CHAPTER SEVEN

Boston, Massachusetts means Boston Red Sox

Emma came into her big money courtesy of Harvard University via her husband Mitchell Hancock.

Dr. Hancock’s work with student athletes at Ohio State University had become legendary. Emma knew it was the hype as much as the work that really propelled her husband to the forefront of treating athletes who were experiencing all sorts of mental handicaps.

Jocks with rocks in their heads, she wrote in her diary.

But to Mitchell it was a form of utopia. He was honored and adored by the entire Ohio State football family and Mitchell dove into that with relish.

Emma stuck to her very small practice that she started in earnest after graduating near the top of her class at Ohio State Medical School.  Once she had graduated, they were able to stage a “Jewish wedding”, which they believed pulled the wool over anyone’s eyes, as they say who cared (no one seemed to), and they had a second child (a daughter that was given the nickname that Emma detested). The birth of the second child led them to move out from her parent’s home and into a modest home near the Ohio State campus. She put a lot of time into her daughters Wendy and Jane and still found time to help her husband with his practice, his classes, his research, his papers and his love of Ohio State football.

Sometimes, I feel like a doormat, she wrote in her diary. But I should be very grateful. But what I can’t understand is that no one in authority ever asks about Wendy being four years old. I guess everyone just looks the other way as long as success is coming in leap and bounds.

Of course, she was right.  As long as Dr. Mitchell Hancock was on top of the world with his success and the football team was bringing in oodles of money, no one was ever going to even think about pouring into Mitchell and Emma’s background to see if they were messing around with each other while he was over lording over her at the school.

Nobody.

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Just when she was settling into Columbus, Ohio and doing her very best to accept Ohio State football, another sports, loving, crazy community’s number one team hired her husband.

Red Sox nation — the Boston Red Sox are not just for Bostonians. They have the luxury (some might say curse) of being all of New England’s team.

The population of Ohio is around 11 million, but not all 11 million are Buckeye fans due to many other football teams that populate the state of Ohio (some, to Mitchell’s horror were actually Michigan fans).

The population of all the New England states is over 14 million and it is safe to assume that just about all 14 million are part of Red Sox nation.

Thus, as Emma wrote in her diary The only item that changed was the sport. The obsessions, the fanatics, the upswith wins and the downswith losses could have easily been interchanged between Ohio State football and Boston Red Sox baseball.

The Red Sox had long ago beaten the curse of Babe Ruth being sold to the Yankees by winning a World Series. Babe Ruth was sold by Boston to New York, so a Broadway play could be financed. Now, they were on equal footing with their hated rivals and had to stay there. However, the team was having some personality disorder problems that were bordering on unique.

Enter Dr. Mitchell Hancock, whose work with student athletes at Ohio State University was legendary.

Red Sox ownership made him, as they say ‘an offer he couldn’t refuse’, and he packed up his family after auctioning off all his prized Ohio State memorabilia and selling his seats and parking location to the highest bidder.

“We told you that stuff was worth something,” Emma’s parents said in unison.  “Put the money into an account for the children’s colleges,” they both advised.

And they did, because they could afford to do so.

Emma was very happy with the move. There is something unique about a new start, she wrote in her diary.

Emma spent the bulk of her time fretting about her new job in a new city, taking care of her daughters, learning about Boston and dealing with the mystique of Harvard University where she would be going to work.

“The drivers suck,” she told Nomi during one of their many phone calls.

“There are bad drivers in Ohio,” Nomi pointed out.

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“The traffic is horrible,” Emma once told her.

“There is traffic everywhere,” Nomi said.

“They talk funny here,” whined Emma.

“I hear they pronounce their r’s very funny, but so what? There are accents in Ohio, too.” Nomi said.

“I don’t mind the accents. I said they talk funny. Know what they call ‘pop’? Emma asked.

“Pop,” guessed Nomi.

“No, they call it soda,” Emma said disbelievingly.

“You’ll manage. You always do,” reassured her older sister.

///

But it was the manager of the Boston Red Sox who was Dr. Mitchell Hancock’s first patient and biggest priority and the reason for the move from Columbus to Boston.

