Miracle Worker

by JoAnn Baca

 

“Mookie signed this baseball bat?!” Edie was beside herself with joy. “How’d you manage this, girlfriend?” The gaze she directed at Catherine was equal parts admiration and gratitude. Mookie Wilson and the Mets were a standard part of nearly every lunchtime conversation Catherine had had with Edie since they’d become friends. During baseball season, Edie scoured the sports page daily, and tried to catch games on TV or on the radio as time permitted. She’d admitted to Catherine once that the quickest way for a guy to get her interested was to offer to take her to a Mets game. It didn’t take a light bulb going off for Catherine to realize this gift would be perfect for Edie’s birthday.

Catherine laughed in delight at Edie’s reaction. “Well, I couldn’t arrange dinner with him as you requested, but I thought this might be an acceptable substitute.” When she’d run into him at her college reunion, Catherine’s old pal Jeremy, now a sports equipment representative, had bragged about being buddies with several members of the Mets. Taking him at his word, and mindful that he owed her for tutoring him through several difficult classes, she had prevailed upon him to get the bat autographed and personalized for Edie.

She watched as Edie read what preceded the autograph.

“To…my…favorite fan, Edie. Love ya, girlfriend!” Edie’s eyes grew round. “Wow,” she added in a soft exhale of breath. Suddenly she grew animated, rocking back and forth with the bat clasped to her chest. “Mookie loves me! He loves me!” Grasping the bat by the neck, she hoisted it with one arm, standing with the bat aimed skyward, a Mets fan’s version of the Statue of Liberty. “Mookie loves m-e-e-e!” Shouting her refrain, Edie marched through the office with the bat held high, garnering surprised smiles and claps from her audience of fellow workers. Joe trailed in her wake, a wry smile on his face.

“I’m happy for you, really, kiddo. But…Moreno’s due in any minute, and he’s not expecting a marching band. So…put the bat away now, OK?” He turned to Catherine, who was standing by her desk with her arms crossed, smiling at Edie’s happiness. Joe leaned over and murmured to her, “Good job, Radcliffe. She deserves something nice like that. We all expect her to work miracles, and she usually does.”

Catherine watched Joe as he ambled back to his office, a rubber band stretching and twisting between his hands in a complex dance. As he reached the door, Joe palmed the rubber band. He tugged his tie down, heaved a deep sigh, and moved back into the recesses of an office piled high with casework.

There were several miracle workers in the office, and he was certainly one.

Catherine’s eyes narrowed in thought as she counted forward to the time left before Joe’s birthday….

 

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