Rule Nine: Keep Your Wits and Reason in the Vehicle at All Times

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Rule Nine: Keep Your Wits and Reason in the Vehicle at All Times

When the game was officially called; coach was basically suspended in an animated anger.

He played the unsportsman-like-douche bag and was conveniently missing when we gathered resentfully to exchange “high fives” in the line up—it felt so childlike and my dignity was squished further and further with every sweaty palm that hit mine deliberately too hard.

I stood just behind Matt, and brought up the rear of the team—I internally winced whenever the shuffle turned to a standstill and my hapless hobble had to stop. I was running completely on autopilot and every velocity change reminded me that my life was indeed happening.

The last person in line was Albert.

He glowered at me, but a shine of something devious glinted darkly in the pit of his eye.  He was slowly staggering. I couldn’t put my finger on the stagger, it was a cross between a drunkard and a man who’d lost his balls and his pride.

I hadn’t moved my hand since I’d put it up to this misery and when it sailed Albert’s way he met it with a slick, wet, smack. The globule of spit that he’d smeared on his fingers stretched in strings from my skin. The bile that rose up in the back of my throat wasn’t frown the disgust of having spit on my hand (c’mon now, I’m a man), but a seething hatred.

I pushed it deep into the pit of my stomach and shook the droplets off; grimacing and clenching my other hand into a fist to prevent myself from doing something I’d regret immediately afterwards.

“I think I could kill a puppy,” Matt waited for me near the side of the fence, a sour note making his voice pitch higher than normal.

“That makes two of us.” I wasn’t firing on all cylinders right about now, neither was Matt. It wasn’t exactly a wonderful combination.

We were close to the bleachers and though noise was a different kind of loud; a chattering loud. The metal clank of people swarming down the stairs and the hundreds of conversations all simultaneously ejaculated across my brain. I didn’t look around to see the actual movement going on, but I knew what would be happening.

Grams and Gramps would look towards me, see the desolation groping at my features and after a gentle squeeze on her shoulder, Grams would consent to leave it and follow Gramps towards her 2003 Escalade.

We had three cars in the family; Grams, Gramps and a renegade Volkswagen bus that hadn’t seen fit to move since the Civil Rights Movement. Any other married couple that qualified for both AARP and the Holiday Inn Senior discount owned a single vehicle and drove it only often enough to get baking ingredients of the grandkids. It was some kind of elderly revolution from what I gathered. My grandparents definitely held a rebellious nature; maybe that’s where I’d inherited my no nonsense pitching skills.

“That pitcher is practically shagging you with his eyes,” the comment didn’t sound like something Matt would ever say and when I turned to raise my eyebrows at him I saw Liz watching me intently instead. I have no idea how I could’ve mistaken that voice; they weren’t even the same gender.


“That lousy pitcher. Look,” she pointed bluntly at him and I slowly turned, meeting his gaze from across the field. His team was huddled around their coach, but he was, propelled by the same swagger he’d used in the lineup, coming judiciously towards me.

“What the fuck does he want?” That was unquestionably Matt.

“I dunno.” I answered gradually, biting my lip.

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