In high school some friends and I got tickets to a DMX concert that ended up getting cancelled because DMX was on the lam for impersonating a police officer and he couldn’t show up to the venue without getting arrested. It was kind of disappointing, but not that much because I got a little story out of it without actually having to go anywhere. I don’t know if the tickets were refunded, but I’m pretty sure I never paid for mine in the first place.
I think it’s probably a good thing that this video of DMX singing “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” didn’t exist when I was in high school. If it had, I’d probably have just gone around to various people saying, Did you see this? Did you see this? until I eventually forgot to eat for two months and died.
Raul sat on the bench next to his locker, pressing his palms against his smooth forehead. For one brief moment, he’d been there again, atop the mountain, floating in a cloud of glory, of cheering, of love. No one would ever love him like they’d love him, if only for a moment. How had it all gone so wrong?
The season was over. The Tigers, Cardinals, and Giants, not having the heart to continue, had been declared co-champions. And Derek Jeter, the Captain, the man that Raul had once considered a slightly younger father, lay dead. Literally, he had died, not just in some kind of baseball metaphor. It was almost inconceivable how quickly the gangrene had spread from his shattered ankle as he lay motionless on the training table, Steve Donahue frantically amputating one body part after another until only Jeter’s perfect head remained. “You have to lead them,” the head had whispered to A-Rod, as the rest of the team silently committed suicide. “You’re the shortstop now.” Damn, Raul thought to himself. I probably should have listened to that voodoo lady.
“This is dark magic, evil magic,” the voodoo lady had told him. “Are you sure that you want to go through with it?”
“Yes,” Raul answered without hesitation. “Not for me, but for the team. They’ve been through so much. The Yankees deserve this championship.”
“Uh, okay, sure.” She told him how to perform the ritual.
Raul turned to leave. “Wait.” The voodoo lady’s voice was deeper, more echo-y. “There is one thing I have not told you. You may use this curse once, twice even, but dare not use it for a third time, for if you do…” She paused dramatically. “Great misfortune will befall you.”
Raul nodded and spit some tobacco juice into a potted plant.
“I’m serious, Raul,” the voodoo lady continued. “Great misfortune. Do not try to hit a third game tying or winning home run. This isn’t like 2009 when you wanted to make the All Star team and I made you give me your soul patch and chin. This is serious.”
A noise snapped him out his daydream.
“Raul. RAUL.” It was Girardi. “What are you still doing here? It’s over. It’s all over, buddy. They’re tearing the stadium down and turning it into a Home Depot.” He smiled blissfully. “They said they would let me be the manager.”
I flew too close to the sun, Raul told himself. And for what? To touch it? Touch the sun? That’s dumb. Stupid, Raul. You should have listened. Once you’re burned, you can never be unburned. You should know that, stupid, because of that time you burned off your eyebrows and they never grew back right. What was the point?
“If you want I could put in a good word for you and maybe they’d make you a cashier,” Girardi said. “But seriously, you have to leave now.”
In his mind, he could still hear them. Raaa-uuuuuul. Raaa-uuuuuuuuul.
I liked the part of the Vice Presidential debate where the moderator asked a question about the military and said, “Vice President Biden, your son served in the military. And Congressman Ryan, your children may serve in the military one day, too,” at which Ryan nodded solemnly. I thought that was a very nice moment, Paul Ryan crinkling his brow with concern at the thought of his stupid kid who may one risk his life to defend his country, or, you know, not.
That line of thinking probably could have been applied to even more questions. “The economy is especially hard on young kids trying to enter the job market. Congressman Ryan, your son may well end up being a lazy underachiever who attends a mediocre college and has trouble finding a job after graduation. Is that cause for concern?” Or: “Abortion is a big issue in this country. Congressman Ryan, would you deny an abortion to the woman who may one day be impregnated via rape by your son? Because, who knows, your son could potentially get some Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in that future war he fights in and come back all rape-y. But hey, good job making your hair look like it’s about to attend its first middle school dance.”