"Son, either you go," Mike called after him, "or I forfeit this game to the other side."
"And ruin my perfect record?" he asked, his hands on his hips in disbelief. "Oh sure," he laughed. Then he got back to business: sanding down the ball in his big calloused palms, he called to the batsman on whom he had a two-ball count, "Okay, get in there, bud, and let's see if you can get that gun off your shoulder."
But the batter had hardly done as Gil had told him to when he was lifted out of the box by Mike the Mouth. Seventy-one years old, and a lifetime of being banged around, and still he just picked him up and set him aside like a paperweight. Then, with his own feet dug in, one on either side of home plate, he made his startling announcement to the 60,000 fans in Greenback Stadium—the voice of Enrico Caruso could not have carried any more clearly to the corners of the outfield bleachers.
"Because Greenback pitcher Gilbert Gamesh has failed to obey the order of the umpire-in-chief that he remove himself from the field of play, this game is deemed forfeited by a score of 9 to 0 to the opposing team, under rule 4.15 of the Official Baseball Rules that govern the playing of baseball games by the professional teams of the Patriot League of Professional Baseball Clubs."
And jaw raised, arms folded and legs astride home plate—very like that Colossus at Rhodes—Mike the Mouth remained planted where he was, even as wave upon wave of wild men washed over the fences and onto the field.
And Gil Gamesh, his lips white with froth and his eagle eyes spinning in his skull, stood a mere 60 feet and six inches away, holding a lethal weapon in his hand.
The next morning. A black-and-white perforated shoe kicks open the door to General Oakhart's office and with a wad of newspapers in his notorious left hand, enter Gil Gamesh, shrieking. "My record is not 14 and 1! It's 14 and 0! Only now they got me down here for a loss! Which is impossible! And you two done it!"
"You 'done' it. young man," said General Oakhart, while in a double-breasted blue suit the same deep shade as his umpire togs, Mike the Mouth Masterson silently filled a chair by the trophy cabinet.