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The Watch on the Arm

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Author's note: The press conference described at the climax really occurred. In fact, back when ESPN celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary, that press conference was on their list of the 100 most memorable sports moments of the past 25 years (1979-2004). From the description they gave it sounds like a sad and moving moment.

George wearily got into bed after another night of drinking with his new friends. As he lay still something caused him to reflect on the present state of his life. It seemed to him that he had fun hanging out with his drinking buddies, but more and more it seemed like every night was the same, and he didn't think he liked it. He didn’t think about that for long as he soon nodded off.

Sometime after he fell asleep he had a dream. He walked down what seemed like a corridor of a bar, but instead of leading to a bathroom, it led to a room which contained only a man sitting at a table. George was horrified as he gazed upon the man, who was a decrepit version of George himself. His ravaged body had an unnatural pallor and was eerily thin. The figure was so thin, in fact, that a wristwatch could be seen halfway up the forearm instead of around the wrist. The figure’s sad, weary eyes gleamed with tears and remorse. As he looked directly at George, they also seemed to take an accusatory tone.

George woke up in a fright. He spent the next few hours trying to recover from both his affright and a hangover. His headache and nausea eased and dissipated, but the nightmare stuck with him. As he mused he remembered something that Jeff had told him. He thought about Jeff some more. If Jeff’s work schedule were still the same then he’d be home now. With some reluctance, he picked up the phone and dialed Jeff’s number. Jeff was surprised to hear from him, but he agreed to meet with George. George thanked him and got ready to go.

George reflected as he drove – not on the dream, but on his friendship with Jeff. Jeff’s house was about a ten minute drive away and he had made the drive many times in the past, but he had trouble remembering the last time he had come over for a visit, to hang out like they used to. He realized that he hadn’t spent any quality time with his old friends in a while. When he pulled up to the house and saw Jeff waiting for him, he felt pangs of guilt. He exited his car and followed Jeff inside.

They sat down at the small table in the kitchen. Jeff looked at the somber, disturbed George with an expression of confusion and concern. George sighed and leapt right into it. “I hate to bother you with this, but I thought of you. Last night I had this nightmare. Remember that one time you were telling me about wraiths? Ghostly visions people have about what they’ll look like when they die?”

Jeff began to look alarmed. “Yeah?”

“Well, I thought of that this morning. In my dream, there was this sad-looking figure which I think was supposed to be me, except it was so thin and pale. It was like it was wasting away, and it stared at me like it… like it resented me. Like it blamed me for something.” He paused to gather his thoughts, and in the moment of silence he could hear the clock on the wall ticking. “Oh, and to let you know how skinny this…this figure was, it was wearing a watch, but its arm was so skinny that it was wearing it around its arm instead of its wrist.” He gestured to the part of the arm.

Jeff’s eyes grew big as if he had had a sudden revelation. “What!?” He paused for a couple seconds and then asked, “Have you… Have you ever read a lot of baseball stuff? Biographies about players and stuff like that?”

“No,” replied George, not understanding why Jeff had suddenly become more alarmed or why he would ask such a seemingly random question. “You know I’m a football guy.”

“You’ve never read anything about Mickey Mantle?”

“No. I know who he is, but no.”

Jeff sighed and explained, “I read about a press conference Mickey Mantle had shortly before he died. He was only alive to have a press conference because he’d received a liver transplant shortly before. He shot his original liver to blazes through his drinking.” He shook his head sadly. “The way they told it, he could’ve been his own wraith. The detail that stuck out to me was them saying that his arms had become so skinny that he had to wear his watch around his arm instead of his wrist.”

George’s eyes grew wide in alarm and he suddenly realized the dream’s meaning. Jeff saw his fear and reassured him. ‘Don’t worry. We’re not going to let that happen. We’re getting you turned back around so it doesn't happen.”



Written by Raidra
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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