Colby King sat in his seat squished between a snoring old man and a mother holding a crying baby. Major league players weren’t supposed to have to travel like this. Then again, it wasn’t clear he was still a major league player. If he could impress the GM of the Vancouver Grey Wolves enough, maybe he could regain that coveted major league spot, but after being waived from a hapless Menards’ League team and being picked up by a Premier League team… it didn’t look likely.
King laid his head back and allowed the noise cancelling headphones to attempt to do their job on his long flight from Florida to Arizona. He didn’t want to just cancel out the noise from the plane though, he wanted to cancel out the visions of his transgressions. Sure, he didn’t think they were that serious, but Fort Worth GM Scott Thompson had very different opinions. King felt it was an honest mistake. They were both drunk and she didn’t mention that Bart Lewis was her husband. She might have mentioned the name and her last name might have been the same, but she didn’t specify that he was her husband.
An honest mistake.
The harder he tried to push it from his mind, the more the visions clouded his every thought.
It was a warm spring evening. The team had just got done taking their equipment to the spring training locker rooms and Lewis’ had surprised everyone by saying that there was a team party at his house that night. Everyone was expected to be there, and the alcohol would be plentiful. Workouts had been cancelled for that next morning, so it was a demand that everyone have a good time and get to know each other.
King was nervous, but excited to get to hang out with his teammates again. Even though he had only played in 18 games with the major league team last year, he had become an instantly popular guy to have around. Always hustling, always wanting to learn from the others about the best way to hit at the clown park named Panda Park, or how to best turn on a fastball from Panda Montana. His work ethic had allowed him to keep pressing, even when the future prospects for a 27 year old utility infielder looked rather bleak.
When he got to Lewis’ house, about half the team was already there, and shots were being taken. He was one of the youngest guys there and couldn’t let the old vets in Edwards, Garcia and Baxter show him up. He took two shot glasses with tequila in them and downed them instantly. He had went to college in California. Tequila was not a foreign substance to him. He knew that two shots wasn’t going to cause a problem. As the nigh had wore on, he lost track of how many shots he had though.
Many girls were at the party, but most of them were wives’ or girlfriends’ of those on the team. So flirting with them was clearly out of the question. King knew this and didn’t press his luck. However, he noticed a young girl who had been helping serve food throughout the night. In his earlier state he was sure that it was Lewis’ wife. As the night wore on though, a nagging voice in his head said that maybe it was his daughter. Sure, Lewis was only 37, but if he had a daughter when he was 18, then she would be old enough, if just barely.
He saw the girl head back into the kitchen. Colby extracted himself from a conversation with Baxter and Mayfield and headed to the house pretending that he had to go to the restroom. His steps were slow and his vision shaky. He told himself he wasn’t that drunk though and pressed on. Once in the kitchen there was no one else there except the woman he had seen many times throughout the night.
He approached her from behind and put his arms around her. She stiffened slightly, but didn’t push him away. he doesn’t remember what he whispered to her. he doesn’t remember why she agreed. He doesn’t even remember who was the first person that caught them in the kitchen. He does know that Lewis had to be held back by Jorge Alou and Greg Davis. He does know that he left immediately after that in an Uber paid for by Robbie Baxter. he does know that Scott Thompson called him into the office the next day to tell him that he was going to be DFA’d and that his roster spot in AAA was unlikely to be there.
King shook himself back out of the memory he had replayed 100 times in the past week. He was lucky to be getting another chance with Vancouver. He was lucky to be still playing the game he loved. He was lucky Bart Lewis hadn’t actually killed him. He told himself no more tequila, but he knew that he wasn’t going to be able to keep that promise. King just hoped next time that he wouldn’t have sex with a teammates’ wife and that if he did, he hoped that he would at least remember it.