Fit as a fiddle

… continued

But Suje hesitated. He couldn’t get his body to move. He wasn’t frail, but also wasn’t fit as a fiddle. Retro was the muscle of the group. What if the creator of that sound was larger than he and the only option was to flee? Or defend himself?

“Suj! Come on!”, Retro persisted.

Suje thought, “what sound? I don’t know what you’re talking about”. But retracted that from his mind.

They slowly made progress to cover the distance. Suje was overthinking it, as usual. What if it was nothing. Retro was off, a few paces ahead with no concern.

“Thud!”. A lump entered Suje’s throat. That was heavy. He stopped, considering if it were more important to complete his chores for mother. But, what would his friends think? They’d think he was the steady head in the group. Always the one considering the long term investment effect.

The wind picked up. The tree tops rustled. Enough to keep the air from entering his lungs, a little gasping for breath as no air was near his face. Or that was was he felt.

“Hey, what’s over there? Is that where the cave is?”, he yelled at Retro who was joyously strolling toward the treeline. A rapid gate, stick in hand, waving at grass tops and bugs along the way. “Hey!, slow down! Retr….”, he saw his friends posture and stopped promptly.

Retro froze in his tracks. Suje finally caught up. Nothing catches Retro’s attention like there to hold him. A statue. In a softer voice, not wanting to alarm anything around them, as though the sound of his resinating voice would awaken a grasshopper from it’s slumber. With gentle reprieve, Suje said “what got you dude?”. A blank stare in his eyes, off in the distance. What could be there?

The dust came out of nowhere. In a spiral upward lift, the twisting cloud surrounded them almost instantly. Screaming to keep up with the level of the wind “RETRO!!”, Suje lost sight of his friend. Being pushed backward, sumlbing to maintain his posture. He collapsed to the ground to lower his center of gravity, but that meant he couldn’t find his friend.

“What do you want!?”, a frustration and annoyance resonated from him, as though he was screaming at a knocking at the door in the middle of the night.

And then it stopped. The dirt settled. The noise was gone. The chaos that instantly surrounded him was not there anymore. And neither was Retro.

Fit as a fiddle
Progress
Distance
Gate
Event
Investment

Keep your shirt on

Suje walked the same path he always walks. Beautiful scenery attracted him here each morning. A mixture of earth, dirt, nature and peaceful farm countryside. A few conversational hellos to locals and friends as he passed. From all appearances, this would be another day like all the others.

“You know”, he thought, we should go fishing today. After work. I’ll ask my friends, Retro and Laus. What an enjoyable time we will have. Friends, joking, swimming, fishing.

As a young man in the eastern town of Serpentine, he was expected to pursue the careers set out by his father and family. His older brothers were in the tax collection business. He had little interest in this. But, he was not getting younger and soon his father would push even more for him to finish his schooling and come to work with the family.

His sisters were smarter than his brothers. They combined efforts and created their own business designing custom defense gear and clothing. Lightweight yet sturdy and strong. Most everyone needed some sort of protection from the surprise visit of the locusts. Those buggers could chew through your clothing and into our skin in a few moments surprise. So, better to invest in some sort of protection that run the risk of bleeding everywhere. That’s what their advertisement brand is built on. Not a bad idea if you ask me.

They let him try out some of their newest season apparel. His friends got a good laugh out of capturing some of the biting creatures and testing the endurance of the material. He was not as thrilled, but it was helpful information to give back to his sisters.

He was almost at the grain storage silo. After filling his basket for the morning and returning that Mother, he’d be able to finish his choirs and have the rest of the day to himself. It really was a wonderful time in his life.

Never did it cross his mind that today might be different. Not without struggles, he understood, but nothing overly difficult.

