Larry Winchester -- that master of circuitous (some say incomprehensible) plotting -- now returns to a character we haven’t seen since way back in Episode Three. Larry may take his time in tying up his plot threads, but he gets to them all in his own good time...
(Click here for our previous chapter; newcomers may go here to return to the beginning of our epic.)
"This is the epic Herman Melville might have written had he: A. been born in the 20th century, B. had access to some really high grade LSD, and, B. not been such a bore-ass." -- Harold Bloom
While all this was going on Lefty Schiessen was pitching the game of his life against the Tucumcari Twins.
The score was tied, nothing-nothing, and he was heading out now to pitch his seventeenth inning of what was so far a perfect game.
Lefty had struck out thirty-five batters so far; he was “in the zone” as he’d never been in the zone before.
(And of course he was tripping his brains out. He’d even dropped a second tab between the ninth and tenth innings.)
He was so much in the zone that he almost wished the Browns wouldn’t score a run just yet. So far that hadn’t been a problem. In sixteen innings and against four different Twins pitchers the Browns had only managed to sprinkle four singles (two of them hit by Lefty) and six walks; they had struck out twenty-nine times and they had never had more than one man on base in an inning.
But the beauty of it all was the Twins were a pretty good club, having already clinched the Triple-A Desert League pennant as well as leading it in team batting average, hits, home runs and runs scored. It was true that a couple of their better players had been called up to Minnesota for the close of the season, but they were still a damn good team, and Lefty was just slicing through them, “Like a hot steak knife through a mound of warm cowshit,” said the Skipper (the Skipper being the pathetic old drunk who managed the Browns).
Lefty’s fastball was just shooting like a lightning bolt out of his hand; these guys were missing his maniac slider by half a foot; and they were spinning around and falling on one knee in the dirt with the ump hollering strike before Lefty’s change-up even loped across the plate.
Lefty was in the zone and that’s all there was to it.
It wasn’t just that the ball was doing whatever Lefty wanted it to do. No, the ball was doing whatever it wanted to do. The ball was alive. It was as alive as Lefty was. Maybe more so. And it had a mind of its own. Maybe even more of a mind than Lefty had. In fact maybe it was the ball that was controlling Lefty.
Standing there on the mound under these strange bright lights at the top of the seventeenth as the first weary batter made his way to the box Lefty took off his glove and put it under his armpit and he rubbed the warm ball in his hands and he knew that all the universe was inside this ball. He could feel it, pulsing. He could feel himself inside the ball. He looked up at the black sky beyond the halo of field-lights and he knew that he was looking up at the inside of the core of the ball, that he was just an atom on a bigger atom that was only a tiny atom in a larger atom that was only a tiny atom in the core of the ball, and that his own enormous Godlike hands were somewhere out there rubbing the ball, and that there was an even larger ball somewhere outside and beyond that ball.