Category Archives: Humor

My Story

There are things I like to avoid lie the plague—like dead people. I went to John’s apartment to take care of some business, you know, and there he was, sprawled on the kitchen floor, dead as a doornail.

Well, I took the tiger by the tail and called the cops. They got there pretty quick, too, considering that the sugar from their donuts was a thick as thieves around their lips.

They were like a kid in a candy store, snapping pictures of the deceased and dusting for fingerprints. Sgt. Tomlin sat me down in the living room to take my statement. “Why did you come here?” he asked.

“Well, we, John and me that is, we are scout leaders,” I told him. “We needed to discuss an upcoming trip to Philmont.”

“What kind of trip?” he asked. Seriously? If only these walls could talk, I mean, the man couldn’t think outside the box much less find his way around the inside of the box. I’m not even sure he could think outside a bag or recognize beans when the bag was open. The man is like a low hanging fruit. I thought about saying a flippant “Acid trip, Dude,” but instead I told him about Philmont’s incredible outdoor scout program.

After about an hour of Tomlin’s stumbling interview, he joined the other cops searching for clues. They say every dog has its day, but this was not Tomlin’s day, nor was it Detective Billson’s day. It was I who found the threads from a red pair of pants, still clutched in John’s cold dead fingers. Billson ragged Tomlin for overlooking the thread he himself had missed, sort of the pot calling the kettle black. They both needed to wake up and smell the coffee.

But at the end of the day they got their man. Seems that the man in the red coat that was missing the thread found in John’s hand had stopped at the 7-11 store across the street to stock up on beer. The rookie cop left outside to guard the patrol cars caught him jaywalking.

Well, now I need to find someone to replace John for our Philmont trip. There are plenty of fish in the sea they say, so I should have no problem finding someone soon.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

(If you’ve stuck with me this far–this was a deliberate writing exercise to see how many bad clichés I could work into a short story.)


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Filed under Humor, Scouts, Short Story

A Slight Mishap

I stepped on the gas and felt the Galaxy’s

engines rumble in response.  So I said to my girl,

“How about a spin about the universe before dinner?”

I red shifted, let out the clutch, and set off

observing Plank’s constant and the laws

of thermodynamics and relativity–

one must obey the laws.  But I forgot

Newton’s law, blue shifted on a weak force curve,

and spun out of control, throwing out

the universal joint, then careening

headlong into a black hole.  I felt my atoms

come apart at the force of twenty-one billion gigawatts

of electricity, and was scattered across

the event horizon–which put a damper

on my other plans for the rest of the evening.


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Filed under Astronomy, Humor, Poetry

How a Dancing Sack of Potatoes Found Perfection

I hated school dances.

I tried to like them.  I did.  I went to the first dance of the year in Junior High School.  We boys clustered along the south wall of our multipurpose room.  The girls clustered along the north wall.  We stared across the vast gulf between us while the vice principal played the popular hits of the day.

“Go on, guys,” he urged us.  “Go ask a girl to dance.”

To us guys, that gulf was as wide as the Pacific ocean.  After repeated appeals, the vice principal tried a new tactic.  “Girls,” he pleaded, “go ask a guy to dance.”

We guys flinched, horror-stricken that some girl would single one of us out, drag us out to the middle of the room–most likely after clubbing us over the head–and make us embarrass ourselves trying to dance.

Then came relief.  Not one girl crossed the gulf.

By eighth grade we had crossed that gulf.  We danced, flailing our arms about and gyrating our legs.  I danced about as smoothly as a sack of potatoes mounted on toothpicks.  I’ll take that back.  A sack of potatoes mounted on toothpicks would have looked graceful compared to me.

In High School, hoping to dispel such a rational diagnosis of my dancing skills, I continued going to school dances–Sadie Hawkins, Winter Balls, Homecoming, Latin Club dances, and all the rest.  I struggled to improve my abilities.  I saw the winces of the girls I asked to dance.  They were kind enough to never say no, but the wince told me being seen dancing with me was a major faux-pas on the social register.  Early in my sophomore year I recognized my dancing–which never came close to anything one could consider actual dancing–was simply an exercise in making a fool of myself.

