El León flashes a gunfighter sneer: this is what he wants, this is what he needs. Roman, chain-chewing Tootsie Rolls and streaming brown fluid onto the dugout floor in disgust, whistles at Manny and mimes “curve!” with a sharp snap of the wrist. Manny puts down two fingers, indicates “low” with his mitt, and prayerfully mutters “Bajo, jefe, bajo!” But our león is no mujer! He shakes his head no as a sporting smile parts his lips, and Big Rick Tanner stares at him with sniper eyes and massages the strike zone with the back-and-forth stroke of his whip-thin bat. El León glows with inner light as his eyes burn with visions of last minute glory. He fills his chest with good country air, lifts his heavy leg, reaches back his gargantuan arm and whistles a screamer--which Tanner repels on a great soaring arc towards left-center field, up, up, and away, high over the fence, deep out into the parking lot, bounding into the water-trap surrounding the windmill of the hastily thrown-up six-hole miniature golf course just behind the lot. The Ranchers have won, but Alfredo Disculpe has not been defeated: he still possesses his leonine pride, and he smiles at Big Rick sailing around the bases as if to say, “You got me this time, hombre, but someday we shall meet again.” Roman stares at his loser in shock and dismay.

~ end ~

Thank you for reading El León, a short story adapted from the novel The Mighty Roman. Ah, Fredo, you’re too macho for me. For more of my fiction, please visit me at Jon Sindell Fiction, or connect with me on Facebook. And may your team’s closer always seal the deal!

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