At about 6:45 on Saturday morning I was alone at Derby Academy setting up the bases. I had awakened early and was restless thinking of all the work to be done. The day would be hot, I knew, and so I snuck quietly out of the house so’s not to wake the wife and child, and stole off to the pitch to begin the work in the early morning cool. The dragonflies at the field were out in force already zipping past me, curious but not angry. The air was heavy around my head. I had just hammered the left field foul pole into the ground and was walking back toward the plate to check the straightness of the line when a voice from the top of the hill asked “where do you want this stuff?” I couldn’t see who it was, the silhouette standing right between me and the rising sun. “Who’s that?” said I. “Gary? Is that you?”.
It was he. The Godfather. He was holding a few items he’s pulled from the back of my open automobile. As I climbed the hill, approaching him with the sun in my eyes, I was just able to make out the look on his face.
“Where’s the flag?” said he.
I looked out into the empty center field fences and saw no flag, confirming the Dot’s observation that someone had come taken down what he had stealthily put up the day before as a surprise for the Hingham squad. His team, the Derbies, would not have him today – and they would not have their traditional, homemade, centerfield flag. I’d have to bring another flag.
A chill rose in my spine. I knew something had just changed. The dragonflies reversed course and flew in a confused pattern. A cooler breeze blew past me and cleared the air around my sodden hair. Weathervanes pointed up, inexplicably. Somewhere, a big mean old Hound dog kissed a cranky old Siamese cat without knowing why.
THE COOPERS WERE GOING TO WIN!