Take Me Out
Tuesday night, I was standing on first, Glenn Troy was standing on third when Domingo Santos walked from the on-deck circle to stand in the right side batter’s box. He took a couple practice cuts and then rested the bat against his shoulder, just daring the Knights’ right-hander to put one across the plate.
Everyone knew that Domingo was on some PED or another, most likely steroids. His forearms were as big as my thighs were. I was really surprised that he hadn’t made it much further up the ladder than Triple A ball. I mean, what the fuck, A-Rod and Man-Ram had come out or been outed and nothing of real consequence happened to them, right? Like there wasn’t room for another drug freak in the majors?
The first pitch went in for a ball, the second caught Domingo looking and then the pitcher got stupid and hung one out over the middle of the plate. Domingo smacked it but it fell just short of the center field wall and the race was on.
Glenn was in no problem, only having to go ninety feet to score. I motored around second and was running all out for third when I noticed the third base coach waving me home. I didn’t know until later that the center fielder had bobbled the ball on the pick-up. I scored pretty easily.
Nah, the story of the base hit was that Domingo was already blown up by the time he rounded first and started for second. There was no way he was making it. Everyone on the team, Glenn and me included, was yelling for the stupid fuck to get down and get second. He was out by a country mile. He probably would have needed oxygen if he hadn’t wanted to keep his pride.
“Christ,” Glenn said to me as we walked back to the dugout, “that asshole’s gonna kill himself before this thing is over.”
We took the Knights by three. Guess who got the MVP of the game?
The bastard came strutting into the shower like he was a god, putting his travel shampoo on a ledge and getting under the shower head. He was just so fucking smug I had to say something.
“Hey, Domingo,” I shouted over the spraying water, “what the fuck you been eating anyway?”
Domingo Santos was from the Dominican Republic and didn’t really have a grasp on the English language. Obviously he knew what his name was and probably had a little bit of a familiarity with swear words. So, when he rushed me, somewhere in the back of my mind, I figured he thought I was saying, “Domingo, fuck you!"
It took five guys to hold him back. Glenn attempted to defuse the situation by telling me to rinse off and go back to the hotel. I rinsed off but I didn’t go back to my comfortable bed at the Marriott.
Charice was waiting for me in the parking like she always was when I came to Memphis. She was a few cars down from my rental, waiting in the dark, her tinted windows giving her that extra bit of security. Don’t ask me what she had to hide from. I didn’t fucking care if any of my teammates saw that I was getting into a car with some woman other than my wife.
She popped the trunk when she saw me and I tossed my bag inside, shut the trunk and got in the passenger side. Charice had a cigarette between her lips. I couldn’t wait to replace that cigarette and leaned over to kiss her. She didn’t move the cigarette out of the way.
“Not here,” she said, instead.
That was new. It sounded a lot like Lori, my wife. She didn’t like public displays of affection. But Charice...I mean, fuck, we’d had sex in a public park, in full view of whomever wanted to watch.
“Why the fuck not?” I asked.
“Just not here, okay?”
I settled back into my seat as Charice started the car and pulled out of the parking lot. I didn’t say one word to her all the way to her place.
Fifteen minutes later, she couldn’t keep her hands off me, tearing at my clothes before we got in the front door. I returned the favor, glad to have my old Charice back. I took the frustration of not being MVP of the game out on her, pounding away pretty hard between her legs.
When we finished, Charice said, “Jesus, what the fuck’s wrong with you?”
I gave her a wounded look. But she played that game better.
“When I ask you to stop, stop!” she screamed and pushed her way up and out of bed. She slammed the bathroom door behind her. I worked to catch my breath and stared at the ceiling.
Had she asked me to stop, I wondered. I couldn’t remember her saying that word. I shook my head in disbelief and got up and padded to the bathroom door. I knocked.
“Just leave, Jimmy,” Charice said. She sounded like she was crying.
I pulled on my clothes, slipped on my shoes and let myself out. No car to get back to the hotel with, not much cash in my pocket, I dialed for a cab on my cell phone. I waited down by the curb and, ten minutes later, a yellow cab came rolling up. I got in the back and he started away from Charice’s place.
After a few blocks, the cabbie recognized me and started talking up the game.
