Winter 1986 • Vol. VIII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1986 |

A Personal History of the Curveball

It came to us like sex.Years before we ever faced the thingwe'd heard about the curveand studied it. Aerial photossnapped by night in Life, mappingEwell "The Whip" Blackwell's sidearm hook,made it look a fake, the dotted linehardly swerved at all.Such power had to be a giftor else some trick, we didn't care which.My hope was on technique.In one mail-order course in hypnotismthat I took from the back coverof a comic book, the hypnotistlike a ringmaster wore a suit,sporting a black, Errol Flynn moustacheas he loomed, stern but benignover a maiden.Her eyes half-closed, she gazedupward at his eyes, readyto obey, as the zigzag lightning strokesof his hypnotic power, emanatingfrom his fingertips and eyes,passed into her stilled, receptive face.She could feelthe tingling force-field of his powers.After school, not knowingwhat to look for, onlythat we'd know it when it came—that it would be strange—we'd practice curves, tryingthrough trial and error to pick up by luckwhatever secret kna

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