“I would think the players you had to work with who are the superstars and play the game would take priority,” Emma said. “Can’t anyone manage a bunch of talented athletes?”

“Good question. I used to think exactly that. When I made the 12-year old baseball all-star team, we were the most talented group of 12-year-olds in the state. We all thought that we were going to Williamsport,” Mitchell said with bravado.

“What is Williamsport? I thought baseball was all about the World Series,” Emma said.

Dr. Hancock rolled his eyes and did his best to explain to his wife all about the Little League World Series, which is held every year in the late summer in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. In the time it took Mitchell to explain to Emma, she was fantasizing about rolling her eyes while she pretended to be interested and did not roll her eyes.

Sometimes I swear he is a better sports fanatic than a psychiatrist, she thought as he droned on.

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At 12 years of age, Mitchell Hancock was the second best player in his hometown. The best player was his first cousin Larry. They were both taught to respect all aspects of the game by both Mitchell, and Larry’s parents. With their physical talents and their knowledge of the game installed into them by both their dads, they were an unbelievable tandem at age 12 when it came to little league baseball.

The two cousins just dominated the local baseball season, which led to their all-star berths. As their team mowed down the local opposition, with either Mitchell or ‘Cousin Larry’ or both, always making one great play in the game that seemed to either change the momentum or win the game, both their dads saw a state championship and then a berth at the coveted Little League World Series at Williamsport.

“My dad and my uncle also had the misguided vision to see that this would lead to playing baseball all through high school and possibly a college scholarship for both of us,” Mitchell told Emma.

How did he become such a great shrink, when it seems that the only thing he can remember about his youth is sports and nothing else? Emma wrote in her diary.

But something went terribly wrong with both Mitchell’s and Larry’s dads’ dreams for their sons’ baseball future.

The men who were picked to manage and coach the all-stars were terrible at their jobs.

“Know why?” Mitchell asked his wife.

She shrugged.

The men picked to manage Mitchell and Cousin Larry were not bad men, they were just bad baseball men because they suffered from bad judgment. This was brought on by coaching their own sons. They knew each other’s sons’ names but the other boys on the team might have been called numbers, because the manager and the coach only cared about their sons. To make matter worse, they were horrible at managing and coaching, but they thought they were geniuses.

“Even me and Cousin Larry and, we were the best players on the team had to eat the managers and coach’s sons’ shit for thirty days while we played in the double-elimination tournament,” Mitchell spat out.

“You’re a famous psychiatrist, married to me, and have two great kids. Why do you still care?!”  An exasperated Emma said.

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Dr. Mitchell Hancock didn’t answer, and later, Emma wrote in her diary He probably would have rather won that stupid state championship more than anything else.

Mitchell knew sports and he knew personalities. He was well aware of the value of a manager on a baseball team at any level.

And one Boston Red Sox big shot knew this and was familiar with how important their own manager was to their team’s fortunes.

And other than the hated New York Yankees, no team made more fortunes (rise and fall) for others than the Red Sox.

So, as they say, they made Dr. Hancock an offer he couldn’t refuse.

///

The manager’s name was Patrick O’Malley. He was suffering from a big problem for a manager at any level — for that matter, anyone at any level.

Patrick was suffering from echolalia.

Echolalia is the automatic repetition (by the sufferer) of the last sound made by another person.

Thus, when manager O’Malley was asked by his bench coach Daniel O’Malley if he wanted to pinch hit, because the situation caused for a bunt ( and the man scheduled to hit was a lousy bunter), Patrick O’Malley responded by saying ‘bunt’.

Bench coach O’Malley wasn’t the smartest guy ever to be a bench coach, but he was very loyal to Patrick. Bench coach O’Malley forgot that the player up at the plate was a horrible bunter, yet true to his loyalty, he flashed the bunt sign to the third-base coach Sean O’Malley. Daniel never thought of using a pinch hitter, because the only word he had heard his boss say was ‘bunt’.

