by John Wells

He is standing in the batter’s box in Oriole Park at Camden Yards facing Roger Clemens wearing a Baltimore Orioles uniform. The bases are loaded in the bottom of the ninth with the Orioles down 8-4.  He slashes a vicious line drive to deep right field.  The right fielder races to the ball, but it ricochets crazily off the wall and rolls toward the right field foul line.  He barrels around the bases, crossing second, heading for third.  The third base coach frantically waves him in as he rounds third, sprinting for home.  The right fielder chases down the ball, heaves it to the second baseman, who spins and hurls the ball toward home plate.  The crowd is going ballistic as the throw and the runner reach the plate at the same time.  He slides head first, instantly buried under a mushroom cloud of dust.  Lying on top of home plate, he looks up at the umpire who shouts, “You’re out!” Then the umpire turns into a phantom, ghost-like figure with a blueish opaque face and long stringy gray hair.

            “Hey Mister, are you okay?”

            Jimmy West rolled over on his side, staring up at a skinny kid wearing a Boston Red Sox hat, clutching a baseball bat and glove. For a second he thought it was his brother Michael waking him up for baseball practice. Rubbing his bleary, bloodshot eyes he looked around to see where he passed out. The surroundings were familiar; he was lying in the grass near home plate of his former Little League field.

            “Yeah sure,” he muttered to the kid who was standing in front of two other boys carrying gloves.

            “We thought you might be dead.” said another kid.

            “Or maybe you’re a bum,” added a third.   “Are you a bum?”

            Jimmy realized what he must look like. A homeless tramp interrupting Saturday morning practice.

            “No, I’m not a bum, at least not all the time.  I guess I was out, huh?”

            “We have practice,” said the kid in front

            “I know,” said Jimmy.  “I was just leaving.”

            Nauseously dizzy, and fending off a wave of embarrassment, Jimmy struggled to a sitting position, crossed his legs, and rested his hands on his knees. The kids already turning to leave; Jimmy calling out, “Hey kid, come back!  Let me see that glove.”

            The kid did an about-face, took a few steps, and held out his glove.

            “This glove is Japanese and has no name on it,” said Jimmy, flipping the glove back to the kid. 

            “Who cares?” said the kid, “It cost fifty bucks.”

            “Who’s your favorite player?”

            “Manny Ramirez.”

            “Well, you should have bought a Manny Ramirez model.”

            “Why?” asked the kid.

            Jimmy rubbed his temples with his fingertips. “Never mind.”

            “Hey, is that your bike over there?” asked the kid.


            “Looks old.”

            “It’s a Schwinn.  Best bike ever made.”

            The three boys retreated to the dugout.  Jimmy eased himself off the turf, brushing grass clippings from the front of his Orioles T-shirt. As he took a step, a sharp pain stabbed his lower right leg. He lifted his pants leg, revealing a nasty red and purple bruise the size of a softball. He had no idea where it came from. Shambling awkwardly to his bike, he felt unsettled and shaky as if he was walking on ice skates for the first time.  He glanced over at the boys sitting glumly on the dugout bench looking like three boys holding bibles trapped in a church.  He knew they pitied this old, clumsy local loser, aware of his amplified self-consciousness slowly downsizing into compressed self-loathing.   

            Feigning dignity, he walked more erect, lifting his head to the skies as if he was on a mission from God. A shaft of sunlight poured through a tear in the sky blurring his vision. He forced his body to stride effortlessly across the field pretending to be a real athlete heading for the dugout. He wanted to cry out,  “Hey, kids! I was a hero on this field many times, and when I was your age I was the best Little League player in town! You kids don’t know it, but in 1981 I hit a grand slam home run right over that fence to win the annual All-Star game against the Fighting Tigers across the river!”  Jesus, he thought, lowering his head to the ground, Calm the fuck down; there is no greater sin than self-pity.

 Limping noticeably, the strained journey toward the bike seemed to take forever, the whole time Jimmy fighting off an anarchic impulse to fire a bullet in his aching head. Finally, he arrived at the Schwinn surprised at how exhausted and washed-out he felt. He picked up the bike thinking, This is one helluva way to start the day.

            Six hours later, Jimmy was still nursing a hangover and sweating profusely as he rode along in his manager Larry Garner’s partially primed orange GTO, on his way to his niece’s seventeenth birthday.  He stuck his arm out the window, a hot breath of sticky humid air flowing over his fingertips.

