Listen Closely
A Short Story by Tim Josephs
Written using the suggestion "Aramis"
Originally featured on 05-13-2008
As part of our series "Three For Violence (Violent Threesomes)"

“You will not believe what happened today.” Judy slid into the passenger seat and slammed the door. “Sheila — you remember Sheila from the Christmas party? — she made this huge mistake — and I mean huge — if it hadn’t been caught we might all have been fired…”

As Greg pulled the Toyota out of the parking lot, he nodded and turned the volume up on the radio.

“…that’s one and two on Martinez,” the announcer said. “If you’re just joining us, Tony Stansfield is three outs away from pitching a perfect game. Here’s the windup and…“

“…know what she had the nerve to do? She told Mr. Tremont I was the one who told her to approve those purchase orders? Can you believe that she would…”

“…hit sharply to third, nice play by Adams. He throws to first to retire Martinez. So now Stansfield is two outs away. What do you think, George? He’s got to be feeling the…“

“…fat ass. I mean, the thing is huge, I’m surprised she can get it through the door. And she has the nerve to call…”

“…the big switch hitter to the plate now. He’s hit the ball hard tonight but of course with nothing to show for it. Here’s the windup and the…“

“…bitch. Oh, let me tell you what happened at lunch. We all went to Chili’s. I don’t know why we always go there, I’m kind of sick of that place but we went. Alice ordered her usual…”

“…well hit ball to left field. This one might be trouble…”

“…I decided to get the turkey wrap even though…”

“…Randolph has a long way to run…”

“…so we’re sitting there waiting for our food and Marissa takes her jacket off and it knocks into Jen’s drink and goes all over Alice! So she gets up and runs to the…”

“…warning track! At the wall! Randolph jumps! He’s got…”

“…this big stain all over her new…”

“…play by Randolph! He robs O’Neil of a homerun and the perfect game is still…”

“…wrong! That waitress didn’t get one thing right. And let me tell you, I don’t know if Chili’s is trying to compete with Hooters or what but what this girl was wearing didn’t leave much to the imagination, you could practically see her…”

“…two outs now after the spectacular play by Randolph. Looks like they’re going to pinch hit for Aramis and oh, what’s this? Brian Stansfield — Tony’s own brother who was just called up from Triple-A — is coming to the plate! This is unbelievable! This is…”

“…bull crap! How could someone park in her spot? She’s parked there everyday for five years. So because we had to park like a mile away we’re all going…”

“…crazy, they’re all on their feet. And, we’ve just been told, Martina Stansfield, their mother is here tonight watching the game! Nothing like this has every happened before. Folks, you are listening to history being…”

“…late and Mr. Tremont gives us this look but of course he’s not going to say anything after what happened the last time…”

“…Stansfield steps in and sets himself. Stansfield — Tony, that is — winds up and throws. It’s on the outside corner, it’s a called…”

“…salami! I mean, if he didn’t want the sandwich he should have said something. So now we don’t take any lunch orders, if you want to come with us, fine, but otherwise we won’t…”

“…swing and a miss, strike one! Brian was swinging for the fences on that one. Do you believe this, George? A guy going for a perfect game and the last batter he’s facing is his own…”

“…brother was that a long meeting! And to top it all off Barbara forgot to take notes! That’s the one thing she’s supposed to do and she forgets. So the rest of the day she’s asking everybody what happened. That woman needs to…”

“…grab the rosin bag, tie your shoelace, anything to regain your composure and…”

“…I mean, really! Why would she think it’s…”

“…okay, now the count is three and…”

“…one or two. Or maybe it’s three years she’s been there. Whatever it is it’s long enough for her to be…”

“…low and outside for a strike. That one was close. Brian steps out to…”

“…finally get back to my desk and check my e-mail and wouldn’t you know it, it was…”

“…full count now. This is it, folks. Stansfield is one strike away from a perfect game. He takes a long look at the sign…”

“…and half of them are from Arlene. Remember that awful pool party we went to at her house last summer? Well, she’s sending out all these e-vites again and…”

“…the windup and the…”

“…pitch in to help but of course everybody’s…”

“…swung on and hit back up the middle. It goes off of Stansfield’s right leg! And it’s heading for the…”

“…women’s bathroom. They say they clean them everyday but I can’t believe …”

“…Stansfield runs after it. Oh, he slipped! He’s crawling after the ball! He’s got his glove on it and…”

“…the toilet paper isn’t very soft. They’re skimping on everything now, even…”
“…throws from his knees! And he is…”

“…safe!”

“No!” Greg cried.

“Yes, can you believe that? Who would try to get into the safe?”

“Wait, what?”

“The safe. Someone tried to open it. Or at least that’s what Angela thinks. But then again she can be pretty…”

“…mind-boggling! There’s bedlam here, the crowd is stunned, no one can believe what’s happening! George, can you…”

“…turn this off?” Judy reached for the radio. “That’s better, I could barely hear myself. So, what’s going on with you? Oh, did I tell you about Mary Ann’s son? He got arrested.”

Greg groaned and turned the wheel sharply.

“I know, again. Can you believe it? When she told me- Hey, why are we going this way? Oh, you’re taking the bridge? Okay, but it looks like we’ll be here awhile, a boat’s going under. That reminds me, it’s Carol’s birthday next week and I have to get- Greg, you should slow down. Greg, the bridge is…”

Greg nodded and slammed his foot down on the gas pedal. As the car sped up the ramp, all he could hear was the revving engine.

Read More By Tim Josephs

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