensified. "I don't wanna!"

Evan waited mutely, nearly overcome with frustration.

"I don't wanna see you!"

"OK Ryan. OK."

"I want my real daddy!"

"What?" Evan said sharply. Even in his anger this gave him a start.

"My real daddy!" the boy wailed.

"Who's your real daddy?" Evan inquired suspiciously.

"Evan Benjaminson!"

For this he had no reply.

He was boarding the charter with the guys. Going to Oakland now. Was that right? Oakland. What? A's. He settled into a seat and peered out at the other gated planes, NWA Delta United Southwest. They pushed off. The subtle breaking into motion. Almost imperceptible but for the shifting scenery. He took some odd, meager pleasure in scrutinizing the minutest elements of the taxiway. The little bright blue lights. Lit-up signs that said things like: NF 22B. CR 41T. It gave him comfort to know this all meant something and he could not possibly ever know what that was.

Be here now.

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