The lesson today
is Concentration

It seemed as if my friend, the Girl Next Door was bound and determined to make something out of me. I knew that because most others would probably have given up on somebody like me, what with being plagued with daydreams, a wild imagination and the inability to concentrate on anything for any amount of time.

We sat in her room, with her waving a longish stick about as if she were conducting an orchestra. The Maestro bowed to the audience, then to the orchestra, before the conducting was to begin. I sat nervously about in my chair. I never had really spent so much time in her bedroom before, without having to climb out of the window, or under her bed. Then she’d kiss me when I least expected it, with the next moments being hurried down the stairs again, and out onto her front lawn as if the Hounds of Hell were behind us!

She didn’t seem to have that many posters on her walls. Not like I did, anyway. I had the usual Football and Baseball heroes, but unbeknownst to my mother, the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane lurked in the shadows beneath the wholesomeness of Major League Sports. I was even trying to let my hair get longer than my mother-approved-Crewcut, which didn’t seem very Boss or Groovy as compared to the rest of the In-Crowd at my school.

“I’m in with the in crowd, I go where the in crowd goes…..” Mamas and Papas…

A sudden longish type of implement brought me back to reality once again. “…….and if I have to wave this stick any number of additional times, “CRACK” it might just say on your little Haid”. Said by a voice, not one of loving and caring, one that echoed in the back of my mind, as if I were just offered the choice of a cigarette or, a hood over my head before the executioner did what the State demanded! No more pardons for you young man! The Governor cannot be bothered by those types who claim innocence, though the TV channel was indeed tuned to The Wild, Wild West when caught in the act by none other than your mother. I threw myself on the mercy of the court, but I was sold down the river, all the same. She told me she loved me, but when the police caught us in the act, she turned state’s evidence and sold my soul for a pound of flesh!

“Concentration. It might just save your life”, she went on, though I doubted her all the same. She didn’t seem the same as before. Her and I sailing down the River Styx, fighting off the attackers from the Lost Quarter, rubbing up against her when our eyes met in the Hardy Boy/Nancy Drew section of the local library. I’d sworn off women before. Each and every time they’d wronged me. Told me lies about how they loved me, then would only run away to faraway places like Canada or Alaska. A part of me wanted to follow them. A part of me wanted to present myself on their doorsteps, fighting for their hands from their current lovers, their most fervent flames, but then

I never was sure, if they were worth the trouble anyway?

“Look here Poindexter. It seems as if I’ve lost you, even before we were to begin. Look here”. She showed me her hands. Soft and supple, just wanting someone to hold them, while the movie guns blazed in the background. “What are you kids doing in the living-room with the lights off?” my mother’s voice would have, should have brought me back to my senses, but while out on a lark, I was suddenly overcome by the smell of her hair, and the taste of Double-Bubble Chewing Gum.

She locked her eyes onto mine, then gave me what I knew I needed from her. “OW!” I didn’t need a knuckle sandwich, but it did bring me back to this side of her reality.

“Look here you. If we ever are going to go steady, we need to get the rules of the game set in your head, Capice?”

I just nodded. Then stopped. Then I considered running down those well-known stairs and through the front screen door, before she discovered I was gone. Sheesh! Now she was talking about going steady, and I hadn’t even made it to second base yet.

Batter, batter, batter up! The crowd roared. The peanut seller eyed the crowd sitting at the very top of the grandstand, wondering if it were worth the effort, taxing his legs to glean a few measly pennies out of those cheapskates in the cheap seats? The pitcher spit on the ball, on his hands, and on the glove before eyeing the man on first and third, nodding to the catcher, before….He stretched, then scratched himself, took off his cap and tossed the ball to the third baseman, hoping to catch him off guard.

Second base. No one was on Second Base yet.

“Look here Poindexter. It seems as if you truly are a lost cause. I’m not even sure by using my female charms that I can sway you over to my way of thinking. In the beginning of our relationship, you were a lot easier to mold and form, but it seems like you’ve become what all men become eventually: worthless womanizers with only one thought on your minds! Well, am I right?”

The first-base runner was successful in stealing second. The pitcher threw down his cap, grinding it into the ground, while the crowd roared.

I knew it. Some guys really do make it to second base, but they have to cheat in order to do it.

To do it….