A Batting Ace
Chapter Two; Black Eyes and Boys
After that little incident at the sandlot, I had followed Scotty back slowly, buying a snack to eat on the way before eventually coming home. Scotty had locked himself in his room and was playing with his knickknacks, so I went to my room and started reading Hamlet. What? It was and interesting story... everyone dies in the end except for Horatio. It's exciting.
So I read the rest of the day away, starting with Hamlet, then skimming through Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, and the likes of Shakespeare.
Night had fallen, and Scotty still hadn't left his room, not even for supper. But a few hours after dinner, I heard his mom enter his room, so I set my book aside, listening intently.
"Night hon- oof!" I heard Aunt Sharon say. Probably hit by one of Scotty's little toys that flew around. Seriously, if you wanted to enter that kids room, you better bring a catchers mask.
"Oh, I'm sorry mom." Scotty said, "It was an accident."
I snorted. Yeah, just take someone's eye out.
It was silent as I listened, but I knew Aunt Sharon hadn't left yet, so I kept my ears open.
"Scotty... have you made any friends yet?" Aunt Sharon asked Scotty in a motherly, yet concerned tone.
"No." Scotty answered quietly.
"Why not, honey?" Aunt Sharon asked him.
"'Cause I'm still new." Scotty answered. It was true; we'd only been there a week, and kids were still in school. Of course we didn't go to school for the last two weeks; that would be pointless. Both Scotty and I finished school back at our old town.
"I don't want you sitting around here all summer fiddling with this stuff like you did last summer and the one before." I heard my Aunt tell Scotty. Ouch. That's sad.
"I know you're smart, and I'm proud of you. I want you to get out into the fresh air and make some friends. Run around, scrape your knees, get dirty. Climb trees, hop fences. Hang out with Carter more; she'll help you get into trouble-" Excuse me, but that's not all-... nope. She's right, never mind. "Not too much, but some. You have my permission. How many mothers do you know who say something like that to their son?"
I chuckled. This one I guess.
I missed Scotty's words, but caught up with my Aunts.
"Honey, I want you to make some friends this summer. Lot's of them." Aunt Sharon said, probably giving Scotty an intense gaze to make him fidget.
"Yeah, I know..." Scotty mumbled, "But I'm not good at anything, mom."
That's an understatement.
"Face it, I'm just an egghead." Scotty sighed.
"Honey, you'll always be just an egghead with an attitude like that."
There was a moment of silence before I heard Aunt Sharon leave Scotty's room and knock on my door.
"Come in." I said, stretching my arms out in front of me, my shoulder muscles shaking pleasurably.
She opened the door and poked her head through. Giving her a small smile, I once again realized how much she and mom looked alike.
"No more reading Carter; I want you to go to bed." Aunt Sharon said, her dark brown eyebrows up only a tad.
Nodding, I closed my book and set it on my bed side table, sliding my legs under the covers.
"And will you do me a favor Carter?" She asked, making me look up from where I sat.
"Help Scotty?" She asked, her eyes looking slightly sad.
Giving her half a smile, I nodded before I slid all the way under my covers and rolled onto my side.
She flicked the lights off and I let out a sigh.
This was going to be a long summer.
The next morning, I was up fairly early and sitting at the table, eating some cereal with Scotty at my side, Aunt Sharon in the kitchen and Uncle Bill working on some paper work.
When Scotty left the table with his empty bowl, I lazy watched him go into the kitchen while I ate my cereal.
After a few minutes, Scotty came back out, Aunt Sharon standing in the door way, looking eagerly at Scotty and Bill, while Scotty looked nervous, glancing at me quickly before his gaze rested on Bill.
I ate my cereal, curiously watching the scene take place before me.
"Uh, Bill, uh-" Scotty started, stuttering like he always did around his step father.
"Yeah?" Bill asked, not looking up from his work.
"I mean, Dad, uh... can we- I mean, could you, like you said, teach me to play catch?" Scotty muttered.
Man did that take a long time. I could already feel myself getting old.
"Yeah." Bill said, glancing up from his work, "Sure. But I gotta get this done, okay?"
He was just making excuses. Can't really blame him though; teaching Scotty to play catch was going to be a hassle. He was more girly than I was.
"Okay, thanks." Scotty said, smiling.
The kid was dense.
Aunt Sharon came out from the kitchen and put her hand on Scotty's shoulder to stop him from walking away, looking at Bill with a smile.
"Bill?" She asked.
"Yeah?" Bill asked dully, working on his papers.
