The Baller/C2 Chapter 2
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The Baller/C2 Chapter 2
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C2 Chapter 2


“Good morning, Mr. Easton.”

“Morning, Shannon. How is she this week?”

“She’s been a little down and her sleeping has been a bit off. But your Tuesday visits always seem to cheer her up. She’s up and ready for you. I think she’s in the day room.”

Grouper stopped sweeping the hall as I approached. “Grandson is going to be disappointed.”

“And that shit has nothing to do with him not getting a game ball this week. Damn kid’s named after a fish.”

Grouper chuckled and extended his hand. “You looked like shit out there yesterday.”

“You can’t sweep for crap,” I said, smiling. “I should talk to the administrator about firing your old ass. Place looks like a blind man cleans it. And I threw for two hundred twenty-eight yards . . . that’s not looking like shit. That’s me being fuck-ass spectacular.”

“Marlene’ll wash that mouth out with soap, she hears you using that language.”

He wasn’t kidding. She might be eighty years old, but the little lady still scared the shit out of me. When Willow and I first started dating, I knew it was Marlene who would chop my balls off if I hurt her granddaughter, and not her large husband.

I spent another minute exchanging insults with Grouper before heading into the day room to look for Marlene. I didn’t have to look very far. There were only a few people in the room, and the crazy old bat was the only one wearing an evening gown.

“Hot date tonight, Marlene?” She was sitting in her wheelchair; I leaned down and kissed her forehead. It took her a minute, but then her eyes smiled, and I knew today’s visit would be better than last week’s.

“Well, don’t you look handsome?”

“I always look handsome.” I wheeled her to a corner of the room and positioned her chair across from me before taking a seat on the couch.

“Shouldn’t you be wearing a tuxedo?”

Well, that explains the evening gown. As usual, I went with it. “I had practice this morning. I’m going to change in a little while.”

She nodded. “Tell my granddaughter to wear a blue dress. It will bring out her eyes.”

Willow’s eyes were a cross between sky blue and spring-grass green. If she wore blue, her eyes changed to aquamarine. If she wore green, her eyes shifted to peridot. I had always preferred it when she didn’t wear either—I could stare at those eyes all day debating which color I loved more. Unless the color she was wearing was flesh, then it wasn’t her eyes that I was as focused on.

“I’ll make sure she wears blue.”

Marlene got quiet for a few minutes, and I watched her expression, knowing she was going somewhere else. I just never knew where we’d land.

“I think someone stole my teeth.”

My eyebrows shot up. “Your teeth are in your mouth, Marlene.”

Slowly, her shaky hand reached up and found her pearly white dentures. “Damn it. I’ve been looking all over for them for nothing.”

My visit went like that for at least another hour, back and forth between topics—some thirty years old, some current. I had to be at the stadium at two to watch the game playback. Not wanting a two-thousand-dollar fine for being late to a mandatory offensive-line meeting, I stood to say my goodbyes.

“Do you want me to bring you someplace before I head out?”

“Heidelman’s on Thirty-Fourth and Amsterdam. I can go for a Reuben.”

“I’ll bring you one when I come back next week.” I leaned down and kissed her forehead, skipping telling her Heidelman’s had closed fifteen years ago.

“And don’t let old man Heidelman make the sandwich. That old man is a few Bradys short of a bunch.”

I chuckled. “Got it. No old man Heidelman.”

“Give Willow a kiss for me.”

“Will do. And you make sure to tell Grouper your room needs a better cleaning, okay?”

“Does it? Okay.”

Marlene wanted to stay in the day room, but I popped into her empty room on my way out to check things out. As usual, it was pristine. Hell, you could eat off the floor with how Grouper kept the place. But I liked to get Marlene in on the action of busting his balls anyway.

On my way out, the old bastard was washing the glass front doors. I splayed my five fingers wide to intentionally leave a handprint on the spotless door. “You missed a spot.”


“And proud of it.”

“Next week, I want two balls.”

“Yours shrivel up and fall off or something?”

“Bite me.”

“Later, Grouper.”

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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