CURVE BALL

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Chapter Fifty-One

The night air was chilly. From the time Jack left the dugout the temperature must have dropped 10 degrees. He turned up the collar of his spring jacket and walked passed Fred who was in his car.

“Hey Rakow where the hell you going?”

Jack turned and saw the reporter lean out his window. “I don’t know,” he said.

“Did you forget dinner? I’m starving.”

Jack shrugged and kept walking.

“Hey, I’ve been waiting for you. Remember Patsy’s, I-t-a-l-i-a-n.”

He waved him off. He heard the start of a car engine. Within a minute, Fred paced him. His window was rolled down and his head and shoulder hung out the car window--- all the while talking. “Jack, you’re killing me. Stop. Get in we’ll have dinner for God sake. This looks terrible.”

Jack kept walking.

Ken du shtarbn fun di make. You mamzur.”

Jack stopped and stepped toward the car. “What did you say?”

“What do you mean what did I say? I’ve been asking you to get in the car. Damn it and go to dinner.”

“No no, you said something else. It was Yiddish and it wasn’t a compliment.”

“So du farshtyn Yiddish?

“Yeah, it’s been awhile, but I understand. My parents spoke it all the time.” Even in the semi-darkness Jack could see the reporter’s face redden.

“Takkah . See Jack you’re even more interesting. Come on, get in--- it’s only a meal.”

“Another time, Fred. I promise---just not tonight.”

The reporter let out a sigh. “Okay boychik, you win, but I’m going to hold you to your word.”

“You’ll get your story,” he said and stepped away from the curb. He watched Fred pull away and drive down the street.

Jack reached into his coat pocket and took out the envelope with the note. He reread it. He can’t run the rest of his life. It has to stop. He thought of going back to the clubhouse. Did Sam know the person who gave him this letter? To have the trainer on the payroll would make fixing games easy. He took a breath and began to walk toward the subway. He put both back in his jacket, and kept his hand there for warmth. This wasn’t 1919 and the Chicago Black Sox. If they had Sam in their pocket they wouldn’t need him. His fingers brushed the note. Linzie died over this. Did he forget? Bastards. He reached the train station and asked the ticket agent which train to the upper west side of Manhattan.

“B or D, which ever gets here first,” he said.

He walked down the stairs to the platform. Sam did nothing unusual. Ball players got notes all the time. Screwing around and athletes went together like a baseball and glove. He was getting ahead of himself. Most likely it happened the way Sam said. Someone handed the envelope to him.

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