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Blunt Instrument

Sleek curves, strong handle, lacquered surface. A bat is a thing of beauty; this one
even more so because it belongs to someone.
It sits in a corner of Dad's office now, propped up against the side of the cabinet. It's
been there for a while seventeen years in fact, ever since Boy left. Dad had kept it
clean and in good condition for over a decade and a half, but all things age, and
eventually the lacquer began to crack.
Dad took it to someone and there was a great deal of arguing over the merits of
applying a new coat of varnish over the old one, but Dad got his way in the end and
the bat returned to its spot by the cabinet, now with a fresh shine.
The cracks remained, though. Visible, like veins under a polished skin of varnish.
Then Boy returned. With a stronger grip, a stronger voice, a stronger presence.
Dad and Boy argued a lot. They always had, even before Boy left, but now they were
on equal ground. Seventeen years had made a world of difference put calluses on
the young and cracks into the skin of the old.
Boy stood his ground; Dad never gave an inch. Words were spoken; doors slammed.
The bat remained in its spot by the old cabinet in Dad's office, with its new coat of
varnish and the cracks underneath, and waited.
Something, somewhere, had to give.
A lot of things had, over the years, but this thing that loomed in the distance was a
long time in coming. There was tension in the air now, electric like a thunderstorm.
Dad was old and no coat of expensive varnish could hide or fix that. Boy was young,
polished to a shine and sharp enough to cut.
There is an order in nature, even for the inanimate. The axe exists to cut wood, and
the bat knew it its fibers remembered.
The first clap of thunder came with words and shouts noise. Dad was angry; Boy
was too. The bat sat there, inconspicuous by the old cabinet, and waited for lightning
to strike.
Boy's grip on its handle was a shock his grip was strong. The moment that followed
as Boy swung the bat was a thrill. The bat had missed it, as human as that sounded.
To cleave the air and strike was its purpose. It had been seventeen years.
The strike came much too soon and then it was over. Something cracked and gave. It
wasn't the bat's shiny new coat of varnish. Boy's grip on the handle tightened for a
moment, then slackened and the bat clattered to the floor.
Something had to give.
Something did.