The two caretakers stood, resting under the shade of a beautiful oak tree. The cemetery was completely empty, save for them, and one lone visitor who came most every day.
“There he is again,” the younger of the two said.
“Yeah. That was his best friend you know. They played the game back in thirty-eight,” the older one replied.
“Baseball. That standing there is the one and only Elijah Harwood. He was a heavy pitcher for the NLB, and then served in the Second World War as a Tuskegee Airman.”
“The NLB? Who the hell are they?”
“That would be the Negro League Baseball. They pretty much disbanded when Jackie Robinson got drafted, but they were big in the day.”
The younger man looked astonished and stared at the older one.
“You’re shitting me.”
“No. I got Elijah to autograph a baseball for me. He was the hero of his day.”
They watched Elijah shuffle off.
He walked with a long, thin whip of a cane, which he deftly maneuvered with his strong, powerful fingers. He displayed his disabled bus pass and boarded the Tri-Met bus East, eventually changing it for one bound North for Interstate Avenue.
He walked three blocks one way, and stopped in a store. He bought himself a small cherry coke and a microwave popcorn packet.
At home, in his modest dwelling, he popped the corn and stood there, staring at a picture of himself and the man in the ground, taken well over fifty years ago.
“I think I’ll be seeing you soon, Franklin. I hope you have a place next to you on the bench for me. I miss you a lot.” He said aloud.
The popped corn he put into a large plastic bowl and carried it and the soda into his easy chair. He flipped on the television, tuned into the Seattle Mariners game, and promptly fell asleep.
When Elijah dreamed, he dreamed in sepia. He smiled as he dreamed.
The roar of the crowd, mostly full families in the stadium filled his ears as he stood on the pitcher’s mound. He nodded to the catcher.
The catcher nodded back, and gesticulated with his hands.
Elijah’s body moved like lightening, his pitching arm uncoiled with the force of a hurricane. The leather clad ball soared out of his hand, like a bird of prey.
The batter was a muscular young man, not much older than he was, and he connected with the sweet spot in the wooden bat with a beautiful hit. The crack was like a gunshot, he heard the announcer:
“He’s going, he’s going, and he’s outta here!” He cried over the primitive public address system.
Elijah shook his head. He was tired, and it was the bottom of the ninth. With that hit, it was four to five. He had pitched the last six innings and the drain was incredible. The humidity in the Atlanta ballpark dripped off every man in the field. It was late August of 1938, one of the hottest on record.
His eyes turned toward his coach, whose face remained impassive. Elijah was all they had. This was the backside of the double header, Atlanta Crackers versus Cincinnati Tigers.
Another hit, and the Crackers would be tied, the game would go into extra innings, and Elijah knew if that were the case, he would fail. He could not allow that to happen.
The next batter was a fresh face to him, a rookie from a minor league, if there was such a thing for the Negroes League. His Jersey read, ‘Palmer’ and his first name was announced as Gary.
Elijah looked him over. He was wiry and looked strong. Elijah decided he wasn’t going to fool around. He felt the weight of the game, heavier and thicker than the heat and humidity. The crowd hushed and could feel his pressure.
The batter took his place, and Elijah’s decision held firm.
The crowed hurrahed in his favor and during the shake with the other team, one man shook him a little harder.
It was the first time they had actually met on the diamond battlefield, but Franklin Roberts was a reputation onto himself. He had one of the highest RBI’s of the entire league, and was a deadly infielder. He was the one that knocked the ball out of the park.
Franklin looked him in the eye, his thick muscular neck shining with sweat.
Elijah nodded at him for just that much more of an instant, and a corner of Franklin’s face turned upward ever so briefly.
Elijah was forced by the line to let go of his hand.
He trudged back to the dugout and collected his jacket, his bat, ball, and glove. There were no showers for the Negro league, but there was a bathroom.
It was the one with the crudely printed sign on it, attached with nail, and string. The sign read, ‘colored’ on it. He walked in, the stench of urine from the open trough hit him like the stank of a butchery. Flies congregated in clusters over spots on the aged concrete floor.
The cracked sink had a single spigot of moderately cold water, and he drenched his handkerchief in it, wiping his face down gently. He had a stubble of beard, and was supposed to catch the morning bus to New York for another game on Tuesday.
He paid no mind to the person who came in behind him, and walked over to the trough. Only when the other man spoke did his mental planning cease.
“I have to say, sir, that you pitch a fine game. I was lucky to get the hit I did. You polished off Palmer like he was nobody’s business.”
Franklin stood there, smiling. The golden flow of urine from his thick, uncut penis did not stop as the listened to Elijah:
“I had little choice. I couldn’t let you boys have a win on our home turf. We may not be the best in the league, but sir, a man has to defend his honor.”
