By Greg Shipman
Photo via Wikimedia.
”C’mon, Dink,” I scream, “knock that ball into next Tuesday!”
Dink is my best friend and the best batter on our stickball team.
The jerk-offs’ from the next block challenged us to a game with winner take all.
The ‘take-all’ is ten bucks, five from each side. If Dink hits a homer and I follow up we take all the ‘take-all’.
“Swing that broom stick, Dink-a-rino,” yells Butchie. “We wants the loot!”
Dink swings at the hard rubber ball that Fruit-Face Eddie throws underhand. Eddie’s pitching for the ass-wipes from the next block because it’s his ball. Possession is nine-tenths of who gets to play. Dink connects with the ball and sends it flying halfway down the block. We cheer as Dink heads to his right for first base which is Mr. Hubert’s dog-do-do ugly Rambler American. He slaps the left rear fender with a big grin on his mug.
Stinky Willy, the jerk-offs outfielder stumbles after the ball which has stopped flying and is now rolling towards the sewer hole. Keep ‘em rollin’… Rawhide!
Willy is wearing a mitten on his hand as a glove. He’s the dumbest part-human-bean ever, except for his brother, Stinky Daryl, who is wearing the other mitten.
Dink is heading towards second base which is an old kitchen chair we found last week.
Gordy has second base duty and he’s already got it sitting at the right place in the middle of the street. Second base duty is to move the chair when traffic comes. Gordy gives Dink a thumb’s up as the Home Run King slaps the back of the chair and bootlegs for third base.
“Oh shit!” yells Jimmy Crow, who is so black he’s blue, “third base is pulling out!”
That stump-stupid Mr. Morgan is halfway out of his parking place. Where can that simpleton be going at four in the afternoon? He works the night shift at Virginia Bakery and doesn’t leave for work ’til ten. That’s why we made him third base. I scream at him. He ignores me.
I’m going to tell his wife I saw him outside the cut-rate liquor store with Frannie Fanny. Frannie pulls her drawers down so much she’s got cotton burns on her legs.
Dink is running towards Mr. Morgan’s Chevy Bel-Air. “Somebody stop third base!” he yells.
The next block idiots are cheering. The rules say you can’t change third base in the middle of a play, and Dink can’t finish his home run without touching third base. And the game is forfeit if the run can’t come in.
The ten spot pot is now an empty dream. Dr. King has a good dream, we got zip. This is so screwed up even President Kennedy and his brother couldn’t straighten it out. Shit on five singles!
“Damn!” shouts Dink as he pulls up and stares at the empty space where third base shoulda been. A stripped down Chevy and a donut worker will always let you down! But Dink runs on to home which is a chalk outline in the middle of the street where Dunkin’ Doogie, the junkie, got hit by Miss Edie’s Ford station wagon when he was high.
Cowboy Johnson walks over to Squinty Percy and holds out his hand. Percy, who is afraid of his own shadow, and everyone else’s, hands over the loot. Cowboy is the stickball captain for the dickheads in the next block. We’ll never live this down. Never!
“Percy,” screams Dink, “why’d you give that numb-nuts our money?”
“They won,” snivels the coward, “third base moved so we forfeited.”
“Third base was at the curb, jerk. So the curb was part of third base. Since I touched the curb, I touched third base and so when I ran home it counted.”
“Damn straight!” I yell as I see hope for turning this around.
“That’s not in the rules,” says Cowboy cramming the money in his pocket. “Third base drove away and that’s a forfeit.”
“Mr. Morgan always rubs rubber on the curb ‘cause his ass can’t park right so the curb is part of the car ‘cause of the tire rubber on the curb.” Gordy had moved second base to let a cab through and he’s now standing next to Cowboy shooting eye-daggers at him.
“Better get our money out of your pocket,” says Dink as he points his finger at Cowboy.
“Better git outta Cowboy’s face,” say the stinky brothers coming up on Dink.
“Better go git some soap on your ashy asses ‘fore we beat the stink offa you,” I snarl.
“Dink made a home run and now it’s my turn to hit. We don’t git our money we start kickin’ certain colored boys asses like they’s footballs.”
“We ain’t scared of you pussies but I’ll give you back your five dollars and we play the game over tomorrow,” says Cowboy.
Everybody likes that and Cowboy hands the money to Squinty Percy. I snatch it fast. Dink grins as the dickheads leave.
“I’m going to check the alley and find a third base that knows how to stay put,” says Gordy.
“We gonna win tomorrow?” asks blue-black Jimmy Crow.
“Can James Brown dance?” asks Dink.
“Is Wilt Chamberlain tall?” I ask.
We all laugh. Life don’t even git better than this.
A native East Baltimorean, but now a Fairbanks, Alaska resident, Gregory K. Shipman has a day job which often extends into the evening hours. His passion is writing about the steamy, noir side of life… past, present and future. He has yet to earn a dime from his scribbles but has the satisfaction of knowing it’s all non-taxable. Greg is an active member of the on-line community, Writer’s Carnival, the Community Writer’s Group of Fairbanks, and a board member of The Fairbanks Drama Association. He lives a life of hardly quiet desperation with his pet laptop and unreliable Jeep. He enjoys Jazz, Blues, Theater and the occasional diabetic coma…