“I don’t know about you, but I’m going to wear
the hell out of my white slacks this weekend.”
He sent the message and turned on the game.
He opened a beer. She poured a drink.
He opened a third, he opened a seventh.
Only then did he notice the sexual tension
in the catcher/umpire relationship.
The second inning deteriorated into the third.
He asked, “How would you kill me?”
She readily answered, “Oh, with a paring knife,
in Tulsa, in October, after watching The Last Waltz
in a motel with no room numbers or ice machine.”
He loved her commitment to detail, but feared
her commitment to detail, and late inning ties.
In the bottom of the fourth, he considered
extracting atropine from their nightshade
to top up her gin and gin and gin and soda.
They had never been to Oklahoma,
but it was on their list of things to do.
Maybe catch a Drillers game, pour a beer
on the first base line for Mike Coolbaugh,
and finally sign the divorce papers.
In the top of the 6th, she questioned the motives
of the third base coach and suggested they stop
taking relationship notes from Marilyn Monroe.
“Joe loved her,” she offered, “in the same way
that you continually disappoint me.”
By the 7th inning stretch, neither of them could stretch.
Out of habit, and necessity, they engaged in short violent
intercourse as “God Bless America” betrayed the stadium.
He called her Elly and she whispered, “Forget my name again,
and you’ll spend the rest of your life in this room.”
It was typically in the bottom of the 8th
where they’d find the bottom of their relationship.
He reluctantly put his white slacks back on,
only because of her incessant complaints
and the late evening chill of a departing summer.
The game was tied in the bottom of the 9th.
It was always tied in the bottom of the 9th.
He dreamt of a walk-off, and being 20 again.
She expected a sacrifice, to be held at night,
to be told she was beautiful, and to believe it.
Too often their fortunes were left to the will
of a light hitting Dominican middle infielder,
of a distant memory of once,
of a promise that never would eventually arrive,
and the summer would finally end.