Coming back from the silo, following a different path than he used to arrive. Similar enough, but there was something about changing the pathway home that gave him a sense of journey. It took the same amount of time and difficulty. He saw the way home differently that the walk path to arrive. The wind blew slightly and a dark cloud covered the tree tops to his right. “That is strange” he thought, but kept moving. His brothers did teach him to pay attention to his surroundings. He tried to apply that in most situations. But with a positive spirit and adventurous mind, he most likely forgot this more times that he should have.

That feeling of ‘strange’ flowed up the spine of his back. No recognising something was different, he increased his gate. A rumble noise from the tree line. A shaking of the ground. Like when a boulder falls from a cliffside. A thud and shutter. Felt, more than heard.

Does he run home or stand his ground? Time for the thimble to decide. He reached into his pocket and returned in his palm the thimble. A small sewing device his sister Bella gave him to stitch small tears in the fabric of his shirt. He used this in times when he couldn’t logically determine what to decide. Spinning it and waiting for it to stop. The direction told him how to continue. The small end pointed toward the trees. Face it.

He sat calculating his options. Weapons? None. A basket of grain, which if he lost would only hurt him later or he’d have to return to get more from the silo.

One lesson he did remember from his brother Fredric was “if it makes you look up, you might want to look down”. One distracting thing might actually just distract you from the real threat. Just in time he turned with suspicion and caught a glimpse of the blur of the object as it passed his head. He quickly rolled to the ground. Got his body weight under control and recovered his feet under him in a way that would allow him to defend himself from the threat if needed.

His eyes glanced through the grass field. Nothing.

“BAAHHH!” a leaping Retro jumped out from the grass only a few feet from him. He fell over backwards in stress. His feet tangled and heels caught on the ground. A sense of regret, annoyance and fright. As his breathing slowed, his thoughts turned from pain to laughter.

Retro, now standing over him smiling, caring about the wellbeing of his dear friend, but also giggling at the surprise tactic he was able to pull over on his friend. “Keep your shirt on buddy”, no one is here to hurt you. Boyhood pranks meant to solidify friendships as well as safely learn to deal with anguish and turmoil. This time very unexpected.

“Why are you not with you mother at the market?”, Suje asked.

“Oh, she don’t need me with her. Besides, I fooled her over that I wasn’t feeling well. I figured we’d go fishing today”.

“I wanna go, but I have to get this basket home for lunch and then choirs. How did you make the noise?”, stated Suje.

“What noise?”, proclaimed Retro in confusion. “What were you spooked about a minute ago? You rolled your thimble dude. You freaking?”

With a little quiver in his voice, Suje said “I heard a noise over there. It was big.”.

“Man, you crazy, come on. We check it out”.

Oct 28, 2020
Keep your shirt on
Down to earth

appearance
conclusion
finding
storage
Basket

Needle in a haystack

“You don’t understand,” he said.

“Yes I do, I get it but you can’t take the shot from that angle” his captain said. She was more experienced than he. And had been in more battles. She didn’t need to remind him.

“Roger that. Green 2 pulling back”, he replied.

She felt relieved but frustrated. They may have just missed their turn to complete the task.

“Let’s try this again. Green 4, it’s your turn”, she stated over the airwaves.
“Roger that. Circling around into position”, green 4 said. No with a bit of trepidation in his stomach. It was different being second in line to complete the task, now the pressure was on him.

As his plane descended within the few seconds into position, he relied on the computer systems to update the exact location of the target. Not a large target. A needle in a haystack, if you will. A quick fly-by and no one would be the wiser. Actually a brilliant location for the enemy to hide the armory storage. Never would have been found if not for the quick thinking of their insurgent on the ground.

Weeks in the making, probably years, but never easy. The progress was slow and specific. Never revealing identity. Never phoning home when undercover like that. Even getting the information back to the team was multiple layers of messages. Secret words or phrases that meant nothing to the common person, but in the right location and the right time would be translated into the details the team needed. He completed that task just two nights before and was now running across the mountain range to get away before being located and killed, for sure. A two day headstart and he assumed he would be far gone by the time his team got the message and engaged the mission. He couldn’t look back.

