I never knew I had an arm until this guy calls out,
“Hey you want to try and get a ball in the hole, sonny?” I am
only nine, but Mom says, “Come on, let’s play.” This carnival
guy with no teeth and a fuming cigarette hands me five blue
rubber balls and says if I throw three in the hole, we win a prize.
He’s grinning, because he’s taken Mom’s five bucks and figures
a sucker is born every minute. This really gets me, because we
didn’t have any money after Fernando took off, and he only
comes back to beat up Mom and steal our money. So I really
want to get Mom back something, you know, for her five bucks.
I take the first rubber ball and throw it over my head and
wham! The carnival guy looks at me and laughs. “Whoa! A
ringer. Let’s see you do it again, sonny.” It’s like something
happens when I throw a ball. My arm windmills over the top
then snaps down like a rubber band. It’s like I’m following my
arm. So I throw the second ball and he mutters, “Alright, let’s
see you get the next ball in.” I mean we’re Mexicans, and I think
this guy figures he’ll put one over on us.
I throw the next two balls and they go wild. I hit the top of
the wood circle with one and the other one flies completely over
the game. The carnival guy is grinning again because he knows
I have only one more ball. I wind up like I had seen pitchers on
television and wham, right in the hole again. He hands Mom a
big white polar bear and takes the cigarette from his mouth.
“That looked like a sixty-mile-an-hour pitch to me,” he says.
“I don’t know,” I reply, shrugging.
He nods and picks up the rubber balls.
“You should pitch, buddy,” he says with one eye closed. “You
have a hell of an arm.”
Author William Hazelgrove
William Hazelgrove is the best selling author of five novels, Ripples, Tobacco Sticks Mica Highways and Rocket Man and The Pitcher His books have received starred reviews in Publisher Weekly, Book of the Month Selections, Junior Library Guild Selections, ALA Editors Choice Awards and optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications. His latest novel Rocket Man due out May 1, 2013 was chosen Book of the Year by Books and Authors.net. He runs a political cultural blog, The View From Hemingway’s Attic. A forthcoming novel, The Pitcher will be out Sept 1, 2013. He lives in Chicago.
PLEASE WELCOME WILLIAM TO BOOKHOUNDS ya
What is the first book you remember reading by yourself as a child?
I would say Henry Huggins books.
What are you reading right now?
How does your garden grow?
I read and the garden grows. I bike. I dont do promotion which seems to drain the garden.
What is the last thing you Googled?
Schools and libraries that would use my book in their classrooms.
What makes you cringe?
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