[b]33 LEERS, FEARS, JEERS, 'N TEARS The next afternoon Jeff stops at Sean's house. "Guess what! My mom likes the idea of a dinner date too." "Great, now you need to talk to Maria's parents." "I talked to Sonya, her mom, when she picked her up after school.
She's keen on the idea. Friday night is good for them." "What about Maria's father?" "He's out of the picture. But Sonya's boyfriend may come too." "Jeff, I was hoping to be alone with your mom Friday, but I'm game." "Great! We pick them up at Jose's house." "Why?" "That's where they live right now." "Really!?" "Yeah, Sean.
She's Jose's cousin." "That explains a lot!" "What do you mean?" "Jose's very affectionate. I figure she must be too—just what you would want." "You got that right, Sean!" After talking about the game, Jeff inquires, "Why are you so uptight about erections in the shower but not at Black's Beach?" "Well, when we're together, just the two of us, arousal isn't appropriate." "But you approve of Alex and me arousing each other." "I don't know if I approve, Jeff, but I don't disapprove." "It felt great having you and my mother looking at my boner at the beach&hellip.
Sean, what just happened to you?" Feeling embarrassed, "So you know I was staring at your erection." "Yeah, I loved it." "Well, I have to admit I loved looking at it, but I feel uncomfortable about it." "Why? You weren't getting turned on." "No.
Looking at erections is something new to me. To be honest, seeing you get hard and get soft again peaked my interest." "I know it did. That made me feel like a king." "Jeff, I know I wouldn't want to tell the world about this.
In fact, I wouldn't want to tell anyone this." "I'm cool with that. I'll keep it secret. But someone knows already." Panicking, "Who did you tell!?" Laughing, "No one!
But Mom could tell you were enjoying it." With dread, "Oh, no! Jeff, I can't take this." "Sean! You are a panic! What's the big deal!?" "What else does she know!" "All about our showers, for starters." "Don't do that to me! I nearly had a heart attack!" Jeff can't stop laughing. "I guess I'm not half the naturist that I thought I was!" "Get in bed, Sean! Get naked!" Sean follows orders and Jeff joins him, wrapping his fingers around Sean's testicles.
"How did you know I needed that!? Please don't ever let go, ever!" Jeff swings around into the 69 position, not letting go. "Now do the same for me." Sean does, as silent tears roll down his cheeks. Jeff moves Sean's penis to the side, laying his head on top of it. Sean massages Jeff's butt with his free hand. An hour later Jeff wakes up finding himself in the same position.
He tries to get up, which awakens Sean. Sean can't believe they fell asleep naked with the door wide open. "My parents could have walked in on us." Jeff steps out of the room, then runs back, "And they don't look pleased!" Sean's chest sinks, just at the remote chance it was true.
Jeff laughs, "I gotcha again!" "You're gonna give me gray hair before the year is done." When Rachel comes to get Jeff, Sean asks her, "How does it feel to see your son get an erection?" "Wow! You barely said hello! OK. I feel wonderful that he shares such an intimate moment with us." "So wonderful that you want to tell the universe." "No!
I could tell you deeply appreciated the moment as well." "Yes, I did. Let's say I wasn't there. You are putting Jeff to bed and it happens." "Same thing, Sean, deeply honored. So what's the problem?" "Seeing somebody's erection is new to me, Rachel, so I've been very uncomfortable dealing with it." "You weren't turned on, Sean, so lighten up." "That's what Jeff said! I can't believe you both knew that." 34 WORST THIRST FOR FIRST As Jeff arrives at the ball field, Fred declares "It's a miracle!" Roy asks, "What is?" "Jeff got a haircut!" Karim observes.
Arnie laughs, "Looks like he got them all cut." Clyde muses, "Must of lost ten pounds." Ricky inquires, "You wouldn't be in love, would you?" Jeff jumps to answer, "You bet!" Jamie teases, "Sounds like she's got you wrapped around her finger already." Jose suggests, "I guess you don't know what happened to Samson when his long locks were cut." Jerry decides, "Yup, you're history now, Jeff." Roy asks, "Is this babe taller than you?" With a winning smile, Jeff concludes, "I just love trying to find my way.
You ritalin zombies need to get a life." If the Padres can beat the Cubs tonight they will be tied for first place. Michael being sick means Jamie gets his first chance to play shortstop. Sean first approaches Karim, "I need you to pitch first tonight." "OK, Sean. I'm ready." "You're pitching three innings no matter what." Then approaching Jose, "Karim's pitching the first three innings, so I need you to start at first base." "OK coach, but only if you don't let Jeff date my cousin." "What!" "Kidding!
I think it's great!" Smiling, "Good. I need you to pitch the final three innings Jose, no matter what." "Good!" As he hugs Sean he tries to kiss him on the cheek, but Sean doesn't bend down for him. "Don't want any rumors to start!" "Oh Sean, that's ridiculous!" With pitching squared away, he approaches Jamie. "So Sean, I get to play shortstop tonight!" "Yes, the whole game." "Wow!
But I'm scared too." "I don't care how many mistakes you make—I want you to play with confidence.
Focus on what you need to do, not on your fear. OK?" "OK!" "You have a stronger arm than Jeff so you need to be the cut-off man every chance you can.
Jeff's used to that, anyway." To start the game, Jeff steps to the plate against the best pitcher in the league. No Cub reached base against him in their first contest. With the infield in, he swings at the first fastball, foul tipping it. The second blazer comes at his chin. In self-defense he falls over backwards.
He gets up, shaking in his skin.
Getting his head back into the game, he gets back into the box, crowding the plate. This surprises, then angers the pitcher. The next fastball comes right at his groin. Quickly he spins, getting hit on the butt. "Yeeeow!" Sean runs out there.
