Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Slammer – An Ever Growing Web Novel – Chapter 2.7

Lily is having a pretty hard time of it now as Jack appears to be shaking off everything. The one to nothing score is not making the events any easier to deal with as Jack is out of gas with a no hitter on the line, one strike out away from 4000 strikeouts and two outs in the ninth inning. Lily finally calls “Time” to the umpire and then trots out to the mound, where Jack looks more and more pained as she gets closer. “Listen Jack, do you want that 4000, or do you just want to get out of this game with the no no?”

Jack looks at her with the sweat rolling down his cheek, and says to her quite frankly, “I just want to get out of here with a win Lily. The only stat I have ever cared about is the W, just so you know and the two of them hear the umpire starting to make the usual noises that they make to speed the conversation along. Jack then adds, “Besides I have a few no no’s and I have a whole season to get 4000, so I’ll probably get there, God willing.”

Lily’s trot back to the plate is a bit confusing, and she almost stumbles over her own feet again, but manages to yet again go into the rollover trot to save face. Her mind is trying to figure out how to get Jack through this but she can see it in his face that he isn’t going to be throwing any more gas by this last guy. Of course the batter doesn’t look to be too sure of himself either, which is a good thing. Lily figures that being the last out in a no hitter is no honor and worse than that he is on every news station in the world right now as all the other games will get put on hold for the last out of a no hitter regardless of whom the pitcher is. Now that she thinks of it, they are all looking at her too.

Crouching behind the plate she tries to think of the perfect pitch to be thrown and then looks up at the batter, who shoots her a rather dispassionate glance back. He now knows that she is summing him up, and there is a bit of a glean in his eye now, like he believes that Jack is out of gas and that’s why the big hold up, and she can tell by the way he is starting to puff out his chest with a bit of confidence as his bat swings more confidently above his head. That’s when Lily turns to jack and wiggles all of her fingers, and Jack nods, right before he brings the glove to his chest.

Jacks arm reaches out toward the backdrop of the moon, after his leg had come off of the ground in its usual wind up, as always making damn sure that his body is turned to the batter before he even considers bringing the ball from the glove. The body of the old warrior swings around in the total silence of Fenway Park as this crowd stares in awe of what rabbit Jack is going to pull out of his hat this time. The crowd here at the field not knowing the true dynamics of the con, as it is being perpetrated by the catcher, as the bat leaves the shoulder of the other teams last hope in a very hopeless battle, because the bat simply slices air as the ball bounces on the ground under it. The splitter that Lily called for was perfect after faking the batter into thinking that all Jack had was slow and strait. “Ssssteeeeeeeeeerriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike!” screamed out the umpire as the batter realized that he also had deceptively slow and in the dirt.

The batter starts tapping his shoes with the bat, to get the mud off of them. Well at least that is what he is trying to make the television camera’s think was the issue on that last pitch that he had been totally fooled on. As he places the bat back up on his shoulder and steadies his feet into the batters box he doesn’t appear to have that puffed out chest that he had before, and he looks up at the score board like no batter ever should do to see his one strike sitting there all alone, and the little graphic willing Jack into his 4000 career strike out, which then reminds the batter that there are two things here that he doesn’t want to be remembered for. Lily looks out at Jack who has a very serious look on his face, which is telling her that he trusts her no matter what she calls, so she decides to run with that, as she holds down 3 fingers and touches her inner thigh.

After nodding again at Lily, Jack brings himself to his starting position with the brim of his cap down before he brings his hands to his chest so that he may adjust his grip on the ball in the safety of his glove and start the “wind up” process. As he brings his leg up off of the mound his body turns away from the batter as it always does so that he may bring his hand from his glove. As the hand winds it’s way back outreached and ready to hurl the rock, the batter glances quickly up towards Jack’s fingering to see the three fingers gripping the ball, as Jack for some reason appears to be withdrawing from his wind up rather slowly as if he is trying to muster all of the strength that he can to launch a missile across the plate, and that is what the batter is factoring on as he tenses back his body to catch up with what he hopes is a very fast and very strait fast ball. He will have to depend on his own instincts to get the ball where it goes.

The arm comes crashing forward and the ball is released towards the batter as he lifts his foot to get as much as he possibly can against the leather with the wood. With everything he has the bat comes off his shoulder as the ball is about to reach the plate, foot down to the Earth and his hips pressing inward to give himself everything he can as he actually feels the ball touching the bat. The noise coming from the bat is more of a hiss than a distinct “crack” and before he knows what to do the ball bounces on the ground less than a foot in front of the plate in the soft dirt that is made to hold the ground balls back. The batter stumbles over his own feet as his body turns to start running towards first base, but after a hop and a step Lily has the ball scooped up in her bare hand. The batter barely makes it half way to the base before he sees the ball safely land in the glove of the first baseman, and the hand of the first base umpire raise, and close, signaling the completion of another one of Jack’s history setting no hitters. The conciliation prize of not being the 4000 strike out really doesn’t seem that great as he was still the last out of a no hitter with an over glorified bunt on a home run swing, because Jack had thrown the ball in a manner to make it come in on his hands and hit the skinny part of the bat.

The park goes mental as the fans start screaming and raving, and the entire team comes rushing the field, as Jack in his usual cartoon manner starts running away from his team mates that continue chasing him into the outfield for his celebration that he has always tried to escape in the past, and never does. Jason Carter, the center fielder will go down in the history books this time as the guy who managed to trip Jack up by throwing his glove into his feet as he tried to make a b-line for the bullpen. The pig pile finally lands on Jack as it always does and the crowd starts laughing frantically, as once again Jack manages to end a show with another show, and the fans here always appreciate getting their money’s worth … to be continued

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