Chapter 1: Eddie
Copyright© 2006 by Tony Stevens
Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1: Eddie - Story #8 in the Series. Dave Hooks was a bright prospect in the Orioles' farm system, but this year, he wasn't hitting a lick! Was it because he had responsibilities now, taking care of his kid brother, Eddie? The Kid knew he might be a small part of the problem, but he was pretty sure he knew exactly what was wrong. And he knew how to help his big brother to succeed!
My brother, David Hooks, is the starting catcher for the Frederick Keys. David is the best damned catcher in the Carolina League. I know what I'm talking about, 'cause I've seen every last one of them play! It's June when I'm writing all this down, and me 'n David have been around the league one and a half times, already. I've been to every ballpark in the League, all eight of 'em, and I've seen all the first-string and most of the second-string catchers. And my brother Dave is the best.
I'm Eddie Hooks, and David Hooks, my big brother, is my family. He's pretty much my whole family, if you don't count a few odd cousins back in Ohio. Dave's 22 years old, and in his second year now, playing pro ball. I'm only 13.
OK, so maybe Dave isn't the best hitting catcher in the Carolina League. That would be Clint Ramsey, with the Kinston Indians, down there in Eastern North Carolina. That Ramsey, he hits so good I expect he'll be in Double-A ball before the season's over, even.
But Ramsey ain't as good a catcher as David Hooks -- my brother. David's the best damned defensive catcher in the league!
This is Dave's second year in A Ball, but he's moving up. It's his first year in a "high-A" league, which is what the Carolina League is. Last year, after he graduated from college down in Alabama, Dave was assigned by the Orioles organization to play for the Delmarva Shorebirds, over in Salisbury, Maryland. Salisbury isn't all that far away from Frederick, really. Most of the Orioles' farm clubs are close by, here, in Maryland, and Maryland ain't a very big state, either, so it's all kinda cozy.
If Dave doesn't get traded, and if he gets promoted to Double-A next season, he'd be playin' over in Bowie. That's a town in Maryland, too.
'Course, if Dave were to get promoted up to Triple-A, and stayed with the Orioles' organization, that would mean we'd have to move all the way up to Ottawa, Ontario! That's the capital of the whole country of Canada, in case you didn't know it.
I don't know how I'll feel about livin' in Canada, like that. I've heard it's pretty cold up there in April. But if that's where Dave has to go, why, I reckon it's where I'll go, too. Dave's my big brother, and he's my guardian, too, ever since Mom and Dad died.
My momma died of lung cancer, just a little less than two years ago, and my daddy, well; Daddy was pretty down, afterwards, and he just went off, it was a year last May, on a fishin' trip, and took his shotgun along with him, and then he didn't come back.
Dave didn't try to keep nothin' from me. He just told me, straight out, soon as he heard it, that Daddy had committed suicide, because he had been heart-broke, about Mama dyin' and all.
I was twelve at the time. I'm 13 now. I'm in the eighth grade, at West Frederick Middle School. I stayed with the Pattersons -- neighbors of ours back in Coshocton, Ohio where we were from, until Dave graduated from college in June of last year. Ever since then, I've been with Dave, full-time. First over at Salisbury, then back in Coshocton for the winter, and now here, in Frederick.
I get kinda home-schooled at lot, by Dave, but he just supplements what I learn in the regular school. Dave's not about to let me drop out. My big brother is smart as hell, and a college graduate. He went to the University of Alabama at Birmingham -- they call it "UAB" -- on a baseball scholarship. He was there the whole four years, and played a lot of ball for them, too. UAB had some good teams while Dave was there, and he was one of their best players. He and another guy from UAB both got drafted by the pros after their senior year. The other guy, Charlie Farnsworth, went in the third round, and he's also playing in high-A ball this year, but he's with the Stockton Ports, out in California. They're an Oakland A's farm team.
I kinda wish Dave had gotten assigned to play somewhere out there in California. I hear it's pretty neat, way out West. But like I said, the Orioles drafted Dave -- in the fifth round, it was, of last year's draft -- and except for Ottawa, most of the Oriole farm teams are close to Baltimore.
Frederick, where me and Dave live now, is the second-largest city in Maryland. The city fathers are always kinda bragging about that, although Frederick really isn't all that big. Maybe 55,000 people live here. Something like that. 'S'funny, kinda, that Bowie is Baltimore's AA franchise, and, apparently, Bowie isn't as big a town as Frederick. But then I guess Bowie's in the middle of a big built-up area, there, so if you count all those other nearby towns, Bowie would be a more sensible place to put your higher-classification ball club.
