Written by Tim Haight
The Night arrives as the day departs. It is now dark, as the moon appears like a hole torn into a large black wall, hiding the spare light that the day may have spared us. Blacks cats appear, with their eyes being the only thing visible in the dismal surroundings they dwell upon. It seems as if any signs of life would be a rare sight, with the sorrowful atmosphere seeking to terminate all that dares to enter it's wrath. Right about now, you decide; just by the looks alone to run away. Running, faster and faster, hoping to escape the scene you were just in, to find peace and happiness, the life that you had once lived, with your beautiful wife and kids, you run eagerly towards it. Then, as you take cover in a large, yet seemingly inviting trash Dumpster, you try to settle down and make sense of the whole situation. However, you cannot. Suddenly, a large man, with a stature of a samurai warrior, holding a large wooded bat seeking to end the life you somehow identified as your own. Instead of beating you in the head with his Louisville Slugger, he calls in his good friend Eddie Murray to read you a ghost story. Sure, it may seem like the same dopey ghost story that you had grown indifferent to as a pompous high school student, but its not. The fact that Eddie Murray is sitting Indian-style right in front of you, makes you just want to bring out the flashlight and the popcorn; as it only makes sense in this situation.
Even as Eddie recreates the very motions that you have found to be silly in the past telling of this tale, you have to be glad that he let you wear his cool orioles cap. "Luscious Lundy was a cold man!" he raised his voice to add character to the story. "His cloak that he wore ever so tightly is now nothing but a token of his misfortune!" Eddie seemed to be furious, possibly because he too had a cloak of misfortune. "And now, a family of 6, became a family of 5!"
At this point, Eddie forgot the rest of the story. Somehow, old age had played a trick on him. With good taste, Eddie decided to end the story, instead of making up some fake ending. "It is now time for a story, in which the ending would never be forgotten," he said. "But beware; this story is not one of those old wives tales that makes you want to change Mother Nature into Father Flavor, it's a story that separates the man from the husband. It's a little story I like to call..."
At this point, Eddie forgot the title, so he decided to pick up his belongings; including the hat he let you wear, and leave. All of the sudden, you wonder if Eddie had lost his mind. You conclude that it doesn't matter and that all retired baseball legends deserve their reading time. But, it makes you wonder, "What was that whole man with the bat thing?"
Setting: The Orioles Locker Room. The empty, dimly lit room suggests that most of the players had left, but in actuality, a baseball game is being played. We see a man, of about 250, sitting on a folding chair, taping up a wound, which turned the color of his arm to a slight purplish tint. Slowly, he wraps it up, as out the window, we see a flash of lightning; which enables us to see an owl perched up on a branch outside of the locker room. Conine sees this owl, and after a second, the owl flies away. As if this had meaning, Conine drops his medical tape, and stands up. We see he is in his boxer shorts, an attractive pair of " " shorts he must have bought while searching for Goose Gossage rookie cards. He then walks toward the door, and as this is happening a flash of lightning appears, as the door flings open. Batting Coach Eddie Murray is at the door holding what appears to be an old thick book.
Eddie: You have seen the owl my senses tell me.
Conine Nods. Eddie moves his hand off of the cover of the book and it reads "Flanagan Forever".
Eddie: How's the wrist holding up?
Conine turns away from Eddie and grabs his wrist, hiding it from Eddie's sight.
Conine: Fine, just fine.
Eddie: Can I get you a cold one?
Conine quickly turns around.
Conine: Actually, I just want a Shirley Temple.
Eddie: No, I meant a cold pack, you know, for your wrist?
Conine: I've never heard of a Shirley Temple served like that. Is this some retro-Orioles new wave therapy your trying to do here Eddie, cause I don't buy Clash records anymore.
Eddie: Oh dear.
Lighting flashes again, all of the sudden the door slams shut, and the owl suddenly appears on Eddie's shoulder. In quick thinking, Eddie pulls out a caramel apple, offering it to his nocturnal friend, and then to the owl.
Owl: Hoooo is this man?
Conine: Wait, how did that owl get in here?
Eddie: Nevermind the Owl, son, you must sit down and hear a story from my book.
Owl: OOO, I love stories.
Conine: And I love Hooters.
A dead silence occurs. The sun rises from the window and an umpire from the outside yells "Play Ball!"
Eddie: (Blows dust off book) This book is about a right hander, like you and me, and how destiny forced him to give his left hand a chance.
Conine: Will this story keep me up for long hours of the night?
Eddie: Yes, but I'll make sure you are entertained.
Suddenly, the owl had disappeared. Conine notices this, but decides not to think anything of it. Eddie turns the first page and bats fly out of its crease.
Eddie: Hmm, I'll be right back. I need my reading glasses.
As Eddie leaves, Jeff Reboulet enters. He seems distracted, and he is holding a bat, broken in two.
Jeff: Geese. If Perlazzo would of washed his hair this morning with Desinex he wouldn't of had that terrible scalp itch that I mistook as a sign. AH!
