Pitchers & Catchers (Port St. Lucie)

He sat back in the terminal of the airport lounge, sitting in the waiting chair made for waiting, waiting good like people were was supposed to in this waiting chair made just for waiting.

He knew how to wait.

Delta. Gate 4M. His ride would be here in time... eventually. He looked over the movies on his open laptop:

The Godfather (1&2)

The Great Escape

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

He had forgotten to watch them on the plane, got distracted by the morning view of the skyway. But his assistant had done her job- stocked him up right, everything from the wish list:

The Wild Bunch

The Dirty Dozen

The Magnificent Seven

He would take in a flick in the limo, on his way to the bungalow just outside Port St. Lucie. Florida was there, waiting good for him, sun shining, just like he left it last February, like a bookmark in an open book of palm trees. Palm trees are patient. They know how to wait good too.

He tried not to think of the bungalow, or Diane waiting there for him, naked or about to be, a sneer on her lips sliding into a smile and back again, the refrigerator full of beers in glass bottles icing slow, waiting good to get opened. He thought of the curveball, took the beat in his head and waited, waited for that split second before hauling back and swinging.

Slap Shot


The original Rocky

This year was gonna be all about average... all about contact. This season was gonna be about moving up in the box and making the kid on the mound sweat... this season was about hitting out of the shift, placing the ball, driving to the opposite field, driving in runs, driving runners home. The pitchers and catchers were already on the field, oiling rusted shoulders and slowly sipping their coffee. They were waiting good for the position players to arrive. They were waiting for their first baseman.

He thought of the guys on his team.


Animal House

The Blues Brothers

He thought of the promise of the season ahead... ripe like a peach and dripping with the juice, sailing through the middle of the plate, twice the size of a grapefruit.  This year was gonna be different. JFK to Pensacola. This year was gonna be different, or maybe just better.


Spinal Tap

Die Hard

The fans, screaming, the girls, girling...

Lethal Weapon

There would be thirty days of preparation, but he was ready to play right now, ready to wait on the changeup, ready to start swinging. And the shift better be ready to run like hell.

He pressed play on a movie, leaned back with the bat on his shoulder, watched the pitcher's windup in his head and began the work of Spring Training... the work of patiently waiting good.

Black Guy Steals A Pizza

“The thing that I notice, what I find, is that people hear what they want to hear. It doesn’t matter what you say, or what’s right in front of their noses... most people have a way of making things look just about the way they want to see them. Most people have enough musical ability to rewrite the chorus unto the melody bends sweet to their ears... unto the tune is more familiar.”

Eric took a sip of his ginger ale. The bubbles did that thing, that thing where they climb up in the glass to get free.

“That’s the thing about you, Stephanie... I’ve always gotten the notation that you were ready for the ultrabright... for the true music...”

Steph exhaled, unimpressed, listening to the Pet Shop Boys make pink pretty on the diner jukebox. This was not where she wanted to be.

Eric sat across from her- older, hungry, and she found her white Keds did the shoe shuffle soft underneath the booth table where they sat- where was this restaurant again?

Where the fuck was that waiter with her root beer float?

Eric, after hours, a good bite of his pastrami sandwich: “You’re more than a friend to me. An administrative assistant. What is that? What does that mean? Words are a word game. Administrative assistant? Lover? Babysitter? Captain? Sounds like girlfriend to me.”

Stephanie saw the picture of his wife and two hideous children from his office desk. In her head she tilted the frame down so she wouldn’t have to look. Still, there was no way she was gonna give him honey: sleeping with her boss was just too obvious. They had fun at work but still: she used her skills in probability and statistical analysis to estimate the old man's chances at getting sticky: twenty percent- maybe twenty-five at best- but would it be that bad though? To say yes for once? Would it be that wrong? Would it be that bad?

She looked at the specials and cursed her low-menu resistance.

Where was that goddamn waiter? How hard is it to scoop vanilla ice cream anyway?

The diner he had taken her to was wood and chrome, a train car crashed on a city street serving fries and cole slaw and hot grease season savory. It's always a warm night in early Spring, and the stars were falling out of the sky, streaking, beaming good, doing that thing that you never notice because you're too busy to look up.

“You know, you never know what was good for you until you’re looking back. Then you say: ‘Wow, that was, that was really good for me. I should have done this earlier.’ That happens. That’s the magic. That’s how it happens all the time.”

