And It’s One, Two, Three Strikes You’re Out…
By Jeff Baker
“Hey! Get a load of the fence!” Rodriguez said. “Just like the yard where we came from.”
“Naaaah, no barbed wire,” I said.
“Okay, you guys aren’t here to enjoy yourselves,” the guard said. (“Bruce” was his name, I think) “The city wants this cleaned-up at the end of the season.”
“On it!” That was Icepick, following me out of the prison van and up the ramp.
“No prob, dude,” this big guy said following both of us. “Just like at the State Fair.”
“Except you guys can’t mooch corn dogs from the vendors,” Bruce-the-Guard said. “Vendor here went home for the season.”
“I’m on a diet anyways,” Icepick said. We all laughed. We called him “Icepick” because he was six-foot-six and skinny.
“So, we gotta spray the seats down?” Rodriguez asked. “Pandemic stuff?”
“Nope.” Bruce-the-Guard said. “Just pick up the trash and empty the trash cans into the dumpster over behind the bleachers.”
We were lucky we got there in mid-morning before the early October day got too warm. It always felt either too warm or too cold when you were on a prison work crew. Thankfully there was cool grass to walk over while we were putting stray, blowing trash in the plastic trash bags we were issued. Also, this was a local, city stadium instead of Fenway park. We didn’t rush. We were finished about two in the afternoon. Just dumped the barrels into the dumpster, no motorized cart to carry them like at the State Fair, but we managed.
We washed up in the men’s room and walked out to the gate which was locked, the prison van sitting just outside.
“Hold up a sec,” I said. “I’ll be right back.”
I dashed onto the green of the diamond, jumped over home plate and ran touching first, second, third and home again. Then I hopped over to the van.
“You’re going to the hole,” Bruce-the-Guard said. “You could’ve been shot.”
“Naaah,” I said grinning. “I made it back home.”
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I had about finished writing this when I realized I’ve really done the cleaning out the stadium/arena bit. Not been in prison but I had a temp job where we picked up trash at the hockey stadium. This was thirty-five years ago. I’d forgotten all about that!