The hitter called for a time-out and went to the third-base coach who informed him that the bunt was on. When the blazing fastball came in, the batter tried to bunt it, but the ball caromed off the bat and right into the hitter’s nose! The player’s nose was broken so bad — it took him nine weeks to get back into the line-up.

The player was also the team’s best defensive player and hadn’t made an error all season. His replacement made a ton of errors and the Red Sox lost at least half of those games.

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During another game, Manager O’Malley was standing at the top of the dugout steps during a break between innings watching the home plate umpire adjust the protective padding that he wore. For some reason, the umpire was having a difficult time getting the padding to fit and it was irritating him to no end. A Boston Red Sox fanatic sitting near home plate suddenly screamed ‘hurry up you fucking, blind as a bat, asshole!’

Due to his echolalia, Patrick yelled out ‘asshole!’ and the home plate umpire promptly ejected him from the game.

The other O’Malley coaches couldn’t carry Patrick’s jock strap, as they say, when it came to management skills, and the Bo Sox promptly lost that game and saw their lead sliced to a half-game over the hated Yankees.

These events with Patrick were causing great concern to almost everyone in Red Sox nation. However, the owners of the team were not concerned; they were panic stricken!

They summoned Patrick O’Malley to their gargantuan office located on the top floor of their mammoth office building that offered up a sensational view of all of downtown Boston.

The general partner was there. Also in attendance were all of the team’s vice-presidents, the general manager, the team doctor, the crusty old team consultant who had been the cagey veteran when he played with the team for twenty years (and always produced in the clutch) and everyone else that the general partner deemed necessary to keep the most successful team of recent note intact and winning.

The meeting started with the general partner (after all, he not only ran the team, but had oodles of money) who spoke in great platitudes about manager Patrick O’Malley. The general partner then briefly talked about the recent spate of problems. When the general manager was finished he gestured to a beefy security guard to go into the adjacent room and retrieve the manager.

Patrick O’Malley entered the room and sat where the general partner pointed for him to sit. Patrick was ramrod straight in the chair and wore a serious look on his face.

The general partner asked Patrick to “say whatever it was on his mind.”

Naturally, Patrick repeated the last word he had heard. Patrick said “mind”.

“He’s gone soft as a grape,” the general partner announced to everyone.

“Grape,” repeated O’Malley.

“You mean soft as puppy-do-do,” said a vice president.

 

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“Do-do,” quoted O’Malley.

“Nuts,” said the general manger who twirled his right hand’s fingers around his right ear.

“Nuts,” echoed Patrick O’Malley.

“I have never heard of anything like this. I need all of your thoughts,” screamed the general partner.

“Thoughts!” screamed out Patrick.

“All of you shut your pie-holes,” said the crusty old consultant, who had been with the Boston Red Sox for years; first as a brash rookie, then as the cagey veteran, and now serving as one of the team’s many consultants.

“Pie-hole,” parroted manager O’Malley.

Everyone in the room now set their own gaze on the consultant.

“First and foremost,” began the consultant, “have manager O’Malley leave the room, so I don’t have to hear him repeat every last word that I say.”

“Say,” O’Malley duplicated as he was led out of the room by the huge security guard.

One of the many vice-presidents in the room yelled ‘good-bye’ as the door shut. Everyone in the room glared at the offender as O’Malley yelled through the closed door ‘bye’.

The consultant rose to his feet and walked around the room as he spoke. “All your money, all of your degrees, all your trophies and yet none of you know what ails that man, do you?”

Silence. As quiet as Fenway Park would get if the Yankees scored the go ahead run in the top of the ninth inning and the Red Sox went 1,2,3 in the bottom half of the ninth to lose the American League pennant to their most hated rivals.

“O’Malley is suffering from echolalia. If you don’t get him fixed, we are not going to win the fucking World Series!” the crusty consultant yelled.

“What in the name of Tom Yawkey is echolalia and how do you suggest we fix it?” the general partner asked.

 

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Tom Yawkey owned the Red Sox for a very long time and was loved by Red Sox nation for his passion as an owner. He never won a World Series despite all the money he lavished on the team.