“Psssh” the sound of static breaking in the radio sequence. Not a squelch, but more like a sizzle. Everyone was used to it by now, having trained with it. You never payed attention to it anymore. “In position now”, said Green 4, in a very casual voice. “This is like popping bubbles in a bathtub”, he said to himself under his breath.

The low murmur of the targeting system as he approached, increased. If he waited too long, progress would be lost and they’d have to try again, wasting more time and putting the team in jeopardy. Teams in the air and on the ground.

Meep, meep, meep. The sound was increasing in volume and well as frequency. “On track”, he reported to his team. Captain could see every bit of his targeting system from afar, all systems stayed in sync and she could see what he was seeing on his screen.

“Don’t forget the adjustment for the wind differential as you enter the causeway between those cliffs”, she reminded the young pilot. Not wanting to miss this opportunity.

“Roger that. Compensating thermal updraft systems. Check”. As a low hum from the system engaged.

A flock of birds flew over his head. He heard the sound coming again. Another pass? What happened the first time? Must have missed. He wasn’t happy to see that. He really better move now if there was a miss and now a second shooter, they will notice he is gone for sure and start on foot. With enough time between explosions for a few men to come look for him. A swig of water and a moment to look at his footprints in the sand. Uh oh, they might find him for sure. But he can’t stop now. Maybe a brief backtrack but he has to keep moving.

Captain was accustomed to missions like this. She knew there was never time to stop and think. Only react. “PPssshh, I see you now”, a crack in the lines and a strange message.

“Keep the lines clear!” She enforced over the line. Wait, the team knew that. This was different. A small welp in her stomach and thoughts about the safety of her team.

MEEEEEEEEEEP, the computer indicator of Green 4. Lost? Lost.

“We’ve lost number 4, ma’am”, said the program controller.

“Pull the others out. Send that message now”, she stated. With haste, but not panic. There is a difference and must. She must not show stress to your team. They must have a level of confidence and comfort, even when losing members of the team.

“That shall be the last attempt from you”, the voice appeared again.

“Switch to alternate channels. And can we get a report from the ground?”

The mystery voice again, “We have your channel’s decoded. We have your spy in sight. We’d like our package returned. We will not let you destroy our storage building”.

“We don’t play games with the enemy. You are being tracked and you will also be destroyed”, she sounded a bit over confident, but she believed every word of it.

She switched to a private direct line to the Corporal. “Corp Mahony, can we get movement toward the source of that disturbance? Keep radios clear. I only want the simple progress. I want it don’t quick and let’s get out of here and go home”.
“Roger ma’am”. From the other end of the line.

In a low whisper “you heard her”. Let’s snuff out the problem. This time pieces of shrapnel fell from the sky. He knew was it was and a small tear wrapped his emotions. He was driven by revenge now.

Quiet steps. Quick movements to keep their cover and 3 of them moved through the cover of the trees. Was it enough? Could they find the enemy before one of them was killed?

Oct 21, 2020
Quick on the draw
Needle in a haystack

Wrap
Bubble
Progress
print
Family
Entry

Between a rock and a hard place

…Quiet steps. Quick movements to keep their cover and 3 of them moved through the cover of the trees. Was it enough? Could they find the enemy before one of them was killed?

So we crept under cover. As a soldier, you know that your training takes over. You can’t think about your movements. They have to be part of your instinct. If you’re thinking, you’re dead. You move as one group. Reading each other’s minds without talking. That leaves you free to observe the surroundings. Looking. Listening.

Jenkins remembered the days his father would take him squirrel hunting in the woods. Quiet, which was hard to come by in those days. They lived out in the middle of Tennessee, which was remote from the big cities, but not too far away from the struggles of his small town and school. He struggled in school. He was smart, but now by the measures of the classroom. He didn’t act up, but couldn’t pay attention to the details of the subject matter. He struggled to get by. Hunting with dad was a way to get away from that stress. Dad loved him as did his mom. He didn’t want to kill just to kill one of God’s creatures. It was learning a lesson. “If you’re gonna kill it, you better be prepared to eat it”, his dad always said. He could still hear the voice in his head. Snap out of it, no room for distraction, dreams or being far away.

