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We're in the first inning of a little league play-off game, near the end of a long, hot, humid season. Nerves on edge, no one's happy. One side says the other side has batted out of order, and though it's just a minor error an argument grows to include several parents. The coaches are yelling. Kids sit down at their positions. The scorekeepers shoot sarcastic broadsides across home plate. The base runners sit down. The teenage umpires are unnerved. Adults keep yelling. Suddenly, from a park bench behind home plate, a voice like a hurricane drowns out the bickering: "Let the kids play, goddamn it. Shut the fuck up!" The voice belongs to a huge, fat man with two days' growth. Everyone's silent for a moment, then a woman protests, "That man's not supposed to be cursing." But the umpires seize the opportunity and call the next batter, the kids stand up, and another parent observes: "It ain't starting till the fat man starts cussing."


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