Visit our Bookstore
Home | Fiction | Nonfiction | Novels | |
Innisfree Poetry | Enskyment Journal | International | FACEBOOK | Poetry Scams | Stars & Squadrons | Newsletter




St. Nick's Outlaws

By Jim Colombo


Click here to send comments

Click here if you'd like to exchange critiques

Copyright 2001 Jim Colombo


 Chapter 51


            It was Wednesday, January 3, 1964, the last semester at St. Nick's.  Everything


had a connotation of finality.  Jim had played his last football game, this was the last


semester, and soon 160 guys would go separate ways on their journey though life.  He


didn’t want it to end.  The friends he had and the fun he had experienced was now


fleeting.  When Jim began St. Nick's in September of 1960, he realized after the first


semester that the chubby boy didn’t continue with him on the voyage to manhood.  There


was a Y in the road, and Jim saw the chubby boy for a while as they walked down the path


of life in parallel.  Soon time creates distance, and distance prohibits vision to focus.  The


object is there, but out of focus.  Because it can't be seem, it therefore no longer exists. 


Jim noticed familiar objects at school now starting to become out of focus.  February


through May would be a blur, because the focus was on June 14,1964, Graduation day. 


Jim’s friends were rushing to 6/14 while he wanted to stay in November of 63, and enjoy


the glory of the football championship forever.  March would be the last baseball season. 


There were only 16 baseball game left in Jim's final days at St. Nick's.  The only reassuring


thought was that he would always have Lupe in his future.  The student body was there,


but the mind knew that soon they would vanish.  His mind was conditioning him for the


final day 6/14.  Everything now had a different perspective, each day had value as a


memory, and each experience was categorized in a special file in his memory to be


recalled in the future.  Nothing was taken for granted.  No one was ignored.  There were


only so many moments left to cherish.  Soon the ride would end, and he would have to


walk away.  He wanted to savor each day, each class, and each friend. 


            Augie approached Jim and said, "Hey, man, you looked like you were somewhere


else."  He sat along side of Jim on the same bench that they sat at for the last three years, 


and watched the of freshman dorks still wondering in a daze  


"Hey, man, are you okay? asked Augie.


            "Yeah, I'm okay.  I just don't want it to end.  I just want to be a Senior, play sports,


and enjoy the friendship of the guys.  I don't want to leave St. Nick's."


            "I know what you mean.  I'm gonna' miss it too, but hey man, there's college, a


fresh start."


            "Maybe for you, but my football days are over."


            "You're a good right fielder, who knows.  The ride may not be over yet."


            "This was special, Augie.  We can never go back to October 1960 when you


created the "Outlaws."


            "Yeah, that was special, but I believe the best is yet to come."         


            Garcia, Jensen, and Teague joined Augie and Jim.  "Did we really look this bad


as freshman?  I saw a freshman with a belt and suspenders, high water pants, and


white socks." said Garcia.


“Did he have a bunch of pens in his pocket?" asked Jensen.


"Where do they find these guys.  No wonder the foxes at St. Rose don't want to


be seen with these Plebes.  I'm embarrassed to say they go here," said Augie.


“Hey, did ya' hear about Suarez?  He was in a car accident and his right leg got


smashed up and they had to amputate it,” said Garcia.  


"That's too bad," said Jim, remembering what his father went through.


The following Tuesday Jim visited Suarez.  He was depressed because his girl


friend had left him since the accident.  Jim tried to tell Suarez that she wasn’t worth it.  "If


she really loved you she’d stay with you. My dad lost his leg and he's doing okay.  They


have better artificial limbs with natural mobility, and you can continue your life. If you quit


now you’ll never know what you could have achieved.  Accept the challenge and go on


with your life. Like the brothers always say, ’Life isn’t fair’.”


“That’s easy for you to say, standing on two legs.” 


“Yeah, that’s right, man.  When I was ten I went with my father to the Veterans


Hospital.  My dad lost his left leg below the knee in the war.  I saw a guy with no arms and


legs lying in a basket, smiling.  He told me that he was glad to be alive.  The guy in the


basket was learning how to paint with a brush in his mouth.  God ----  it, Suarez,


accept what you have and be man enough to go on with your life.  It’s better than lying


in a basket,” said Jim with emotion.


Suarez ‘s right calf had a phantom itch.  The body plays cruel tricks with amputees.


The nerve endings believe the bottom part of the leg is there, and his hand wanted to


scratch an itch that felt real, but wasn’t there.  Suarez looked at the missing part of his right


leg, and recalled playing baseball with the team.   He looked at his block sweater with the


varsity baseball championship emblem.   He held it and said, “At least I can say I was a


champion once.”


“You still are, man.  Now you can be a champion again in a different sport: life.  You


can do it.  Remember, you’re an Outlaw.  You’re still one of us,” said Jim with a smile of




            They talked about last year’s championship.  Jim asked, “When are you returning to




“Easter.  About the time baseball season starts,” said Suarez with a smile.


“We’ll see ya then.  If you need anything give me a call.”


“Yeah, man, later.”


“Later,” said Jim.


He left Suarez and walked to the bus stop.  While waiting for the bus, he thought


about the man he had seen who spent  his life cradled in a basket.  He wondered why


some people had to suffer during life while others seemed to be the chosen children of





More next week...