A-Rod's Bad Dream

He looked at his reflection, smiling wide like a criminal in court and then, in love with what he saw, he leaned in and kissed the mirror, his lips making deep & warm with his own, dizzy from the intensity of his own impassioned eyes, his own forbidden taste.

And then, realizing what he'd just done, Alex Rodriguez made hot sick in his mouth, hoping he could hold it, or swallow, or at least take it to the toilet, but the rush of bile had its way: it escaped his throat & launched as a projectile stream out his mouth, splattering the mirror and obscuring his reflection, his senses overtaken by the hot stench of his own undigested foul.

A-Rod lowered his head, as he felt the vomit drip off his face, obscuring his image in the mirror. He hiccupped, a final round of liquid shame escaping his lips and pooling on his chin. He couldn’t ask Rosa to clean this, not after all the other humiliations, not after that night with Derek & the sheets. He knew he'd have to skim the glass with his own hand, in his own paper towel, from his own spray bottle of Windex. Where was that last glass of scotch?

He turned the shower on, letting the hot water run, praying he'd find absolution in the steam and the spray, wondering why he felt so bad over a meaningless one-year suspension, or why he felt worse about making upchuck on the mirror. He watched the steam and considered his legacy- liar- and his impact- cheating- on the game, wondering when this drinking thing became more than just a hobby.

He opened his mouth to sneer, at the puppet Commissioner, at the Player's Union, at Major League Baseball, humanity in general, but he found there was more Big Ted Burger inside him than he had realized. Tequila, beer, & ground beef fueled his final blow and he made rancid chunk, soaking his chest and shoulders in the acids from his stomach, throwing up testosterone, HGH & anabolic steroid from deep inside his system. The potent combo stained his skin pinstripe white.

The vomit covered his body, became a uniform, a Yankee uniform, and Alex was on the field at the new Yankee stadium, the antiseptic corporation bowl at sell-out capacity, the faceless fans in the stand all cardboard cutouts, their voices loud & clear, and all of them booing at him on this dark Summer night, a night too dark for baseball, and he was the only player on the field, standing alone at third base as eight baseballs flew past him from all different directions. He reached. He ran. He couldn't catch them. The crowd was disgusted.

Then he was at the plate, a bat in his hand, a pitcher on the mound with eyes of black and a face of fury, throwing the ball so fast Alex couldn't even see it fly by. He struck out. Over and over again. Six swings. Nine. Twelve. The crowd called him names, told him the truth. The umpire told him he was out. He stood alone at home plate choking up.

A-Rod found the beer bottle in his hand and took a sip. 'That's right,' he thought, fresh from his shower, 'I have a plan.' And though he couldn't remember it right now he was sure that it would clear his name, exonerate him for all the things he did wrong, which he never did in the first place, so there was nothing to worry about.

He staggered down the steps of the deck into his backyard, the bat back on his shoulder, the baseball in his left hand. Soggy on the drink and weakened from the sickness Alex tossed the ball up in the air and swung at it with all his might, missing by a country mile and creating a force of wind so powerful it almost went hurricane.

'It's okay,' he thought, as he looked for the ball in the overgrown grass, getting ready for the second pitch, 'This is all a bad dream, and I'm the greatest baseball player in the whole fucking world.'

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