Strikeout

Strikeout

A Story by AndrewH
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The story of a pitcher's in-laws. For more of my writing, go to andrewhenleywriting.wordpress.com

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It was hot in the centre of the Yankee Stadium diamond. Grady Quinn’s Oakland jersey blustered in the breeze. Derek Jeter stepped away from the plate and thwomped his bat down, scaring up dust. Loaded count, 3 and 2. College draft pitcher up against the guy with the biggest wheelhouse in baseball. The hotdog vendors stopped to watch. Grady’s fingers rolled down the thin red stitching. The catcher pointed down with his little finger and index finger. Curveball? Grady shook his head. Just a little crick of the neck. Middle and index finger. Fastball? Slight nod. Smoke ‘em out. The pitch high and inside. Too much mustard, can’t catch up with it and he goes down swingin’.

 

The crinkled dollar flopped limp in the old man’s hand. His eyes were grey, fixed on the big brutish lump his youngest daughter Mary-Beth had her delicate hands wrapped around. The whole family stared at them. Stood behind the old man, his wife Amanda. Arms crossed, gurn of disgust across her face. Mary-Beth’s boyfriend threw things at people for a living. He was a common thug. The other two daughters, Heather and Daisy, sat unceremoniously on the creaking floor, the stiff twists of their mouths and noses and eyebrows expressing varying ratios of jealousy, hatred and lust.

 

“Don’t you all have something to say to Grady?” Mary-Beth said, tippytoeing up to kiss his stubbled cheek.

It was her coming up to her parents golden wedding anniversary, and Grady had just offered to buy them a house.

With a heaving effort, pushing his hands down hard into his armchair armrests, the man stood. His arthritic fingers kept hold of the creased and dirty dollar. How did his little girl end up with this yutz? No man would ever be good enough for her. Or Heather, or Daisy.

 

“What does this dollar smell like to you, boy?”

The old man held the money under Grady’s nose.

“Excuse me sir?”

“Can the sir, kissass. I asked, ‘what does my dollar smell like?’, so go on. Sniff it!”

Grady’s eyes shifted towards Mary-Beth. She just shrugged. He inhaled, the air rattling the money as it travelled up his nose.

“It smells like money,” Grady said slowly.

“Oh, you’d sure know that smell. Course, I bet most of your dollars been used to snort co-caine.”

“Daddy!” Mary-Beth said.

“I’m jus’ messing. No boy, it don’t smell like money. Not like yours anyway. Your money’s like them crisp new notes you get at the bank. Too clean. My money smells dirty. It smells of sweat. It smells of a goddamn honest living!”

He balled the note up and threw it across the floor. Heather and Daisy dove after it like spinsters chasing a wedding bouquet.

 

The old man sat back down in his chair. Heather reached the dollar first and smirked at Daisy. Daisy looked at Grady. She wanted to tear his eyeballs out and make Mary-Beth watch. She wanted to tear his clothes off and get paid for it.

“So, you want to buy me a big fancy house, do ya? Don’t like this one, huh? The one I paid for with my honest living for the past forty years? And what about Heather and Daisy? What’re they to do?”

The daughters flashed their flat eyed jealous stares again.

“Actually,” Mary-Beth said, pausing to allow anticipation to build, “Grady’s bought them a house each too.”

The anger and hatred vanished from their faces, leaving pure and frenzied lust. They both squealed.

“Shut up the both of ya! You ain’t living in that blood money house and Amanda, neither are we!”

Amanda gave a stoic nod.

“Blood money? Daddy, Grady don’t kill people, he plays Major League Baseball!”

“Don’t I know it! What’s the matter, boy? You think ‘cause you struck out Jeter whole worl’ revolve around you? How ‘bout when Jason Bay creamed you at Fenway? They get that ball back off the monster yet?”

The old man laughed.

“I’m just trying to do something nice for you. Not that I should,” Grady said.

The old man stopped laughing.

“‘Not that you should?’ huh? Now what the f**k does that mean, boy?”

“Grady, don’t,” Mary-Beth said, her lithe hand flat against his barrel chest.

“Whoa, whoa. Let him speak, Mary-Beth. Just what in the Hell does Mr. MLB have to share with us?” the old man said.

“You think Mary-Beth doesn’t talk? She still wakes up in the night screaming because of you. I’ll bet Heather and Daisy do as well. Too terrified to leave. I guess no man will ever be good enough for them. Not after the way you beat them.”

Daisy began to sob.

“You dirty f****n’ n****r,” the old man said.

 

He propelled himself off the chair, thumping his fist into Grady’s chin. Grady’s own powerful arm came crashing forwards, landing on the old man’s nose and knocking him onto his back. Grady’s shoulder clicked.

 

The old man wasn’t moving on the floor.

“I’ll go get some ice,” Daisy said.

 

© 2014 AndrewH


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Added on February 11, 2014
Last Updated on February 11, 2014
Tags: short story