THE PHONE CALL
"Just call me Oakley. All you need to know. Fifty Grand before and Fifty after. You got my account, in the Seychelles. It'll be safe there. Once I get confirmation, it's a go. So? Anything else?"
"We need to put a rush on this. You know, like tonight, against the Mariners, at Angel Stadium. We can't wait."
"I'm good at this. So, no problem. Anything else?"
"Well, no. I guess..."
Leaving the Starbucks on Sunset Boulevard, she drops her phone on the sidewalk, stomps on it, then kicks the pieces into the storm drain. Glancing at her watch, she sets her jaw. The Game starts at 7:05. Time to go.
"...So here we go everybody. It's the bottom of the ninth, Mariners up nine eight, Trout's on third, there's one out and a 2 and 0 count on Albert Pujols. The outfielder's are playing way back, on the warning track. A check of Trout, the pitch...it's a Suicide Squeeze...Pujols bunts it right in front of the plate...and...Trout, is...on the ground. He fell down...He's holding his left shoulder and is writhing in pain. He's tagged out, the throw to first. Double Play. Wait...What? There's blood shooting out of Trout's shoulder. Something is really wrong with Mike Trout."
"Did you hear the bang? See...on the replay. There...look, right there. Lady in the Green Polka-Dotted Dress...She's got a gun. See it?"
"Yeah, right behind the dugout...Oh My GOD. But where is she?...She's gone...there...see her going up the stairs...? Somebody should stop her?"
After taking her shot, Oakley strides quickly toward the 'Ladies.' Seven seconds, she's in and out. Green Polka-Dotted dress going in, a Red Jump Suit coming out, just as Security rushes in past her. Hungry, she stops, grabs a corn dog, then melts into the crowd.
Ten minutes later she ditches the gun, in another storm drain on Katella, over near Los Alamitos Race Track. Like she said, she's good at this.
WESTERN MEDICAL CENTER
Trout's eyes flicker, then open wide to an IV, to four white walls, and to a man sitting on the bed.
"What? The? Hell?"
"Mike, you're awake. You've been out for about two hours. You got shot."
"I got what?" He looks at his left arm. It hangs in a sling tied to a pulley.
"Mike, don't worry. Couple of months you'll be as good a new. Come on, you're only 21. You'll heal quick. It's not like it's your throwing arm."
Trout looks around the room. "This is crazy. Scioscia calls for a Suicide Squeeze, I'm running, and then...this Horrendous pain...in my shoulder? Now I wake up with my Agent sitting on the bed?" He lifts up on his right elbow. "Sammy, what the hell is going on. And why are you smiling?"
Sammy's phone rings. "Yeah, this is Sammy...It's horrible. Right near third base, can you believe?...Shot...It's been touch and go...but he's awake now... He may never play another game..."
"Mike, you can't tell anyone about this, but there's a bonus clause in your contract. We...You...get a bonus if you're the MVP. Everybody thought no way MVP, you're only a Rookie. But I got it in there anyway, thank you very much. Ten Million Dollar bonus. A rookie, they said. Never happen, they said. No problem, ten million, they said."
Trout stares at his Agent. A 'WTF' stare.
"It's a bunch of sports writers who vote on MVP. Sports writers, don't you love them. And since it's so close this year, we needed an edge."
"Yeah, we need these Sports Writer's sympathy. I hired Oakley, that's her name, to shoot you while you were on the field." He jumps off the bed, and punches the air, left, right, uppercut. "Yes, and we did it."
"You...What? You hired somebody to...Shoot me?"
"Hey, she only winged you. In the left shoulder. Like a bad spider bite. You'll live, Mike, you'll live."
Sammy's phone again. "The doctor's aren't sure...yet...it's so sad. You're one of the voters for MVP, right? It's so crazy. He might never play another game..."
"I could've been killed. What were you thinking?"
"Mike, trust me, I...we...had to take that chance." says Sammy. "We're talking Ten Mil here, buddy."
Trout's face is red. He flops back in the bed, and toward the ceiling, "Get out of here. And don't ever come back." In a voice heard throughout the Hospital, if not all of Anaheim.
"Okay, I'm going, but Mike, it's all good. I had to do it. We need their sympathy. You'll thank me later, my friend."
At the door he turns back. "You know it was worth the risk. Hey, MVP, and Ten Million Dollars? Come on. We'll look back on this in two, three years, and laugh like hell."
HELP COME FROM: