BEN AND CARLA
Silverthought, February 2005
While Ben Enterman was
returning from his successful mission to Ur through
Rather Warped Factor T, Starship Command suggested he take a look-see
an execution in the same geographic area at Stardate April 6, 28 AD.
concisely: “Nothing special. Three men executed on a hill
two of them robbers, one a religious fanatic. In the absence of
precise data, I will assume the occasion is of little historical
[It must be noted
parenthetically that Enterman might at least have observed that the
of execution -– crucifixion -– offered a strong promise of fad
in the form of religious items. Properly marketed, it is possible
the crucifix might have become extremely popular, at least for a time.]
was an interstellar vehicle, capable of traversing the infinite
of the galactic cosmopolis. It had a Time Warp Factor, designated
Rather Warped Factor T, used by the commander at his discretion, and at
the direction of Starship Command, to set right what appeared to be
in the cosmic timeline we refer to as Earth’s history.
Having made his
report on his trip to 28 A.D., Enterman and his starship returned to
present, and began routine patrol in the New York environs. After
about half an hour of uneventful cruising, he received instructions
Starship Command to proceed to Yankee Stadium to assist in crowd
a riot seemed to be in the making. While it seemed to be outside
the normal mission parameters for Enterman and his starship, an
was an assignment.
The Yankees were
playing the Texas Rangers. Enterman phased his starship into its
starhack mode and sped across the Triboro Bridge, up the Deegan
and off at the first stadium exit. He parked his spaceship,
so that it now appeared to be nothing more than a taxi, in a restricted
zone, flipped the visor with his Starship Command ID and hurried into
Command was briefing
him along the way. “Crowd estimated at 20,000 has been monitored
at noise levels far in excess of what should reasonably be
Game dull and uneventful. Best available intelligence suggests
among fans and or players may have precipitated circumstances which may
be verging on the hysterical.”
Toting his Recorder
Pack V with him, Enterman made his way into the grandstand. Most
of the crowd seemed to be concentrated in the lower deck between home
and first base. And far from sounding like a riot, as far as Ben
Enterman could tell every man, woman and child in attendance was
fit to bust a gut.
the threat of violence appeared minimal, Enterman slowly made his way
the crowd. After a while, he neared the center of the
Stadium security personnel formed a tight circle around a young lady, a
girl really, maybe sixteen years old. The security team was
too. Spotting Enterman, the officer in charge nodded. “Hack
outside, Ben, or are you here as a fan?”
“Then I think
you’d better escort the lady home. We’ll square the tab with
Come on along miss.” The girl took Enterman’s hand, and let him
her out of the stadium. The laughter continued unabated.
his ship, Enterman opened the door, saw that the girl was comfortable
asked, “Would you mind telling me what happened, Miss uh...?”
Accidental Nurse, settled back in the starhack. Moments ago, she
had been standing in the middle of 20,000 people in Yankee
And they were laughing at her, after she had tried so hard during the
game to be of assistance to those around her.
She had been
sitting between home plate and first base, really quite close to the
and just behind the Yankee dugout. In the first inning, one of
Texas Rangers ripped a line drive foul into the first base seats.
It rocketed off one seat, hit another and landed gently on top of the
of a gentleman who was dozing peacefully.
know the man had been sleeping and that he was, in fact, under the
of one too many beers. She thought the ball had knocked him
The ball had fallen to the ground where some twenty people scrambled
it. Everyone ignored the drunk, everyone except Carla. She
immediately shouted, “I’ll help. I know what to do.” She
didn’t know what to do from a practical point of view, but here was an
opportunity to put all of her extensive reading about nursing into
“Don’t move him.
Someone get a blanket. We must prevent shock.” No one
a blanket. Who goes to a ballgame in July with a blanket?
drunk wasn’t moving. He didn’t even know a ball had hit
He was dreaming of surfing in Tahiti, after which he intended to quaff
a few more brewskis. “Is there a doctor around?” A Ranger
a long fly ball to left, and the Yankee outfielder made a leaping catch
against the barrier. Everyone ignored Carla and the drunk.
In the absence
of a blanket, Carla started taking sweaters and light jackets from the
backs of the seats around her. No one seemed to notice –- or
She even used some old newspapers to cover the drunk. When she
finished, all that was exposed was the drunk’s mouth, wide open and
to the night sky. And then it happened.
The Yankees were
now at bat. The hitter lofted a high, foul pop in the direction
the rightfield stands. The ball arced gently and hit a seat two
in front of the dozing drunk, then bounced high. A number of fans
had followed the flight of the ball as it drifted toward the
It gently hit the seat in which he was sprawled and sort of hopped into
the drunk’s agape mouth. He didn’t even move, not a twitch.
He certainly wasn’t dead because a sheet of newspaper covering his nose
was moving rhythmically up and down.
Then the fans
took note. They saw the drunk covered from head to toe with
jackets and newspaper, with a baseball perched in his open mouth.
And the laughter started, becoming contagious as other fans came to see
what was happening. The laughter built in intensity until it
convulsive. It didn’t stop until someone shook the drunk
He excused himself with what he must have felt was dignity, removed the
ball from his mouth, put it in his pocket and went off in search of
By then, Carla
Burton was on her way home in the starhack, her dreams of nursing dealt
a temporary setback.