Jeff punches a punching bag, which is there for some unknown purpose. Conine watches as a flashback appears in his head. He is slapping his wife with a wiffle ball bat. He breaks the lamp, which makes a load cracking noise. Conine comes to his senses as thunder roars through the sky. Reboulet stares at Conine.
Reboulet: Nice catch you made there in the 5th inning.
Conine: I didn't start tonight.
Reboulet: Oh, was that Will Clark? I can hardly tell the difference.
Conine: Listen, old timer, I don't like your attitude during the 7th inning stretch!
Reboulet: Hey man, get of my case!
Conine looks down, seeing he is standing on Reboulet's briefcase. He steps off, and puts it aside.
Conine: Next time, put it in your locker, or I get to ride up front with Cal!
Reboulet: Maybe you should just get off my back!
Conine stops and thinks, but then it appears he is on Reboulet's back, gripping his shoulders.
Conine: Not this time, punk. I want a piggy back ride.
Conine: Yeah, but this time, no Powerade breaks.
Conine and Reboulet ride off out the door. They see many things along their trip. Among these things, Conine sees his wife and too kids, sitting on a bench watching the game via HTS.
Mrs. Conine: Hey kids, Daddy's here!
Conine's children crowd around Conine, who is released off the back of Reboulet. Startled, he whips out a pen and ball.
Conine: What's your name, son?
Brad: (Laughs) good one, dad!
Conine: Dad? Is that what Regeis calling me?
Brad: You're so funny!
Conine looks over at his wife. She gives him a strong look, perhaps indicating the child is his. Jeff notices this, and smiles.
Conine: Yeah, I guess I am. So, son (pauses) can you tell me your name again?
Brad: (Looks a little confused) Its Brad.
Conine: Brad, yes, and who is this girl, your girlfriend?
Brad: That's my sister, Karen.
Karen giggles, thinking Conine is trying to be cute; not aware that her father's baby face high school days were long gone.
Karen: How come your hand is so purple.
Conine looks at his hand. Perhaps the strong smell of Eskay Orioles' franks scrambles his thoughts. To his recollection, Conine remembers a scene where he punched his wife in the jaw, and through his glass down at the ground. As he escapes his thought, he sees Reboulet in the corner, throwing glass bottles at the TV.
Conine: It's a sprain. Reboulet cut me with one of his beer bottles.
Reboulet: Good Golly Miss Molly, Will the Thrill strikes out again!
Conine: Hey, no cursing in front of
He looks over to his wife, who nods her head. The kids look up at him with warm smiles. A family bond like feeling is present.
Conine: My Fans.
Reboulet: Well, that's the ballgame. Orioles won again
Though Logic would indicate that after a member of the Orioles strikes out, it means the team would lose in their final out, but you have to remember that Conine, not too long ago was talking to an owl that suddenly appeared on Eddie Murray's shoulder. Of course, that there is impossible too because Eddie hates all birds. Still, the fact of the matter is that Eddie is a proud member of the Orioles.
Conine: That's good, say, why don't you take these kids to security to find their parents. I'm sure they are itching to get back home, because tonight is a school night.
Reboulet: It's the 9th of August, Conine.
Conine: But its Wednesday, a school night.
Reboulet: Uh, ok.
Reboulet takes the kids into his arms, and walks them off into a dark room down the hall. Conine meets up with his wife, who looks angry.
Linda: What the hell do you think your doing?
Conine: The ball girl
Linda: So that's who you've been hitting it off with?
Conine: Yes, but she says my balls are foul.
Linda: (Looking disgusted) No, the kids!
Conine: You're right, they never did get their autographs.
Linda: I can't believe you! They wanted to see you play.
Conine: What do you call that whole thing with Reboulet?
Conine: No, its piggy back ridding.
Linda: The game? Tonight! Why weren't you playing?
Conine: Coach took me out early.
Linda: Oh, why, so you and Eddie Murray could tell ghost stories in the locker room.
Conine: I had a sprained wrist, besides all legendary ball players deserve their story time.
Linda turns around, about to burst into tears, she crosses her arms, as the Orioles team passes behind them.
Linda: I wonder sometimes, Jeff, why I even married you.
Conine: It was the money, remember.
Linda: Well, right about now that's the only thing that would make sense.
Conine: I make dollars, lots of them
Linda: SENSE! NOT CENTS! Why can't you understand a thing I say?
Conine: Why the sudden mood swing?
Linda: SUDDEN mood swing? I came here angry, and I am still angry, this has been going on for a long time Jeff, this isn't some sudden mood swing!
Eddie appears from the locker room door. He has his reading glasses and his book.
Eddie: I must start this tale tonight!
Conine: Gee, I'd sure like to chat, but I have more important things to do, and no I don't mean the ball girl, I mean Eddie Murray!
Linda: Now, that's just plain sick!
Conine: Let me rephrase.
Linda turns around and starts walking
Linda: I know what you meant.
Linda meets her kids in the storage room, where somehow, Jeff Reboulet got locked in. Conine grins, then walks away into the locker room. Eddie is sitting on a stool with the owl on his shoulder, looking over Eddie's unique book holding technique. This, involves holding the book upside down where the words would seem unreadable from a normal man's eye sight. But then again, this is the viscous black bearded dog.
Eddie: Make yourself at home, Conine, this isn't a sixty-minute sermon from the Orioles Church.
Conine: What? Don't you think I look good right now?
Owl: Ooooo, this man is a bafoon!
Conine: Watch it bird-brain!
The owl ponders if that comment was directed as an insult, yet the fact that Conine identified him as a bird, even if it was mistakenly, makes it more astounding.
Eddie: That's enough! Now, this story begins in a castle.
Conine looks over at the other lockers. To his memory, he thought he saw the Orioles come into the locker room after winning just seconds ago. To distract this thought, he thinks of a mad magazine article with a picture of a fat guy, holding a paper bag.
Eddie: This castle has no king, no queen, no prince, no princesses. No. This castle is home to none other than a pitcher named Ramon. Ramon Martinez.
All of the sudden, the car crashing noise is heard, and the Razor Ramon theme plays. Out of the door comes Jeff Reboulet, with greasy black hair and fake gold on, with a toothpick in his mouth.
Reboulet: A, yo, chico. Say hay low to the bad guy!
Conine: Who's this guy?
Eddie: Never seen him before in my life.
Owl: Hoooo, it's a fraud!
Conine: Listen beaker, I do the talking for the both of us.
Eddie: May I continue?
Eddie turns the page, only to find that the page is blank, he looks at the next few, which are blank as well. Puzzled at this, Eddie slams the book down and points towards the heavens.
Eddie: It's a sign!
Conine: A sign, of what?
Conine looks up. He sees a sign on the ceiling. It reads: No book slamming!
Eddie: I have betrayed all that is pure and good in life! I have done the undoable, and no I don't mean a WNBA player, I mean the horrible act of..
Just then, the door opens. Will Clark walks in and looks around. Eddie, Reboulet and the owl are nowhere to be seen.
Conine: Its number 21, what a thrill.
Clark: Jeff, we need to talk.
Conine looks at a sign posted on one of the lockers. It reads: No talking. This prompts Conine to pause.
Conine: Ok, but we are going to have to take this outside.
Conine picks up the giant book that Eddie Murray had left behind. He walks toward the doorway as Will Clark opens it for him.
Conine: Thank You.
Clark: You're Welcome.
As they to the outside of the stadium, they encounter Sam Horn, a former Oriole who sells Propecia to balding ball players (among them, Cal Ripken Jr.). He seems to be raving like a lunatic.
Horn: Sweet Lord! The Fantasy Cruise Ship ain't gonna set sail this year. Oh no, not with the supply higher than the demand. Damn those baseball caps! The bird is perched on bald peaks, and the fans don't even know it!
Clark: Hey Sam, I could use some of that hair growing stuff.
Horn: You could use a designated runner after you walk to first, junior.
Conine: Come on, lets just leave him be.
Clark and Conine begin to walk off, as Sam fuddles around with empty bottles sitting along his wooden counter. Sam turns to pleading.
Horn: Come on guys! I've got a wife and kids. They can't live off of toaster struddles and Polar Chill forever! Its not the American way! (In a state of desperation) Guys, don't you know when the Horn is blowing? You'll pay for this, cause I don't give out free samples!
Conine and Clark walk into an empty street with minimal lighting provided by a tall street pole. Suddenly, Clark grabs Conine by the collar and shoves him into a bookshelf along the side of the road.
Conine: What is the meaning of this?
Clark: Oh sorry, I always wanted to do that for some reason.
Conine: Fair enough.
Clark smiles, then a second later, shove shim back into the same bookshelf, this time with an air of anger.
Clark: Listen to me, Conine. Your wife is in a heap of trouble. Her life is in grave danger.
Conine: How could she be? I just saw here a few hours ago.
Clark: Believe me when I tell you this, Jeff. She is going to be involved in a three way.
Conine: A three way?
Clark: Yes, coach says that Cleveland wants a deal where you go there, they send a guy to Toronto, who sends another guy here.
Conine: This is terrible. I hate Cleveland! All those Indians running around, and my father was buffalo hunter/cowboy. My roots will bring about my impending doom!
Clark: This is all true, but you see, your wife is in the greatest jeopardy right now. There is a certain player, lets call him Omar Visquel, who at one time dated her and even planned on marrying her in Boca Raton. Since she left him, he has been plotting his revenge, and, oh I cannot bear to continue.
Conine: Ah, let Omar do his dirty work. She probably deserved it to. Women are like war. What are they good for?
Clark: Absolutely nothing.
Conine: That's right, and I've been in service to both for ten years each, so don't expect me to go around waving a white flag.
Clark: Fair enough, but just be forewarned.
Conine: Glad you're looking out for me, Tiger.