At the ball
Calla's got problems of her own and still sets aside precious time to womp all over on my ass about what she calls my short fuse issues. She's wadding tissues into little balls and crying about issues and I have a hard time not laughing at the rhyme in my head. She makes it like I'm a subject right out of one of her glossy picture heavy mags. Did I know nose hair is an issue? Is I aware of the premature male baldness issue? Another wet tissue. Did I know that the domestic gun violence issue is driven by having a short fuse? And here and all she knows damn well the only gun in the house the twenty-two, next kin to a bb shooter, has its trigger lock secure with the key hidden one place and the ammo not big enough to hurt a squirrel locked away and hidden another place.
But she's unable, unwilling to move on from the third time her ex randy-andy showed up back lit on the stoop beating on our glass at two in the morning. First I grabbed the locked and unloaded gun opened the window stuck the barrel out then turned on the light so he could see for clear how tired I was of his infantalism while all through out Calla's screaming: “Don't. Stop. Don't. He's harmless Don't.” Soon as he'd jackrabbitted away before I could even shut the window, she's hectoring me about having a short fuse. And me I'm holding my breath tight and thinking 'No. Not. Not at all.' If I'd had a short fuse I'd have loaded the damn thing and used it.
It's Sunday morning, Calla's finished near half the box of tissues before cycling back to nose hairs. I'm smirking 'cause a doc once told me nose hairs are necessary for my sinuses, and more than that I know why she's bunching up all that kleenex in her eyes.
She's sitting cross legged on the bed and has already used the word scarred. Scarred mind you not merely scared but to the next level of trauma waiting for me to own up manfully about the short fuse issue she witnessed yesterday at the Legion ball fiasco which was not finally even so much my fault as I was provoked.
I live baseball. Ok that's just the kind of guy I am. They keep me out in center field and I understand that. I'm a regular Jimmy Piersall kind of guy, only I can hit. I'm kept out there part like cause I can run and fast but more like for to segregate me by being far enough away as possible just in case. Coach doesn't want several fuses tripped in a row. Wink, wink. You're supposed to chuckle cause Calla's got the smarts to clue me how 'row' means two very different things like a line and a fight and also later she reminded me it can be useful in a boat with oars. But water sports is nothing to me. I'm not into baseball for wearing a glove I love hitting the ball. That's one thing I can do. I can hit the fucking ball. I laugh when guys swing and miss. How in hell can you do that? There's the ball and here's your bat. There's no mystery and the ball sure as hell ain't gonna hold no grudge so just wail away. I think a lot of guys are just afraid of the ball. Don't want to hit it. Not me.
So anyway, yesterday Calla comes along for the champion game. I spend Fri dinner explaining and telling her how and what to watch for. I say just you watch how the outfielders move back when I get up. And she says she's a little confused about the ins and outs of fielders why if there are outs for batters why aren't there any ins. And I have to say I'd never thought on that particular logic gap and still don't have any answer when we drive to the game. She's dressed in blue to match our uniforms and brings Pooch, a recuse dog she calls Peaches. He's on a long rope but mostly curls in her lap and lays his ears back, bears his teeth and growls at any passersby which pleases me just fine.
The game is long, hot, and close. Ninth inning, I've already dropped a ball in center field but I've more than made up with hitting two home runs. The bases get loaded and I'm up. And this little shit on the mound wasn't gonna throw the ball. I'm three for three with two walks and the little turd was damned if he was going to let go of the ball. He just stands on the mound like he's something special and owns the ball. It's his. I'm waiting patient as I've ever been with my bat and there's a lot of noise and coach is screaming and my guys are clapping and whistling and they call time and their coach goes out to talk and all their guys gather around the little squirt like they're going to fix things.
Off to my left, I take a long look down the line all over Calla in blue. Pooch is sitting up like paying attention to the game and Calla gives me a finger wave, a wide, slow smile, and blows a kiss. I'm stoked, look back and they've all gone away leaving the little shrimp on the mound alone again with the ball and I'm in the batter's box and he's looking down at the ground and scuffing about and he steps off the mound again, and then he steps back on the mound and he tugs his hat and steps back off again. He calls time, bends down and for one super weird moment I think he's like kneeling to surrender only he's just retying his laces. Then he stands but not on the rubber turns his back to me and fusses with his hat.
OK. ok. I knew better, I did but my fuse punked. I figured if he wasn't gonna be fair and let go of the damn ball I'd just go out there and hit it out of his squirmy little hand. Teach the little shit something about doing the game right.
I didn't get all the way to the mound and that may be a good thing 'cause I was waving the bat and shouting what I was gonna do. I got tackled, some of their guys and I know at least a couple of ours. Coach hauls me out of there, makes me sit down and take my spikes off.
And he tied the spikes by the laces around his neck and hobbled
along the white chalk line rutted out past third base toward Calla and through the red haze resolved Pooch ears laid back, tail stretched stiff, teeth bared and heard his snarl over which sounded Calla laughing. He flopped full length beside her, felt her firm fingers unweave the spikes from around his neck, sensed before he heard the hush of breath from her approaching lips which softly covered his and restored his breath, cleared his sight, and roused his manhood.