Title: Bad Pitch
Characters: Chris, James, Syd & Katie
I had salad duty this evening. Syd and Jamie were running late, but since Katie was supposed to arrive in 15 minutes, I thought I would make sure that at least the salad was done, so that we could eat in courses if we had to. I was startled by the slam of the front door and sliced my finger instead of the tomato.
“To your room James,” I heard Auntie Syd announce firmly as my distressed looking cousin moved through the kitchen and towards his room in a rage.
“Hi, how was the game?” I asked raising my eyebrows.
“Your cousin, threw a pitch at another player’s head, in retaliation to one of his teammates getting hit by a pitch, in the previous inning.”
“Oh,” I said, wincing at the thought of how Jamie would be feeling in a few minutes.
Syd glanced at me holding a wad of paper towels around my finger. She came over took my hand, removed the paper towels and glanced at the cut on my finger, “It isn’t to deep,” she said, returning the wad of towels to the still bleeding finger, and she raised my hand up over my shoulders.
I moved in with Syd, when I was 15, after my parents threw me out of the house for being gay. My dad walked in on me giving the captain of the water polo team a blowjob. I showed up at my Aunt’s door in tears with nothing but the clothes on my back and haven’t left since.
Syd, enlisted in the army at the age of 22, straight out of nursing school. It was 1969, and after basic training, she was sent to Vietnam. At the end of her first tour she met and fell in love with Major Jonathon Wallows. They married and she became pregnant with my cousin Claire. Syd, shipped back to the states, set up a home, gave birth to Claire and continued her military career at the local VA hospital, while Uncle Jon served two more tours in Vietnam.
“I think dinner is going to be a little late this evening. Jamie and I need to have a little discussion before we eat.”
“Katie is going to be here any minute, you invited her dinner, remember?” I replied.
“Oh, crud,” she said, “Do, you think maybe you two could run over to Carmen’s and pick up a couple of pizzas?”
“Yeah, of course.”
She leaned in and kissed my forehead, “How was your day sweetie?”
I couldn’t help it, but a huge smirk emerged on my face,“I met a boy.”
The doorbell rang and I headed over to get it. “Hmm, I want to hear all about him at dinner,” she smiled at me, “I am going to take care of your cousin. See you in an hour or so.”
I opened the door, grabbing my sweatshirt and ushering Katie back towards her car, “Come on, we’re going over to Carmen’s to get some pizza.”
“Ahh man, I thought Syd was making her chicken casserole,” Katie sighed.
“No, something came up, she wants us to go get a couple of pizzas instead,” I said, as I continued to move her towards the car.
“Well, I hope you at least called them in already.”
“Nope,” I told her, “We can wait there until they are ready.”
“I hate waiting there,” she grabbed my arm and moved me back towards the house, “Let’s call it in, and then we can watch TV until it is time to get them.”
“Umm, we really need to go wait for them,” I said, “Syd needs to discuss a few things with Jamie.”
“So, we can hang out in your room,” Katie responded, “I got this new tape, TJ Landis, her voice is beautiful and her lyrics are so poetic.”
“And, she’s a dyke, yes, I know. We’ll listen in the car,” I shot her a look.
“Oooohhhh. What’d he do?” She asked.
“Intentionally hit a batter in the head.”
“Yah, that batter’s head isn’t the only thing that’s gonna be aching tonight,” She said a little devilishly.
I rolled my eyes.
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Syd was setting the table when Katie and I arrived back at the house with the pizzas.
Katie walked over and gave Syd a big hug, “Hiya, Colonel. How are you?”
Syd planted a kiss on Katie’s cheek, “I’m good kiddo.” Syd took the pizzas from me as she asked, “Christopher, would you mind fetching Jamie for dinner, while Katie and I catch up?”
“Sure,” I said grabbing a crouton from the salad on my way out of the kitchen.
I could hear Jamie lightly whimpering as I approached his door, “Hey, Jame it’s me. I’m commin’ in, ‘kay.”
Jamie looked miserable; he was lying on his stomach in sweats, and raised his head at me as I entered his room. “Hi,” he said in almost a whisper as he rolled to his side and wiped his tears on his sleeve.
I sat next to him on the bed, and he scooted over and rested his head on my thigh, “I hate it Chris, I’m 16 and none of my friends still get spanked.”
“Maybe not, but they also don’t have the Colonel for a mother,” I said gently rubbing his hair off his forehead.
“When did she stop spanking you?” He asked.
I let out a small laugh.
“What?” He asked.
“I’ll admit it has been a few years, but, I’m not sure she wouldn’t still tan me if she felt I needed it,” I don’t think he was very comforted by my comment. I’m not sure I was either.
We sat quietly for a few minutes. Jamie slowly calmed as I continued to rub his head.
“Why’d you throw at him?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
“I doubt your mother bought that answer,” I said, tapping lightly on his head.
“No, she didn’t.”
“Is he hurt?” I questioned.
“They took him to the hospital. Mom called, he has a concussion, they’re keeping him over night for observation.”
“So, why’d you throw at him?” I tried again.
“The guys dared me. They said I had to do it to preserve our team honor.”
“Since when did you ever buy into that load of crap?” I asked.
“Since, they said I was a chicken, too straight an arrow, a momma’s boy.”
“Was it worth it?” I asked
“No,” Jamie whimpered.
“What’d your coach do?”
He started to cry again, “I’m off the team, and I got a 3 day school suspension. Mom grounded me. She says I get to spend the time I would have been at practice with her at the hospital. I have to volunteer my time with brain injury patients.”
“Good,” I said.
Jamie pushed away from me and gave me a very angry look, “Hey, you’re supposed to be on my side.”
“What side is that?” I asked, “The one that says it’s okay to throw a 70 mile-an-hour baseball at some kid’s head, sending him to the hospital on a dare. That’s the side you want me on?”
He cocked his head at me, “That’s not what I meant. I want you to do what you always do. I want you to say it sucks I got in so much trouble. That my mom is way to strict,” tears were falling quickly down his cheeks, "say what you always say. Please?”
“Sorry, Jame. You screwed up big time. You could have killed that boy. You deserve everything you got. Do you get that? Do you realize you could have killed him?”
He just sat and starred at me.
“Answer me. Do you get that?”
Jamie nodded and started to sob. I pulled him into a hug and held him, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. How could I do something so stupid?” He asked.
“I don’t know; it was mighty stupid.”
He continued to cry. “Did you apologize to him?” I asked. He shook his head.
“I think that would be a good thing for you to do. I’ll take you over to the hospital in the morning before my class.”
“James! Christopher! The pizza is getting cold,” Syd called to us from the kitchen.
We walked into the kitchen and Jamie sat with a wince and small grunt. Auntie Syd always could leave a strong impression.
Katie gave Jamie a wink and nod; he blushed and nodded back.
“So, Christopher tell us about this boy,” Syd asked.
“His name is Virgil. He’s a nursing student in my physiology class. He is so cuuutttteee.”