Humor Fiction posted August 10, 2016


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Tom joins a soft ball league

Play Ball

by Thomas Bowling


Tom joined a softball league. Carol even attended one of the games, at least part of one of the games. She had enough and pretended to respond to an emergency at home when Tom started his slide to second base too soon and wound up three feet short. The Days of Our Lives suddenly became an emergency, but Tom earned the respect of his team mates for his effort and was given the nick name, B Rod.

Later, when Tom hobbled in the front door, Carol asked, "So how was your game?"

"Twenty seven zip."

"Wow, You slaughtered them. I'm proud of you. Let's celebrate."

"Don't pop the champaign yet."

"You mean you didn't win?"

"No, but we would have, if the game hadn't been called in the third inning."

"That's embarrassing. Do you drink with any of those guys?"

"All of them. All except Jerry McCall, he's a Baptist preacher. One of those holy rollers. Would it be unholy of him to drop the ball once in a while? I thought preachers were supposed to show mercy."

"Well, the season's just starting. I'm sure you'll get better."

The next week Tom hobbled in the front door again. "How did it go?" Carol asked.

"Twenty four zip."

"See, you're getting better."

"That's because the game was stopped in the second inning this time."

"Why do they keep stopping the game?"

"Some stupid rule about the game being out of reach for one of the teams. I'll tell you who it would have been out of reach for. We had them on the ropes. A couple more innings and we would have... we would have... well, we would have scored some runs and then who knows. Once you've got your opponent on the run, there's no stopping us."

"But isn't that why they keep stopping your games?"

"No, they keep stopping our games because the system's rigged against us."

"Your not going to get political on me are you?"

"What do you think happened to Bernie Sanders? Do you think he got a fair shake? It's the same thing."

"Do you really think he could have won?"

"That's not the point. The point is they took him out too soon. You know, a little support from the home team would help."

"I know, I'll come next week, I promise."

The next week Carol accompanied Tom to the game. Tom's team was warming up when the other team arrived. They got out of the bus and started walking toward the ball field.

"Jesus Christ, look at the size of those guys," the catcher on Tom's team said."

The last player out of the bus was huge. Six feet six, about two eighty. Tom's third baseman said, "Oh my God, they brought their own back stop."

Tom said, "Well you know what they say, the bigger they are..."

The third baseman finished it, "The more bones we break."

"Yeah, something like that," Tom said.

Carol leaned over to another woman in the bleachers, "I think I left the oven on."

"Yeah, me too. Look, our guys are in the dugout. Now's our chance."

Carol and her new friend ran for the cars. They stopped for a drink at Joe's Tavern on the way home. "I don't know what's going to happen, but it's not going to be pretty." Carol's friend said.

"I know, maybe we better stop at the drug store and stock up on bandages."

When Tom came out of the dugout he trotted over to where he expected Carol to be. "Some support," he said. "I'm glad I wasn't run over by a bus." He looked at the Back Stop, "Yet."

Tom was attempting one of his signature, too early slides for third base when The Back Stop came down on him. Tom was sure his ribs were broken and hoped no one noticed the tears in his eyes. "You okay?" The Back Stop asked.

"Yeah, just let me lay here for awhile."

"You hurt?"

"No, I'm just tired. It's hot today isn't it?"

"74."

"Oh, I thought it was hotter."

"Hey ump, we've got an injured man here."

Tom said, "No I'm fine, just give me a hand up."

The Back Stop helped him up, but Tom couldn't make it to the sideline. The Back Stop carried him like a small child to the dugout. The crowd in the bleachers gave Tom a round of applause as he left the field.

"Somebody kill me," Tom said, "This is embarrassing."

The second baseman gave Tom a ride home and helped him to the couch. Carol didn't ask how it went. "Why don't you quit the team? Softball is a young man's game."

"No, baseball is a young man's game. Softball is an old man's game."

"So is bowling, but you don't come home beat up with grass stains on your clothes."

Tom sat out the next two weeks. His ribs needed time to heal. On the third week he suited up and got ready to leave the house. As he walked to the door Carol said, "Good luck sport."

"I don't need luck, we're going to win today, I can feel it."

Tom left full of a confidence Carol hadn't seen since he signed up for the league.

"Who knows, maybe today's the day," she said.

That evening when Tom got home he was elated. "Why so late?" Carol asked.

"We stopped at Joe's and celebrated."

Carol could barely contain herself. "You mean you won? You really won?"

"You bet we won! You gave up on us too soon, like those crooked umpires. You should have been there today. We kicked butt!"

"Wow, this is exciting! What was the score?"

"Three to two, but that doesn't do justice to the action. It was non-stop."

"Now I'm sorry I didn't come. I'll never doubt you again. You're my hero. Who did you play? It wasn't those big guys again was it?"

"No, it's not important."

"Come on who was it? I want to tell the girls at Joe's."

"It's not important, some out of town team."

"Come on show me your schedule. I want to see if I know any of them."

Tom reached for the schedule in his back pocket, but Carol was faster. She grabbed it out of his hand and began comparing teams and dates. Her finger stopped halfway down the list. She looked at Tom with a puzzled look on her face.

"Edison Jr. High? You played a Junior High School team?"

"Yeah, but they had some pretty big kids on that team. Some of them looked like they were on steroids."

"They were children! You beat children! Aren't you supposed to let them win?"

"Do you think they were going to let us win? Come on do you want to hear the details so you can tell your girlfriends?

"The ones at Joe's?" Carol asked. "I'm pretty sure they already know, but if you want we can go there tonight and have a drink and see if they've heard about your heroic exploits."

"I think we should stay in tonight. I'm pretty tired."

"I don't think I'll ever show my face there again," Carol said. "Children, you beat a bunch of children."

"They were pretty tough kids. What's for dinner?"

"How about crow?"


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