At the All Star Game
By ice rivers
Jack was a retired electrician. Hank was a retired New York State Thruway toll booth collector. Jack and Hank were amongst a group of friends who gathered every year for the baseball All Star game. The game was the excuse for the get together but the purpose was to get away from the wives for a night, to drink a few beers and tell the old stories. The tradition had been going for the past forty years.
During this time, all the boys had changed quite a bit. Heart attacks, tumors, colostomy bags, radiation, broken bones, broken hearts, attempted murder, arson, vertigo, chemo, divorce, thankless children, alcoholism, Viet Nam, hearing aids etc...all had been confronted, stashed away and translated into stories that were shared and re-shared every All Star Game.
Johnny was a retired city bus driver. Mr. Crown was a salesman and gambler. Walt was a retired business man who was a gazillionaire. Walt's yearly income pushed the annual average income of the group into the three hundred thousands. Deke had retired from the Veterans Hospital. Jacques Le Plumer was a plumber. Ice was a writer and retired English teacher. Bruce kept a restored 58 Thunderbird in a shed next to his palace, Everybody knows who Wild Bill is and was. Once again, Merle Seton failed to show up but few tears were shed at his absence.
Perhaps you can imagine some of the stories.
The story of Seymour the drunken pig usually came up early.
The subject of memory loss arrived when LePlumer talked about the dementia that had robbed his father of every scrap of memory.
Everybody sympathized and mourned their own losses,most of which they couldn't remember.
Jack turned to Hank and said, " I'm getting worried.I don't know what the hell I'm saying anymore. A couple of months ago, I was at the airport. I was catching a plane to Pittsburgh. The attractive and top-heavy ticket agent smiled at me and asked where I was headed. I got flustered andI told her that I had a picket to Tittsburgh".
"Realizing my error, I tried to back track. I showed her my ticket to Pittsburgh."
"It was embarrassing for both of us."
Hank listened and responded.
" I know exactly what you mean, Jack. Last week, I was having breakfast with my wife. What I intended to say to her was 'Honey, can you pass the sugar please. Instead, out of nowhere, I said "you goddamned bitch, you ruined my fucking life."
All conversation stopped for a moment as we separated truth from fiction and fiction from faction.
When we realized it was a joke. Everybody started roaring and spit taking.
Hank held up his hand and everybody came over and high fived him.
With every slapped five, Hank said ,"Thank You" as he had said hundreds of thousands of times in his profession.
Hank was good at that sentiment, a real pro, retired or active.
I made up my mind to remember the story and write it down but instead I wrote everything else except this story until now, that is,