The consultant reached for his briefcase and opened it up. He took out two bundles of magazines. He gave each man in the room one magazine.

“Dr. Mitchell Hancock will cure him of echolalia. Echolalia is a disease that hits one in a zillion people. Forces them to repeat the last word that they hear. A successful baseball team can’t have a manger like Pat O’Malley with a disease like this and expect to win,” he said as he sat down after handing out the magazines.

“Thank you,” the general partner said to the consultant.

“No problem. It is what you pay me for.”

The general partner dismissed the group and started reading about Dr. Hancock.

Although, mostly used to reading balance sheets, profit and loss statements, spreadsheets, and other accounting gimmickry from every aspect of owning a professional baseball team in addition to his own vast business empire, the general partner did manage to read one fiction and one non-fiction novel each year when he was on his three week summer vacation.

He hated magazines and newspapers that had sports sections. Their articles were filled with second guessing his decisions as an owner and were always critical of his players, fans, and management team. He treated magazine and newspaper reporters as lepers. He fared a little better with TV and radio reporters, but not much.

“If I wanted to be second guessed about everything I do, I’ll ask my wife and children,” he had once said to one of his many vice-presidents sitting in his office, after a series of magazine articles had ripped him apart for not re-signing one of his team’s best players. Instead, the general partner used that player’s salary to re-stock his depleted farm system.

“Get me some lighter fluid,” he barked to the vice-president.

The man ran around the offices looking for fluid until he realized that all the offices were all non-smoking. He sprinted out the building’s front door and down to the corner to where he knew a tobacco shop was located.  The vice-president also recognized a golden opportunity to literally blow smoke up his bosses’ ass and purchased two Davidoff cigars and was given a box of matches by the happy sales clerk. The vice-president was assuming that the general partner was going to light the magazines on fire, and he thought puffing away on two fancy cigars would be a great

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way to leap frog the many vice-presidents that worked for the Red Sox. Even though, the offices were non-smoking, he thought he could pull this feat off.

He sprinted back to the building and sprinted down the corridor once he was off the elevator. He flung open the office door and held out a small can of lighter fluid.

“Good job,” applauded the general partner. “Ever read Fahrenheit 451?”

What does that have to do with lighting paper on fire? he thought. The vice-president shook his head no. He only read things that the general partner told him to read.

“Ever hear of Ray Bradbury?” the general partner asked.

“Isn’t he the top prospect in the draft?” the vice-president guessed. He wasn’t a fan of Ray Bradbury or any genre writer.

The general partner rolled his eyes and dumped the offending magazines into his metal wastebasket, sprayed the lighter fluid on them and lit a match and dropped it in. He started laughing and when he looked at the vice-president who was holding up two Davidoff cigars, he grinned. He stuck a coffee cup stirrer into the small flames and watched it quickly catch fire. He then lit his cigar and the vice-president’s cigar with the flame.

///

But that event seemed like seasons ago, and now he had to save his team, which he could only do by saving the manager. He started to read about Mitchell.

Everything he read, he liked. The more he read, the more he learned. The more he learned, the more he enjoyed learning. He mouthed a ‘thank-you’ to the crusty consultant and wrote a memo to the comptroller to award a bonus to him. After writing that memo, he decided right there, and then, to get into his personal jet and fly straight to Columbus to convince Dr. Mitchell Hancock that he had to drop everything he was doing and come to work for his Boston Red Sox baseball club.

It took the general partner, and his vast wealth, one weekend to convince Dr. Mitchell Hancock, and his lovely wife Emma, to move to Boston. The general partner flew the entire family back to Boston (with him) on his private jet and began the process of winning over the Hancocks to his side.

The first stop was The Union Oyster House. This was where the general partner took any first timers to Boston to wine and dine them, as they say.

 

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The Union Oyster House has been in business since 1826. The reason for this is, as the general partner told the Hancocks, “It’s the best seafood restaurant in the entire world.”

Few would disagree with the general partner’s assessment. And, if they were dissenters, it was probably because they owned a seafood restaurant of their own and were jealous.

