St. Nick's Outlaws
By Jim Colombo
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Copyright 2001 Jim Colombo
They had stalked the rainbow for fifteen weeks and now the elusive pot of
at their feet. It was real and it shined and glimmered as Coach Meyer said it would. It
danced in front of them, begging to be taken. Few had arrived at this rare moment. They
were on hallowed ground breathing the same rare air as the undefeated gods before them.
Today they would discover if they were worthy champions. In the glory days with Mahoney
St. Nick never had an undefeated season. Duke compared the game to being a gladiator,
one kill away from being a free man to never fight to the death again. He wanted to pitch
but couldn’t, because he had pitched last week. Lincoln understood their role. They would
be as famous for beating St. Nick and ending the string as St Nick would be for winning.
There were two camps of warriors marching to the middle ground for battle.
Lincoln was 10-5 and trailed Washington who was 12-3. Washington had lost
twice to St. Nick’s and once to Lincoln. Lincoln was a good team, and if Lady Luck had
smiled, they would be 14-1 and playing for the championship today. The Lincoln
Mustangs were relaxed and eager to slay St. Nick’s quest for glory. Red and white
banners on poles lined the left and right foul lines of Big Wreck and waved in the gentle
breeze towards the outfield. The sky was light blue with fluffy white clouds. Lincoln was
the visitor and warmed up first. Jim sat with Duke in the dugout while Lincoln had batting
practice. “I wish I could play today. Any position. Just so I could be in the game. It’s
going to be tough just watching the game,” said Duke.
“Hang in there, Duke. We might go extra innings and you might pitch hit,” said Jim.
Duke thought about it. “Yeah, if you guys go extra innings with pitching changes
and substitutes, who knows. Have a great game, Jim.” and blessed Jim with his mitt.
Brocker and Cain approached Duke and he blessed them and wished them good luck.
Prescott was the starting pitcher and had the respect of the team. He was a blue
collar pitcher who got the job done with control and was 7-0. The coaches exchanged the
lineups and wished each other good luck. The umpire yelled, ”Play ball !” and Prescott
walked to the mound. The others ran to their positions. Jim walked out of the dugout and
waved to Lupe. She smiled and said, “Good luck.” and he smiled and ran to right field.
Jim was stretching and playing catch with Cain in center field. The Lincoln band
was playing their school song. The banners waved and beyond the tree line the rest of the
world continued with its routine. Jim positioned himself for the first batter. The wind was
blowing out in right field. Prescott threw a two seam and four seam fast ball and a curve
ball. Jim would have a busy afternoon. He adjusted his sunglasses and flipped them up.
The first batter walked up and crowded the plate. Prescott sent a message high
and tight that all of the plate was his. The batter continued to crowd the plate. If this was
a regular game, Prescott would have thrown the next pitch at the batter’s legs. Duke
would have thrown at the batter the first time. Prescott threw a curve ball that swept
across the plate and the batter swung at the butterfly and missed. Prescott threw a
second curve with less velocity and the batter waved at the fluttering pitch for strike two.
The batter leaned closer to the plate. Prescott blasted a fastball that kissed the inside
edge of the plate. The batter was handcuffed and swung under the ball. “Strike three,”
yelled the ump.
Duke yelled, “Way to go.”
The next two batters grounded out and the inning ended.
St. Nick’s came to bat and the Lincoln pitcher was sneering when Chavez stepped
up to the plate. Chavez hit a single to left field. Bobby followed with a single to center and
Jim hit a double in left-center scoring Chavez. Bobby was on third and Jim stood on
second. Brocker aimed the bat at the pitcher who was no longer smiling. He took a
couple of practice swings and waited for his pitch. He crushed a 3-1 pitch that sailed over
center field. The pitcher never turned to see the ball. He knew by the sound of the bat
and the cheers where the ball went. It was 4-0. Jensen singled and Cain flied out to
shallow center field. Holmes hit a double to deep center. Jensen stood on third with
Holmes on second.