Thus, in rapid succession, I absented myself from the homecoming dance that fall all the way through to the Junior Prom the following year.  My self-esteem soared.  Life was once again good.

For some unremembered reason, I had remained in my fifth period class through the passing period.  My teacher gave me a late pass and I headed off to my next class across campus.  As I turned down the first hallway I met up with Jutta, a fellow member of the speech team who had also been in the fall production of The Crucible where I had portrayed Ezekiel Cheever.

“Hello, Jutta.  Late for class?”

She nodded, holding up her late pass.  As we were both heading to the same class, we walked the rest of the way together.  I searched for some topic to help pass the time.

“Are you going to the Junior Prom?” asked Jutta before I could settle on a safe topic.

“No,” I replied.  Then, because the subject had been raised, I said, “I suppose you are going.”

“No, I’m not.”

“Why not?” I asked curious to hear her response.

“Because no gentleman has asked me.”

Then, because I have always enjoyed a wise crack, I replied, “Well, if I was a gentleman, I would ask you.”

“I accept,” she replied, as serious as I had not been.

“Mom,” I called as I entered the house after school.  “I have a problem.  I have a date for the Junior Prom and I need to rent a tux, buy tickets for the dance, and make a dinner reservation, and the prom is in six days!”

“What?” Mom asked.

“I wasn’t planning on going, but…it’s a long story, Mom.”

All that week my anxiety grew.  Jutta was a friend.  We had been in classes together.  We had gone to speech competitions together, often spending downtime at those events with the same group of friends.  We had been in the school play together.  However, I had never danced with her.  Now I was about to make a spectacle of myself before her.

I had done that once before, at the dress up, end of the year, speech team awards banquet.  I got up to refill my glass at the punch bowl.  As I poured my glass, Jutta arrived to refill her glass.  She was beautiful in her gown and full length satin gloves.  Wishing to do that gentlemanly thing, I offered to pour the punch for her.

She hesitated, for I had teased and pranked her mercilessly that year.  “Please,” I asked, “to make up for all the teasing, allow me to be a gentleman and refill your glass.”

Accepting my offer, she held out her glass.  I filled the scoop and raised it.  Then, as I poured, my hand mysteriously jerked just enough to spill half the contents over her beautiful gloves.  “Oh, Jutta,” I wailed.  “I’m so sorry.  I didn’t mean to do that.  It was an accident.”

It took a while, but my profuse contrition and apologies convinced her it had been an accident.  Now I was stewing over what unintended jerk act I would commit at the dance that would forever classify me as an idiot in Jutta’s mind.  By the time I arrived at her door I was shaking worse than an Aspen leaf.

Jutta was glorious.  Her hair was styled in a becoming manner.  Her gown was simple but striking.  I presented the orchid corsage to her but passed on pinning it on for fear of drawing blood.

Dinner was at a high-class Chinese restaurant where we recognized several other couples from our school.  Eating by candlelight was glamorous and all was going well.  Yet all too soon it was time to head to the dance.

All our dances were held in the school gym.  We arrived, Jutta checking in her cloak before we joined our classmates.  The music began.  The moment of doom had finally arrived.

As we walked out onto the dance flour, I felt my anxiety fade.  Jutta and I were friends.  We weren’t romantically involved.  I didn’t need to impress her.  We were here to have fun.  “I am going to do just that,” I decided.  “I am going to have fun.”

And that is just what I did.  I had fun.  Did I dance well?  Please!  I will always be inept on the dance floor.  I danced with far less grace than that of a terrier shaking a rat.  It didn’t matter.  We were having fun without concern for what others thought.

When I walked Jutta to her door, I thanked her for a most wonderful time–the only fun dance I had ever attended.  And in memory of that night, I have never attended another dance.  Who wants to mess with perfection, even if it was the perfection of a sack of potatoes attempting to dance while mounted on toothpicks?


