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M: how’s my favorite catcher doing?
B: the same i’m everyday.
M: oh come on now, wasn’t your day just brightened by me?
B: eh
M: fuck you
B: love you too, buddy.
M: you know i hate it when you call me buddy. stop that.
B: alright then mr. bumgarner.
M: gerald
B: oh screw you.
M: but what will our wives say?
B: what wives?
B: jesus, you’re just feeling like bothering me today, huh?
M: no, my name is madison. i think that jesus guy you’re referring to is in heaven, yeah?
B: is that all you messaged me for? to bother me?
M: no. did you not read my first message at all?
M: affeldt kept asking about you and since we haven’t spoken a lot in the past few days, i decided to check up on you. is that a crime?
B: it is. indeed it is.
M: when was this? where was i? because last time i checked it wasn’t illegal for a man to check up on his best friend.
B: i’m your best friend?
M: uh, duh.

buster smiled, madison hadn’t called him that yet, even though they’d been friends for a long time. it made him feel happy, made him feel warm inside. he didn’t reply to madison’s last text simply because he didn’t know how to. he might have said something cheesy like “oh man i love you” or “you’re my best friend too,” but he didn’t because he thought madison already knew both of those things. buster had spilled his guts out to him every time they got drunk together. one time, he even professed his undying love for him, which madison brushed off as a joke.

he didn’t realize that he had fallen asleep until he was pulled out of his light slumber by his phone ringing. he groaned as he rolled over, grabbing his phone and answering it.

“yeah?” he asked sleepily.

“man, you need to come back,” it was madison and he was drunk, emotionally as well as physically. “i’m no good without you. i blew a nig.. nine ohhh lead in the bottom of the seventh. i hope you didn’t watch. oh god, knowing you, you probably did. didn’t you? oh god, i’m so embarrassed. you shouldn’t have watched today, demps.”

“i feel so shitty because i fell asleep before the game even began,” he replied. “if that makes you feel any better.”

“it makes me feel a little better. you always know how to make me feel good, you know that demps?”

“what’s with you calling me ‘demps’ all of the sudden?”

“i thought it would be a cool thing to call you. you have so many names that you call me that i thought i’d add something other than ‘buster’ because, honestly, that’s getting a little boring.”

buster laughed, propping himself up against the headboard, “well, since it’s coming from you, i guess i can live with you calling me ‘demps’.”

“also there’s one thing i have to tell you.”

“yeah? what is it?”

“screw you for reminding me that i don’t have a wife.”

“i don’t have a wife either, you know.”

“you got a lot of a hell lot closer than i ever did.”

“not everyone has to have a wife, you know.”

“yeah,” madison replied, breathing softly for a while before speaking again. “but some of us really want to get married, some of us really want to be married, to know that there’s always going to be someone waiting for us at the other end.”

“you’ll find someone eventually.”

“yeah, i know. i’m talking to that idiot right now.”

“you don’t know what you’re saying,” buster replied, running his free hand through his hair. “call me tomorrow, saying and meaning the same thing, and maybe i’ll believe you.”

he hung up then, leaving madison drunk and confused.