- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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At the plate, the Angel holds the bat with only her extended wing. She is a righthanded hitter. After taking a ball, she grounds to Tinker at short, who throws her out by a yard or more.
On the afternoon of the 33rd day, in the 2,149th inning, with the rain pelting incessantly, the town of Big Inning completely obliterated by the flood, Galloway cracks. With one out and Tinker at bat, Galloway throws his glove, with a resounding plop, into the mud of the infield, lets out a long, wild wail of despair and races in a splay-footed stagger, his arms flapping as if he were being attacked by bees, toward the river. He throws himself into the water, which is full of tree roots thrashing like snakes in a moat. By the time any of us reach the bank, he is gone—swept away by the current, we suppose.
Later, the Confederacy is batting when Klem announces we will adjourn for supper at the end of the inning. Brown goes into the windup. As he does, a light flashes across the sky like a laser beam or chain lightning. But it is neither: The aftermath of the flash is a flaming arrow spiked into the earth between the pitcher's mound and third base.
The arrow burns eerily, trailing black smoke. It came from rightfield, and all eyes turn in that direction. Far behind the outfield, on the rain-swollen hill, stands the mysterious Indian, Drifting Away, large as a Colossus. He looks 40 feet tall, bow poised, loaded with another flaming arrow. As the second arrow lands near second base, Drifting Away turns his back on the field, strides off into the rain-green poplars.
The players seem only partially aware of what has happened; they grumble like children wakened from a nap. "Go after him," someone says, but without conviction.
Odors of food waft from the church where supper is waiting.
"Let him go," says a voice.
"I smell frying onions," says another. The arrows burn long into the twilight.
Day 34. In the top of the third inning of the day, a routine fly ball is lifted to center. As Ezra Dean, the Confederacy outfielder, camps under it, he suddenly twists violently, throwing his hands up as if fending off something. The ball lands in front of him and rolls by; Stan has to run it down and make a good throw to hold the runner at third.
Dean, arms flailing, twists like cellophane on fire, runs full-out toward the river, passing the church, and throws himself into the boiling yellowish water. By the time any of us reach the riverbank, he has been swept away. The bloated corpse of a cow swirls by.