Joy. I am so fiercely in love with everybody who plays baseball right now. It's kinda out of control. I dreamt of Zito making out with Jeremy Piven as Ari Gold from 'Entourage.' Let's not mince words. I adore Jeremy Piven, have since 'PCU' ("You're wearing the shirt of the band you're going to see? Don't be that guy"), but I do not need to be confused by the unexpected hotness of his wonderfully dick agent making out with the love of my freakin life. Swear, I'm coming to pieces over here.
Also, I went skydiving for my brothers' birthdays this weekend. There's really not enough time to get scared, one second you're moving across the plane and the next you're in the air. Falling, but it's different because you don't fall past anything, there's nothing by which to gauge the descent. My ears still haven't popped.
Need to get some sleep.
and then there’s the thing where eric chavez is falling asleep without warning. it’s springtime and the world is wildbright and shaped like the slap of a hand. he can feel it on his cheek.
cut, print. roll fucking tape and they’re filming a new commercial, he’s dreaming of movie stars. he’s asleep on the grass, and zito’s voice is somewhere close by, hey danny, lookit that, i’ve known him for years.
hey danny. fingers on his forehead, a bat poked into his side. yep. chavez’s eyes have pennies on them, eyelids pinned down like wrestlers. the land is shifting under his feet, making his stomach roil and divebomb. they’re in arizona and earthquakes don’t reach this far.
power lines outside the bus. asleep.
a stand-up kind of guy. eleven million dollars a year. waking up to zito saying, hey danny, and there’s zito’s hand on haren’s back, there’s gnawed fingernails with beads of blood on zito’s cheek, haren’s grin as white as a cross. and chavez is waking up.
they’ve known each other for years. sixyears friends, maybe sometimes chavez met him in southern california when he was visiting his best friend at college and zito was drinking red plastic beer and there was grass in his hair. torn shirts down there in los angeles, backroom shadowpuppeted and coated in dust. he was ripped like a lottery ticket.
a bruise on his arm, chavez watching himself in mirrors, where’d that come from, where’d you go. it looks like a leaf. he could believe in ash, or thumbprints. believe in monsters and angels and trains derailed by dimes, rabbit rabbit it’s the first of the month and he doesn’t want to die.
he falls asleep and mostly it’s okay. bus, clubhouse, the short outfield grass, next to the pool and praying that his skin will burn. spring training is hard and nobody sleeps the night through. zito is calling out to haren, stepping over chavez’s body with a wetgreen bottle dripping water onto his stomach. wait.
trip him. knock him down. knees into zito’s lower back and hands jerked in his hair and.
and so shall he remain.
zito’s out of his system. chavez runs like his jersey’s on fire, skidding on baseballs, his heels down. in phoenix in the spring they’ve all got wings.
not like this, though, there’s newsprint in the morning and cardinals and braves and rich harden fourdays unshaven, tough as an action figure. mark mulder calls and eric chavez falls asleep talking to him, phone sliding down his chest into the crease made where his leg meets his body. he’s not really asleep, zito comes and plucks the phone, warm-knuckled, stands above chavez and talks to mulder for the first time in four months.
zito’s voice cracks and haren is across the room, filmy and fingerpainted, looking at zito and chavez doesn’t know. chavez is in hawaii.
sixyears friends and they’re in trouble. pine needles on the back of his neck, they were twenty-two and both trying to follow mulder around every day and what happened. what?
danny haren the very worst dream. the last thing chavez won’t remember. blue as kansas city and falling down like this, not so hard, not so unusual, zito’s hand on chavez’s hip hair on his shoulder teeth against his ear the same fucking desert every year where nothing ever changes and they were twenty-two years old. wasn’t supposed to last this long, zito fine and blacklined, backlit, eric chavez is thinking about.
creatures that live in the ocean, out of the sunlight. chavez wants not to be here anymore. there’s still ink on his fingers and billy beane walks his dog when he’s out of town, froth on his mouth and his eyebrows sliced like tree branches against the sky. wherever he goes for the rest of his life.
are you okay, man.
zito has a way with words but not as much as he thinks he does. brown dust on his red shoes and talking fast in alleyways, crowded and fuckedup with foil broken glass splints of wood fuzzy pink insulation soaked in oil. talking so fast. the radio dial turned way to the left where there’s static and someone singing in german. two in the morning and zito is saying dudedudedude, and chavez is hearing everything in that.
cartoon movies in the condo where zito’s staying, a t-shirt that chavez saw on danny haren’s back slung over the towel rack in the bathroom. chavez is borrowing painkillers, cigarette-white, big as nickels in his throat. stays because zito asked him to and how long has it been since that happened. on the couch, he.
wakes up an hour or two later. the place next to him is as empty as a constellation. noise from the bedroom, familiar stuff, and chavez is a young man, his mouth open. they’re laughing, at him probably. this sleeping sickness.
he picks himself up and scratches zito’s favorite cds with his keys. gleeful laughter in his chest, like them, like this. like the first trip to the playoffs, and zito boycrazy crazyboy, shimmying up him, saying with his teeth on chavez’s stomach, back in the high life again.
though they’d never been there before.
four doctors tell him he’s fine, but they’re the same as told him that his hand wouldn’t heal for three months. still he’s got this rift in the bone, he can live with it. he’s lived with worse. the black time when he was nineteen, the drunk fear of visalia, the vampiric summers when zito had been there and then not, and the intersections were motionless red lights. chavez waited for days.
the fences are waist-high at the ballpark. zito and haren are sitting cross-legged in the grass. so tired all the time and they tell him he’s fine. bad obsession. chavez runs the warning track, feet on styrofoam, eyes jammed to the right. his mind’s on fire. zito was once something.
he lies down on the bench in the dugout and pulls his hat over his face, struckblind and the sunlight on his spilled hand. zito getting closer, talking about this time and once man there was this thing and it was great. it was perfect.
toothpicks under chavez’s fingernails and the course of this season rolling out before him, mapped like the scars on zito’s shoulders. once there was this thing. but now there’s fog in chavez’s heart and zito falling away from him as if they were attached by more than circumstance and mark mulder’s heterosexuality and danny haren is tall as trees and they walk past him with spiketaps and scuffed hands, and they’re.
dream of anything, a day that is not today.
Christ. New rule, one-month-late resolution: I will write a story about Eric Chavez that doesn't end in total fucking despair. I mean, my god, people.