Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Ball Game

The Ball Game,
a story in 7 parts

Part 1

The first time Jimmy Login saw his father was at a stick ball game on a Brooklyn street. His father died when Jimmy was only 3. Jimmy doesn't remember him and only knows him from a photograph his mother has of a handsome, smiling man with glasses His mother said Jimmy's father was a physicist who was working on a top secret project when he died.

Billy Ferguson threw the ball with great force and it hit the step with a loud wallop. Jimmy held the stick firmly ready to hit the ball if he could. At that moment he heard a man's voice call his name: "Jimmy." He looked up and just for a flash saw his father's smiling face, just like in the picture. Then he saw the ball coming toward him gradually and gracefully, like a bubble on the wind, as if the whole game was suddenly in slow motion.

When it was right in front of him he swung the stick and hit the ball squarely on. It flew up, bounced off the side of the building, went tumb;ing down the street and rolled under a parked car.

"Wow" someone said.

That was the first time Jimmy saw his father. But not the last.
The Ball Game
A story in 7 parts

Part 2

A few years later Jimmy started going to Allen Thompson High School in Brooklyn. In his sophomore year he decided to try out for the Thompson High baseball team.

The coach told the boys that were trying out that they had to catch one fly out of three tries, one ground ball out of three and hit the ball once out of three pitches.

Jimmy had no trouble catching the grounders. He finally caught the third fly ball. But when he stepped up to the plate he missed the first two pitches. His heart sank because he could tell he just wasn't good enough as a batter. The third pitch flew past him so fast he could feel the wind.

The coach said "Sorry Jimmy, You just can't hit. Maybe next year." He reached of the bat.

"Jimmy" a voice said. He saw the face of his father smiling at him just above and behind the coach. He said "Give me on more try"

"No, you've had your chance, give me the bat."

"Please, just one more."

"Okay, but just one."

The pitch came fast out of the coaches hand and floated gently and gracefully toward Jimmy, like a bubble in the breeze. When it was right in front of him he gave a mighty swing and knocked the ball into the outfield.

The coach turned and watch the ball flying through the air. None of the other boys had hit it so far.

"Okay" he said "you're on the team."
Part 3

For the next three years Jimmy played for the Thompson High Tigers. He was very conscientious. He went out for practice every day. The coach started the team off with a run around the track. Jimmy increased his speed. He practiced catching, both grounders and fly balls, his throwing, fast and accurate, and of course his batting. By his senior year he was a good player. Not the best on the team, but very good.

The Tigers reached the finals and were in line to win the championship if they could beat Mechanics High from the Bronx. Mechanics was a tough team but they were evenly matched when they reached the final series.

When they were in the final game, played on The Tigers home stadium, it was the bottom of the ninth inning, the score was tied 4 all, there was one out and one man on third. Jimmy didn't know there were scouts in the stands looking for some baseball talent when he stepped up to the plate.

H e was worried. He hadn't hit off the other team's fierce pitcher all day. He could strike out as usual and there was still another Tiger batter up next, a good one, one of the best. But the situation was very tense.

The pitcher sent two balls flying at great speed, both in the strike zone. Jimmy swung hard at both of them but missed them. Two strikes. Jimmy stepped out of the batters box for a moment.

"Jimmy." He heard that familiar voice calling him and looked up to see his father's face just to the right of the pitcher. Jimmy stepped back to the plate and signaled that he was ready.

The pitcher wound up and threw. Jimmy saw the ball coming slowly toward him, gently and gracefully like a bubble on the breeze. It came to him about shoulder high. When it was right in front of him he grabbed both ends of the bat and gave it a push. The ball bounced quickly along the infield between the pitcher and first base. The pitcher made a lunge for it but missed it. Meanwhile Jimmy tossed the bat aside and headed for first base. He never made it there and he wasn't tagged out. The runner on third crossed home plate with the winning run and the ball game was over.
Part 4

Jimmy thought that after graduating from high school he would take a year off, find a job, make a little money and then try to enter City College, or maybe Brooklyn College, to study to become a scientist like his father. So he was very surprised when he got a phone call from the head office of the Brooklyn Hawks.

When he went to the appointment he met with a man who explained that they had been watching Jimmy for the past year and thought he would make a good ball player for the team. If he agreed he would be sent to the White Plains Aces, the Hawks farm team, for a few years and if it worked out he could move up to the majors. Jimmy never thought any one would pay him to play baseball. His Mom told him he should do what's in his heart.

When he went in to sign the contract he still wasn't sure. The man he had talked to before said that he would step out of the room for a few minutes and leave Jimmy alone to think about it.

Jimmy read the contract over carefully and sat staring at it. "Jimmy" a voice said. He looked up and sitting across the table from him was a man in a lab coat, glasses and a big warm smile. "Dad, what should I do?"

