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A Shortstop's Play

A Shortstop's Play

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A Shortstop's Play

73 Seiten
1 Stunde
Oct 5, 2019


Uptight high school boy faces two problems: 1) find a boyfriend; 2) keep it secret if you actually do. The coming dance in this overseas American school, a place stuck in the Arabian desert, will spin everything toward the real and the possible. But people love to gossip and Tim can't stand it when they do - he is going to have to get used to it or else forget about the whole thing.

Oct 5, 2019

Über den Autor

Kyler Doss has got a pocketful of chocolate milk receipts from the bus depots he has gone through. His note on the reverse side of one of the receipts: Arizona rules. A graduate of the University of Arizona, Kyler writes novellas set in a lot of places - the coming-of-age stories boys in love would recognize on any map you can google or unfold.

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A Shortstop's Play - Kyler Doss



The hassles in town


TIM, 16, took the new boy out to the desert. When they got there, he hardly needed to explain anything. The dune rose hundreds of feet from the desert floor.

Just wait till we get to the top, Tim said.

He needed to get there, away from all the hassles in town. The problem was every kid in high school that couldn't mind their own business about your personal life.

This is something else, Shane said.

They sank up to their knees, but made a deceptive progress up the face of the strange mountain.

Having Shane with him changed the world for Tim. The dunes were more than sand and blue. They were more than a place where the wind could practice its skills.

We'll walk to the western side, Tim said, all but lost at the top, and catch the sundown.

From a place over the water, the sun aimed one last beam at a low angle to the desert basin. There was nothing down there but a flat surface, where the winds tumbled and the waters dried.

Okay, Tim said, I'm gonna take two leaps off of here. He squared himself to the edge. Later, we'll do five leaps side by side.

Like the cow jumped over the moon, Shane said. He must have known what was going on.

Tim took a run and left earth for the free fall of space. If he had to jump over the moon to get to Shane, he would. The air rolled by and the sand waited patiently for his return. He planted his right foot and sank deep in the landing, then released hard into another leap.

He would find out soon enough if he had made it over the moon. This time on the landing he let himself fall back in the sand, back in the impression he had just made. He looked immediately up the shoulder of the mountain for a sign that Shane was about to follow.

Shane's first jump was graceful, like the flight of the Arabian falcon. He tilted coming off the first landing, and the second flight bore the name of the least graceful bird in the sky. He landed about 20 feet short and rolled down the mountain until Tim caught him.

Are you alright? Tim said.

He held him as gently as he could, and Shane held on tight.

Man, I lost it, Shane said.

Tim started to laugh, scared. He put his head back in the sand. Are you okay? he said.

That was fun. Shane laughed, too, and he put his own head against the face of the mountain.

Silence replaced their laughter. Tim stared at the deepening blue above them, almost ready to go where it would take him.

It just keeps getting bluer, he said.

It's so quiet.

Tim made no effort to move or speak. The blue got bluer. Shane was still there, holding on.

Thanks for bringing me here, he said.

The blue got so blue that it was perfect. Tim pointed at it.

You know how dreams are weird? he said.


I want to tell you about one of them. He needed to bring up things that were strange.

I wanna hear it, Shane said.

Tim drew a baseball diamond in the air. In a dream, he said, there can be a second-base coach and that's what I was. The base is in left center field, not that far from the warning track.

Tim drew a curved line in the air to mark the left field fence of his invisible diagram.

One of our guys hits a ball to the gap, he said. None of the fielders is anywhere near, so I wave him on.

Tim pulled a hand down in the sky.

When he gets to third, he said, the outfielders still haven't picked up the ball. The coach sends him and we win the game.

I like that dream, Shane said. It's impossible.

Tim was hoping for the impossible. It's crazy, he said, isn't it?

Can I ask you something?

Tim rolled his head. About the dream?

Coach said something about the lonesome highway, Shane said. Is living here really that lonely?

The question hung out there like a curveball that breaks wrong and then sits out over the plate.

I don't think it's just this place, Tim said.

I know what you mean.

You do? Tim felt closer and closer to the boy beside him on the hill.

Yes, Shane said.

Tim followed the progress of the sky. Some of the first stars were beginning to appear. If the sun was beyond the horizon, Tim was not aware of it. He looked to the heavens, and the blue sank deeper and deeper, resisting as it did a final fade to black.

He lifted Shane from the sand and held him carefully, like all this touching had something to do with safety. It's still a long way down, Tim said.

It's just sand.

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