He say, “You a pitcher or a catcher?” I say, “I’m the red-necked Sandy Koufax.” Sandy being a big deal at the time.
He laughs, asks if I’m hungry. I say, “Yeah and cold, wet and tired.”
Hard work hustling Times Square. My ass is as ragged as yesterday’s papers. Eighth Ave. is a hard road to hoe. Mister hails a cab, we head to Lou’s diner, Tenth and 54th.
I tuck into my cheeseburger and chocolate shake. Mister sips his coffee, chain smoking. He’s from Los Angeles. I tell him how I come up from West Virginia. He asks me if I can pitch nine innings.
“You pay, I’ll play.” We finish lunch, jump into another cab, and go to his rooms at the Taft Hotel. He has a large suite, big rooms. He got one of the mattresses up against a wall as a backstop. Halfway across the room he has a crate of oranges.
“Florida’s Best” say the writing on crate, which has been opened. It full of large bright oranges, hard to softening ripe. Mister says, “batter up?” I say sure. He strips naked just tosses his clothes on the floor. He turn his back to me then leans into the mattress. “Play Ball!” he yells, “Batter up!”
I take a nice size orange, certainly one of “Florida’s Best”, hold it like a baseball. I ask if he’s ready. He say, “Yeah, oh Yeah.” The wind up, the pitch, I send this object into his back. I’m only twelve to fifteen feet away. It thuds then slides down or bounces off, depends on how hard I throw. One, two, three, five, eight pitches in rapid order. I’m laying down suppressive fire. Slam one, two, right to the back of his head, pushing his face into the ticking. Three, four in a row then the changeup, I lob the biggest wettest, half rotten piece of fruit I could dig out of that box and planted it square onto the mister’s ass. I tried that with a hard piece of fruit. It caught him at the small of the back. It looked like it hurt so I did it again. Mister steps away from the backstop rubbing himself. He returns to the batter’s box, arms extended, face forward, chin resting on chest, slightly turned right. His feet crossed at the ankles. I pitch one wild, bounces off his upper arm. I throw and then miss him entirely.
Give it to me daddy,” he whines. “Pitch to me.”
“Don’t worry ‘bout that, Daddy gonna bust some fruit on your ass. Then it hits me. “Hey Mister, change your pose I don’t like it.”
“You don’t like it?” he asks.
“Yeah, I don’t like it. Looks like Jesus on the cross. Give me the creeps.
He say, “Ok. Ok. How’s this?” He put his arms to his side, uncrosses his legs.
“That’s better,” Wham, I get him in the solar plexus. His dick is bouncing up and down with each pitch. I start working his stomach. Oranges getting smaller but harder. What I feel was my hardest fastest pitch of the day catches him right in the mouth, dentures fly out. I say, “We’re done. No more Mister, no more.” He disappears into the bathroom I go through his pockets, retrieve forty bucks and palm it. I drop his clothes back on to the floor. Check the dresser drawers. Find nothin. He comes out, asks, “What’s up?” I say “Looking for some money. I hold up the two twenties. “This won’t do.”
He goes in the bathroom, comes back with sixty dollars. Hands it over, there’s blood on the money from his nose bleedin a bit.
“You break your dentures?” I ask.
“No, thank god,” is his answer.
“You wouldn’t have any money without blood on it, would you?”
“Sorry” was his answer.
I pocket it. We weren’t as scared of blood and such back then.
“Hundred dollars, that’s way more than I wanted to spend. You had no right going through my things. In effect you’re ripping off forty bucks.”
“Are you done/” I ask as I put on my jacket. By the looks of that mattress, you should be done for the rest of the week, at least. I’d like to say the room smelled of sweat and semen, blood, and oranges. But it just smelled of oranges, kinda like a green grocer.
I didn’t like Mister’s attitude, so I tell him.
When I was in the joint, I did more than get high and rape motherfuckers. I did some reading. You know what Jesus say? I’ll tell you, he say “that the worker is worthy of his wages, Luck 10: 7 and Mohammad, blessed be his name, says to pay the worker his due before his sweat has dried. I check the bathroom, too. I say, “Is that it?” He say, “yeah.” I say, “Well, ok”. And we shake hands. Mister says, “See you around.” I play it cool. I don’t say nothin. That’s how Daddy gets his due.