The Disappearing Tennis Ball.

me Why she wore a g-string, I will never know. I did not ask. She did not tell. Rachael is a good friend of my wife and she had a longing to play tennis. The weather was cold enough to freeze the cat’s water, but she did not care. A shot of whiskey and I’d be roaring to go. We played on the only grass court in town. I could feel the frozen grass beneath my feet. The day was ominous and Rachael seemed to be wearing the shortest tennis skirt made in America. I do not even think the skirt was for tennis. Her legs were long and brown in mid-winter. I found myself longing for the platitudes that Rachael’s bare legs and g-string aroused in me. I wanted her in the same way that I wanted food after a ten day fast. Her nipples were hardened by the cold and my eye had a hardened time staying away from them. The yellow tennis ball was the least of my interest- and her soft, silky voice gave birth to a lust in me that not even lying down in frozen grass could quell.

Rachael hit me a backhand and ran to the net. Her white skirt pirouetted in the slight breeze as I watched her brown long legs rumble toward the net. I mustered enough attention to follow the yellow tennis ball and return to her a lob so high that it would take years for it to return to the ground. My eyes immediately returned to her nipples as she stood prepared to return the lob with the full force of her nature. Her head was cocked back toward the starry heavens, as she waited with a racket slung back over her left shoulder. She waited and waited, and after a minute our so she looked directly at me and said “hey where did the tennis ball go?” I had been distracted away from time and space until that moment when I realized something very strange was taking place. I looked up into the heavens, searched around for a little yellow tennis ball and then looked back at Rachael who was standing beside the net, dumbfounded. “I have no idea,” I said with a shrug of the shoulders. We looked around the perimeter of the tennis court to see if the tennis ball may have landed some place else, but saw no sign of a yellow ball. “That is the strangest thing I have ever seen,” Rachael said as we sat down on a bench on the side of the tennis court. “That tennis ball vanished in mid-air,” she said with a bewildered and slightly scared look upon her face. I could think of nothing more clever to say than, “I guess God needed a tennis ball.” She looked at me and giggled and it was then that we decided it would be a good time to return home. My wife was making sandwiches for dinner.


  1. You have a unique blend of something and something else going on in your perfectly structured prose. There are echoes of many great writers before you in this piece although I can’t remember any of their names. I enjoyed the nipples and I guess I was naieve to expect the ball to land in a moment of resolution. You have suspended your moment just beyond the reach of the rational mind which is nice given how flat and rational and well structured your prose is. That is the irony I guess contained in all of your work, the absurdly commonplace, the failure of the characters or narrator to respond with anything other than a shrug of shoulders. They are the fundamentals of a style which has a somehow old fashioned but graceful resonance. They move toward humour but always seem a little removed from it. One can recognise the structure of a joke (perhaps i should insert a ridiculous Freud reference re dreams rationality and jokes here just to show off) but somehow the flatness of the narrators tone doesn’t allow the reader to fully commit to being amused. There is a permanent distance, which given the common thread of gratuitous sexuality without any form of moral control, one might assume is deliberate from the writer. He is almost determined to keep his reader from any kind of intimacy with him. The irony, the content, the perfect flatness of the grammar all work together to give an unsettling effect. Technically the writing is perfect. There is no doubt that it has a unique and deliberate style also. The question is the point of contact with the reader. This isn’t a criticism, your writing deserves a wider audience without a doubt and I certainly hope it gets the intelligent, considered audience it deserves. Absurdity, emotional distance, the short story, a literary tradition lives on,

  2. How can I reply to such a clear and insightful email? I am humbled by your thoughts. The criticism is very helpful to me in understanding what I am doing with my writing. I write and there is no riddle or reason behind it. I suppose it stems from a deep need to be heard, but it is simply something I must do. If I ignore the urge to write- it becomes a monkey on my back. I will study your comments further until I have clear understanding. I did a reading the other night for a book of short stories I wrote. Some body in the audience asked me “why I write?” The only answer that I could come up with was “because I know I am going to die at some point in time.” I guess that is the sum total of it. Any time you have a desire to comment upon my work- it will always be appreciated.

  3. This is what happens to Tennis balls when they are lobbed without eating copious amounts of wine and cheese beforehand…just kidding

  4. G-string or thong is probably the earliest form of clothing known to mankind; having originated in the warmer climates of sub-Saharan Africa where clothing was first worn nearly 75,000 years ago.

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