Master – 2.2

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“Why are you laughing?”

“You’re paranoid baby. I swear, sometimes I wonder if I married a schizophrenic.”

She returns to me again, then playfully straightens out my Montreal Expos cap. “You’re Phillip Gordon! You stand a sexy six-foot four, don’t take shit from nobody, and married the hottest Latina this town has ever seen.” She sets her hand on my knee, then slides it up my thigh, closer to my crotch. “You have a beautiful daughter, named Avery. You’re the greatest football player this town has ever known. And you know what? If anyone gives you shit, just dump enough chlorine in their pools to kill off their entire families. And their little poodles.”

I laugh. “Saying things like that could get you in trouble.”

“I don’t give a fuck what people think, baby! Only you.”

Loretta rubs the crotch part of my jeans with the flat of her palm until she finds my dong. Then, in the sexiest voice you could ever imagine, “You like when I do this?”

Loretta forms her hand into a fist and punches me right in the dick.

“Hey!” I say, then shove her away with a single arm. She giggles like a school girl as she returns to her seat, then smiles to herself while staring out the window. I laugh at first, then the ride turns to silence. No music playing, no conversation – just silence.

“Loretta?”

“Ya Baby?”

“I love you.”

She takes my hand and kisses the back of it. “Love you forever, Phillip Gordon.”

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  • Thomas M. Watt

Master – 2.1

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I remove my Montreal Expos cap and take a step forward. I snag a firm grip of his shoulder, then stare straight into his eyes.

“One day, God-willing, you’re going to have a child of your own. And when you do, you’re going to raise that kid and do everything you can to keep him from becoming the person you once were; maybe the person you are now. When that day comes, I want you to look in your child’s eyes, and ask yourself – was it worth having this child? All the sleepless nights, all the extra-payments, all the stress that comes along with caring for a family?”

“Fuck that, I don’t do relationships.”

I smile. “Have a good day, son.” I turn around to face my wife. “Let’s go, babe.”

She frowns, then takes my hand. We leave.

CHAPTER 2

My Dodge pickup sounds like it gurgles cement as we bump along the road. Loretta unbuckles her seat belt, then leans over the center console and wraps both her arms around my right bicep.

“Let it go, baby,” she says, then kisses my shoulder.

“We should move,” I say.

“Why?” Loretta springs back.

“I don’t want to live here anymore. I don’t want Avery growing up here.”

“You and I grew up here. We have family here.”

“I don’t want Avery dealing with the same bullshit I do. She shouldn’t have to deal with these questions.”

“What questions?”

“C’mon Loretta, you want me to say it?”

“Say what?”

“The fact that I was an NFL prodigy who quit. Fact that the same people who thought I’d be rich and famous call me when their pool’s got too many leaves floating on top.”

Loretta laughs. She sits back in her own seat, crosses her arms, and stares out her window.

“What?”

She looks at me, rubs the tip of her nose, and turns away.

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Thomas M. Watt

The Ball that Disappeared – Part 3 – Story Finale

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If you missed Part 2, click here

Hugo remained where he landed – on top of the screen he broke down after diving into Old Man Semos’ living room. The harsh landing knocked the baseball out of his hand, and Old Man Semos had picked it up.

Hugo pushed himself up to his feet. The giant hound continued to bark ferociously as Hugo wondered what would happen next.

Old Man Semos wore a a big straw hat, and he chewed on a long piece of grass. A rifle lay in his lap, and Hugo had no doubt he’d used it before.

“What you doing over here, son? Some people get killed for trespassing.”

Hugo gulped. “I’m not afraid of you.”

Old Man Semos turned the rifle barrel and aimed it at Hugo. He squinted one eye, and locked in on his target.

“Pow!” He said.

Hugo flinched and took a quick step back. Old Man Semos laughed outrageously, then set the rifle aside. “Sure look scared,” he said.

“Give me my ball, sir.”

“What do I get?”

Hugo cautiously approached Old Man Semos. “Nothing.”

“Then I can’t give it to you!” shouted Semos. He grabbed the rifle and aimed it at Hugo again.