Macell came to the plate. He made contact usually and was a singles hitter. The
players teased him that he hit singles because he couldn’t run to second. He was patient
and waited for his pitch. On a two ball pitch he tattooed a fastball that sailed over the right
fielder’s head and it looked like he had it his first home run of the season. The right fielder
ran and jumped against the fence with his arm stretched. He caught the ball in the web of
his glove, but his glove hit the top rail of the fence. The momentum jarred the ball from his
glove and it bounced onto the field and rolled to the bull pen. Macell quickly shifted gears
from a homerun trot to warp speed. Jensen and Holmes scored while the right fielder
pursued the ball. Macell kicked in the afterburners and streaked to second. The right
fielder dropped the ball and the second base man ran out to shallow right field as the relay
man. The right fielder threw to the second baseman. when Macell turned second and was
waved to third. The second baseman threw to third as Macell was being signaled by
Coach Meyer to slide. The ball was thrown over the third baseman’s head and Macell
landed on third base like a Navy jet on an aircraft carrier. When the dust cleared Coach
Meyer yelled, “Get up and run home !”
This was becoming hard work. Macell was happy at third. “Get up, God damn it !”
yelled Coach Meyer and Macell got up in fear and ran home. The third baseman ran to
retrieved the ball. The catcher prepared to catch the ball and brace for the collision.
Macell was a freight train that wouldn’t be denied and plowed into the catcher at home
plate as the catcher caught the relay from the third baseman. They tangled in a cloud of
“You’re out!” yelled the ump. Macell pointed to the ball on the ground between him
and the catcher. “Safe! Safe!” yelled the ump. Macell laid on home plate waiting to die.
He had never run so far. The players thought that he was hurt. Woody ran out to him and
asked, ”Are you okay?”
“I lost something on third.”
“My wind. I’m waiting to catch it,” said Macell. Prescott walked up and asked the
ump to sweep the plate and Macell. Macell walked back to the dugout and got a hero’s
welcome. The score was 7-0 and Duke handed Macell a cup of water. “ Thanks, Duke.”
Macell suddenly realized that he had hit a homerun. “Hey, guys, I hit a homer.”
“I wouldn’t say hit,” said Duke.
“Well then what do you call it?”
“It’s an inside the parker with luck.”
The guys had called Macell the Pillsbury doughboy the first time they showered. He
was a graveyard where Twinkies, Ho-Hos, and Ding-Dongs were digested and laid to rest.
Duke teased Macell about his blinding speed. Macell sat and rested.
The Lincoln pitcher was replaced and Prescott hit a fly ball for the second out.
Chavez came up and grounded out to the shortstop. The side was retired. Prescott had a
comfortable seven run lead. Macell dragged himself out to catch and Prescott teased
Macell saying, ” If you hit another homer, we’ll have to call the Red Cross.”
“If it ain’t over the fence, I’m stopping at first.”
The intensity of the game was subdued and Prescott pitched a good game. Lincoln
scored single runs in the fourth, sixth and eighth. It was 7-3. In the bottom of the ninth
inning Prescott walked the first batter and the next batter hit a single. Prescott struck out
the next batter. One out, men on first and second, and Coach Meyer told Mendez to warm
up. Prescott got the next batter to fly out to right field. Just one more out to glory.
Prescott was tired and threw curve balls and off speed pitches. The count was 3-2, two
outs and men on first and second. Just one out. Just one strike. Prescott threw a curve
that hung and the batter hit it for a double. The two base runners scored and it was 7-5.
Prescott knew he was finished. Coach Meyer called time and called for Mendez. Macell
walked to the mound while Prescott waited for Mendez to walk in from the bullpen. Coach
Meyer thanked Prescott for a valiant effort. “Good luck, Mike,” said Prescott and gave him
the ball. The players greeted Prescott and thanked him for his effort. Mendez warmed up.
“Lets get it done,” said Coach Meyer and he walked to the dugout.
Macell asked Mendez, “How they hangin’?”