Dave doesn't make hardly any money at all, playing ball in the low minors like he does. He doesn't tell me exactly what they pay him, but I know when we're on the road, he gets $22.50 a day for meal money. That pretty much has to cover us -- the both of us, when I'm traveling with Dave. But we don't go to McDonald's all the time. Dave knows a little bit about good nutrition and stuff, and he'll make sure me and him eat something decent. We'll load up at the little free breakfast places, there, at the motels where the team stays. I mean, they ain't got much, just cereal and them little bagels and maybe some sweet rolls, but Dave picks out the stuff he'll let me eat for breakfast, there, and I pretty much do what he says.
When the players are on the road, they clean out those free continental breakfast supplies pretty fast. Except for a couple of guys on the Keys who are bonus players, everybody is watching their pennies, trying to get to the next payday. It's a good thing almost all the guys are single, or, if they're married, they've mostly left their wives back where they come from, because money is awful tight, in Class A ball.
I'm 13 now, and Dave treats me pretty much like a grown-up, on most stuff. But when it comes to what I eat, and when I got to go to bed, and stuff like that, well, he makes the rules. I learned quite a while back -- not long after I come to live with Dave while he was playing ball -- that I'd better do things the way he said. Dave can be just as sweet-tempered as you'd want your big brother to be, as long as you don't cross him on the important stuff. The few times I got a little uppity with him, though, I found out, real quick, that compared to Dave, my Mom and Dad were a couple of creampuffs.
I generally don't get uppity anymore.
I talk better when Dave's around, too. I mean, I know all about how you shouldn't say "ain't" and you shouldn't use cuss-words and say "fuckin' this" and "fuckin' that" all the time, even though I hear an awful lot of that from the ballplayers, when we're on the road with the club and all. So I may say that kinda stuff, sometimes, telling you our story, here, and all, and I may say "ain't" now and again, when I should say "that's not," or "that isn't," -- whichever the case may be, y'know?... In the context of what I'm sayin' to you? I'm no dummy. My brother Dave is smart as a whip, and there never was any profit in it, for me, in being stupid, or pretending to be. If I want to keep up with my big brother, then I know I'd damned well better get myself an education, and learn now to talk right -- talk properly, I'm talkin' about -- and not cuss a blue streak all the time, thinkin' -- erroneously -- that saying "shit" and "fuck" all the time means you're a big man. Because it doesn't mean anything like that. It just means you're an asshole.
That's about the only bad word Dave ever uses -- asshole. He uses that one quite a lot, though. Oh, he'll call me on it, same as all the other bad words, if I start in to using it. But he doesn't really hold back, personally, on using that one. I reckon it's Dave's favorite word of disparagement. But he'll avoid cussing, most of the time, especially when I'm around.
Except for "asshole," that is. Now, Dave admits that it's a "vulgarism," and a really bad one, at that. 'Doesn't keep him from using it, though.
Now, I hope you've been listening to me, here, because if you've been listening, you might have noticed that I've got a pretty good vocabulary, for a 13-year-old kid. You notice how I said "disparagement," there? And "erroneously"? Dave wants me to learn to speak properly, and to try to use the right word for things I'm trying to say. He doesn't mean I should fling around oversized words that don't really fit, just to show off. Only assholes do that, Dave says.
But it's good, Dave says, to have the right words at your fingertips, ready to use at the appropriate time. It's way better to say exactly what you mean, instead of just hovering around what you really want to say, and trying to approximate it with one-syllable words.
Vocabulary is important.
When my mother died, she didn't have any life insurance at all, and she had some big medical bills, too, from trying to fight the cancer, there, while she still could. Dad had a small life insurance policy, and he'd had it for a long time, so it wasn't rendered void by his committing suicide. Dave used most of Dad's insurance to pay off Mom's hospital bills. The two doctors who had treated her the most while she had been sick forgave Dave most of their charges. I reckon they felt sorry for me and him, being left with nothing but some second-hand furniture we had to sell so we could move out of our parents' rental house there in Coshocton, where we grew up.
So, thanks to those two doctors, Dave and me had us a little bit of a stake, when we both had to move to Salisbury, Maryland last summer, and then, this spring, over to Frederick. Dave uses some of that money to pay Mrs. Washington to take care of me when he's on the road and I'm in school.
Mrs. Washington's an older Black lady who lives alone in the other side of the duplex Dave rented when we came to Frederick. The way they work it, I'm kind of a latch-key kid when Dave's gone, except Mrs. Washington keeps a close eye on my comings and goings, and she makes sure I get my breakfast and my dinner, and that I've got lunch money for school.
