Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Slammer: Fifth Inning: Chapter Five.Seven

The taped fingers, the batters glove, and the catcher’s mitt were the only thing keeping Lily’s hand from expanding to the size of a watermelon. Her ego didn’t allow her to admit that she lost the feeling in her hand a couple of hours, and seven innings ago, but of course, today had been her most productive day in the Major Leagues. Her brother has struck out nineteen batters, all but one on less than six pitches. No ball has been hit past the infield, and it is starting to look like he will get that perfect game, since only one batter, Christian just to be fair, had gotten 2 balls in his count. It’s gotten to the point where the batters are swinging at everything and missing. Two of the players, again including Christian, had stood in on “The Slammer” and took a try at it as well. The fans thought it was funny.

Despite the fact that Jay had totally destroyed her hand, her bat had been on fire, and she has yet to get out herself. Two home runs, a very hard hit single and an amazing two triples are to her credit today. Other teams hate seeing a catcher with the speed of a center fielder, but then again they can’t seem to stop her if she wants third base on a double either. Tug had already jubilantly told her that no Red Sox player had ever gotten two home runs and two triples in the same game, but it was her thirteen runs batted in that will put her on ESPN tonight for a hell of a lot more than her looks. The two of them would be the force to give nightmares all by themselves if it weren’t for the fact that the twenty four to zero beat down that they have going into the ninth inning would signify that it isn’t all those two.

Actually Jose has socked four home runs in the game, and the only thing killing his RBI count is the fact that Lily keeps clearing the bases before him. This was his first day back as well, and the team really missed his defense at first base, but he decided to come back with a bang at home plate too. This is turning into one of those statement games that would usually send the rest of the league into hysterics, but the fact that it is against the team that has to look over their shoulder at them makes it all that much more sweet. The cherry on top of the sundae was written on the green monster, as it looks like the second place tie is going to end as well. The Orioles are killing the Yankees as well.

Lily was heading up the stairs to the field when Tug grabbed her arm. “You need to rest that hand, it’s starting to look really ugly,” and Lily looked at him very strange. She looked down at the end of the bench where Jay was still sitting there. Her first instinct of course was to wonder how they were going to get Jay to pitch to someone else. He was after all at the end of a perfect game, and probably the most dominant perfect game in history, but she saw a mop up guy running into the field from the bullpen after looking in the other direction. He was being followed out by the backup catcher.

“You’ve got to be kidding me?” Lily shot out instantaneously when she realized what was going on. “You’re going to pull Jay from a game like this?” she followed up afterwards, but the anger in his voice was obvious as well.

“I didn’t pull him from the game,” Tug said to her looking confused, “Jay came over and told me he was done while you were bandaging your hand again,” he then added with a strange look of his own. “Look, Lily it’s one of the things we love about Jay. He has the killer instinct, but he doesn’t have the ego. I just assumed that he was worried about you, or he just didn’t want to see the massacre anymore.”

Lily looked at Tug a little longer and figured that he was most likely right. Jay goes out there to pitch, and he doesn’t exactly go out there to humiliate people. It’s always been a side benefit to the fans. “It should be kind of funny to see how the sportscasters play this one out tonight actually,” Lily said with a small chuckle, “they will probably have story after story about some phantom injury, and that would probably make a lot of us laugh tomorrow.” … to be continued

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Seventh Day Ezra Ezra-Nehemiah 1.5

"Let me see if I get this straight," well it seemed like the right thing to say when deciphering lunacy, but I didn't really have anything to say after that. There really wasn't anything to get straight after all, there was just some crazy talk about the devil and a demon, I guess, and then a woman who killed herself and destroyed time. There is nothing to get straight there, the lines are quite curvy and they don't appear to lead anywhere sane.

"There's nothing to get straight," Mike stated while staring at his brother. "How did all of this get past me? Last I checked it was my job to keep our brother in check and apparently I haven't even kept very good track of what he was even doing .." but he trailed off and started scratching the back of his neck. A nervous habit? I haven't a clue but it was obvious that he was thinking.

Gabe cleared his throat, "I didn't know what was going on until Lucifer screamed out to God that he was quitting, then it was like I had been kicked across the continent," he then looked at me, "I don't even remember everything that happened, every time the time line moved I came out of it scatterbrained, and when it all ended I just had vague memories of the whole ordeal, I can't even tell you the name of the woman who ended it .."

"We seem to have some issues with omnipotence don't we?" and the two of them started laughing. Nervously I started laughing, while looking around to see if anyone was looking at us, and actually everyone was looking at us, wonderful! "All they are doing is trying to figure out what language we are speaking, it's common. Have a cigarette."

"Can't smoke in here, state law," I said. Actually it was the first logical thing said in the last few hours. Mike shrugged.