“You talking about my balls?”
“Well, I figured you relief pitchers got balls of steel. Does it hurt when they
“Hell no. I keep them in a leather pouch.”
The ump approached the lads on the mound and asked if they cared to continue the
game. Macell said that they were discussing strategy.
Man on second, two outs, and the batter had the distinction of being the last out.
He tried to make contact but Mendez was throwing flaming bullets. He grounded out to
Bobby who threw to Jensen, who jumped in the air for joy. Mendez threw his mitt in the
air. The infielders and Macell ran to Mendez. The outfielders ran in and joined the
celebration. The dugout emptied and all of the players hugged one another. The Lincoln
players wanted to leave and quickly lined up for the handshake.
The St. Nick players ran to the locker room to celebrate. Coach Meyer made a brief
speech. “You guys have done something very special today. You can now say the you
have walked with the gods and seen the glory. Undefeated. Don’t that sound great!” The
players cheered. Coach Meyer asked the team to settle down. “I have two
announcements. First, I want to thank Suarez for his inspiration to the team and spending
time with Bobby, Chavez, and Woody.” The team cheered. “Second, I want to thank all of
you. We had a great four years together. You guys gave it all you had and sometimes
you made me look brilliant. I’ve enjoyed my time with you and wish you all the best in
the future.“ The players cheered and each player shook hands with Coach Meyer.
Jim showered and dressed. He and Duke were the last to leave. They walked out
and didn’t look back. It was over. Lupe greeted Jim with a loving hug. “You have one for
me?” asked Duke.
“Sure, Duke” She hugged him and he said, “Wow, that was a real hug.”
“I’ve got two cracked ribs,” said Jim.
“No, he doesn’t. See if I hug you again.”
The three walked to the bus stop. Duke said good-bye and took the bus going in
the other direction. “How does it feel?” asked Lupe.
“Ask me tomorrow. Right now I’m numb.”
They got on the bus. Jim realized that in two weeks his world would end. He felt
uncertain. He saw Big Wreck fade into the distance. The glory had passed and the reality
of four years of sports, competition, and all the friends he knew were vanishing like his
view of Big Wreck.
It was Saturday, May 31st , and Foxie and C.J. were driving to Blackie’s for a
farewell luncheon. Kenny would meet them at Blackie’s. Monday C.J. would start working
in communications. They drove by the Rainbow Room, Chucker’s, the Three Blind Pigs
bar, Murray’s, the Playpen, and the Blue Note. Each place was an adventure, a story told
several times, years of memories that flashed by in seconds in C.J.’s mind. All of the
danger, all of the times he was shot at, and all of the criminals that he had arrested were
pages in a novel of memories as he drove by each bar, flophouse, and tattoo parlor. He
felt relieved that he had survived the quicksand and the snakes that made the Tenderloin
the cesspool of the city. He could retire Burtha, his sawed-off shotgun. Foxie wouldn’t
pick him up any more and he would have to drive to work and have normal hours, eight to
five, Monday through Friday, like normal people. Foxie parked the squad car and they
walked into Blackie’s bar and grill. Kenny and all of the guys from Station Ten yelled,
“Surprise.” It was a farewell party for C.J. There were roast beef and ham sandwiches,
and plenty of cold bottles of Coors. After a couple of beers when all were getting toasted,
Kenny brought in a large, red box on a cart. The top was pushed off and a stripper stood
up. She approached C.J and started to dance for him. She motioned to him when to
remove each garment. She was a Black lady with a small waist that accentuated her big
tits and a perfect ass. Her body was toned and she had long slender legs. Foxie couldn’t
wait and pulled the string on her bra and her big tits bounced out and her large black
nipples popped up. The guys cheered. Foxie held the thin string on the side of her white
panties. She moved her hips so that the string was slowly tugged undone. She had
shaved most of her pubic hair leaving a thin outline above her vagina like a crescent moon.
