4.06 / June 2009

The Bat

Mom let it in by accident. She opened the backdoor to take out the garbage and in it came, a black flapping blur. I was sitting at the kitchen table doing my homework. When I saw it I screamed. Mom, startled, turned back and saw the black flapping blur. She screamed too. Dad rushed into the kitchen asking what was wrong. He immediately said, Where’s the broom? Mom, speechless, just shook her head. Dad rushed out of the kitchen, came back in with a baseball bat. Get out of the way, Jessica, he said to me. I got out of the way. He started swinging at the black flapping blur. Softly at first, but the more he missed, the angrier he became, before he started swinging harder. George, be careful, Mom said, but Dad didn’t seem to hear. He kept swinging, and swinging, and swinging. At one point the bat swooped down onto the counter. Dad brought the baseball bat down hard. It was old and splintered everywhere. He breathed, I got it, and I screamed, and he looked up to see what I saw: blood dribbling down Mom’s face, a piece of the bat lodged in her left eye.

Robert Swartwood claims a seatbelt once saved his life. According to Swartwood, he was at a bar one night and a man came in with a gun and threatened to kill anyone who was a writer. Then, quite suddenly, a seatbelt came in and kicked the crap out of the man with the gun. After the applause died down, the seatbelt said, "Only you can prevent forest fires," and walked out. It was, Swartwood says, a typical Thursday night.