Again Gabe cleared his through, that must be his nervous habit, who knows? "I tried asking Lucifer what happened but he is pouting in hell, God appears to know something, of course she knows something, but she tells me to mind my business," if you are surprised that they called God "she" then you know what I was thinking, but again, I was still wrestling with whether or not these two were crackpots or not.

"Ok!" Yes I said it a little too loud, but I'm ready for an answer or two. "Look, I am an old man, I've seen a lot in my days, and I know there is a lot more that I haven't seen," and Mike started nodding, thanks for the support man, "Just for a minute, can you see that what you are talking about would appear crazy to a person?"

"Have you ever watched a channel called TLC?" Mike asked me. I shook my head, not because I haven't heard of TLC but because it was a station full of crap. I accidentally saw about five minutes of a show about a bunch of rednecks called Honey Bee Bop or something like that but never went back there again. Mike started again, "TLC stands for The Learning Channel, but from what I have seen you can't really learn anything from it. Well maybe how to be a polygamist or an inbred," he laughed at his own cleverness, "If you sit and watch that station for a day or so you will realize pretty quick that the standard for 'crazy' on good old Terra Forma is a pretty high bar now a days," and then he started scratching the back of his neck again. Then he disappeared.

Gabe just looked at me and said, "Neat trick that," and started drinking his coffee.

"What just happened?" I asked a bit more timidly than I had when I was a lot more sure of myself.

Gabe shrugged, "It could have been a few things," and then he took a sip of his coffee. I prepared myself for a heaping helping of more crazy, "He could have started running, but I doubt that, even by infinity standards Michael really never was into running," I sighed, "He probably just left to go back," and rather than say it he pointed up.

"In other words you're not going to tell me?" I said in a slightly aggravated voice.

"My friend, the reason it all sounds so crazy is because it is the truth. Given a choice between reality and an imagination fueled fantasy, what do you think humans would take?" He did leave a pause to see if I would answer but I chose not to, so he continued, "The very existence of mankind is based on your wonderful imaginations, even I get jealous of the wondrous imaginations that you all have. The disadvantage of knowing everything is that I can't just come up with things that are impossible, because I know what is and is not possible. If I told you that he had snuck in here when you weren't looking despite the fact that you haven't been separated from him hours, and set up a series of mirrors, you'd be fine with that ..."

"Oh will you just shut up," Mike said as he reappeared in the seat he had disappeared from. He handed me a sandwich. He then handed Gabe a sandwich, and started opening his own sandwich. "My favorite deli in the city,"

"Oh you got Zabars!" Gabe said delighted.

By "the city" he obviously meant New York, which driving damn fast is about 5 hours away. Point taken. ... to be continued

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Classic novel

They do not know, what it is
To be inked down by heaven
Especially in
typewriter font,
Be romanticised alongside
Novels, logs and even more novels,
In a ridiculously fragile binding,
That has been marred by an iron grill
Tainted with tea stains
And yellowed by an overdose of spring.
Our words may be missing,
Our insides may be stuck,
Our edges may be cut
We never miscommunicate
We overcome those hindrances
We don't let a page number define our togetherness.
They call our papery pages
Grey, gray and boring
When they are just a wilted rose
That travels through each chapter
Without grasping anything,
When they are just a postage stamp
That guarantees to send our message across
Without knowing its contents.
Darling, they'll probably never figure out
That we are a classic novel
Getting published as we go.

-Plain Jane

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Slammer: Fifth Inning: Chapter Five.Six

The implosion was mutual on both ends. All of the suspensions between both the Red Sox and the Yankees placed them in a firm tie for second place, and the Blue Jays were living large with a seven game lead. It didn’t help that Jack completely fell apart in his last start before his suspension. They were wrong to assume that he could handle a different catcher easier than the other pitchers, and aside from the fact that Barceló still gave a stellar performance in his one to zero loss, the six game losing streak was a showplace for how wrong John was too. Their disgruntled catcher completely rolled over and played dead. His enjoyment at watching the team fall apart was so obvious that when Tug sent him down to AAA hoping he would get taken on waivers, nobody did. The final straw was cast on the last day of Lily and Jay’s suspension, when the Blue Jays torched the rookie on the mound and the rookie behind the plate for a twenty eight to one blow out, which saw all of Toronto’s rookies on the field for six of the nine innings.

Now of course the only thing that the Red Sox had going for them which the Yankees didn’t was that all of their West Coast visits were over for the year. The Yankees still had all of their nine west coast games to go, and Toronto still had a sixe game swing out there. In baseball terminology, that is what you call a “pray for five hundred” or just hope you win half of the games. The Red Sox still have more home games than the other two teams, which helps out a bit too, but even with Lily and Jay coming back on this night, they have to gain seven games with twenty one left. The next two are against the Blue Jays though with Jay pitching tonight and Barceló pitching tomorrow night. Jack will come back on Tuesday but against an unusually bad Orioles team. By that time the entire team will be back again, so hopefully there will be more defenses for him, or so Lily tried to convince herself.

