Outside the Foul Lines - Book II

by Rick Beck

Chapter 7


Once the bus parked behind the stadium to discharge the team, we all headed for the cafeteria. Chance was the only one to offer some humor and levity. Even Wertz, his best foil, failed to respond. When Chance fell silent, the sounds of our utensils was all that was heard in our part of the dining room.

I can't explain where our energy went. It's difficult to understand the dynamics of a team, until those dynamics are disturbed. Monty hardly ever joined in with any of our college diversion techniques. At most he'd take a beer at one of our dorm gatherings where most of the team blew off steam and even Monty couldn't help but laugh at some of Chance's jokes. That's as good as it got. Monty was solitary and not interested in anything that didn't involve a baseball or a bat.

I followed Andy to our dorm room and it was relatively quiet. He locked the door as soon as we got inside and we were immediately stripping out of the uniforms we were still wearing, instead of the street clothes we'd left in our lockers in the baseball locker room. His kisses were more aggressive than usual. There was no doubt where we were heading, and Andy's excitement pointed the way to our bed.

Whatever he had, I caught immediately. I was dizzy, hot, and horny as hell. Our mournful demeanor got lost in the lust we couldn't control. It took me all of a few seconds to stop thinking about Monty Kristoff. Andy wanted me to ride him and that was no hardship on my end if a little hard on his, but he kept asking for more and harder, and he knew how long I'd last—not long. There was a trick to my timing he knew, and once done, he got to work on twice for good measure. Riding time increased after my initial discharge. This was what Andy was after and he kept asking for more and harder. This troubled me, not because he wanted me to become more aggressive with his bottom, but because his bottom had me wanting to get into Andy's desire, which then became my own.

I was not into harder faster longer, but the harder I fucked him, the faster I fucked him, the longer I fucked him. After one and two one might think three was a charm, but by that time Andy was the charm and I was merely a slave to his body as he responded by having intense orgasms, followed by soft moaning, kissing, and more hard fucking that he initiated as often as he could keep me up to the task. I'd never had better sex than we had that night.

Well, maybe the next morning I did. I woke up with him on top of me, kissing me passionately. I worried about my breath. He didn't. This time Andy wanted to be on top. Who was I to argue? It didn't matter the position, it only mattered I was with him. Man, was I with him. I began to think I might stay horny forever, and that would certainly present a problem if I had to go out in public. There was no doubt everyone would know my randy condition, but hey, who's complaining.

I nearly missed my first class and it was a review for our final exam. It was not a good move. I was sure I'd pass the class but I needed to pass the final. I was late for my second class because I crashed and burned and had to stop for food before I could regroup. I tried to figure out how much sleep I had the night before but I had no idea. Then, halfway through my sandwich, and halfway to being late to my second class in a row, it hit me: Monty Kristoff.

I dumped the sandwich in the first trash can and fought off my need to vomit. The professor stopped talking as I stepped into the back of the classroom. Everyone turned around and looked at me. He waited until I was comfortably seated before resuming the lesson. I didn't hear a word he said and only after the class was emptying out did I realize it had ended.

I couldn't be sure if I was hungry or sick at my stomach. I didn't eat again that day and my stomach didn't change much. I didn't think I'd throw up any longer but things were changing fast. We were down to the final two games of the regular season. We couldn't lose the league championship at that point. There was a playoff system I'd avoided thinking about, but there was no room for losing once you started the elimination round. We'd made mince meat out of most of the competition and we were expected to advance easily through the tri-state playoffs.

We had two days before our next to last game of the regular season. I put on my practice uniform and sat in front of my locker throwing a baseball into my glove over and over again. Around me doors of lockers opened and closed. There were polite voices in quick conversations. A banging sound brought my attention to Wertz, lying on his back on the end of the bench, throwing a baseball up against the wall over and over again. He'd catch it and throw it at the same spot on the wall. Chance and Morgan sat staring at the same thing I watched.

Slowly the locker room emptied. Wertz stopped throwing the ball. I tossed my spare ball into the open locker in front of me and I closed it, heading for the practice field.

"Where's Coach Bell?" Andy asked.

"He went to pick up Monty. They kept him overnight to check for a concussion. It's routine when someone knocks themselves out," Coach Briscoe told us.

Practice started and we gradually got with the program after some healthy exercises. I stood with Andy and took my turn at batting practice. It's what I needed to work on. Andy hardly looked at me and when he took his turn in the batting cage, he did his usual sweet swinging, scattering the balls around the outfield. I wondered if he was back to being the cleanup hitter? Who was going to play centerfield? Our team was out of sync with a major piece missing.

Later in the day we took our positions in the infield. Wertz batted balls for us to field. I felt out of sorts and now I was hungry. There was a line drive to Chance, a grounder to Brooks at third and a long throw across to Morgan. Then a hot grounder came right at me and I fielded it before it dribbled out of my glove onto the ground. I stared at it. I didn't reach for it or try to touch it. I looked at it and walked off the field.

"I can't do this today," I said, hitting the showers.

I went to the cafeteria and ate whatever the stuff was they were serving. I was eating to fill up the hole inside my stomach. This time it didn't make me sick. I did think of Monty and worried his baseball career was over. He'd been the one most likely to succeed. There's been talk he'd not even come back for his senior year. Someone would be watching him during our playoff games, and he'd announce he was entering the draft a year early. I thought he was good enough. Most of us had thought he was that good. Like Bobby Henry, Monty was the complete ballplayer.

