SEVENTH INNING STRETCH: A TRUE STORY
BY PAUL JASON STREET


The Pirates Parrot is mauling me. 

Actually, itís more of a manhandle than a mauling. A mauling involves teeth and a pit bull; Iíve never heard the term ďmaulĒ without a pit bull mentioned. We are on the roof of the Piratesí dugout during the seventh inning stretch. The Parrotís large felt beak is coming down on me like I was a little mouse. What is one supposed to do in this situation? This is a first for me: getting my ass kicked by a baseball teamís mascot. My friends, the horrible bastards they are, are just sitting in their seats laughing. I guess I would do the same, but that doesn't mean they're not assholes. 

This whole event will go down as my fault. I'm the one who provoked the Parrot. The seventh inning stretch is his moment to shine. It's when the fans laugh and get behind the team. I ruined it. I leaped on the dugout and stole the spotlight while the Parrot danced to YMCA. All the cameras and fans turned to me, the drunk fan in the front row with the baggy clothes and colored hair. Hold on, the Parrot has his big orange foot coming this way . . . Whoa! Okay, where was I? Oh, I was the new guy in town threatening his turf. This is when it all went wrong; the Parrot had blood in those big googly eyes, my blood.

That leads to the present moment. The Parrot has grabbed my shirt by the back and has me hanging off the edge of the dugout, yelling disturbing comments that a team mascot should never yell. As foul language spews from his beak, the Parrot spots my friend Andy, a punk, through and through. Heís got knee-high steel-toed boots, chains for suspenders, and a serious tiger-striped mohawk. Andyís looking back at the Parrot now; itís like Iíve been forgotten. 

ďI want the kid with the hair,Ē the Parrot says before dropping me from the dugout. Ouch! That fucker actually dropped me! 

The Parrot takes Andy by the hand and lifts him onto the dugout. He motions to Andy to start dancing with him along to The Village People. Here I am, lying in a puddle of beer, covered in sunflower-seed shells, looking up to see my friend has betrayed me; Andy is actually dancing with the fucking Parrot! That miserable lech will get his -- and so will the Parrot for that matter! 

I do not forgive. I do not forget. The Parrot has made a great enemy today. This is only the beginning of his nightmare. Someday, when the Parrot isnít looking, taking his safety for granted, Iíll hand out the pain. I pray for his hot dog bazooka to backfire, causing weenie-shaped scars along his beak, or for his little Parrot buggy to flip over as he rounds third. Whatever the pain, I want to be there for it. I want to laugh in that green-feathered face of his. Then he will know I was the wrong motherfucker to piss off. 

So I have written, so itíll be done.


 

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