Stephanie got the sudden image of the ignorant waiter in her head, back behind the kitchen counter, his mouth open to reveal donkey incisors twinkle over his dead eyes as he held the ice cream scoop in one hand and gawked at the recipe book before him open to the page “Root Beer Float.” She could picture him squinting vacant at the cow symbol next to the plus sign.

Sorry Eric: you're too old for me.

Eric looked at her from across the table, his eyes doing that thing that made him look alive, that smile he smiled that bridged the gap, the warm on his face that made her butterfly, the smooth of his mojo that made grey another color of the rainbow.

Tonight had been the first time he had asked to see her outside of the office. He had asked her in the melting snow of the parking lot to join him for a late dinner because he didn’t want to be alone and just wasn’t ready to go home. Twenty-five percent. Maybe 33 1/3. But still he had no chance.

“I like you Steph.”

He loosened his tie at just the right minute, his white dress shirt suddenly naked, and Stephanie forgot about getting home in time to feed her dog. She forgot about the cold vanilla bean froth in the sweet bark of carbonated birch cola. She looked at Eric and wondered if he could hold her down. Hard.

She smiled. Maybe he wasn’t the worst guy in the world. Maybe he was right, maybe administrative assistant did mean something else. Maybe his odds were about even now.

She found her foot had slipped out its Ked, extend beneath the table, her toe take its time against the older man’s ankle, rubbing awkward at the soft fabric of his sock. This man, this husband, this father... he didn't seem to mind.

Eric smiled at her. Stephanie exhaled, smiling back.

"I like you too Eric..." The blood went to her cheeks.

Stephanie cooed: “So about what you were saying earlier: you still didn’t get to the part where the black guy steals the pizza...”

Eric blinked. 

Where the fuck was that waiter with her root beer float?


It’s how I saw it. It's how I knew I was alive.

You've been to this page before. Again and again and I’m pretty sure I’ve lived this day before, well maybe not this one, maybe you lived it. Maybe. Maybe you know more than I ever will.

It was that day, that day I don't talk about because there’s nothing to talk about. There was an appointment, there was a doctor. There was bloody gauze. There were lost causes running through my veins.

And like a passing thunderstorm it was gone out to sea, the ocean and the fears, the terrors and seams of reality unravel in a quick. The nurse- soft beautiful- brought me cup of cold juice, and I tasted it, and I drank from the cup. And when she walked out Adeline walked in, her pocketbook over her shoulder, her smile making me rise. The juice was sweet.

The juice was real.

On that day I think I look back- the déjà vu- I laid back, in the hospital bed, and I closed my eyes, not only for a minute but a lifetime or three or four, a smile on my face, a surrender.

A soft dissolve to the next scene.

I saw Adeline. I felt her breathe. I tasted cranberry. And that's how I knew I was alive.

Radio Waves (In The Middle Of The Night)


I feel a sense of... displacement. Do you know what it-?

BRUCE: Why do you-? I’m sorry for interrupting... why do you say displacement?

CALLER:  I feel displaced. Do you know what I mean when I say displacement? I looked it up today. In the dictionary. It means put out of position, to be removed from position. That’s me, that’s how I feel.

BRUCE: It’s late. It’s late at night man. We all get-

CALLER: It’s always the middle of the night. I have been displaced. I know it now. My wife had a place for me, a use for me- even if nothing else as the guy who can change the bulbs or stop the leak in the bathtub. She doesn’t need me anymore. My kids, their eyes do this thing where they used to look at me like I was rock, like I was granite, and now their eyes get this soft fuzzy look that I don’t recognize and they look through me like I was transparent. Or a ghost, translucent. I'm not even here anymore. I'm not even there. I don't have a home. And I don’t have a place that I call home, and it hurts me, and it scares the shit out of me.

BRUCE: I’m sorry to hear that. But the question I asked at the top of the show was do you have a trade proposal for the Mets.

CALLER: Hah? Oh yeah. D’Arnaud and Conforto for Bryce Harper.

A Safe Place To Daydream

Julie didn’t hesitate, she answered like she’d been waiting for the question. “My papasan chair.”

I had to think back, a long way, back from when we lived together. I tried to picture her condo, the second floor, and then there it was: the mental image of the papasan, the wicker pod with that enormous green cushion. It was in the study with her bookshelves, and she used to get up inside it- pull her legs up underneath her like a cat- close her eyes and sigh, lost in thought. I could picture it, and I realized I was smiling.

“And what do you daydream about?

Julie exhaled and uncurled a grin. “Sunshine,” she said, without a doubt, “I can feel it all over my body. Sunshine and people I love."

