Outfielder Tommy Knox is said to "own" pitcher Wayne Kerley because he always hits well when Wayne is on the mound. What the public doesn't know is that the two men have long been involved in a committed, loving relationship. They met and fell in love while playing in the minor leagues, but were called up to the majors and now play for opposing teams.
Tommy and Wayne have managed to stay together through twelve closeted years. Being on different teams means they have to spend most of the baseball season apart.
In the final year of his contract, Wayne considers retirement as his career begins to wind down. The thought of life without baseball seems nearly impossible, but he keeps his fears and dread to himself. Tommy still has two years left of his contract, and all the successes, defeats, and injuries that entails. Can the two reconcile their love of each other and the game?
The team flies into LaGuardia and takes a bus to the nearby Sheraton, where I do like always, settle in, just another city, more games. Soon as I'm in my room, I call Tommy, who had a day game against Pittsburgh.
"You tear 'em up?" I ask.
"Home run, double, and I stole third."
"You're shitting me."
"Honest, I did. The pitcher wasn't paying attention to me there on second. I could have stripped and he'd still have kept to his routine, so I'm running before he's even let go of the ball. Easy."
"How many is that?" I ask.
He laughs. "Okay, just one, but it's still pretty cool."
We share a silent couple seconds, then he says, "Come over tonight. I can't wait. If somebody sees you leaving, just say you're meeting a friend. Or your sister."
Tommy lives in a big brick apartment building just off Astoria Blvd, not far from the ballpark. The place is old but he doesn't care. We're different that way. He chooses to rent in whatever city the game lands him while I buy a place. It wasn't always that way. Last time he bought a condo he got traded.
"It jinxed me," he said. "From now on I'm renting."
I can't argue with his logic. He's been with New York four years. And he likes Queens.
"It's funky and I am, too," he says.
I don't care where he lives.
"On my way," I tell him now.
I wash up, change clothes, and head out, catching a cab. I'm wearing the usual cover, sunglasses, and a fedora. I sometimes feel like a spy, or a wise guy.
When I knock on Tommy's door, he throws it open and pulls me in.
"Let's fuck," he says, and we do.
It goes quick, both of us pent up like teenagers. He jerks his dick as I do him bent over the kitchen table, and I'm quickly babbling and coming. Once done, I ease him up and kiss him soon as I manage enough breath.
"Hi there," I say. "Good to see you."
He laughs. "Insanely good, heavenly good. Come is running down my leg, so all's right with the world."
"Our world," I correct. I kiss him some more, then we finish getting out of our clothes. "I'll want more later," I tell him, knowing we'll probably crash instead, what with me being on a plane half the day and him after a game.
Wearing robes, we settle into the kitchen, where he makes grilled cheese sandwiches and I see to the pickles.
"We are creatures of habit," I say.
"Guess we are. Good habits, the best."
We talk about his game as we eat and I relate bits of mine lately. Our teams are both in second place in our respective divisions, which we laugh about.
"You pitch Friday, right?" he asks.
I confirm I'm up for the night game day after tomorrow.
"Then I can wear you out until then."
"Uh, don't you have to play tomorrow?"
"Night game, so we have till four o'clock, like usual. I want a leisurely morning in bed, then breakfast at this little hole in the wall that has the best waffles."
"C'mon, Tommy, you know better than that. Somebody will see us."
"I guarantee none of the team will be there."
"What about fans?" I ask. "You're a big deal and you'll get spotted, which means I will, too. Somebody will put it together. No. Breakfast here, like always. I actually think you're just trying to get out of cooking."
Over dinner, he asks, "You don't think we've ever been spotted together? Twelve years, we have to have been seen, but whoever saw gets it and chose to be discreet."
"Maybe, but that doesn't mean we should push it," I argue. "You know I hate it as much as you. You know that."
"Yeah, I know."
I slide my hand over his, giving him a squeeze. "Let's just enjoy ourselves here. Together is enough for me."