“They made these cars with air conditioning, you know,” said Jimmy.

Larry shrugged. “Guys back then didn’t give a shit about air conditioning. They wanted speed…and more speed—and to look damn good getting it.”

Jimmy glanced back at the cracked, sun-faded brown leather upholstery. “If you ever fix up this jalopy, it’ll be worth big bucks.”

“Then what? It’s not for sale at any price.”

“Oh, I forgot,” said Jimmy. “You’re independently wealthy.”

“On the salary you pay me?  Forget it, boss.”

“Let’s not discuss anything connected to the Red Hawks.”

“I don’t blame you there.”

Jimmy absentmindedly dipped his head into his open palms, massaging his forehead.  “Man, I still have a headache.”

“Look at the bright side,” said Larry.  “You don’t look bad for a guy who slept in a field all night.”

Jimmy peered out the window at endless acres of farmland littered with huge bales of wheat-colored hay rolled up like cinnamon rolls, barely visible through shimmering pale blue vapors. “You’d be amazed what a shower and a change of clothes can do.”

Larry grinned. “I wouldn’t know.  I haven’t had my summer shower yet.”

“I can almost believe that.” 

Did you tell them you’d be late?” asked Larry.


“You need to get a cell phone.”


“Well, for one thing, you could call them…let them know.”

“I have one at home…and the bar.”


“It works, doesn’t it?”

Larry shrugged again.  “If you call being in last place working,” his voice rising above John Mellencamp’s “Blood on the Scarecrow” blaring out of the cassette player.  He reached over, turning down the music. “You say this kid had a Jap glove with no name on it?”

“Not only that, but he had an aluminum bat.”

“That’s pitiful.”

“Christ Larry, they don’t even know what a line drive sounds like.”

Larry pointed to the package on the passenger seat.  “What did you get her?”

“The Willie Mays biography, and a card.”

“The rookie year one?”


“She’ll love it.”

“There are only two real baseball fans in the family.”

“Who’s the other one?  Stuart?”

“Right,” said Jimmy. “Stuart is more fanatical than you or me.  He thinks no players should be in the Hall of Fame before Jackie Robinson.  He thinks they don’t count because they didn’t face the best competition.”

“He’s got a point,” said Larry.

“Maybe, but I don’t think you’re going to keep Ruth or DiMaggio out of the Hall.  It’s totally unreal.”

“He’s what?  Twelve?  Who the hell is realistic at twelve?  At least he’s got a brain and opinions.  My kid doesn’t know what year the War of 1812 was fought, for Christsakes.”

Jimmy grinned and turned John Mellencamp back up.  “Exactly what year was that?”

The two men cruised along twisting country roads slicing through picturesque rolling green hills dotted with grazing cattle, horses, and sheep, a glistening translucent haze reflecting off the Blue Ridge mountains in the distance.  Larry turned left into West Heaven Farms, easing the GTO down an asphalt driveway lined with a shady interlocking of maple and horse chestnut trees, flickers of fading sunlight glinting off the GTO’s windshield. They reached the West homestead, a two-story grand colonial brick mansion perched high on a hill overlooking miles of lush fertile farmland. Larry pulled the car beneath an arched portico supported by four white twisted rope stone pillars with Tuscan style caps. Several luxury autos were parked in an adjacent parking lot.

“Here you are, partner,” said Larry. “Have a good time.  Say hello to the rich folks for me.”

“I will.  Thanks for the ride,” said Jimmy, grabbing the gift and opening the door. 

“Hey boss,” said Larry. “Try not to get wasted tonight and pass out on any more baseball fields.  It’s bad for your image.”
Smiling sheepishly, Jimmy uttered, “Hey, maybe that is my image!”
Jimmy watched Larry continue circling the horseshoe-shaped driveway before ambling along a Mexican ceramic walkway leading to an impeccably landscaped French Vanilla stone patio decorated with an abundance of sunflowers, woodland orchids, marigolds and golden asters. Beyond a gray stone retaining wall bordering the patio, he spotted the quietly rusting equipment of his childhood playground.  The swing set, monkey bars, see-saws, and faded green plastic slide now seemed like abandoned relics of a mining ghost town in the Old West.

            Allison West and Todd Cummings were lying naked in her bed, sucking in deep inaudible breaths, their bodies still glistening with sweat from the aftermath of sex. A CD by The White Stripes playing low on the stereo.

“That was a great birthday present Todd,” said Allison, leaning over and giving him a light peck on the cheek.

