My final installment of the results of this exercise is the opening provided by Leah Stennes Renner (with permission) followed by the conclusion which I provided. Once again the rules were that we had thirty minutes to read the opening and draft a conclusion to the scene/story. With no time to edit, it’s a pretty rough.
The baseball bat had been in the house since they moved in. When they first stepped into the house, it laid in the middle of the kitchen like someone dropped it in their haste to vacate. But a baseball bat? What a random object to leave behind. Especially one that had no markings on it, not even a maker’s name. The finish had been perfect, the wood grain completely straight. Not even the boy’s childhoods of using it for everything from actual baseball games as kids, to knocking down the condemned shed as adolescents, to smashing mailboxes as young adults, had marred its surface. It had been a lucky charm for them, the bat that couldn’t be dented. What a fitting totem for a family such as this.
But now that moving day loomed, the whole family found themselves in a silly situation of arguing about what to do with it. Somehow over the years, although it had endeared itself to everyone, even Mavis who only used it as a makeshift leg for her broken easel, no one felt that they owned it. It was as much a part of the house as the sink or the Kool-Aid stain on the white carpet. It had been a good luck charm in the house. How could they ever separate them? But did that mean they were throwing it away? Could anyone find it in their hearts to throw it away?
“We can’t leave it. It hit the grand slam that won the 2007 little league World Series for us,” said Dirk. “It’s worth a fortune.”
“I agree it can’t be left behind,” Dad’s voice boomed from the kitchen. “It protected your mother during the break-in and with me going to the home soon, she’ll need it more than ever. You all won’t be around.”
I looked at the bat leaning against the wall under the painting Mavis had painted of the crabtree out back. Its perfect pale color contracted with the bright pink blooms of the tree. Dad was right. We were all going our separate ways. Even if we took it, who of us would take care of it.
“So, you think mom should keep it?” I asked dad as he came into the livingroom with a fresh bottle of beer.
“I do,” he replied and dropped into his recliner.
“As long as it stays in the family, I don’t care who keeps it,” Dirk added.
Mother finally spoke, “I’m not so sure we shouldn’t just leave it for the new owners. I always felt uncomfortable when it was out of the house.”
“That’s crazy, mom,” Dirk said. “It’s just a bat.”
The next morning we loaded up the moving truck, left San Diego, and drove to Mom’s new house. Dad has placed the bat in the back seat of the station wagon. After we had unloaded everything, dad couldn’t find the bat.
“I remember moving it to put ice in the cooler when we stopped in Fresno,” he said as he dug through the boxes in the new livingroom. “It’s got to be here somewhere.”
That same day the Baker family pulled up outside their new home in San Diego. The crabtrees were blooming and two young boys burst from the minivan and ran into the house. A moment later they came outside holding a baseball bat.
“Look what we found!”