So weíre on the way to Giantsí spring training in Arizona and the ride is boring as hell so I say to Larry bet you a hundred dollars the next animal we see is a cow. For real he asks me birds donít count I say youíre on he says so he glances in the mirror and lets up on the gas till we slow down to about seventy-five and this pickup blows past us with a Rottweiler in the bed.

Itís always been like that with Larry and me is my point. Every time. Except once. And that one time I won I wish I hadnít.

Itís a couple of years ago when Bonds hit those seventy-three home runs and Larryís going crazy nuts about it. When Barry gets to forty-something Larryís convinced the guyís going to break the record and he wants to see every homer he can. He sneaks out to Pac Bell so often Iím scared heíll get fired and end up homeless or some shit. And then one day he tells me he wants us to go down to the Dodgers series in L.A. He gets me to agree somehow even though I donít care all that much and before I know it there we are in his red Firebird zooming down I-5 through the San Joaquin Valley which I donít care what anybody says is the dullest stretch of straight-as-string flat road on the planet. We stop for gas somewhere between Coalinga and Buttonwillow and weíre in the convenience store and this totally pneumatic blonde and even moreso redhead come up behind us in line and theyíre sort of giggling to themselves but giving us some sidelong glances also.

So I say out of the side of my mouth sort of sotto voce to Larry hundred dollars you canít get them to come to L.A. with us. Without even looking at me he says sotto voce back done and he drops his keys and when he bends over to pick them up he sort of accidentally-on-purpose bumps into the redhead and it just goes on from there. Seems their carís broken down and they need to get to Bakersfield so of course we say weíre glad to give them a lift.

On the way back out to the Firebird I say sotto voce Bakersfield is way short of L.A. Sotto voce back he says one step at a time and pretty soon weíre cruising. Iím in back with the blonde and the redheadís up front with Larry talking about how nice we are to help out especially when weíre headed to something so important and we might even miss a couple of innings. Then she says maybe they could do something to show their appreciation if weíd just like pull off into that cotton field at the next exit and Larryís saying he doesnít think itís such a good idea because of our other obligations but then the blonde starts rubbing on me which I guess the redhead was doing the same with Larry because pretty soon weíre on this dusty little side road right by an oil well with the horsehead pumping up and down above the cotton bolls and before we know whatís up the girls have us outside the car saying they like it standing up. Then about the time both of us have our pants around our ankles the redhead says letís go and gives Larry a shove and jumps in the Firebird and the blonde does the same to me and they take off so fast Larry and me canít do a thing but stumble around in the middle of the field with our dicks waving around like a couple of miniature baseball bats.

So for once I win the hundred but I donít even want it and Larry never sees his Firebird again or the girls either needless to say. Bonds jacks his seventy-three even though we arenít there and I still get sick every time I hear his name or see his picture which is a lot. But the worst part is Larry acts like itís all my fault calls it my dumb fucking idea even though he didnít have to take the bet or could have taken the keys out of the ignition or some shit like that. We canít hardly look at each other any more and always end up at opposite sides of the room or ends of the table or whatever and no matter how many times I tell myself itís stupid I canít get over wishing I had another chance to lose a bet to the dude. Hundred bucks you canít figure that one out.

Copyright © Carl R. Brush, 2005. Title graphic: "Scoring Drive" Copyright © The Summerset Review 2005.