As the years go on the less I understand what happened to Arthur that day. Most people in the community agreed that the loss of his parents finally caught up with his psyche. Some even blamed my family and mom claiming that we brainwashed him into being a family sex toy. Nobody knew Arthur quite like me and I knew that his growing issues ran much deeper than his changing family situation. Two years had passed since I walked in on Arthur parading himself inside and out of my mom like a drum major wielding his baton. The years were turbulent to say the least but I made sure never to leave his side. Goodnight Arthur was the last thing to leave my sun chapped lips every night. I’m not exactly sure if I did it out of duty as a friend or as a selfish flaming desire to be a part of this new Arthur Rhodes lifestyle. It didn’t matter. All that mattered was that as seniors in high school, going into one of the biggest turning points in our lives, I was there for Arthur and that Arthur was there for me.
Before Arthur started to transform,
his sweat filled orgies and indiscrete cocaine habit would have landed
him in a lot of trouble. Luckily for Arthur he was plowing ass both on
and off the field leading him to being one of the top rated pitchers in
all of Texas. Not since 3 time all star Lynwood “Schoolboy” Rowe had
Waco seen a pitcher with ability quite like Arthurs.
until May, in what would be our last summer together in Waco, when
Arthur finally started to make a buzz within the MLB ranks. The third
Saturday in June stands out to me more than any other in the blossoming
career of young Rhodes. It was an overcast day straight out of an Irish
war epic as Arthur and I made our way over to Jackson Park just a few
hours before our county all star game. What had turned into a pre game
tradition we made our way over to our favorite birch tree and took a
seat on our thrones of weathered grass. Arthur removed his worn cap
without a word, without a second thought. Unzipping his homemade
compartment Arthur detached a small bag and lined up cocaine on the same
root we had been using to remove us from the grounded life for the past
3 months. With nostrils as big as his heart Arthur vacuumed up the
self titled “baby powder” with both a grace and ferocity that I only
have seen him recreate on the dirt baseball fields across Texas. As I
started to bend over to take my third line of blow a single droplet of
water fell just to the right of my Rio Grande sized pick me up.
Assuming it was nothing more than a passing rain cloud I rushed to take
my next rail but before I could swipe my nose across the withered root
another idle drop hit the marching party causing my line to spread over
the tree. Two sniffles followed as I looked up to see Arthur crying.
It was only a matter of time…..
As Arthur’s rise to local and
regional fame grew his desire to quit the sport of baseball forever
seemed to follow. It never really made sense to me, how someone with
such a troubled past would want to throw away his only ticket out of
Waco. There has always been more to Arthur than meets the eye but this
desire, this growing idea in his head never really made sense to me.
You could tell Arthur didn’t love the game like he used to. It was no
longer a game to lose days to as a child but instead a chore and an
expectation. His innocent love for the game rolled down the border as
his guiltless lifestyle wrapped around him. I grew tired of dragging
him to practice; it seemed all he wanted to do was look to the stars,
his head always in the sky.