Lily couldn’t have had a worse warm up actually, because she couldn’t get her mind off of how bad Jack pitched five nights ago. That’s saying something if she is still dwelling on it, but she had been doing everything she could to protect him for a month, and now he had been completely exposed. Her brother was completely nonplussed as he threw warm up pitches to her for the first time in seven days himself. You actually couldn’t ask for a better time for Jay to pitch, so that might have had a lot to do with why Lily’s mind was wandering. A losing streak usually kills a pitcher because they can think themselves out of the game through the desperation to get a win. Jay wasn’t going to think himself out of the game, and it was the furthest thing from Lily’s mind. Who knew what was on Jay’s mind?

Jay didn’t even make a fuss about being suspended. Lily assumed that he may because he is such a creature of habit. He knew it was his night to pitch on Wednesday, but technically he was only five games into his seven game suspensions. Jay showed up to the ball park and started his usual routines like he was going to pitch that day despite the fact that Lily tried to explain the suspension to him. He was in the “mode” as she always called it. Every other sentence was “I have to pitch today,” and nothing was changing that. She hadn’t noticed how much better he was about getting into the “mode” over the last few years until he had fallen completely back into it. She finally gave up and took him into the park to let him be all “mode” on everyone else for a while.

He was in the bullpen waiting to warm up and Lily was sitting back in the locker room telling everyone how he would get sick of standing out there sooner or later. Tug then told her that he technically wasn’t allowed to be out there during a suspension, but she shrugged him off, obviously sick of dealing with it the whole day anyway. Tug in turn thundered down the tunnel towards the outfield bullpens barking out obscenities the whole way. At that point they had lost four straight and the Blue Jays had of course won four, so this foolishness was not sitting well at all. Lily was pissed off that Jack hadn’t shown up for the second day in a row. Jay had come walking into the clubhouse a bit later with Tug patting him on the back. He was now on a different track, “I got suspended for fighting, can’t pitch until Saturday.”

He had been acting so strange for Jay for this whole season, so it had taken Lily by surprise when he was acting normal for Jay. She was starting to notice more often when he was acting normal for Jay and not normal for Jay at the same time now a days too. She had been told a lot that he can grow out of a lot of his autistic traits, and around twenty five years into it she started believing that it was a pile of crap. Here he is at twenty eight years and he appears to be growing out of some things so fast that she is finding it charming when he grows back into them. He hadn’t had a burst of free will like the night he went out to the movies with Jack and John, but then again that was so far out in left field she hasn’t completely recovered from it yet. Then there is Chris, who she had been spending more time with alone, and Jay had been accommodating that which in and of itself was rather strange for Jay. Strange for Jay may become a common term in Boston folklore if the Red Sox make it back into the hunt for October that they had no business being in as far as July.

Here it is Saturday night and Jay is taking his warm up pitches and Lily is thinking about Jack. She should be paying more attention to Jay though because his pitches are looking weak and wide. The team’s pitching coach had to point this out to her and it was almost startling. Lily gave Jay an actual signal for a pitch hard and inside. One finger inside thigh, and Jay of course nodded and wound up to throw a pitch outside and not very fast. Trotting over to Jay, she asked him if he felt alright and he ignored her. Well that’s back to normal, she thought as she trotted back to the warm up plate and called for four fingers down and wiggling. Jay wound up and sailed a pitch so far over her head that it went flying into the stands. At least it wasn’t very hard and the kid that caught it with his bare hands even waved a “thank you” back at Jay. This can’t be a good sign.

A half hour of absolutely nothing working for Jay as Lily called it, and she was starting to get really worried. His mechanics were just fine, and his arm was doing all the right motioning for what she was calling, it just appeared that he was fingering the ball wrong. His fast ball wasn’t that fast, his curve ball didn’t fall, his slammer had turned into a sailor, and his slider could probably pass for a splitter that went wild. After she called the ball boy over with the radar gun she gasped to see his “all out” which is signaled by one finger motioned to the ground, came in at a paltry eighty seven. Lily sighed.

“The last thing I wanted to do was have to rely on Barceló to end a losing streak, but aside from the shock of swinging too early for a few innings, Jay might not get far,” Lily said to Tug as they were sitting in the dugout, before the National Anthem. She looked down the bench where Jay was sitting all alone, since the only person that still attempted to talk to him while he is on the bench wasn’t here. The absence of Jack made Lily a bit more pissed off then she had been days previous, and she started wondering if Jay was in a funk because of that as well.