“Pssh” noise on the radio line. They all stopped and crouched instantly. What was that? Who was on the line? Radio silence from the captain. They picked up and started again.

“Phssh, grgrgrgrgrgr”. There is was again. But this time more noticeable but no words could be made out. Was it friend or foe? Everyone waited for a signal from squad leader.

The charred debris still falling from the sky from their lost friend. A brief victory for the enemy, maybe. Always hate to lose someone, but everyone knew the task at hand was bigger than one person.

“Phssh…. Click click. Grrr-echo gggrrr-avo. gggrrr -ictor”. Echo? Bravo? Victor? That was the distress signal. But who and where was it coming from? Was that for them? They kept moving this time. A little faster. Tracking the last rendezvous place agreed upon to meet Johnson for pick up. But he didn’t have a radio.

Hold. The signal from the lead to stop at something interesting up ahead. A noise? A person? Nerves up but also under control. It’s never this way in training. There is nervousness but also the feeling that it’s not live bullets during training. This was no training exercise.

Something on the ground. A foot print. Bare foot. That might be him. The team tracked it to the right between two trees. They stopped. Disappeared. “Hoo, hoo”. They looked up. Quick turn around and at ease. Johnson. Sitting in a tree, like he was playing a game of hide-n-seek back home. Let’s get out of here and radio back to station.

The recovery choppers always came in fast and low for pick up. And they hit hard. Not enough room to land, so it was ascension via a ladder, but worth the ride. Johnson was first. Secure him as the others faced outward watching for anything suspicious. Better hurry. Not much time now, they will see them and fire upon then at any moment.

Two more were nestled into the chopper. One more. When he’s on it’ll be a quick turn and high-tail back to the dock.

“Rubber ducky to the Momma, we have the eggs and headed back to the Nest”. Overheard in the comms from the pilot. Still on guard even though we were headed away from danger, it was still ever present, like a giant weight pressing down.

Getting back from that retrieval the team felt a little bit of victory even with the defeat of losing a friend. The team was not aware of the status on the initial target. “Were we able to get?”, one member asked.

“We got it! Right after you guys hit the ground, we circled back around and blew that thing to the moon. Like putting popcorn in the oven. BAM!”, Stevens was always a bit dramatic, but who could blame him. We all needed a win. And we needed some emotional out. I was comforted by his enthusiasm.

We started packing our gear, which wasn’t much. It was time to pull further out across the border into safer territory. We did our part for today as part of the bigger plan. That was our payment, if anyone was looking for an equalizer.

The cargo trucks were loaded up and everyone aboard. Not much was left behind except the dirt and dry spot from their station. The smoothness of their operation installation and removal would leave anyone impressed. It was a hard place to be and they made it look easy.

Oct 22, 2020
Between a rock and a hard place

trainer
Giant

Payment
Oven
Presence

Give a man a fish

You know, there’s a time when you realize that you gotta focus. A realization hits like a brick to the face. Telling you, wake up, get moving.

He was there on the edge of loneliness. Everything in front of him. No stress other than the no understanding what to do with what was in front of him.

There is no doubt he was bound for greatness. His skills were perfected. His mind was clear. His body is strong. His past was washed away. The best use of his time was to let it all go and move on. But to where?

Sometimes you gotta forget what everyone was telling you. Go fast. Slow down. Hurry up. Come on man. Just say it. AAAGGGHHHH!!!!! Shut up. Give the man some quiet. Why will this person not listen? Just like everyone else. Always output, never a moment of input. Huuuusssshhhhhh.

Silence.

