Frank McCourt was busy sweeping the sand off the front porch of his beachfront condo in Malibu when the batteries went out on his radio. He heaved a weary sigh and propped the broom in the corner of his rented space and walked inside to look for an extension cord. He had been listening to the Dodger-Reds game on the radio because he’d sold the rights to his seat on the team plane to a kid from Hollywood High on Craig’s List for $85.99. The kid’s name was Zach Newby and he’d talked McCourt down from the listed price of $80,000 after three minutes of hard negotiating. “What can I do?” McCourt had muttered to himself, “This kid’s got me over a barrel here,” as he forked over his ID pass and plane ticket.
As McCourt stumbled through the dark interior of the condo he kicked a few empty Rolling Rock bottles that had been left out on the floor by his roommate, Jason Repko. One of the empties skittered across the floor and exploded into little green bits against the far wall. The noise prompted a grunt from Repko, who was passed out on the couch. “Whateryoudoin’?” Repko slurred, propping himself up on one pillow.
“I’m trying to clean up around here, something you wouldn’t know anything about.” McCourt shot back. Ever since he and his wife had split up he’d been insufferable to be around. He rarely ever left the condo unless he needed some tacos from the truck that parked itself on the PCH and played “La Cucaracha” over and over again until all of the tamales were gone. He still went to most of the home games but he hated when people would boo him whenever he would get up from his box to use the restroom. He’d tried purchasing a whizzinator off of the internet so he could go “number one”, as he liked to call it, without getting up and drawing attention to himself but his credit card had been declined.
After sweeping up the glass and throwing it in the overflowing trash can, McCourt proceeded to the utility closet at the back of the condo and rummaged around for an extension cord so he could get back to the game-it was a big one, Chad Billingsley was on the mound and Frank had a good feeling about today. Today was the day that things were going to change, dammit, he thought to himself as he pulled all of Jason Repko’s old baseball crap out of the closet before spotting the bright orange cord at the bottom. When he walked back through the living room Repko was watching cartoons and eating cereal. “What’s the score in our game?” He asked McCourt, spraying Cap’n Crunch across the coffee table.
Frank wanted to ignore him but then he remembered how fragile Repko’s feelings were and even though he was a terrible roommate and never pitched in money for beer or food Frank desperately needed the $800 monthly rent check-this divorce was really a bitch.
He didn’t make eye contact with Repko as he strode past but did hiss, “We had a great first inning and Casey (McCourt liked to call all the players by their first names) had a big hit with the bases loaded and we staked Chad to a three run lead. He’s nails, he’s going to lock this bitch down!” He hadn’t meant to get carried away but he couldn’t help it. The team was his family now and he silently fumed that young Zach got to make the trip to Cincinnati while he was stuck in this dump with a washed up AAAA outfielder.
Repko burped and slid his cereal bowl onto the table, milk sloshing over the sides and ruining the pages of the Maxim and FHM magazines that they had stacked there. “I don’t think so man. Have you seen the way he’s been pitching lately? So flat, no movement, goes into a shell if somebody gets on base. It’s tragic. If I could face him every time up I would be in the hall of fame, bro. Cooperstown, bro. Straight up.” He finished his monologue with a huge fart and then turned back to his cartoons.
McCourt stepped back onto the patio, the sun glinting off of the slate gray waves in front of him and plugged the radio back in. Charlie Steiner’s voice greeted him with the ominous phrase, “…and Billingsley simply cannot stop the bleeding here in the second inning.” Immediately he flipped the radio back off, staring at it like it was his wife’s divorce lawyer mixed with a paparazzi photog from TMZ.
“Bro, come in here and watch this episode,” Repko shouted from inside the dank living room. “Dude, you’ve got to see this episode, it’s the one where Ren and Stempy get in a fight!”
McCourt ripped the radio out of the wall and hurled it towards the ocean off of his balcony. He watched it sail through the air with a certain satisfaction, feeling that all that was wrong with his life would be made right as soon as it was destroyed. The radio dropped down, down, down towards the cool ocean where it smashed into Pam Anderson’s back as she ran past on her afternoon jog. “You animal!” She screamed as she fell to the ground in pain. “You are a maniac and a menace, McCourt! I will sue you! I will sue!”
McCourt surveyed the damage he had done while he channeled a line from his favorite movie of all time, Rocky V. “Sue me for what!???!!!?!??!” He shouted out into the deafening surf. “Sue me for what??!?!?!” He then slammed the door and watched cartoons with Repko for the rest of the afternoon.