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Filed under dance, Humor


Memorization has never been my strong suit.  I had spent six months just memorizing two short pieces–Handel’s E minor Sonata and the C-sharp minor Piano Prelude by Rachmaninoff for one of my college recitals.  At last the day had arrived and I was finally ready to play these pieces by memory.  I would play the Handel sonata on the harpsichord, then I would move to the concert grand Steinway for the prelude.

I was a romantic when it came to music and Rachmaninoff was a brilliant composer of the romantic style.  This prelude began with both hands playing descending octaves.  Then came three full chords, each hand overlapping the other, alternating the overlapping between each chord.  From there the music exploded into alternating octave passages and multiple overlapping chords.  The brooding mood of the opening measures then moved into rapid triplets before coming to a grand, dramatic finale.  I would be in my element.

Like the Romantic musicians of old, I was also enamored with Baroque music.  My love of classical music dates to my hearing J. S. Bach’s First Brandenburg Concerto.  Thus my choice of the Handel Sonata, with its onslaught of rapid and glorious polyphony, which would complete my romantic approach to this recital.

I played the Sonata flawlessly, relishing the plucked notes of the harpsichord.  I rose, took my bows, and moved to the piano.

I should have checked the piano before sitting down to play.  The instrument had been wheeled in and a heavy, metal piano bench with padded seat had been set in front of it.  I sat down, adjusting the bench, while moving mentally from the Baroque to the Romantic era.  I began to play.

The soft, brooding octaves rose to the audience’s ears.  The three full chords moved into the second set of brooding octaves, with the dynamics growing over the next set of full chords.  The next set of octaves and full chords came, each stroke growing louder.  Than then, reaching fortissimo, the piano rolled away from me.

The piano movers, setting up for the recital, had failed to lock its wheels.  What followed happened in only a moment.

I considered my options.  On my piano at home I had learned how to hook my left leg around one of the piano bench legs and with a single motion, pull it closer to the piano.  But this bench was far heavier, and when I had moved it as I first sat down, the metal legs had made a loud screeching sound.  I abandoned that idea.

I could also slide easily over the smooth wooden surface of my piano bench at home.  But this bench had a padded leather seat.  Sliding to get closer was not an option.

While the piano had rolled away from me, it had not rolled beyond my reach.  Leaning forward in imitation of Glenn Gould, I continued playing.  And as I played, I dug my fingers into the keys as if I could pull the instrument closer.  Fortunately, I didn’t miss a beat, a note, or my outward composure.  I was aware, however, of a buzz through the audience and of the sudden intensity of my professors concentrating on how I was handling this situation.

As the final chord ended my part of the recital, I vowed the next time I played a piano mounted on wheels, I would personally check them to be sure they were locked.  The devil may be in the details, but he surely was in those wheels.

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Filed under Essay, Humor, Music

My Astronomy Anonymous Confession

Hi.  My name is Louis, and I am an astroholic.

It all began so innocently.  I had not intended to become an habitual star user, a Messier-maniac, and a lunar-lister.  I mean, what rational person decides, “I’m going to become addicted to a substance so powerful, it will forever turn me into a compulsive obsessor needing not just a daily fix, but roman-candlesque ecstasies?”

Innocently, I had moved to a place that had no electricity.  That’s right—no electricity.  No electric stoves, refrigerators, automatic coffee makers, televisions, sound systems, or lights—especially no lights.  There was just bottom-of-the-ocean-floor inkiness.  No street lamps, no porch lights, no flashing neon signs, no windows lit up with an unearthly glow—there was only an ebon sky and a million stars.  Actually, only slightly more than 6,000 visible to our naked eye, but any astroholic will know what I mean.

Perhaps as innocently, there had been placed in my hands a small book.  How small? It fit in my shirt pocket.  It had an innocuous enough title:  The Sky Observer’s Guide.