Lily was also not impressed when she ran back into the dugout to grab Jay and make him come out for the National Anthem. There were a few murmurs of laughter as a lot of the fans noticed this Abbott and Costello like performance coming from the teams starts. It was shrugged off by most of them as it almost always is because the Red Sox fans are so used to watching a nutty pitcher giving extra performances. At the end of the performance she didn’t even want to go and walk him out to the mound, but did all the same. This is probably going to get ugly really fast.

This also wasn’t the best time for Jay to start acting human, and stranger than normal because Christian was walking to the plate waving his bat back and forth, still flirting with four hundred at the end of August which means that he is no fluke. One of those terrible Jay pitches is going to be hit by this guy, and he rarely ends up on first. On the off chance that he does, then he is going to create chaos for her struggling brother on the bases. She didn’t exactly know how to approach it all because she couldn’t get under his skin if she wanted to, so perhaps if she was quiet he would just start thinking himself. It didn’t work though as he walked to the plate and said, “Missed you guys last night.”

“Yeah we had to get all the Yankees players off the field so you could sweep them earlier in the week,” and then she looked up to him and then added, “Where’s my thank you?”

“I’ll save that for hoping your brother lost a step this week,” he chirped back down at her, “Dare to dream you know?”

Lily had to think about what to do next because it appeared that Christian was expecting a drop off, and since she was quite positive he was going to get it, she needed to think. She pondered the ramifications of just about every single placement issue he was having, and then decided that the best thing to do was beg fast and hope Christian thinks he’s getting change up. She lowered her finger and then darted it towards the ground. Jay didn’t nod. Jay didn’t do anything; he just stood there looking out into the crowd over her shoulder.

“Oh God, here we go again,” she muttered under her breath which made Christian ask her what she had said. She responded to him with a “Nothing,” and then noted that Jay was looking at her again. Christian signaled time out, and the umpire granted it and then reprimanded Lily for taking so long. She then stood up and held her hands out in supplication to her brother who had gone back to looking in the stands, so she turned around to see John and Chris sitting in their usual places with Jack sitting next to them.

Lily turned around to look at Jay again, and that was when she heard the unmistakable voice of Jack who yelled out, “Throw the ball kid, I’m suspended!”

After another reprimand from the umpire Lily crouched down behind the plate. Christian was muttering to himself, but that was normal for him, if someone broke his stride, which was exactly what was going on here, but Jay was looking in for the signal. She figured that her first idea was her only idea, and she pointed one finger to the ground and then darted it down.

The visor of Jay’s cap pointed down to the ground, as she could see him tightening his grip on the ball in front of him, and inside his glove. She was thinking that his mechanics were still good. Ever slowly Jay started leaning back as his knee lifted off the ground. As he pulled the his leg upward the arm span started fanning out in that fluid catapult that really brings the fear out in the batters. Christian started muttering a bit again. The body of Jay Franklin seemed to reach further back than it ever had, and Lily was starting to worry that he is going to overbalance as his leg started straightening out in a “Warren Spawn like” strait weight downward, which made Lily gasp to look upon it. She was confused to see what was going to come next as Jay’s entire body rolled over itself with the ball’s release towards the plate. She could hear it. Christian could hear it.

SLLLLAAAAAAAAAMM! Like Thunder echoed through the whole park followed quickly by the obscenity that Christian threw out after swinging at a ball that was already in the glove. Lily’s eyes started tearing up from the pain that at first made her think he had broken every bone in her hand. She looked up at the scoreboard to see the radar reading which was merely flashing “ERR” over and over again. She took the ball from her mitt and tossed it back to Jay who snatched it out of the air like he was furious.

Christian stood next to the batter’s box looking out at the mound to Jay and then looked down at Lily before he said to her, “He knows that I like you two doesn’t he?” … to be continued

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Slammer: Fifth Inning: Chapter Five.Five

“I wouldn’t go that far,” Chris said in a matter of fact sort of way, as he continued to massage the back of Lily’s head, “I think the black eye gives you a little color,” he added as he looked over at John who was still staring at all of them in disbelief. Lily just swooned mildly as his fingers did their job, but the swelling in her eye had noticeably gone down in the last hour. Jack was swishing through his French fries left on his plate, and staring down so John wouldn’t start reprimanding him about his black eye and the split beside his mouth. Jay, the only one noticeably free of harm was looking through a copy of ESPN the Magazine that had just come out with his face adorning the cover.

“You’re tied with the Yankees and one game back of the Blue Jays, and this is how you idiots decide you want to celebrate a great come back?” he said while looking at all of them. “You all should teach Jay, better than this!” he barked out for what now is the thirtieth time. “He cocked three guys with his throwing hand, and as for YOU,” he started as he looked directly at Jack, “How many cracks to the eye, do you think your already soft and old skull can take?”

