Friday, November 18, 2011

Story Sixteen: Rivalries

As I mentioned about yesterday's horse prompt, the girl who gave it to me is obsessed with horses. Her alternate prompts were a dog getting loose on the field and biting a player and a woman with long nails breaking her nail with a foul ball and freaking out. I felt I had to write that one as well given my insistence she come up with a non-horse theme.

I admit this was a stumper... how do you get a dog on the field at Fenway to bite a player? If a player is going to be bitten, who would it be? That answer was easier, which players do I really dislike and A-Rod is always on the top of the list for me. I have always disliked mercenary players and checkbook baseball. Today, A-Rod still remains one of the players on the top of the list for me. As they say, that was a no-brainer.

This story is important as it really is a rough draft story. This is that lump of compressed coal that is going to need some serious polishing and cutting to reveal the diamond inside, which is part of this exercise this month. Characters names and things about them will change. While this is very much my New York state of mind (which is 180* different than Billy Joel's), I still need to examine, think and edit... edit... edit.

For someone like me, this exercise is even more important because this is the type of story that would go into a folder on my hard drive and sit there until I got around to it. If stories in my hard drive folders could collect dust, this would be under a pile very, very quickly with several others that have been there since 2 computers ago. Now that this is public, I really need to take the time to fix it when I sit down to edit in the coming months.


Anna Lee Byrne never went anywhere without her Jack Russell Terrier. Pookie was more than a dog, he was a companion and best friend. It was nice that most of the places she went to in Boston were so accommodating. The ones that weren’t, well she’d spend her husband’s money somewhere else.

She didn’t like Boston. Compared to New York, Boston was a hick town. In New York she cold go anywhere, make a few demands and look down her nose at the staff and remind them that her husband was star center fielder for the Yankees. If she was unhappy, he was unhappy. If he was unhappy, the Yankees struggled and no one in New York, except for maybe David Letterman (not that he really counted), wanted to see the Yankees struggle.

But when he played in Boston, he liked her to be on his arm. After all, who didn’t want a former model and current trophy wife to make Boston sports fans eat their hearts out. Not only was New York better than Boston, so were the wives and everything else that counts.

He also made sure that he bought seats in the box behind the visitor’s batting circle. She could sit front and center with the cameras on her and any celebrity guests that were eager to fill the seats with donations to his charitable foundation.
Today was a good day. It was a national broadcast, the weather was perfect and she knew she looked fabulous. Having found a manicurist in this forsaken back water of a city to give her a perfect manicure with the Yankees logo complete with diamond insets and her husband’s number. Yes, she would look fabulous for the cameras today. He had already made the arrangements for Pookie to be at the game with her and life was good, even if they were in Boston.

“Anna Lee.”

She turned to see the Donald coming to join her in the box.

“Donald. Where’s your lovely wife?” she asked as she stood up to greet him. He kissed her cheek and they sat back down.

“Oh she had some commitment and couldn’t make it. Ivanka has been busy, with her husband and the baby as well as the business, the poor girl works as hard as her father.”

“Not surprising, and she does it with grace and beauty.”

“You always know the right thing to say.”

“You married a lovely woman. How’s that handsome son of yours?” she smiled.

“Which one?”


“Fabulous, growing like a weed. I wish I could have brought him today, he’s really a joy.”

“So long as that joy is second to beating these Red Sox.”

He laughed, which caused Pookie to give a gruff bark.

“Oh Pookie, I’m sorry. Did I frighten you.”

The dog gave a lower ruff and then settled back into Anna Lee’s bag.

It wasn’t long before the park filled up and the game got started. In true Boston fashion, it also wasn’t long before the fans began chanting obscenities and making general fools of themselves.

The celebrities that joined them in the box all chatted with her, treating as if she were royalty. In New York, she was because she was a Yankee wife.

The game was a pitcher’s duel between Jon Lester and Phil Hughes. Both men were on fire and everyone was at a loss this afternoon. Derek Jeter, A-Rod and her husband, New York’s power trio, were hitless as were Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Big Papi for the Boston side of the order.

Finally, in the bottom of the 8th inning, Boston seemed to get Hughes’ timing and were starting pepper hits all over the park. No where was more vulnerable than Jeter’s hot corner. Despite his best efforts, the line drives seemed to just get past him. A few bloopers over A-Rod’s head and suddenly the Sox were leading by two runs with runners threatening. A quick pitching change held the damage there, but it would be tough going into the inning behind with Papelbon sure to come in and close.
Looking at the order due up, it the power trio.

Jeter managed to beat out a play at first. A-Rod hit a dribbler that got him to first but Jeter was tagged out at second. With one down and one one, Anna Lee’s husband stepped into the batter’s box, she had to remember to breathe.