There I was, under dark skies inhabited by countless glowing stars, holding in my hand a signpost to an astronomical garden of delights.  Had I known then what I know now, I would have flung her into the depths of my cooking fire and burned her along with my eggs and bacon.

Instead, I opened her shiny new portals.  I read her text.  I looked at her pictures and diagrams.  How was I to know that asteroids and nebulas, globular clusters and binary stars were so addictive?

There was something poetical in her text.  I don’t mean romantic poetry with its flowery nonsense and strange phrases like “plasky,” “twixt,” or “ne’er.”  This is taunt, minimalist poetry that could easily be written in free verse.

“Stellar magnetic-field lines stretch

and pile up

in front of the planet’s


as the planet sweeps through the solar wind.


This pile up discharges its energy in sporadic


Similar to solar flares.


The flares accelerate

charged particles,

which follow stellar magnetic lines

down onto the star’s chromosphere,

producing the hot spot.”


Oh, yeah.  Lay it on me, brother.

Well, the temptation to use grew stronger.  Out on my front steps, book in hand; I looked up at the stars.  I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I felt a rush—a chaotic, overwhelming, delicious rush.  I had never felt so alive, so attuned to the universe.  “Tune in.  Turn on.  Drop out.”  That was what Timothy Leary called out to my generation.  At that moment, I took the first step down his merry path to total addiction.  I was in the grips of CAD (Compulsive Astronomy Disorder).


At first, I was a naked-eye user.  It is amazing how heady such light dosages seemed.  My nights were given to learning names (beetle-juice or beetle-geese?), shapes (how does a trapezoid of four stars look like Corvus the crow or Lepus the rabbit?), and associations (that smatter of stars is supposed to look like a crab?).

The stars seemed like nothing less than 88 dot-to-dot pictures without benefit of numbers.  I would study charts by day.  At night, I would sit under stars, straining to make out those patterns found in the book.  It was slow going, but each use intensified my desire to “get high” on stars.

Then, after a couple of months, I could talk constellations like a pro.  I would look up and say, “There’s Cassiopeia, wife of Cephus there, mother of Andromeda over there, who suppressed all motherly feelings and offered her daughter as a sacrifice to Cetus, the sea monster down there.  Fortunately, Perseus, over there, was flying by aboard Pegasus, the winged horse up there, holding the head of Medusa in one hand.  He saw the Lovely Andromeda, rushed to her rescue, defeated Cetus with the Medusa’s head, married the princess, and they rode off into the sunset to become constellations, where they all lived happily ever after.”  I didn’t even have to look at The Sky Observer’s Guide.  I was right.

I was knocking off constellations left and right, happily writing in dates in the sky guide for each new one I found.  You can’t imagine how glorious I felt when I added Telescopium and Microscopium to my list.  All was bliss.  But something dark, something sinister lay hidden in the pages of The Sky Observer’s Guide.


I had to dig to find my old binoculars.  Years ago Dad and I had bought two bins to study birds, but Mom had confiscated them when she found us studying some Yellow-headed Babysitters in our neighbor’s yard.  The bins were old and boxy, but the optics were superb.

I turned them on several Messier objects:  M44—the Beehive Cluster, M42—The Great Nebula, M6 and M7—two brilliant open clusters, M31—the Andromeda Galaxy.  Oh, the flood of new pleasure.  What had been faint smudges of light became rich fields of pleasure.

But the higher the ecstasy the deeper the despair.  I was moving into the dark side of astronomy.  I longed to see more. This should have warned me of how serious my addiction had become.

My checkbook was another indicator of the lesser-known syndrome I had developed—AROS (Astronomical Resource Overdose Syndrome).  My Sky Observer’s Guide was no longer sufficient for my needs.  Soon I was adding Norton’s Star Atlas, Asimov’s Quasar, Quasar, Burning Bright. Hoyle’s Cosmology, Burnham’s handbooks, the Web Society’s guides, Sky and Telescope,  Scientific American, and a new bookcase to house all my astronomy resources.

