Pizza, Beer, and The Yankee Game
After spending most of the day in various hospital rooms, even Danny's small Brooklyn apartment looked unbearably...big, to him. After the continuous noise of ORs, EKGs, and ventilators, the silence was deafening. Mac, god bless him, had gotten him home, though he couldn't quite remember how. One minute he was talking about how it was Louie, not the forensics that had saved him. It got a little blurry from there, until waking up, exhausted, in the passenger seat of Mac's car, in front of his apartment building. Start of shift be damned, Mac was determined to stay until he made sure Danny was settled in. Fate, and the NYPD, had other plans though, beeping Mac to a triple homicide in Chinatown. He went. He had to go. And now Danny was alone.
Danny sat down on his couch. Past that, he couldn't really figure out what to do. The horrible loop that had spun through his head all day threatened to start again. The noises, the sounds, the memories, all of it.
To his great relief, just then, the doorbell rang.
It took all his remaining energy to get up and walk over to the buzzer.
"Hey Messer, it's me, buzz me in, alright?"
Flack's voice. Don's voice. A friendly voice. Did he want Don to see him like this? Did he have the energy to keep up the front? The angel on his shoulder said, "He won't care, he's your friend", the devil whispered "You'll drive him away, like you drove Louie away. Because you weren't tough enough."
"Before you answer, I want to state that I have the shift off. And I come bearing pizza, beer, and a tape of the Yankee game. And I'll stand here all night if I have to. And it's the really good Sicilian kind from Domenico's, half pepperoni, half sausage, which I know you can't resist."
Fuck it. He was helpless before baseball and the lure of good Domenico's pizza. Danny buzzed him in.
Don walked in, put the pizza on the coffee table along with the beer, popped the tape in the machine. And then he turned to face Danny.
Don looked at Danny, Danny looked at Don. Then Don grabbed him in a bear hug that there was no resisting. All of Danny's worries, all his anxieties, melted.
"I'm so sorry about Louie, Dan. I'm so sorry."
Whispered into his shoulder. "I know. I know. Thanks, so much, for...I dunno, everything."
"No problem, man."
Don released the hug, grabbed the remote, and flopped on Danny's couch. He patted the seat beside him.
"Only you," laughed Danny.
"Only me what?"
"Only you could come in and invite me on to my own couch."
"I do what I can." They both smiled. And Danny sat.
"What do you think about this Wang kid?"
"I dunno, really. He's got great stuff, good makeup, I just hope he isn't gonna be one of those Kerry-Prior types, getting injured every year."
"What're ya talking about? That was one time, you can't predict anything from one DL trip."
"I know, I know, but this rotation, man, it scares the crap out me. Johnson's last two starts..."
"Danny, come on. We just gotta get healthy, that's all."
"Have you seen what they got going on up in Boston, with Schilling back, and that Beckett kid?"
"They have to win like that, because they lost Damon and Mueller. That lineup is not what it was, and do you want to go against ours come playoff time?"
"Nah, guess not. Hey, pass me some sausage, wouldya?"
"Hey, I got the pepperoni for you and the sausage for me."
"I like sausage too, now pass the damn piece."
"Alright, but just for that, I'm taking a pepperoni slice."
"What, do you have proprietary pizza...OH COME ON. You gotta make that catch, Sheffield!"
"Give him a break, right field in Oakland's hard to play,"
"Yeah, cuz' it's a fucking football stadium, but it's not that hard. I mean, it's not that right field in Fenway. That is some scary shit to field."
"You should seriously get hazard pay playing there, with those fans they got."
"Oh, they're alright. I mean, they're arrogant as hell, but they're good fans."
"Just for that, you get to pass me a beer, Danny..."
And they watched, and they talked. And little by little, Danny started to feel normal again.
Somewhere around the 5th inning, Don had moved to the easy chair, giving Danny full use of his own couch.
The A's lead off the eighth inning with two doubles and a walk, tying the game up at 5 with 1 out and 1 man.
Don asked the world at large , "Why the hell did we get this Farnsworth schmuck? What does he do besides beat up the opposing team? "
Don looked over to his right. He saw Danny with his feet on the couch, his head towards the television, and his eyes closed. Breathing peacefully. A beautiful sight.
"Alright, then...now I gotta find out where exactly in this disaster area of an apartment you keep your sheets."
Finally he found what seemed to pass for a linen closet. He grabbed a sheet, a blanket, and then another blanket for himself.
As he laid the sheet over Danny's peaceful form, the man stirred slightly, and looked up.
"Hey, sorry to wake you up, kid."
"Wazzuh...whuh time is it?"
"Time to go to sleep, so stop yapping."
"Okay...thanks, Louie..."And with that, Danny fell back asleep.
Don was a little taken aback. But then he started to smile.
"Thanks for the compliment, Dan," he whispered.
Carefully, he walked back to the easy chair, curled up with the blanket, and finished watching the game, watching over Danny as he did so.
"Sleep tight, kid."