“Your husband better knock one out of here to give us some hope,” Donald said as he leaned over.

“Don’t worry, he’s good that way.”

“He certainly is, or he wouldn’t be in New York.”

She laughed, but one thing she know, Yankees fan took their baseball seriously.

Pookie yipped, so she reached down to put her precious dog on her lap.

“We need to cheer for daddy,” she said to the pampered dog in a baby talk voice. “Yes we do, don’t we.”

The dog gave a little bark in agreement.

As he stood in the batter’s box, she proudly clapped and cheered for him. The guests in the VIP box all rose, as did she, as they applauded. She placed Pookie on the thick ledge in front of her, Pookie’s leash lazily wrapped around her hand.

Under the intense gaze of the closer’s glare, a slow smile spread across her face as she knew there was no way her husband would be intimidated by that look. The pitcher went into his motion, rearing back and letting the ball loose. The batter drew back and uncoiled the powerful swing, meeting the ball at the plate, but a second late on the wrong part of the bat barrel.
The ball went up and back towards the box where they all stood cheering for the Yankees. Jason Varitek, the catcher for the Red Sox, flipped off his mask. Keeping his eyes glued to the ball, he backed up and up to stay under it. Just as he reached the ledge, he reached up and over, the ball within reach… and that’s when it all happened.

Bumping the wall scared the small dog. The terrier leapt out of the way and onto the field, the leash running through Anna Lee’s fingers as it escaped. In the meantime, the ball and the glove met at Anna Lee’s outstretched hand, breaking the carefully adorned nails One nail bent backwards, another snapped off entirely.

Anna cried out in pain as A-Rod started toward second, then stopped. Varitek, not missing a beat, threw to first. As A-Rod tried to get back to first just beating the runner back to the base.

Pookie spooked as he heard Anna Lee’s cries and darted across the infield looking for a place to hide or escape. Jeter, face down in the dirt from his failed slide back to first saw the dog first.

“Pookie,” he called out. Rising to his knees he tried to lunge at the dog as it darted towards the Red Sox dugout. The dog stopped and snarled.

“Pookie, come here now,” he used a firm voice but the dog leaped at him. As he caught the dog, it turned on him sinking his teeth into the fleshy outer part of his hand just below his pinky.

Adrian Gonzalez, noticing the dog reached down gently calling, “How did you get out here little one. Come on,” he held out the back of his hand. The dog suspiciously sniffed the offered hand before allowing him to reach down and scoop him up. Looking at A-Rod holding his hand, he nodded towards the approaching trainer, “You better let them take a look at that man. Do you know the dog’s owner?”

“That’s my wife’s dog,” said the voice behind him. “No idea how he got on the field, but l’ll take him. Alex, how’s the hand?”

He didn’t need words to express the anger flashing in his eyes.

The center fielder scooped the dog from the Sox first baseman.

“Guess that’s why dogs aren’t allowed in ball parks,” the center fielder said.

“That and the mess,” the first baseman responded.

He walked across the field with the dog in his hands calming him down as they walked. In the box, he saw the Donald calming her down as tears streaked down her face. Security personnel surrounding them to both protect them from the crowd.”

“I need to find Pookie…”

“Here’s Pookie.”

She looked up and saw the sad look on the terrier’s face.

“Pookie,” she said holding out her arms. The pain of her bent back fingernail forgotten in the moment. As she took the dog, she kissed her husband.

“You’ll get them tomorrow sweetie.”

“We’ll see, Pookie just took a chunk out of our short stop.”

“He never did like him,” she smiled.

“From now on you need to keep the dog away from the park,” Donald said, “he may not like A-Rod, but the rest of us do.”

Giving his wife another quick kiss on the cheek, he disappeared down the dugout with the rest of the team.

Looking up at Donald, Anna Lee smiled. “Thanks again. I don’t think I’ll be back in Boston any time soon.”

“Maybe not such a bad thing.”

“Maybe not,” but for now I better make sure I can beat it out of here before Pookie and I become public enemy number one.”

“He’ll be fine Anna Lee. He’ll be more embarrassed by the Sports Center video that will get replayed over and over again. Yes he will,” he said gently to the dog.

The dog cocked his head and yipped.

“Time to go home baby.”

The dog jumped into her bag and settled in. Looking up at Donald she smiled. Are you joining us tonight or heading right back?”

“I’m joining you, I have business in town tonight. Do you need a ride back to the hotel?”

Looking towards some of the stares at her from the dugout she said, “Probably not a bad idea.”

As they were escorted from the park to the waiting limo, she finally took a good at her hand.

“This may be a back water town, but I bet I can get the manicurist back up into the room to fix my nails before dinner Pookie.”

“Ruff,” Pookie barked in agreement.

“Exactly,” she said reaching in to scratch his ears.

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