Emily was also at the July 4th game. The two of them were enjoying the company of Jasmine and her antics. It was Shu’s second exposure to Emily, who wore a crop top blouse exposing her tattooed belly and hips. “The Scream” tattoo was quite pronounced with a bauble hanging from her belly button. It gave the appearance of a man screaming because he had a fish hook dangling from his mouth. Her hair was a brightly colored pink. It matched her pink tennis shoes. Shu preferred to avoid the spotlight, but sitting in the stands with Emily made that a difficult task. It was difficult to avoid the stares.
A number of the girlfriends and wives of the players were sitting two rows in front of them on the opposite side of the row. Since Shu and Emily did not attend many games they did not know them well and kept their distance. Besides, these girls had a Cosmopolitan cover girl type of fashion taste a girl like Emily with her radical fashion sense would find intimidating. Shu had a conservative Good Housekeeping look to her attire. There was no reason for the two groups to bond together.
Kevin doubted the two of them watched much of the game. Whenever he glanced over at them behind the home plate area they were always talking to each other, their eyes not once focused on the field. Kevin couldn’t imagine what they could be talking about with their different backgrounds and personalities, Shu in a simple attire of jean shorts and blouse, with her child cradled in her arms and Emily looking like a Zombie princess with her black eyeliner, black fingernail polish and black lipstick to go along with her screaming pink hair and tennis shoes. Emily also wore black shorts with her black midriff t-shirt advertising some rock band named Megadeath. With her exposed legs Shu was also being treated for the first time to the tattoos painted along her legs. Kevin was certain at some point in their conversation they would discuss Shu’s idea for a tattoo of Jasmine on her biceps and how much pain and money it would cost her to do it the way she had pictured it. Kevin shivered at the thought.
The day was hot. The humidity was thick as soup. Kevin was drenched by the third inning, his uniform five pounds heavier because of all the moisture. He only hoped Shu had brought a cooler of lemonade she always made for him and put it in the refrigerator inside the locker room. He would finish a pitcher of that in a day once he got home, especially in these hot summer months after they had played a game. He didn’t drink as much in the winter. He gave the pitcher a sign while thinking of the lemonade. It probably wasn’t the right pitch. Now it was his turn to focus.
Kevin did well in the game, but he suspected Shu did not notice. He singled twice and doubled once. The Bay Sox won 6-2. Jason would not pitch until the next day, so Emily had no one to cheer. It probably didn’t matter since the two of them talked non-stop during the game.
Emily had attended a couple games this year, both times when she knew Jason would be pitching, but this was her first time at Bowie. She worked nights at the restaurant so it was difficult for her to get to the games. She had to pull a lot of strings to get this night off to watch the game and the fireworks.
Kevin had given up trying to get Shu interested in the game. It just wasn’t in her genes. She would offer a number of excuses for not coming the best of which was, “I watch you at work once. It your turn to watch me at work.”
“That doesn’t make any sense. Your work is not in the entertainment industry. People don’t pay money to watch you work. People pay money to watch baseball.”
“Some people may pay money to watch baseball. I not that people.”
Now he would watch her at work every day. From his house. She didn’t understand the game and had no interest in learning it. Kevin stopped trying to teach it to her. It was like feeding Jasmine asparagus baby food. He could force it in her mouth, but soon it would be on the floor or on his shirt.
She did like the fireworks and Emily was there as a social outlet while the game was being played. For nine innings she was probably not even aware a ballgame was being played.
After the game ended they met the girls behind the first base dugout. There was not enough time to shower. Kevin’s uniform was drenched in sweat. He hoped it was not “Pocari Sweat”. He probably stank too. If he went into the locker room to change he would miss the first part of the fireworks. Shu would have to tolerate his stink.
Jason was dry as a biscuit. The four of them would watch the fireworks from inside the first base dugout. That would keep them away from the autograph hounds. Some of the players were still mingling around the dugout area as well. They gave Emily a second look when they saw her. Not because they thought she was attractive, but it was her all black attire, including her lipstick, nail polish and eyeliner mixed with her pink hairdo and shoes that forced them to give her a second look. Everything that shouldn’t be black was and what should have been black wasn’t.
Many of the photographers still mingled just outside the dugout. They did their best to curl their bodies around the walls of the dugout to focus their camera lenses inside to take photos of the four of them. This was the first time the four of them had been seen together in public. It would make great copy for a gossip magazine somewhere in China. Kevin always wondered what these magazines wrote about him and Shu. Shu could only read so much. She couldn’t know everything written about them. They were all getting used to ignoring the flashes from the cameras.
The equipment manager brought out the cooler of lemonade. Kevin gave out a sigh of satisfaction. The cooler was kept in the refrigerator in the locker room. “Here you go mam. Where would you like this?” He was an older man, somebody’s grandfather. He had been working as the equipment manager at Bowie for more than thirty years. He must enjoy the job because it couldn’t pay that well. Most of what he earned were from the tips from the minor leaguers, whose salary themselves was very limited.
Shu pointed to a spot next to Kevin. He could have stuck his head underneath the spout and froze it there while the lemonade poured from the spout, but he searched for a cup to pour the lemonade into. The first two cups were downed quickly. It tasted good. Shu smiled at his enjoyment.
“You do good,” Kevin was surprised to hear her say. “You on base a lot. If I member, that is good thing to be on base a lot.”
“That is a good thing. Thank you for noticing.”
Shu smiled proudly. Kevin buried another cup of lemonade down his throat.
While the fireworks were nice, Kevin never could get excited about them. After you’ve seen a few minutes of the crackling in the sky they all begin to look the same. Shu, Emily and Jason oohed and aahed at the many colors lighting up the night sky with the different explosive sounds. The promoters did their best to time the explosions to the music being played over the loudspeakers. While the firecrackers exploded and shined their many colors in the night sky all Kevin could think about were his two payments for over $3 million, the voices inside the head of Jason that seemed to predict the payments and all the endorsement requests Shu was lining up for him. And his lemonade.