“You want ta go far, you got ta get me in the gut, old man”, that’s Jonesy to Wilson. Honestly, when you look at Wilson objectively, he really does look a bit worn out. You bounce around getting banged in the head every day for two months and the Lord knows how many sets, you’ll be worn out too, y’know. Fibres frizzled. The ‘Wilson’ almost faded. He has turned dirt green, poor fella.
“All right, all right, smartass. Seen yourself lately? You wouldn’t be any good even as a snowshoe,” Wilson hates being told he’s old, “and pipe down, will ya? The ol’ man hears you, I’ll be in that trash can ovah there”.
Thwok! (I’m practicing my forehand on the practice board at the far corner of the tennis courts).
“Ouch, now take it easy, Schwarzneggar”, Willi yelps to me,” Got a soft spot there. Musta bin those brambles you drove me into yestiday. Honestly, Archie, you got ta work on your forehand. ” That one is directed at me. I’d just executed a perfect forehand. I consider sending him a stinging repartee but he’s hard at hearing. And come to think of it, Jonesy is in fact starting to look like an old snowshoe. Maybe I need one of those new titanium babies they have in the Sports Experts outlet over at the Pincourt Mall.
Willi hits the practice board and zings back straight at me. I miss and he rolls to the net and looks up at me, disgust writ large on him.
“What you complainin’ about, Willi. You were made ta be thwoked weren’t ya?” Meet Penn. His tone sounds a bit muffled. Obviously. He is inside my right pocket. Ever tried making yourself heard from a guy’s pocket? Penn is a few weeks younger than Wilson. And ‘Penn’ is still clearly visible on him. Guy bounces a foot higher than Wilson, he does.
Penn swears, “Yuk! It stinks in here, Wilson. It’s those two other guys I keep seein’ hangin’ around whenever I’m here. Think Archie plays billiards too?” He giggles.
“Naah, he’s too old for that sorta thing,” Jonesy is always sure of himself.
“Hey, did I to tell y’all about my cousin in India?” Wilson is a bit chatty taday. Or maybe he’s trying to waylay my attention so I won’t thwok him back right away. “My cousin, Whattheuseitsfixed (Indians have long names, let’s just call him Fixd) is hard as a nut. You try ta hit him with Jonesy here and he’ll go right through him, I swear. Fixd doesn’t know nuthin’ about tennis. Get’s thwoked around with a bat, he does. Get’s spat on and then rubbed regularly, by just about anyone. And then a guy grips Fixd in his hand, rubs him against his crotch and runs like a lunatic before he throws him at the guy at the other end. And you think Archie is stinky.
He pauses as I arch my back and raise Jonesy to send him once again to the practice board,” Wo..wo.. will ya look at that. If it ain’t big Mama!” A bunch of school girls are playing local league baseball next to the tennis courts. The baseball arches its way over and lands right inside the court. It rolls over and comes to rest next to Penn.
“Goin’ sum place, baby?” Penn, his charming best. He’d slipped out of my pocket when I bent over to reach for Baby Bessie to hand her back to the girls. Penn bounces like he’s on steroids and rolls over knocking Wilson aside, coming to rest inches away from the broad. “Yore one big handful, sunshine”, he oozes to Baby Bessie.
Before Bessie can wisecrack, she is on her way tracing a parabola back toward the baseball field. I turn back to the practice board. There is no one to play with today, like most other days. Everyone’s busy.
Who cares. I got a smartass old talking racket, getting on in years. I’ve got four balls, two very talkative. The other two? They’re ready for datin’. Carbon-14 datin’.