Chapter Four - The Final Battle of Triumph of the WillEvlano eyes the game with the intensity only villainy and possibly a monocle can offer.The game had not gone well so far. Jake had struck out twice and it was the seventh inning. The Awesome Athletics were down by three points and stood little chance of regaining their lead. The mood was grim in the dugout. Jake waved half-heartedly to Marge, who was watching from the stands, and then slumped back on the bench.
"What's wrong Mister Armstrong?" asked Peggy, the orphan with a peg leg who served as the team's ball boy.
Jake didn't want to break the kid's heart, he had always looked up to him, but Jake was never dishonest.
"If I don't perform today out on the field I'm going to lose my job with the Awesome Athletics."
Peggy nodded sadly.
"I thought that's what it might be," he said. "You seemed to have such amazing power before that accident on the field in spring training. What happened Mister Armstrong?"
"My magical bat Nigger Lover," explained Jake, "it was the source of my hitting power."
"Can I tell you a secret?"
"Sure Peggy, what's that?"
"My leg is carved from Lincoln Douglas's magical bat," he said in a hushed tone.
Lincoln Douglas was the greatest batter in all of history, and his bat was a hand made piece he called "The Negotiator". It was a legend.
"I want you to have it."
Before Jake could object Peggy was unbuckling the harness that secured the wooden leg to his stump.
"Put it to good use," said Peggy, tears welling in his eyes. He hopped away as Jake was called into the batter's circle. It was only a few short moments before he was at the plate and he knew he would be going up against Evlano, the man who had destroyed Nigger Lover.
Finally he took the plate. The umpire gave the wooden leg a dirty look but let it go because Jake had earned a reputation as the strikeout king. Jake's eyes locked with Evlano's. The pitcher twirled his mustache menacingly and gave the rookie a cruel smile. The silence that took the field in the moments before that first pitch was devastating and cruel, like a hurricane in the vacuum of space destroying a dog house where puppies were being born. And puppies can't breathe space."The Negotiator" takes some time out from providing motile assistance to a crippled orphan to smash a ball out of the park."The Villain" let go the first pitch and the ball rocketed high and outside away from Jake Armstrong.
"Ball!" The umpire called.
A second pitch and a deceptive curveball hooked back over the plate just in time to earn Jake a strike one. Then came a fast ball straight down the center. Jake swung at it with all his strength and the wooden leg made contact with a resounding crack that shook free fillings in the head of every person in the stadium. A shockwave spread out from the point of impact, flattening the grass on the field and nearly tearing chunks of the sod up. Glass shattered and stadium lighting was destroyed by the force of the blast. People who stared directly at the leg and ball colliding were momentarily blinded by the bright flash.
Of course the ball was hit out of the park, either that or it disintegrated entirely, either way it was called a homerun. Jake made his run around the bases in slow motion that was completely and totally awesome and momentous as the crowd cheered wildly. It was Jake's last at bat that game, but it was sufficient to turn the tide in favor of the Boston Awesome Athletics.
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