Tagger by Ken Matt


Slowly the wheels of the subway put it in motion, eventually gathering speed toward its next stop on its continuous loop of Beantown. Tagger relaxed against the cracked seat cushion at the back of the train moving on his continuous loop of life. Eventually Tagger would gather some speed, but it was for an all-night party he was having later that summer.

The last passenger to enter just before the doors "whooshed" shut looked vaguely familiar to Tagger. He was of Latin or Mexican heritage with an unruly head of curly hair that had been tipped blond at some point. He seemed unsure of where to sit and needed room for the large duffle bag he was carrying. The bench like seat across from Tagger had some debris from last nights round trippers. Tagger motioned for the guy that there was room, and he swept the junk off the seat and pushed it under his with his foot.

He nodded at Tagger & semi-fell onto the bench and immediately began rummaging in the navy & red canvas carry-on that had a number 24 on the side of it. If this were a comic strip, thought Tagger, I would draw the light bulb over my head in this panel showing recognition of who this traveler was. Because of some of the absent minded and kooky things Tagger read about this Boston Red Sox player he was not surprised to see Manny Ramirez taking a subway to Fenway Park. At least Tagger assumed that was the logical destination for Manny at 9AM on a Sunday morning when the Sox usually played at 1PM.

"How many stops before thee ball yard?" Manny wondered.

"Just one, about ten minutes, when are you supposed to be there?"

Manny pondered this last question as if it were one of the great mysteries of life, and said, "well, I miss team breakfas' at 7, and team meeting at 8:30 so I suppose I suppose' to be there now."

Tagger laughed, "I suppose so Manny, but with your sweet swing all will be forgiven if you jack a few over the green monster this afternoon."

"Yea, the fans, they like that wall, they love to sit up there now an chase thee home run balls. They would really love me an thee team if we can win thee Series, that has not happen for so many seasons."

"Oh hell, you guys just need a little luck, you got something in there you are going to wear today?"

Manny fished thru his duffle and pulled out a red cotton long sleeved t-shirt that he wore under his jersey. Tagger grabbed the shirt, flipped it over and laid it flat on the seat next to him. He then brought out his spray cans and began his art work. When he finished he held it up for Manny's approval and saw the smile on the major leaguers face.

The shirt shows a player crossing home plate with the inscription above the picture;

"Manny's home run ends Red Sox world series drought!"

And below the picture:

"Manny removes curse of the Bambino"

Manny tells Tagger, "I will wear today and the next day and the next, and if we keep winning, I will wear again, hopefully I still be wearing in late October."

The train comes to a halt as they reach the stop for Fenway Park; Manny thanks Tagger and hustles off towards the field. Tagger gathers his stuff and sneaks out onto the platform and begins to spray another scene about Boston's beloved and beleaguered Red Sox.

That afternoon Manny goes yard twice and leads his team to victory!