Magnus took a minute, took a long sip of his beer, wiped the foam from his upper lip, and he told me: “The movies.”

“You daydream at the movies?”

“Let me tell you something: I hate the movies. Same stories, same pretty faces... but in the dark, with the lights down, and all those people sitting around me... I get lost. I get... gone.”

“And what do you daydream about?”

“The Summer I was nine,” he said, without a doubt, “and bass fishing with my Dad."

My daughter looked up from her Caeser Salad, fork like a pointer. She was laughing at me.

“For me? I don’t know, that’s a good one.”

She was humoring me, and then sudden, for real: “The tanning salon.”

“The tanning salon?”

“They put off all the lights, and I’m alone in that hum and away from the kids... I just forget everything else and let my mind go.”

“And what do you daydream about?”

“Hotels. In outer space.” She stood up and headed for the rest room and then, without a doubt: “Being on a spaceship alone, cruising through the stars."

The grilled ham and cheese.. the grilled ham and cheese was delicious.

The waitress came over while I sat alone taking notes. She had a bold smile on her cheeks as she refilled my water glass: “And what about you? Where’s your safe place to daydream?”

I looked up from my notebook, blinking, remembering where I was. I looked down at the wet ink drying on the words I had realized.

“The empty page,” I said. I sat up straight.

The waitress beamed, flipped the hair out of her face. “And what do you daydream about?”

“Everything. All of it,” I said, noticing the jasmine in her eyes, admiring her slim fingers.

“Without a doubt.”

Let's Get Away For A While

There’s a whole world out there, a whole America, a country that once was, a country currently dying.

Everything dies eventually.

Right now there are mermaids, in Aquarama, and spring training baseball, and the Overseas Highway as it unrolls to the Florida Keys, with miles of warm pastel sunsets, palm trees pausing to catch their breath, and as you drive out of Miami and away from the monster noises you lose all your history natural.

Sometimes the magic of a chili dog at a roadside stand is that it makes you sick. But in a good way.

The highway has its own current. It pulls you, Your Honor. The Pacific Northwest is everything they say it is- flannel is for real- and the smell of the sawdust at the mills is better morning food than coffee.

She turned to me in line at the pharmacy while we buy bicarb effervescent, and “Let’s stick to real restaurants the rest of the way,” and I nodded even though I knew we were both lying. There were pictures to be taken, highway exits to be missed... there were license plates to be collected.

Right now it’s time to take your time, let California tour you, through wine country, through endless weeks of endless summer, to taste the black and red of the grape crush slow and good while it spill easy over your lips and insides. There are no phone numbers in the Napa Valley.

The day is crisp. A toast.

While we’re young. While our states are still united. While we can still taste the double cheeseburger.

Okay I’ll shut up.

For a while.

I’m thinking about doing this again, and I’m thinking of taking you with me. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

One thing I have learned in my travels is that America is powered by double A batteries.

Day 42: Is this place a dream?


I love her. I’m pretty sure she loves me. We’re traveling across the country this winter, to see the world, to escape the solstice, to say goodbye to America, to pledge our allegiance, and we start every morning with a kiss to seal our vows.

We’re off to see America. And we’ll send you a postcard from everyplace we get.

Wilford Brimley for Jolt Cola

Life. It’s like a kick to the teeth while your neighbor violates your daughter’s private places. In this crazy town you need an elixir.

I got your elixir.

Jolt Cola. Suck it up like liquid fire while I violate your daughter’s private places.

Jolt Cola. Because cocaine ain’t legal yet.

Tuesday Morning In Hadleyville

The bullet sprung loose from the bank robber’s gun, travel stray ricochet out the front door, hit the steel spittoon outside the barbershop, made the metal pot wobble on the rough wood walkway, make it tilt, tumble like a ten pin, the black slush pouring out, soaking the steps, the horses tied at the hitch look up and complain out loud.

Deputy Varmin run into the Sheriff’s office, clutch his hat to his head. “Sheriff! They’re here! They’re doing it! They’re robbing the Hadleyville Bank! Bart Fargo and his gang!”

Sheriff Busser took a deep breath, sit back in the old wooden chair at his desk. It creaked slow as he tilted, the aural ache of an elderly man standing up under Arizona sun.

Sheriff Busser looked back blank at Deputy Varmin.

“Did you hear me Enos? Bart Fargo is robbing the bank.”

“Now just hold on, Floyd, hold your horses...” Sheriff Busser slipped his thumbs into the belt loops of his coarse fabric pants.