“My pleasure,” said Todd, nodding his head toward the window. “Did you hear a car pull up?”

Allison chuckled.  “No Todd, I was busy.”

“Maybe we should get dressed. I mean, your parents and all…”

Allison raised up,  grabbed her long hair, twisting it into a bun in the back of her head. She leaned back on the pillow. “Don’t worry, they never come in here unannounced.  It’s off limits….besides, the door is locked.”

Todd glanced at the door as if someone had knocked, and then pulled the covers up.

“What’s the matter, Todd?  Afraid of getting caught?”

“Yes, aren’t you?”

“No, I’m seventeen.  It’s none of their business.  We’ve already had more sex than my parents in their whole life.”

“Maybe…but it is their house.”  

Allison abruptly yanked off the covers. “Okay, scaredy cat, let’s get dressed and join the rest of the dysfunctionals.”

Rolling off the side of the bed, Allison shook loose her tussled copper-colored hair,  finger-combing it to reasonable straightness. Reaching down, she gathered her black lace bra and panties, slipped them on, and then moved with languid feline ease toward a full-length mirror propped beside the window. She stood before it, approvingly checking out her fully-formed body, primping her hair, flashing her brilliant eggshell blue eyes while striking seductive poses. Smiling to herself, she mouthed the words “coo coo,” winked at the mirror, then flicked her tongue against her upper lip, holding it there like the spring of a trap.  Todd sat up on the side of the bed. He grabbed his jeans, and lifted his legs, grappling to put them on. He caught himself staring dumbly at Allison, admiring her perfect figure, and the coiled sultry sexuality of a woman ten years her senior. “My God, you’re beautiful.”

“You don’t think my hips are a little big?” she asked, angling toward him, pushing her hair up with one hand and placing the other on her left hip.

“You’re perfect, Allison. “What can I say?”

 Jimmy walked briskly to meet his mother Cynthia and brother Michael who were sitting at a table beneath a red, white and blue “Happy Birthday Allison” banner. The aftermath of a party was on display; the table was strewn with crushed paper plates, plastic cups and silverware, open containers of food, a jug of ice tea, and a half-eaten birthday cake.

Jimmy gave his mother a gentle hug, pulled up a chair, and placed the gift on the table.

“How is the party going?”

“You’re late son,”  said Cynthia.

“Sorry, I had some unexpected business.”

“Have you eaten yet?”

“I had a sandwich at the bar,” said Jimmy, eyeing the birthday cake. “You save a piece for me?”

“Of course,” said Cynthia.

Jimmy reached over, sliced a piece of cake, wolfing down a big bite.  “Hey Michael, what’s up?” he asked, flecks of hot pink frosting rimming his mouth.

“Not much,” said Michael, “Still working in the West salt mine.”

“The napkins are over there,” interjected Cynthia, followed by a slight exasperated head shake.

“You’re not letting mother drive you too hard are you?” asked Jimmy, wrapping the piece of cake in a napkin, and then grabbing a can of Coke from a cooler. 

“Of course not,” said Michael. “She even gave me a ten-minute break the other day—with water.

“How kind of her!” exclaimed Jimmy, flashing his mother a smile, a wink, and a nod.

“Actually,” said Michael, “We were talking about that asshole Grisham.”

“What’s he up to now?”

“The guy is a greedy fucking virus, buying up more and more independents, hostile or otherwise.”

“But, we’re safe,” said Jimmy. “He can’t possibly get over fifty-percent ownership.”

“I know, but he’s been contacting some stockholders.”

“Come on, Michael!  He’ll never get enough to replace the current board members—which, by the way, I see are all here.”

“Well,” said Cynthia, “We’re not going to be caught napping. Our percentage of the market is holding steady, but he beat us for the first time last quarter.”

“What’s his market share now?” asked Jimmy.”

“We don’t know yet,” said Michael.  “We’ll know on Tuesday.”

“Don’t worry, Jimmy,” said Cynthia, “If he tries anything, we’ll crush him like a bug.”

“Mother, I can believe that!” cried Jimmy. “I’m glad you’re on my side!”

“How’s the team doing?” asked Michael.

“Oh great…except for bad pitching, shoddy defense, and weak hitting.”

“What about attendance?” asked Cynthia.

“Fans?” asked Jimmy, eyeballing the playground as if there might be some fans loitering in the backyard.  “Oh yeah…we had one last game. His car broke down outside the stadium, and he watched us until the tow truck came.”

