Bleach Monster, Part VIII

Dani woke up. Today is her birthday. She was pondering the text from Murray. She knew it was cryptic for a reason. She expected him to call with birthday greetings. He always called early. He is not vermin.

On Murray’s 18th birthday not one friend or family member called to say happy birthday. He spent the day with his parents and Dani. No one called. Not even his grandmother, who’s notorious for calling at around 6:00 a.m. on big days in one’s life. He decided they were all vermin.

Back to the text, she knew she had to meet Murray. He offered two choices. There was no way she was going to 161 Street. Sadly her days of going to the Stadium ended. She became a traitor and rooted for the Mutts.

She knew Murray hated coming back to the Island. Not sure it was that he hated that place so much or the harrowing commute to get there. A train, to a filthy ferry, another train and then being picked up in Annandale took longer than going to Boston. Our hearts are with them today.

So, she said she could meet him in two days at Wolfe’s Pond Park. Murray loved that place. He learned to inline skate there. Audrey came running into her room with a homemade birthday card and a cupcake. It was a little early for the cupcake. But Audrey was wearing such a loving smile when she handed it over to her mom. Dani ate it.

Audrey was excited that she got to spend the day with her mom. But she was more excited that she was going to the Staten Island Zoo. She loves animals. Unlike her mom, she isn’t afraid of snakes. Of course, that fear is Murray’s fault.

The trip to the zoo was easy. Everything was calm. They had pizza for lunch, watched Disney DVDs and got ready for a birthday dinner with Robbie, her husband and an ever-doting father to Audrey.

The day came. Murray stood in front of the restrooms at Wolfe’s Pond Park waiting for Dani. He decided to take the SI train or trolley as he called it to Huguenot. He walked down Huguenot Ave. to Hylan Blvd. to the park. He barely looked at Tottenville High School. That dump wasted four years of his life. Boy did he hate that place with a passion. He has no care in the world about that institution now. It was a faded memory of his past.

Dani drove in and parked in Murray’s traditional parking spot. He is very ritualistic and always parked in the same spot in the park and just about anywhere else. She knew he’d be standing by the park’s latrine.

He smiled and pulled a bottle of Segal’s Fusion Red out of his knapsack. He opened, decanted and poured. He was laughing and smiling every step of the way.

L’Chaim.

She reluctantly sipped her wine. She knew exactly why he did this. Even he though fought with bleach. He was a Sith at heart. The Force was always strong within him.

They chatted for about an hour. The bottle of Segal’s was finished and tossed in the recycle bin.

The two siblings agreed to get their little “weapons,” Danny and Tony together to start their “empire”. They would meet in two weeks at the South Street Seaport.

Over the next few days, Murray and Dani worked out and made sure Danny and Tony followed suit.

All were anxiously waiting for the rapidly approaching meeting date.

Bleach Monster, Part IV

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Danny woke up with lots of energy. He had a healthy breakfast, some fruit, a glass of low-fat milk and some whole grains. After Murray rescued him at the movie theater he was determined to stay in shape. He needed to rescue himself.

But today was a special day. He had the note that Murray left him hidden under his bed since he got it. It was like his bible. He’d been reading Murray’s words since he ran out of the theater.

The note said, “Meet me in three days at 161 Street. Do not show up at the new “Disney style” stadium. You must make your appearance on the hallowed grounds of the real “Stadium”. I will be waiting for you where right field used to be.”

Danny raced out of his Forest Hills Gardens abode and caught the trains to the South Bronx. He knew this would be good for him. How good he had no clue. His life was going to change forever. Danny had no idea how good it was gonna get.

Funny thing is he has no idea that Murray is the “Bleach Monster” and Dani is the “Wine Girl.” Funny most of Murray’s girlfriends are “whine girls”.   Remember Danny was on the floor crying and bleeding when Murray and Dani unleashed their wrath on his tormentors.

Danny hopped off the 4-Line. He glanced at the new Stadium. He walked over to the spot, Paul O’Neill used to man in the good ‘ole days. He was so excited. He was short of breath from all of his running around.

Murray snuck up behind him and put his hand on Danny’s left shoulder. Danny jumped back in fear.

“That’s what I thought,” echoed Murray. We need to wack the fear out of you. Don’t worry. That’s my job.

“How?” inquired, Danny.

“Just leave that to me.”

The two guys talked and walked around this holy site. Both were dressed in N.Y. Yankees apparel from head to toe. Murray sleeps in Yankees pajamas.

Murray bought Danny a bottle of water.

“Ok, Danny, I know you want to lose weight and get your butt into shape. We need you to be healthy.”

Danny smiled. He felt like Murray was the big brother he never had. He finally had someone other than his mommy and daddy to take him under their wing.

Murray told him to forget about what the doctor and nutritionist said. He said you are now my project. I will train you. Danny was happy. However, he was nervous.

