Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Streak - 62

Fact is, Evan had checked out a bit during his session with Alexa. Trumped her psychobabble with a head game of his own. Not defiantly – the way some of the other players no doubt would – but just because he could. He did it. There. He plunged himself into a trance. Not the sort of relaxed attentiveness or serene alertness or whatever it was the shrink was espousing. Just... just... just... nothing.

It felt good to inhabit this state. It felt safe. There were no more facts and figures, no more stats, no more buses and planes. No more boos and jeers. No more ex-wife, no more son. No more friends or foes. No more people. No more streak.

If he stayed in long enough he reached a point where even the most mundane realities began to blur and slip away. He had to wrench himself back into the cold and unforgiving world just to remember his own name: Evan. Benjaminson. Evan Benjaminson.

On the field on Friday night against the A's, he discovered that his new ability had an unexpected side effect: he could play third base. He emptied his mind and stood there like a moron – that was his last coherent thought: I'm standing here like a moron. When the ball was struck his way he gave himself completely, unquestioningly, to some willful agent that seemed to reside outside of him and yet had authority over his body. It was as though his motions were determined not by him but by everything that wasn't him, as though the universe provided a corridor in space and time through which only he could move and he could only move.

Bang! Out. Bang! Bang! Double play. Evan was playing baseball at a deep, low level; just about the level of abstraction. The ball was a formality. The word baseball did not exist. He was nearing the mystical essence of the game: the shadow game, the shadow made plain, the shadow when you take the light away.

Evan clambered down the dugout steps and sat numbly on the bench.

"Lookin' good out there," said Pat O'Rourke, eyes uncharacteristically wide.

"What?" said Evan.

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