Life and Love of a Knuckleballer

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A little sex. A little humor. Lots of baseball action.
Stanley had lost both of his loves, baseball and his wife.

Now, with too much time on his hands, he finds predatory women are on
his trail. He knows he needs to find something constructive to
get his life back on track.

When given the chance to coach little league baseball for the last place
team, he jumps at the chance.


 As a summer storm rolled through the darkened river bluffs near Memphis, Tennessee, its violent voice woke creatures with intense flashes of lightning, rain, and wind.The next morning’s air was crisp, and the sunshine seemed brighter than previous dawns.Stanley Dra met the light, smelled the air’s vitality, and began a belabored walk to the little area overlooking the river he frequented. He had thought his love life was as dead as his baseball career and his wife’s passing.  He was wrong on both thoughts.Stanley tried to laugh his problems away, or at least smile them down a bit.Southern charm and grace were a part of him, so he rarely said a harsh word about or to anyone.  Some would mistakenly believe his gentle nature was one of weakness.  Stanley knowingly chose his character, preferring it to one of arrogance and selfishness that he saw in abundance around him.He was anything but a weak man.Even later, when the widows began to feed and lure him to bed, he remained a gentleman, though he was uncomfortable with their amorous intentions.This brilliant morning he seemed to be as rooted in this spot near the river as the towering Tennessee Red Oak tree he leaned on.Earlier, he had mused the tree reached so high one might think it could catch a cloud in the upper branches.His thoughts were just as confused as the muddy river water running below him.  Stanley decided to visit Larry Lintell, later to share a beer and his recent adventures.  Since his wife died, he had leaned on his neighbor, Larry, as counsel, sounding board, and friend.   


