CURVE BALL

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Chapter Twenty-One

United flight 470 landed at O’Hara airport in Chicago during dinnertime. Jack wasn’t surprised there was no one to greet him. He was an only child and his mother…well his mother… He hadn’t thought of her in awhile---a long while. He followed the other arrived passengers down the lengthy corridor. Signs hung from the ceiling directing them to the “Main Terminal” and “Baggage”. People rushed in the other direction to catch their flights. Their faces were filled with anticipation. On his side, the crowd moved along resigned so it seemed to their destination and the resumption of their lives. He caught the sound of a ball game, and looked up. There was a bar in the main area of the terminal. Highlights of Boston’s game played on the TV screen. What the hell? He’ll stay for a drink, and watch. It was the height of rush hour. A cab ride would take at least an hour to get downtown to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He found a spot at the bar.

“What’cha having?” the bartender asked.

“Johnny Black on the rocks.” Jack watched him pour and then turned his attention to the TV. It was a good day for Boston. They whipped the Reds 6, zip. El Tiant was on top of his game. He took a sip of his drink then looked around. There were two men sitting a seat away. They were dressed in suits probably business men who were in a heavy discussion about putting more money on the rest of the series. Near them almost at the corner was a woman. She appeared to be by herself. She wore a white blouse. Her jacket was on an empty chair between her and one of the men. Jack figured her to be in her late twenties or early thirties. A glass of white wine was in front of her. He went back to the TV. He sensed movement and turned in the direction of the woman. She raised her glass. He paused and then did the same. The two businessmen discussed odds and percentages. Jack took another swig and put the drink down. He heard Tiant being interviewed and looked up.

“I had real good stuff, Curt, the hitters couldn’t catch up to my pitches,” Tiant said. “I throw the fast ball and then a slow curve.”

Jack smiled. That’s what passed as a great interview. He was no better.

The bartender took his old glass and put a fresh drink in front of him. “Compliments of the lady,” he said.

Jack turned.

“Mind if I join you?” she asked.

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