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“I will,” I say, “but first let’s get this clean.”
As I bandage Osborne’s hand I see this fucking smirk on the umpire’s face. Everyone thinks it was the catcher, and the poor kid probably thinks he tripped Osborne too. But I saw it, a big, black foot. It was not the red shoe of a young boy.
“You’ll be okay. Right?” I ask.
“Yeah,” he says. “No pain, no gain.”
“You were already past home plate,” I say.
“Sometimes the pain comes after,” he says.
I go out on to the field and take over as first base coach. Randy, a fat little guy with asthma, runs back to the dugout. Some of Osborne’s blood is still on my hand, on my fingertips. I draw an image of the umpire in the ground with my finger. Then I write with my fingertip across his image, the rune charm for justice. I spit into my hand and mix my spit with Osborne’s blood to consecrate the image. All of this probably looks like a crazy series of signals I am sending to the next batter. I point one finger toward the sun, and dig the other into the soil. I stare at the umpire with rage. Mother Earth is alive, and my fingertip is inside of her.