by Steve Davenport


Black Guy and Bald Guy are buddies.

They play city-league slow-pitch together.  Bald Guy plays shortstop and averages one home run every four or five games, which means he has just enough power to keep his on-base percentage from doing the team much good.

Not as strong as Bald Guy or any faster, Black Guy’s all-league second base three years running because of the poetry he writes with his glove and feet.  Because of him, he and Bald Guy turn the quickest double play in the league. Sometimes they switch positions mid inning out of boredom or ego.

Handsome and self-assured, they occasionally double-date these twins who do graduate work at a nearby university and come home often to care for their aging parents.

Black Guy and Bald Guy share an easily rekindled boyhood fascination with stamp collecting.  Philately, they like to say to friends over drinks.

At the gym, Black Guy and Bald Guy lift free weights and make jokes about the people lined up at the weight-training machines.  They purposefully pay almost no attention to the mirrors.  They spot each other and yell hard, encouraging things like “Bird weight!” and “Push!”

They go on road trips, sometimes as far away as Montana, sometimes as close as a jaunt across the Mississippi to St. Louis.

They never visit the twins at school because that would violate an unspoken agreement they have with the twins and each other.  Together, they make a stunning foursome.

One evening Black Guy and Bald Guy get noticed in a St. Louis bar by a talent scout from Hollywood.

Or what we mean, Bald Guy says to friends over drinks, when we say Hollywood.  Hollywood’s not really Hollywood anymore, is it?

Hollywood’s code, Black Guy adds, for something no one can put a finger on anymore except to say that if they go Hollywood, if they make it there (wherever there is, Bald Guy interjects), they’ll enjoy freedoms unafforded to them elsewhere.

Here Black Guy and Bald Guy, their friends agree, are generally talking clothes of any cut or color, public addictions, multiple marriages, ten of them if they have the time.

Black Guy and Bald Guy laugh.  Oh, we have the time.  

After only one screen test, Black Guy and Bald Guy are signed to a three-picture deal as the latest buddy team cashing in on the crime-fighting caped-and-booted super-hero craze.

For years, Black Guy and Bald Guy will remain popular, their buddiness retaining cash value that they and others will regularly cash in.  Each will take a crack at a solo career, but nothing much will come of either attempt.

Without Black Guy there to distract viewers, people will begin to notice that Bald Guy isn’t actually bald (did you see that, I think he shaves his head, he doesn’t appear genuine to me anymore), and his spiky temper will quickly become less funny without the to-and-fro with his caped brother.

That they’re brothers means that neither plays the other’s sidekick.

Black Guy doesn’t know what to think.  Although he’s publicly opposed to sidekicks and would never play one, he knows that sidekicks make people, immersed in the fantasy they might deserve one someday, feel good about themselves.

Black Guy can’t tell if Bald Guy notices the absence of a sidekick in their crime-fighting partnership and feels uncomfortable bringing it up since, after all, it would have to be Bald Guy who would play the sidekick.

Black Guy’s solo career lasts longer due to a special something he has going on.  His buzz factor, according to producers, is higher than Bald Guy’s.

No more attractive than any other celluloid crime fighter, Bald Guy is only bald.  He can never be black.  But Black Guy, just like that, can shave his head slick as an eight ball and who’s Bald Guy then?

No, that would be bad, Black Guy tells himself, his eight ball to Bald Guy’s cue ball.  In front of a full-length mirror, Black Guy puts on his favorite cape-and-boot ensemble, the one he wears in the movie about the white-hooded blobs he and Bald Guy brilliantly vanquish to save the planet from permanent harm.

What’s best, Black Guy knows, is that his agent call Bald Guy’s and arrange a lunch at which they will once again hash things out, apologize for past hurtful behaviors, ignore the difference in their buzz factors, sign another contract as partners, and get on with the business of being friends, buddies, even if only professional ones, all over again. 


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