The Sunbaked King

Single Guy Misses a Good Catch

You stomp your right foot lightly on the dust-covered ground. Despite your care, the rust-colored earth envelopes your shoe. A thick layer settles. You give your shoe a glance, appear to have interest in it, then, like a lover scorned, ignore the thing. Meanwhile, the bubble gum you’ve been chewing has decided to lodge itself in a comfortable position near the back of your tongue. Your face contorts in puzzlement. If the guy in front of you were paying attention to your face rather than your hands, he will have seen the comic way your face gets distorted as your tongue struggles to swipe the stubborn gum from your throat. But the guy’s not here to see you; he’s here to see your hands.

Free of the gum at last, you spit it out on the ground, where another person’s probably going to step on it. That’s the nature of chewed bubble gum, right? It just begs to be stepped on. In the sneakiest way possible, at the moment of supreme inconvenience. The guy in front of you, however, has no concern for your bubble gum thoughts. In fact, it’s probably to his advantage that you’re inconvenienced.

In any case, enough of non-existent metaphors and cryptic descriptions. It’s time for the game to resume.

It’s the top of the eighth inning, and the game’s tied at 1-0. Your team has home field advantage, but the other team has one very important asset: they now have their star player at the bat. The only reason why you’ve managed to squeak in one good play is his absence for the first half of the game. You don’t know what issues the other team faces, but you have heard about certain rumors–run-ins with the law, pregnant girlfriend, hostile parents. Whatever. Victim or perpetrator, as soon as he walked in the diamond, the entire arena held its breath. It’s never too late when he’s around.

You toss the ball back and forth between your gloved and free hand before looking at the home plate once again. The batter’s ready; so is your catcher behind him, and the umpire behind the two. No one else is out on the field, so your attention’s all set on this single threat. With one final toss between hands, you take your position on the mound.

Your catcher sends one finger down. Fastball. What the heck? With the star player in the helm, a straightforward fastball will not cut it. He’ll probably send the goddamn thing to outer space. You shake your head vigorously, hoping that the catcher will realize it was a stupid suggestion in the first place. To his credit, the catcher immediately nods his head slightly, and sends two fingers down. Curveball. Great. Just the play you wanted. You nod your head, tug the front of your cap forward, and ease yourself into the pitcher’s stance.

One. Your heartbeat, slow. Your vision, clear.

Two. Your senses heightened. Your right hand armed.

Three.

You feel your entire right arm stretch backward at an angle as it provides the perfect momentum, feel it move expertly forward as it prepares for the release, feel the tips of your fingers flex as they send the ball flying at a nasty curve. Surely, not even the star player is prepared for that.

Except that he is. With one swift stroke, the batter hits the ball.

One. Your heartbeat, pounding at a medically impossible speed. Your mouth, gaping. From the corner of your eye, you see the batter drop his bat, and run.

Two. The ball, in motion. Not hurtling towards the sky. Not going beyond the foul line. Instead, flying slightly parallel to the ground, forward. Zoning on what’s in front of it. Zoning on you.

With your clear vision, it’s going to be easy to see the ball’s path of travel. With your quick reflexes, it’s going to be easy to catch it. With your luck, it’s going to be easy to send this star player out by virtue of only the most important flyout ever. 

You raise your left arm to meet the ball and seal all your fates once and for all.

Three.

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Filed under: Fiction, Yes?, Untamed

6 Responses

  1. Ryan says:

    ay bitin…

  2. kerwinray says:

    @ Ryan: Di naman e. 🙂

  3. makmak says:

    Bitin yan Ryan. Ahahaha. At si Ker ang may kasalanan.

    Peace Ker. Ahaha.

  4. kerwinray says:

    @ Makmak: Di yan bitin. Ako bitin. Pero yan, hindi. Hahaha.

  5. Ryan says:

    hahaha i guess nakaimply na pala sa title ang nangyari… at bakit parang you have to read between the lines ang post na ito… hmmm??

  6. kerwinray says:

    @ Ryan: Hehe. Kailangan ganun e. Para pag-isipan. 🙂

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