Franklin shook his tool dry, stuffed it into his pants, and then spoke:
“This I understand. I also felt if I did not swing at your pitch, I would not get another chance.”
Elijah wiped his forehead down. His mouth was parched, he licked his cracked lips, and he noticed a slight tremor in his hand. He felt heat, but not from the sweltering humidity.
Elijah said, “I would be most pleased if you would go and have a cup of coffee and a piece of pie with me.”
Franklin’s perfect white teeth displayed his obvious pleasure.
“Sir, the honor would be mine. This is your town, and I shall rely upon your good judgment.”
Elijah and Franklin left, walking down the street. They hung on the outside of a Trolley free, jumped off when the conductor tried to charge them, and headed toward the black part of town.
Music from player piano in a store banged out into the evening as they found themselves in a small diner. They chatted over the game for a good two hours, and autographed three baseballs from young fans.
Franklin smiled at him, and said, “I am certainly glad we met. I would have been displeased if I could not have met the man behind that strong arm.”
Elijah responded, “And I too, am glad. I have known a few strong batters in my day.”
Franklin smiled and replied, “Hitting is my favorite part of the game. I like the feel of the wood in my hands. The heft, you understand.”
Elijah nodded and smiled, “but let us not misunderstand the value of the ball.”
“Without one, the other is incomplete,” Franklin replied. He looked Elijah in the eye.
“I think we understand each other well, Elijah,” Franklin said. His hand stroked the condensation on the glass of iced-tea, moving up and down in a regular pattern.
“I believe we’re conversing along the same lines, certainly.” Elijah replied, moving his hand in a similar motion over with his own tea. He then moved his hand up and licked the water from his fingers in a slow, deliberate motion.
Franklin watched, his own internal heat rising, and Elijah swallowed the droplets of condensation.
There was a silence until Elijah spoke quietly, loud enough only for Franklin to hear:
“It would favor me greatly if you might stop by and see a small scrap-book I have been keeping. I believe there may be a news clipping of yours in it, and your autograph would make it all the more valuable.”
Franklin smiled, and turned a bit red, and then replied:
“Of course, but only if you would sign a page for me.”
Elijah returned the smile, and replied in the affirmative.
Back in the seedy flophouse, a small open bladed fan was the only relief from the heat. A single, bare bulb hung from the ceiling. There was no desk, nor chairs, only a cheap single bed, a shelf bearing a bible, and the aforementioned scrapbook. Both men sat adjacent on the bed and poured over the games that lied within the hand-bound book.
They smelled each other’s musk, and as the heat was inescapable, they had slowly stripped shirts, shoes and stockings off.
Franklin’s hand rested next to Elijah’s as he turned pages, the rough, ebony knuckles nuzzled each other as a prelude.
The stars finally arrived, and as the book closed, Elijah replaced it on its shelf, and sat next to Franklin.
There was a long silence.
Franklin spoke, “it’s not often men like us get company.”
“No sir, it is not. I believe we should make the most of it.” Elijah said. He put his hand on Franklin’s knee.
That was what Franklin needed and he gently rubbed at the hand. “I must be honest, I am not well versed in this dance.”
“Nor am I,” Elijah replied. “I only know what I like, and pray to the god above that I can live a good and just life, despite my shortcomings.”
Franklin moved his face closer.
Elijah met him.
Softly, the two black men kissed in the August heat. Their rough, chapped lips met with the stubble on their cheeks, and softly they stroked each other’s chests.
Elijah’s lips went down into Franklin’s neck and softly nipped.
Franklin moaned ever so briefly and whispered, “You make my heart move in a way that it needs to.”
Elijah smiled and blushed brightly, “I’m afraid I have much fear in my heart.”
“I believe we both do. But we both love the game, and sometimes it only takes one or two common things to bring people together,” Franklin replied.
Elijah leaned back on an elbow, his rippled musculature sinking into the torn, bare mattress. His eyes beckoned Franklin.
Franklin responded by lying next to him and softly rubbing his face and nose against his lips.
The kisses were soft, tender, yet firm, and utterly masculine. The rough stubble aroused them both, and Elijah rolled on his back, skewed on the bed.
Slowly, Franklin moved on top of him. The darkness of their skins melded into the kind of flesh that only other men can understand. They felt the hardness of each other, they felt the musculature that only athletes have.
Elijah tilted his head up, and Franklin tenderly kissed at the base of his throat, nuzzling the protruding Adam’s apple, feeling the base vibrato as Elijah quietly moaned.
Elijah’s hands ran through Franklin’s close nappy hair. He felt the heat of his skull and the power of it, He grasped at his lover’s neck, kneading at his trapezes muscles, and feeling the edge of his scapula.
