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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Sports  |  House: Booksie Classic
A mother asks her young son to write about his dream of being a major league baseball pitcher. This is the prologue for the recently released novel, Switch-Pitcher.

Submitted: October 23, 2019

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Submitted: October 23, 2019

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I’m not sure why I’m doing this, but my mom bought me this little book, and there’s nothing in it but blank pages. She said if I’m planning on being famous, WHICH I AM, then someday, people will want to read about my life. I know I’ll never read it, because I’ll already know what happens. Anyway, this book has got a lock on it with a little key, which is kinda stupid, cause anybody could rip it right off if they wanted to look inside. Not sure why anyone would do that, but I’ll use the lock anyway, because it’s there, and I’ll keep the key someplace safe.

My mom says this is called a diary. But I didn’t like that, because it sounds like something a girl would have. So she suggested I call it my journal. Well, I thought she said journey. So I decided to call it, MY JOURNEY TO STARDOM, and wrote it right on the front. I added the bit about stardom, cause I figured it sounded more interesting. People say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I do, so that’s why I did it.

I guess the best place to begin is the beginning. My teacher says I’m not real smart, and I mostly believe her. But I figure even a smart person would think starting at the beginning was a good idea, so that’s what I’ll do. It’ll take me awhile, because holding a pencil always makes my hand cramp, and I have to take frequent breaks. Also, my mom says if I don’t know how to spell a word, I have to look it up in the dictionary she gave me last year. My teacher suggested she do that, because, as I said already, she don’t think I’m too smart. And being a teacher she must know everything, RIGHT?

I’m actually pretty good at reading. I learned by reading the backs of baseball cards and game recaps in the newspaper and computer, not from any book my teacher gave me. I think that’s why she thinks I’m dumb, because all I know is baseball. But that’s all I want to know, so why should I read anything else? Makes sense to me.

Anyway, til now, I’ve lived what they call a charmed life. Anyone would think the same if they had six dads. Which sounds impossible, but I’ll explain. My mom’s real name is Alice, but everyone calls her Al. She prefers that. In fact, I heard she once broke a beer bottle over a guy’s head for calling her Alice. Me, I just call her mom, except when she’s in a bad mood, then privately I call her Ice, using the last three letters of her name, which I think is funny because it is. Course I would never call her that to her face, or she might bust something over my head. Anyway, she’s a biker chick, and was married before I was around. All the boys in the club say her husband was a real jerk. He used to beat on her, and she didn’t like that. Well, she told the boys about it, and they up and beat on him, real bad. Then they kicked him out of the club, and he left for parts unknown.

Well, after he was gone, my mom said she didn’t want no more husbands. She just wanted one of me. A kid. And she said she was running out of time, given her age. Problem was, she still needed a man to get the job done. That’s according to the rules of nature, as she put it when she first explained about sex and such. Well, she told the boys what she was after, and they all admire her, but not one of them was having anything to do with being married. Some already were, or had been, and the ones that hadn’t were afraid she would change her mind after the deed was done. She assured them it was not part of her plan, she just needed one of their sperms. She told them she had even gone to what they call a sperm bank, but the cost of $500 a pop for something so simple and natural was way out of her reach.

She suggested that six of her favorites act as her private sperm bank, with each one donating a little for the cause. She said nobody would ever know who the dad was, because the donations would remain anonymous, and she would pick one at random. This way, no one would feel any obligation toward me. She promised to take care of raising me, and the boys would be off the hook. Well, the six Chosen Ones had little to argue with over such a clever plan, so they went ahead and deposited their contributions into the bank.

Now this next part is top secret, so maybe there is some point to this lock and key. Because my mom never told anyone but me that once she had these six donations in her sperm bank (the freezer in our kitchen) she was afraid to let anything go to chance. So over a period of a week, once a night, she took a donation and did whatever women do with such things. (I don’t know the details and I don’t want to!) Anyway, by Sunday of that week she had used up every single bottle and was certain one of them sperms had done the trick.

Sure enough, nine months later, I popped out, and mom named me, Gil. Now, I know she named me after the goofy guy on Gilligan’s Island. She’s crazy for that show and is always watching the reruns. But I decided I’m named after Gil Hodges. I’m no first baseman, but it’s best to be named after a great ballplayer than a doofus who got himself stuck on an island and never even tries to make out with Ginger or Mary Ann!