 The shadows of the trees had lazily moved across Larry’s lawn while he watched nature in its glory change during the day.  Tension filled his workweek, so he used his weekend to decompress, thinking as little as he could while slowly sipping a beer or two.Larry saw the lumbering angular form of Stanley strangely walking across his lawn as if his back or hips were in pain.Larry had found over the years he enjoyed talking to Stanley.He found him entertaining as Stanley’s word choice and rhythm frequently made Larry smile or sometimes laugh.He met Stanley at the steps of his house with a beer, handing it to him when Stanley reached out to him.“How are you doing, Stanley?  Did you do something to hurt your back?  Normally, you are as straight as a rod,” Larry asked.“Well, now Mr. Larry, I have something weighing on me.  I need to talk a bit, get it out in the open,” Stanley said in a smooth baritone voice. “If you have time, that is.”Larry said, “I happen to have two chairs on this porch.  One for you, one for me.  Grab one, and we will talk a bit, share a beer, and watch those damned squirrels chase each other.”Stanley nodded and sat.  Larry could tell that this conversation would be different from prior ones since Stanley’s wife died.  He had the impression they would not discuss baseball, politics, or how to keep Stanley’s old truck on the road.They sat in the chairs for a bit, watched the summer breeze move the tree leaves, and listened to the flies and cicadids buzzing around them while Stanley found his voice.“Mr. Larry, you should know I never cheated on Christi while she was alive, though sometimes with baseball, I might be gone away from her for several weeks.  I was tempted from time to time since there are a lot of women that love ballplayers,” Stanley said. “Christi was my one and only.  As the years went on, we both got too old to be physical like in our youth.  Hell, age came on me quickly.  I will be getting my old man government check soon, you know?”Larry knew that Stanley played and worked for semi-pro AA baseball for many years.  He nodded in understanding.Stanley continued, “Well, lately, I have had several women ask me over for dinner.  I need the company and wanted a home-cooked meal, so I accepted a few.”He looked at Larry and continued, “Well, now I believe the food as bait to get me into their house and later into bed.”He motioned below his beltline and then said, “I do believe the woman’s parts are like a man trap, only missing teeth.  You know, like the German head doc said.”Larry caught himself in a gasp, then a chuckle.  He said, “It is not important, but he was Austrian, not German.  Go on, Stanley.”Stanley continued, “Let me assure you these women are after me.  I am not rich or good looking.  I have successfully resisted several ladies and found some way to get out of the house till last night.”He bowed his head went on, “So, I got this invite from a widow woman.  I am not going to tell you her name. You might know her,” Stanley said.“Let me call her Widow Wilson.  She invited me over last night.  She is a little one, close to me in age, but still colors her hair.  Big brown eyes, looking like a deer at the edge of the forest.  You know?  She takes good care of herself, as well.  Her hair and makeup are all perfectly set, and she dresses nicely.  She has these tiny little hands but plays the piano.  She had cooked me a great fried chicken and potatoes meal, and I liked her listening to me, so I did not see her attack coming. “   He continued,  “She went on about how her husband died a while back.  I got the idea she was ok with him passing.  Apparently, they had reached an agreement during their marriage that it was too late to divorce at their age.  Her children were grown and gone, and now it was just the two of them staring at each other, with little in common. No love lost is the way she described their marriage.” Stanley said as his hands drew images in the air.Stanley paused, then went on, “Mrs. Wilson started in on me right after she fed me two slices of apple strudel.  She started pulling and touching, you know, down there?  A man’s body will react, but it was No, No, Stop it, inside my head.  I got  embarrassed and was trying to find a way out without hurting her feelings.”Larry noticed how Stanley’s legs and hands were twitching as if agitated.Larry said, “OK, I follow you so far, but what does that have to do with the way you are walking?”Stanley said, “I am getting to that part.”He paused and looked into Larry’s eyes, “Well, she pulled out two kitchen chairs sitting opposite from each other.  They were made of wood and painted white, except for the seat.  It was bare wood.  One was braced by the wall, while the other she placed further out on the floor,” Stanley’s arm spread to demonstrate the position of the chairs.Stanley continued, “She decided I would straddle those chairs, and she would straddle me.  A question for you.  I know she must have had beds.  Why did she not use one instead of those wooden chairs?”Larry almost laughed, caught it, and swallowed.Instead, he shrugged his shoulders as if to say, “I dunno.”Stanley slapped the air with one great hand as if swatting a fly or a terrible memory away.He shook his head, looked to the sky, watching the lumbering clouds, and went on, “It seems to have worked out great for her, ‘cause she sounded religious, calling the ‘Lord’ over and over.  But not so much for me.”Larry wanted to laugh again but decided this was not the right time, either as poor Stanley seemed embarrassed.He used his beer can to hide his smile with a sip.“So, anyway, I left soon after she quieted down and got home before the storm hit.  I woke up feeling guilty, my first time with any woman other than my Christi.  Before I rolled out of bed, I felt a knife in my back, so I walked over to the river bluffs to loosen up. I took a handful of aspirins, but the pain is still there. I do believe I need a bone cracker. ” Stanley’s large hands were now wrapping his face.Larry let the silence lay for several moments and then got an idea.“Stanley, I remember you told me how your wife made you promise to find another woman to love before she died last year.  She wanted you to do it.  I don’t think you should feel guilty about this.”Stanley looked at him and said, “Mr. Larry, I am not going to marry a vulture, so I am not alone.  I feel used.  Hell, I feel dirty.”Larry caught himself on the edge of laughter again and knew he could not release it.  Instead, he said, “Stanley, I think you are too hard on yourself.  I think it is OK for you to get back on the horse.”With that, Stanley painfully stood and said, “Easy for you to say, your horse did not buck you off and then sit on you.”Larry tried to hide a laugh, but it came out anyway as a choked chuckle.“Man, that was good strudel,” Stanley said, shaking his head.Something had changed in Stanley, though, as Larry saw a slight smile on his face.  He knew that Stanley’s good grace would return soon.“Well, let me drag my old self to find a Chiro.  See you later, Mr. Larry.” With Stanley Dra safely on his way, Larry smiled and chuckled at the images running through his mind while he finished his beer.

He was secretly glad Stanley was getting back into life because he had seen the suffering on his face during the horrible times of the last few years.