The Hancock’s were not big seafood diners. Being from Columbus, Ohio their seafood menu was limited to shrimp, shrimp and more shrimp dishes at Red Lobster.

Death lobster,” the general partner uttered in disgust when informed of this horror.

But their visit to The Union Oyster House changed all that.

The first place the general partner sat them was at the Oyster House’s famous semi-circle oyster bar. Actually, Mitchell and the general partner sat at the bar, while Emma and the two girls sat a booth right near the semi-circled bar. The general partner spent a lot of money at the Oyster House and was always well taken care of.

Mitchell fell in love with the place as soon as he walked in. The first thing he learned about the semi-circled oyster bar was that Daniel Webster used to regularly eat raw oysters at the bar.

“I have never had a raw oyster,” Dr. Hancock admitted.

“I must warn you,” the general partner counseled Mitchell “that once you start, you may never stop,” as he pointed to the number of oysters on the menu that he wanted and motioned to the oyster chef to begin.

Why Mitchell waited to sample an oyster or two, Emma and the girls were getting an appetizer of New England clam chowder soup.

The soup was piping hot. The waitress suggested that Emma put some oyster crackers in the thick broth to absorb the heat. Emma did as she was told and the waitress brought Emma a glass of white wine and the girls Shirley Temples. Emma instructed the girls to blow on their soup while she went and checked on their father.

Emma saw her husband and the general partner slurping down the oysters. She marveled at the performance of the oyster chefs and was impressed that they never seemed to cut themselves as they opened the oysters for serving. She asked her husband for one.

Her husband took an oyster off his plate and put it in his wife’s mouth.

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“Just slurp it in your mouth like the girls do when they eat Jell-O. I put some lemon juice and a little Tabasco on it to season it, because that is what the oyster Chef tells me makes them taste so great,” he said as Emma slurped the oyster down her throat.

She immediately suffered a gag reflex and spit the offending object back onto her husband’s hand.

“Tastes like a booger!” Emma shrieked, as she watched Mitchell flick the offending oyster from his right hand like one would a booger onto the floor near the oyster bar.

“I didn’t know you were a snot eater?” Mitchell said very sarcastically.

The general partner noted that if looks could kill, he would be in big trouble in obtaining Dr. Hancock’s services for his echolalia suffering manager. He stepped in to play peacemaker.

“I didn’t like oysters my first time either. Try a steamed cherrystone clam Dr. Hancock. I always eat some with raw oysters. I assure you that you will like it very much.”

A cherrystone was a small to medium sized clam that the general partner loved to dip into a small saucer of melted butter (after the clams were steamed).

Melted butter made all sorts and sized steam clams taste superb.

When the general partner held up the clam to Emma’s mouth, Emma had thoughts of ‘not again’, but the clam was steamed and the oyster was raw. She also wondered why people thought oysters were some sort of an aphrodisiac.

Figures that my first taste of an aphrodisiac in Boston tasted like a booger, she wrote in her diary.

She closed her eyes, half expecting another booger moment, when she slurped the clam down.

To her surprise, it was delicious, and she let everyone in her immediate vicinity know it.

This pleased the general partner.

“Everyone having a great time?” the general partner asked the Hancock family, now that they were all seated in the spacious booth.

They all said they were.

“You haven’t seen nor eaten anything yet,” he warned. “Put these on, please.”

“A bib?” both Mitchell and Emma said at the same time as they laughed.

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“I didn’t know that bibs were funny,” the general partner said.

“It’s not the bib. My parents are always saying things at the same time and when Mitchell and I do it, we always laugh,” Emma pointed out.

“We all turn into our parents no matter how many oaths we take not to,” the general partner said as he watched Emma put the bibs on the girls.

“Can I steal that?” Emma asked.

“Me, too,” added Mitchell.

“This must be a messy meal,” the oldest Hancock daughter guessed.

“I hope so,” said her younger sister. “Messes are more fun!”

“That’s what the bibs are for girls,” Mitchell told his daughters.

