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Alone By Mitchell

I could see the policemen’s elegant black running shoes walk right by my hiding place. I was afraid to breathe in fear that they might see me. I only came out from behind my dumpster when I heard the old motor fade into the nighttime. “They didn’t see you,” a boy’s voice said calmly from behind me. I whipped my head around and saw a kid my height leaning on a dumpster. “What are you doing out here past curfew?” the mystery boy asked. I stood in shock. “How did you find me?” I asked. “I tried taking a shortcut home from my baseball game,” he replied. “Now answer my question,” he said, kind of forcefully. I plopped myself down on the old asphalt and told him my story.

“My parents died when I was a month old. Nobody in my family could take the responsibility of a kid so I went to the Sandberg Orphanage. Once I got old enough, I snuck out and I’ve been living here ever since.” It felt really good to let go of that story. The boy stuck out his hand. I shook it. He said “my name is Robby” and left. Before he was out of sight, he tossed over his shoulder an old glove and a wooden bat. “Come to the worn-out ballpark at 5:00 tomorrow night”, and as quickly as he had come, he left even faster. I decided to meet that boy again and if it was a trap, I would just have to run fast. Besides, if it isn’t fun I can just leave. The next day I couldn’t wait for 5:00 to come.

I got to the field a half hour early just in case someone was there early and could teach me how to play. He got there and looked around. About 15 kids were already there, playing catch with each other. I found Robby and he told me he could teach me how to play baseball. He worked with me for the next half hour, until all the kids got there and we were ready to play. When it was my turn to bat, I got a little nervous. All the other kids seemed really good. I slowly walked to the plate, trying to waste as much time as possible. Inside, I was kind of hoping that when I got to the plate, they would say that the game was over. Instead, the pitcher, who was Robby, wound up and threw the ball. I swung and missed so badly that I fell down. A couple of kids in the field started snickering, but a glare from Robby silenced them. He threw the ball again, a little softer. I missed again, but at least I tipped it a little. “Okay Harry”, Robby said loudly. “I’m gonna throw this one so hard, you’re not even gonna see it” he announced, gesturing with his hands like he was telling an imaginary crowd to start cheering for him. All the kids started laughing so hard that some of them fell down. Even I started laughing. It looked so ridiculous that on this torn up field, he was acting like he was in the World Series. He wound up and threw. I couldn’t tell you exactly what happened because it happened so quickly. Robby, true to his word, threw the hardest pitch of today and suddenly my swing just felt natural. I saw my bat make hard contact with the ball. The ball went flying off my bat and me and all the other boys watched the ball fly up, up, up, and out of the field. All the other boys stared in shock at me. It was later when I learned that I was the only one of them who had ever hit an out-of-the-park home run. “Can you do that again?” Robby asked. I shrugged and got back into my batting stance and hit another homer, just as far as the first. A puny kid, playing second base, had his mouth wide open and was staring at me.

After the game was over, Robby came over and asked if I wanted to sleep over at his house. He said that they could tell his parents as much truth as they could, along with a few white lies. I agreed that it would be much better than sleeping behind my dumpster. When his parents came, Robby asked if I could sleep over. His mother said that it was okay with her if it was okay with my parents. I told her that they would say it was okay. Robby and I walked to his house.

His house was a humongous mansion. In their huge circular driveway there was a limo, a Lamborghini, and a Rolls-Royce. Robby walked by them like they were no big deal. I was awestruck by them. It was amazing to me how people can have that much money. They can buy three (and possibly more) cars, that an ordinary person doesn’t have enough money to think about. Some people spend the money like it’s the easiest thing to get in the world. “Shhh,” his mom said. “Robby, your dad is working up on the top floor so don’t go up there with your friend.” She seemed like a nice enough women. He gave me a tour of his house, which took about an hour, since it was so large. He showed me my room, which was around the size of all the space I had access to in the orphanage. We went into his basement, and played video games until dinner was ready. When Robby’s dad called us up for dinner, I had the best meal of my life. Robby and I stayed up really late. When we went into our separate rooms, I felt at home for the first time in a while. In the morning, after breakfast, Robby’s parents asked where they should drop me off. I had work today so I gave them the address of the shop that I worked at when the shop wasn’t open. They dropped me off there and the shop owner let me

