CURVE BALL

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Chapter Thirty-Five

Jack didn’t move from bed. His brain shouted instructions--- double lock the door. Call the police. Get the hell out of the room. Seconds ticked by. He strained to listen for sounds, any sounds. The room though heated turned cold---ice-like. He shivered and then his body shook. He grabbed the covers and threw them over, but he couldn’t stop. Sweat poured from him, but his teeth chattered. He put his head under the sheets and through force of will took deep breaths. He didn’t know how long it took before he regained his composure. He lowered the blanket from his eyes and peeked. Nothing had changed. The room and everything in it was the same. He sat up. The champaigne bottle was still on the nightstand. He didn’t bother with a glass. He took a large gulp and it caught in his throat. He spit it up. Shit. He jumped from the bed, bolted the front door using every lock, then trudged to the bathroom. He didn’t care about the control panel for the shower. He washed up and found a bathrobe. He had to think. He moved toward the phone and lifted the receiver. He punched 9 and the line tone buzzed. He hit 9 then 1 and stopped. What would he say? Was Castellini a real name? Was her name Linzie? If he did call could they be listening? What if the threat to his father was genuine? He hung up. He rubbed his face with his hands. What to do? In the past he would have called his dad… but now? This must be what his father felt during the war years … alone and afraid of unknown shadows.

Jesus, he should have asked his father more questions. He should have done a lot of things different. He lost Rookie of the Year and the chance to pitch for the Twins in the World Series … because he acted with his dick. Now two lives were in danger as well as a game and his career.

He got up from the bed and moved to a high back chair. Think, instead he stared into nothingness. His thoughts turned back to his father and his childhood.

He recalled the times after a meal or before he went to bed, he’d asked his father about the war. “What happened? How did you survive?” Dad would hold him but then look at the ceiling. With a sigh, he’d answer, “Luck”. Jack could hear his father’s voice. “Vhen you tink of all the close calls, it vas a miracle. I had a lot of mazel. I vas able to disappear a hundred times, before I vas caught.”

“What were the close calls?” Jack had asked.

“Ach too many to count. Life hung in the balance…everyday. A stranger or a friend could either help or turn you in.”

His father would then cover him and make sure he was all right. As he neared

Jack’s bedroom door, he turned, “You should never have to go through it.”

Jack stared at the vacant bed. Well the sins of the father seemed to have been visited on the son. He got dressed. It was 4 in the morning. A good hour after Linzie and her so-called husband had left. He went to the front entrance and unlocked it as quietly as he could. He twisted the knob and pulled the door a crack. A shaft of light from the hallway streamed in. He opened it wider and looked in either direction. The corridor was deserted. He pulled the door shut and walked to the elevator. The bell announcing its arrival sounded like an alarm. He glanced all around but nothing stirred. He got into the car and rode it to the ground level bypassing reception.

“Would you like a cab, sir?” The attendant asked.

He was about to say yes, but caught himself. It was a new ball game. He was now in his father’s world.

“That’s okay,” he told the man, “just out for a walk.”

The attendant arched his eyebrows.

“Long night,” he said, “need some air.”

“I hear you, man. Have a nice walk.”

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