The strangest part was that it was Chris that responded to John when he said, “Come on John. You’ve been watching these types of fights between these two teams since you were a kid and your father told you about the ‘good old days’ when you were still in diapers,” he looked around for courage from the others and didn’t get it. “I used to hear about it back in Chicago growing up, and my old man used to talk about it by explaining how the Cardinal, Cubs brawls were nothing compared to those.”

“That isn’t exactly Carlton Fisk sitting next to you!” John barked back at him.

Chris blanched a bit and then recovered rather gracefully by stating, “Thank God, he was a lousy kisser,” which got Lily and Jack sniggering. Unfortunately it didn’t change the usually light hearted John who continued to scowl around the table. “It’s part of the game John. You can’t expect a team to go from last place to contention without creating harsh feelings that often turn into violence,” his look strengthened when he said, “We’ve been paid to watch this sort of thing for years, and the rest of the division is going to be pretty scared knowing this team has turned into a family.”

“Well this family is going to find itself seven games back after all of the suspensions, and I am sure that you all thought about that?” John added refusing to give up on the argument that easily. “I’m under the impression that half the team at best will get suspensions, because there wasn’t a person left on the bench. The managers were in on it, and the ball boys even went and attacked the mascot!”

The only person silent at this point while the whole table started arguing was Jay. He tapped John sitting next to him on the shoulder, and getting his attention, showed him a picture of him and Chris sitting together at one of the games. It stopped the arguing long enough for John to read the caption under it out loud, “Lead Scout Chris Pollard and Veteran John Reilly found this young hurler while scouting talent in the Atlantic League, and with the help of wily veteran pitcher Jack Foster, encouraged the Red Sox to bring his sister along to the big leagues as well. They deserve as much credit for the Red Sox recent success as anyone,” and then he smiled at Jay.

Jack finally ended his silence by stating, “We haven’t had a losing streak in almost two months, so it’s probably a good idea to get it out of our system now. We’ll get through this, but the kid is right, if we didn’t get this out of our system it would have started showing up at the end of the season and we wouldn’t have recovered from it,” he reached across the table and patted John on the hand, “We’re a good team now and the other teams in the division are starting to resent us, but that beat down that we put on the Yankees will keep the other teams a bit worried if they think that they are going to bully the kids, I could hear it in their voices every time they started talking smack.”

“If I were as slow as most catchers, I’d have a broken bone by now from all the pitchers that take shots at me John,” Lily chirped in, “I’ll take a black eye if I can get less pitches in on my thighs, but I think it’s more important to get the other players to stop chattering. It had been getting so nasty, that I figured it was going to turn into dirty play,” she looked directly at John, “We still have our best short stop out from taking spikes in the face from the last Yankees game, if you haven’t forgotten that one, so I think that everyone on the team wanted to get some anger out.”

“Make sure everyone get’s desert,” Jay said over his shoulder to the waitress walking by, taking everyone by surprise. The waitress shot him a smile and he added, “They’ve had a bad day.”

The waitress started laughing a bit and then said back to Jay, “We were all crowded around the bar watching your bad day. Everything stopped and the people in here were cheering you guys on,” she then leaned into Jay and said to him rather softly, “Your wicked cute when you’re angry, but it didn’t look like you guys were having the bad day,” and then she walked away to deal with another table.

“See, they gave the fans something to get excited about,” Chris stated as if that settled the matter, and John sighed to demonstrate that he had had enough of the whole topic finally.

“The league offices will call tomorrow and tell us what suspensions will be met out,” he looked at John probably to see if this would start another tirade and when it didn’t he started calmly again, “Since you two are new, you need to know that under no circumstances are either of you to talk to any of them. The Players Union does all of your talking for you, and you can manipulate your suspensions that way,” and he stopped to think for a moment. “Tug will think up the way he wants the suspensions to go, which works out good because we won’t be back to New York for a month, so they can’t force your arbitration.”

Lily nodded and then said, “I understand, and Jay doesn’t really have to understand,” she then looked across the table at her brother, “He’s probably going to get it the worst too, but it doesn’t matter since a five game suspension would only push his start back a day if he just drops his arbitration after his next start.”

“He and I don’t matter, but the team is going to have it really tough without you for whatever amount of games you get,” he laughed at that thought, “we have a rookie and a disgruntled catcher who blames you for not playing to back you up.”

