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Thread: Brooklyn Blues

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    1,508

    Re: Brooklyn Blues

    February, 2021

    Jill glared angrily across the desk in her office. "You do what you need to do," she bit off the words tightly. "Go ahead."

    The man on the other side of the desk looked as though he would rather be anywhere else in the world. "I'm going to regret it, aren't I?" he asked, plaintively.

    She sat back. "Not at all. If you do what you should do. If you get out of my way. If you recognize that I am the one who is in charge here, and act accordingly, then no. You won't regret that." Her words offered him an option, a way out. Her tone did not. Her eyes very clearly were not interested in what her words had to say.

    Drew slowly reached for his queen. Not for the first time he wished his real queen was in the room, to protect him from his boss. "Work boss," he mentally added. So far he'd never had any occasion to get Emma to battle Jill to protect him. He knew she would, of course, but he also knew that Emma would prefer not to use her considerable strength on coworkers. Emma would not be happy if she had to step into a conflict between him and his supervisor. The key words in that sentence were "Emma would not be happy."

    On the rare occasions in which he gave the matter a thought, he supposed that this meant that he was more afraid of his wife than his work boss. He didn't think about it much because, even considering who his work boss was, being more afraid of Emma seemed the only natural thing to do.

    Besides, he'd brought this on himself. He knew his job when Jill asked him to use the blue and white plastic Aztec-versus-Conquistador-themed chess board she kept on the side of her desk. Put up a decent fight, and lose with grace and dignity. The only trouble was, he had actually been a very good chess player, and sometimes he forgot.

    This was one of those times. She had six pieces left on the board. Her king was caught between both his castles. There were at least five spaces to which he could move his queen and force checkmate.

    He moved the piece to the sixth space. The one from which her king could capture his queen. She pounced immediately, adding the queen to the two pawns and a knight that were all that he'd lost so far. "Oh, darn," he said, he hoped convincingly. "How did I not see that?" He reached out and tipped his king over in defeat. It knocked over two pawns and a bishop which had been protecting it from anything she could have done.

    "It was a good game, Drew. Keep trying, you'll beat me some day," Jill said as he put the pieces back to their starting positions.

    He resisted the urge to roll his eyes where she could see him. Mustn't pick a fight. Emma would have to intervene. And Emma would not be happy. "I doubt that," he said. "Thank you for the game." And using the walk he'd worked up, where he wasn't quite backing out of the room bowing to her, but wasn't far from it, he left the office.

    Jill watched him go with an amused smile. She really quite liked Drew. He was a smart young man, to be sure. Dedicated to his job. Actually very good at it. Not the greatest, most original thinker in the world, but that was what she was there for, and she could see by the way he defered to her that he knew it. They made a good team - she came up with good ideas, he agreed to them. She told him the smartest way to enact them, he followed her instructions. Occasionally he'd go off the mark a bit, but she could always show him how what he'd thought was a good thing was actually bad, and he always came back around. And a decent listener, too - she could tell him all the stories she had of her day, in detail from beginning to end, and he would only rarely try to interject something from his own life. She could see big things in his future so long as he listened to her.

    Not like most people around here. And certainly not like Jack. Jack had an alarming tendency to slow matters down by going around to other people and asking what they thought, even after she'd already shown him what was clearly the best thing to do.

    "...and he shall appear," she thought, as she noticed movement in the hall outside her office. Jack, of course. She needed to talk to him about the marketing around Gustavo Amella, and how hard Jack would let her push it. It was only three months into their working relationship, after all, so she wanted to let him know that she would listen to him. Especially if he proved to be smart enough to do what she knew needed to be done. She called out to him, and started looking in her desk drawer for the Amella paperwork.

    It only took a moment to realize that Jack wasn't coming. But she needed to talk to him right then. It couldn't wait. She got up, grumbling a bit, and got to the hall, only to see him disappear through the door at the other end. She followed. After a bit she began to wonder why he was going this way. It was a side door, one that led down into the stadium proper, where the construction was still going on.

    She wondered even more as it occurred to her that he was checking back over his shoulder every so often. She ducked into an unfinished door frame, almost by instinct at first, then deliberately as the pursuit went on.

    Finally he came to a door that she didn't recognize, and went through it after one final, furtive look. She waited until it closed, then sprinted down the hall. Quietly opening the door, almost expecting to see him standing on the other side waiting for her, she instead saw that he was getting into a very nice car that had clearly seen better days, parked in one of the construction worker lots. It was too far away to make out a license plate (it didn't occur to her that she would have no way to run the license plate even if she could have seen it).

