KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 11: Spring 2019
Micro-Fiction: 219 words


by Nancy Ludmerer

Grandson and dog arrive by Uber. The mutt, jaw clenching a ball, is as big as T.J., who’s seven. “What kind of mother leaves?” my son Ollie asked when he called to say T.J. and his dog were coming for an extended visit. Ollie blames his wife, instead of his own 40-year-old folly—an injury from playing middle-aged baseball, or his go-to drug, his strike-out, his oxycodone.

I don’t care who’s to blame. I’m too old to mother again. In my patchy backyard, T.J. throws and the mutt, plumey tail waving, bounds after. When the ball pounds my snooty neighbor’s rosebushes, I run and retrieve it, relieved she isn’t around. The baseball is autographed by Tino Martinez. When Ollie was in fifth grade, I stood on line outside Lord & Taylor in blistering heat to get it. “Please, Mom, please,” he begged. I wouldn’t let him miss school but I took a sick day. In those days I’d do anything for him.

Does Ollie remember his joy? Know the ball’s gone? Has he seen the doggie tooth marks scarring the stitching? If he did, would he care?

T.J. and the dog huddle and watch nervously, as if waiting for me to yell. My neighbor shows up on her back porch, watching, too.

So I throw the first pitch.


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