“We have never eaten lobsters,” Emma admitted to the general partner.

“Well, let me educate all of you on how to devour a lobster,” the general partner said, as the platter of five lobsters were put down in the center of their table.

“They are so red,” said the oldest daughter.

“They have a lot of legs,” said the youngest daughter.

“How do you open them?” asked Emma.

“Never mind that. How the hell do you eat them?” the top notch psychiatrist Mitchell Hancock asked.

“Remember, not ever, ever, not never do you ever eat the tails,” the general partner lied.

“Why not?” the tail part seems to be the only part,” Mitchell said.

“Do you eat any other animal or fish tails?” the general partner asked.

The two girls didn’t answer. They didn’t know, and why should they? Most of the time they ate Cheerios for breakfast and grilled cheese sandwiches with a side of French fries for both lunch and dinner. Their parents had to think.

“Take a few more seconds. The lobsters have to cool down, and the butter has to heat up,” the general partner said.

“Oxen tail?” Emma guessed.

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“I confess that I haven’t heard of that,” the general partner said.

“Where did you learn that, from a TV game show?” Dr. Hancock the man asked Dr. Hancock the woman.

She shook her head yes and then blushed.

“What are you blushing for?” her husband asked her. “I love some of those stupid game shows.”

“Me, too,” admitted the general partner. “I have a confession to make before we dig in.”

Both Emma and Mitchell leaned over the table and focused their hearing for the offer they knew would be forthcoming.

“I lied,” the general partner said with a smile as wide as the Cheshire cat wore.

“What’s with the smile?” Mitchell asked the general partner.

“What smile? Just kidding. The tail of any lobster is the best part, if not the best part of any living creature that the creator of the universe has made available for mankind to eat. Just observe,” he said as he picked up a scissors that the waiter had placed next to the usual restaurant utensils.

Emma thought that the scissors looked like a weapon as the general partner picked up the smallest lobster and started cutting the tail north to south. The scissors were so sharp; it made its way through the tail of the lobster, as they say, like a hot knife through butter.

“I can’t believe I never tasted anything like this before,” Mitchell marveled.

“I agree,” Emma said.

“Me, too,” said their oldest daughter.

“Me, three,” said their youngest daughter which made everyone laugh — even though the girl was three.

They really are from Columbus, Ohio, he mused and then he spoke. “I feel a lucky night is about to be bestowed on all of us, and you will be able to eat lobster from now until doomsday,” the general partner predicted. “Dr. Hancock, can we go to the bar to plan out the rest of our evening? Emma, if you will excuse me for a few minutes of your husband’s time. I already ordered dessert, which I know your girls will devour.”

“Go ahead,” said Emma “you haven’t let us down once.”

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The general partner draped his right arm around Mitchell’s shoulders and steered him to a quiet place that he knew was off to the side of the regular bar inside The Union Oyster House. The girl’s dessert came and Emma was right, the general partner once again didn’t let them down.

The two Hancock girls ate their Indian pudding and homemade gingerbread faster than their parents’ wolf-downed their lobster tails. Emma took a spoonful of each dessert and was tempted to order some more, but with all the butter she had consumed, she decided that she had eaten enough rich food for the night and ordered a black coffee and waited for her husband and the general partner to return. She wondered what they were talking about. Her thought process was interrupted by the waitress who brought over a bucket of crayons and drawing paper for the girls. Emma asked for a piece of paper from her oldest daughter and grabbed a red crayon out of the bucket. She took a sip of her coffee, and in between glances and small talk with her daughters about what they were drawing, she started to make a list.

This was the title of her list: The Top Ten Things I Detest About Mitchell’s Obsession With Ohio State Football:

One — it’s a waste of money, especially now that we have two girls. Two — I hear the same things over and over and over again. Three — Nothing gets done around the house during spring practice and the fall season. Four — Because the Buckeyes are always in a New Year’s Day Bowl game, I don’t get to enjoy New Year’s Eve or Day. Five — I put weight on every fall because of the food around the house for the away games. Six — The house looks like a jock fraternity during college football season. Seven –The games fucking bore me. Eight — Some man always comes to our house during an away game and pisses all over the bathroom seat and floor. Nine –The girls want to do something else on Saturdays other than watch college football games. Ten –I’m ignored during college football season.