    "My boss has a mystery," she thought as she went back to her office. The blank page in her mind already had two columns on it, one labeled "How can I find out what that mystery is?" and the other "What can I do with it after I know?" As she walked, she began to fill in the columns.
    The Orange and Black(Sox) - The Complete Saga

    Part One - The First Ten Long Years: The Orange and Black(Sox)
    Part Two - Ten More Years! (Orange and) Black Times
    The Spin-off Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

    Part Three - How Long Can This Go On? Charlie's War

    The Spin-Off: Braves New World

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    1,508

    Re: Brooklyn Blues

    March, 2021

    We're in Arizona. Cactus league. Sure, everybody else in our division is in the grapefruit league, in Florida. Ray Bernard never got around to making a deal with a city in Florida to host us. By the time we realized this, all Adam could do was get us "some town with an army name in Arizona." He couldn't remember where it was. I went through the names of every town and neighborhood of Phoenix that I could remember. It was none of them.

    "Do you mean Flagstaff?" I finally asked. Not because I thought it likely, but it did have the word "flag" in it. Maybe that's what Adam meant by "army."

    "Maybe! Wait - no. Wait! Yes - yes?"

    Terrific.

    I put Mal on it. My headache was far too strong for me that day. Bernard's liquor cabinet looked great. Well, it did now that it had liquor in it.

    A couple of hours later, she came back to the office. She didn't look happy. But it wasn't her usual "I'm angry at the world in general and Jack Weston in particular" unhappy. On someone else, I'd have said that the expression was...remorse? Guilt? Can't be.

    "So where are we going?" I asked.

    "Fort Watchacall," she said. I least I thought she did.

    "Fort What ya call it?" I asked. She shook her head.

    "Fort Huachuca."

    I had to get a map. It's about a three hour drive from Phoenix. Which is where all of the other teams in the cactus league play. A three hour bus ride, across Arizona desert.

    Oh, the other teams are going to love us.

    After this had sunk in, I looked for a bright side. "At least do we have good facilities? Surely we must, right? I mean, it's not as though any other team is competing with us for it, so they had to build really good facilities to lure a team there. Right?" Even to myself, I sounded more plaintive than hopeful.

    She just looked sad. "We're playing on the 90 foot diamond of MacArthur High School."

    I blinked a few times, wordlessly. Finally said, "High school. Our major league baseball team is playing its home spring training games on a high school field."

    She nodded again. "Well, except on Tuesdays and Friday nights and afternoons from 2 to 4."

    "Uh huh. Um...why?"

    "That's when the high school team plays their games, or has their practices in the afternoons."

    I decided to skip it. I had to. "And our minor league camps?"

    "The JV field for triple A."

    "What about double or single A." It wasn't a question any more.

    She was looking at her feet by now. I'm sure they were very nice feet, but she looked as though she wanted to dig through the floor. "High school softball field for one. Middle school diamond for the other."

    The silence between us stretched. I didn't know what to say. She clearly wasn't going to bring anything up if she didn't have to. Finally I had to be the one. "Is there anything else I should know?"

    She steeled herself, standing at attention, as though she expected a full dressing down when she was done. Or as though she was practicing, so that she could join the Army when she got to the Fort and run away from all this. I wasn't sure she was wrong. "We don't have to compete with the high school teams for our home games," she finally said.

    "Why not?"

    "Because we don't have any. None of the other Cactus league teams was willing to travel to Ft. Huachuca. So we're the visiting team for every game."

    Of course we are.

    So I'm in Arizona, watching Bill try to work out my team. Adam comes up to me from the trailer he had. I think he may have driven it across the country. He's international. He's wearing a Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts, a Panama hat - and 100% American black socks and sandals. "Pretty sweet setup, eh boss?" he says.

    I'm going back to the hotel. When I checked in yesterday, I'd turned on the hot water for a nice long shower, and it was indeed scalding hot. So I turned on the cold water...and it was also scalding hot. I have hot and hotter running water. If I want cold water, I have to go get in the pool, where it's only 94.

    At least the air conditioning works. Well, it did last night, and I'm afraid to even think about the room if it doesn't.
    The Orange and Black(Sox) - The Complete Saga

    Part One - The First Ten Long Years: The Orange and Black(Sox)
    Part Two - Ten More Years! (Orange and) Black Times
    The Spin-off Mini-Series: An Orange and Black Shroud

    Part Three - How Long Can This Go On? Charlie's War

    The Spin-Off: Braves New World

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