They sat side at side on the bleacher. They looked like twins: backwards caps, bent backs with elbows rested on bent knees, hands folded with patience and not held in petition, and smiles half opened yet fully felt. Jack stood up and chanted a chatter to the batter. His boy hit the ball and Jack coached back down to his seat. “The beard is ass.”
“My face isn’t a democracy. Hey, Jack, why aren’t you coaching? Seems like a perfect fit.”
“Too much going on. Beth and I suck right now and work’s even worse. I can’t do that kind of time.”
“Anything I can do?” A bat hit a ball. A ball smacked a mitt: one out.
“No bro.” Jack turned and looked at Mark. “Thanks.”
“No problem.” Mark took off his cap and smoothed the sweat from his scalp.
“How’s the day, Marky?”
“Seriously? Career’s dead. Woman’s good. Great sex. Which is nice because Ellen was so cold I should’ve worn mittens when we fucked. Writing is going okay.”
“How’s the foot?”
“Foot’s okay.” Mark looked at his friend. “Thanks for asking.”
Jack left their shared sentiment unspoken. A bat cracked a sound and Jack stood up and coached his son to second. He retook his seat. “Hey Mark?”
“Beth thinks she’s pregnant. She’s got a feeling.” He said the word as if it were odorous.
“Three’s enough! I won’t bitch but I’m hoping she’s not.”
“I’ll pray.” Three balls whizzed by. Three times a bat swatted air: a second out.
“Hey?” They heard the bat crack. Jack stood up as his son slid into third. He sat and steadied his elbows on his knees.
“What were you going to say?”
“Oh, just thanks.”
“Not a problem bro. I’ve got your back.”
Jack left their shared sentiment unspoken. The bat cracked and he rose to his feet as his son slid into home.