And while I could pick out Tycho on the lunar surface, Proclus was only a bright spot through my bins.  And Hadley Rille? It was beyond the power of my bins to find, let alone study.

The whirlpool was just a faint smudge of light.  I couldn’t find the trapezoid in the Great Nebula.  The Horse head couldn’t be found.  Jupiter’s bands were hinted at, but few details could be discerned.  I needed more power.


A small box arrived in a plain brown wrapper—which should have warned of the dangerous ground I was now treading.  Inside was a package of pitch, containers of grit, a mirror blank, and a cutting tool.  I attached handles to both cutting tool and mirror blank.  I shaped a workbench from an old wooden crate.  I set up shop in the garage.

Each night found me busy in the garage, working my way around and around the workbench, skimming the cutting tool across the face of the mirror blank.  The sound of glass scraping over glass sandwiching a layer of grit was quite pleasant to my ears.  My dad became captivated by the process.  As I cut away, he built the first of an eventual three telescope bases and mounts.

One hundred hours of cutting later, my mirror was silvered, placed reverently into its cell mount, and trundled out onto the front lawn.  I aimed the Double-Delta six-inch Newtonian Reflector at Jupiter and eagerly peered through its eyepiece.  What a rush.  This was nirvana.


My Dad was stronger than me.  He never went beyond being a recreational user.  Occasionally he would use the Double-Delta to observe the moon or one of the planets.  I, however, was now a heavy user.  My Messier list was growing along with my eyepieces, accessories, and advanced books.  I studied my Alpher, Betha, Gammaw, and Einstein.  I memorized NGs numbers.  I debated the relative merits of the Uppsala General Catalogue of Galaxies, the Catalogue of Galaxies and Clusters of Galaxies, and the Morphological Catalogue of Galaxies.

It is sad to see a person who is fully in the grip of EACD (Extreme Astronomy Compulsive Disease).  I have stopped caring for my appearance.  My hair is often disheveled, my clothes rumpled, and my color scheme mismatched.  I live for occultations.  I glory in perihelion, apogee, perigee, and syzygy.  I dream of superior conjunction, opposition, parallax, and elongation.  I even use those phrases in conversation, causing people to stare at me as if I was some lunatic conversing with inner demons.

Of course, I am a lunatic.  My demons have names like Autolyeus, Doppelmayer, and Herschel.  They come equipped with impact melts, oblique rays, proclastics, linear graben, and ejecta.

I need help.  If you have a 24-inch Dobsonian or Schmidt-Cassagrin, I’m your patient.

I am an astroholic.

I believe in a higher-powered Celestron.

I live one star at a time.

Someday, there will be a cure, but I can wait.

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Filed under Astronomy, Essay, Humor

But Not Tonight

We lived beyond the knowledge of those living ten miles away. We believed it to be Shangri-La among the fields of prune trees and apricot orchards. When the winter rains fell and dry creeks roared to life, we, the happy tribe of lost children, stared out the tear-streaked glass longing for spring. Then, when spring transformed the prune trees into white-clad Cinderella’s and yellow mustard waved tribute at their feet, we poured from our front porches to enjoin the rites of spring.

First, there were long tubes of wood to be brought outside. “Lumber,” some called them, “timber,” others proclaimed. The long crack in Gate’s had been carefully taped up and an ugly nick in Tom’s had been smoothed down with rasp and file over the rainy days. Everyone agreed that these repairs would suffice.

Second, webbed, leather hand protectors were brought out. Eagerly we worked the winter stiffened calfskin, each one seeking that personal preference of malleable perfection. No one asked what substances others used. Those were closely guarded secrets. Mine (and I’m finally revealing my closely guarded secret from all these decades past) was simply lots of spit. I couldn’t afford anything else.

Last, there were the leather spheres essential to our seasonal oblations. Jimmy’s had a fresh coat of masking tape, Tony’s was brand new. Mine was blackened from use and scuffed to boot. Clearly we would use Tony’s first and Jimmy’s last.

