The Baseball Game Tonight


Great game: Kernels won 10-1


I prefer to people-watch.

There’s a beer guy in Chicago who makes an art of pouring beer—smooth, effortless, rhythmic:

                  Pop two caps at once

                  Flip both cans upside down at the same time into two plastic glasses waiting in his left hand

                  Glide the cans upward as the foam gradually rises to the top

                  A quick downward and upward thrust to get the last drop

                  And pass them down the row to the waiting customer.

He never has to look at what he’s doing

But chit chats with the people

His people

His audience

It is perfection

And now he graciously accepts payment

                  Rapidly flipping through a tight roll of bills

                  Licking his fingers as he counts out the change

                  As quickly as a Las Vegas gambler counts his cards

His muscles ripple under the tightly rolled sleeves of his t-shirt.

He proceeds one or two steps to hawk the beer to his next anxious customer

Maybe me (despite my dislike of his brand)

But not tonight…

Tonight there were the hippies:

Pathetically stunted and remaining stuck in a world that no longer exists

Anxious to share their generous spirit of love for all

She with her long, never-before-cut hair

Now gray and sad

He with his modified-fro

And out-of-control moustache

They had 2 children with them

Foster kids or adopted—never quite sure which

Boy: 7 or 8

                  1st baseball game ever!

                  Can you imagine that?

                  Youngest survivor of premature birth

                  Had sensory deprivation she guessed

                  Bushy hair controlled somewhat by a hat

And the baby—cute!

                  A crack baby I was told

                  The University  told her if she took 1 more baby…

                  They’d give her a beauty make-over

                  But she’s 60, you know.

Up and down they went—

                  Changing the baby

                  Getting more food

                  Or drink

Always going

Mostly in the way of watching that game

Desperately trying to be my new best friend

And me?

Wishing for my beer guy with his rippling muscles.


© Gail Murphy


Bio:  Gail Murphy is an RN-turned-English teacher about to give it all up and have a life. She has had short stories and essays published in Paha, Mt. Mercy's literary journal. She can be reached at