There we have it now. Breath deep. A moment of clarity hit him. He looked beside him and said it “I’d like a medium GoGo Basket, fries and the tartar sauce. A cola to drink with no ice, Thank you”. The window rolled back up. Peace and quiet from all the outside noise. The chaos of the outside world was a mess. A few more minutes of time to himself without any pressure to decide and yet again, someone else asking his opinion.

Looking forward to that fish basket. It’s been so long since the warm feeling of fried catfish entered his pallet. Maybe good for the hunger, not so great for the body. But that’ll be ok.

But it was more than that. The food satisfied his hunger, but not his thirst for answers.

Here’s the deal. You can give a man a fish, but you can’t make him eat it. Wait, that’s not right. He sat there in his moment of clarity and decided he now knew what needed to be done. He was going to open his own restaurant. He could serve a better fish than this. And he would teach others how to prepare the flame to perfection. A few simple rules to follow. A recipe, the right flavors and equipment. He was going to do it.

The first step was hard. Cooking out of his house and delivering food to his neighbors. Then on line to those that ordered. Needing enough to afford a mobile kitchen. A name and logo and he was off. Fish From the Basin. From my plate to yours. He could deliver the best tasting culinary anyone has tasted. And they’d be coming back for more.

“How may I help you?” He asked. Ok, that’ll be twenty-five dollars. “A number 2 with a spud stack and some liquid quenchers” he yelled to the back. He now had a staff. What a great story about growth. Going from a lackluster experience with a fish sandwich and now his own drive thru. Customers lined up around the corner. Franchises were in his future. Multiple locations. Managers at each place. Workers. Investors. Merchandise. Flamethrowers 😉

“Charlie, it’s time for dinner” he heard a voice. Who was that? Oh wait, snap out of it. “Coming mom”, he yelled back. “One minute”. He put down the shovel and bucket of sand. Jumped up, dusted his pants and ran toward the house. Another successful day.

Oct 14, 2020
Break the ice
Give a man a fish

Basin
Sulphur
Notion
Listen
Prevent

Rain on your parade

Well here I sit. Watching. Lurking. Seeing things others have trouble seeing. I dare say, no one even sees me. I crouch and hunker down in a way that is to my advantage.

There one goes. And another. But which do I leap at? It has to be perfect. A misstep and the opportunity will be lost. Patience and calm with a hint of anxiousness. Clearly it’s a confusing thing. The heart is racing.

As I get older, these activities are harder. I can’t help it, I want to do it. There goes another. I should relocate to another location to get a better angle. I’ll rotate around hoping no one sees me.

Wow they are fast, but I must be faster. There goes another and I leap using every ounce of my existence. I reach with all extension of my body. Forearms fully extended out in front, making me bigger than I am. My back feet release from the branch also fully extended, disconnecting from the mount point only when the last push of muscle and energy uses the leverage to push.

I’m in midair. I can reach it. The world around me slows down. The breeze cools my underbelly as I drift through the air. This is not my first time. I’ve caught birds before, in flight. The capture is satisfying.

Almost to my surprise, contact is made. Front paws reach the destination. The flutter. The initial contact is smooth. Then chaos. My surprise as well as his. He clearly was not expecting me to be there, meeting him in flight. Changing his direction. Ending his glorious drift through the trees.

The chaos as we tumbled. We spun through the air, which seemed like eternity. Only a few feet above the ground seemed to take forever to reach the ground. While we fell, he was at the advantage because I had no traction, nothing to push on. No leverage. I held on to what I could grab careful not to adjust my grip until we reached the ground. At that point I’d have the advantage. The tide would turn to my favor.

Thud. Didn’t matter what landed first. I’m used to pain that comes with landing abruptly, but with the prize of the capture, it is worth it. Usually I’ll still land on at least one back foot.