These simple utensils at hand, it was time to begin the sacred rites. Joey and Tom divided us quickly into two equal groups. Then Joey topped a bat which Tom caught with one hand. Joey immediately placed a hand on top of Tom’s, and hand over hand they raced until Tom’s hand closed over the top.

“Tom’s up,” we called. Joey’s team took the street. Tom’s team sat on the sidewalk in front of Joey’s house, Tom assigning us our order. “Gate first, then Steve. I’m third, Brian fourth…” and as usual, “Mark, you’re last.” Tom, Joey, Dave, those three could drive a ball past the end of the street and into the front yards of the houses beyond. Me? No one played back when I came up to bat. I was lucky if I hit the far fence of Jimmy’s yard, which wasn’t saying much as it was only five feet past first base.

Home plate was the rectangle of painted house numbers on the curb in front of Joey’s house. First base was the same painted rectangle in front of Jimmy’s house, and third base was the same in front of the house no one stayed in for very long. Second base was the small cover over the electrical access in the middle of the street, which being only five feet beyond the manhole cover/pitcher’s mound, made our diamond rather asymmetrical. The yards of those houses that were in bounds, (Tom’s and Andy’s) were fair territory, but the houses were all out-of-bounds.

I came up in the second inning, determined that today was my day. Today I would drive the ball. Today I would force the outfielders crowding second base to sprint hopelessly after a ball heading to the far corners of the street. I swung at Matt’s first pitch. Bat and ball met in the sweet territory where crossed two trajectories. The ball soared up, up, and still up. I flung my bat aside, racing toward first, rounding the bag, looking out into the street trying to find where the ball would land. No one was racing down the street towards a vanishing ball. I glanced back. Matt stood on the pitcher’s mound, glove extended toward the sky, and there as I watched, the ball settled into the pocket of his mit. I was out, another lousy high-flying pop-up.

The rest of the morning was futility for me. Every ball I hit found its way into someone’s mit. I was out, out, out when I came up to the plate.

I wasn’t much better on the mound. I usually pitched, mostly because I wasn’t very good. My pitches were high, low, outside, inside, but rarely over the plate. Not that it mattered. No one else pitches much better. We depended upon defense and scoring to win games. The idea was my lousy pitching would be hard to hit, but the reality was that no one had much trouble hitting off me.

About the fifteenth inning the score was tied 22 to 22. Gate smoked the ball. Kenny, running from first, went racing for home, Gate flying behind him. Danny raced into Tom’s yard, dug the ball out of a juniper bush, and threw it to Tony at third. Tony gloved the ball, turned, and tagged Gate as he stepped on base.

“Out,” screamed Tony.

“Safe,” yelled Gate.

“Out,” hollered Tony holding up the ball to back up his claim. “Out,” yelled Tony’s teammates.

“Safe,” reiterated Gate. “Safe,” argued his teammates.

“Out,” screamed Tony, hurling his mitt on the base to underscore his assertion. “You’re out. I tagged you before you touched the base.”

“Did not,” bellowed Gate, waving his hands to emphasize his point. “Touched base before you tagged me.”

“Did not,” Tony’s team backed up their man. “I saw him tag you. You’re out, out, out!”

“I saw his foot touch base before the tag,” replied Gate’s teammates. “Safe by a mile.”

For several minutes we yelled back and forth, neither team willing to budge. We knew the compromise that we would settle on. Gate would go back to second where everyone agreed he had been safe. As it wasn’t the third out, Tony got the out. We had a one run lead and the game continued.

It was after lunch break that I got my first bit of luck. Batting in the thirty-five inning, the pitcher got one over the plate and I swung with all my might. At the crack of the bat and ball, Robert on third raced for home as I raced for first. The ball dribbled about two feet in front of me, coming to a halt in fair territory. As each team up had to provide the catcher, the pitcher, Matt, had to field the ball. He raced to the ball, scooped it up, and collided with Robert. The ball flew out of his hand as Robert fell on home plate. I stood on second base, safe.

