Bonnie Danger backed up just far enough so she could swing her car left and out of the parking lot overlooking the worst baseball practice she had ever watched. She got up to the edge of the driveway leading onto Post Rd and saw cars left and right in her way. She looked over at her purse and the cell phone that was resting in plain sight. “If I call Alvin, he is likely to drive his car through the parking lot, smash the gates, and drive right over to that dugout to pick up Ang.” Bonnie took a deep breath and exhaled, as if she were the one on the mound about to pitch an important inning. A break in the cars emerged and Bonnie sped out onto Post Road, took a left at the green then yellow light, and cruised into the parking lot so Angie could see her. No horns, no waving,. Angie was looking for her Mom’s car and there was no need for any further alarms to go off on the field. Bonnie saw Angie throw her baseball bag over her shoulder and sprint off the field as if she was running from a grizzly bear.
Angie lifted up the rear hatch and greeted her mother with a grin, then tossed her baseball bag in, and shut the hatch. She opened the passenger door, stood for a second and exhaled, and then entered her mother’s car. “Hi Ang, how’s it going? That was some sprint over to the car. Are you hungry or something?” asked Bonnie, who was trying to keep her cool herself. “Something, I’m something Mom,” replied Angie. “No those loudmouths are something,” Bonnie was not very good at keeping secrets. Angie looked straight ahead and asked “how much of it did you see?” “All of it, and I’m pissed. Can you imagine what your Father is going to say? Yeah know, he has had a really funny feeling about this team since Coach Ferguson got the Manager’s job.” Angie shook her head and stated with conviction, “Mom, I belong out there. I was picked by my coaches and I deserve to be out there with those other boys. I am not quitting. It’s just words. Words are…” Angie paused for a moment because even she was starting to doubt her confidence, “words are not going to determine my fate.” Bonnie pulled off Allens Ave and onto Crescent Drive then onto the Danger’s neighborhood block. “Tell your father or I will Angie, either way he is going to find out tonight and we are going to deal with it.”
Alvin Danger’s back was turned to his wife and daughter as they walked through the house and onto the deck, where he was grilling swordfish for dinner. Bonnie and Angie were engaged in an unofficial speed walking contest from the driveway to the front door, through the living room, and out onto the deck. “Honey!” started Bonnie. “Dad, I need to…” Angie followed. Without moving his body position one single inch, Alvin, put up his left hand to silence both of them. “You hear that sizzle? You smell those capers and lemon on this delicious fish? And see that sun setting through those trees?” Angie and Bonnie looked at each other, a bit confused. “Bonnie do you remember seeing John Lee Hooker in Newport that summer for the Blues Festival?” Alvin had the outdoor speakers blasting and John Lee Hooker was grooving to “Chicken and Gravy.” Bonnie’s head began to bob with the “boom, boom, boom” of Hooker’s voice and her mood was changed in an instant. Alvin turned to face his wife and daughter, wearing his Homer Simpson grilling apron and a big old smile on his face. Angie started to giggle because she had given her father that apron after he bet her on a game of H-O-R-S-E. It was two sizes too small now but somehow it was his one and only grilling apron, and Angie cracked up every time he wore it. “We have a beautiful dinner and night ahead of us, we have a beautiful family, let’s enjoy a beautiful meal outside, what do you say? No baseball talk, let’s just eat and groove and giggle.” And that is exactly how the night at the Danger’s was spent.
Bonnie was awoken by Alvin tripping over the corner of the bed frame. “Alvin? Having trouble with those new feet again? I told the doctor he screwed them onto the wrong legs.” “Ha, ha, ha, this is coming from Mrs Two Left Feet on the dance floor,” Alvin fired back. “I’m going to get a coffee, do you want one?” Bonnie sat up a bit. “Mmm-mmm. And who tipped you off about Angie’s practice.” Alvin paused in the doorway and turned to face his wife “Deal, busted.” Alvin walked down the hardwood hallway to the kitchen and found the coffee pot. He filled up the pot with filtered water from the refrigerator and poured it into the reserve container on Keurig coffee maker. As he was pulling out the drawer with the coffee pods, he peered out his kitchen window to see Angie throwing to her other catcher, a clever contraction affectionately known as “Pudge.” Alvin had designed “Pudge” from the uprights of a busted trampoline and used the netting and matting as well. Angie would throw fastballs, curveballs, knuckleballs at the structure and it was a great alternative when her Dad was not available to catch her. Alvin watched for a moment, making sure Angie didn’t catch him, then prepared the coffees and returned to have a chat with Bonnie.
Bonnie took a sip of her coffee and muttered “Spill it, I don’t mean the coffee on my new sheets.” Alvin sat down next to his wife, being careful not to spill any coffee on the bed. “Manny texted me about 20 minutes before you came home. I called him back, just as practice was finishing up and he gave me the whole run down. The taunting, the head shaking by Angie, Larry’s fast pitch competition vs our daughter. She was rattled, she was knocked off her high horse, Bonnie.” Bonnie let Alvin know that she had skipped her errands and had parked over behind the paint shop to watch practice. She confirmed what Manny had relayed to Alvin and just shook her head in disbelief. Alvin nodded and then shook his head. “How can they treat her like this, Al? She is just as good or better than Tommy Sawgrass and definitely better than Owen Ferguson. Larry is such a crap head.” Bonnie didn’t swear and Alvin giggled with the term “crap head.” “Honey,” Alvin composed himself and took another sip of coffee, “Larry Ferguson has been a crap head since I played ball with him in High School. Why do you think I went to Sheridan and not State? 3 years of playing Varsity with that clown was enough agony for me. Larry will never change, but we don’t want to encourage Angie to stoop to his level either. If Sawgrass and French can’t see it and want to be on Team Ferguson, so be it. I’m on Team Angie, what about you?” Bonnie sighed and looked out the window to see Angie sprinting over to the baseballs in front of “Pudge.” She nodded at her husband and raised her coffee mug in a toast. “To Team Angie,” and then two of them clinged coffee mugs and stated “Team Angie.”
To be continued…