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Me, fidel and the World Baseball Classic
Thursday, March 09, 2006   By: Juan Paxety

Shooting the bearded bastard

Katie Couric was wearing her smart glasses when she yelled at me in Spanish, "Did you shoot the president?"

I held up my manacled hands and made fists. "I'm just a patsy."

Bob Costas shouted "What happened to your eye?"

"A bat boy hit me," I answered.

Katie shoved her way to the front of the pack of reporters, removed her glasses, and wiped her tears."Why, why did you shoot president castro?"

" I really don't know what the situation is about. Nobody has told me anything except that I am accused of murdering a third base coach. I know nothing more than that, and I do request someone to come forward to give me legal assistance."

Vic Ketchman shouted, "Do you realize what this does to the salary cap and revenue sharing?"

Before I could answer, a tall policeman wearing a light colored suit and a white Stetson shoved me into an office. Inside three men sat behind a long table - Orlando Cepeda, Maurice Bishop, and Val Prieto.

Cepeda looked not a day older than he had when I met him in 1970. He still wore his Braves ball cap. "Why you come to Puerto Rico to shoot castro? You ruin WBC."

"Delta is ready when you are," I answered.

"Who you think you are, Lewis Grizzard?"

"No, I think I'm Jack Bauer."

"You think that lets you shoot whoever you want to shoot?"

Bishop finally spoke up, "Actually, it does." He reached inside his suit jacket and pulled out a grocery sack - paper - full of money. He turned to Val.

"Here's $253,000. Go pay his bail and use the rest to buy Maggie some more ammunition."

Later, I walked out of the elevator into the basement parking garage of the police station. A detective walked on each side of me. A car horn blew twice. A short, swarthy man in a dark suit and black fedora stepped out of the crowd and extended his right hand towards me. The cop on my right leaned back in surprise.

The man said, "Shake." We shook hands. He said, "Thanks for helping me get my casino back. Give the bartender this card for a free drink."

He handed me a business card. It said "Carousel Club, Havana. Jacob Rubenstein, proprietor."

I sat up in bed. My pillow and sheets were drenched in sweat. Will I ever get over this stuff? I staggered outside onto the front porch and looked at the moon reflecting off the ocean. The frigid 55-degree temperatures cooled my fever. I went back inside. George Noory was talking to a guest about whether the Atlaneans actually built the pyramids themselves, or whether they designed them and used Egyptian labor to build them. All was back to normal, and I went back to sleep.


(c)1968- today j.e. simmons or michael warren