Not continued from last week...
This was it, deep into September, so deep it had turned into October, quietly, without anyone taking much notice. I think the leaves may have started to change.
She wasn't any straight-haired Susie, as she called them.
Like, when she sat down and thought about it, she liked to think she was attractive. Something off the book jacket of a popular crime/suspense fiction novel — she was tall, dark-haired, long-legged, a sharp mind, and high-powered to the point of being intimidating to most men.
But she was sitting there, in her leather couch in the corner of her office, the one that never got used during the day as people shuffled in and out, usually wearing out the carpet in front of her desk instead of making their way into any of the corners of her office. She had a great view of the streets below from her office, and that window on the south side got a lot of foot traffic, as well. The streets of the city looked gorgeous from up here. In the winter it was almost better than sitting in front of a fireplace, sitting in her couch, staring out the window, red and green and bluish lights of larger than life billboard signs reflected in the windows and on the shiny carpet.
But it was autumn, well after most people had left the offices. She couldn't see a clock from where she sat, takeaway containers on the floor beside the couch like a fortress against a very short invading army, but she pegged the time at slightly after midnight.
She daren't check the time, either, she just pulled her feet up on the couch, and tugged downwards at her hair.
I had forgotten what it was like, later in the autumn, when the goddamn boys took the field and you were stuck with these little grainy green images on the television that you shouted at or at times sat still, like a rock, a rock with a very unsettled stomach. A rock that suddenly grows superstition like moss all over its' north face.
She was a straight-haired Susie. She thought of herself like that because she could still hear her damn brothers calling her that. Brothers could be useless sometimes. Most of the times, probably. Like the ones who promised tickets, or something, and never came through. And then proceeded to not stop round any more or pick up the phone when you rang just to say hey and generally avoided you, when you could care frickin' less, if you really were asked. But you never were. You were ignored, until that first awkward meeting again, probably after Halloween, when Mom had everyone round for that weird pre-Thanksgiving thing the family did that wasn't a proper holiday but just sort of happened. She wouldn't care, but then, there it would go, in the living room later, after he'd made eye contact, unintentionally, with you at the dinner table, and spent twenty minutes staring at his mashed potatoes, he'd be screaming out at you, "straight-haired Susie, get me a beer" (that's bee-ah, of course), and he'd be in hysterics, all is forgiven. Or something.
That's what she thought of sometimes, especially nights like these.
"Night like these at the A&P," it sounded like an album title.
But the reality was slightly less musical. For one, Ken had taken the Muzak off the store speakers, in lieu of the game, which everyone understood.
Everyone being all the staff, as the only people roaming the aisles on a night like this were the older set, who came down on nights like these for the company, because we were all standing around, leaning on cash registers or sitting up on the belts (Ken would let us, he was lenient on these sort of days, because he had a television in his office, and never came down because we all felt he was slightly ashamed at this little perk of the job). And the old fellas would laugh when one of the boys would hit the button that made the belts move along, and the boys would high-five the old guys and run around the shop, like they'd eaten too much sugar or something.
And we'd listen, rapt, for the most part, dinking items over the red laser thing when the smart-looking businessmen would come through the checkouts, looking slightly bewildered, like someone had shone a light in their eyes or something, like they always did when they came in. And the ting of the cash register, as they handed over cash, looking worried, still confused, following the cash when the obligatory hand-wringing moment took place and I would writhe on the floor while Ken Coleman... no, it wasn't Ken any more, some new guy, he started his own histrionics about the two runners in scoring position. Jesus.
"Profanity suddenly becomes very 'in,' doesn't it?" said one of the old guys on my till.
I was making sure I was clenching my arms across my chest... or maybe down at my sides, gripping the hem of my coat, not in my pockets, baseball cap on forwards, and right-side out.
Jesus, these boys, I was thinking. Don't breathe, don't breathe. You are a rock.
It was 1am. Eastern Standard Time. 10pm, Pacific Standard Time.
And that was okay, this time.
To be continued... in one way or another
The quick break from the series, and our usual publishing schedule is due to a small hiccup in the usual routine.
Seeing as how our new Head Offices are out in the Bay Area in California, we felt almost obliged to attend the game Monday evening at the Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland, California.
So we did.
At the expense of providing you, you guys, you guys, your weekly feed of Sane Magazine. Sorry.
And we'll do loads to try and make it up to you, honest.
But the Red Sox won, so while we're apologetic, we're not going to dwell on it too much, because we'll probably be busy having heart attacks during each and every one of the next series of games with the New York Yankees (boo, hiss).
One last thing.
Apologies to Stephen King.
Steve, if you're reading this week, "Sorry, man."
But then he's probably not too bothered, either.
Next week we'll likely see you back, same bat channel, same bat time, with the series.