Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mascot, Chapter Nine: The Shock

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The Shock

Once the black has retreated from Zelda’s eyes, they work out a routine to re-introduce Gigantina. Two ushers carry a black box onto the field. They reach inside, pull out a body wrapped in white gauze and leave it on the grass. Soon Gigante saunters by in a lab coat and spectacles, madly scribbling on a clipboard. He stands over the body, scratching his head, and then raises a single “Eureka!” finger.

At this point, the PA guy plays the scene from Young Frankenstein in which the doctor attempts to bring the creature to life. Gigante signals to the dugout; the batboy brings him a pair of Louisville Sluggers. Gigante applies one bat to the corpse and raises the other to the heavens. The film scene explodes with strikes of lightning. Gigante goes into tremors, as if the electricity is coursing through his body, then collapses to the ground. The corpse, meanwhile, rises to its feet, holding its arms straight out in the classic zombie pose. The PA switches to a driving beat, and Gigante comes to. Seeing the standing figure, he rises to his feet, holds one end of the gauze and pushes the creature into an unraveling spin. What emerges is Gigantina in a nude body suit, spangled with a swash of orange sequins and a black mirrored mask that covers half her face. The song is Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” Gigante and Gigantina jump into a racy, quirky dance in the Gaga style, and finish with the same helicopter spin that bloodied her nose two weeks before. Gigante – gloveless – hurls her into the air, causing the crowd to gasp. Gigantina flies over the grass, tucks into a somersault, hits the ground and pops to her feet. The crowd roars, and keeps roaring, so long that the umpire has to shoo them from the field. Gigante shakes his fist like a manager who’s been ejected.

It’s the end of Edward’s shift, so they hit the tunnel under the stands, giving high-fives to passing children, and head for the glorified closet that serves as Gigante’s dressing room. Edward opens the door to find Jackson on the couch, kissing a dark-skinned woman. The woman turns to reveal Zarita’s face.

“Oh!” she says. “Sorry, I…” Zarita pops up and trots down the walkway. Zelda and Edward stare after her.

Zelda imagines she should say something to Jackson, but she can’t seem to produce words. She pats Edward on his Gigante head (with its permanent expression of “Wha…?”) and says, “Thanks. The routine. Awesome.” She closes the door and walks in the opposite direction of Zarita.

She spends the final three innings leaning on the left-field fence, until a sudden eruption alerts her to the fact that the Giants’ second baseman has just hit a walk-off homer. She walks to the tennis courts and waits until a familiar figure comes down the sidewalk.



That’s the extent of the conversation until Zarita pulls up at Zelda’s apartment building. She takes a breath to say something.

“Don’t,” says Zelda. “Just… don’t.”

“But Z…”

It’s too late. Zelda’s on her way. Just before the stairs, she raises her arm and extends a middle finger.

Photo by MJV

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