The man didn't speak, but just then a pen came floating out of a cup on the table, gently moved over to in front of Jimmy and hung there in mid air. He took it and singed the contract. When he looked up the man in the lab coat was gone.
The Ball Game
a story in 7 parts

Part 5

So Jimmy went off to play for the White Plains Aces for a few years. While there he improved his fielding skills and, of course, his batting. He became a valuable player.

Then one day the Brooklyn Hawks traded their short stop for a pitcher, moved the third base player into short stop and brought up Jimmy to cover third. He was so proud when he put on the Brooklyn Hawks uniform that he immediately had a picture taken so he could show his mother.

Jimmy did well at the plate, occasionally hitting a homer. And he did well fielding ground balls and catching infield flies.

A few years went by and he didn't see his father. Then one day during a tense game with the Wheeling Jets an amazing incident occurred. It was the fifth inning there were no outs. There was a man on first and one on third. There was a one and one count on the batter. At the next pitch the bat connected with a loud smack.

"Jimmy" he heard the voice and looked over to his right. His father was standing next to the third base coach. Then he looked at the ball and saw it gently, gracefully floating toward him like a bubble on the breeze. It was a sure hit, about to land short of the outfield, just past him. He stepped over and when it was right in front of him he grabbed it putting out the batter, flung it straight into the catcher's mitt putting out the runner from third and then stepped onto the third base bag, received the ball back from the catcher and tagged out the runner who had rounded second and was heading straight for him. A triple play.

Next day in the paper there was a picture of him and the catcher. They were called the heroes of the day. But Jimmy's heroics didn't end on the ball field.

Part 6

So Jimmy played for the Brooklyn Hawks for several years. He was a dependable third baseman, his hitting was improving and so was his RBI average.

When the Hawks were playing home games Jimmy stayed with his mother. It was a simple subway ride away. His mom liked to hear all about the games and the other players.

One evening after the game he was standing on the subway platform waiting for the train. Suddenly he heard his name called "Jimmy." He looked down and say a man in a white lab coat and glasses, pointing and not smiling. He looked where the man was pointing and saw a baby carriage that had rolled to the edge of the platform and tumbled over onto the tracks. Jimmy heard the sound of the approaching train growing louder. He jumped down onto the tracks and saw the headlight of the train entering the station. He was it coming toward him gradually and gracefully like a huge, bright bubble on the breeze. He grabbed the carriage with a crying baby in it and hoisted up onto the platform into the hands of a panicked mother. The he threw one leg up onto the platform, then the other one and rolled out of the way just as the train came racing and screeching into the station.

The next day there was his picture on the front page of the Sports section of the New York Times with a story about the event and a headline that read SPORTS STAR BECOMES SUBWAY HERO.

His mother was impressed. His teammates were impressed. So now he was a "sports star." He hoped he would have a chance to prove that.

Part 7

Jimmy played for the Hawks another few years and then was traded to Denver where he played for a while . Denver traded him to Tucson who traded him to Jacksonville for another few years. He played very well for all those teams, but he was now in a swapping game. When the Jacksonville season was over Jimmy was a free agent. On a hunch he called the front office of the Brooklyn Hawks and was delighted when they offered him a contract to come back. When he once again put on the Hawks uniform he never played so well.

The years wet by. Brooklyn won some and lost some. Jimmy was getting older, he just passed his 40th birthday and he was quite wealthy now. He bought a real house for his mother in a quiet neighborhood. At first she didn't want to move out of her apartment, but he fixed it up nice and hired some servants to take care of things, so she moved in.

Jimmy was thinking of retiring from baseball and taking some adult education courses, maybe getting the college degree he never got. Then he thought he might go into science as his father had done.

Speaking of his father, Jimmy hadn't seen or heard from the nice man in the lab coat and glasses for many years. Sometimes, when he was in a tight situation he would ask "Dad. What should I do?" But he didn't get an answer and had to cope with things on his own.

Then one year the Brooklyn Hawks came out on top of the league and entered the World Series against the Savannah Cougars. The series opened in Brooklyn where the two teams split a game a piece. in Savannah they also split one apiece, the Hawks barely winning the second game which went into extra innings. Back in Brooklyn the Hawks won the first game. It was now three games to two in favor of the Brooklyn.

When they battered up for the sixth game Jimmy was very concerned. They needed to win this game or it would be back to Savannah where anything could happen.

When they got to the top of the ninth inning the score was Savannah 4, Brooklyn 2. The Cougars got two hits, putting two men on base. Then a relief pitcher came in and held Savannah to two fly balls easily caought and one strike out, retiring the side with no runs.

Savannah also brought in a strong relief pitcher at the bottom of the ninth. The first Brooklyn hitter reached first base on a ground ball. The second batter struck out. On a pitch to the next Brooklyn batter the Savannah catcher bobbled the ball and the runner on first stole to second base. The next batter hit a clean short fly ball into the outfield which dropped in front of the outfielder, sending the runner to third base and giving the batter a hit.

