“Can I get you a beer?” Josh asked me while guiding me to the living room.
“Sure,” I said, totally not wanting a beer but feeling too nervous to turn him down.
Already, my plan had gone to shit. It was supposed to be simple. Show up at Josh’s door unannounced, tell him my story and why he owes me and how I’ll reveal his identity if things don’t go my way, ask for money, go home with cash in hand. I never figured I’d be the type of person to engage in such behavior. But when I found out it was THE Josh Hamilton, a known person of money, I couldn’t help myself. It’s like a power took control of my body and I couldn’t stop it.
Oh, sure, asshole, it’s not YOUR fault. The power of Christ compels you!
“Here ya go.”
I was expecting a fancier style beer, like one of those micro-brews from assholes with beards that wear Winter hats in the middle of Summer. Not Miller fucking Lite. I hate Miller. Even in my heaviest drinking days, if Miller was the only beer available, I’d refuse to drink it stating, “I hate fucking Miller."
“I hate to be an asshole, but I…"
As I was saying the words, Josh pulled a small vile from his front pocket, popped it open, and sprinkled the contents on the coffee table. He organized the white powder neatly into lines. He leaned over and took a huge snort, then leaned back in the sofa and stared at the ceiling for what seemed like minutes.
“Oh, hey, sorry, I need a little bump to get me going in the morning. Here, take a hit."
“Oh, no, I can’t, I…"
“C’mon, relax. You’re here for money, right? I’m going to give you everything you deserve. Let’s have some fun."
Had my brain not been malfunctioning at the site of a publicly “clean” Josh Hamilton snorting cocaine and drinking beer at ten in the morning on a game day, I would’ve turned down his mind altering offerings and executed my plan. I think it was the part he said about giving me everything I deserve that turned off my common sense and encouraged me to imbibe.
I’d never done cocaine before. It was a drug I feared because of all the propaganda in the 1980s that threatened doing drugs once made you instantly addicted. And Nancy Reagan's enormous shake head mouthing the words, “Just Say No!” But I said “Yes!”
The initial snort felt harsh, like an icy burning sensation coupled with that pins and needles sensation scattered along my nasal cavity. I leaned back in my chair and stared at the ceiling for what seemed like hours. Then came a rush of uncontrollable excitement and energy.
“Yeah, that’s good shit, huh?” Josh said.
“I guess. I never done it before.” I was still sniffing and fighting the need the sneeze.
“Holy shit! First time? Damn boy, we gotta do this right then."
Josh went to the kitchen and started talking to someone on the phone. I sipped my beer while alternating between standing up and pacing and sitting down and rocking. The nervous energy couldn’t be dispelled. I felt like I needed to go somewhere, right fucking now, but I wasn’t sure where.
How do you know this mother fucker isn’t going to kill you?
Josh returned from the kitchen with a bat in his hand and said, "c'mon, let me show you something."
I followed him like a little, overly energetic puppy dog. Or rather, I followed him like an idiot. My brain was busy pumping courage to my muscles while a little voice kept repeating, "kill this asshole before he kills you. He's gonna smash your head in with that bat. Take it from him and bash his head first."
"What?" Josh asked laughing, "I'm not going to kill you. Damn, I didn't think it'd make you THAT paranoid. Ha."
"Oh shit! Run! Run!" my brain started screaming at me.
About that time, Josh walked onto his back patio, picked a baseball out of a bucket of baseballs, threw it up in the air, and whacked it with the bat. The ball sunk into a thick black net hanging from the edge of the patio covering.
"This is how I relax every morning, before the real fun starts. Here, give it a try. It'll help you relax a little." He said.
He handed me the bat and stood back a couple of feet. I picked a ball out of the bucket, threw it up in the air, and swung as hard as I could. The ball passed through the bat swing and bounced on the ground.
"It's OK, keep trying."
The doorbell rang. It sounded like a firetruck racing through my head.
"I'll be right back. Keep going."
I managed to hit a couple of balls into the net. It felt good, like I had achieved a great victory. For a split second, I thought, "I could do this better than Josh." And for a minute, I got lost in that idea. I daydreamed of blasting the game winning home run in the World Series and being showered with money and pussy and...
"A-ron, I'd like you to meet Kimberly, Kylie, aka Cinnamon, Julie Ann, Tiff, and Nikkie," Josh introduced me to his bikini clad, outrageously smoking hot guests. They said, "hi," almost in unison. I threw the ball I was holding in the air, and with a perfect swing, smashed it into the net. I thought, "this is going to be a good day."