The Boys of Endless Summer

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If you follow sports, you know there are “dream teams,” combinations of players who seem unbeatable. In basketball, the first such group to earn the title was the 1992 United States Olympic Team. In hockey, people again point to an Olympic team – the 1980 hockey players. In baseball, people generally point to the 1995 team in Puerto Rico.

But what if there was a team – two teams – that got stuck in the dream, forever.

Sure, Game Three of the 2018 World Series went to 18 innings before the Dodgers finally won, but what if it hadn’t? What if there’s a dimension where the game continued, inning after inning, after inning, to the end of time?

Imagine it… scoreless inning after scoreless inning, twenty, thirty, fifty, a thousand… more.

The pitchers don’t just exhaust their arms, they literally keep lobbing balls until their muscles are bleeding, until their shoulders disintegrate.

And the batters… at some point they turn on each other.

And that’s when the spectators realize: they’re part of the endless ballgame, too. They’re stuck in the same time-stop with the players and the managers and the coaches and the umpires. Realization becomes horror when they recognize one other’s pale faces, bloodshot eyes, more prominent teeth (are those bicuspids elongating, or are their lips receding from dehydration?)

Accepted lore says that zombies are created by other zombies, but if you put enough people in an inescapable location, for long enough time, creation is replaced by critical mass which leads to manifestation.

When the concession stands run out of food, the fans begin to kill and eat each other.

Sam the Sox fan rips off John the Dodgers fan’s head and tosses it over the fence, where it lands on the pitcher’s mound. It seems such a little thing to substitute it for the ball? The eye-sockets make good grips – like the holes in bowling balls. The blood is as effective – and as illegal – as the Vaseline used in old-school spitters (long-since banned).

And maybe, just maybe, the batter will balk  and the game will end.

It’s a curse, of course, the change into zombies, the bloodlust, the days, weeks, months, years, decades, and more of scoreless games.

Somehow, the teams never dwindle too far to call it.

By some sick miracle the crowd never noticeably thins.

But this is no field of dreams; it’s a field of nightmares where the scariest words anyone can hear are, “Play ball!”

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 The Boys of Endless Summer by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.