SPACE CADET • by Wayne Scheer

I’m standing on second base, a clean double. Sal and Eddie came home on my hit. We’re still down by a run, but we have only one out. We should be able to at least tie this game.

“Good hit, Fisher,” the guys shout. “Way to go!

Maybe now they’ll stop calling me space cadet. This double showed them they could count on me. I hate hearing them laugh when I get lost in my head, like the other day when I was thinking about how cool it would be to fly and I walked right into a tree and broke my glasses. Mom and Dad didn’t think it was so funny. It was the second pair I broke this month. The guys are still talking about it.

“Whack!” they tell each other, slapping their heads. “Like the tree just popped up from the ground.”

I stretch while waiting for Johnny to come to the plate. His real name is John Statzicovich, but we all call him Johnny Statz. What a cool name. Not like Fisher. At least the guys call me Fisher, and not by my first name. Has anyone ever heard of a duller first name than Bruce? Bruce Fisher. Geez. What were Mom and Dad thinking?

Anyway, if Statz hits the ball, I’m taking off like I have a jet pack attached to my butt. What’s keeping him? “Let’s go, Johnny,” I shout. “Bring me home!”

Then I see why he’s so slow. Patty Myers is walking by, wearing shorts and one of those tops that show her bellybutton. She has to be the prettiest girl in the seventh grade, maybe the prettiest girl in all of Kennedy Middle School.

She stops to talk with Alvie Klein’s sister, Marcia, whose been watching us play. I see them laughing and pointing to some of the guys. I roll up the sleeves on my t-shirt and flex like I’m just stretching. I hope she looks my way.

Okay, guys, stop drooling and get back to the game. And they say I daydream! This is my chance to show Patty how fast I can run. I’m glad I’m wearing my old sneakers. The new ones rub the back of my ankles. Mom says these old ones are ratty looking. I don’t care what they look like. They help me run fast.

I don’t know how I know this, but I feel this is going to be one of those moments in my life I’ll never forget. I think Patty will be so impressed she’ll hug me, maybe even give me a kiss. That’ll show the guys. They’ll treat me different when Patty Myers is my girlfriend.

Johnny swings hard and hits the first pitch. I take off like I drank jet fuel for breakfast. I look over at Patty, and see her watching me with those big eyes. I hope she knows that I knocked in the last two runs and am about to score the tying run. I’m running so fast I feel like I’m flying.

I even see me and Patty flying together. I tell her to hold my hand and we fly up to a cloud. That’s when she kisses me.

While rounding third and heading home, I see this strange expression on Eddie’s face. He’s waving at me and yelling my name. He looks like he’s directing an airplane to land, except he’s waving in the wrong direction. I’m pumping my arms in the air. He looks like he just swallowed a bug.

That’s when I realized what was happening. The center fielder caught Johnny’s ball and they’re doubling me up at second. The game is over. I want to cry. I’m just standing there, halfway between third and home, feeling like an idiot.

The guys are screaming at me, but I don’t hear them. What I hear is Patty chanting, “Earth to Fisher, Earth to Fisher.”

I know she’ll never kiss me now.

Wayne Scheer has been locked in a room with his computer and turtle since his retirement. (Wayne’s, not the turtle’s.) To keep from going back to work, he’s published hundreds of short stories, essays and poems, including Revealing Moments, a collection of twenty-four flash stories, available at He’s been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net. Wayne can be contacted at

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