"Uh, couldn't you take a break and teach him now?" She asked sweetly, giving Bill the motherly "you better teach him now" look.
"Mom, it's okay, really-" Scotty cut in.
"Honey." Bill sighed, looking up from his work, "I said I would, and I will, but I'm under the gun."
I rolled my eyes.
"How long could it take?" Aunt Sharon asked. Although she looked calm on the outside, I could feel her burning on the inside, "Can't you spare half an hour and teach him now?"
"Mom really it's okay-" Scotty tried again.
"All right." Bill said, standing up, "Okay, I'll get my glove.
Ha, amazing. The mans going to teach his kid something. It's a miracle.
Having to see this with my own eyes, I followed Bill and Scotty to the back door after I placed my empty cereal bowl in the sink.
"All right, Scotty, get down to that end of the yard." Bill told Scotty as he left the pink building.
While Scotty ran to the end of the yard, I sat on the step right outside the door, getting a front seat to watch this clown act.
"Now, the key to this game is keeping your eye on the ball." Bill told him, making his way to the other side of the yard, "No matter whether you're in the field or at bat, eye on the ball, kay?"
"Alright, uh, yeah. I think so." Scotty stuttered.
"Where the ball goes, your glove should go. Got it?" Bill asked, waving the baseball around.
"Okay." Scotty said, adjusting his overly large hat. What kind of cruel person would get such an ugly hat for a kid like him? Oh right. Me.
"Okay. All right." Bill held the ball in his hand and tossed it to Scotty who...
Dodged it. This wasn't dodge ball! This was baseball. You catch it!
"Darn. Sorry." Scotty said, turning around to run and get the ball that had hit the chain link fence behind him.
Running back with the ball, Scotty held his arm out to thrown it, but before he did, he paused, and instead, ran up to Bill and placed it in his open glove.
Oh. My. God.
"Uh, here." He muttered before turning around and running back to his place. I was already getting a headache.
"Okay." Bill sighed, after the shock left his face.
"Okay, I'm ready." Scotty said, pounding the inside of his glove.
"Eye on the ball, okay? Got it?" Bill asked, his voice draining. I couldn't blame him. I was drained by watching this kid.
"Okay." Scotty said, nodding his head fiercely.
"It the ball moves, move your glove, got it?" Bill asked half heartedly.
"All right, here we go." Winding up again, Bill tossed the ball to Scotty.
Who missed it by a mile.
Sighing inwardly, I got up before Scotty could get up and ran for the ball. Picking it up, I made my way to Scotty's side before I took his glove.
"Here, like this, Scotty." I told him, tossing the ball back to Bill.
Bill nodded and threw the ball right down the center. I caught it easily before I tossed it back and handed the glove back to Scotty.
"O-okay. Thanks Carter." Scotty stuttered, putting the glove back on.
"Good job, Carter." Bill told me as I sat back down before he turned his attention back to Scotty.
"Okay. Scotty. Keep your eye on the ball." Bill told him for the billionth time that day.
Nodding his head, Bill threw that ball.
This time Scotty actually caught it.
But kind of with his eye.
"Ow, my eye!" Scotty cried as Bill and I rushed him into the kitchen and sat him on a chair. While his mother fussed over him and I watched, Bill went to the ice box, grabbed a slab of meat and slapped it over Scotty's eye.
About an hour later, after running out of interesting books to read, Scotty and I sat out front on the cement porch. While I just sat there, scrutinizing the sunny day before us, Scotty tore his glove to pieces.
"You know... I could help you with baseball, er- catch." I corrected myself, glancing to my cousin.
He shrugged and continued to destroy his toy glove.
Sighing I rested my chin in my palm, which rested on my knee, and closed my eyes, taking in the warm air around me.
I didn't know exactly how I was supposed to "help Scotty" if I couldn't even get him off the porch. I could only imagine that the nice purple eye he had would only make him more reluctant to get out of the house and do something. Maybe if I could find someone to help me with this kid...
Opening my eyes, I saw a boy, the one who was hitting the balls yesterday at the sandlot, making his way toward me and Scotty.
"I'm gonna go play some ball. We need some extra guys. You wanna go?" He asked when he reached us. In his right hand he held a bat, and in his left, a mitt.
Just as I opened my mouth to answer, Scotty cut in.
"No. Thanks." He muttered, hanging his head.
I squinted my eyes at my cousin for a moment before I stood. This could be the chance I needed. Come on, Scotty. Get off your butt and do something. Don't let me fail Aunt Sharon.