“That’s pitiful, said Michael, grinning.

“Maybe you should give it up,” said Cynthia.

“It’s not that bad,” said Jimmy, looking around the patio. “Hey, where is everybody?”

“Inside, watching the races,” said Cynthia.

Jimmy glanced through a glass partition exposing the rec room. His father, a middle-aged couple, and three children were huddled around the TV, their eyes glued to a NASCAR race.

“What’s the race?” asked Jimmy.

“Coke Zero 500,” said Michael.

“How’s Kyle Busch doing?”

“I don’t know,” said Michael. “Dad hasn’t given us an update.”

“What’s her present?” asked Cynthia. 

“It’s a book. A Willie Mays biography…plus a card.”

“Very nice,” said Cynthia. “She is such a huge fan.”

“I’ll be right back,” said Jimmy, standing up and grabbing the gift.

Jimmy entered the rec room, instantly greeted by a flurry of excitable shouts and waving hands. He saw his father Tyler sitting upright in his favorite La-Z-Boy recliner.  He went over, leaned over the chair, glancing at the TV.  “Hey dad, how’s Kyle doing?”

“Not too bad,” he responded. “Second place and surging.”

On the screen, Jimmy spotted Kyle Busch’s number 18 car emblazoned with the yellow, red, green, and blue colors of M &Ms trailing Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by half a car length.  Suddenly, Busch got around him in a turn as the cars bumped each other, igniting sparks.  Then, out of nowhere Jeff Gordon materialized in the frame to make it a three-way race going down the front stretch.  Everyone in the room jumped up and down, screaming and hollering for Kyle Busch, “Pull away, Kyle!  “Step on it, Kyle!  “Make ‘em eat your dust, Kyle!” 

Jimmy yelled in his father’s ear, “How many laps to go?”

Tyler held up three fingers as Busch got inside Earnhardt, Jr., just past the start/finish line, but Earnhardt, Jr. regained it going into a turn. Busch got inside Earnhardt, Jr. then Earnhardt, Jr. got him back at the end of the backstretch by driving hard into another turn.  Running furiously, Earnhardt, Jr. came in low, drove up and almost touched the fence, and then cut sharply off the corner.  Busch jerked the wheel hard, practically making a left turn, driving in the middle beneath Earnhardt, Jr., and Gordon before and miraculously racing full-out to the finish line.

“Holy shit! Did you see that!” exclaimed Tyler. “Have you ever seen that many passes in such a short time!”

“That’s the most exciting finish I’ve ever seen,” cried Tyler’s friend Homer Wilson.  

Michael’s wife Katy came running in from the kitchen.  “What happened!?”

“Busch just kicked Earnhardt’s ass,” cried Tyler, triumphantly lifting a bottle of beer in the air.  “Here’s to Kyle!  The best damn driver who ever lived!”

Everyone raised their drinks in the air shouting words of praise for Kyle Busch. In the midst of the mayhem, Jimmy leaned in toward Tyler.  “Where’s Allison?”

“Upstairs, I think,” said Tyler, not looking back.

Jimmy headed for the stairs passing two high school girls with faces of wax sitting stiffly on a divan, separated from the others, on the sidelines bored with their heads bowed texting.  Jimmy assumed they were friends of Allison’s. He was about to ask them about Allison, but one of the girls raised her head, and diffidently pointed her index finger toward the stairs, flipping it up as if gesturing for a waiter. 

Allison went over to a dresser and grabbed a pair of Guess jeans with the knees torn out. As she was slipping on a blue halter top, there was a sudden knock at the door.  Todd lunged swiftly to a wingback chair on the side of the bed. Allison turned off the stereo and calmly opened the door.

“Uncle Jimmy! What a nice surprise! Come in.”

Jimmy entered. Todd stood up from the chair, rubbing the front of his jeans with both palms
“Oh, this is Todd.  We were just listening to music.”

Jimmy shook his hand.  “Nice to meet you.”  Then he handed the gift to Allison. “Happy birthday.”

Allison unwrapped the package, revealing the book.

“Uncle Jimmy!  This is awesome!”

“It’s also got a bookmark.”

Allison lifted a baseball card from the pages and checked it out.  “Omygod!  His rookie year!  Thank you so much!”

Todd leaned over her shoulder.  “Can I see that?”

Todd looked at the card. “Wait a second!  His name is misspelled.”