The guys yelled again and Foxie was in lust. She rubbed her nipples. They were as big as
thimbles, standing at attention, and motioned C.J. to suck them. She started to sit on
“No offence, babe, but you ain’t my type,” said C.J.
She wanted to unzip his pants and get to know him. C.J. grabbed her hand. “Like I
said, you ain’t my type.”
Foxie knew that C.J. was a shy man, and that he would never do a hooker. It was
C.J.’s farewell party, and Foxie’s was going to bang Kenny’s new fuck.
“That’s okay, Sugar, you can do me,” said Foxie. She spent the rest of the
afternoon satisfying San Francisco’s finest for ten bucks a pop. She was a vacuum
cleaner with a long tongue and when she finished with all of the guys, Foxie took her into
the backroom, while the others paid their respects to C.J. Foxie liked the taste of Black
women. It was like eating vanilla and he had a sweet tooth. Foxie flossed his teeth with
one of her pubic hairs after the meal. An hour later Sugar opened the backroom door and
waved to Kenny. He took Sugar by the hand and closed the door while Foxie snored.
Kenny gave her a bottle of beer and a ham sandwich. She sat alongside of him while
eating. Kenny admired her naked body and occasionally kissed her left nipple while she
ate. She turned and faced Kenny so that he could kiss both nipples. When she finished
the ham sandwich Kenny took her to bathroom. He dropped his pants and shorts and
She poured beer on his cock, licked it off, then poured some more. The cold beer made
Kenny hard and she rubbed his cock with her hand until he began to moan. Then Sugar
sucked his cock and soon her eyes smiled when Kenny shot his wad into her mouth. She
swallowed it and washed it down with a drink from Kenny’s beer. She handed the bottle to
Kenny and he finished it. They kissed.
“You’re mine, Sugar.”
“Sure Kenny, have all you want.”
C.J. sat and watched at the guys getting shit faced. The guys trashed Blackie’s
dive and it begged for cleaning. Kenny sat at the counter with Sugar. They could hear
Foxie in the backroom sawing logs. C. J. thought that Kenny and Foxie would be a good
pair because they were comfortable with the filth they patrolled. The guys drank coffee
and had bowls of Blackie’s chili to sober up. The party ended at four o’clock in the
afternoon and it was time to work swing shift at Station Ten. Sugar had earned $200 bucks
for services rendered and wanted Kenny and Foxie to play some more. C.J. thanked the
guys and waved good-bye. Collins and Moore drove C.J. home. C.J was a free man. He
no longer was the gatekeeper.
It was Sunday morning in Oakland.and Ida and her mama were getting ready for
church. Marcus, Trinika, and Monika spent weekends with Ida. The children needed a
positive environment. “Come on, childrens, we’re going to be late for church,” said Sarah.
“We’re coming, Miss Sarah, “ said Marcus. The children were dressed in their new
clothes that Ida had bought with Foxie’s money. Marcus wore his baseball cap.
“Ida, what you doing, girl?”
“I’m coming, mama.” Ida ran down the stairs and looked in the hallway mirror.
“You think that gentleman suitor will be at church today?” asked Sarah.
“I hope so, mama.”
“What if he sees you with the childrens?
“Well, mama, if he’s interested he’ll ask.”
They walked to church and arrived early. The Johnsons were there and waited
nervously to be introduced to the children. Ida greeted the Johnsons and each child said
their name and good morning to Lester and Elsie May. The children were shy and stared
at the floor. Pastor Franklin walked over and greeted all. He asked the children if they had
gone to church before and they shook their heads. He asked if they knew what church
was and they shook their heads again. Ida and the Johnsons understood that it would
take a lot of love and time to bring the kids back to a normal life. The girls needed a
mother’s love and started to become comfortable with Elise May. Marcus and Lester
would need time to get to know each other.
Sarah turned and looked where the gentleman suitor typically sat.
“Child, he’s there. It’s him. He’s looking here. “
“Oh, Mama, I’m too scared to look.”
“He’s handsome, child and he's looking this way.”