One of the crazies that hung around this sacred site came up to them. At first Murray ignored him. The guy got a little antsy and was starting yelling at them. Murray told Danny to start walking.

The nut job spits at them. They kept walking. The guy threw and empty soda bottle and hit Danny in the back.

“Be calm,” Murray yelled to Danny. The poor kid just stood there lifelessly. Murray looked at the deranged man and said hit me.

The guy ran toward Murray with his hands clenched into fists. Danny got so scared he shut his eyes. The guy threw a punch at Murray. Of course, he missed. But Murray countered with gallons of bleach. He drenched the loony. The guy hit the floor. He was breathing. So Murray figured that was a good sign. He probably learned his lesson. He likely needed a hospital. Murray pulled out his iPhone and dialed 911 and reported a grungy guy who passed out near the Stadium. An ambulance was on the way.

Murray grabbed Danny and said it is time to walk. They hiked over toward the row of stores that were at one time directly across the street from the House that Ruth Built.

Danny told Murray his favorite food was pizza with olives and sun dried tomatoes. Murray said “WTF. Let’s get a small pie. But remember if we were at a ballgame and we will be at many, you will only eat the things, I allow you to. I have a very strict ritual at when I go to ballgames. Consider it part of my Yankee Commandments.”

“Why do you like me?”

“I saw you in pain at the theater. I help people. I don’t want your problems to continue. We’ve all been in scary situations. Yours will soon end. I just need to figure out what powers you have.”

“I have no powers. I’m just a chubby high school kid who gets picked on. I try to lose weight. But I cannot keep it off.”

Murray smiled and took a bite of his slice.

“Maybe you don’t need to keep it off. I mean we will have you lose the weight. But maybe you need to gain it back once in a while.”

Murray’s eyes were glowing. Danny was perplexed.

Tomorrow you will run a few laps on the Forest Hills High School track. You will eat healthy for the next four weeks. I will be checking on you each Sunday. I will text you the meeting location about two hours before.

The next month went by. Danny was getting slimmer and stronger. Murray was often watching him run. Danny had no clue he was being watched. Murray saw the poor kid’s blubber bouncing up and down as he jogged. Each footstep made him stronger. The fat was wearing off.

It was like just falling right off him.

Murray wondered if he could use his falling fat to his advantage.

It was just rolling off the kid.

They had their Sunday meetings. Everyone was happy. Danny’s grades, which we always good had become even better. Murray wanted to add this kid to his army. Dani still had no idea Murray knew of her powers. One day he’d confront her. But for now he wanted her to think she was keeping a big secret.

Danny’s mom was so proud of her son. She saw how hard he was trying to be healthy. She had no idea about his mentor. She took him to the Gap to buy a few new pairs of jeans, khakis and some smaller piques, t-shirts and sweaters. Everyone was happy. She was completely healed from her gardening accident.

As they were walking down Austin Street toward Continental Ave. The kids that were bleached in the theater were hanging in front of McDonald’s. They never bothered him. No one did. The girl who attacked him in the theater asked if she could take him to the movies. He told her no. This was a first for her. No one ever turned down a date with her.

Danny was becoming a man. He knew this girl was superficial. If he got fat again, the girl would dump him.

He didn’t know of Murray’s plan. But Murray had to run some tests to see if it’d work. The tests would occur in a few weeks if all went to schedule.

The girl ran to the obnoxious kids with her head down. She said go after him. The kids didn’t want to. But she told them if they wanted to be her friend they had to attack him again.

They got nervous. But followed orders. These mindless boys thought with only one thing. They started taunting Danny. His mom told him to walk faster. He did and was doing well. Murray and Stacey were walking out of Banana Republic. He just spent a boatload of money on his princess.

Murray saw what was going on. He knew Danny wasn’t ready for this. He needed to work out some more. His mom tried to make him walk faster. But he held his ground and yelled back at the kids.

“You can’t beat me this time. Hey, you didn’t even beat me in the theater several weeks ago. You may have knocked me down. But as I remember it was you and the dumb bitches that you were with that got your you know what’s kicked. I am stronger than all of you now.”

The kids charged him. He lost his breath. They knocked him and his mom down.

“No one messes with my mom,” he bellowed.

Within seconds globs of fat start rolling off him. These globs got rock solid. But had a bounce. They smacked right into all the nasty kids and knocked them down like dominoes.

Dani was on the corner. She saw all of this. She knew Murray had been working with troubled teens. She was now wondering if this was his “work”. She knew it had to be. But waited patiently. She saw the “cool girls” and their boyfriends rolling toward Forest Gardens in pain. The girl Danny turned down got up and tried to lunge herself at him. He was caught off guard, as he was wiping his mom’s face.

He couldn’t let her get hurt again. None of the good people would get hurt as this girl ran toward Danny, Dani shot her between the eyes with wine.