"This may hurt, but it aint nothing compared to getting hit anywhere else. Nice reaction!" He lifts Jeff up by the arm. Jeff hobbles to first base. Jose strikes out, but not before Jeff runs for second on a pitch the catcher blocks.
The good throw does not catch 'white lightning.' Karim steps up knowing any hit means a run. In the batting cage yesterday he focused on hitting the fastball with two strikes. He decides to swing as if there are two strikes already. He lines the first pitch down the line.
The first baseman dives, coming up empty.
Karim hustles into second as Jeff easily scores. Someone tells Sean that it is the first run given up this year by this star pitcher. Fred continues his new practice of praying, but strikes out. In the dugout he angrily tells Jeff it didn't work. Jeff says, "God already proved to you that he listens to you. Maybe now he's testing how well you listen to him." "Jeff, this stuff is too tough!" "Just treasure your huge homer last week." Ricky saw Karim's strategy and decides to do the same.
He fouls off a couple. On 1-2 he bloops one that the first baseman hustles back on. As he reaches on the run, he stumbles, allowing the ball to drop in. Ricky slides into second base ahead of the tag as another run scores! In the bottom of the first the Padres have a runner at second with two outs. Jamie races back on a bloop to shallow left. Lunging, he makes the catch, rolling over. Alex helps him up, giving him a hug. In the second, leading 2-0, each Cub strikes out on three pitches, but Karim pitches a one-two-three inning too.
After fouling two back, Jeff sees the infielders move back to their normal fielding positions. He bunts the next pitch well within the first base line, easily beating it out. But Jose and Karim strike out.
With Jeff still at first, it's up to Fred. The thought he shoots to heaven is, "I won't get angry no matter what happens." After swinging late twice, he should protect the plate on a 1-2 count. But he decides he needs to start his swing before he knows where the pitch is heading. As he swings, he finds himself taking a full swing.
He pulls a towering fly that the left fielder races to the fence on. Suddenly he lunges forward. The ball drops in as Jeff easily scores. Fred stops at second. After walking Ricky, Jamie strikes out to end the inning. Karim gets two quick outs, one on a grounder to Jamie. Then the leadoff hitter lines a one-hopper into Karim's knee. He topples to the ground as Jamie picks up the ball.
As Karim grimaces in pain, his father runs onto the field. Sean keeps players from crowding Karim, so his father can get to Karim. "Did the ball hit your knee cap, Karim?" He frantically nods yes. "Take a deep breath, son. Slow, deep breathes. Sean, I'm going to have to take him for X-rays." "I agree.
Hang in there, Karim. You're gonna be fine. Ricky, can you help walk Karim to the car?" "Sure thing, Sean." Sean instructs Karim, "Don't try to put weight on your left foot." Ricky and Karim's father pick him up. Sean sees Karim's terrible pain, looks deeply into his eyes, and hugs him. "Karim, put an arm around Ricky's shoulder and the other around your father's.
When you normally step on your left foot, you will put all your weight on their shoulders instead. They're your crutches." Karim's teammates wish him well as he hobbles off the field. Sean cannot afford to pitch Jose until the next inning. He looks at Fred, "I need you to get us out of the inning." "What do you mean?" "Pitch.
If I bring Jose in now, then he's not allowed to pitch the sixth inning." Me!?" "Yup. Clyde! Come in and catch. Fred, just fire down the middle. Nothing fancy." "OK, Sean." The batter drills the first pitch to short. The ball hits the heel of Jamie's glove and trickles away.
Runners on first and second. With a power hitter up, a home run will tie the score. The first pitch is drilled at Rick the Quick. He knocks the ball down, picks it up, and takes three steps to the bag for the force out. Inning over! Sean goes out to thank Fred, "It wasn't pretty, but you got the job done with no damage." "I'm glad it's over!" "Honestly, Fred, me too!
But now we have another problem—nobody to play first base." "I can play first base." "Yes you can, but you don't like it." "For you, I'd clean the toilet!" Sean gives him a hug.
The Padres bring in their off-speed pitcher. The bottom of the order gets fooled badly by his speed changes. The rest of the hitters watch closely, remembering how tricky he can be. Jose walks the first two batters he faces.
Sean goes to the mound, "What do you want me to do? Bring in Ricky to pitch?" "No way!" "Then pitch! Is Clyde setting up the target differently?" "Yeah. Fred sets up on one side of the plate or the other, sometimes high, usually low." "Hear that, Clyde?" Feeling bad, "Yeah." "Hey buddy, you don't have to feel bad.
I'm happy you can catch! Now if Jose shakes his head, 'No,' he's not mad at you. He just wants the target in a different spot for the next pitch. OK?" Feeling better, "Yeah!" Sean gives them both a pat on the butt and returns to the dugout. Jose gets out of the inning giving up one run. Again the Padres play for a bunt against Jeff.
He decides he'll swing away and doesn't want to take a strike against this pitcher either. Twice he is fooled badly, bringing the count to 2-2. They still play for a bunt so Jeff decides to just foul pitches off, looking for a walk.
He only has to foul off one pitch before accomplishing his goal. Jose bloops a single with Jeff speeding to third.
Jose steals second on the first pitch to Clyde, who replaced Karim in the order. After striking out, Fred hits a lazy pop that the second baseman snags. With first base open, Ricky walks on four pitches. Jamie swings, hitting the ball down to the plate. The ball bounces twenty feet toward first. The catcher treks it down, firing to first base because he has no chance to force Jeff at the plate. The throw sails over the first baseman allowing three runs to score, building the lead to 6-1.
Jose gives up a solo home run, the only other run of the game. The Cubs win shorthanded, 6-2.