It's a little more than a year since Cobb was hit
by the car, and a year is long enough for Cobb's death to have a
sense of permanence attached to it. Kelly still sees flashes of
healthy red out of the corner of his eyes, but his head no longer
whips around, propelled so fiercely by instinct. When he hears a
dog barking always distant in those days, mind you, no one in
this god forsaken sterilized neighbourhood seems to own a dog
he immediately thinks of Cobb, but it is much easier now that every
dog doesn't sound like him.
The night was well suited the sky loosing bucket after bucket
of rain, punctuated by a rumbling thunder and lightning that jumped
from cloud to cloud in short bursts of electricity. Even a couple
years earlier Cobb would have been cowering under the largest item
of furniture available, terrified by the racket outside, but there
are some small comforts to old age: being deaf and oblivious to
thunder, for example. Kelly didn't let Cobb outdoors much, but it
seemed wrong to deprive him a sodden roll in the grass, despite
the wet dog odour which would linger for hours after Cobb was safely
indoors and asleep in his oversized basket by the bottom of the
Kelly was standing on the back deck, leaning out of the doorway,
but still dry under the overhang, calling for Cobb often a lengthy
and trying process when he heard the scramble of braking rubber
on wet pavement and a girl screaming short and piercing over
the nearly subsonic rumble of an overpowered car stereo. He was
soaking wet two steps out of the door, rounding the corner of the
deck faster than he had ever been able to hit first base. The switch
from the tractionless grass to the merely slick flagstones threw
him into the wooden gate and buckled his ankle.
He got to the street as the car was taking off caught the licence
plate number so he'd know who to punish.
There wasn't much blood: because the accident wasn't so bad, he'd
Because it was raining so hard.
The day after, Kelly showed up twenty minutes late to practice,
his ankle swollen and purple, almost the same colour as the bags
under his eyes.
Jesus, Gruber, the doctor greeted him, shaking his head as Kelly
appeared slowly in the doorway.
You got to take it easy Gruber. You're not a kid anymore. Slow
down a bit, will ya? He shook his head again, like Rogers had when
he'd seen Kelly limping into the dressing room, except there'd been
no smile on Rogers' face, only that same look of contempt that had
been growing more pronounced with every passing day.
You just don't give a fuck, do you? The doctor asked, evidence
of admiration in his voice.
It's not so bad. One week before you can play again at the longest.
See Nora in physio, OK?
It was two weeks before Kelly was playing again, and more than
three before he spent more time on the field than he did on the
Kelly buried Cobb in the backyard, beneath the giant oak, thoroughly
disgusted with his neighbour's offer to secure a plot in some swank
pet cemetery. His neighbour, a semi-famous defence lawyer who hated
being called Dave, seemed more proud of the resting place of his
own beloved and recently departed schnauzer than he'd even been
about the actual animal when it had been alive.
A pet cemetery. They didn't put up with that kind of shit in Texas.
Kelly spent his first week on the injured list trying to find the
kids that had run Cobb down. He couldn't remember the license plate
though not the whole thing and he was angry. When he was in
his teens, in his twenties, if somebody fucked with Kelly, Kelly
got his number. It might take months - Kelly might be sliding in
to second, he might see your car unattended in a parking lot - but
everyone paid their debts to Kelly whether they knew it or not.
It's a year after the accident and Kelly is in Anaheim now. Fucking
Anaheim, where everyone owns poodles or Chihuahuas, pitbulls or
rottweilers. Fashion plates, oversized rats or half-retarded bags
of teeth and muscle. Kelly's not sure he's even seen a real dog
since he got to this city.
A year though a year is long enough. A different breed this time,
something brighter; maybe a golden retriever. Name this one after
* * * * *
Day 11 | Kelly
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