The rest of the afternoon descended into a boring game of outs broken up by rare runs, and at dinner break, our team trailed by three runs. Dinner break was longer than lunch break. Father’s had come home from work, causing time outs as they drove through the playing field into their drive ways. As usual, Jimmy’s dad parked on the street, adding an additional hazard to our game. We were called in for supper, all at different times, so by the tine we reassembled we had about an hour of daylight left. It was inning fifty-six.

Now it was my team’s turn to put up or shut up. We scored a quick run, then, after two scoreless innings, we got two more runs. The game was tied. By then, the sun was down and light was leaking out of the sky. It didn’t matter. Our eyes were adjusting to the growing dark and we could see just fine. It was parents, looking out of well-lit rooms, who would call an end to our  games a good ten minutes or more before it would have been too dark to play. As we came to bat, they hadn’t looked out yet.

Robert drilled a line drive into Daniel’s glove. One away. Roger knocked the ball into Andy’s yard and was safe at first. Time came up and I was on deck. “Come on, Tim,” I called. “Get a hit.”

“We want a pitcher, not a belly-itcher,” roared my team. Matt wound up. He threw. The ball loomed out of the dark. Tim swung. Roger was running. The ball rocket off Tim’s bat. Danny, raced after the ball, scooped it up, threw to second. Matt, covering the base, caught the ball and tagged Tim. Roger held up at third. Two away.

I came up, the worst hitter on the team. The go ahead run was on third, but if I got out…. I refused to think about that. This was my moment. I gave the bat a practice swing, then stepped to the plate.

Matt hurled the ball and I swung, bat biting the air. Strike one. Matt threw again. I swung fouling the ball straight back into the bumper of Joey’s dad’s truck. Strike two.

I stepped back to the plate, glaring at Matt. He reared, threw, and I swung.

The ball rocketed off my bat and I was running toward first. Dave raced backward’s from first, stopping at the far fence in Jimmy’s yard. Joey raced into Andy’s yard, stopping on Andy’s side of that fence. Allen raced to the front corner of the fence. Yes, another pop-up. All three strained to see the descending ball. “Mine,” yelled Allen.

I stopped on first. Roger had stopped a step from home plate. We watched the ball soaring down, Allen’s glove making a swipe at the ball, missing, and the ball hitting on the very corner of the fence, then ricochetting off into Jimmy’s yard. Roger stepped on home. And then Gate’s mother’s voice, “Tony, Gate, Danny, Matt, time to come in.” The game was over.

It was the darkness that gave me my sole moment of baseball glory. Had my high pop-up occurred in the better light of just twenty minutes earlier, Allen would have made that catch easily. As it was, I had hit the ball so high, it had disappeared into the dark, then came hurtling down not giving Allen time to judge the ball. I didn’t care. For once I was the hero. For once I had driven in the winning run. For once I felt what it was like to be a Willie Mays or an Orlando Cepeda. I would go home, get ready for bed, and lay my head down to sleep in triumphant.

For tomorrow the sun would come up and we would rise and go forth and play another day-long game of baseball, and I would be the same lousy ball player I had always been. But not tonight.

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Filed under Humor, Short Story

The Desecration

Joy to the World, another sale

With ten more shopping days!

Go out and buy yet more,

You need to buy some more,

You never have enough

Of useless, tacky stuff,

Of useless, of useless and tacky stuff.


Joy to the Earth, another sell

To brighten up our day.

The fiscal scene is really bad,

If you don’t buy, we’ll both be sad,

For then we will get stuck

With piles of useless stuff,

With piles and piles of useless stuff.


No more let gloomy forecasts keep

Your wallets closed so tight.

By joyful, and for Auld Lange Sine

Buy tons of toys* and tuns of wine.

You still don’t have enough

Of worthless, stupid stuff.

Go out, go out and buy more stuff!


*batteries not included.


Filed under Humor, Poetry