A cobalt haze burns the dark a glinting tint. The great jasmine shrub, balancing its profusion of lush yellow blossoms on leafy sinuous vines, rises from the ground. The choking reek of sugary jasmine steeps the warm night air. Pulsating evening singers -- cicadas, crickets, katydids -- buzz, chirp, trill, zit in an unceasing, strangely cacophonous harmonic. The deep guttural rasp of an unseen jaguar sounds.
Silence now hangs shroud-like.
A lanky boy appears beside the shrub, gripping a wooden baseball bat in his right hand. He wears his Dodger Little League uniform: black rubber cleats; white sanitary socks; high Dodger blue stirrup socks; white pants with no stripes; Dodger blue elastic belt; white jersey with the name “Dodgers” scripted in blue on jersey front tilting upward left to right; name boldly underlined in blue sweeping back down from the “s” with pointed accent beneath the capital “D”; the number “32” stamped in red jersey front right just below the underline; the number “32” stamped large in blue on jersey back; perfect line of white buttons running down jersey front; Dodger blue sleeves running from either jersey arm; Dodger blue cap with “LA” stamped in white dead center of the rise.
Leaning toward the aromatic flowers, he inhales. As the powerful dream-inducing jasmine scent fills his lungs, he throws back his head, lifts the bat to his right shoulder in both hands, and takes a fluid, graceful swing, right knee bending, turning, bat gliding under and up, spun right foot ending heel up on big right toe. Lowering the bat, he looks to one side at the glinting dark. He stands rock-still, hardly breathing.
He speaks to that dark.
“No more. I swore it. Why would I? I don’t need to tell you. You know exactly why. So don’t pretend like you don’t.”
He laughs harshly and takes a little walk.
“Ever since that night, all this time, months, I still feel it hanging there in the dark even from my bed. ’Specially from my bed. Try falling asleep across the hall from that.”
He stops and looks out straight ahead.
“Then yesterday after school, I walk in there straight-away. I don’t hesitate. I don’t even know why. But you know that, too. Don’t you? Maybe I just didn’t give a shit anymore. You tell me, Mister Smarty Pants. All I know is, soon as I open that door, I feel it all again like a ton of bricks splitting my head wide open. I hear it all again. See it all. Again. Even what I never saw. Or heard direct.”
He gestures toward his head and laughs. “Like it’s all right up here, man. Yeah. Every damn bit.”
He takes another fluid, graceful swing.