She had just finished her list, when her oldest daughter stood up on the booth and pointed to her father and the general partner coming their way.

They were not gone long, so it’s either an easy yes or a tough no, Emma thought as she hastily gathered up her list and stuffed it into her purse. She would later place it in her diary. But for now, she was eager to hear if she was moving to Boston or staying in Columbus.

“I’m taking the job!” Dr. Mitchell Hancock yelled as he gathered his family in his arms.

And Emma started crying as the girls cheered, because they saw how happy their father was.

“I hope those are tears of joy?!” the general partner said.

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Emma shook her head in agreement and looked for something to wipe away her tears.

Surprisingly, it was her husband who took the lobster bib, she had been wearing, off the table and dabbed her tears away. They kissed, and the general partner smiled like he had just landed the biggest free agent available for the team (which in a way, he had).

Emma excused herself and took the girls to the bathroom. The general partner told Mitchell to wait for him while he went and fetched the limousine that was going to take them on a quick tour of Boston and then to their lodgings for the next few days – – The Copley Square Hotel.

They drove off from the restaurant. The general partner opened up the limousine’s moon roof and the Hancock girls loved riding with it open with their heads sticking through the opening and the wind whipping their hair around. Mitchell held the oldest girl by her waist and Emma held the youngest the same way. The general partner opened up the liquor cabinet and put a bottle of Dom Perigon champagne in a bucket of ice. As the driver crawled through the notorious Boston traffic, the general partner suddenly ordered the driver to bypass the Copley and head for Fenway Park.

“Why?” asked Emma.

“I think the girls would like running the bases,” he said.

“I think that I would, too,” quipped Mitchell. “By the way, is the traffic always this bad?”

“What traffic?” replied the general partner.

It took the group about an hour and fifteen minutes to travel 12 miles.

“I could have driven around Columbus ten times already,” Dr. Hancock said.

“I could have driven from Columbus to my hometown –twice,” Emma chipped in.

The general partner tipped his driver, whispered something into his ear and pulled out his cell phone. He sent a text message and pointed to a door for the Hancock family to walk thru.

Mitchell went first and opened the door for the females in his life. When the door opened it was as if they had stepped right into the movie Field of Dreams.

The bright lights made them all shield their eyes. And then as they stepped over the threshold and Mitchell shut the door behind them, they saw silhouettes coming towards them.

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“Who is that daddy?’ the youngest Hancock girl asked.

“Is this Disney Land?” asked the oldest.

“Mitchell, who are those people?” Emma demanded to know.

“What if they are a ‘what’ and not a ‘who’’”? responded Mitchell as he gathered the girls in his life around him and held on tight.

And then a voice that all four recognized from above yelled out “Please welcome the Hancock family to beautiful Fenway Park!”

Of course, it was the general partner’s voice and he was speaking over the ballpark’s state of the art loudspeaker system.

The silhouettes soon turned into actual figures and the Hancock’s eyes adjusted to the glaring night lights that had momentarily blinded them. The figures that came to guide them onto the field were dressed in light brown coveralls, and Emma immediately noticed that all of them were Hispanic looking.

They let the men in the coveralls gently guide them to the pitcher’s mound where they soon spotted the general partner sitting Indian style on the top of the mound. There were a few items scattered in front of him.

“Come, sit, relax, enjoy,” the general partner said as he waved them over.

The four Hancocks sat down next to the general partner and the men in their coveralls formed a semi-circle around them.

“Don’t mind them,” the general partner said. “They are the groundskeepers,” he pointed out.

“This park is gorgeous,” Emma said.

The general partner gestured to his groundskeepers.

“Almost as nice as the horseshoe,” said Mitchell.

“Where are the rides?” the oldest Hancock girl blurted out.

“Yeah, the rides!” her little sister said.

