What is it that we find when we look back at the road we’ve walked along? That was the thought circulating within my mind as I forged this short flash fiction inspired by the photo prompt from The Angry Hourglass weekly flash fiction competition.
As with most of my writing these days, the photo took me down a darker path than that i initially wandered along (my word there seems to be a lot of path, road metaphors in this post) but I hope you still find some enjoyment in the tale. Oh and the tale/title was inspired by The The’s Infected, an album that has long cast its influence over me.
Twilight of a Champion
The crack of bat upon ball momentarily silenced the gathered masses. Flint peered up out of the bullpen, watching the white meteor arc across the perfectly blue sky. He turned away as the swelling roar of the home crowd confirmed his fears.
Flint didn’t watch the runners jogging their way around, high fiving, punching the air. The bases had been loaded, that ball the final nail in his coffin.
He threw his mitt to the floor, walked away, down the corridor, past the locker room. Out of the stadium.
There was nothing else to do.
The next morning, sunlight blasted away the cobwebs spun by beer and whisky chasers. Head pounding, he dry swallowed two aspirin as he stared at the bloodshot eyes of the zombie lurking within the mirror. As Flint ambled down the hallway, the headlines that his mother framed when he was first drafted only worsened his mood. Headlines that declared him to be the Messiah, the boy who would one day become a Goliath destroying all.
Goliath, the name had stuck. As a young man he had enjoyed the sensation it created, the posters of him smiting down inferior rivals, wrecking havoc. Indeed in that first season he had set the strike out record for a rookie. He was a god amongst insects. Then, as injury and abuse clouded both body and mind, so it was his waistband, not his trophy cabinet, that filled out.
Now he was not even a player, just a fat old balding guy with a dodgy elbow and nothing else. By the front door stood old faithful, the bat that, as a kid in that dusty diamond, would smite everything thrown his way. He examined the initials scratched into the handle, how the polished wood still felt right in his grip, an extension of his very being.
They were waiting in the kitchen, the table laden with a breakfast that made his stomach boil with resentment. They were there, his young family, mocking his failure with their patronizing smiles.
He hefted the bat in his hand.
Maybe he just had one innings left in him after all.