Monday, March 29, 2010

The Streak - 70

Evan, Kyle and Sug were the only Yankees voted to the Midsummer Classic in this disgraceful year. Kyle, who'd only been named as a reserve anyway, feigned injury as planned. While the papers howled outrage and derision he spirited away to Las Vegas and checked into the high roller's suite at the Hard Rock. Sug and Ev flew into St. Louis on Monday morning in commercial first class, trying to stay under the radar in hats and shades. The Yanks would not play again till Thursday. At least they wouldn't lose until then either.

Maybe it was the unpoliced exposure to the masses. Maybe it was the full psychic weight of all the losses, seizing upon his brain as the distraction of another game to play, another chance at redemption, fell briefly out of reach. Whatever it was, Evan felt exceedingly uneasy. Again he'd been reluctant to cross the threshold of the cabin. He hit up Sug for some Xanax, ordered a gin and tonic, and fell into deep, dark unconsciousness for the duration of the flight.

After they checked into the Four Seasons in St. Lou Evan ordered a gargantuan room service breakfast and slept another couple hours. He was due at the stadium that afternoon for Workout Day, the Home Run Derby, God knows what other fucking bullshit. He woke up and flipped through the channels for awhile. Finally he sat up, sighed, put on his socks and shoes.

As he stood waiting for the elevator, practically all conscious thought seeped out of his mind. A common occurrence these days. However, he found he was still able to dully observe himself in this state, and not without a trace of worry. Strange. Nothing. No thought. Nothing.

Bing! The doors opened and there stood Joe Maines and Matt Gillis. They were immaculate, practically shiny. They stepped out, hands up chest-high as if to contain an angry drunk.

"Evan! Where you headed?" asked Joe.

"Down... stairs?"

"Don't go down there," said Matt.

"Why not?"

"There's a security concern," answered Joe.

"We have reason to believe that the attractive young person of interest with whom you previously interfaced is in the vicinity," added Matt.

"Thelxiepeia Anathematis," Joe declared.

"Jesus, Thelxie?"

Joe and Matt nodded.

"We're going to facilitate your egress when the time comes," said Joe. "And your eventual reentry."

"Your coming and your going."

"It's for your sake, Evan. If there's anything you need that room service won't deliver, call us." Joe handed Evan a card with the Yankees logo and Special Player Relations written below his name.

"Anything at all," Matt said.

"But I have to go to fucking Workout Day."

"Fuck no you don't," Joe stated. "We got you a pass. What did we say, Matt?"

"We said undisclosed personal reasons."

"That's right. We got you a pass on account of undisclosed personal reasons. Nice and vague."

"But the ring of truth," added Matt.

"OK," Evan said, perplexed. "How do you know Thelxie's here, anyway?"

"Oh," Joe replied. "She left you a note."

"At the front desk."

"Do you have the note?"

"The note is currently in our possession, Evan," Joe stated. Then he turned to Matt. "Do you have it or do I have it?"

Matt patted the breasts of his navy blazer.

"You have it."

Joe nodded. The two men turned to Evan and smiled blandly.

"Can I see it?"

Matt turned to his colleague. "Can he see it, Joe?"

Joe frowned in contemplation. Finally he said, "I don't see any reason why not."

Joe reached into the inside pocket of his jacket and handed Evan a folded-up sheet of memo paper. Evan opened it to find a paragraph of lavender text, penned in girlish, backwards-leaning cursive. He read aloud:

Dear Evan,

I'm sorry about the other day. I know you're under a lot of stress. I guess I got upset because it's not every day you have a famous Yankee on your couch.

I'd really like to see you again. I'll make it up to you. And there's a few things I know that I think you should know. You might be in danger, first of all. I know that sounds weird. But it's true. I'll have to explain it to you in person. Trust me, you won't regret it. There's lots of things I know. You'll be glad I told you. Call me.

The message was signed "Thelxie" above her phone number and below a flurry of X's and O's.

Evan looked up at the two men. "So?"

"We've had the note analyzed," said Joe. "By the Office of Technical Services at the CIA–"

"Not the OTS," said Matt. "The TSD. The Technical Services Department."

"It's the same thing, Matt."

Matt shook his head and looked to the floor.

"What did they find out?" asked Evan.

"By their assessment, this note was written by a woman."

A brief silence followed.

"Anything else?"

"Additionally, there is some question as to the credibility of the message itself."

"Ah."

"Yup!"

"So I, uh... I guess I shouldn't see her?"

"Under no circumstances whatsoever."

Matt's eyes widened suddenly. He cupped his hand over his mouth and whispered into his boss's ear. Joe listened attentively, nodding from time to time. Eons seemed to pass. Finally the conference ended as the two men mumbled their assent.

"Evan, would you like to be of service to your country?" Joe asked.

"I... I... sure."

"Well the time may soon come when you are called upon. But for now–"

"Called upon how?"

"We may revisit our injunction against your congress with Ms. Anathematis."

"You want me to see her?"

"We'll be in touch with further instructions, Evan." Joe plucked the note from Evan's fingers, folded it back up and put it back in his jacket. "In the meantime, try to enjoy some television."

Joe and Matt shook Evan's hand and turned around to await the elevator.

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