There was a man on first, one on third, the score was 4 to 2 Savannah and one out when Jimmy stepped up to the plate. Eventually the count on Jimmy was three balls and one strike. The pitcher was waving of signals from the catcher while Jimmy swung the bat back and forth.

All of a sudden he heard the familiar voice "Jimmy." He looked around for the man in the lab coat and glasses but could see him nowhere. Just then the pitcher wound up and threw the ball. Jimmy watched it come directly toward him, slowly, gently, gracefully, like a bubble on the breeze. But it was too high and too far inside, well out of the strike zone. Jimmy thought if he let it go past him he would walk to first base, then the bases would be loaded for the Hawks best hitter and there would still be only one out. He let the ball float gradually to him and as it did he saw it dip toward the plate. When it reached him it was waist high and the catcher was already reaching for it. He stepped back out of its way and drove his bat into it with a mighty swing. He saw the ball warp slightly as it connected with the bat. Then it took off and flew at great speed into center field. The fielder backed way up the catch it but it flew past him into the bleachers.

There was an enormous roar from the crowd, The Brooklyn bull pen emptied out onto the field. The runner from third came in. The runner from first quickly rounded second and third and he came in for the tying run.

Jimmy tossed his bat aside and trotted around from base to base. Rounding third base he had a big warm smile on his face, because he was the winining run, because the Brooklyn Hawks had just won the World Series, because there was a mob of his teammates ready to pounce on him with hugs and hand shakes as soon as he crossed home plate and because he knew that his father still loved him.

The End

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Savior

Sorry readers, all my notes for The Savior are buried in Word which won't let me in to use them. I am truly fed up with Microsoft. If I can recreate my research and find a better way to store it I will do that and continue the story. Thank you. DB

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Savior

Part 39

Adam stood holding his shoes and socks and thought about what Dick Tepler had said. Was I on a mountain with someone named Gerry and did I make it rain? Some guy named Gerry. Rain. On a mountain. I’ve never been on a mountain. Oh, wait a minute. Yes I was. Once. Just once? Yes. No. Twice. I remember it. There was a drought. And they blamed me for it. I remember. I sat on a rock.

I never did that. Why do I remember it? I sat on a rock and I saw the rains come. First there was a cloud. I sent Gerry to warn the King. What king? I don’t know any kings. But the rain came and the long fingers of water flowed into the furrows and revived the dying crops.

Those words again. Where did I hear them? I know. I was there. I saw it. The troughs overflowed as the wretched suffering livestock drank at last.

I think I’m losing my mind.

He heard the sound of a telephone ringing. Then there were children laughing, in the distance.

No! The rains came and destroyed everything, every living thing. All the people and all the crops and all the wretched livestock. I remember. I watched. I saw the animals trying to swim, thrusting their frightened faces above the surface of the gushing water. Screaming, whining, bellowing for help as they drowned. And I watched. A dove flew around my head. Then it sat on a branch and waited and watched. We both watched, and waited. Soon another dove came out of the window and joined it. Then they both flew off. I watched. Why didn’t I do anything to help? Did I make that rain come?

There was a bright light over his head. He looked up and heard that voice like a whisper and a child speaking.

“I was there with Noah when the rain came down. Were you?”


“Yes you were.”

(To be continued.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Savior

Part 38

If I say so? thought Adam. I’m not going to respond to that remark. It sounds too much like the other cryptic mysteries that have been surrounding me like wild beasts for the pest few days. I’m up against the present and the past as if in front of a blast furnace and all these guys can do is talk in riddles.

He stood with the glass of wine in his hand staring at nothing. Images were tumbling over in his mind: a crazy archbishop, a wounded dog which was now running around sniffing everything, a fortune hiding in his closet, standing in a river he strangely remember standing in before, bloody boots but no wound, holding a lamb in his arms as if he’d done that before, fish nets…. Wait. Fish nets. Where did that come from. Adam never had anything to do with fish nets and yet he remembered them.

His thoughts were interrupted by Semyon saying “I’ll get some soap and water.” He walked off. Adam heard the voice of children somewhere. Adam liked kids but he seldom saw any. He thought about the fact that he never married and had any of his own. Maybe he would one day.

Richard Tepler came up to him with a bowl of soapy water and a towel. He sat on the ground in from of Adam and said “Put your foot in here” motioning to the bowl. “Why no shoes?”

“I was standing in the river.”

:Oh“ he started to wash Adam’s foot. “Did the dove come by?”

“There was a bird that flew by. I don’t know if it was a dove.”

“Probably. If so there will be another one. They travel in pairs.” He dried off Adam’s foot with the towel and said “Other foot.”