“What?” asked Allison.

“It says, ‘Willie May.’  This must be worth…”

“It’s just a baseball card,” said Jimmy.

“Uncle Jimmy, you shouldn’t have.”

Jimmy grinned.  “Try not to lose it. Are you a baseball fan Todd.”

“Yes, a big one.  I made the varsity team this year.”

“What position?”

“Third base.”

“Keep practicing.  The Red Hawks could use another good infielder.”

“Are you the manager?”

“No, I own the team.”

Following a slight pause, Jimmy said,  “Well, I’ll let you get back to your music.”

            Jimmy walked back down the hall, spotting a door cracked open.  He peeked in and saw Stuart sitting up in bed reading, surrounded by posters and memorabilia of black athletes. The entire side of one wall was devoted to old black and white photos of the Negro League players.

“Hey Stuart, what are you doing?” asked Jimmy.

“Just reading.”



“That’s a good one…maybe a little depressing.  Hey, you should join the party!”

“Stuart smiled thinly.  “And watch a bunch of cars go around in a circle? Did you see Allison?”

“Yes, just now. I brought her a gift.”

“She with some dork?”

“I guess so.”

“What did you get her?”

“The Willie Mays biography…and a card.”

Stuart set the book on his lap. “Lucky her.  Are you going to give away your whole collection?”

“No, just a few to my favorite fans.”

As Jimmy opened the door to leave, Stuart asked, “How are the Red Hawks doing?”

“Not so good. We’re in last place.”

Stuart laughing. Well, it must be the owner’s fault!”

“Right you are!  You want me to fire myself?”

“Hell no, your players suck.”

Jimmy noticing a photo on the wall of Satchel Paige in a Kansas City Monarchs uniform rearing back to throw a pitch. “I could use Satchel in his prime.”

“Uncle Jimmy, he wouldn’t even have to be in his prime.  You know he pitched three scoreless innings for the Kansas City A’s when he was 59 years old?”

“No kidding.”

            Jimmy and Michael sat at the bar in the Grand Slam Tavern drinking Coors draft beer,  Jerry Lee Lewis’ version of  “You’re Cheating Heart” playing low in the background.  The two men were surrounded by a colorful collage of sports memorabilia dominated by baseball photos, prints, pennants, and artifacts.  Three big screen TV’s lined the upper walls showing baseball games with the sound muted.

“Go on,” said Jimmy. “Have another one.  I’m buying.”

“Okay,” said Michael.

Jimmy raised his arm and waved his hand, attracting the attention of Harriet Johnson, the bar’s principal owner. “Hey, Harriet!  How about two more!”

“Coming right up!” exclaimed Harriet, cheerfully.

Michael drained the last of his beer and looked at his brother. “Are you sure the team can turn a profit?”

“I think so,” said Jimmy.  “We’ve got some good prospects.”

“That doesn’t bring out the fans.”

“No, winning does, said Jimmy, finishing off his beer. “By the way, did you know Jerry Lee Lewis and his dad had to sell a few dozen eggs so they could get gas money to travel to the Sun studio?”

“No, I didn’t, said Michael.  “But it doesn’t surprise me. Every one of those rockabilly guys was just poor white trash nobody took seriously.”

“Sam Phillips was a genius.”

“I know,” said Michael, glancing up at a Red Sox/Yankee game on TV.  “How about cutting payroll?”

“I’m down to bare bones,” said Jimmy. “Three coaches, one secretary, and one scout.

What about promotions?  Giveaways…that sort of thing.”

“Christ, we’ve tried everything…giveaways…fireworks…rock and country bands. Last month we even brought in strippers dressed like cheerleaders.”


Jimmy took a pull of his beer.  “It wasn’t my idea.”

Harriet placed two beers in front of them.  “Here you are, my sons.”

“Thanks, Harriet,” muttered Jimmy. “You’re the best… Say, Harriet, who was the bigger pain in the ass growing up?  Me or Michael?”

Smiling ruefully, Harriet responded, “You were both lovely boys.”

“Come on, Harriet!” cried Jimmy.  “Are you running for office?”

