Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Season, Part 21

So I guess we're legal now, which is funny because I've just passed the 50,000 word count that is generally considered the border that constitutes a novel.

I realize that the updates I've been posting have been really short, and as that is going to continue today, I feel I owe you guys an explanation...but then I wouldn't be able to keep the surprise in mind that I have.

So I will leave it at: I am working on this. I promise.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine
Part Ten
Part Eleven
Part Twelve
Part Thirteen
Part 14
Part 15
Part 16
Part 17
Part 18
Part 19
Part 20

As always, (c) Rebecca Glass, all international copyright laws apply. Please protect intellectual property rights.

The Season, Part 20

#30, Dylan Offers, utility infielder

What Dylan enjoys about the All Star break has nothing to do with the home run derby, or the game itself, as he knows too well he will probably never participate in either. Instead, what Dylan enjoys most is the chance to go back home.

His parents still live in the same three bedroom split-level house in Michigan, an hour’s drive from Detroit. From the outside it looks respectable enough, but on the inside, it feels old. The wood paneling is chipped and the carpets (in every room except the bathrooms and kitchen) are covered with so much dirt that their original color has been lost. The only room that looks habitable is Kyle’s.

When Kyle, the eldest child of Henry and Jane Offers, was killed in action in Afghanistan, the result wasn’t pretty. Dylan was still in high school at the time, and he remembers the moment he found out about it better than he remembers his first home run or even his first appearance in Hope City. He was sitting in his English class when the announcement came for him to head to the office.

It wasn’t that unusual, seeing as he was a bit of a troublemaker, so Dylan thought nothing of it until he saw his parents—both of them—standing next to the principle. He remembers the words coming from his father, clear as day: There was an accident. Friendly fire, they’re calling it. Kyle was in the middle of it. Henry Offers couldn’t bring himself to say ‘he’s dead’, but Dylan had always been a fast learner. Everything that came after—the wake, the funeral, Henry deciding to quit his job because he couldn’t handle the stress of losing his son—is all a blur. When Jane got laid off at her job a few weeks later and the prospect of food stamps became a reality, Dylan chose baseball over debate club. It was a release for him, more than anything else; even now he thins he’s just lucked out, making it to Hope City. He’ll never have Adrian’s talent or Terry’s personality, but he has a job and it keeps his parents in their house.

In Dylan’s absence, Jane has slowly turned Kyle’s room into a shrine. The twin bed has been made with brand new sheets and a brand new comforter, and the pillows have been fluffed almost too much. The navy carpet is plush and spotless, the desk neat and ordered, and the dresser-top polished. Kyle’s trophies—basketball and track—take up all the space there is on the dresser. It amuses Dylan, even now as he pays his customary visit to his brother’s room, that Kyle was the one branded an athlete. Kyle was the one expected to play pro hoops or win Olympic gold; Dylan was good enough, but he was supposed to make his millions after law school.

It’s an open secret that Dylan’s parents gave more attention to Kyle. It wasn’t that they saw Kyle as a favorite, but rather, they thought that Kyle was the one that needed guidance while Dylan would be all right on his own. When Dylan had made the switch to baseball, his parents thought that he was trying to be too much like his brother, which only upset them. They figured Dylan would set his expectations too high and forget where his true talents—in more intellectual pursuits—lay, but Dylan surprised everyone with his ability. His strength wasn’t, and still isn’t, hitting, but rather, solid defense, and very smart baserunning. No one, not even Dylan, expected his defense and baserunning to carry him as far as it did.

Dylan doesn’t spend too long in Kyle’s room, just long enough to take in the memory of his older brother. If he stays too long, the emotion will start to overwhelm him. He and Kyle weren’t that close, but they were brothers, and they certainly had their memories. It was Kyle, after all, that had first told him the key to being a good baseball player had less to do with pure athletic talent than it did the ability to use the brain. Sure, you needed talent, but it wouldn’t do much good if you had a bad eye or thought it’d be a good idea to steal second with a lefty on the mound. It is to Dylan’s everlasting regret that he never remembered to thank Kyle for teaching him.

Dylan’s own room is still the mess he left it when he left home for that very first Spring Training. It’s impossible to tell if the black carpet has been vacuumed, but as the sheets on his bed look as though they haven’t been changed in about a year, Dylan guesses that no one’s run the vacuum in ages. He doesn’t have the athletic trophies that dot Kyle’s room, but he’s got a few debate and decathlon ribbons. Dylan doesn’t spend too long in his own room, either. His room reminds him of his childhood, and his childhood reminds him of Kyle. His feelings won’t overwhelm him just yet; he won’t let them.

There’s still too much baseball to play.


  1. What an emotional chapter. I really feel for Dylan. Baseball doesn't seem to be a passion for him. Burying a child must have been the worst thing for his parents.

    This chapter was so powerfully written and emotional. Great job. Each chapter keeps expanding the story and the pathos. The writing is getting deeper and words can't describe how impressed I am with your talent.


  2. As a reader I really felt the emotions in the chapter. Kyle's death has had a huge impact on the family. It seems that for Dylan baseball is a "job", not a career or a game he enjoys. (although it seems as though he would not enjoy any career at this point).
    You have really developed the characters. I look forward to the next part.

  3. Yeah, having a brother of my own, that touched a nerve.