While Dick was washing Adam’s other foot he said “It was very difficult, you know. I mean when we first went out. No one would listen to us or believe us. We wanted to talk to them, but they just wanted tricks.”


“Tricks. So Jack made the rains come. Just like you did.”

“I did?”

“Remember? On the mountain with that Gerry person, when the rain poured down and splattered the dusty ground, when the long fingers of water flowed into the furrows and revived the dying crops and when the troughs overflowed as the wretched suffering livestock drank at last.

Those words rang in Adam’s mind. Where did he hear them before?

(To be continued.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Savior

Part 37

Adam looked into the glass then at the men milling around each with a glass of the wine. He carefully took a small sip. It was good. He drank more of it. Sy was removing some bread and other things from the baskets. They were getting ready for a picnic.

Adam heard the sound of hoof beats in the distance. He looked over at the forest edge and saw three more horses and riders trotting along after the first horse.

Just then Sammy came up to him and asked “Did you enjoy Califano’s sermon?”

“No” answered Adam, “it was full of death and destruction, fire and brimstone. I think he’s an old fool.”

“You’re right, he is. After you left I became a disciple of his for a while.” Semyon unbuttoned his shirt and opened it to show a chest full of scars. “See. I wore the barbed wire for a time. I believed him about the pain. I tried to be conscious of the agony as a cleansing of my soul. I adhered to the torture. I tried to embrace the pain, to love it. But one day I saw the light. I remembered something you had said about long robes and long prayers. I saw Califano for what he was, a hypocrite, power hungry and mad. He is so dedicated to his asceticism that he has not a single finger in reality.”

“The why, how does he have a congregation?” asked Adam.

“He doesn’t” said Sammy. “He is the archbishop of the diocese and they will never remove him, he has too much power, but the people only put up with him. After he left the church this morning they returned the floors and the pews, covered the dirt and replaced the alter and the regular items of worship.”

“That’s hard to believe” said Adam. “But them everything I’ve been through lately is unbelievable”

Sammy simply said “Yes.”

“But what about that sermon? Are any of the things he said possible, are they going to happen or was he just making stuff up?”

“No, he wasn’t making anything up”

“You mean he was telling the truth?”


“But is today really the end, Armageddon, the Apocalypse, the end of the world?”

“If you say so.”

(To be continued.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Savior

Part 36

Adam watched the bird fly off beyond the trees. He stepped out of the river, retrieved his shoes and socks and started back to where the others were. On the way he saw something move on the ground in front of him. He stopped, looked down and observed a green and yellow snake oozing it’s way across the way. It stopped moving when Adam did. Adam had the urge to pick it up. He did. The snake draped it’s tail gently over Adam’s wrist and turned its head to look at him. They stared at each other for a moment . Then Adam carefully placed it back on the ground and it slid off into the bushes.

Adam stood still and watched it disappear. He thought he had never held a snake before but it seemed quite natural to pick it up. So many unnatural things were becoming natural, or at least, not unusual to him now.

He walked back up to where the men were gathered around in groups talking. There were baskets of food on the table, a few bottles of wine were open and sitting beside the baskets. Ben approached him smiling with a full glass of wine. He handed it to him and said “Here Adam, here’s your poison. Drink up.”

(To be continued.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Savior

Part 35

That experience had a very unsettling effect on Adam. Now he thought he was hearing things that weren’t there. Why should he hear a phone ringing out in a field where there was obviously no phone? And why should that Ben say Adam was probably hearing a phone when there was no phone? Was he going crazy and they all knew it?

He needed to be by himself to try to straighten things out in his head. He walked down to the stream which was now looking more like a small river. He stood at the edge of the water and watched it flowing over the rocks, gushing around them in small whirlpools and listened to the splashing sound and the deep rumbling of the rushing water.

Suddenly something struck him like a blow in the back of his head. He stepped out on a rock just to make sure. Yes, he said, I’ve been here before. I don’t remember it. I don’t remember when it was but I know I’ve been here, I’ve seen this river before. I’ve stood right here before.

He stepped off the ledge he had been standing on down to the rock below but was astonished that he was in the water which was now gushing around his feet in a cold and fast embrace. He stepped back. Where was that rock? he wondered. He knew he had stepped down onto it before or thought he had. But now there was no rock.

Apart from him a few feet the river was gushing around a large stone. Could that be the rock, the same rock, broken off and filling the side of the river? It was smoother than the one he remembered, but it could be the rock that once he stood on when… When?

He felt his own presence standing there, a person like himself only different, someone important, someone with authority, someone with a purpose.

He removed his shoes and socks, rolled up his pants legs and stepped with both feet into the cold river. Standing in the middle of the river he looked up. He saw swirling lights above him and a whispering childlike voice said “Hello Adam. Happy to see you again.”

From the bushes on the other side a bird, light blue in color, flew over to him, circled around his head and then flew off.

(To be continued.)