Franklin laid his weight almost wholly on Elijah, framing the pitcher’s head, and softly his tongue probed his mouth. Elijah, for his part, kept rubbing the neck and upper back, his sharper nails scratching lightly.
Franklin’s eyes glazed over, he gasped ever so slightly as Elijah began to kiss back with fervor.
As neither man wore a shirt, and both dripped with sweat, when Elijah bucked up ever so slightly, rubbing his nipples against Franklin’s their bodies moved slickly.
“I can feel your power against mine,” Franklin said, as both cocks rubbed against each other through the flimsy uniforms.
Elijah took the initiative and softly slipped a hand between them. Softly, he reached down, and felt Franklin’s mighty tool.
Franklin gasped, and then slid to one side, as Elijah moved him off. Boldly and fumbled at Franklin’s button and freed the hard cock.
Elijah watched his face, and saw the pleasure.
Softly he palmed the head of Franklin’s prick, his calloused hands, roaming the tender flesh.
Franklin’s dick softly oozed his male lubricant into his hand, and Elijah brought the stickiness to his face, and softly cleaned it off with his tongue.
Franklin watched him, his eyes glazed.
Elijah licked his hand, getting it very slick and grabbed Elijah’s meat, this time stroking it properly, from base to tip, using his pitcher’s grasp.
Franklin’s hips betrayed him, and softly he pumped into the huge ebony hand.
Elijah stroked his faster and faster and enjoyed giving the batter pleasure. He watched the panting on his lips, the additional rivulets of sweat that formed from his brow, and trickled down his neck. Elijah moved slowly, gracefully, and started to use both hands.
Alternating each hand, he stroked his new friend, lubricant pouring copiously as both fists flew quickly, starting at the base and stroking up.
Franklin’s thighs twitched, his black body writhed and his beautiful cock pulsed, spraying as if a hose released into the air. Elijah’s chest was drenched in the pearls of his manhood, and licked his lips as his face was struck.
On impulse, his head moved down, and he placed only the pucker of his lips on the massive penis, and greedily drank, like a water fountain.
Franklin shivered as his meat withered, and deflated.
He breathed deeply.
Elijah smiled at him.
“I have never had pleasure, greater than I did just now,” Franklin said. He sat at the edge of the bed, breathed heavily, and then reached back for Elijah’s hand.
“Stand for me, and I will do my best for you.”
Slowly, with a teasing movement, Elijah stood. As he moved his tight, well-formed ass caught Franklin’s eye. He had heard tales of men buggering each other, and it was an interest to him.
Elijah spun, his basket heavy with his engorged phallus, and he undid his button.
Franklin gasped as the dong popped at him, the foreskin thick. The cock throbbed with a life of its own.
He spat into each hand, put them on the side of Elijah’s cock, and stroked it with powerful strokes. He choked up on the tool and when the head started to ooze lubricant, he garnered his courage.
He opened his thick lips with their perfect teeth and put the head into his mouth.
It was warm, and natural feeling, his teeth grazed the underside of the foreskin, his tongue drilled into the slit.
He could only get a couple of inches into his mouth, and masturbated Elijah’s uncut phallus into his mouth. His oral cavity was not great enough to hold the mixture of saliva and intimate fluid, and it dripped down his chin, in a sticky, mixed mass.
Elijah pumped his ever so softly, and Franklin made a graphic, sucking sound with his lips. It aroused both men, and Elijah felt his loins twinge.
“I…I…” He moaned lewdly and fired a torrent of semen into Franklin’s hungry mouth. Dregs of semen popped from his lips as he fought for breath. He had to open his mouth, swallow, and inhale deeply.
His lips gently milked the musk from Elijah’s tool.
Elijah pulled away, and then sat next to Franklin.
There was a long, dark silence.
Elijah kissed him softly, and spoke:
“Although we may be in away games, I will always think of you here. Can you do me the favor of keeping me near to you?”
Franklin replied, “I could never forget you. I know that come spring training, we will be scouting. I can put a word in for you. Cincinnati is a fine city, and we Tigers work together. The summer is not nearly as beastly.”
Elijah chuckled, and said, “Then let us look in that direction. Between you, and I, and the game, I think we will be able to live a good life.”
Franklin kissed him softly, a soft, powerful, almost electrically charged act of tenderness.
Elijah snorted as the sepia dream faded away.
His eyes focused only for a half a second.
Before him, clad in the uniform of the Tigers, Franklin stood, with a gentle heavenly tinge about him.
He reached out with a baseball and put it into Elijah’s hand.
As Elijah stood, and walked toward him, Dave Niehaus announced on the television another home run by Ichiro:
“It’s a hit! He’s going, he’s going, he’s Outta Here!”