“You’re Special, Man!”

Posted on February 3, 2016


Alejandro knew what Teo said was true. The scouts had told him that he’d be in Mesa to work on fundamentals with some of the Cubs coaches, that there would be other players there for evaluation and that they would play some intra-squad games. He’d come off the field the first day marveling at the freshly mown grass, the size of the locker rooms, the quality of the uniforms and heard his named called, “López! Grifo López, package for you!” He’d pushed forward, sweaty, a group gathering around him, “From Dallas, man! Who do you know in Dallas?” and “Open the mother! It may be cookies!”  With his teammates standing around he’d cut the tape with a knife one of the trainers handed him, “It’s a computer! A fucking laptop!” “Le’me see! Hey, top of the line!” “You ordered it?” “Who sent it?”

He had known that it had to have come from Fernando even before one of the American players had read the IMPORTANT! message taped to the lid and, in clumsy Spanish, had translated it for him.

“You should receive this set up and ready to use…” with instructions about an e-mail change to an address that “we’ve sent a few things to.”

“This Fernando guy, who is he?” one of the players had wanted to know, “An uncle?” “An agent?” “Patrón?” and Alejandro had explained, “No, a friend, a friend on the Zancudos, the third baseman…” and they had laughed and joked that no third baseman that any of them knew ever had sent any of them anything. They insisted that Alejandro hook it up. With the help of one of the Americans he had linked to the dormitory internet and the screen had filled with messages and pictures, including several of Edda (“I’m gone!” one of the Americans squealed, “Are there more like her? How the hell do I get to this, where is it? San Arturo?”). And there was a picture of Alejandro with Cipriano that Sergio had taken in San Arturo and a song from Barbara and precise instructions from Paco for using K-Y-Gel, including some obscene references that only the Hispanic players understood.

“Special, man! You’re special!” Half-teasing, half in admiration, Teo repeated the phrase daily–almost hourly. A few minutes before Alejandro called Memo in San Arturo Teo had suggested going out but Alejandro had told him that he couldn’t, that he had to wait for a phone call.

“La Edda! With the beautiful boobs, the marvelous eyes!” 

From the novel RUNNING OUT THE HURT, featured on Kindle, $2.19.