MONDAY: Lightning Strikers: Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

BY MICHELLE DINNICK

This short story was published in Focus 50+ in May 2017; the readers asked that the story continue, and Focus 50 now publishes a new chapter each month. Copyright is held by the author.

“C’mon Spartans!  We gotta get off the field!  I just saw lightning!”

That is the last thing Jake remembered his Coach saying. That was the night that Jake was struck by lightning, and lived to tell the tale. A few months later he met Cynthia at the “Lightning Strikers” meeting, a Lightning Strike Survivors Support Group. They met every two weeks on Tuesdays, and shared their lives through stories about life since that traumatic event.

Jake swore he was different now. That his coffee stayed hotter when he held it. That his microwave made funny noises when he melted cheese on crackers. And that’s not all. He insisted he was a better baseball player now too.

Cynthia worked at No Limits, the little Art Supply store in their small town. Her feet were so badly burned after she was struck that she lost four toes on her right foot. She said it didn’t bother her, because she preferred running shoes anyway. She showed her foot to the Group only once. Jake was fascinated. He wanted to take a picture of it. Cynthia said no. Vehemently.

She doesn’t remember anything else about the actual strike. Just that she woke up in the hospital smelling of popcorn and bacon.

But Jake remembers everything. In fact, he can’t forget it. Not a second of it. It replays in his mind over and over and over again. It’s all he can think about. How he looked toward the darkening sky, and how it sought him out. That’s right. The lightning pursued him.

Jake believes that he was meant to be struck while playing baseball so he could become a superstar player. He actually had a seamstress make him a cape. A cape!  Thank goodness he only wore it to bed. It had a large baseball on it with an S through it. The thing is, he truly believed that he now possessed super powers. He could run faster, he’d say. He could hit harder. He could even jump higher to catch the ball in outfield.

His friends and teammates told him he was full of . . . beans — and insisted that he had always been a good player. He never missed a practice, so of course he was a good player.

A few months ago, Jake had started contacting the Lightning Strikers members outside of the group. He asked them if they had super powers now, too. He had singled out three of them and insisted that he knew that they did have powers. Some of the members had complained about him; first to the Group Leader, Ben, and two of them had gone to the police.

Ben had spoken to Jake about it, and even suggested that he take a ‘break’ from the group. Jake was furious. He accused Ben of spying on all of them, and wanting to control them. To control their ‘powers.’  Jake had invited Ben — then convinced him — to go to his place last Tuesday for a coffee before the meeting. He set out some crackers and a package of cheese; and answered the door with a smile. Ben didn’t know what hit him, when Jake literally hit him, and pushed him down his basement stairs.

Jake had locked his basement door twice, using the extra lock he put on the outside, and gone to the meeting. He sat in Ben’s chair at the front and told everyone that Ben called him at the last minute and asked him to facilitate. Most of the members believed him, and went along with it; but a few of them thought it was odd.

Jake had just started to lecture the group members. He told them that they HAD to come to terms with their powers. He said they had to accept them. And use them to their advantage. Just like he did.

The police walked in just as Jake realized that he had forgotten to take Ben’s cell phone.

He obviously hadn’t really thought this out. Too bad he didn’t have the power of foresight!

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