But school lets out for the summer late in May, and, after that, I pretty much travel with the Frederick Keys ball club when they're on the road. Dave had an awful hard time arranging that with the Keys. We hadn't had much trouble, over in Salisbury, but there were all sorts of liability concerns on the part of the team lawyers, this season in Frederick. That was the main thing. If I were to get hurt; if there was a bus wreck, or some stray foul ball was to hit me while a game was going on, well, the lawyers were real worried that there would be questions of legal liability.
Dave had to practically sign his life away, with all sorts of waivers, before they'd go along with my going along, on the team bus, on road trips. I would have been pleased to be the team's batboy, home and away, if they'd wanted me to, but evidently that would create all sorts of additional legal questions, and the ball club absolutely prohibited it. I was permitted to be clubhouse boy, and help clean up the locker rooms and stuff, but when the games started, they wanted me in the stands and, preferably, behind a metal screen someplace.
But, anyway, it was really good of the Frederick Keys organization to allow Dave to take me along on the road at all. It cut into his per diem some, feeding me on the road, but we managed to pretty much break even. And Dave saved on the cost of leaving me behind with Mrs. Washington. She didn't accept much money for her kid-sitting duties with me, and she was casual about the irregularity of Dave's need for her services. Motherly older women without families of their own at home are one of the most useful assets a couple of orphan boys can find! We had a similar set-up over in Salisbury last summer, but it had been arranged kind of hastily, and the lady who took care of me for Dave wasn't near as nice as Mrs. Washington.
When we were on the road, I slept with Dave in his double bed in the motels we lived in with the other players. Usually, there were two players to each room, so, in our case, we'd be three in a room. Dave's regular roomy, a third-baseman named Ollie Parker, was real good about putting up with having a 13-year-old kid in the room with him.
A couple of times, Ollie called Dave in the room and asked us to get lost for awhile, and of course, we did. Dave explained that Ollie had "gotten lucky" and was bringing a girl to the room. I asked Dave if he ever thought about bringing a girl to the room himself. And he told me that if he ever did, he was sure Ollie would take me out for a milkshake at the local drive-in.
But Dave never did get lucky. I figure my being around all the time probably had something to do with that. My brother is a really good-looking guy! When he was at UAB, I visited him there once and, wow, he had him some fine-looking babes hanging on him, I'll tell you!
I was kinda hoping he'd meet some nice girl there in Frederick. It was still only June, and we were going to be living there, probably, until the season ended in early September. That would be time enough for Dave to meet somebody. And even if we went somewhere else to live, after September, why, we'd probably still be in Maryland, somewhere reasonably close by.
Maybe at the end of the year, Dave would learn that, next season, he'd be moving up to Bowie, in Double-A ball. Heck, Bowie wasn't that far away. If he had a nice girl in Frederick, he could still see her, at least occasionally. I knew that one reason Dave wasn't having any luck, meeting girls in Frederick, was because he was stuck taking care of his little brother all the time. Little brothers are not conducive to romance. I might only be 13, but I'm old enough to know what's going on. And I know a little bit about sex, too. I mean, I'm pretty inexperienced with girls, me only being in the eighth grade and all, but I'm gettin' to that age, y'know, where I kind of know about what it feels like, to be interested in girls.
So I can kinda feel for Dave, at least a little bit.
I was traveling with Dave now, for road trips. I really liked it! I mean, being on the road in the low minor leagues is no picnic. The buses are usually mediocre. The distances we have to travel, sometimes, can be pretty lengthy, and the places we stay are generally bottom-of-the-line cheesy motels.
But, hey, for a kid like me? It was fantastic! I loved baseball, and I really enjoyed seeing all the games. Sure, some people would go nuts, watching another minor-league ball game, day after day. Not me! Besides, I always concentrated mostly on watching Dave. That made it even more exciting. There wasn't anything Dave did, on the field, that I didn't pay attention to.
The season was two, close to three months old now, and Dave was the Keys' starting catcher, practically every night. He hit seventh or eighth in the order, most nights, and he was hitting .254 with three homers and 14 ribbies. Dave wasn't too happy about his hitting. I mean, .254 in single-A ball, that's not going to cut it. And his power numbers and ribbies were awful low for so far into the season.
Defensively, though, Dave was a gem of a player. It's not just me, saying that. I could tell the Keys' manager, Stu Little, and the Keys' pitching coach, Evan McDonald, both thought Dave was great. Anything good he did on offense, they thought, was just gravy.
But Dave's numbers needed to get better, if he was going to move up in the Orioles' organization. He said so himself. We talked, a lot, me and Dave, about his numbers. We both knew they were important. Dave tried to be upbeat all the time -- especially around me -- but sometimes he would get pretty discouraged about his hitting, and would brood about it some.