Derek Jeter Day, 2038

Jay opened one eye to see a different, smaller eye staring back at him.

“Dad! Guess what day it is?”

Jay slowly opened the other eye.

“Son, what time is it?”

“It’s two fourteen. Do you know what that means? It’s Derek Jeter Day.”

“That’s great, buddy. Happy Derek Jeter Day.”

“Can we open presents now?”

“Not yet, Danny. Daddy needs to sleep. The gift baskets will still be there in a few hours. Go back to bed.”

“I can’t sleep.”

“Well I can’t not sleep. When it’s time, I’ll get you from your room.”

“OK.”

Jay closed his eyes again. He felt the weight lift off the bed and heard Danny’s tiny footsteps moving away. He rolled to his right side, sighed, and drifted off again.

It seemed like the very next instant when his phone alarm went off. It was a Tuesday, and his phone wasn’t smart enough to know he didn’t have to work. He rolled to his left and looked at the other side of the bed. He stared at Linda’s pillow — or what would have been Linda’s pillow had she still slept in that bed. He wondered why he still left it there. It had been, what, eight months now?

He moved back the covers, swung his legs to the side of the bed and stood up. Interlocking his fingers and stretching reminded him that he had cut his right index finger the night before. He looked at the wound. It was scabbing. Didn’t look too bad.

A pair of cotton pants and a t-shirt later, Jay was opening the door to Danny’s room. As expected, he was wide awake.

“Can I open presents now?” Danny exclaimed as if it were all one word.

Jay nodded. Danny sprung out of bed and ran through the doorway. Jay rubbed his eyes and breathed heavily through his nose. He turned around and made his way to the living room. Danny was waiting there, pacing around the gift baskets like a lion looking for the juiciest zebra. The baskets were so sloppy. Linda always did them beofre. Jay rubbed his finger wound with his thumb.

“Can I go?”

“If you promise to not make a mess, and to go slow so you don’t wreck anything, you can go.”

Jay hadn’t even finished the “oh” sound of the word “go” before Danny had dropped to his knees in front of the nearest basket. Jay smirked. He picked the one with the socks and underwear. Poor kid. He turned toward the kitchen to make some coffee, Danny shredding his zebra in the background.

The ham was still not done. Jay didn’t understand. He followed the instructions, but the thermometer said the thing was still basically cold in the middle. The doorbell rang. Shit.

“Happy Derek Jeter Day!” he heard from the doorway. “How are you, Danny? You look so tall!”

“Look what I got!” Danny exclaimed. Was he showing the monster truck or the science set? What a stupid question. Jay tried to keep Danny engaged in school, but he was always more interested in playing with his friends.

Tina walked into the kitchen and gave Jay a kiss on the cheek. “Happy Derek Jeter Day, brother.”

“Hey. The ham’s not ready. I think the oven is fucked up or something.”

“I’ll take a look. Why don’t you help Dennis with the gifts?”

Jay went to the foyer to find Dennis and James. Danny was showing James his monster truck.

“I got a monster truck last year, but it was bigger,” said James.

What a little prick.

“Be nice, James. Hey Jay.”

“Hey Dennis. Need some help?”

Dennis handed Jay a paper bag. It was heavy. They spoiled Danny, and Jay hated it.

Well, this will make me look like an asshole.

“Jay, did you get the corn?” asked Tina.

“The what?”

“The corn.”

“No, I forgot.”

Tina poked her head around the kitchen wall.

“Jay, it’s Derek Jeter Day. We always have corn with Derek Jeter Day dinner. Can you go and get some?”

“It’s a holiday, Tina. Nothing’s open.”

“I’m sure they’ll have some at a gas station or something.”

“God damn it.”

“Language!”

Jay snaked past the kids and grabbed his keys and wallet from the table near the door.

“How much?”

“What?”

“HOW MUCH CORN?”

“I dunno. Six or seven ears?”

“I think I parked you in in the driveway,” said Dennis. He tossed his keys to Jay. “Just take our car.”

“No, it’s cool. I’ll just move it.”

After Jay moved the van he got into his own car. He backed out of the driveway and hung a right. When he stopped at the intersection, he opened his glove box and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. He lit one. Linda always hated his smoking. He sort of hoped he smelled like cigarettes when she showed up in a few hours to pick up Danny, though she’d probably give him shit. He exhaled slowly through his nose and turned the wheel to the right. He pressed on the gas. Maybe the BP station will have some corn. If not, he’d have to drive to the other side of town. He took another drag off his cigarette and hoped the BP station didn’t have any.





David G. Temple is the Managing Editor of TechGraphs and a contributor to FanGraphs, NotGraphs and The Hardball Times. He hosts the award-eligible podcast Stealing Home. Dayn Perry once called him a "Bible Made of Lasers." Follow him on Twitter @davidgtemple.

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yaboynate
8 years ago

You doing alright, David?