“I scouted that jerk, but he isn’t an idiot,” John piped in for the first time tonight he didn’t sound angry, “He’ll play his ass off to try to get a trade prospect. The timing might be better than we thought because the absolute August deadline for trades is coming up, and if he plays on fire he could get onto a play-off caliber team,” he looked at Jack, “Try to be civil when you explain that to him tomorrow,” … to be continued

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Slammer: Fifth Inning: Chapter Five.Four

The man on his hands and knees screaming in pain was the scariest hitter the Yankees had owned in nearly two decades. Nobody on the Red Sox could tolerate the bastard, and Lily had warned him about questioning her sleeping habits the last two times he was at the plate. It was his own fault that he kicked dirt on her this time, and Jay took it upon himself to welcome him to the Major Leagues. When the hundred and four mile per hour fast ball hit him in the thigh it immediately knocked him over and he started wailing in pain. Lily could see Jack over in the dug-out gesturing to everyone around him, and she figured that he was explaining how that was a perfect hit. Lily was impressed as well because it was going to hurt like hell for weeks but wouldn’t do any permanent damage.

It had looked like he would have actually hit someone if he could stand up, but at this point the tears in his eyes were gathering the sand and dust flying around the plate while he squirmed. Lily only used retaliation as a last resort, so this wasn’t actually her idea. Goons had been calling her every name in the book from the first time she squatted behind the plate, but more often than not, the other players were very civil towards her. She was starting to like the players on the Orioles, as they were all very young, and usually asked her for tips after a strike out. The Rays were the same way, and even though the Blue Jays had a core of good veterans they were all journeymen who treated her with respect. The Yankees on the other hand were traditionally the spoiled rotten babies of baseball, and a new rivalry was forming rather quickly as the animosity of both teams was really coming to a head.

After McFeely limped down to first he collapsed again and was replaced by a pinch runner. Jay had just given up a perfect game again in the eighth inning to prove a point, and the players on the team always respect something like that. Even the pitcher on the other team tends to stand in awe of someone who takes care of the team above his own stats, but everyone is still in the dark about Jay so they don’t know that the game is everything to him. Jack who is still holding court over on the bench is probably the only other man in baseball who understands this as he has three no-hitters which were marred by hit batsmen. One of them he had had seventeen strike-outs and was actually thrown out of the game, thus forfeiting the perfect game and the complete game in one fell swoop. It was legendary as he walked off the field laughing and calling the Yankees a bunch of babies.

As the next batter timidly approached the plate Lily realized that it was up to her to make sure that the lesson had been cemented so she looked at the man holding the bat and asked, “You have anything smart to say?”

The batter didn’t even open his mouth. He simply shook his head and took his place in the batter’s box. He obviously knew what it was like to face a missile launcher with no regard for his own place in the game. The eleven to zero lead probably had a lot to do with his recognition of the dilemma at hand. Jay could throw the ball clean through him, leave the field, and the team would be pretty sure that they could get four outs without giving up eleven runs. That was another benefit of Jay and Barceló pitching complete games, and Jack getting seven good innings when he didn’t complete a game. The bullpen was perfectly healthy for the first time in years. Hell Lily even mused that she could waste a couple of relievers to break some knees and be safe in getting a win.

This kid at the plate is a much better second baseman than he is a batter. It was one of the few good moves the Yankees had made the last couple of years, actually taking skill over power, but he is a scrappy hitter that rarely strikes out. He’s faced Jay several times now this year, and had even gotten some rather commendable ground outs, and earlier in this game forced Jay to throw fourteen pitches to him before he popped up. Lily remembered this because it was the longest at bat anyone had had against him so far this year. The fact that he is a quite person probably helps on his concentration.

Jay looked in on Lily as she held down two fingers and twitched them to the right. Jay then stood strait up with his hand on the baseball protected in his glove at his stomach. His knee starts to pull up towards his chest while his impressive wing span opens up. The arming of the catapult is often one of the most romantically fictionalized items in any good fantasy novel, but as the catapult reels back here it is merely an object of terror to the man staring at Jay from beside the plate. Jay’s wind up starts so slowly, as he stretches every muscle in his body to get the most amount of force and recoil behind the pitch, and it is so obvious that he never seems to work with runners on the bases. The speedster on first had been alerted to this and started taking off towards second base, while at the same time Jay went from a complete outstretch to wheeling around and flipping the ball to second.

The runner was so trapped that he pulled up half way to second, and skidded around on his hands and knees to head back to first. The ball was casually flipped back to first, forcing the runner to wheel up and go back towards second. Jay instinctively took his place behind the first baseman to back him up as he finally tossed the ball back to the second baseman and then got out of the way. The second baseman executing a perfect pickle started off towards the runner who was now heading back to first with his sights set on Jay. In these situations a runner caught in a rundown will usually hope to finish the maneuver out on a weaker skilled pitcher and hope to pull a rabbit out of his hat.