Fussle. Flapping. Chaos. Rolling like a whirlwind of wrestling between advisories.Don’t let go. And we stop! A moment of silence. We have reached a pause in our struggle as we both collect ourselves. Heavy breathing. A moment with all the initial urges and anxiety catches up to the moment.

Now what? Do we continue? Will he give up the struggle and I win? Do I walk across the yard with my prize bird in possession for everyone else to envy?

I did it. All mine. Look at me. Strut. Loud noise behind me? What was that? I pause and glance. I’ve done nothing wrong. They will be proud of me. They will congratulate me. I won. I leaped and fought. Here they come. What now? Run and hide. Uh oh. They see me. I’ll hide. Let go of me. Why are you holding me down? My tail? I’m losing grip. It’s flapping wildly now. I’m gonna lose it and it’s gone.

Ugh. All that time and energy and struggle to be released in a brief moment and gone.

If only I had wings. Hmmmm.

Oct 7, 2020
Rain on your parade
senior
insert
auction
subway
rotate

Go for broke

Run fool! Run!

I breathe heavier and faster. Nothing was in my way but my legs felt more and more on fire. I wasn’t moving. You know that thing in dreams that happens when you feel that something is chasing you and you need to get out of there but you feel like you’re in mud? And your legs weigh a thousand pounds? That was this moment.

Run. Get away. But what was chasing me? I couldn’t see anything but I could hear it. Loud. Like a trash truck. The large metal gears whirring together to make that crunching sound when the metal can’t hold its shape anymore. It was coming after me.

But not really. It was clearly just a game. It was me at the dinner table refusing to eat my green beans. “They are good for you”, said mother. But that didn’t matter to desires for a sweet flavor. Where was the fun in boring ole vegetables? My body was young and strong and I could clearly eat all the things I wanted and nothing would hurt me. But if I didn’t eat anything what would that be like?

The hunger pain inside took control. I lay in bed refusing to eat the things that were put in front of me. The monster controlling my urges took over. There has to be a way to eat something else. I took some paper from the desk and started chewing. What was this sensation? There was nothing here. My teeth were mashing together but there was no resistance. Just a flat chalky texture. Not too much different from vegetables, so I thought. Spit that out.

I bet I could find something else to eat that tasted better, but as long as it was not prepared by my parents, then I was winning. But as soon as I crumbled to what they wanted, I lost.

Sneak out the window. Grab my bike. Go to the gas station store. Peddle all the way up there. Dodge some traffic on our quiet meager street. Nothing ever happens out here. My mind was only on quenching the hunger in my belly. But I had no money. Didn’t remember that until I got up here. Well that was a bust. Do I consider digging through the trash can? No way! I would never do that. Gross.

So I started back home. Would I beg for help? Would I let the yearning urges in my body determine my future? Could I produce something and sell it? I passed some discarded object in the tall grass that caught my eye. Why stop? What was that? Oh wait, that might be useful. How cool, why did someone throw this out? Mine now. A large collection of markers. I could use this.

What to write? Do I proclaim my innocence and point blame at the truth? “Parents abused me, refused to let me eat dinner!” That would get someone’s attention, maybe the wrong someone. No way would I chance sending my parents to real trouble, but they were not helping me bye keeping my body nourishment at stake.

Think, think. I could come up with only one thing that seemed appropriate. “I’m broke” I went for it. There you go, I’m now begging for handouts. But I’m just a kid. Clearly that combined with the desperate messaging would draw attention and I would get the cash or nice treats needed to get some fulfillment.

Lots of honks and people walking by. Nothing was happening. I know that person, this is humiliating. Why don’t they stop and give me something to eat that’s better than the gross vegetables that started this whole mess?

Footsteps, someone approaching. Someone with compassion. “Hello”. “Hi”. And that was it. My plan didn’t work. I failed. This person wasn’t here to help. This was a mistake. Someone help, where are the people that care about me? Don’t let this person take me! “Hi Mom, I think I’m ready to eat dinner now”.

