It was the summer of 1968 and Scooter, as his Ma called him, had finally done it. The mighty Bat-man had finally proven himself to be "too freakin' unbelievable" for his own good. Yeah, ol' Scoots had smashed his final homer into the window of Mrs. Grady on the tenth floor and boy was she pissed. Ma had warned him to not practice in the old lot by the apartment building, but what did she know about what a batter's heart desired? Not much, chucklenuts. See, the heart of a real baseball player goes where the ball that is his soul rolls, and in this case, it just so happened to roll against her wishes.
"You're robbin' me Scoota!" Ma said busting into the boy's room unannounced. She forcefully unplugged his radio which was playing The Game and put her hands on her hips. Scooter knew he was in big trouble because she had her "Naggin' Wings" planted firmly on her hips. Having seven older brothers who were rowdy in their youth, he had seen exactly what followed when she started acting serious like this. It was never pretty.
"Jeez Ma! Why don't you know or somethin'? I was busy in here!" The youth quickly hid his baseball bat beneath his bed and tossed his ball into his cap which hung from his bedpost. He wasn't stroking his Adriondack Pro Line bat or anything. He totally wasn't imagining himself knocking one out of the park and hearing his name being chanted by a bajillion cute girls or anything.
Scooter's Ma started to tap her foot and narrowed her eyes. "Busy doin' what? Playin' with that bat, huh? You're practically a man, Scoota, you can't be breakin' windows playin' you're little stickball thing. I'm not coverin' all these broken windows, do you hear me?"
With a grunt, the young man sat up on his bed and raised an eyebrow. "Ma please, I'll pay ya' back when I'm battin' in the big leagues! This is like one of those uh...costs of trainin'. I'll betchu everything in my wallet that every major star out there now broke a few windows gettin' good. It's no big deal."
"Oh what, are you gonna bet me the whole three pennies you have? Nah, don't think so, hon. I've coddled you long enough, do you hear me? You're gonna be like your brothas and go get a job, at least until you can pay back Mrs. Grady's window!" She stepped forward and grabbed her progeny by his ear and squeezed the crapola out of it. "I paid for the otha fifteen, sport, sixteen is way too freakin' far!"
"Ow, ow, ow! Jeez lady, stop it with the vicegrips! I'll pay for the damn window flippin' burgers or somethin'. How much do you owe the old bag anyway? Ten bucks?" He rolled his eyes thinking of the withered old hag who sat alone in her apartment collecting porcelain dolls. When he was younger, she used to watch him while his mother was at work. She smelled like a bathroom and that just wasn't natural.
"See, this is why you need ta get a damn job, Scoota!" Ma Scoots yelled throwing her hands up. "You got no grasp a' dollars and math! A window isn't ten bucks you knucklehead! And for callin' that sweet old hag an old bag after she was so nice ta us when you were growin' up, I think you should get her a little gift you little rat basta'd. Jeez, I sure as hell didn't raise no ungrateful baby that nursed on me and all that! Fifty bucks Scooter! For the window and to buy that old lady somethin' sweet to say sorry, or you can kiss your radio, your little baseball cards, and your bat goodbye!" She turned to leave and slam the door dramatically like all of the women in her soaps did, but she decided to deal one final blow. "You got until Friday to at least start a job or all ya' stuff is gonna be mine, ya' get me, junior?"
Scooter clung to his bat like a wad of gum to a bleacher seat and nodded. "Yeah, yeah, yeah! I can do this, no problem! Jobs are easy. If anything I'll just get more money for bats and balls and stuff! I can knock out however many windows I want, yeah?"
"For your sake I hope. Now sleep. I'm gonna wake you up early tomorra. The early bird gets worms or somethin'. Nighty-nighters, littlest bear." She did feel a little bad about yelling, but she had to do what she had to do.
"Yeah whateva." Scooter replied throwing himself over and hugging his bat like some kind of security blanket.
"Scoota! I said nighty-nighters! Don't act like you're some kinda big man all the sudden!" Ma screeched stomping her foot.
"God yeah jeez lady! Nighty-nighters Mama bear." He felt embarrassed just saying it, but as long as he lived under her roof, he had to follow her rules.
Ma smiled. "Yeah that'll do knucklehead. Sleep well." She turned off his light and shut his door, leaving him to his own thoughts.
The young man who by Friday would have a job, though, one not spent flipping burgers, stared at his ceiling.
"Ma's just don't get nothin'." He said to his bat. "I'll get her that money. Stupid old hag. Maybe I'll pay her enough money to move back into that creeper show she crawled outta." He laughed to himself. God, he was a freakin' riot.
It was only nine, and Scooter was going to make the most of the evening before he had to waste his day behind some grill flipping burgers for chump change. As usual, he was going to slip out the window, jump from the ledge, grab the edge of the fire escape, flip on top of it, and then run all the way down it quick-like so he could make it to the ball-field in the empty lot undetected. He had been performing that acrobatic feat since he could remember. Stuff like running, jumping, grabbing, and sliding came easy to him. He figured with skills like that, he would hit the Bigs in no time, and had it not have been for what would happen Friday at eleven in the evening, he very well might have been the ballplayer he wanted to be.
Scooter slipped on his ball cap, slung his bat bag over his shoulder, filled it with his lucky hitter a few balls, and some gum, and crept towards his window. He went to unlatch it when suddenly something caught his eye. In the alleyway below, between the abandoned lot and his apartment building, he saw an orange glow. It was slowly making it's way through the alley like a creeping blaze. A man in blue appeared in the boy's peripheral vision near the edge of his field of vision from his window, and tripped. He threw a briefcase into a dumpster before a thing in a mask holding a stick or a fire axe slowly swung at the man and dragged his limp body out of view.
"Aw man, aw man! Since when did the creeps downtown make their here?" He pulled out his bat as if it were the legendary Excalibur and opened his window. Maybe being some kind of hero would pay tons of money? He was reckless enough to find out.
Easily jumping out of his window and skillfully hopping onto the fire escape, the boy squinted. "Hey! Hey you! Masky! Why don't you come back here, huh?" He had a better view of the mugger in the gas mask who suddenly dropped their axe and turned around to look at him. "Yeah! I'm talkin' to you! Stay right there dumpy, no one starts whackin' dudes in my neighborhood!" He readied himself to jump when he felt a nip on his neck. Was it a bee? He turned to look and as his vision started to blur, he made out a dart.
"W-wwhat?" He started to sway and saw a blurry blob step out from behind a corner holding something. It walked over to the mugger who was now nothing more than a red blob and seemed to yell at it. He closed his eyes and faded out for a moment. The taller blob was heading up the fire escape. He turned to run, but found his legs crumpling beneath him. Surely, surely this was it!
"...look at this......loody....ess! ...told you.......more careful....! come....help m.....ove this....ittle wanker....." The voice was low and faded in and out with Scooter's consciousness. The boy felt himself being dragged, but then...
everything faded to black....