Not The Reason The Dodgers Left Town

Lee Klein

It's humid hot, night now, I go for a run.

I wear all black, socks included, run faster than at noon: the track's softer at night?

Packs of Latino kids on bikes, young girl learning to skate.

White woman doing yoga stretches, on her stomach, arching her neck and back: a turtle out of its shell, trying as hard as she can to ejaculate out of her ears, I think.

Tall white man (not me) with pony tail and long track-star pants running too fast, twisting his torso a little, really exerting: a professional aspirant who takes the 99% perspiration thing literally, I think.

Late-teen Polish supermodel speed-walking with second-grader brother; he says "hey, big guy" when I pant past them, eyeing his sister.

Three miles, twelve laps, not sure how long it takes.

Wanted to quit on the eleventh lap, but made it to twelve.

Walking home, past the bar, don't know anyone smoking, no one sees me sweat.

Busy street, intersection: there's an older car, a non-descript sedan, waiting at the red light.

Eye contact is held for three seconds; it goes like this:

First second: my hair all crazy with humidity, wind, sweat; short sleeves rolled over shoulders; shirt drenched, even the sides - he's a Polish man behind the wheel of an older car; 1950s jaw, slicked hair: he does a bump.

Second second: I nod.

Third second: the man in the car nods back.

"What the fuck was that?" I think those exact words, walking on.

"Why the fuck did I nod to the guy doing a bump at a red light, ten minutes to nine on a Friday night?" I think.

"And why the fuck did he return my nod, nodding to acknowledge the nod?" I think.

"Probably because I'm so freaking sweaty," I think. "And he's doing a bump."

"Or else he's an undercover cop, trying to stay up for the night shift?" I think.

"Or he was meant to hit me if I'd only run eleven laps and called it quits?" I think.

"That's motivation enough," I say out loud, very quietly, then make it safely home.

Where I spend the night drinking thousands and thousands of sips of lemon-lime seltzer.

Until I burst in a mile-high spout of carbonated purity.

Or I mean: where I write this.

Before enjoying an icy cream soda while watching the Mets' late-night broadcast from Dodger stadium.

Lee Klein likes listening to the Yankees on the radio but will sometimes watch the Mets when they’re on regular TV.