“Shit,” he said, “you guys made the Knights look foolish. Hey, what’s Domingo like?”
That moment, I remembered that I had left my bag in Charice’s trunk and asked him to let me out.
“You sure about this?” he asked.
“How much do I owe you?” I said.
“Three-sixty,” he said, looking at the meter. “You sure about this?”
I tossed a five over the seat and pushed the door open, heading back to Charice’s place. When I finally turned the corner, I just about stumbled as I watched Domingo walk up Charice’s driveway. Charice was sitting on the porch, a silk robe that I had given her a couple years ago. Domingo grabbed her around the waist and they swapped spit, his hand going inside the robe and fondling one of her breasts. They just about got busy on the stairs.
First, he steals MVP and now he goes after my mistress.
And Charice? What the fuck? So much for hurting.
They went inside and I didn’t stick around any longer than I needed to, grabbing her metal trash can and pitching it through the front windshield of her car, creating a spiderweb for a black widow. I ran as the alarm went crazy.
Wednesday night, I was zero for four, with Charice and Domingo on my mind. She’d actually come to the hotel and dropped my bag off, almost rubbing the whole thing with Domingo in my face. She didn’t know I’d seen them, of course, but I wasn’t thinking clearly then.
Thursday, I woke up next to Lori. I couldn’t remember the last time that had happened. I couldn’t remember what had happened the night before. Both of us were naked. I rolled over and kissed her back, something that drove her crazy and got her primed and ready. She mumbled something and I kept going, kissing her neck and then working my way down.
“Stop!” she said and rolled over. The look on Lori’s face was the same look Charice had given me when she said that word.
“You shouldn’t be here,” Lori said. “Get dressed and go before the kids wake up.”
Lori knew what I did when I was in Memphis. She had discovered my affair a year ago and thrown me out. We were civil for the sake of the kids but I wasn’t allowed in the house. Katie was handling it just fine but then again, she was thirteen and had her mother’s back anyway. Jasper was eight and couldn’t understand why he couldn’t see me all the time.
What about last night?” I asked, trying to understand what happened.
“It’s morning,” Lori said and rolled out of bed, going straight to the bathroom. “When I get back out, I want you gone.”
Domingo, Charice, Lori, my kids, all of this was on my mind as we took on the Bulls that night. As I got dressed for the game, I watched Domingo on the phone. I imagined that he was talking with Charice, telling her how he’d see her soon. I stood up and felt dizzy. Glenn noticed and asked if I was okay.
“Just feel a little weird tonight,” I told him.
“Nah,” I said, shook my head. “It’ll pass.”
I took my frustrations out on the field, smacking two homers with my first two at-bats. During my third, the pitcher threw at my head. I charged the mound and started wailing away on him. His face became Domingo’s face and he was laughing at me. At least that’s what it seemed like was happening. I wanted to kill this kid. I was hauled to my feet and ejected.
I waited in the clubhouse, pacing, seething, seeing Domingo with his hand in Charice’s robe. I imagined them having sex everywhere that she and I had had sex. I thought about Lori and how she’d used me for a night and how she refused to let me see my kids anytime I wanted. I thought about how I wanted to kill the pitcher, how he’d laughed at me.
When Domingo came in and got congratulations from everyone, including Glenn, now playing the role of Judas, I grabbed a bat and swung for the fences, pasting Domingo with one shot to the face. It was the only swing I needed. Domingo went down and stayed there.
“What the fuck?”
“Jimmy, what the hell did you do?”
“Shit! Someone get Doc!”
I was pinned down on the ground, face to face with Domingo.
“She’s mine!" I kept screaming over and over again at Domingo’s bloody and lifeless face, the left side of my own being pressed into the carpet.
My story was all over ESPN and FOX Sports within a few short hours. I was in handcuffs and on my way to being processed.
“Hey,” the desk sergeant said when I was marched into the police station, “aren’t you Jimmy Frazier? This about the brawl on the field?”
“Ain’t you been watching the teevee?” the arresting officer asked him. “This is about love.”
Christopher Grant is the editor and publisher of A Twist Of Noir. He has stories at Thrillers, Killers ’N’ Chillers, Powder Burn Flash, Not From Here, Are You?, The Flash Fiction Offensive, the 6S blog under his name, and in print in the first issue of Needle Magazine.