Sybil’s at WisCon and Throwing Stones

K. Tempest Bradford reports that Sybil’s Garage No. 6 sold out at WisCon. Apparantly it was a hot ticket there.  This makes me really happy, that people are excited about the issue.  I can’t wait to hear what people say once they start reading and reviewing the magazine.

In other news, I went down to a park in Williamsburg yesterday.  It’s right on the Hudson, just north of the Williamsburg Bridge.  I think it used to be a shipping/loading dock some decades ago as there are concrete pylons looking lonely, and I found several giant, rusted nails in the debris by the water which I think were used to hold down tracks.  It was drizzling out, with the threat of heavier rains to come, so the park — completely full the day before — was now empty.  I had the place to myself.  I began chucking stones at a raised stone in the water.  Years ago I had played baseball, and now I enjoyed trying to hit the stone in the water, using my arm again.  It was tough.  Every stone was a different weight, unlike a baseball, and their shape often gave them strange aerodynamic properties.  As a helicopter flew over the Hudson, it seemed to slow over the park to watch me.  Just at that moment I nailed the stone.  “Did you see that?” I shouted to the airship.  I think they did.

A few minutes later a ferry came by.  Its wake came and went and reflected off the opposite shore, so that the stone bobbed above and below the waves.  Now my stone throwing was compounded by timing.  I had to hit the stone only when the water was low, about a two to three second window.  I threw and threw.  Many times, I would have hit the stone, but the wave came and engulfed my stone.  At last, I nailed the stone.  My rock bounced off it and I shouted with joy.  My arm was getting tired.  It was time to go.  I threw one more stone, “For posterity,” I said.  And nailed the stone again.  Two in a row.  That’s good luck.

So then I’m walking home down Bedford avenue and I pass a group of men playing softball. I pause to watch.  I notice one of the teams is wearing “Coast League” uniforms.  When I played little league, it was also called “Coast Leage.”  So I asked one guy where he was from.  “Here!” he says, as if my very question was offensive and absurd.  I do not know if here meant Williamsburg, or Brooklyn, or New York City, or the planet Earth.  I suppose I could have followed up, but he seemed miffed that I had asked.

After a single to midfield, a runner approached third.  The throw went wild and looked like it was going to hit me in the face.  I jumped out of the way, but I was behind the fence and was never in danger.  The same fellow said, “He’s like your boy,  ____ (insert sports nickname here).  Flinching when he’s behind the fence!”  I felt the need to defend myself.  “It looked like it was coming right at my face.”  Sports nickname comes over and the other dude repeats his mockery.  “He’s just like your boy.”  Nickname shrugs, smiles and leaves.  The other one says, “He’s all love, that one.” And then he walks away from me.  All love, but not him apparently.

So now I’m feeling less welcome because I just came to watch their ball game and then I get mocked for ducking, you know, when I see a ball hurtling right towards my face.  But never mind.  There’s another game going on, on the opposite side of the field.  Their outfields overlap.  They are playing each other’s outfield.  And, if I didn’t mention this, the field is entirely made of concrete.  No dirt or grass.  Only hard gray stone and broken glass.

I start watching this second game.  The pitcher is throwing heat.  He slows it down with a changeup.  Keep in mind this is softball.  All underhand.  I think it’s a small miracle just to get an underhand pitch over the plate.  This guy’s doing curve balls and stuff.  Someone hits a foul ball.  It flies over the fence towards me.  “I’ll get it!” I shout.

“Watch the oncoming traffic,” someone says.  I fetch the ball from across the street and, with my arm warmed up from throwing stones, pitch it over the fence, right into the waiting first baseman’s glove.  Perfectly aimed.  “You want to play,” I hear someone say.

And I did, you know.  I did want to play.

2 Replies to “Sybil’s at WisCon and Throwing Stones”

  1. Hi, Matthew

    I just wanted to let you know I’ve had finally had a chance to start delving into my contributor’s copy, and it is awesome! It looks fabulous, and the stories have had me hooked. I’ve been up past my bedtime too many nights in a row, thanks to SB #6. Here’s to your well-deserved success! I hope that Sybil’s Garage continues to grow and thrive. It’s truly unique!

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