in. I started stacking huge buckets of baseballs. the owner caught me eyeing one of the buckets and said, “take that one.” I wasn’t sure if I heard him correctly. I asked him if it would come out of my pay and he replied, “think of it as a raise.” I thanked him repeatedly and worked extra hard that day. I had seen how expensive they were on the price tags I had put up. Even on sale they were $75, and that’s 2 weeks pay for me. I get by fine with my pay from the shop. I stock up on food for the week, then save up my money to buy new clothes. When the shop opened, I walked to my dumpster and started reading a new book that I bought two days ago. When my watch (which was the cheap version of a Rolex) read 4:20, I went over to the field. I decided to bring a couple of the baseballs in my bucket, even though Robby probably had 10 buckets of them. It made me feel proud, having something the same as the kids who have a lot of money. When I got there, Robby’s eyes were red, like he’d been crying. He rushed up to me and asked me if I would join his baseball team for the championship game. He explained how two kids got sick and they had to forfeit unless they could get someone to play for them. All of a sudden, I realized everyone was looking at me. “You would be the best player on the team,” Robby said softly. “Yeah,” shouted a couple of the kids, who had all gathered around us. “We already have a uniform for you,” they all shouted. “Come on,” Robby said. Inside, I felt awesome. Even though I had been playing baseball for about two months, I have never played in a real, organized, little league game. “YES,” I said enthusiastically. They gave me my uniform and told me to come here at the normal time. I was also excited because we were going in Robby’s limo and it was so cool. The next day I couldn’t stand still. When it was time to go, I walked to the field and waited for everyone to get there. When everyone got there, we all got into the limo. When we got to the game, the first thing I noticed was the field. It was amazing. Then I noticed the fans.

The stands were packed. I felt sad inside. Everyone else probably had their parents here. It made me miss my parents. Everybody got announced separately. I

was the last one announced. “Now introducing, the newest member of the Youndertown Rockets, Harry Jackson.” I tipped my hat and the crowd cheered. After the introductions, there was the national anthem and then the mayor threw out the first pitch. I was batting fourth, but my first at-bat was in the second inning. The pitcher was throwing pretty hard, so I swung a little late on the first one. On the second pitch I swung and made great contact with it. The ball went soaring out of the park and I broke into my home run trot. When I got back to the dugout, everyone started congratulating me. I looked at the scoreboard. 1-0, it read. When my next at-bat came, we were tied. On the first pitch I saw, I whacked the ball over the fence again. Everyone started congratulating me again. In the 6th and last inning, the other team tied it up. It went to extra innings. In the 8th inning, I came up to bat. I got a huge cheer from the fans rooting for us, and some weak words of encouragement for their pitcher. I took the first pitch. It was a ball. On the next pitch, I hit the ball pretty hard. It looked like it was going to hit the fence, so I started running as hard as I could. I kept running as hard as I could down to first base before the coach coaching first told me that I could slow down, it went over the wall. I was so excited, that I ran as hard as I could anyways. I took a peek at the other players as they walked off the field in disbelief. When I got to home plate the other boys, who were crowding around home plate like wild animals, let me touch the plate and then swarmed me. Everyone was yelling and tackling each other. It was a lot of jumping up and down. I was having so much that I didn’t notice the police officers behind me. “Where are your parents, kid,” one of them sneered. “Hey, take it easy,” the other one said. “Where are your parents,” he said, voice hardening.

I was really nervous. If they found out I was an orphan, I would have to go to an orphanage and be in major trouble with a lot of important people. “He’s my brother,” a voice said from behind me. I turned around. It was Robby. He grabbed me by the arm and dragged me over to where he and his parents were standing. “I accidentally told my parents,” he whispered to me. “They talked it over and decided that if you wanted, you could, like, live with us.” “Yes,” I shouted. “We wouldn’t have to do any of the negotiating, since you technically don’t belong to any orphanage.” Then, we went back to his house. After that summer, I started going to school like every other normal kid. For the rest of my childhood, I was just another kid.

Mitchell Waksler©

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