Lily gasped as she was running over to first to attempt to back up Jay at this point. He had never been involved in a pickle maneuver before, and she was seriously concerned whether or not he would truly know what to do when he got the ball. The runner appeared to have other ideas, as Jay was in the baseline when he caught the ball. The runner crouched down to hopefully knock Jay off his feet when they made contact, but Jay appeared to be even lower, catching the runner clear in the shoulder, and knocking him off to the side about five feet. The ball was still firmly in Jay’s glove and the first base umpire signaled the out while the runner was laying off to the side screaming in pain, holding his shoulder. The benches started clearing immediately.

The melee didn’t start off very pretty, and the only thing Lily could think of was trying to get her brother out of it. Clearly he was one of the largest men out there, but he didn’t really understand violence, and it was probably the wrong time to explain it to him. Lily was beginning the process of pushing him off to the side when she felt hands grabbing her and throwing her away from her brother. Within a second of her hitting the ground she felt someone large stumble over her and hit the ground face first, and with all of the quickness that she could muster she rolled over to see her brother throw his fist into one of the Yankees face so hard that she swore she could see the skin pull away from the skull. Another player came running in and got the exact same. Two bodies laid on the ground clutching their faces, as the third came in and got completely flipped over Jay as he lowered his shoulder and threw him about ten feet up in the air. That was about all that Jay had to endure as the pile of fighting players started clearing a wide birth around the scary pitcher who seems to not understand the baseball version of “sissy fight” that the rest of them did.

Jay walked over to Lily and offered his hand to her so that she could stand up, but some boneheaded player decided it was the perfect time to strike Jay in the back of the head. The punch gleaned the top of Jays head, knocking his cap off since he was in a partial bend, and the force of his left hand as it struck the player full in the side of the face knocked the idiot back at least seven feet. Jay wheeled around and kicked the guy in the stomach after taking a couple of steps. The pandemonium stopped almost instantly around the field as players on both teams started staring at Jay as he kicked the player again. There was a certain look of terror to everyone because they finally noticed the four men laying helpless from what Jay had done to them, and it made it a lot easier for the managers to take control of their teams.

Lily cautiously walked towards Jay who had turned around after his third kick into the whimpering player who was now laying near third base. The Yankees who were still in the dugout were staring in horror at the young man who was hell bent on killing them every time he stood on the mound, and his demonstration that he would go even further than that if they ever over stepped their boundaries. “Are you done yet?” Lily finally asked Jay as he stood there staring at her.

Jay picked up his cap and carefully placed it back on his head. He walked over to Lily and patted her on the shoulder with his left hand and replied, “I don’t like this part of baseball,” and then he started walking her towards the opening crowd of players. As they walked through the parting throng towards the dugout he added, “I’m pretty good at it, but it doesn’t seem to add to the game at all.” … to be continued

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Slammer: Fifth Inning: Chapter Five.Three

“I don’t know which of those pricks to kill!” Lily exclaimed as she threw the phone into her purse, sitting next to her on the booth. She looked at Chris with a exasperated look on her face, “So where did Captain Charisma tell you to take me?”

Chris who was doing everything he could to pretend to be into his dinner the whole time the phone was being passed around on the other end looked up from his baked potato, and replied, “Well, he didn’t suggest anything, he just wanted me to take you out while he hung out with the guys,” which caused Chris to look up, “He told me to ask you about your last date …”

“This is NOT a date,” Lily proceeded to cut Chris off and before he was able to recover she started rambling off, “I don’t know what those two are up to, but Jay doesn’t need to be involved with any of their games. If I could get my hands on Jack I would pop his big head off of his injured shoulders!” and then she let out a trail of swears that made Chris blush a bit.

Chris definitely looked like a man that would have given anything to just crawl under the table. His face was perplexed actually because of his fascination with Lily that he has had from the very first time she had smiled at him, but then again his taste in women has been well documented as “bad” to say the least. His mind was swaying around as he started looking inward at himself through the beautiful young woman screaming “unattainable” and “damaged” which also happens to be everything he looks for in a woman. Usually he would just sit around being quiet until his charm would real them in and treat him like the piece of crap he always has regarded himself, but for some strange reason Lily had managed to break through some invisible barrier that once crossed would change his life forever. He finally spoke, differently than he usually would have, and it even took Lily by surprise when he said, “I think Jay is sick of being your crutch.”

Lily stopped mid swear and stared at Chris with a “How dare you” look all over her face. The look said it all, and she didn’t have to say a word as the frown crossed her lips as she looked Chris up and down. Feeling that this was probably the time that it took for her to come up with the most brutally soul crushing thing that she could unleash on him, Chris decided that he should continue on before it happened. “I don’t pretend to know Jay as well as you do, but I have spent enough time with him to know that nobody is going to be able to tell him, or convince him of doing anything,” he paused long enough to see that Lily was about to open her mouth and then added, “It’s one of your greatest complaints, and 2 hours away from you will not change that.”

