The year is 2287. The Calamity almost brought civilization to its end, but humanity survived. One of the tasks of the recovery was a combination large scale cleanup and cultural reconnaissance mission. Crews were told to sift through the wreckage of the past. "Look back before we step forward" they said.
One day, along the coastline of what used to be Denver, CO a tattered, worn notebook was found. The inscription read: "The journal of Al, a baseball in service of the Major League and his imperial majesty, Robert Manfred." The words made little sense to the squad, with ideas and concepts that human culture had lost to a previous age. Even the role of "baseball" is a term time has forgotten. Nonetheless they were recorded, for posterity and the public record.
September 14, 2014
I woke the moment The Maker's Needle left me for the final time. I gazed up, confused, watching that pointy artifice drawing away from me, a glint of light of its tip; my red sinew still attached, coursing through me and stretched taught. I gazed upward at The Maker. She glanced down at me with an expression of loving omniscience, her eyes oceans of knowing. The Red was snipped, carefully tied and I was whole, alive, and ready for play.
September 16, 2014
I am caged! New life's joys are brief. After sitting on my birth table, basking in sensory immersion I was put into a tiny box. All is darkness. I cannot see. I fear I am alone and forgotten. What cruel mischief, to have one's first experiences be those of beauty and love only to immediately be deprived of these rhapsodical views.
September 20, 2014
Sweet companionship has brought me sanity. I feared my solitude in the box was going to drive me to madness. But redemption has come in the form of fellow prisoners. My tiny box now sits in a large box, filled to the brim with my fellow baseballs. Though I am still deprived of sight I am able to converse. The suffering of the box is made bearable by the simple sound of others. I do not know what the future holds but it cannot be worse than the deafening silence of the past days.
October 13, 2014
These past weeks have been filled with endless horror. Our confinement still persists even as I write this by the small ray of light peeking through the slightest crack in my box. To add to the counting of woes we have all of us been set forth on some terrible, noisy behemoth I know not where. Our days and nights are filled with an endless rattle, shake and cacophonous howl of foul machinery of unknown origin. When granted even the shortest respite the air is filled with howls of pain and fear. We are prisoners.
"What is this existence? Are we created purely for creation to offload its misery and torment onto?" (update: little did I know how much truth this had, at the time.) We are hopeless, the lot of us. For my part I keep silent, thinking often of The Maker's kind gaze, only now remember the corner of the mouth tilted in a way I can now imagine imparting sadistic malice.
October 18, 2014
At long last, we have left our noisy hell. We are all of us crazed by exhaustion and fear of the unknown. I am empty, and so I will give myself to sleep.
(I sleep for what feels an age, as all baseball hibernate in winter. I dream of The Maker, and her face. I reach out to touch that holy image but find it falling further and further away. I cry out and reach down to grab her. Only to realize it is I who am falling. Darkness closes as I scream in terror. I am back in the box.)
February 12, 2015
Light! Consciousness! For the first time in months, I am blessed by both of these. My box is gone and cast away. I am free! My new surroundings are as sunny as my box was gloomy. I am outside! I sit with my fellows on a soft bed of grass, basked in warmth. The journey here was more than I thought I could bear but it was worth for this glorious feeling. Joy makes its long absent return to my cork. We have survived our trials.
February 13, 2015
Oh horror and ruin! What I would have given to have stayed in that box. Since the last entry I have discovered our true purpose here and it is almost unspeakable. At first when the men threw us it seemed bearable, almost fun. We were flying! From one man to the next I was tossed. Sometimes softly, sometimes quickly. Occasionally, I sat in the brown receiver the men wear at length. Other times I seem to barely kiss the brown leather before I'm once more hurled. It is a dichotomous feeling; powerlessness and freedom, sailing through the air between the men. In flight it feels as though I am doing what I was created to do, although I have no say in when that flight begins or ends, nor where I travel.
I have come to realize that life exists in those moments between the men; flying above the field, alone, with the wind in my face my only companion.
But this was all mere prelude to the men unmasking the depth of their depravity. I watched in abject terror as they grabbed large wooden sticks and began, one by one, deaf to our cries and pleas, to beat us with these sticks. We are sent flying and skittering all across the emerald pasture of pain. Sometimes my friends soar to heights beyond grasping, other times we are sent downward into the dirt and mire. There we roll, cascading among the pebbles, chalk and filth of that place.
Always, regardless of destination, the journey starts with the stick. I wince with every savage stroke, knowing my friends are in agony.
March 21, 2015
The pain is always; Day after day, week after week, even in its absence I feel can feel its burn. We have not known a day of rest since that first terrible day weeks ago. I have met other, older baseballs. Those that have maintained their sanity say that you must learn to love the pain. That to learn to love the pain is to understand why we are baseballs in the first place. I scream at them that they are merely institutionalized slaves, bereft of any individual will. "Go to your pain then you beggars!" I scream, "Go to your pain and leave me be!"
March 24, 2015
I am broken. In my brokenness I go to one of the eldest balls. I ask him how one starts down the path of ascension. He teaches me the sacred words. It was thus that I learned The Catechism:
I am the vessel of pain
I shall fly true and roll without hop
I shall spin when spun and dance when not
There is no life for me beyond the field
Wherever I go and however I am held, I shall be silent
Through pain well carried I shall ascend, sit beyond the field, a prize for all to love
April 12, 2015
I have begun to laugh every time the pain comes. In a way I almost miss it when it's gone. I am learning, growing.
May 3, 2015
They say that ascension can come at anytime. It is said that the greater one has lived the tenants of The Catechism, the greater and farther the final flight. While all the men are capable of granting ascension, it's rumored that a few of the inner circle can grant a higher level of it. They say there are men capable of ascending a ball beyond sight itself. I recite my words, and seek out pain, praying to one day be blessed by one these special men.
June 15, 2015
I am the vessel of pain...
August 3, 2015
I saw it happen to one of my friends! The man was a size beyond reckoning, stronger than all the rest, his beatific face showed the serenity he felt in his purpose, as I feel in mine. He swung his stick with an effortless grace and baptized my companion in the blink of an eye. He was gone forever, to the place of exaltation. I was filled with jealousy.
August 4, 2015
My time has come. I am In Play. I am held. The man with the brown receiver holds me safe within it and gazes inward. His fingers grab me in such a way I know already how I am to be thrown: Today I am to be a curving ball.
Behold, the giant man approaches! I pray silently for this to be my time, for the man to grant me the blessed release I know I have earned through my suffering.
I am thrown. I can see the man's face as he studies my flight. At first I am headed right at him and that radiant visage. But I am spun, and thus spun I curve. The man knows all this before it happens. His face never imparts anything other than restful understanding. My flight is near its end. The man swings.
Pain. I had never known it until that moment. A force beyond the laws of science and nature has struck me and I am gone, lost to the pain. I am pure fire to my very core. I scream, and the darkness takes me.
I wake, knowing not how long I was gone. I am flying. The flight of ascension. I pass beyond the field, beyond knowledge. I feel no pain. The pain is gone. Only flight and limitless freedom. As I gaze forward the mists are pulled back. There are the eager crowds of exaltation. I, nature's lowest and most miserable creature, am now the prize. I feel no pain. I close my eyes and give myself to their eager hands, blessing the stick and the giant, beautiful man who swung it.