Good morning from the towers that will soon be oceanfront property. It was one of the gifts my president promised me in exchange for my vote, and I am now just waiting for the tide to roll in a little further. He promised a similar gift recently on the East Coast, so perhaps I should be careful what I wish for. Hmmnnn. Be careful what you wish for. Sounds cliche’. Must mean our contest, in which each author must conjure up as many unoriginal cliches as it takes to float my boat is still on track metting mixaphors. Remember, and don’t forget, it is not a good thing to be redundant and repeat yourself. Just send in your entry that involves a conversation on a bus, with cliches packed like sardines.
AND WE ARE EXTENDING THE DEADLINE TO November 27TH, AS THE BUS WAS LITTLE SLOW LEAVING THE STATION.
Here is Barbara Walker’s entry.
Two people got on the, nearly empty bus, after I did. As they sat down, they continued a conversation that they were having. I couldn’t help, but eavesdrop.
“You got suckered into coaching Charlie’s baseball team”?
“Suckered is too strong a word; how about roped into it? My cousin, Glen, is assistant coach. He’s a by- the-book, kind of guy. To coin a phrase, he can crack the whip”!
“So, what’s it like”?
“Well, we have 14 boys and 1 girl. Most of them can cut the mustard, except one boy who couldn’t hit the side of a barn. The girl can hit it out of the park, sometimes, at practice.”
“Didn’t you just have your first game?”
“Yeah, do you want to hear about it? Really?”
I willed the friend to say yes. This was getting interesting!
“Yeah, go ahead, bore me to tears! Just kidding. Go on, tell me everything.”
“Well, I woke Charlie up at 8:00. That kid sleeps deader than a door nail! Up and at ‘em, Charlie, the early bird gets the worm!” When he only opened one eye and moaned, I told him to curb his enthusiasm.
“You’re so sarcastic!”
“I know, I’m just made that way”. Anyway, I told Charlie, he better not wake up on the wrong side of the bed, today, of all days. That’s when he became all ears.
He opened his eyes wide and said, “Today’s the day we kick some ass, right?”
I told him that that was true, but he better not let his Grandma hear him talk like that or she’d clean both our clocks! I told him to come down to breakfast, even though it was probably cold, but better late than never. “Charlie can eat like a horse, yet, he’s as skinny, as a rail! It just drives me crazy, because just looking at food makes my waist expand an inch.
As we sat at the table, my stomach was tied in knots. I cleared my throat and told Charlie to remember that there is no I in the word team. “You know what he said? He said, “I know and it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game”.
I told him that he could get that shit eating grin off his face and he said that he was sorry.
“I’ve seen that grin.”
“Yes, he’s good at it! At 9:00am, right on the button, Glen rang the bell. He asked me how it was hanging and I told him that we were good to go. The bad thing about having a cousin know you so well is that he looked at me and said, “You look all worked up. What’s up; a penny for your thoughts?”
Hell, I just don’t want to make an ass out of myself, I told him. And I don’t want to let the team down.
Glenn told me to take it easy; that it was going to be easy as pie. He said, “Let’s take the bull by the horns and go to the park and win a game”.
I told him, “Yeah, it’s a piece of cake.” I just hoped it wasn’t cocoanut cake. I hate cocoanut. I yelled at Charlie to get the lead out and we piled into the van. Glen told me I’d better put the pedal to the metal or we would be a day late and a dollar short. I didn’t want to drive like a bat out of hell, but we did have to pick up several of the boys.
When we were almost to the park, I couldn’t take all the noise in the back of the van, anymore. I yelled, “For crying out loud, will you boys quit horsing around!”
Suddenly, you could have heard a pin drop. To complete the picture, Charlie looked like he was going to cry crocodile tears. Oh, this was par-r for the course! I tried to lighten up and I winked at Charlie. He smiled at me. That kid has a big heart.
“Yeah, he’s always been a sweet kid.”
“Are you sure you want to hear the rest?”
“I’m all ears!”
“Okay.” We piled out of the van and went to our dugout. Glen said, “There’s Bill, the other teams coach. He’s a legend in his own mind.”
One of the kids’ fathers called me over to him. At first, he was just shooting the breeze, but then, he started telling me how to coach.
So, I told him, “Look, you wouldn’t put your money where your mouth is and coach this team, so, put a cork in it!” I walked away.
“What did he do, then?”
“Oh, Glen and I heard him tell his wife that Coach had a bug up the ass! Glen didn’t say anything. Sometimes, silence is golden.”
After both teams warmed up, I told our team that it’s now or never. Do or die. No pain, no gain. All of a sudden I couldn’t remember our batter’s first name. It was on the tip of my tongue. Glen saved me, by saying, “Knock it out of the park, Sammy”.
Our second batter, Dan, was still in the dugout. “Hey, Dan,” I yelled“, quit twiddling your thumbs and get on deck!”
He looked a bit queasy, but said, “Okay, Coach.”
Sammy hit the first pitch and took off like a shot. He made it to second, safely.
We were nearing my stop and I really wanted to hear the end of this conversation. I made up my mind to go past my stop, if I had to.
I told Dan to keep his head in the game and try to get a piece of it. The pitcher made mincemeat out of him. Three pitches, three strikes. I told him to keep his chin up; he’s hit it next time. Tom came up to bat and singled. Sammy, given free reign, made it to third. That kid is a diamond in the rough. Charlie was up next. I wasn’t showing favoritism when I made him clean up batter. He’s got game and gives 110%
“How did he do?”
“I’ll be a monkey’s uncle, if he didn’t slam it over the fence! 3 runs! The look on Charlie’s face was a Kodak moment. I looked over at the other coach. That guy was a dead ringer for Telly Savalas. He didn’t look like a happy camper.
“As the game wore on, everything was coming up roses! By the 9th inning, we had cleaned their clock! I wanted to cry, but I’m the coach, so I acted as smooth as sliced bread. The father, who had tried to tell me how to coach, approached me, saying, that’s getting behind the eight ball!”
I replied, “Bite me”. Then, I turned to the team, saying, “Pizza’s on me!”
“In one voice, they yelled, two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate?”
“Holy cow, those kids are loud!”
Exceeds the required word count a tad–we asked for about 200, but rules were meant to be broken–Hey! another cliche!
By the way, the b and white photo is one of my inspirations. Shows an elderly couple about to board the bus after being arrested for an anti-war protest. What the small photo does bot capture is not only the determination in their faces, but the look of pride in the young man behind them as he recognizes that the protest was attended by the couple who could have just sat it out. Love the photo, love the album “Come from the shadows.”