A Cloud over the Teepee

Summary: Jeff's thoughts following his injury during the barnstorming tour. A missing scene for The Traveling Lemo All Stars.

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Author: Tracy Diane Miller

Jeff Metcalf was no stranger to crowds. If Samson gained his strength from his unique locks, then it would appear that Jeff's powerful swing was accentuated by the energy contained from the number of people who flocked to the games. As the most promising right fielder the Indians had seen in many years, Metcalf's baseball prowess was the stuff of legends. Jeff showed no mercy when he hit the ball. The ball, it seemed, expected none as it soared through the air with the speed and agility of an eagle.

If he hit it, they would come. And come, they did. They came to every home game and every game that the Tribe played on "enemy" turf. Baseball was their religion. The ball field was their church. Indians fans worshipped enthusiastically. They were willing disciples who had followed Jeff's career.

After each game, the groupies patiently waited hoping that they would get an up close and personal glimpse of their star. The female groupies were the most devoted and aggressive. It wasn't unusual for Jeff to sport a souvenir after each game: A lipstick imprint adorned his cheek courtesy of a grateful fan.

But today, the crowd was more a curse than a blessing. As he lay on his backside after slipping on a tomato, Jeff couldn't decide which was worst- the undignified position that he now found himself or the incredible pain that he felt shooting through his leg.

Jeff moaned. Mr. Melon stood by helplessly. Jeff sensed that they all expected him to get up, brush himself off, and announce to everyone that he was fine. The young rookie concentrated almost willing his body to move, but his body wouldn't oblige. In the background, he heard the imposing wail of the ambulance's siren approaching in the distance. Jeff tried to think positively (he'd be fine once the doctors patched him up). But in the back of the young man's mind, Jeff wondered if this was the end of his professional baseball career.