Where I Am Right Now
We’re sitting on the slope of the lawn looking down on right field. Boys, younger than me, about age 12 or so, are warming up. They run the bases, their heads, covered in red baseball caps, bob around the path. They remind me of the pins we stuck in my world map of all the places we wanted to go. Shelby likes the beach. Her pins were on the West Coast. Mine followed hers—like everything else I do. So, in a move of wild individuality, I replaced the map with a poster of Supertramp. Pricks of light shone through the map where the pins used to be, like the screen on our patio door, how I could see the yard, the sun on the grass, but had to go through something else to get where I want to be.
Shelby and I don’t follow baseball, but it gives us something to do, something to look at instead of each other. We walk around and hang out, end up at the park and talk about how I’ll one day get a girlfriend, how soon before Shelby gets another boyfriend and what celebrities, alive or dead, we’d fuck if we could. Shelby has a thing for the Beatles. I don’t question it.
“I would so fuck John,'' she says. “But I wouldn’t fuck Paul.”
Shelby looks at me like the time I farted, total accident, when we doubled with one of her friends. It was bad timing. All bad. My setup, Shelby’s friend—nice girl, too much makeup—brought some guy to meet Shelby. Right when Shelby’s friend introduced the guy to Shelby, I farted. I don’t remember his name. He had a car. I farted in it, too.
Other than Matt, who sold us the weed we’re smoking, which he’s growing in his parents’ crawl space, Shelby is it for me as far as friends go.
“Lennon! Like, it should be obvious why I’d want to fuck Lennon. John Lennon was a poet.”
“No, not Lennon. McCartney, why not him?”
“Oh … he’s too … white,” Shelby says, and digs around her purse looking for the roach clip.
“Too white? Huh. Well, Lennon wasn’t exactly … tanned.
Shelby swats my arm. “Not like that,” she says, giggling. “White like … pasty.” she squinches her face. She positions the roach in the clip and lights the end till a red ember glows. She puckers her lips and inhales.
“I bet Yoko Ono gave shitty head,” I say.
Shelby laughs and chokes on her toke. Pungent smoke wafts through the air.
“You're probably right about that,” she says, still laughing, and she passes me the joint.
She straightens out her legs and rolls onto her back. Her hair bunches up on top of her head. Dark curls going this way and that frame her face. She extends her arms and pulls out clumps of grass, letting the blades fall in a pile next to her. She turns her head towards me.
“You so get me,” she says.
And then there’s the crack of a bat against a hardball.
We sit up and check out the game. Number Nine is dashing to first. We watch the arc of the ball. It soars over the head of the right fielder.
“Whoohoo!'' Shelby yells. She picks a thick blade of grass and stands up. She wraps the grass between her thumbs and whistles through the reed.
Number Nine rounds the bases. The fielder is running for the ball, which has dropped somewhere in the weeds behind him.
The kid rounds third base. The coach windmills his arm. “Go! Go! Go!” he shouts.
Shelby points and yells. Right field has the ball and he’s ready to throw in.
“Go!” Shelby and I scream. “Go!”
The kid's got wheels and the fielder’s got one wild arm. Number Nine slides into home plate. Shelby whistles again. I raise my lighter above my head. Shelby laughs and leans into me; she smells like cinnamon and campfire. We stand on the slope and watch the team clear the bench.
They crowd around Number Nine, cheering, tossing their red hats into the blue sky.
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