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The man lowered down to the bleachers and as faded denim met aluminum, the simultaneous sounds of a knee cracking and a wet fart were heard by all waiting for Saturday morning’s CYAA Little League game to start.
The man, known to locals as “Scumbag Bob,” had been an unwanted fixture at area sporting events spanning from minor league baseball to 5-year-old tee-ball. If a place had action to bet on, nacho cheese, and sold either alcohol or didn’t stringently check coolers, that son of a bitch was there.
Bob made himself comfortable on the bleachers which was no small feat for a man who carries the body proportions of Chris Farley with the body hair of a sheared golden retriever. While his claims of once being the 5-hole hitter on the JV team way back when hadn’t been verified, the floppy Spalding glove and the twenty-year-old sweat-and-cheap cocaine crusted hat he wore to every game were locally known facts.
While loudly inhaling his pregame nachos, a generous glop of cheese fell off onto the sneaker of the child sitting near him. He leaned down with two chips in hand, scooping a majority of the dirt-mixed nacho cheese off the child’s trainer and at the same time slightly increased the tear under the armpit of his “Cleveland Indians 1997 AL Champs” shirt that was fitted for a much slimmer man than he.
Ignoring disgusted looks from the surrounding parents, Bob rose from the bleachers and made his way down the fence line to watch the bullpen warm-ups of the local ace Connor Bradley. He pulled out his phone and made the call.
Scumbag and his bookie, Louis, haggled over the Little League lines as they did every Saturday morning. Despite losing two jet skis, a mobile home, and half a kidney via a men’s Sunday league/middle school softball parlay to “Sweaty Lou” over the years, Bob still listed him as his emergency contact and one of his closest friends. With no Vegas line to go off of, the spread was always a negotiation.
“Which parent is he with this weekend?”
“Mom’s, and he likes being there way more,” replied Bob, well within earshot of Bradley’s dad.
“Word on the street is that she just set him up with a new chore regimen so I wouldn’t be so sure of that. I’ll give you Rangers -4.5, and that’s generous after his shutout last week.”
Normally taking the barely .500 Reds against the top arm in the league would be a sucker bet no matter the line, but Bob had an ace in the hole. Billy Hersh was making his season debut today after being sidelined by a broken arm.
Thanks to paying off every middle school teacher who would take his money, Bob knew in the 3 months he was out that Hersh had hit puberty, put on 10 pounds of muscle and a 1/2 pound of acne. He also heard his cast was signed by every girl in the grade, which meant the dude was pulling and due for at least one (1) bomb.
Continuing his pregame tradition of chainsmoking at least four Parliaments, Scumbag Bob continued to debate over lines and prop bets. After laying down a nice parlay of Phillies +3/three strikeouts by 3-hole hitter Tyler Atkins (kid just found out his parents are getting divorced, he’s mentally fucked), he was ready to lay his wager down for the game of the day.
Cracking open the first of his six 24-ounce Fosters, hoping that they would be enough to tide him over before he strode to his unpaid courtside seats at the WNBA game that night, he decided to lock in his upset play.
“Give me the Reds +4.5” said Bob, as smug as a man dealing with gout and male pattern baldness can be.
“Thanks for the free money bitch,” replied Louis. “Wait, who’s umping?”
Bob craned his neck towards the meeting of the coaches and umps at the plate. He hadn’t given much thought to the ump situation for the day. Ever since getting reported for leaving cash-filled envelopes in the umpire locker room at the local YMCA basketball facility, he’d kept a low profile when it came to officiating.
The home plate ump turned around, and as his eyes met Bob’s they furiously narrowed. Bob stood frozen and stunned, seemingly immune by shock to the smoke billowing into his eye from the fully smoked cigarette hanging in his lips.
“Did you hear me, who’s umping?” chirped an irritated Luis.
“Wipe my bets clean, I’m out this morning. I’ll call you before the Silver Stars game.”
Bob flipped his Moto Razr closed and continued to stare intently at the home plate ump.
It was fucking Clarence. .