Kelly slides his ring finger inside a bag of white bread at the
Safeway. There are so many fucking kinds of bread. Multi-grain,
Sourdough, Rye. Can a man just get a loaf of white bread? Honey-Oat,
3 Piece, Marble-Rye.
Kelly is wearing a blue golf shirt but Kelly doesn't golf anymore.
Not since he lost to that chucker in Pennsylvania. Lost fifty
goddamn bucks to a guy who couldn't bench press his own weight.
Couldn't run the bases without being winded hitting a forty
foot putt with the rain making the grass a puddle. A swamp.
No one could putt in that weather. No one. Just this guy. A
podiatrist because he wanted to become a Doctor but hated the
sight of blood. Like being a punter. Forty-foot putt. Golf was
for suckers and guys who were scared to get hit by something
being thrown at you. Kelly was never scared of the ball. Only
near the end and that wasn't really about the ball (it was everything
but the ball that he was scared of then).
He leaves his finger in the loaf of bread only long enough
to determine if it is indeed white. If the crumbs that fall
off his World Series ring are indeed ashen whites. Not thin
browns. Mustard grays. The bag tears open caught on the diamond
seven: one half of the diamond seventeen. He blows crumbs from
the clusters and the gold. He watches it reflect off the aluminum
racks. Casts a thin shadow on the Safeway wall. Almost unconsciously
he kisses it, as much to clean it off as to remember what it
felt like to be the best baseball player in the entire world.