“Please sir, that baseball is the last thing my dad left me!”

“Your dad?” Semos lowered the gun, and arched an eyebrow as he stared at the ceiling. “Your name wouldn’t happen to be Hugo, now would it?”

Hugo kept his eyes locked on that baseball. Semos was holding it in his hand still, which was at his hip and level with Hugo’s eyes. One quick snatch and he could have it.

“No,” said Hugo.

“What is it?”

“Pudgy.”

“Pudgy?” Semos said, staring curiously back at the boy. “You sure? Can’t imagine any real folks would be dumb enough to name their kid that.”

Hugo’s eyes went wide. “I swear it’s my name.”

“Well, that’s too bad then,” said Semos, before sitting down and tossing the ball up and down in the air. Hugo watched it rise and fall. Semos continued.

“Cause if you were a little boy named Hugo, I might just be able to tell exactly what happened to your dad.”

Hugo stopped tracking the baseball, and looked back at Semos. “What happened to Hugo’s dad?”

Old Man Semos grinned. “He left town altogether. His boy will never see him again, not for the rest of his life.”

Hugo’s heart sank. He knew his dad had left, but hearing he was gone for good made nothing easier. He turned around, then started walking away with his head down. “You can keep the baseball,” he said on his way out.

“Funny thing about that boy Hugo, though,” said Old Man Semos.

Hugo stopped at the doorway, and turned around. Semos tossed him the baseball and he caught it.

“I heard his pops telling people, right before he left, about that boy. Said he’s got an arm like you wouldn’t believe, and so much potential he has no doubt that his kid’s going to be someone special someday.”

“So why did he leave then?”

Semos grinned. “Well, Hugo’s father felt it wouldn’t be fair to the other boys if he stuck around to raise him. Said the only way he could possibly imagine his kid not succeeding, is if all the odds are stacked against him. Says no boy is tough enough to make himself into a man.”

“He said that?”

Semos nodded.

Hugo tossed the ball up, then caught it. “Huh.” He started toward the backyard again.

“Oh, and Hugo?” said Old Man Semos.

“Yeah?”

“As long as you don’t run, my dog isn’t going to chase you.”

Hugo nodded, then walked back through the yard. He squeezed through the fence, ball in hand, and found all the other kids waiting for him on the other side.

“Woah, he did it!” said Pudgy. “We thought you were dog food.”

“Way to go, Hugo,” said Measles, before tossing a friendly punch at Hugo’s shoulder. His reach wasn’t long enough so his elbow straightened and jammed instead. “Ow.”

Hugo smiled as he walked, tossing the ball in his hand as he did. The rest of the kids followed after him.

“What are we gonna do now?” said Measles.

Hugo looked around. He spotted an old, abandoned house way out in the distance. “Betcha I can hit that house.”

“From here?” said Pudgy, before laughing hysterically. “I’d like to see you try, straw man! Ten bucks says you can’t even throw it halfway.”

“I thought your mom gave you that money because you said you needed a better plunger?” said Measles.

“Shut-up Measles,” said Pudgy.

Hugo smirked, then whirled his arm around and let the ball fly.

THE END

  • Thomas M. Watt

30 days of Listening – Day 2

Day 2 – Vijay

Vijay is originally from India. He has lived in Boston and now resides in California. He has two sons, both of which are avid tennis players. He is passionate about helping his children improve at Tennis. He taught me about Cricket, and said that some of the matches last as long as five days. In India, he said it is rare that fans drink at the event. I find this amazing, for I cannot imagine enjoying a sport so much as to spend an entire day watching it without the aid of alcohol consumption. His shoes are painted with American flags, and he owns his own company. He never played tennis before coming to America, but promises half an hour on the courts is the equivalent of two hours in the gym. Vijay is an accomplished man, and his children are great kids. On a further note, he approached me first and was a very good listener to all I had to say. I can see why he is a successful businessman and am excited to see his sons playing tennis one day on television. They approach improvement the right way, and were eager to learn about my own athletic endeavors. Well done Vijay, thank you for representing your homeland with unblemished dignity. We need more Americans like you.