August/September Challenge Entry: Taking One for the Team

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Frisco Del Rosario, Sep 23, 2019.

  1. Frisco Del Rosario

    Frisco Del Rosario Ensign Red Shirt

    Jul 31, 2019
    San Mateo, CA
    The New York Giants won the World Series in 1951 and 1954, but during 1953, the team suffered a fifth-place funk. The ’51 rookie of the year Willie Mays was in the army, while ace pitcher Sal Maglie was waylaid by back injury.

    On the other hand, Willie Hawkins was having a pretty good season, and he wanted Cassie, the waitress at the neighborhood bakery and café, to know it.

    “Three for five with a double and 2 RBI!”, Hawkins said, describing his performance in the Giants’ last game.

    “Not today, Willie, *please*”, she said.

    The mood at the diner was somber. Cassie’s boyfriend, the science fiction writer Benny Russell, was in the hospital after a couple of prejudiced cops beat him severely (they had harassed Benny earlier, on the night he hatched his first story about a futuristic space station called Deep Space Nine).

    Cassie could often feel tears rising, while the customers who cared for her and Benny were sad and discouraged.

    Hawkins laid a generous tip beside his coffee cup. “I’m off to the park”, he said. Cassie didn’t turn her head as she nodded goodbye.

    In the home team’s clubhouse, Hawkins introduced a plan to his best friends on the team. “Come on, guys, let’s play this one for Benny.”

    A teammate concurred. “Benny loves this team, let’s love him back.” There followed some unenthusiastic agreement from those who expected closed-minded opposition.

    Hawkins stood to address the clubhouse. “Fellows”, he said. “I got a friend, man named Benny. Benny had an accident last night…” Hawkins’ friends could see him search for a euphemism for “white cops beat him while he was down”.

    “He’s hurt real bad, and in the hospital. I want to give today’s game ball to Benny. He’s a big fan, you know.”

    Some Giants tried to appear to be considering the notion, though inside they panicked. No matter what they thought of Hawkins’ suggestion personally, the bigots on the team could use this as an excuse to start shit. Sure enough, the bigots looked at each other for shit-starting encouragement.

    A leader on the field and in the clubhouse spoke on Hawkins’ behalf. “I’m doing this for Benny. He’s a good guy, and I keep telling you mugs that he’s a great writer. “ He looked around; few were visibly moved.

    “Look, you assholes. If you won’t do this good thing for a friend of the team, then tell yourselves you’re doing it for Willie Mays. All of y’all’s loves *Mays*, I know.” He glanced pointedly at the white Giants who couldn’t yet speak civilly with a black teammate, even a star like Mays.

    The majority agreed to share the game ball with Benny, especially those who saw Benny as a friend, or a friend of a teammate. Some were even enthusiastic, to whom the team leader said: “I do believe there’s hope for you yet.”

    The Giants, in 5th place and sore with the unfamiliarity of it, trailed 2-1 with two out in the bottom of the 9th inning. There was a runner on third, and Willie Hawkins coming to the plate.

    Seating was segregated at the Polo Grounds, but the buzz in the crowd was almost uniform. Giants fans cheered, urging #15 to drive in the tying run, or even win the game with a home run.

    Hawkins kicked at the dirt in the batters’ box, and settled in. Fans all over the ballpark sat up with anticipation. Baseball was often like that: Eight dull innings leading to one great moment.

    The visiting pitcher began his motion.

    The runner at third base broke for the plate.

    Thousands were shocked at this audacious, poorly-thought attempt to steal home for the tying run.

    The catcher was ready with the tag, and made the final out. The crowd groaned, and some screamed about the manager’s ridiculous decision to signal for a steal of home, with the talented slugger Hawkins at the plate. Others suspected it wasn’t the manager’s decision at all.

    In the clubhouse, a teammate restrained Hawkins from assaulting the baserunner. “Willie, he’ll face consequences, but you ain’t gonna dish ‘em out. You *can’t*.”

    The next morning, Hawkins was back in the diner, uncharacteristically subdued. “Hey, Cassie. How’s Benny doing?”

    “Critical. You?”

    Count Zero likes this.
  2. Pumpkin Spice Garak

    Pumpkin Spice Garak Commodore Commodore

    Jul 24, 2009
    PSGarak takes candy from babies.
    Beautiful! Oh, my heart. :wah:
  3. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Ugh. A sad tale all the way around, revisiting DS9's beloved alternate-universe characters. Well written and more timely than ever.