Nick stared at the strike zone and took a deep breath. That was something his dad had taught him; he said it relaxed your shoulders and cleared your head. As soon as Nick’s lungs were empty, he began his windup, the movements as smooth and natural as the breath he had just taken, until— SMACK!
The rubber ball nailed the center of the chalk square on the wall, skipped neatly on the polished linoleum, and landed next to Nick in the hospital bed.
“Twenty-nine,” Nick said to himself.
He picked up the ball, focused on the chalk target again, and took another breath. But before he could begin his windup,...