I woke up with a head pounding like Niagara Falls and a mouth as dry as Death Valley. An empty bourbon bottle lay on its side on the table, another soldier that gave its last full measure. The dame was long gone, more than a month ago now. One night while we were having a few laughs she slipped me a mickey and took a powder, taking the mojo and my wallet with her. Yeah, she played me for a real sap, and I let her. The name's Twayn. I'm a shamus.
I thought I had her angle figured, see? It seemed clear that the dame was setting me up for a double cross. It was the smart move, after all. Hire me to find the mojo for her, then stick a shiv in my back and make tracks. There's no shortage of teams looking for some mojo this time of year, and they're willing to shell out a stack of semollians to get it. Some of them aren't above using a dame to get what they want. I was onto her from the start, but I let my guard down that night. Maybe it was the way her eyes shined in the moonlight, or the sob story she poured out along with the whiskey.
I've heard a lot of sob stories in my day. They mostly went along with the sound of a tinny piano playing in the parlor downstairs. "Mister, I met a man once when I was young," it always began. This one wasn't much different. So I let her set the hook and start reeling. I just didn't figure she'd make her move quite so fast. Now the mojo is gone for good, and things have been going south ever since she flew the coop. Bad pitching, bad hitting, bad defense -- it's pretty much been the perfect storm of horseshit baseball for the team. And to top if off, Jim Thome got shanghaied to Cleveland.
I still watch the games most nights. Call it my self-imposed penance for letting the mojo get away, and since the boys downtown pulled my license I don't have a lot to do these days. But it doesn't take a detective to see the signs of a team that's lost its mojo. A 5-18 record in August, the worst in the major leagues. Six losses in a row, and no more than a run scored in any of them. Hell, the boys haven't scored more than a run in 13 of their last 23 games. And for the first time in franchise history, they've lost six straight games at home.
I pull the covers back and drag my sad sack of bones out of the bed, run fingers through my hair and head for the shower. There's an afternoon game today, and I need to get to the liquor store before first pitch. Maybe I should just get a case this time. I have a hunch it's going to be a long September.