Robert Finney’s darkly tanned legs stretched lazily across the
ottoman. A whoop erupted from his throat with the blast off of
Gonzalez’s bat. The ball hit a fan’s glove behind the left field
wall and a quick scramble ensued. As the ESPN cameras zoomed in, the
prize was almost immediately lifted high in the air by a young teenage
girl to the tumultuous roar of the surrounding crowd.
From his complexion, Robert looked like someone who spent a lot of
leisure time at the beach or out on the water sailing. His infectious
smile and clean-shaven face caught people off guard. With his
brushed-back gray hair and sky-blue eyes, he looked like some movie star
out of the 1940s. But he was, in fact, an accountant with a casual day
off, wearing an old pair of blue shorts, a white tank top, and worn-out
His one objective that day was watching his favorite team, the Miami
Marlins, vie for first place in the National League going into the
summer. This was the last game of May and they were playing the Colorado
Rockies. The homer from Gonzalez definitely got them off on the right
The pain in his chest was almost imperceptible as he rose from the couch
and headed into the kitchen for a glass of water. Sitting down again and
taking a sip, he heard the crowd go wild once more as the quick-footed
Chiu stole second on a pass-ball strikeout, then Smith doubled to right
center, driving in his sixty-fifth RBI of the year, making it two
nothing with two outs.
“Awesome,” Robert softly exclaimed, only to watch McNichols ground
out to first and end the third inning. Suddenly, his right shoulder felt
numb with his stomach twisting like a volcano fighting with a tornado.
Hey, he thought, I’m behaving myself. No pizza. No nachos with
jalapeños. What the heck is going on? He’d taken his usual baby
aspirin during breakfast just like his doctor had prescribed. Heart
disease ran in the family, but he was the picture of health—hardly
sick a day in his life.
The Rockies were up and Hal Johnson, the hottest hitter of the season,
was at the plate. Johnson, with a batting average of .399, could become
the first hitter since Ted Williams to reach .400 if he made a hit
during this at bat. How Robert would love to see this happen, but still
have the Rockies lose, though that would mean his manager would have to
bench him for the rest of the game—fat chance!
Cold beads of sweat broke out on Robert’s forehead.
Johnson swung at the first pitch from Romero—strike one.
Robert’s hands became clammy. Determined not to let this mess up his
plans for a relaxing afternoon, he refocused on the next pitch.
“Ball,” the ump called—one and one.
Suddenly, Robert doubled over with a knifelike jolt that hit him in the
chest. Nausea and chills flooded through his body as he toppled off the
couch, unable to speak or breathe. Numbing confusion clouded his mind as
he began to lose consciousness.
The Marlins are leading … going to take first place … did Johnson
get a hit—did he make four hundred? Oh Lord, what’s happening to me?
Blackness. There was no sound—no cry for help.
Excerpted from "The Kantz Journal" by Douglas Christie. Copyright © 2017 by Douglas Christie. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.