Twelve years old he was, the autumn day Bill got his start. Sitting on the railway ties behind the shopping center, he was finding much comfort in the warm embrace the cooking wine could give him. It would make him feel brave, and as the night fell his fear and shame would cause him to curse his father at the moon.
Three weeks prior Bill was pitching a no-hit shut out in a semi-final game against the Orioles until the bottom of the fifth inning. This is when his father arrived alone and drunk. Leaning against the backstop, fingers locked in the chain-wire fence, he would chastise each pitch Bill threw, even the good strikes.
Four years later in the back seat of a squad car after being arrested for underage drinking and being drunk in a public place, some officer would make a snide offhanded comment about Bills father, one he would never forget.
For a boy who showed much promise at an early age, Bills ability and finer qualities were never quite nurtured. His grandmother did the best she could, but she was not at an age to raise a young boy.
Bill’s best friend Jamie came from a good home. His parents were loving people who cared about Bill a great deal, however they hesitated to interfere at critical moments during Bills adolescence for fear of intruding in the life of a boy who was not their own.
Tonight, Bill’s eight year old daughter cradles her cat Bellaboo in her lap while she plugs her own ears. This only dulls the screaming and hollering in the apartment, and vibrations are sent through the floor with every foot stomp and body slammed against the wall.
Soon, two heavy car doors shut outside and the crackle of a radio dispatch approaches the apartment door. Deep voices are heard and everything becomes quite. The Blue jays are playing the Yankees on the television set, while Bill’s daughter gingerly steps around the broken glass on the floor and past the old wedding picture of Bill’s mother and father.