"Speak for yourself. Sure."
Nodding to me, the kid turned back to Scotty.
"Why not? Don't you like baseball?" He asked.
"Oh yeah, but..." Scotty trailed off, trying to think of some good excuse.
"But what?" The kid asked.
"But my glove- it's busted." He mumbled, looking from his tattered glove to the kid in front of him.
"Uhh, see? Now I can't go." Scotty finished, "Thanks though."
"It's ok." The tan boy said as he pulled two gloves out of his back pocket, "I got some extra one's."
He tossed me and Scotty the gloves. I caught mine while Scotty fumbled with his.
"Come on, let's go." The kid said as he turned to leave.
Turning around, Scotty opened the screen door and called to his mother that we were leaving before he turned around and the three of us ran off, following the nameless kid in front of us.
"So, you play in the sandlot down the street, right?" I asked as we jogged in the opposite direction.
"Yeah." He mumbled, sending a glance my way, "I'm Benny by the way."
"Carter Ace and my cousin Scott Smalls. Why are we going toward town?" I introduced myself quickly.
"We gotta go get the other guys. They're staked out at the grocery store." Benny told me, a brief moment of shadows giving us shade from the heat.
"Ah... well, do you think you can help me?" Scotty was falling behind a bit- I could see the gears in his mind turning. He was probably already wondering how he was going to fake playing baseball. This was the chance I needed to talk to this kid- Benny.
"Maybe. What is it?" He questioned, his eyebrows falling over his dark eyes a bit.
"I need to get Scotty out of the house this summer. Doing anything, it doesn't matter." I was starting to pant a little. The heat here in California was worse than back home.
"Sure, no problem." Benny said with a shrug.
"No, you've known the kid for maybe a minute." I said with a small laugh, "You don't know him. I need your help."
Benny gave me a bit of an odd look, as though he didn't believe me. He would in a few minutes.
"Here," He stuck his right hand out to me, "I promise. I'll shake on it."
I took his hand, confident I would succeed this summer.
As we shook, Benny scrutinized me quickly before he let go and continued onward.
We came upon some boys from the sandlot yesterday hanging out in front of the grocery store under a coke sign. The plump, curly redhead was saying something about being the Great Bambino when we got close enough.
"Who's that?" Scotty asked from my side.
I felt my brain explode as not only me, but everyone turned to look at him with wide eyes.
"What?" Chubby asked, giving him a look of awe, "What did he say?"
"What, were you born in a barn, man?" A tall kid with glasses asked.
"Yeah yeah, what planet are you from?" Another darker skinned boy asked.
Obviously not Earth.
"You never heard of the Sultan of Swat?" An annoying, thick framed glasses boy asked.
"The Titan of Terror?" The only black boy asked.
"The Colossus of Clout?" A younger boy asked.
"The Colossus of Clout!" An even younger one repeated.
"The King of Crash, man." Benny told Scotty, giving me a glance of aknowledgment.
"Oh yeah. The Great Bambino. Of course. I thought you said... 'the Great Bambi'..." Scotty said lamely.
The little liar; he didn't know who Babe Ruth was.
"That wimpy deer?" Fatty asked.
"Yeah. I guess. Sorry." Scotty said, squinting against the bright sun.
"Anyway, Scott, Carter; that's Timmy and Tommy Timmons." He pointed to the two youngest (man try saying that ten times each). They both spit on the ground in front of them.
"Mike 'Squints' Palledorous." Mr. Annoying was next, and after wiping his glaces, he spit as well.
"Alan McClellan- we call him Yeah Yeah." The darker skinned boy spit next.
"Bertram Grover Weeks." The tallest one with glasses was the next to spit.
"Kenny Denunez." The black boy spit on the ground.
"And Hamilton Porter. We call him Ham." Big Red spit on the ground, "Guys, this is Scott Smalls and his cousin Carter Ace."
I spit on the ground. Hey why not? Might as well try to fit in.
"Hi." Scotty said, raising his hand.
Squints spit on the ground, again, for emphasis on what to do, but obviously, Scotty was oblivious.
"Yeah, um, well they're gonna play with us 'cause he makes nine-" He pointed to Scotty "- and we have an extra. We're wasting time- let's go to the sandlot!"
And our group was on the move once again. I looked up at the bright sun, squinting as I watched the clouds roll by. Today... was going to be an interesting day..
Yes, I removed Wednesday... lost all inspiration I had for her. Oh well.
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