Murray watched all this from about ten feet away. He was so happy. Stacey was oblivious to it all. She was too busy staring at the bags of clothes she just got. She was already begging him to put this stuff away in his apartment and to take her to Bloomingdale’s.

We all know Murray is a sap. Of course, he told Stacey he would do whatever she wants.   That was something one his new superheroes would have to work on with him.

Danny got up from mom and saw Murray by his side. “I see you got into a fight.”

“Are you mad at me?”

“No. You had to defend yourself and mom. Did you know that globs of your fat spun off you? They took out the kids who were going to beat you.”

“I know. Was this your plan?”

Murray smiled and broke into a laugh.

He explained to him that it was. He did say it was very early to tell if his powers would work. He also said that he would have to keep working out. But every so often he had to put on some weight.

When it was time for that Murray would text him when they would meet at the pizzeria by the Stadium.

They shook hands and everyone went their separate ways.

Dani saw Murray and Danny chatting. She was onto them. Or was she?

 

 

 

 

The Stadium

2009

At around 10:00 a.m. I hopped on the R to 59th and Lex.  I transferred to the 4 and got off at 161st Street.  As we approached 161st, people cheered as the subway pulled into the station and looked out the subway car’s window, at the new stadium.  It glittered brighter than gold.

I was looking out the other window and saw the House that Ruth Built. My eyes were teary, as I saw an empty field. Dirt was everywhere. There was no grass, no pitcher’s mound, no bases and no batter’s box.

I exited the station and immediately walked to the old stadium. I was far from the only fan doing this. We all put our hands on it and walked around it. Parts of it were boarded up. I shot many pix.  I leaned against the wall and davened (prayed). Yeah, I know I broke the rules today. I am not always good. Yes, I was in Shul last night. But today I was standing in front of a different Shul.

I looked at the wall by the now closed Gate 2 and said the Shema.  My mind drifted. I imagined what it must have been like when we had the temple.  One day, it will be rebuilt. One day the Stadium will meet a wrecking ball.  Right now it is the holiest fully standing structure on the planet.

I crossed the street and walked into the new stadium. It is overwhelming. It feels like you’re walking into Disney World or the Mall of America.  The place is super clean and loaded with stores, eateries, bars and pictures of the greats, Gehrig, Ruth, Mantle, Jackson, DiMaggio, Berra, Munson and the list goes on. After all, no team has had better players than the Yanks. Cooperstown was built for them. In fact, 70 years ago today was when the greatest player in the history of baseball and well, in the history of sports took himself out of the lineup.

I bought my yearbook and program. I walked over to the store and bought some stuff. Yeah, I need to exchange the shorts tomorrow. No big deal. I need a different size.

I wandered toward Monument Park. For some reason, it was closed. I got on the line for the museum. It was super long. So I got off and walked around the stadium. It is beautiful.  I looked out at the field and saw all the usual ads, Budweiser, Canon, MasterCard, and MetLife. Of course, the MetLife ad had a picture of the greatest shortstop of all time, Snoopy in his uniform.

I went to my seat, which was in the Grandstand section. In other words, super nose bleeds seats. It is even higher than the nose bleeds in the ghost across the street.  The field looks nice. They played all the same music. If only they could find something different to play than Cotton Eye Joe. That song is so tired.  The way the Yankees played today, they should have played Everybody Hurts, by R.E.M. or Boys Don’t Cry, by the Cure. I wanted to cry.

The stadium has a nice feel, but something is missing.  I guess what’s missing is the classic feel the empty, but in many ways full structure across the street had.  The new stadium is beautiful and feels nice.  However, it just doesn’t have the feel of the House that Ruth Built, where I saw Hall of Famers, Reggie “Mr. October” Jackson and Rich “Goose” Gossage play and of course future Hall of Famers, Derek Jeter, and Mariano Rivera play.  Maybe one day it will have a classic feel. Jeter and Rivera will play for a few more years in the new building.  Hopefully, when Torre goes into Cooperstown he goes in as a Yankee. I can’t see him going in for any other team.

I am sure we will produce more Hall of Famers in years to come. But ultimately, my heart will always be with the most historic sports stadium in the history of the world.

I exited the stadium and walked across the street and put my head against the wall of the original Stadium. The two people standing there said, “Do you miss it”? I responded,” Yes, the new stadium is nice, but this is where baseball belongs”.  They agreed. I walked to the 4 and went home.

I’m sorry if I bored you. I know I will get some nasty comments. Most likely they will come from Rodney and the Douche.  Of course, one of those people was the greatest scoutmaster on the planet and best camp leader ever.  Of course, I understand he spends most of his time fetching honey.  He did help shape my life in too many ways to count.  The other is one of the coolest people I have ever met.  A great guy to talk about sports, music, politics with and well, the world we live in and life in general.

Go Yankees!