Harriet turned, walked a few feet, and leaned her elbow on the bar, her thoughts drifting back to her days as a housekeeper for the West family…

            I can still see them playing in the backyard.  Jimmy gleefully riding his cherished Schwinn bicycle, weaving in and out of the swing sets, see-saws and monkey bars.  Michael, more subdued and serious, sitting quietly n the grass assembling a dog house made out of wood. Their mother Cynthia opening the back door, eyes brightening, walking past me toward her boys.  Jimmy spotting her and immediately picking up speed, riding faster, weaving in between playground equipment, laughing uproariously. Michael jumping up and running to his mother, leaping into his mother’s arms at the precise moment Jimmy crashes into a swing set, tumbling to the ground.  Cynthia, flashing a look of concern, quickly puts Michael down, runs over to see about Jimmy.

“So, how much do you need?” asked Michael.

“Two-hundred thousand would get me through the year.”

“Is this throwing good money after bad?


“Okay, but don’t tell mother.  She’s—

“I know,” said Jimmy looking up at the Red Sox/Yankees game. “Do you remember when baseball players were normal size?  Now, they all look like the Incredible Hulk.”

“It’s the steroids.”

“You’re right,” said Jimmy. “My players tell me it makes the baseball look like a grapefruit coming in there.”

“Have you heard from Troy?”

“Not lately.  I hear he’s staying out at the old farm—probably cooking up meth with his crack head girlfriend.”

“He’s not going to college?”

“He dropped out again.  I have the only son in the known universe who’s flunked out of seven colleges.”

“Maybe he’s still trying to find himself.”

“The only thing he’s trying to find is his next high—at my expense.”

“Maybe you’re being too tough on him.”

“Are you serious?”

“No…that’s not what I mean.  I guess…what do you want?  For him to be like you?”

“No, I don’t want him to be like me. I know what you’re implying.”


“Me being a drunk—a bad role model.  Addicted to alcohol and driving like a manic…running from the cops.  No fucking driver’s license.”

“That’s not what I meant Jimmy…  I mean there are some good traits he got from you.”

“Like what?”

“Troy is a smart kid. I know he takes a lot of risks—but he’s got…something special.”

“What?  Special irresponsibility?”

“No, I guess I would say he’s interesting…he’s got your personality. People…they want to be around you.”

“You’re losing me.”

“Jimmy, let’s face it.  I am very successful, and you’re not.  But I am a nerd and you are cool.  Maybe it’s as simple as that.”

“You’re not a nerd.”

“Do you see anybody else in here wearing khakis and a Polo shirt?”

Jimmy laughed, and then hugged his brother, wrapping his arms around his shoulders and pulling him closer to him.  “Okay, Mr. Nerdo, I see your point. But, Michael, being cool is not worth much on the open market—”

Suddenly, a blustery red-faced man with a ruddy beard broke in between Michael and Jimmy, holding a bottle of beer in the air.

“Hey barkeep!” he shouted. “How about putting on the Quaker State 400?  I wanna see my man Jeff Gordon!”

Harriet looked up from reading a newspaper and stared impassively at the intruder.

“What gives around here?” he asked. “Nobody cares about this baseball shit.”

“Actually,” said Jimmy, “We were watching it.”

“Bunch of pussies,” hissed the man. “What’s their biggest risk?  Getting their uniform dirty?”

“You think NASCAR is a sport?” asked Michael.”

“Damn right! Damn right! These drivers got two balls! They got muscle, endurance, hand-eye coordination—”

“Yeah, sitting down in a seat,” interjected Jimmy.

“You don’t know what the fuck you are talking about!” He hollered.

Jimmy shrugged.  “Last time I checked they had a woman competing.  I don’t see any women up there playing for the Yankees.”

“Oh yeah, asshole. That woman could kick your ass!”

“Okay pal,” said Jimmy. “Have it your way.  Hey Harriet! Can you put on the race for this gentleman here?”

Harriet nodded, visibly sighing before grabbing the remote and changing the channel.             “That’s more like it,” said the man rudely, puffing out his chest, and lumbering down the other end of the bar.

“The world will never run out of assholes,” said Michael.

“How about another one?” asked Jimmy.

“No, I gotta split. Katy is preparing a special vegan dinner for us—some kind of tofu or coconut shit.”

“Is that what she’s into now?”

“This week, anyway,” said Michael.  The world is not going to run out of fads for bored housewives either.”

“Michael,” said Jimmy.  “Thanks for the loan.  I really appreciate it.”

Michael stood up to leave. “Don’t mention it—but I expect a front row box seat in the playoffs.”

“You got it.”

About the Author:

John wells

John David Wells has written numerous articles on popular culture, two academic books on American studies, and three novels. He lives in Virginia with his fox terrier “Mickey.”