Changeup, Chapter 26

Joe stared at the lights, bright as day above his head.

He was lying in the grass in center field. The team was on the road, and there had been no game tonight. Even empty, it was a sight to behold. He'd dreamed of standing on a big league field his whole life, and now he could do it whenever he wanted.

For the time being, anyway.

"Whatever's on your mind looks awfully heavy, Joe. Need some help carrying it?"

He hadn't heard or seen her coming, but her voice brought a small smile to his tense face.

She sat next to him, and he moved to place his head in her lap.

"I think it's over, Renee."

She frowned down at him.

"Huh. Not the way I pictured hearing that news."

Joe's eyes opened wide in terror.

"Not us! This." He waved at the lights.

He explained the situation.

"I could sell out, but they know I'm between a rock and a hard place, and I would be lucky to get pennies on the dollar. My dad's inheritance, wiped out in a little over a year. Betcha he'd be proud of me, huh?"

"I'm proud of you, Joe. You're doing things your way, and it's working. Otherwise, they wouldn't need to pull such shady shenanigans to beat you."

"Thanks. I could borrow the money, but how is going into debt honoring Dad's gift? I can't do that."

Joe sighed.

"What would you say if all this was gone?"

"I'd say you still owed me a hot dog."

She smiled.

"Look, Joe. I don't care if you're rich. You weren't when I met you. Riches haven't changed you, and I'd like to think your riches haven't changed how much I love you. We'll figure it out."

Joe relaxed. They stared at the lights in silence for a while, enjoying quiet company.

"Marry me?"

Changeup, Chapter 25

Joe stared at the letter. He had no idea what it meant.

He glanced over the top of it, and then gently let it fall from his fingers to the desk.

Ms. Primrose met his stare and raised an eyebrow.

"Ok, Annette. What does this even mean?"

"Ms. Primrose, thank you, and it means you have to come up with funding for a new stadium by the start of next season."

Joe coughed, and coffee splattered on the letter.

"What?!? Why?"

"New rule. Stadiums can't be more than 40 years old. Trying to maintain a big-league image, after all."

"How old is ours?"

"Kauffman Stadium is 41 years old."

"Then this isn't about the age of the stadium. Someone wants me out. What other stadiums are affected by this?"

"One. The Angels just announced a plan to build a new stadium. Most are unaffected because there's a grandfather clause for stadiums renovated since 2010."

"That's a relief! We just renovated."

"In 2009."

Joe's brow furrowed and his face flushed; his demeanor darkening uncharacteristically.

"Then it's not just someone, Ms. Primrose. They all want me out."

He crumpled the letter and threw it across the room.

Changeup, Chapter 24

"We have to stop him."

"He's changing everything."

"He doesn't care if his bottom line isn't going up."

"Doesn't he realize this is a business?"

"What are we going to do?"

"Well, I'm sure not losing to some kid!"

The room wasn't crowded, but the agitated chatter filled it just the same.

Mr. Simpson stood and cleared his throat. Silence filtered through the room.

"Gentlemen, thank you for meeting me today. Before we begin, I need to stress that this is not an officially sanctioned owners' meeting, and the commissioner knows nothing about what we're discussing today. Isn't that right, Mr. Commissioner?"

Everyone chuckled as the commissioner raised a glass from his table in the back.

"I'd like to invite Nathan Finnigan to tell us more about Joe, the new thorn in our side."

There were a few more chuckles, but Nathan didn't so much as smile as he stood.

He laid out the details much as he had the evening he had met privately with Mr. Simpson.

When he finished, Simpson spoke again. "Gentlemen, I have no problem accepting change, but I will not accept thinner margins and weaker bottom lines. If this is how he wants to play, then we need to figure out how to shut him out. Any ideas?"

No one spoke as they all stared at each other, scheming, and apparently coming up with nothing.

Eventually, someone spoke up. "What are his vulnerabilities, Nathan? Where's he weak?"

A smile finally cracked on Nathan's face.

"Cash. Joe's rich, but he's all in."

The smile spread from Nathan's face to every other one in the room.

Invisible Pizza Babies

I was picking up dinner at a local pizza joint the other night. I had called ahead and was picking up our order in the drive-thru.

The teenage girl who was running the window confirmed our order and reached to take my debit card. She froze as she looked in my back window, then squealed with delight.

