Chapter Two - Heading to the Big Leagues in the Big CityJake in his new Boston Awesome Athletics uniform."The kid has an incredible swing," said the recruiter, chomping on his cigar. "The only thing is, it's just average unless he uses this oddball bat…with uh…weird slogans on it."
"Does the bat weigh in okay?" The coach was questioning him about the heavily anticipated new rookie he was delivering.
"It's a little heavy but it's still within regulations, no corking at all," everyone on the team was watching the exchange with mild interest.
"As soon as he gets off the bus I want him in uniform and at the plate," the coach spit on the ground for emphasis or just because spitting is awesome. "If he's any good I'll give him a spot in the lineup in our big scrimmage against Kansas City today."
A little over an hour later Jake "Daring" Armstrong stepped off the bus from the rural south and into the locker room. He knew he'd have to work hard to make a good impression on his coach and teammates, there were only a few days left before spring training ended and they would all head to his new home town of Boston.
"We can do this dad," he whispered to his bat.
He carried it zipped up inside a leather case his mom had made from parts of a cow and a zipper. She had also put a sticker of a smiley face on the side for a little extra pizzazz.
"Welcome to the Boston Awesome Athletics," the recruiter, Sal Bergerberg, said as he entered the locker room. "I hope you came today ready to play ball because the coach wants you to hit a few out of the park."
"Sure thing Sal," replied Jake as he changed into his uniform.
The coach was gruff but sympathetic towards him and he had him take a few swings with a regular bat. Jake wasn't hitting too good so the coach told him to go ahead and use his own bat.
The pitcher eyed him, spit some tobacco because the only thing more awesome than spitting was spitting tobacco, and threw a fastball straight down the middle. It was like slow-motion with Nigger Lover in his hands. Jake swung with all his strength and felt the power coursing through him. The uneven bat connected with the ball and sent it directly into the ground a few inches in front of the plate.
There was a shockwave and everyone's hats blew off. They all gathered around the hole the ball had created.
"Wow, look at that, some swing kid," commented the pitcher.
"Yeah," added the star player Mike "Mike" Swing-Goode, "but a fat lot of good it's going to do us if he keeps hitting them into the ground with that crazy bat of his."
"Just wait guys," said Sal with a smile, "you ain't seen nothin' yet."
Some birds chirped and everyone looked around, then the ground began to shake. Some of the players who were pretty stupid thought it was an earthquake and ran into the locker room to stand in a doorway. Everyone watched in awe as the rumble grew and then, in a fountain of dirt in the left-field area, the ball erupted from the ground and flew in a perfect high curve over the out field fence.
"Home run!," cried Sal, whooping and also hollering and throwing his hat up into the air.
"How the-," began Mike "Mike" Swing-Goode, but Jake interrupted with a smile.
"Sal says China," he explained, "the ball goes in, goes all the way to China, bounces off the great wall, and then it comes back up on this side."
Peggy, the ball boy with the wooden leg, hobbled over and dropped the ball at the plate. It was deformed and stuck in the side was a Chinese coin.
"Yeah," laughed the coach, "I think you can play in the scrimmage today!"The Villain offers up a dastardly fastball for Jake."It's a big game ROOKIE," Mike said with a condescending tone because he was a jerk, "The Kansas City Brewer Rascals are our arch-enemies on the diamond, so don't mess up you nerd!"
Three hours later and it was the bottom of the ninth inning. The Boston Awesome Athletics were down by one point and Jake, who had already scored once, was up to the plate. Doug "The Villain" Evlano was pitching and he had already struck four batters with pitches, concussing two and breaking the elbow of a third. He twirled his long trademark handlebar moustache and adjusted his non-regulation top hat. He had a surprise in store for Jake Armstrong and his crazy bat.
Behind his back he let the baseball roll down his pant leg. With his other hand he retrieved a small, precisely baseball sized, bomb and lit it with match. He was really good at using one hand to light matches, don't ask me to explain further. Meanwhile, back at home plate, Jake Armstrong squared his shoulders and swung at the air a few times in preparation for the pitch. Evlano wound up and sent the bomb flying directly towards Armstrong's face!
Nigger Lover, ever true, lept forward and interposed its oaken shaft between Jake's face and the deadly payload of TNT. The bomb exploded, bursting the timber into pieces and sending shards of wood into the rookie player's chest and face and neck and hands and fingers and one piece went into his thigh. The umpire called the game a forfeit by the Brewer Rascals on account of villainy and chicanery as Jake Armstrong and his precious bat were rushed to the hospital.
After years of being misunderstood, I had hoped we finally had "our" story. I was wrong.
He had a yellow inflatable tube around his waist, the kind with a comical duck head. There was a tiny fish in one of his hands, and a trident in the other. In the background a squirrel wearing shades was water skiing.
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