Falling Apart

September 27, 2007
By Justin Metz, Millsboro, DE

“Dork!” “Geek!” “Nerd!” That’s what kids call Bennie Miller all the time. He is a sophomore who attends Bridgemont High School in Tallahassee Florida. He is a short, pale, pimple-faced nerd with a terrible haircut that is never washed. He has never gotten a single grade lower than an A in his whole life. He really doesn’t want people to make fun of him but he is so nerdy people just can’t help but laugh at him.

One day he saw a flyer saying the school was holding baseball tryouts. He had never played baseball so he thought he would give it a try. He knew there was nothing to lose, and he might even make the team. Then people would stop making fun of him. He swent to Wal-Mart and bought the cheapest stuff he could find because he probably wouldn’t use it much anyway. He went out in the backyard that night to see how good he was. He thought he was good, but he didn’t know for sure.

The next day he showed up at the tryouts. There were thirty kids but only fifteen would make the team. Before tryouts started the coach asked everybody who had ever played before to raise their hand. Bennie was the only one that didn’t raise his hand. Everybody laughed at him, and his face stared to turn red. They started having a catch to try to get warmed up. He threw harder than everybody else and people started to realize it. Then they fielded ground balls. He didn’t drop a single one, and the rest of the players were agitated that he was better than them when he never played before. The tryouts for that day were over. Everyone was packing up and leaving when the coach called Bennie to his office. “There’s no way that you’ve never played baseball before! You’re way too good!” The coach knew that Bennie would be on the team after only one day’s tryouts.

The next day the team had a catch to warm up again. Once again Bennie was throwing harder and faster than the rest of the team. That day they caught pop flies in the outfield. He didn’t drop a single one of them either. At the end of the day the coach called Bennie into his office again. Now he really couldn’t believe Bennie had never played before.

The next day at lunch he was invited to sit with the baseball players from last year’s team. They were glad that he would be on their team because they went 0-11 last year. He had tryouts that afternoon too. The team started out with a catch again. Today they were hitting. Bennie didn’t know the strike zone so he swung at everything, and hit everything. He took a ball in the dirt over the center field wall. He hit a line drive so hard back at the pitcher he lost two teeth and got a concussion. The pitcher never talked to him again, but that is what they wanted him to do when they played Burke High School, their rival school, and the best in the state.

The next day they posted who made the team on the locker room door. Bennie’s name was at the top of the list. Everybody knows that at their school if you are on the top of the list you are the best. Bennie had been at the top of the list before, but it was never for sports. He was usually on the top of the list for academic stuff.

Two weeks later they headed off to their first game. Bennie was batting cleanup and playing shortstop. His first at bat he hit a grand slam that cleared the fence by at least one hundred feet. The first three batters when he was in the field hit the ball straight at him. He threw them out before they even got halfway to first. Bennie ended up batting 4-4, hitting the cycle. Bridgemont still lost 9-8, even with Bennie on the team. He walked home from his school after the game. On his way home he saw a tall muscular black kid about two years older than him and one grade below him. Bennie had seen him before. The black kid gave him cocaine and convinced Bennie to try it by telling him that it would make him cool.

His grades started dropping. He first got a B. Then he got a couple of C’s. He even got some D’s. He never got an F though because he knew he would get kicked off the baseball team. Next week they went to another game. Bennie hadn’t had cocaine in a while so he snorted some on the bus. The coach heard something and realized Bennie was leaning down. He walked back and saw that Bennie had cocaine. He stopped the bus and kicked Bennie out. He had to walk fifteen miles to get home. He passed the school and saw that black boy again. Bennie asked him for some more cocaine. The boy told him he had to pay this time. Bennie paid him $400 for only two hits.

Bennie soon became addicted and started spending money he didn’t have. His parents knew something was wrong so they searched his room one day when he was at school. They searched under his bed, in his closet, and everywhere they could think of. They found 2 kilos of cocaine and kicked him out of the house. He was alone with no money and no place to go.
He knew he should never have taken the cocaine from the black kid that day a couple of weeks ago. But now it was too late. He dropped out of school, and lived in the park for the next ten years. He was never healthy because his body needed cocaine but he didn’t have any. He lived on scraps he found in the trash can or on the ground. Occasionally, some little kid would come down in the park and ask him his story or give him a nickel. But it was never enough to buy anything with. He ended up living ten years off of anything he could find. He had no food or water, so he eventually died of both dehydration and starvation. The saddest part is that he died before his parents, who he never saw again after that horrible day they kicked him out.

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