“He’s not my crutch,” she started in a tone that was clearly showing that she was trying to control her temper, “It is strange being away from him, but you can see where I would be worried though?” she didn’t add anything more, probably out of the knowledge that she could lose her temper at any moment.

“You realize that you asked me out to dinner, I am not holding you here as a hostage,” Chris started but then trailed off realizing that he was about to say something that would be hard to repair, “I really would like to take you out on a date, and maybe Jay is trying to be my crutch. He doesn’t miss all that much, he just doesn’t appear to want to comment on too much of it.”

“He can’t comment on too much of it. Do you know anything about autism other than what you probably saw in Rainman?” Lily asked in a bit of an accusatory tone. Chris shook his head and Lily continued, “It’s a brain disorder that causes him to have a hard time relating himself to others,” she thought about it for a moment and then said, “It was a lot worse when he was younger, but he has problems responding to things in a normal manner. Like if you show him a banana, he might actually know it’s a banana but his brain might not be able to let his voice speak anything but pomegranate,” and she chuckled a little bit. “Bet you thought I was going to say apple didn’t you?”

Chris nodded and then said, “It was strange that you ended with pomegranate, but I understood what you meant.”

“Well that’s the point, even though he can’t relate banana to you, he is more complicated than to just relate apple or orange, it would have to be something more out there like pomegranate or papaya,” Lily’s eyes looked down to the table where her and Chris were holding hands. It struck her as rather odd because she didn’t remember grabbing his hand or he hers, and for some reason she was curious about it.

“That makes a lot of sense actually. Is that why he is usually very quiet? I mean is it because he may have realized that not saying anything is easier?” Chris asked her while she was still staring down at the table. That was when he could feel her finger caressing the back of his hand that he couldn’t remember being in his. Chris looked down at her hand in his, and then he looked up at her and smiled, which told her instantly that he was wondering the same thing she was about the intertwined hands.

“He was very quiet as a child, and didn’t talk at all until he was two years old. Before they diagnosed him with autism, they had thought he might be deaf, and then they worried about his sinuses and things like that,” she smiled but with that sign of holding back tears, “then when he decided to start talking for a few years it was non-stop and never fit into what was going on around him. I was young and thought he was always talking to imaginary friends, but my parents knew already that he was autistic. As time went on, he started talking less and less because I always figured that he knew he wasn’t always making sense.”

Chris hadn’t even realized that Lily had stopped talking, so a pause had formed. One would have thought that he would have known instantly because he had stared at her soft lips the entire time she was speaking, but by this point he was lost in her again. Lily on the other hand hadn’t noticed the awkwardness of this because she was gazing down at the back of his hand where her other hand that wasn’t in his had come over to start drawing designs on the back of his hand. She felt uncomfortable actually doing this while at the same time she couldn’t stop herself and was taking the effort to draw little pictures consciously that had meaning. A heart, a diamond, a spade and she was halfway through making a club when her eyes went up to Chris’s and the second she did, his eyes met hers. The blush met both of them. Chris quickly asked her, “Did they say what movie they were going to?

“He told me that they were going to the Foxy Lady to get a rise out of me,” she said while shaking her head. None of this changed her drawing on Chris’s hand, which he was secretly very happy about. “Knowing Jay, he will want to go to a slasher movie because I won’t go to those.”

“Well John wouldn’t be caught dead in the Foxy Lady or a slasher film. If they go to a bar it would be Axis or something else with loud Rock. If they go to a movie it would be a comedy full of bathroom humor. They both act like high school students instead of college students,” with a worried look from Lily he added, “and they both have a line of credit with the cab companies because they never drive if they drink anything. I hate to spoil the legend of Jack and John, but they are both extremely responsible people.”

Lily pulled her hand out of Chris’s grasp and he actually felt an immediate sense of loss, but she was pulling out of her side of the booth, so Chris was able to stifle off his impending doom. What shocked him was when she wheeled around to his side of the table and grabbed his hand to pull him from his seat. In a fluid motion Chris managed to stand up, the whole time terrified that he would knock everything over, step on her foot, or do something else embarrassing, but the moment he was standing Lily got on her tip toes and gave Chris a very soft kiss on his cheek. “What say, you take me out on my second date in 3 years?”

“It’s pretty late, what would you like to do?” Chris asked her in a voice that was trying to sound calm, but definitely sounded nervous, and awkward.

“I don’t care really. Let’s just make sure that you keep me away from home for a few days so that those three bozos can think up dozens of stories, good and bad to explain it all away,” she then sniggered before her hands gently grasped the sides of Chris’s face and pulled him into a kiss that sent ripples through his whole body. It might have gone on for hours if the restaurant hadn’t been full of flashing cameras, and a few cat calls. Pulling away she placed her nose against his and said softly, “I hope they read the newspaper, because I get the feeling you’re going to be famous now.” … to be continued