Johnny reminded himself that giving a woman exactly what she
asks for rarely turned out well for him.
He never associated a slow-pitch softball game with a viable trigger for a 'female logic' land-mine; he was mistaken. Fate never ceased providing Johnny with opportunities to test his limited understanding of women.
Adult, co-ed softball leagues are comprised of an equal number of former high-school athletes who stayed in shape, and participants who fit more in the 'couch potato' genus. Johnny's team seemed to have more potatoes than average.
Halfway through the game, Johnny's team trailed badly.
Johnny played centerfield, a position which came with the added responsibility of covering for the plodding second baseman. Jenny ran with all the swiftness of a refrigerator. Bless her heart, she tried so hard, yet the results never matched the effort.
Sue played catcher. She had a prime view of each opposing runner as they scampered across home plate; like a greased turnstile and nearly as effective.
PING! Another shot rang out from an aluminum bat and a white ball screamed into the outfield, as runners took off around the bases. The left-fielder, Bob, caught the ball after two hops and wound up for a blistering throw home. He thought better of his plan and tossed the ball, ever so softly, towards home plate.
Johnny looked on with interest because, unlike most times, not all the runners had scored yet. One currently rounded third, running hard, but the ball was going to beat him home by thirty feet.
"Arrogant little shit," Johnny muttered, "should be out by a mile...eeee."
The 'e' dribbled off Johnny's tongue as the ball bounced off Sue's mitt. The runner scored with a smirk; he didn't even slide.
"Come on, Bob! I told you before to throw it in here. In fact, I told all of you!" exclaimed Sue.
"Bullshit, Sue, you couldn't even catch the soft throw," retorted a reddening Bob.
She had railed about this before, but everyone knew this league was just about fun, and the team got walloped each week anyway -- so everyone took her protests with a grain of salt.
"You have to throw it for real. No more of these floaters! I need you guys to throw it to me for real! I'm trying my hardest, I..." Sue choked up and swallowed any subsequent words.
Part-time team captain, Kenny, ended the conversation, pronouncing, "Everyone shut the 'F' up, and let's play some ball."
Sue's histrionics having subsided, the next batter came to the plate and promptly singled to left. The following batter repeated the feat with equal flair, knocking a roller off the pitcher's left shin. The next batter stepped up with runners on first and second and despite the look of shock from the pitcher, she ripped one into center-field.
Johnny ran towards second base at full stride with all the confidence of someone who could still run track, provided all the races were less than twenty yards. The ball dropped barely over the immobile second baseman's outstretched glove and conveniently in front of a sprinting Johnny. He reached out effortlessly and snatched the ball with his bare hand. His arm moved naturally into a throwing position.
Time slowed down long enough for Johnny to think, OK Sue, you're not yelling at me for a soft throw.
Johnny glimpsed the runner rounding third base and a feverishly beckoning Sue behind the plate. Instinct took over and Johnny let it fly.
Nolan Ryan couldn't have thrown a more perfect strike.
As they took Sue to the hospital for her broken nose, Johnny endured the unforgiving scowls of judgment from the rest of the team. He couldn't help but sigh. Giving Sue exactly what she asked for had turned out just as poorly as his track record suggested.
Johnny's understanding of women remained incomplete.