#106 The Pitch

by Wendy Russ, Guest Writer

She had my ear in a twist. Rounding the corner, I heard Tommy Layton yell out, “Ooh, your mama’s gonna bust you . . .”

Without breaking her stride Mama said, “I know what you got stashed in the knothole of Maynard’s Oak, Tommy Layton.” That shut him up but good.

We were on the way to Berner’s Five & Dime because Mama found out it was me what busted out the window. Not on purpose. It was a poorly-placed pitch. Or a well-placed pitch and Tommy Layton was a crummy batter. Either way, the ball ended up crashing through the glass at Berner’s.

Mama said we didn’t have no money for the kind of accidents boys have, so I became an indentured servant. Sweeping, mopping, dusting. Deliveries of medicinal powders and creams to mummified women who smelled like closed-up attics.

A week after I’d begun my three-month sentence, Mary Beth arrived—Mr. Berner’s grand-niece from up north. She stayed with them for the summer and when the sweeping was done we’d hide behind the counter and read the latest comics and dream about ordering sea monkeys.

Mary Beth always smelled like lavender and had a long, fat braid the color of harvest wheat. The whole summer I wanted to touch it, but never could work up the nerve. Whenever she was anxious or excited she’d bite the end of it.

Still does. To this day. Fifty years later.


Dino Parenti said...

Really sweet tale. I love short stories that span lifetimes. Nice work.

Aniket Thakkar said...

Loved it!

We've all broken a few windows as kids, haven't we? But I never got lucky to find my Mary Beth. ;)

Oh, and by they way, have ordered your book. Should reach me soon. :D

Sarah Hina said...

This is outstanding, Wendy.

Love the way you braid your stories.

Unknown said...

Love this!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Aw! So very sweet. Lovely ending. I thought the language set the tone very nicely as well.

Catherine Vibert said...

Oh I love this Wendy! What a sweet story. :-) Beautiful serendipity, that broken window.