Day 154: Caught!

Matt Zurbo


Each year summer would land on Thane’s neighbourhood with a thud! And the call would go out…:


and even, simply, “PARK!”

If anyone wondered: “What’s going on in the park?” they were told:

Thane was small, and kind of a klutz (and had a stutter!). The other kids would hide him deep in the outfield each summer.
“Fingers made of grease!” they would laugh.

This day, Kade Butterwig was in fine form. Six after six, he’d already broken windows,
dented a car,
knocked out a cat,
ruined a picnic.
(Sixes bouncing into these things)

Thane thought about asking for a bowl, but knew, like always, he’d be ignored.

Sweeping Sally came running in like a bolt of lightening, and…

(Image of Kade swinging the bat, ball going straight up, ¾ of the page is the letters CRACK!)

(Ball passing through a flock of seagulls, going so fast it has flames coming off of it.)

It was a good hit…
(Ball punching through a kite,

Real good…
(Ball passing startled astronauts)

One of the best!
(Ball bouncing off startled man in the moon’s head)

Then… it started coming back down to Earth.
(Flaming ball pointing towards Earth)

Meanwhile, back on the oval, Kade Butterwig had been busy sprinting between wickets. He was up to 123 laps of the pitch, a record, when everybody realised…
(Tommy strutting through his run, old school scoreboard behind him, people inside looking up open-mouthed at the sky.)

the ball was heading for Thane!
(Thane, looking up, knees buckling, horrified, while everybody sprints away from him.)

A funeral suit was measured, a coffin built real quick, A grave plot dug, where he stood next to the pitch.
(All this going on while Thane still looks nervously up, hands in catching position.)

“RUN AWAY!” other kids screamed. “Duck and cover!”
“Be a coward, not brave and dead!”
(Everybody hiding behind things/taking cover, except Tommy, still running. Thane looking unsure.)

Thane began to imagine what the ball might be bringing back with it.
All his fears! The dragons he was scared of, the monsters under his bed, space diseases, wasps, the memories of all his failures, everybody and their mocking laughter!
(Ball blazing straight down, all of this in its wake.)

He pictured himself embarrassed,
pointed at,
The way he was teased for his stutter.

And something went – click – inside of him!
“I’m n-n-not bu-bu-budging…” he mumbled.

The ball got closer still! Some tried lasso’s,
some pushed real hard.

Old farmer Arnold even attempted to move him with his tractor.
But Thane would not budge!

The ball approached, screeching through the air…!
(Thane eyes scrunched shut, head tilting away, leaping sideways, hand out, as ball, with a ton of flames coming off it, is falling. Above the ball, the flames have turned a flock of birds into flying skeletons.)

(Cloud of dust.)

(Thane being driven underground by ball, dinosaur and human skeletons in the dirt around him.)

“Um… I g-g-guess, you’re o-o-out,” Thane said to Kade Butterwig.
(Thane’s hand poking out of hole in ground with ball, we can just make out the top of his head peeking over the edge, a few kids in background falling backwards in shock.)

(Kade, bat under arm, looking, red faced, down on Thane, who is covered in dirt and dust, ball in hand.)

They say everybody has their day… Today belonged to the awkward kid!
(Thane being given a shoulder ride off the pitch by smiling Kade, other kids around them, happy, cheering, etc…)

The End.
(Final image of Thane, sitting on ground, still stunned, looking at ball in hand, while everybody behind him cooks and eats a barbie. Behind them, the satellite, one or two astronauts, the man in the moon and a seagull, are falling to earth.)







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