My struggle was complete. I’ll go ahead and have those vegetables now. They sure did taste good. And you know what, there was a little guilt on her side through all the tears and fear of a few moments that I was gone from the house on my own begging for food. So much that she even gave me a little ice cream after I finished that plate of vegetables.

Will I do it again? Maybe. Tomorrow is a new day. But tonight, I’ll sleep with a full belly and a warm house over me and a little pride of the chance I took trying to go the distance and make it on my own.

Oct 1, 2020
Phrase: Go for broke
Nouns: birthday highway painting
Verbs: fix plan execute

The jig is up

Sept 30, 2020

I sat there watching the butterfly flutter by and the sun cast a shadow on the ground. The sun was hot. The wind slightly blew out of the south. My hat was fastened on my head but was still loose enough that it would fly off when running fast.

Mom was in the stands where she usually sits. Trying to always have a view of me on the field. I wanted her to see me make a play. I wanted to make her proud. I never thought it would come to anything meaningful, cause after all, I was the smallest on the team with the least amount of energy. Maybe today was a day when that would change.

The inning ended when a strikeout. The crowd didn’t really cheer at these small local baseball games. It was only for parents, grandparents and the occasional random uncle that showed up to watch a game. My nerves were at their normal tense level. Always apprehension. Always a bit churning in the stomach. Why? I don’t know, maybe it was because in the game, there was always a chance something exciting and stressful would happen and I would mess it up. There I went again, overthinking it.

I bet no one knew how strong I *could* be if I wanted. I bet they only saw the exterior of the frail fragile boy that was wrapped around these bones. I didn’t look strong. I didn’t do strong things. I didn’t even have a loud voice when I yelled. I could always be over-run by the next biggest kid.

It was out turn in the offense. We got to bat. You might think this story is about the time that I stepped up to the plate with bases loaded, two outs, down by a run and I hit the winning run in to win the game. The team carried me away on their shoulders in victory and I was their new hero. I was the champ. I got the best seat on the dug out. Everyone wanted to play catch with me …. Nope. Not today. That’s not this story. This is a story of truths. My truth. My secret. My reveal.

I was there and I bet no one knew. No one ever got close enough to chance finding out. I kept it secret. Had for years. Mom didn’t know. I don’t know how it happened, I don’t know where I got it from, but I had it. It was mine and maybe the only power I had was keeping it a secret. And once I let go of that secret I would lose that power and control. Did I want to let it go?

It was risky. It was inevitable that one day it would come out. Someone would see it. Someone would know and see that I was a phony. Was I willing to let that happen? Always hiding in fear? But if I was in control of when it was told to the world, maybe I could pick the time place and location. I could sneak it out when no one was looking. I could just do it.

Well, it happened. Today was the day. As I walked to the plate and took my place in the batter’s box, I felt the same nerves as usual. All the sickness. All the sweat beads running down my forehead. Gulp. I swallowed.

One pitch went by. The pitcher and catcher were of course twice my height and weight. I didn’t know how I why others were so much more advanced than me. They too had their secrets. I had mine.

Second pitch. I don’t even know if they were balls or strikes. Didn’t matter. Had anyone noticed? Had anyone cared? I was there and no one was watching. The coach at third base was disappointed, looking at his clipboard calculating how the next batter would have another out on the board when they got their chance. No one was looking. No one cared.

I looked down and could see my feet were there. Right inside the batters box. Where they are supposed to be but where they never were before. Did I do it on purpose or was it just an accident?

There they were, on the first base side of home plate in the left-handed batter’s box. What a relief. Felt so natural. Felt so real. Now, the jig was up, every was bound to see it. My turn. Here’s the pitch. The swing and yep, strike out. But you know what, at least I’m done hiding it. I can be myself. I’m left handed in a right handed world. Guess I’m eating at the end of the dinner table tonight. Thanks Mom!

Saying: The jig is up
Nouns: Mom, baseball weakness