Every day after school when I was young I would come home and stuff my face with food. When I got to the bottom of the bag of cheese doodles I’d feel guilty. I had seen these infomercials about exercise. The people in those infomercials were fit and gorgeous. I wanted to be that! So I would grab my baseball glove and a tennis ball, go into the backyard, and throw the ball against the wall simulating a game. I had created an entire league in my head. Players had back stories too. One player I created had to retire early because of a brain tumor. I was the third baseman and occasional left fielder for the Philadelphia Phillies. In right field was Jeff Breadsom, a friend I made in high school. I never did meet someone named Jeff Breadsom and I don’t think that’s even a real last name. I couldn’t have been less accurate with a prediction of how my life would have turned out.
As with fictional friends I would hope to one day meet, the league was filled with actual friends. The kicker was all of my friends played for their favorite teams too. Except for when we all decided to retire. That year we would get together and play on the same team. Who knew one elementary school would have produced so many All-Stars? Again, this was very inaccurate. I think the best anyone from my elementary school is doing is the kid who won a bunch of money betting on horses this past weekend. Lucky Larry we used to call him. Until his dad beat his mom to death with a brick. Then we called him Loser Larry.
Fake athletes aside, I sometimes wonder what happened to my actual teammates from my first year playing. Thanks to the magic of Facebook and everyone in town having sex with each other, I have a decent enough of an idea of what crappy human beings we all grew up to become.
“The Kid Who Always Bunts” – This was a nickname given to a teammate of mine. It was thought that he would always bunt. He kind of did always bunt too. He didn’t make it a secret either. Nobody was ever caught off guard. He had a really big heart that little guy. I mean literally. Doctors were amazed that he was still alive. I added him on Myspace and he said that he knew who I was. I remember him also posting something about how his brother got shot to death buying drugs. I didn’t know he had a brother. At some point he deleted me and I’m not sure whatever happened to him. A girl in high school told me that her grandma was neighbors with him. I nodded and we never spoke again.
(In little league, if your coach tells you to lay down a bunt it means he knows you won’t get a hit anyway)
“Old Mom” – I’m calling him this because he had a really old mom. If memory serves me right, she looked like the woman with the shaved head on The Walking Dead. If you don’t watch that show then imagine any woman in her 50s with a shaved head. Creepy, right? This kid became a huge burnout drug addict. He was also a drummer in a band with a swear word in their name. I think we met again once through a mutual acquaintance. This acquaintance had a Ted Bundy tattoo on his calf. If I had to bet, Old Mom was also shot to death while buying drugs.
(Technically she’s not bald. But saying “old dyke hair” sounds inappropriate)
“Quota” – The lone black kid on my baseball team. He was a really bad kid. I remember one time the coach had me catching and Quota batting. Instead of trying to hit the ball he tried deflecting the ball into my face. The coach yelled at him and chased him off. He never returned again. My gut tells me he shoots white guys trying to buy drugs in the hood.
(This prediction isn’t so much a joke as it is probably totally accurate)
“Bucktooth” – Bucktooth has the dubious honor of being the only person with bucked teeth that I’ve ever met and never spit on. He came from a really religious family. When I broke my leg that season he told me that he would pray for my leg. What about the person attached to that leg? His dad was an abusive firefighter. Not abusive because he fought fires, but any man who has to slide down a pole before going home every day probably has enough calluses on his hands to give him a reason to hit a kid. I think Bucktooth is my only friend who ever got to see my bedroom. It was really messy too that day. I remember having tighty-whities (clean and dirty) sitting on a chair. Bucktooth found a Yo-Yo and asked me if he could have it. I let him. Bucktooth lived too far away for us to really cross paths again. My guess is he’s a cop who busts drug dealers for shooting white kids.
(He had the same dull dark eye as this royalty free picture)
“Eye Liner Face” – This guy always looked to me like he was wearing eye-liner. I spent a lot of time with him. I even got invited to his grandmother’s beach house in Seaside when Old Mom was too busy smoking his first doobie. A lot of strange things happened on that little vacation. The first was he told me that a witch lived there. This was his logic for why the fan would turn off and on all night long. Never did he consider that this was an energy-saving feature or his grandmother wasn’t good at paying the bills. We did a lot of wrestling and fudgesicle eating while we were there. I remember his sister crying during Titanic and his dad singing Cheeseburger in Paradise. Clearly I wasn’t in paradise. The strangest thing that happened was in the shower. Somehow he convinced me that it was a good idea that we get ours over with together. We shook hands like gentleman promising not to look and washed our own soft bodies. Later on I accidentally dropped my towel and he saw my butt. Even later than that I saw his penis poking through his boxers. Somehow he still turned out to be a better athlete than me. He made the high school baseball team. I cried when the coach/math teacher wouldn’t let me miss the first practice because I didn’t feel like walking home. Where is he now? Probably showering with some poor dope who is concerned about the melting ice caps. Where should he be? Shot to death by a drug dealer.
(I swear he naturally looked kind of like this)
I guess I don’t so much know what happened to these guys as much as I like to pretend they’re all caught up in worse lives than mine.