"It was just one of those things," I said. "You remember, Jeff." He nodded, but I'm sure he didn't.
"Yes, that's the way things turn out. Well, I hope you saved all that bonus money. You didn't waste it, did you?" I told him I bought a house with it, and he nodded his head in approval.
"Good, good, I'm glad you got something out of it. I always liked to see my boys do well, even if they don't make the big leagues for old Jeff." We had reached the parking lot. "What are you doing now?" he asked.
"I write," I said.
"Oh, I see. So that's why your hair is so long," he said. "That's all right. It's the style today. But you must remember never to let it go to extremes. You must never go to extremes, Pat," he said with a stern look. It was the same kind of look I remember the day I left for the minor leagues and he had told me I must never do anything to embarrass him now, because I was one of "Jeff's boys." He had again fallen into that half-sincere, half-created tone that he had used so often with me and a thousand other boys 10 years ago.
"I wrote a book, too," I said. "It's about baseball in the minors."
"I hope you included old Jeff in the book," he said. And when I said yes, I had, and looked away from him, it must have occurred to him that I had written something that might not have shown him in his best light.
"You treated old Jeff right in that book, didn't you?" he said, and he put his arm on my shoulder. "I sure hope you did right by me, Pat. You know I always liked you. I had a special interest in you...."
"Like a father would a son?" I said.
"Yes, that's it," he said. "Like a father would a son." And just for a moment that old charlatan had me believing he always did have a special interest in me, and I felt suddenly close to him and Jack Brown and Ray Garland and all those other old men, and I thought, damn it, Artie DeFilippis will never even know what he's missed.