It was summer in Chicago, and that meant softball season. I was strolling down the street, minding my own business, when I bumped into my friend , Slick. We were buddies for fifty years, now we were both retired.
He was in his softball uniform. Now there was a time in Chicago when almost every tavern had their own softball team in a local league.
“How do I look?” Slick asked.
“You look ridiculous! Look at yourself, a red shirt covering your stooped back and scrawny chest, with the name, “Dave’s Tavern” emblazoned across it in large blue letters.”
“I like the colours.”
“But, look at your sagging paunch going over your red softball trousers. Look at your drooping grey athletic socks around your bony ankles, and what’s that hole in your softball shoe for?”
“I had to cut a hole in it because I got a corn. That’s why I slide head first into the bases. I don’t have corns on my ears.”
“I think your softball days are over.”
I shook my head.
“Well, look at yourself. Your hair, what’s left of it, is white. You have bags under your eyes, your face is wrinkly, your body looks like ET’s and you run like a fat duck.”
“Well, you don’t look like “Mr. America” either,” he countered.
“True, but I don’t run around a dusty softball field, pretending I’m a kid again. Give it up, Slick, act your age.”
“If I don’t play softball, what will I do all summer?”
Slick looked forlorn, and I was sad for him.
“Remember how we used to look for junk in the back alleys and the stuff we found, we would take to the junk shop. We got enough money for an ice cream sundae at the diner.”
Slick just stared at me.
“The junk shop is an apartment building now. The diner is a gas station. We were kids then. Now we would look like suspicious characters.”
Slick had a faraway look in his eyes.
“I remember the fun we had collecting glass bottles for the deposit. It’s all cans and plastic now.”
I nodded my head in forced agreement.
Slick picked up his old scratched softball bat and his six-pack of beer and said:
“I gotta go. The games gonna start.”
He turned around and looked at me, dressed in my button-down shirt, striped tie, single-breasted suit, and shiny two-toned shoes and said:
“You know, YOU look kind of ridiculous yourself!”
Nice one, Dave. In a short piece you’ve managed to create a feeling of nostalgia and melancholy. I like the way it comes full circle at the end. Again you prove that one of your writing strengths is dialogue – you really should have a go at writing plays, you know.
Gary’s right Dave. Your dialogue is wonderful. Maybe you should try some one act plays. I loved the story. I will send it to a couple of guys who are still playing softball in Chicago. I can remember when I played softball in my forties and I would have a race with one of the other guys and the rest of the team would time it with a calendar.
It’s all in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? Cute scene.