It had begun as a one time thing, but after three years, I think it was clear that it was more of a hobby. It was like running for some people. It was an outlet that I never thought that I would be able to give up. That is until he came and ruined it all. Actually, if we're going to be fair Mr. Warner was actually the one who ruined it. Damn authority figures. I couldn't take them. And he let ablaze the anger that was already a pile of needing to be lit gasoline.
"Miss Parsons. Were you paying attention?" He asked in his nasally voice that forever starred in my nightmares.
"Oh for sure, Mr. Warner. I never miss a thing in your thrilling English class." I said in a monotone.
"Are you getting an attitude with me?"
"Sir, I don't believe that monotone has any attitude in it."
That simple nine letter word made my anger levels rocket. "Detention."
I growled and lay my head down on the desk. After a long day and a seemingly even longer detention, I made my way to where the story really starts. Smith's Batting Cages.
I walked and stopped at the front desk to see my favorite employee, Josh, there. He was one of the partial owners of these batting cages. He said he did it for the love of baseball, but I personally thought that he should have been a therapist. As soon as I laid a five down on the counter he asked me the ever present question, "Hello Nellie. What happened this time?"
"Warner. Detention. Idiocy." He just nodded his head, immediately understanding from past angers exactly what I was talking about.
Before we go any further, I'm sure that some of you are slightly confused. You see, this is the outlet I was talking about earlier. No. I am in no way, shape or form some sort of superstar softball player. I slightly scoff at the idea. I stand at a measly five foot and three quarters of an inch. I weigh ninety seven pounds. I have long straight mahogany hair and pure green eyes. I have anger issues. Not really severe, but enough to make my parents wonder if I needed to go to anger management. I don't like talking to overpaid psychiatrists, so I decided I needed to find an outlet. And I did. Smith's Batting Cages had become something close to a second home for me. I was on a first name basis with all of the employees and was invited to the staff parties.
I can always remember the first time I stepped foot in this place though. I swear, God was sending me a sign that this was a place for me to be. I was a freshman (I'm now a junior) and I had gotten my first detention on the first day of high school. Something about not having the right to call your teachers imbeciles. While its easily debatable, its not vital to our plot. I was riding my bike home and an aura seemed to surround the place. It was almost as though I was magnetically drawn to this safe haven of machines throwing balls at you. I walked in and was greeted with a quizzical look from a nervous Josh. He usually worked the office part of the business, and it was his first time behind the desk. He spoke quickly, "Hi. Welcome to Smith's Batting Cages. How can I be of assistance?"
I, being the quick-witted, slightly rude freshman, was shocked at how nervous he was. "Is there a script back there that your reading from?"
"Did I really sound that nervous?"
"Dude. You need to cool your jets. You were like talking in superhuman speed. First day?"
He simply nodded. I then attempted to make him feel better. "Don't worry bro. At least you can't get detention at your job." That is when Josh and I's relationship started. I would come in and talk about my problems. Then I would go to the batting cages and smack the crap out of any ball that made its way towards me. After about five rounds of this, I was usually cooled off enough to make it home. My parents never seemed to object. My father claimed it was good that I did something athletic for once in my life, while my mother asserted that batting cages had to be less expensive then psychiatrists.
Now back in present day, I was making my way to the batting cages only to find some kid in my usual cage. I knew all of the other regulars, and they knew to stay out of my way when I was angry. This kid was clearly new. His round ran out and he was about to get another round. "Dude. Seriously. This is like my cage man. Can I at least do one round before you do anymore?"
When he turned around I realized that I had definitely never seen this guy before. He looked about my age with slick eyebrow length ebony hair. He had olive skin and deep azure eyes that seemed to penetrate through me. "Its your cage, is it?"
Feisty. I pushed my annoying teenage hormones away and shot the new guy daggers. Who did he think he was exactly? "Yes. It is. The staff even let me write my name on it, in case some half-wit like you showed up and claimed it not to be. Look on the sign. Nellie Parsons. That's me."
"While that is a touching story. I hate to tell you, Nellie, was it?" I hated idiot teenage boys. "That I think that this cage actually is mine. I'm Wes. Wes Smith. As in Smith Batting Cages." Just before I was about to tell this guy off Josh interrupted us.
"Sorry Nell. I forgot to tell you. Brian's son moved in with him and he took a liking to your cage."
I wanted to punch someone. This day just got better and better. But before I could wallow in self-pity any longer I was interrupted by Wes's musical laughter. "Jeez. What is this chick? Some sort of professional softball player? What's up with the special treatment?"
"Special treatment?" I looked at him with disbelief. "Are you ludicrous?"
"No. I'm Jay-Z."
What. An. Idiot. "Thank you captain smart ass. Now can I please just have ten minutes in my cage?"
"Nellie. You seem as though you could work on your patience. I'll be in here for another twenty minutes and then I'll let you get in. How about that?" I was definitely planning on smacking him over the head with a baseball bat as soon as he stepped foot outside of the cage.
"Wes, I really need to .. uh .. show you this … thing." Josh was interjected. He sounded worried. And he had good reason to be.
"I'll be there in twenty minutes." He said with a smirk. Oh. Hell no.
"No. I think it would be good for you to come now." The pleading tone in Josh's voice was not hard to detect.
He groaned and made his way out of the cage. I gave him a sweet smile and went into my safe haven. Placing the coins in the machine, I began to bat away my anger. The whole ordeal with Wes had really just added to the fire. Just as I was beginning to relieve some of the tension Wes's voice came back. "You know, for someone so tiny you have one hell of a swing." I couldn't tell if that was a compliment on my swing, or an insult on my size, so being pessimistic I took it as an insult. The next ball barreled off my bat like a rocket.
I heard Wes curse slightly underneath his breath as the ball hit the wall with a hard thud. I gave my shoulders a quick roll back and turned to hit the next ball with just as much force. A few line drives later all of the anger seemed to be gone. I walked out of the cage, took off my helmet and shook out my long brown hair. Wes just stood there, jaw open. I went up to him and gently tapped his jaw closed. "I hear that flies don't taste particularly good. Its your turn, loverboy."
"Yeah … I'll catch you later Nellie." He stumbled out. I had to stifle my laugh until I got to my car. Anger could be such a lovely thing at times.