With my belly full I returned to the dorm room and went to bed. I couldn't believe how absolutely exhausted I was. Why I was so tired was beyond comprehension. I was simply exhausted by life. Before anything could get a hold of my brain I was sleeping. Andy slept in his own bed for one of the few times since we'd started sleeping together. After our longest days and most stressful games, we'd sometimes opt to get some sleep instead of some satisfaction.

It was daylight when I woke up. I'd slept over twelve hours. I didn't know what time Andy came in but he was still sleeping. I had an hour before my first class and Andy only had two classes that hadn't finished and those were carefully scheduled for later in his day. He'd get an A in his different incarnations of gym class even if he never showed up. One of his gym teachers gave him his final exam the week before Monty was hurt. It consisted of him taking batting practice with the gym teacher serving up big fat juicy pitches you could only pray for. The only thing the gym teacher marked him down on was losing two balls they never did find. It was one of those jokes only the teacher gets but an A is and A is an A and Andy only had to worry about his two mainstream courses, although I wasn't certain Andy cared if he graduated or not as long as he maintained eligibility for the baseball season.

I had a final exam before lunch. I was ravenous once I was sure I'd passed it. It was the class I'd been late for the morning of the review. I figured I made a C or above on the exam, which meant no worse than a B for the course if the professor didn't mark me down for failing to be completely present for the review. They usually didn't do things like that to make a point because it excited the coaches who wanted to see concrete justification for poor grades. I was lucky I was a good student and didn't need to work all that hard to maintain my eligibility.

Coaches were mysterious characters. Of the coaches I'd had only Coach Bell was the least bit likeable. I had no understanding of the man, but he put things in perspective and if you stacked college ball up against the starving kids in Sudan, baseball was no big deal, but if you stacked winning up against losing ballgames, well, all coaches wanted to win almost more than anything else. Once you got to college ball, if you wanted a job, you better show something.

Coach Bell called me to his office that afternoon before practice. I knocked on his door and stepped inside. He was studying a form or a schedule in front of him and didn't look up.

"You left practice yesterday without mentioning it to Coach Briscoe?"

"Yes, sir."

He looked up into my face, keeping one stubby finger on his place.

"It's the day before a game and we have another game two days after that game. Saturday morning you'll give me a hundred laps around the practice field. The next time you walk out on your team, Mr. Dooley, you can turn in that uniform."

"Yes, sir."

"Is there something we need to talk about?"

"No, sir."

"I'm making Chance the infield leader. Don't get the idea you are bigger than the game, Mr. Dooley. You are here on my dime, not yours. You'll respect me, my coaches, and your teammates if you want to play ball at State."

"Yes, sir."

"Go on. If you have something we need to talk about, my door is open to you. In case you are interested and because it might sooth your angst, I've made arrangements for Monty to rehabilitate with a minor league team. He's been on their shortlist for their next starting centerfielder. They're affiliated with one of the biggest franchises and have a premier rehabilitation center at their disposal. Monty might well be pinch hitting in the minors by summer's end. Get out of here," he said, moving his finger as his eyes went back to his reading.

I'd never considered consequences for my actions. I had been given responsibilities and I'd taken it upon myself to walk away from them. I could have taken a minute and told Coach Briscoe I was sick and needed to leave practice, but I'd done it my way and paid a price. When I went out to practice I realized how high a price. Al Kane was playing first base and Morgan was in right with Wertz taking the centerfielder's position.

We took light infield practice and I wondered why Coach Bell put Al Kane on first? The guy was a walking disaster when it came to fielding. He did have a good bat and without Monty in the lineup, we'd be missing power. Al Kane was no Monty Kristoff when it came to batting. We went through the motions and halfway through practice, Chance strolled over to me.

"Why the long face, sad sack. Nothing's changed. It's still your infield and Coach Bell knows it. He'll come around in a few days."

"He's right. I wasn't thinking about the team. I was thinking about myself."

"You were not. You were thinking about exactly what all of us were thinking about. If you hadn't walked off I probably would have, but I couldn't once you were gone. The infield would have really had a hole in it with both of us missing," he said, smiling broadly and nudging me with his elbow. "You taught this kid Kane everything he knows. Is he any good?"

"Don't surprise him. He'll be okay. We've got to make sure we don't put any pressure on him."

"That's what I thought. They say he's got a good bat. I don't pay attention to the freshman team because I didn't even like it when I played on it. Freshmen, makes me think of guys who can't keep their hands off the girls."

"Yeah, right, shut up. Just be smooth with the kid and we'll be okay."

"Babysitting two games before we hit the big time," Chance lamented, walking back toward second.

"Hey, Chance," I said, making him turn his head back in my direction. "Thanks."

No one else mentioned Monty the rest of the day. It was a short practice meant to keep us loose. We spent a few extra minutes making throws to Kane. We had two fairly good infielders sitting on the bench, but Kane was the future and Coach Bell was going to go with him, though he could bring in the other guys if need be. We had options but we needed Monty Kristoff. I never thought I'd miss him once he was gone.

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