“I can’t look, mama. I’ll wait ‘til the fellowship.”
The church service ended with the congregation singing a rousing version of Jesus
is coming today.. Marcus hadn’t been confined for so long and was very restless. The
Johnsons took care of the children and walked outside. Sarah followed the Johnsons. Ida
stood in the vestibule watching Pastor Franklin invite all to fellowship. She could see the
gentleman walking towards her from the mirror hanging on the wall. She continued to
watch Pastor Franklin.
“Good morning, Miss Ida.”
“Allow me to introduce myself, Miss Ida, I’m Seth Washington. I just wanted to
greet you on this fine morning.”
“Why, thank you, Mr. Washington.”
“Pleasure meeting you, Miss Ida.”
Ida smiled and tried to respond, but the words failed her.
Seth walked to the hall for fellowship.
“Girl, that wasn’t very Christian of you. He a fine man who’s trying to make your
acquaintance,” said Pastor Franklin.
“I’m sorry. I just get nervous when someone wants to be friendly.”
“You have to forget the past, child. He’s not like Tucker.”
“I know, but I get scared sometimes. I keep on thinking about the miscarriage.”
“That wasn’t meant to be, child. Jesus has plans for you, girl.”
“I hope so, Pastor Franklin. I sure do hope so.”
Brother Justin returned from the restroom. His secretary approached him .
“Brother Justin, a man called and asked that you return his call as quickly as
“Thank you, Mrs. Davis.”
Brother Justin looked at the pink note with a name and a phone number. It had the
same prefix as St. Nick’s, so he dialed the number. It rang twice and a man’s voice
“Hello. This is Brother Justin calling. May I speak with Tom. I’ m returning his call.”
“Oh, thanks. I’m Tom. I’m a friend of Rusty’s. He’s sick. He asked that I call you.
He’s at County Hospital in a special section of the hospital. They are not sure what he
has, but others like him have got it and in time they’ll die. He wants to see you.”
“What room is he in?”
“He’s on the third floor. All of them are on the third floor.”
Brother Justin left school at lunchtime and drove to County Hospital. It was an
eight story brick building from 22nd and Potrero to 23rd and Vermont Streets. He parked
and went to the information booth. He asked the lady attending if he could see Rusty on
the third floor. She looked surprised and said, “He’s in ward seven on the third floor. You
need permission to go there.”
“Can I talk to a doctor?”
“Sure. Have a seat.”
Ten minutes passed and a doctor walked in the waiting room. He greeted Brother
Justin. “Hello. I’m Doctor Durham. You wanted to see Rusty?”
“Yes. I’m Brother Justin.”
“Rusty is very sick and is confined with others who suffer from the same illness.”
“What is it?”
“We’re not sure. It attacks the immune system. They don’t get better.”
“Is he dying?”
“Slowly. Each day he loses the battle. Then one day he will die of complications
“I can’t see him?”
“No. He wrote a note and asked that I give it to you. I’m sorry.” Doctor Durham
shook hands with Brother Justin, then he walked to the elevator to return to ward seven
on the third floor.
Brother Justin sat down and looked at the note for a moment and felt guilty that he
had not taken Rusty to Blum’s. He opened the note. It was one paragraph with short,
simple sentences. Brother Justin read the note, and sat back in the chair and wiped away
the tears in his eyes. He felt helpless because he couldn’t tell Rusty how sorry he was.
He asked the lady at the information booth for a piece of paper and a pen and she obliged.
Brother Justin sat at the table, and he composed a letter of prayer and hope for Rusty. He
asked the lady to give the note to Doctor Durham and she agreed. When Brother Justin
left the hospital he turned and looked at the third floor. The shades were drawn and the
windows had metal bars. He walked to his car and drove back to St. Nick’s and wondered
what if he had listened to Frank. He might have become a victim of the disease that
attacked Rusty. Why was it so sinful in God’s eyes to be homosexual? Why did God create
men who preferred men? Why couldn’t God answer his questions?
More next week...