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Life On Line

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It takes about five rings for Lorenzo to realize that the phone is actually ringing and it's not just part of his dream or an especially weird-sounding bird. He surfaces from sleep, groggy and resentful.

It's three in the afternoon and he's napping, which is okay because it's the off-season and it's literally his job to rest up. What the hell is someone calling him for?

The ID says SALVY. Lorenzo hits the answer button before he's awake enough to realize that he could actually hang up and go to sleep again.

"Lolo!" screams Salvy, and Lorenzo drops the phone.

"Hello? Hello? Lolo?" Salvy's voice is tinny and indistinct as Lorenzo scrabbles through the sheets and blankets to finally produce the phone again.

"Hi, okay, what's up?"

"Hey, I got a layover for a while in town, you wanna pick me up?"

"What?" says Lorenzo, still a little fogged from sleep.

"My flight got delayed," says Salvy, mock-slow. "I'm here and I got five hours to do nothing. You wanna pick me up?"

This is the exciting day Lorenzo has planned: nap. Make dinner. Watch TV. Sleep. Jenny and the kids are visiting her mom, and Lorenzo has the whole house to himself.

It would be so easy to make up a commitment and go back to sleep. Maybe he's got to make an appearance at a little league game. Wow, he's such a great, public-spirited guy. Salvy would totally understand.

Lorenzo hesitates about five seconds too long.

"Okay, see you in ten!" says Salvy and hangs up.

Lorenzo stares at the wall for about five minutes and then finally drags himself up to put some pants on.


Salvy greets Lorenzo at the airport with his phone camera, because of course he does.

"Get that out of my face," says Lorenzo without much hope.

"Lolo! We missed you so much!"

"We?" Lorenzo tries to ward the camera away, but Salvy is just too big and long-armed. "I didn't know you were royalty, man."

"We're all royalty," says Salvy easily. "But I mean me and my followers. Say something nice, okay?"

Lorenzo tries, as always, to keep a straight face. He lasts about five seconds before dissolving into giggles.

"Wow," drawls Salvy, grinning from behind the phone. "Ladies and gentlemen, my hermanito!"

"It's so good to see you," says Lorenzo. It really is. Lorenzo's always like this—he wants to hide in his cave up until he actually sees other people. Then he remembers how much he missed them, missed the team.

"Yeah," says Salvy, and shuts the camera off.


Lorenzo has a bunch of suggestions for things to do, but in the end they just go to the grocery store. Lorenzo watches as Salvy picks out the stuff to make lasagna, carefully sorting through garlic bulbs and boxes of pasta.

"I've got tomato sauce," Lorenzo says when Salvy pulls him down yet another aisle.

"Is it fire-roasted? No?" Salvy dumps three cans into the increasingly heavy basket.

"I need a cart," complains Lorenzo.

"It's good for you, makes your arms big," says Salvy. "Come on."

Salvy films Lorenzo again while they're waiting in line, and Lorenzo just mouths 'help me' at the camera until Salvy is the one giggling.

"I missed you." Salvy swipes his card through the reader. "The off-season's too long."

"It's not long enough," says Lorenzo, just to be contrary. "I need a lot of rest."

"Holy shit," says the check-out woman. "Can you sign something for me?"

Salvy films that too, laughing as Lorenzo's signature goes blurry on the slick paper of the coupons.


When they get home, Lorenzo is banished to a chair in the kitchen while Salvy cooks the noodles and makes the sauce. He keeps offering to help, but Salvy shakes his head. Lorenzo films him instead, figuring that turnabout is fair play. He doesn't even have a working Instagram right now, but he might fix that if Salvy keeps singing Beyonce out of key.

"Do you take requests?" asks Lorenzo.

"No." Salvy pops the pan into the oven. "But we got thirty minutes. Where's your beer?"

Salvy takes over filming so Lorenzo can demonstrate how to open a beer using the counter.

"But that better not go online," says Lorenzo, already knowing it's a lost cause. "Jenny would kill me if I scratched the counter."

"But you didn't so it's okay." Salvy's hand brushes across the tile. "Say something nice."

"Stop filming," says Lorenzo, and grins.

Salvy sighs and keeps the camera up for about five more seconds just to prove that he answers to no man, and then slips it back into his pocket.

"Okay, whatever. Come on, we'll watch TV."


They have warm lasagna and beer and the winter leagues on TV. Lorenzo lies back in the couch and feels himself relax for the first time since the season ended.

Third in the division, didn't even make the postseason. Lorenzo knows they can't win every year, but god he wishes they could. He wants to win everything, reign supreme over all of the other teams with Salvy by his side. Forever and ever...

"Whatcha thinking about?" asks Salvy. He's got that fucking camera out again, but Lorenzo can't work up any indignation.

"This is delicious," he says instead, shoving about half of the lasagna into his mouth at once.

"Aw," says Salvy, leaning around so he's in the shot too. "Say something else nice."

"I wish you could stay for a couple days," mumbles Lorenzo, around the lasagna.

Salvy freezes, and drops the phone. "Really?"

"Yeah, I mean, I know you got places to be—"

"I thought I was annoying you," says Salvy.

"Yeah," says Lorenzo. "That's okay."

Salvy peers at him, and then presses the back of his hand against Lorenzo's forehead. "You're sick."

"I'm not sick!" Lorenzo shoves Salvy away. "Look, I just enjoy your company."

Salvy grins so wide that Lorenzo's pretty sure his head is going to fall off.

"You know what, never mind."

"Hold on, I'm gonna change my flight." Salvy picks up his phone, to use for its intended purpose this time.

"I've changed my mind," says Lorenzo, loudly.

"I'm staying for the whole week," says Salvy. "Hello, yes, I need to change my reservation—"

Jenny is definitely going to kill him when she gets back, decides Lorenzo. He entertains no illusions about the state the house will be in after a week of the Salvy and Lolo show. But it'll be fun while it lasts.