Why is it that all boys have stories about dogs and Wiffle balls?
A childhood friend’s bulldog, Duke, used to eat Wiffle balls, literally. So if you hit it to him, it was an automatic out. Duke might have been bad for your batting average, but there were worse things.
We must have played a billion Wiffle ball games in the Edwards’ back yard. It was big and wide open. And, while Fenway Park had its Green Monster in left field, the Edwards’ right field fence was even MORE daunting.
Behind it lived Cyrano, the horny, and much-hated, giant black poodle.
Most days, you never saw or heard Cyrano. He was probably in hiding, tweaking his stupid French moustache or eating snails or something.
But if you were 10 years old and smashed the Wiffle ball too far right, or too high so that the wind caught it, it landed in Cyrano’s boudoir, if you catch our drift. And all you could do was hang you head and prepared to be shamed.
We had the drill down. The batter who had made the BIG mistake had to wait on the left side of the fence. A pinch-runner would run to the right and pretend to climb the four-foot-tall cyclone fence, drawing Cyrano’s attention, and stirring his French loins.
Then the hitter had to leap into Cyrano’s yard, race to get the Wiffle ball, chuck it back over the fence, and run like hell back to the fence in hopes of clearing it unmolested.
What did happen was that Cyrano, who stood about 6 foot tall when standing on his hind legs, would race up and mount you. And there was nothing you could do. He was bigger, and if you fought him, you just knew he would bite your head off.
Meanwhile, your best friends, would be doing all they could to help you.
“I think Cyrano’s in love. When are you two gonna get married?” This, like fart jokes, never stopped being funny when you were in grade school. Unless it was your turn to be Cyrano’d.
Eventually, after what seemed like hours, but was really only about 3 seconds, the pinch-runner would again pretend to jump the fence at the other end. Cyrano would envision a new conquest and race away with lust in his evil, black eyes, allowing the batter to leap the fence to freedom.
Unless of course your best friend, Steve, would intentionally throw the Wiffle ball BACK into Cyrano’s yard. “Sorry, the wind must have caught it.” And you would argue until dark about whose turn it was to get buggered.
Wiffle ball was great. But giant, black poodles really sucked.
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