Some of the characters from my first book are rattling around in my brain clamoring for novels of their own. Unbidden, thoughts for a fantasy trilogy series have popped into my head and are now competing for my attention. (Freudian slip? I mis-spelled ‘popped’ as ‘pooped’). If that’s not enough – there are random scenes floating around. Here’s one of them.
A batter stands at the plate. He’s facing a pitcher that he always gets the best of. He has studied the pitcher’s every move and consistently beats him in their face-offs. He knows the speed of his fast ball; the speed and trajectory of his curve ball. He isn’t fooled by his changeups. The batter lowers himself into his stance, brandishes his bat, and gets ready to kick the pitcher’s ass yet again.
The pitcher is on the mound, facing the batter that always gets the best of him. No matter what he throws, the batter has his number and gets to base or worse – drives a homerun. He had studied the batter and still had not solved the mystery of his success. Today though, he has a surprise. He’s been working on a knuckle ball slider. Difficult to master; hard to control. Outside his comfort zone. Something new and unexpected. He eyes the batter and sees that he is ready – grinning menacingly, comfortably. He is clearly expecting the at-bat to go the way they always have.
The pitcher throws his fastball. His first pitch is always fastest and the batter invariably fouls it off. As he did this time. Now – the slider or the curve? He’s never pitched the batter two fast balls in a row, hesitant because of his speed statistics and that a curve or changeup was not his best third pitch. Today, he has another option. He is edgy, but makes the hard decision. Knowing it would make or break him, he throws another fastball. The batter, looking slightly surprised, swings hard – and fouls it off. The pitcher relaxes. That was close.
The batter lowers himself back into his stance, sure that the pitcher is his. Two fast balls in a row. His next fast ball will most certainly be slower. If he throws a curve or a changeup, he won’t have the control to get it over the plate. The batter’s specialty is low ball hitting. He smiles in anticipation of an easy victory, watching the pitcher wind up and throw. Ah – a curve.
The batter watches the trajectory of the ball and swings at exactly the right moment in it’s flight – except that the ball drops a good two inches below his bat and sails across the plate. The umpire yells him out. What the hell was that? The old dog got himself a new pitch. He glares at the pitcher, a grudging new respect in his eyes. Son of a bitch.
The pitcher trots off the mound after the out – the last of the inning; the last of the game. I got him. Today. For the first time. His team rushes him from the bullpen. He whoops and runs toward them, throwing his cap in the air. Tomorrow’s a different story, but he’s in this story for now.