Thomas J. Langhorne, Jr.

western hills

Nobody had been less sure of changing from ash to aluminum than I was myself. There was a feel that I’d known, and there was a sound too. Anyway, that was done and what’s done in baseball could be done better in other ways. Cars themselves today are faster. Kids learn quicker and more. Gamma rays halfway shooting from across the universe arrive overnight now. I keep opening the same Swiss blades I’d been given as a gift, an old army knife, fat as a mushroom from a woman who was about as terrible as I had ever seen or known one. She’d had her belly button, lost after earlier operations under the flesh of her stomach, found there in her gut after another. And replaced to where it belongs, right in the center. This was in her forties actually. When I was just a kid she showed me that, her tits and everything. That she was my step-parent only made what was already terrible worse. I’d have given her the bat right back then if I could have. Imagine that. Imagine what a mess that would have caused. Anyhow, it’s got nothing to do with the sky above, always blue somewhere else. And it’s got even less to do with the ground below. You can take a lifetime, any one of them, and put everything that ever happened in one of them and put all of them, every small incident that ever happened, into a small yellow-colored envelope, a small enough one with a brass clasp on it, and close it, folding back the wings of the clasp to close it like that—and without even licking the gum seal of it. Put them all away, all the envelopes. All bats they were made of wood once, solid ash. Now that’s all gone. Beetles. Invasive species. Killed them all. All the ash. Gone. Under the bark. Killed all the ash tress that ever grew. So what? Now the core is different. Different sound, different feel. The balls go themselves farther in some cases. The kids growing up have fun. That’s only the point of it for them.

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