“You calm yourself, Floyd. I want you to take a good gasp of air and get collected. Panic don’t do nobody any good.”

Varmin obliged, inhaling and exhaling exaggerated. The eyebrows of his thin angular face forming a tension-filled V. He tried again. 

“Sheriff Busser: Bart Fargo's back. He musta broke out. He and his gang just rode into town. They went straight for the Hadleyville Bank. They’re in there right now, just across the street. They’re robbing the bank. Right now.”

Sheriff Busser pulled a cigar sloppy-rolled from an envelope on his desk. He brought it under his nose and sniffed. “Real Carolina tobacco. My brother in law Percy bring it in from Raleigh.”

Sheriff Busser put the stogie between his lips, begin to gum it slow. Deputy Varmin watched him in disbelief.

“The Bart Fargo gang-”

Busser winced like a wasp had stung his backside. Floyd Varmin looked away.

Sheriff Busser pulled a match out his desk drawer, struck it against the desktop, lit his cigar slow, the dry tobacco making audible crackle as it sizzle under the flame.

The Sheriff inhaled, letting the rich smoke fill his lungs. “Nothing like a good cigar in the morning time.”


"I find I enjoy the simple pleasures much more as I get older: a fine-rolled cigar, a good brandy... the touch of a whore as she makes a sandwich of her womanhood..."


"I learned how to shoe a horse just last week. Wyatt the smithee show me: how to tack the nails into the hoof. It's tricky work but I like it. I find it... satisfying."


"He fought at the Alamo, ya know. Wyatt the smithee."

“Sheriff Busser... the bank...

“Now Floyd...” he began, a gust of smoke filling the room between them, “the word on the street is that Bart Fargo’s gang come into town.”

“I know. I’m the one what told you.”

Gunshots could be heard just outside.

“And as I hear it Bart Fargo and his gang are robbing the Hadleyville Bank. You know anything about this?”

“You mean that thing what I told you? Just now?”

“Some people say it’s just a rumor.”

“It ain’t no goddamn rumor... yeah Bart Fargo’s gang come into town. They come into town and they’re robbing the goddamned Hadleyville Bank is what I’m telling you!”

“That’s what you say,” said Sheriff Busser, and then, “Isn’t this Hadleyville's problem?”

Deputy Varmin took off his hat. “THIS IS HADLEYVILLE!”

Sheriff Busser took another long drag off his cigar, the dense smoke making fog. “That’s what you say.”

A gun fired and a woman screamed from the bank across the street.

“Sheriff... we gotta do something.”

“Now I don’t know about you but I reckon we ought to do something about this.”

For a long moment neither man spoke.

Varmin finally exploded: “Well what are we gonna do?!?”

“About what?” Busser’s handlebar mustache gave him the droopy surrender of a walrus eating scrambled eggs. “You’re more riled than a polecat on payday. More jumpy than a squirrel on Easter Sunday."”

“Sheriff... what in Jesus’ name is wrong with you? Bart Fargo is robbing the goddamn Hadleyville Bank! Across the street! Right now!”

Sheriff Busser sat forward, suddenly aware. There was a steel-fire in his eyes and Floyd could see the old man's heart was pounding hard. The Sheriff stiffened, his hands on his desk, palms down on the knotty wood. He had reached a decision.

“I think I’ll have beans for lunch.”

Deputy Varmin: “Awww for shit’s sake!”

Sheriff Busser stared into the cigar smoldering, laying it down in his ashtray as Deputy Varmin pulled his gun and walked outside toward the bank. The lit tobacco dwindled lazy.

“Sometime I just like to watch it burn,” Sheriff Busser said to no one in particular.

Bart Fargo sent him a postcard.

A Long Time Ago

It is a time of corporate oppression. Fascism has quietly taken the country in its hands and holds it in its vicious grip. Motion pictures are rebooted to feed the consumer assembly lines, and childhood memories are auctioned to the highest bidder.

The Empire has overtaken its own citizens, creating a new order of evil and permanent suspicion, enslaving the masses through financial and social turmoil. All communication is monitored and recorded by the watchful Imperial eye.

The Empire- newly rejuvenated- moves to tighten their stranglehold on the planet, but a small group of rebels has formed an alliance, pledging their lives to the cause of the human condition. They fight from remote locations to hide their numbers.

These rebels are the last hope for America, once the land of liberty and home of the brave, in its struggle to break free and restore freedom to the galaxy...