BALLGAME


"At least Dodger Stadium gets a breeze once in a while," the warder told me. He had rusty red hair and a dried-out kind of face. "You could be in Phoenix, kid. Hundred and ten with shade. You're lucky."

He was the only human here. The rest of us were detainees. Couldn't call us prisoners because the law would've made them treat us differently.

"Yeah, I'm made of luck," I said as I picked up one of the plastic work kits from the bench. It had been red once, but sunshine and scratches had muted it over time to an anemic bleached coral color. Coral bleached everywhere, why not here, too?

Just that my luck was bad.

As the box left its station, there was a downdraft of rotorwash and a hum as the ghost's motors started up from idle. It followed two steps behind, well out of arm's reach fixing an eye on me as I shuffled down to my assignment. I honestly forgot it was there most of the time. Better that way. Who cares if someone in a cubicle in Nevada is watching you pick your nose or scratch yourself?

The readout on the box gave me a section and row assignment. 012 ROW CDE SEATS 3,5;7,9;1-9. Someone must have taken a real shine to row E. Kids sometimes get in when they power the ghosts and walkers down and the detainees have been taken to that old big-box off San Fernando Road. That was home. Was an Ikea once. Anyways who messes with a ball park? American pastime, and we're running short on those. Everyone staying in these days.

I marched off to the seats and my ghost followed me. Passed one of his big brothers as I hit the midfield seats. It didn’t look human and wasn't supposed to. Why do you think Fed Police all dress up in that armor and helmets? They don't want to be human. Humans have hearts. These things just have engines. I waved my bracelet in front of it and the screen where its head was went from red to blue.

"Have a nice day, buddy," I said.

--

That's all that's staying up for now. This story will appear in an anthology I'm anticipating will be published early next year. Maybe the middle.

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