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Black Hole Sun

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It's the top of the eighth. The black hole looms above. The Sunbeams lead the series 2-1.

Betsy Trombone came into this game angry, and nothing has happened to change that. The first game of the championships should have been hers to pitch. Instead it was an unexpected siesta, a whole day's worth of delay, and then it was Tot Clark's name on the board and on the mound.

"Technical difficulties," the umpires had said.

Well if it happened again, Betsy was ready to give them some technical difficulties of their own to deal with, incineration be damned...

It doesn't help that the rest of the team isn't playing to form. Betsy just wants to go into the dugout and shake them, tell them to just hit the freaking ball already.

Now though? With the Sunbeams at 8 and the Garages having trouble with the simple task of getting on base, she’s about ready to toss the whole game into the black hole…

...well, actually.

Betsy looks up from her place on the mound. Lenny had done something like that, hadn’t he? Threw the game, only to lock it down at the last minute. It’d given the Sunbeams a win, but it’d let them hang on a little longer.

Well, if Lenny could do it, then she sure as hell could. All she needs is the Garages to score even one measly run, and they could stay in this a little longer.

And then finally, finally , Quack and Malik come through. When Betsy next comes up to the plate, gleaming and growling, it’s easy to play herself off as angry. Everyone thinks of her that way anyway, right? Angry, and thus pitching poorly enough to give the Beams a few easy runs, and a good solid hit.

There’s a moment of silence as Pacheco crosses home plate. The score is 10-2.

The score is 0-2.

The Sunbeams, despite their best efforts, can’t make up the difference.

Above the stadium, the black hole roars....

It's the top of the eighth. The black hole looms above. The Sunbeams lead the series 2-1.

Tot Clark didn’t expect to be pitching this game - it really should’ve been Betsy next in the rotation, but instead they called him up to the mound. It’s the second time this postseason, and Tot was expecting to seem her fuming in the dugout, or even waving a knife at an umpire, but…

Betsy seems more confused than anything else.

Maybe it’s our performance , Tot wonders, as he glances at the scoreboard. This game had started off so well, but now it’s 9-2 and there’s no sign of the Garages finding their second wind. They were hit hard last season by the blooddrain, and then they lost Mike again, and then the Crabs ascended…

...well, maybe it’s to be expected that they’re all lacking in spirit right now. At least the crowd’s fired up. They’ve come up with a new chant for him, which is nice. Luis would’ve liked it.

...ah. That was an easy ball. Tot tries to get his head into the game, but is there even a point by now? The Garages are having trouble getting onto the bases. They’d almost be better off letting the game loop, like Lenny did…

As he walks off the field, he sees Betsy staring up at the black hole, still looking lost. He leaves her be, and watches as the Garages try, but fail to score a single point. Then it's time for him to step on the mound again. He can’t stop looking at the scoreboard. Maybe it’s why his attention falters. Castillo’s walk takes them to straight to second base. In that moment, Tot thinks why the hell not, and gives Delacruz an easy pitch into a double.

Bishop and Castillo cross home. The score is 11-2.

The score is 1-2.

The Sunbeams, despite their best efforts, can’t make up the difference.

Above the stadium, the black hole roars…

It's the top of the eighth. The black hole looms above. The Sunbeams lead the series 2-1.

Arturo is getting tired of this.

They’ve watched this game happen twice now. Not in the same way, or with the same players, but the ending’s always the same. The black hole devours the wins, the Sunbeams can’t make up the difference, and they all start over again. Each time, the Garages play a little better, but not enough.

Worse, none of the others seem entirely aware of what’s happening. Even Malik, who’s been talking about “save points” all season, is clueless. It seems Arturo is alone in their awareness. Probably due to their “unique” nature.

They can hear the call and response of the crowd, but it’s a different atmosphere than usual. It’s the Sunbeams fans who are shouting for them to “park it!” today. The Garages fans have a different chant to shout, one that’s grown more intense as the Sunbeams’ score crawls higher.


It’s now 9-5 in the Sunbeam’s favor. It’d be all too easy to throw a soft pitch and let Bishop through. Bring the score to 10-5 and let the black hole eat another game. Lock it down, and try it again in the next loop.

Arturo gives the black hole a long look. It’s been well fed this season, and especially with these past three games. They want a win for the Garages as much as the next person. They all want to show the Sunbeams that they’re worthy rivals.

But this? This doesn’t feel like winning. This is just painful.

So Arturo holds their ground, and hopes the defense does the same. They ignore the growing intensity of the crowd, thinning and exhausted but still clinging to that sliver of hope. And when it's the team’s turn to bat, and they can’t score a single point, it just solidifies Arturo’s confidence in their choice.

The score is 9-5. Lars Taylor strikes out Oll-e swinging.

The Sunbeams win the championship, 3-1.

Arturo’s helping clean up after the party when they see Betsy and Tot deep in conversation. They pass their trash bag over to Mike with a nod and go to join them.

“-the worst damn case of deja-vu, and I’m from a different dimension-”

“Hey,” Arturo says, and they both startle. Tot, used to this sort of thing, is quicker to recover, and his one visible eye narrows before returning their greeting with a raised hand.

“Yo. Nice try out there,” Tot says.

Arturo nods, pointedly ignoring Betsy’s knife-sharp glare. “Same to you. Game felt like it took days, huh?”

“We were talking about that,” Betsy says, stepping in. “Why were you pitching, Huerta? Pretty sure I should’ve been up on the mound. Or Clark, if the umps screwed it up again .” She elbows Clark in the ribs, making him flinch and mumble an apology.

“Well,” Arturo starts, and then hesitates. Would explaining this make anything better? They’re both on the cusp of remembering, but they’d just remember losing so hard that time broke.

Mike’s humming something in the background as he tosses cups into his trash bag. It’s park it, Arturo realizes, the part that plays during the monologue someone cut in at the end of the song. They shrugs with a helpless sort of smile.

“That’s blaseball for you. C’mon, lets go check out that concert...”