The Glove Fit
Joanne Faries
“Baseball, baby. The only game in town.”
 
“If I buy you a beer, will you shut up about baseball?”
 
“Check out this catcher’s mitt, bud.” Little Joe pulled a ratty leather glove from his trash bag. “This mitt caught balls whiffed by Babe.”
 
“Looks unsuitable for use to me. Give it to the Ruth museum over at Camden Yards,” said Rocky.
 
“Nah, it’s sentimental. My dad was a flatfoot, did private watch on the side. The Orioles appreciated his service until he got too beat up to work.”
 
“Tough breaks. He still alive?”
 
“My old man? Nah, smoked since he was seven. Lung cancer got him. I missed the funeral. No one knew I was back in Baltimore.”
 
“When did you get out?”
 
“March. Did five, released for good behavior. Say, what time is it?’
 
Rocky flipped open his phone to check. ”Almost noon, why?”
 
Little Joe adjusted his jacket and picked up his bag. “Got a meeting with Ray Donotri about a job.”
 
Rocky shook his head and shuffled his feet. “Be careful Joey. Three bodies found at the dock were part of that crew.”
 
“Guess that’s why there’re job openings,” said Little Joe with a grin. He slicked back his hair, and gave Rocky a slap on the back. “No worries, my friend. I’ll buy you a beer tonight.” He gave a jaunty wave and sauntered out of the alley.
 
Little Joe took a shortcut to the harbor. He chuckled at Rocky’s dire warning. Life was one obstacle after another. This city was gritty, but nothing fazed him anymore. He arrived at Donotri’s boat, gave the password to a hulking guard, stepped aboard, and followed another down below.
 
An engine started and Joe swayed as the boat moved. His heart beat faster, so he took some deep breaths. Out of the shadows, a woman spoke. “Little Joe. It’s time we met. I’m Ray.” Her voice spoke volumes – gin and tonics with a lime twist.
 
He blinked and had to think fast. Ray Donotri was a woman. Game plan change. He stood up straighter and smiled. “Pleased to meet you. Lovely boat.”
 
“Quit the fake chat. Pony up. You got sent to jail for old man Flanagan’s jewel heist from my New York runner, Izzy Fleishmann. Two rocks are still missing. Any ideas?”
 
“No ma’am.” Joe opened his mouth to say more, and then opted for brevity.
 
“Hand me your bag,” said Ray. He placed it at her feet. She peered inside and pulled out the mitt. “You play? No? I’ll keep this. Baseball…diamond. The two go hand in glove. “
 
Rocky watched the Oriole game, drank a pitcher of beer, gave up on Little Joe, and staggered home.

First published: August 2015
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