“I knew Mitchell would say that and I also knew the girls would love some rides,” the general partner said as he clapped his hands three times.

 

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The groundskeepers ran to the famous big left field wall that is better known as the ‘green monster’ and opened up a door. If they hadn’t opened the door up, none of the Hancocks would ever have guessed that a door was in the wall, it was that well camouflaged.

A miniature choo-choo train that was modeled after a train from the late 19th Century soon made its way out of the door in the wall and circled around the field stopping at home plate.

The girls ran as fast as they could and the groundskeepers helped them into the cars and drove them around the field.

“You didn’t just bring that in for us, did you?” a happy Mitchell asked the general partner.

“In the age of mega-arenas, we, in Boston, try to make baseball time stand still. This train idea has been around for years. Everyone loves it. It’s historic, just like this park. I hope it never comes down and is replaced by some ultra-modern-high-tech pyramid looking structure that belongs in Las Vegas,” the general partner said with disgust.

“Are your groundskeepers illegals?” Emma found herself asking the general partner, as Mitchell shot her a ‘how-could-you’ look.

“I know you are not a reporter. I know you don’t work for the government, so why do you ask me?” the general partner said.

“I’m just curious and an awesome observer of people — all people,” Emma responded.

“Hiring illegals are one of the many things that allows me to over-pay a bunch of men to play a kids game,” the general partner answered honestly. “And what is your observation about me, Dr. Emma Everly Hancock?”

“Smooth,” she said.

“You’ll think I’m smoother when I tell you my offer for your husband’s services, which I already spelled out to him back at the bar. But first, a toast to smoothness,” he said as he poured them all a glass of champagne which they sipped while sitting Indian style on the pitcher’s mound in Fenway park while the Hancock girls giggled in delight as illegals drove them around the historic outfield in a miniature choo-choo train.

“I’m looking forward to hearing that,” Emma said as she gulped down the entire glass and held it out for a refill.

“Emma!” Mitchell shouted.

 

70

“We’re not driving, so why not?”

The general partner refilled her glass and topped off his own. Mitchell shook his head that he didn’t want any more.

“I had my fill at the bar,” Mitchell said.

“This is my vortex of energy,” the general partner said.

“Huh?” replied Mitchell.

“Pour me another,” Emma said, holding up her empty glass.

“This park, and all it stands for, is my ‘vortex of energy’. It sustains my life. It houses the team that is my essence, and that team is in deep trouble. I want the fabulously well-known healer of sports minds Dr. Mitchell Hancock to save my ‘vortex of energy’, the general partner said as he grasped Mitchell’s right hand with his left hand and Emma’s left hand with his right (he had put his glass down on the pitcher’s mound rubber).

“What is the offer?” Emma slurred.

“Can I?” asked Mitchell.

“Be my guest,” the general partner gestured. I’m going to stretch my legs. I forgot how stiff sitting Indian style makes me.”

“Drink more champagne and you won’t stay stiff for long,” Emma suggested and then belched. “Excuse me,” she slurred, again.

The general partner left the couple. It was a good move on his part.

Mitchell did something that he rarely did. He took Emma’s hands in his hands and looked her straight in the eyes.

“I want this job.”

“Okay, what is the offer?”

“He is going to buy us a condo in a building located at 50 Follen Street, which is in Cambridge. He is going to get you an assistant professorship, at Harvard, in Psychiatry Medical School. He’s going to pay me $250,000 a year plus expenses to be his team’s psychiatrist and pay for our move from Columbus” Mitchell said.

“What’s the catch?” Emma asked cautiously.

“I have to cure his manager of echolalia and any other player that might have a quirk in their personality,” Mitchell said.

“Before or after?”

“Both,” Mitchell said. “He wants me right away.”

“Okay. How does he get you out of your contract at Ohio State? How does he get me into Harvard? What about selling our place in Columbus? What’s Cambridge like? She asked her husband.

“I think that ‘Mr. Smooth’ will take care of all your questions,” Mitchell ventured.

He’s better, Emma later wrote in her diary.

If you missed the earlier Chapters you can find them here.

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