The Best Damn Baseball Game, Ever by G David Schwartz
It was the best damn baseball game I had ever attended. We lost ten to one. The sun was about a hundred and ten degrees, in the shade, of course. I ate too many hot dogs with too much relish.
I never had a better time in my life.
Schofield was off the injured list. Man, I wanted to see that game more than anything. The only problem was that I had to finish that boring Greenwood report before I had any time to myself.
“Have anything planned for tonight?” Mr. Martin said as he stuck his head in my cubby.
“Greenwood,” I said helplessly indicating the pile of papers stacked randomly on my desk.
“Good!” Mr. Martin said with venomous delight.
I was convinced Greenwood would have waited a week or two for the papers. But Martin thought expediency, whatever that was, required we have the papers ready bright and early Monday morning.
A few days advance notice would have been nice. But somebody, and I won’t mention any names, gold-bricked until the last minute, then promised all the glory for himself. Some lug would do all the sweatwork. That would be me.
The day could not have begun worse. The coffee machine failed to work. Then as a joke, Slater sent me to Xerox a picture of a coffee for McGruter. It wasn’t bad enough when the Xerox began spitting copies out of control, but Martin entered at the most frustrating moment. I really didn’t think he would deduct the cost of the machine from my paycheck. Still, for a guy like that, the threat was more important and the execution.
I shouldn’t use the word ‘execution.’
Then Myrtle went home sick leaving me with no one who could work the word processor to make sense of the papers I was going through. Not that it mattered. The fancy oriental brass tree fell and severed the lines, which connected the machine to the electrical outlet. No one could afford to lend me their word processor. It took most of the afternoon to run down the old-fashioned typewriter. Not that it mattered. The keys had rusted shut.
You can imagine my surprise when things suddenly began going right. Benson had to leave to meet his wife at the emergency room. This freed up not only his word processor but his secretary as well. Then I learned that people could type more than twenty-three words per minute.
Cynthia finished the report as quickly as I could edit the pages. We were done, miracle of miracles, before normal quitting time.
Martin stuck his head in the door a second time just before five o’clock. I was locking my desk.
“How’s it going?”
“Fine,” I said, “Greenwood report all finished and being delivered to your desk even as we speak.” I had keyed on the words ‘your desk’ because I thought his furniture would have more insight into the document than would he.
“Good,” he said with a grim sneer, “That means you can join the rest of us at the game.”
Yes, sir. That was the greatest day of my life. An inside pitch blasted Scofield’s elbow and sent him wincing to the ground. He had to be carried from the field on a stretcher. Vince Brady, left fielder for the visiting team, had hit a home run, a triple, a grand slam, and two doubles his first five appearances at bat. The beer was flat and warm. The brats and mets were cold. Large yellow stains formed under my favorite shirt, and I had to sit next to Martin.
Neither of us wanted to be seated next to one another, but that was the way the boys shuffled and juggled to the reserved seats next to third base. Ironically, Slater, McGruter, Sanders, Crawfield and the others were trying to jockey as close to Martin as they were able. Martin was jostled and bumped as we walked down the narrow steps. Finally, he was spun into me during my attempt to evade him.
We were shoved in the aisle and plopped next to one another. Between pitches, Martin made rather rude comments about my current and previous projects. Apparently he was oblivious to the terrible taste of the beer. He never really said anything about my ability, which rightfully he could only have applauded, but spoke about the stupidity of the assignments, attempting to imply guilt by association. This struck me as asinine inasmuch as he himself was the man who made the assignments. Between the innings, and while the other team batted, Martin simply pulverized me. I soon figured out that these were opportune times to visit the concession stand. By the ninth inning I was green with nausea, red with rage, purple with anxiety, orange with dullness, and blue with emotions.
That was when things began happening. Vince Brady was coming to bat. Bennington’s first pitch was fouled away, way back over our heads. Martin turned to me and said, “That’s how far our noses will be in the air if your Greenwood report ends up being stinko.” I responded with a humph. Bennington went into his stance, wound up, and threw a pitch, which was fouled a mile and a half to our right. “That’s how far out the door you will be if you screwed up that report.” I ignored him.
Bennington eyed Brady. He went into motion, throwing a fastball. Brady swung late and the ball popped high into the air.
“That’s how high you well be booted if…”
The ball came down right on Martin’s head. That was the greatest day in the history of the universe.