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Her uncle really does need a cane to get around now, so he uses an old wooden bat. No handle, no stabilizer–his only concession is a thick rubber foot on the end. As he says, “otherwise, the floors’d be hard on the Slugger.”

Jeryn has decided that this is a joke; that her uncle was once nicknamed Slugger, in some way related to his service in Japan. She’s given him a story and a life, where he wears a white GI undershirt and plays pickup games with local kids. Where he’s clean-shaven, square-jawed, full of promise: a Prometheus of baseball.