Now, some of you might think what my mom did is downright whacko. But I don’t see it that way. Not one of the boys thinks so either. In fact if they were to hear anyone speak different, well, might just find that body out in the desert past Iron Springs Road someday. Yeah, my mom’s a good woman. And she’s real practical. She had a goal, and found a way to make it happen despite all difficulties.

One thing she didn’t count on, was after I came out, all the boys who participated in the plan became attached to the idea of being a dad, despite none of them knowing who it was. So, they all just started assuming the role. The rest of the boys in the club also help out keeping an eye over me. I figure they’re like my uncles. Course, they’re not the sorts to cramp my style any. Much of the time, they’re out with their hogs anyway. Sometimes I think they love them damn things more than me or my mom.

But when they’re not messing around with the hogs, or doing club business, they’re settled in at the clubhouse and they don’t mind at all that I hang around. They say I make them laugh. Which is to be expected, on account of I’m just naturally funny. I’ve heard a lot about the boys and what their business is, and there is no denying they are some bad hombres. And my mom says despite one of them being my dad, she doesn’t want me becoming like them. In fact, after I was born, she kinda wasn’t a biker chick anymore. She settled in and has only one thing on her mind, taking care of me. I tell her she has no need to worry about me being part of a biker gang. I couldn’t give a damn about hogs or patches or whatever their business is. And behind all the leather and the grizzle, I think they’re just boys who aren’t sure how to fit in. But that’s their problem, not mine. For now, I just use them for my purposes, which I’ll explain in a bit.

As you can see, my life has been real charmed. I like my town, most of the time. There are only a few hundred living here, and you can learn everybody’s name in under a week. Took me longer than that, but that’s because I’m not too smart, remember? And don’t let the name fool you. People hear Skull Valley and figure it must be a dump. All desert, no trees. But it’s not like that. Our teacher, Miss Smartypants, told us the name came from the white people who first showed up and found all these skulls from the Indians doing battle among themselves. Turns out, Skull Valley could be a real good place to grow things and the Indians fought over the right to do that. I guess they killed themselves off over it, because when these white people showed up, all they found were bones. And that’s how it got its name. Not because it’s ugly or nothing. Heck, right time of the year, we got the greatest creek ever. And there are big cottonwoods, and Mr. Miller across the way has sheep and fields growing all sorts of things. I’m glad it’s not the desert. I need green to make me happy. And there’s plenty of that.

The only thing that makes my town the pits is the lack of kids. Not that I’m crazy for kids, but it’d sure be nice to have enough to get a decent ballgame together. As it is, I got my best friend Tucker who’s an okay catcher, and the Wilson sisters do alright in the outfield. Then there’s little Tim, but he’s too young to do much but cover first. On occasion, some kids come out of Prescott to visit their other parent, and we can fill the infield. But there’s just not enough to go around to make up a second team.

This is real frustrating to me, because I’m planning on being a Hall of Fame pitcher. And it gets DAMN hard to practice when you can’t get up a proper game. But I shouldn’t whine. This is where my dads and uncles become useful. They make sure I get plenty of practice. None of them are too good, but they built me a mound behind the clubhouse so I can get the feel of pitching up high, like the king of the hill I aim to be. Problem is, most of the time, the boys have been drinking beer and it gets real easy to strike them out. Even when I throw garbage they just can’t lay off. Still, I appreciate them for trying and giving me the practice I need to be a star.

Now I was born a righty, but I learned early on lefties have a natural advantage, so that’s what I became. Grab whatever edge you can. But I do most everything else with my right. My favorite team is the Diamondbacks. Have to be, Arizona bred and all. And I just know someday they’ll be BEGGING me to play for them. That’s a promise.

My mom says when I get old enough, she’s going to put me in the high school up at Prescott so I can play proper games. Until then, I’ll just make do with what I have. There’s no point in complaining. I got the best life a kid could want, with all the love and support the boys and mom can give. I thank my stars I could be so lucky. Well, I have to go now. I have a new pitch I want to try out. I guess I’ll get back to this at some point. Though I’m not sure why it’s important. I’ve just learned to trust in my mom the way she trusts in me. She’s as certain as I am that I will be famous someday. And as much as I want it for myself, I would never let that woman down. Just like her, I’ll find a way to reach my goal. NO MATTER WHAT.


© Copyright 2020 Marc J. Reilly. All rights reserved.

Check out Marc J. Reilly's Book


Top of the 1st

An uplifting story of a young baseball pitcher's journey to the big leagues—using both arms. A must-read for anyone who dares to buck the odds and follow their dream.

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