Drive-thru Lady: Your baby is CUTE!

Me: Um...

DTL: Wait, where IS your baby?

Me: At home. Asleep.

DTL: But I see the car seat.

Me: Isn't it cute?

When she left to ring my card, I couldn't help laughing as I picked up my phone to pass the time.

She came back to the window, saw me on my phone, and said sheepishly, "You're posting that on Facebook, aren't you?"

"No", I said, as I posted it on Twitter. "Absolutely not."

It's your turn for funny stories...GO!

Changeup, Chapter 23

"Joe, there's a lawyer here to see you."

Joe frowned. He didn't like lawyers.

"What about? Am I being sued?"

His receptionist, Kate, shrugged. "Not likely. Works for you in Legal."

Joe frowned further. He didn't know he had a Legal department, but it made sense.

"Send him in, I guess."

"She'll be right in", Kate said pointedly.

A tall, dour woman with permanently arched eyebrows tapped in loudly, her high heels leaving a staccato echo in the hall.

"Hi, I'm Joe."

"Annette Primrose, your General Counsel."

"Pleased to meet you, Annette. Have a seat."

"Ms. Primrose, thank you." She sat, but remained ramrod straight. Joe unconsciously slouched a bit more to balance it out.

"What's this about, Ms. Primrose?"

"You have to stop these stunts."

"What stunts?"

"You know perfectly well what stunts, Mr. -"

"Joe. Just Joe. So what do I have to stop doing?"

"Hmph. The lottery you hold before each game by randomly calling a seat number for a fan to throw out the first pitch, or to be the bat boy for the game."

"There's no harm in that, and the fans love it."

"What about letting the kids run around the bases after the games? If there were an injury, you would definitely be sued."

"For letting kids be kids? I doubt it."

"It's my job to protect you from lawsuits. These are things I see as a potential risk for our organization. It's my duty to advise you against these activities."

Joe stared for a moment, almost amused at the consternation Ms. Primrose felt over some Little Leaguers.

That's when the idea struck.

"I appreciate it, Ms. Primrose. But please don't have a heart attack when that risk gets a bit more potential."

Though hardly possible, Ms. Primrose's eyebrows arched higher as she sat up even straighter in her chair.

"And just what do you have planned?"

"Every Little Leaguer in the world dreams of playing on a major league field someday, Ms. Primrose. And starting tomorrow, they'll get that chance."

Before every home game, Joe let a local little league team play a game on his field. The leagues played on a rotating basis, so teams from all areas of town got a chance to play. Admission was, of course, free. And if you cared about baseball enough to show up early and watch the kids, you got to stay and watch the pros.

Attendance soared.


Telepathy Tacos

User: Aaahhh! The conference room PC is acting up!

Me: I'm sorry to hear that. What's it doing?

User: You'll have to see it yourself. I can't explain it.

Me: Okay, Where are you located?

User: I'm in (different town than me).

Me: Please give me the name of the PC so I can remote into it and take a look. This information is located
on the PC itself or on the desktop background.

User: I can't give that to you now. We're in a meeting. This is the conference room, remember? Just sit tight and I'll give it to you later.

Me: Oooookay.

*Later that afternoon*

Me: Hi, did you have a chance to grab the name of the PC in your conference room?

User: No, I forgot. Let me get back to you.

*The next morning*

Me: Hi! Did you have a chance to-

User: Look, I'm really busy. I'll get back to you.

*Two days later*

Me: Hi! Did-

User: I don't have time for this. Can't you just go around the corner and look for the stupid name of the stupid computer yourself?

Me: I'm sorry, I'm not at your location.

User: Well, has anyone else complained?

Me: No, yours is the only ticket I have for your office.

User: Then it's obviously not a problem, now is it?

Me: You tell me. You opened the ticket.

User: Oh, bother. Just close it.

Me: Sorry for the inconvenience.

*I close the ticket. Under notes, I put "User resolved issue by being persnickety and unavailable."*

Be honest...are you this user?

Immediately Delayed

Me: Reboot your computer and it'll work.

User: Are you sure? I just did.

Me: And the problem survived the reboot?

User: Yes, it came back shortly after.

Me: How long between when you rebooted and when the issue returned?

User: I rebooted Monday, and today is Thursday, so...

Me: Oh, just reboot.

Is it just me, or will most people do everything they can to avoid a reboot?