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Unpleasant Incident

Ash Stringman suppressed his annoyance and walked on the court where Bam Schlammer stood waving his tennis racket like a Scottish Claymore at his opponent across the net.

“That ball was clearly in,” Bam yelled in an outraged voice.

Two women practicing on the next court finished their volley and decided to take a break, curious to see whether Bam, looking like the fashion plate of the Tour with his customized tennis outfit and his wavy blond hair, would bully his young opponent, Jimmy Peters, into relinquishing his point. Jimmy was looking down at his racket, fiddling with the strings.

“You’re a real shit, you know,” Ash stopped just behind Bam, careful to stay out of range of the swinging racket.

“Who the fuck are you?” Bam rounded on Ash before he realized who he was confronting.

“I’m the fucker who owns these courts, this camp, and decides who plays here and who doesn’t,” Ash grinned. “And guess what, Bam. You don’t get to play here any more. I want to see you check out of here immediately.”

Bam’s red face got even ruddier. “See here, Stringman, you can’t order me out of here. I’m here on behalf of the Association, and I’m entitled to your coaching, such as it is.” The sneer on the player’s face didn’t completely mask the uneasiness that briefly flashed across his face.

Ash gestured behind him. “George, this gentleman needs escorting to the locker room.”

“Yes, Mr. Stringman.” The footballer called George started across the cement surface towards Bam.

Ash imagined he could feel the vibration beneath his feet as his three hundred pound bouncer leisurely strolled towards Bam who had the sense to look alarmed and begin backing towards the net. It wasn’t often, very rare, in fact, but sometimes necessary to go beyond a few plainly spoken words when dealing with the talented, yet infantile players that occasionally arrived with monumental self esteem and no discipline.

When Bam realized that George was serious about ejecting him, he threw up his hands. “Okay, I’m out of here. You obviously don’t know who you’re dealing with,” his parting shot at Ash as he stalked off with George trailing watchfully behind him. When he reached the edge of courts, he threw his racket as hard as he could at the stands on the south side of the paved area. A few fans sitting in the first row scattered as the doomed racket sailed over their heads and hung up in a row of thorny mesquite trees behind the seats.

“I’ll be sending your Uncle the bill for that little display,” Ash muttered to himself as he took a deep breath.

“Thanks,” Jimmy called to him across the net and went over to the bench to gather his belongings.

The September air seemed a bit fresher and the small cloud that had momentarily blocked the sun moved off leaving a mellow, yellow feel to the landscape. The sweet scent of roses along the borders of the complex calmed him down, and the sharp complaints of a titmouse almost made him smile. Life would be much better without Bam Schlammer around to disturb his clients.

The two young women, each of whom promised to be a moderately competitive player if they continued their hard work, had resumed their practice. Ash watched George drop a gentle hand on Bam’s shoulder and hurry him on down the gravel path towards the main building. He strolled over to the ice boxes under a blue awning and checked to see if there were plenty of bottles of cold mineral water available.

Ash decided to email Chandler and tell him about the incident. He was sure that Bam’s mother’s brother,  Craig Schumflatt, the man at the head of the Free Range Party, wouldn’t take kindly to his nephew’s dismissal.

Please Note: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental__L.C. Frenzel

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