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Dec
21

Mr. Kaycee plays ball

It was just a crazy turn of events that put me on to my son’s ability otherwise I’m sure I would have bunged him off to the shrink in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. I just so happened to not only sit listening to him talk in his sleep one night, smiling and thinking it was about the cutest and creepiest thing I’d ever heard, but then also happened to be at the right spot at the right time to hear my neighbor repeat word for word the exact conversation the next day.

I’ll slow down and let that sink in. Believe me, take your time. It took me quite awhile to figure out what was going on myself. Let me throw in some details.

I was only up because my dog is old and craps in the house. To get my attention she walks around on the tile at the front of the house and if I don’t hurl myself down the stairs like an Olympic hurler she will take that as a sign that it is all clear to commence walking about the living room crapping. I literally sleep with one eye open these days. So I was plodding back up the stairs after standing at the back door for the better part of the evening awaiting my dog’s triumphant return from the back yard when I heard my son talking.

At first I thought he was calling out to me but his voice seemed to be too flat to be in any distress so I casually made my way down the hall trying to make out what he was saying. He was going into great detail about how the back deck needs replacing and it was about god damned time he got serious and marched his ass down to the hardware store and bought the necessary lumber.

Not the usual stuff that comes out of his mouth. I was expecting snack foods or monsters to be honest. Those seem to be his two main preoccupations at present but what I got instead was a long dissertation on the difficulties of replacing rotting wood. It went on for quite a time and slowly my smile faded and was replaced by a mix of concern, bemusement and sleepy acceptance that the mind is an odd beast and one can never tell, can one?

I’ll skip ahead to the following day around dinnertime. I was heating the grill for the burgers when I heard my neighbor open his back door and come out on his deck. My wife had left me years before due to my “selfish outlook” as she called it, so it was only my son and I for dinner pretty much every night. I had become quite the little cook and I was able to throw together hamburgers without much thought. In fact my mind was wandering back to the previous evening and my son’s strange ramblings, my well-trained hands mechanically squeezing the meat into patties and mindlessly tossing them on the grill, when I heard the identical strange ramblings from next door. For a few moments I thought my head had an echo because the words going through them were being repeated word for word.

There. You’re all caught up. And probably not believing a word for word I’m saying. I don’t blame you. Not at all. I didn’t believe what I was hearing. How could it be? My son walked out to inquire how things were going in the dinner department and to tell me the corn was almost ready to go and I just stared at him like a mental patient. In this case, I must have looked like I was a mental patient to him and I was wondering which of us was the mental patient on my side of the equation. Clearly one of us was a few cards short of a deck.

Or perhaps my son had a few extra cards hidden up his sleeve.

Like any parent my first thought was “How can I get rich off this?” If I had a little ‘Rain Man’ or something was there a way to make a lot of cash from it? We ate our meal in silence as I stared at my son with a proud yet freaked out look. Was this a onetime thing? Would the talk shows be interested? Does he have a tumor of some sort? I remember seeing John Travolta in a movie where he got smart all of a sudden after a tumor started growing in his head. He never went on any talk shows as I recall and that seemed a wasted opportunity to me.

I did dishes and casually ask my son if he remembered the dream he had but, as I expected, he had no idea what I was talking about and I didn’t want to push the topic any further. Better he didn’t know what I suspected and just continued on oblivious to his new-found earning potential.

But how to get rich from this peculiar ability. Even calling it an ability seemed rash at the time but how else to describe it?

Then it dawned on me. The neighbor on the other side of my house announced the games for the major league baseball team in our area. If my son was able to anticipate what he was going to say then all I needed to do was point him in the direction of this broadcaster, have him pick up the play-by-play, enough to see who won the game, and then lay down a bet based on this insider knowledge. Child’s play. Well, sleeping-child’s play anyway.

After I looked up the next home game for the team I went to the bank and took out two mortgages and suddenly found myself quite liquid as they say in financial circles. The night before the game, I flipped my son’s bed to face the other way, threw on a pot of coffee and waited for the pertinent details of tomorrow’s game to begin pouring out.

I wasn’t disappointed. Somewhere near 2:00 a.m. he began giving me the ol’ balls and strikes and I realized quickly we were already in the 4th inning. I sat transfixed as he described every pitch and hit and even talked through the commercial breaks about how much he’d like to ball the new blonde ball girl. With the home team winning 6-2 in the 8th he suddenly rolled over and went silent.

Now at this point you must be thinking how disappointed I was or how I was already thinking about how I can make sure I got the whole game next time but such was my enthusiasm for cashing in on my son’s gift that I figured a 6-2 lead with only one more time at bat for the visitors was about as sound an investment as there is. Later that same day the necessary funds were placed with a reputable gambling establishment and I clutched my betting slips and watched the opposing team score five runs in the top of the 9th as I screamed and lept around in front of the TV. My son fled the room, scared off by my sudden interest in baseball. After the lead-off batter for the home club walked the next batter struck out and then the next hit into a double play to end the contest.

My son did indeed end up having a tumor but after losing the house I couldn’t afford the treatment necessary to give him the best chance at beating it.

It was the bottom of the 9th and his old man had struck out.

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