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On the pitcher's mound, Gil Gamesh had pulled his cap so low on his brow that he was in shadows to his chin. He had not even removed it for The Star-Spangled Banner—as thousands began to realize with a deepening sense of uneasiness and alarm. He had been there on the field since the last pitch thrown to Iviri—except for the 10 minutes when he had been above it, bobbing on a sea of uplifted arms, rolling in the embrace of ten thousand fans. And when the last pack of celebrants had fled before the flying hooves, they had deposited him back on the mound, from whence they had plucked him—and run for their lives. And so there he stood, immobile, his eyes and mouth invisible to one and all. What was he thinking? What was going through Gil's mind?
Scrappy Joe Iviri, a little pecking batter, and the best pinch hitter in the country at that time, came up out of the Tycoon dugout, sporting a little grin as though he had just been raised from the dead, and from the stands came an angry Vesuvian roar.
Down in the Greenback dugout, the Old Philosopher considered going out to the mound to peek under the boy's cap and see what was up. But what could he do about anything anyway? "Whatever happens," he philosophized, "it's going to happen, especially with a prima donna like that one."
Iviri stepped in, twitching his little behind.
It was a curve that would have shamed a ten-year-old boy—or girl, for that matter. While it hung in the clear September light, deciding whether to break a little or not, there was time enough for the catcher to gasp, "Holy aloha!"
And then the baseball was ricocheting around in the tricky right-field corner, to which it had been dispatched at the same height at which it had been struck. A stand-up triple for Iviri.
From the silence in Greenback Stadium, you would have thought that winter had come and the field lay under three feet of snow. You would have thought that the ballplayers were all down home watching haircuts at the barber shop, or boasting over a beer to the boys in the local saloon. And all 62,342 fans might have been in hibernation with the bears.
Pineapple Tawhaki moved in a daze out to the mound to hand a new ball to Gamesh. Immediately after the game, at the investigation conducted in General Oakhart's office, Tawhaki—weeping profusely—maintained that when he had come out to the mound after the triple Gamesh had hissed at him, "Stay down! Stay low! On your knees, Pineapple, if you know what's good for you!" ' 'So," said Pineapple in his own defense, "I do what he say, sir. That all. I figger Gil want to throw drop-drop. Okay to me. Gil pitch, Pineapple catch. I stay down. Wait for drop-drop. That all, sir, that all in world!" Nonetheless, General Oakhart suspended the Hawaiian for two years—as an "accomplice" to the heinous crime—hoping that he might disappear for good in the interim. Which he did—only instead of heading home to pick pineapples, he wound up a derelict on Tattoo Street, the Skid Row of Tri-City. Well, better he destroy himself with drink than by his presence on a Patriot League diamond keep alive in the nation's memory what came to be characterized by the General as "this deplorable exception to the Patriot League's honorable record."