Charlie's door was slightly ajar.

Geoff Geary peeked in and saw the Phillies manager sipping a Diet Coke. He was listening to 'Ole Tyme Country' on the computer radio that Jose Mesa hooked up for him.

In a grey t-shirt and his Phillies pin-stripe baseball pants, white socks and sandals, he was sitting back in his chair, thinking it won't be long before he and Thome are casting a couple of blue duns out over the Jackson River.

Or hitting out of the back lip of a bunker at the fifth hole at Vista Links, watching it roll off the angle down a slopping green and into the cup for a birdie.

'Yea,' he thought, clasping his hands behind his head, 'get out of these pinstripes and into some good fishin' clothes...hittin' them fairways, git away from those tom-fool reporters asking stupid questions.' On the computer radio, Dolly Parton was signing something about two doors down...

"Two doors down...they were drinkin' and havin' a party...two doors down they were..."

Charlie didn't like the rap that Jimmy and Flash played in the locker room. "I can't see how they call that stuff music, man," he would say, "sounds to me like somebody got somthin' stuck in their throat."

Geary rapped on the door. "Skip? Skip? You in there," he said.

"Who's there?" Manuel said, "balls in a chicken coop, I can't get away from these cry babies, no how. What you want, Geary?"

Geary came to see Charlie to talk business. Geary told him he's been sent to Ottawa so many times this season, he completely wore out a seat on Continental flight 7307, which had to be covered so passengers didn't get stuck by a loose spring.


"With all this experience, me and Condrey," Geary told his boss, "have been talkin' about starting a moose huntin' business up north. But we ain't never hunted and we know you have, so maybe you can guide us....."

Charlie cut in: "What the...what's goin' on here? I'm not fallin' for this again. You boys recordin' me again? Victorino, Rowand, you out there recordin' this?"

"No Skip," Geary stammered, "nobody's out there. This ain't no joke. It's me, Geoff, wantin' to talk with you. Taking people to Ottawa to hunt moose, 'cept me and Condrey, we ain't never hunted before."

"And you want me to.....?" Manuel asked.

"Well Skip, Condrey and me, we know you hunted a lot, being the outdoorsman you are, so we thought you could teach us some things about hunting. Whatdaya think, Skip?"

Charlie sat back in his chair and rubbed the stubble on his chin. He wet his lips and his eyes danced, moving around like he was trying to make a decision to bunt, or let Nunez hit away.

"Well hell, Geary," he said, "I got a good moose huntin' story that will surely help you and Condrey. Want to hear it?" Geary shook his head yes. "Well, you know how funny Thome approaches the batters box, kind of walks bow legged, and the way he points his bat out toward center field, don't you? Good, cause there's a reason he does that."

"Close that door, son, and pull your chair up here. You see, Thome and me we been huntin' together for years. We'd get flown in to the back country about 160 miles north of Ottawa, long before you and Condrey started gettin' sent up there.

"But we hadn't had much luck gettin' the moose to come in close enough to get off a shot. So one day, Somoarro, a half Eskimo half Cherokee injun guide, said he had a moose costume that he used several times to call in big moose. You see, son, the moose costume was of a female, a darn nice lookin' female in moose lookin' terms, if you git my drift.


"Now, Somoarro had some moose smellin' stuff and a genuine moose call and he told us to go to the backside of the mountain at dawn, spread around some of the smellin' stuff, and for both of us to git in the moose costume.

 "Let me tell you, it stunk in there like an outhouse that ain't been ventilated. Son, it stunk worse than a dumpster behind the Outback Steakhouse that the substitute driver forgot for six months.

"So we make our way through the woods, and we settle on a nice little clearing at the edge of the Big Riff. It took us about a half hour to get into that putrid smellin' moose costume. Thome was in the back working the Moose's butt and I was in the front working the head and shoulders.

"Well, Jimmy lets go with a couple of moose calls: Wooooeeee, woooooeee. Off in the distance I hear a bull answering and I tell Jimmy to get ready. Well let me tell you, I see this bull comin' faster than the Norfork Southern comin' through the Flat Rock Tunnel 30 minutes behind schedule.

"So I yell back, 'Jimbo, he's comin' a hellin,' get that 30 ought six ready to go.' And Jimmy yells back to me, 'Charlie, I through you had the ought 6. And I peek through the little moose eye hole and I see them two ought 6's leanin' up against a tall oak lookin' prettier than than if they was on the cover of Gun & Ammo Magazine.

"Now this bull moose gets within 15 yards of us and he slams on the brakes. And he's givin' us a once over makin' sure he ain't fallin into no trap.  All of a sudden, I see him start smilin' ear to ear and he let's out a howl that would have woke the dead in the Buena Vista cementary. And he's sniffin' the air and snffin' the ground especially where we spread that smellin' stuff.

Now Geary, who's looking like Casper the ghost meeting Frankinstein, says, "What did ya do, Skip?"

"So I see this bull moose smilin' like he was and sniffin' the ground, and I yell back to Thome, 'Hey Jimbo, you got that smellin' stuff back there? And he hollers back yes he does. So I yell, 'what's it say on the cover?' And he yells back, 'it says Moose French Perfume.'

"All of a sudden, this big bull moose starts swingin' around behind us. So me, being in the front with the head, I start eatin' some dandelions and twigs and I yell back at Thome, 'Jimbo, if you want to make spring training next year, you better brace yourself real quick like.'"

With that, Geary gets up and runs out the door faster than Carl Lewis doing the 100 in Seoul. And he yells back, "Condrey and me ain't interested in moose huntin.'"

And Charlie? He laughs so hard he almost busted the stitches the good doctors in Atlanta used to sew up his hernia in between two night games.

And Geary and Condrey? Well, they forgot about moose huntin' real fast, and started looking for other business opportunities, especially in the Allentown area.


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