Close Encounters of the 3rd Base Kind Or Hello, This is Kelly
by Kent Bruyneel
THIS IS A TRUE STORY
It is not a phone call you can prepare for. You are walking around your apartment on a Friday afternoon when the phone rings and you answer it. A
voice in a Southern accent says, This is Kelly. It is not a salutation you can prepare for.
You talk to him for a while and you try to come to grips with the fact that it is actually him. Hey man, you say, is this actually Kelly Gruber? He says, "who else would pretend to be me?" You see that as a fair point.
Then, as on cue, Kelly Gruber says proudly: "ask me something only I would know", and you respond, well, how would I know that? There is a silence that arrives while you both ponder that. Not a long one though.
For within 25 seconds you decide it is him, it's him, fuck me, I am talking to Kelly Gruber!
Within that same half minute you ascertain that he has not read a word you and Matthew Dorrell have written about him. You are very excited, you try to keep him on the phone for as long as possible. While deciding how best to do this, you realize the key to a long, mutually beneficial relationship is keeping him from reading what you have written about him for as long as you can.
He is heading to Duane Ward's baseball camp asks "could we meet there, maybe?"
Though somewhere inside you see you and Matt taking ground balls and turning two (with Kelly, of course, covering third), at the aforementioned camp, you just as quickly realize that that is not about to happen. You make Kelly Gruber promise - twice - to call you again, because you realize that he is reluctant to give you a number, and you realize why. You put the early odds against him keeping his promise. (Why, all he'd have to do is read the things Matt said about him, and he would likely never speak to Matt again).
Later, that same Matthew will say that he describes the 31 Days as a fictional story about a real person. You wish you had been that eloquent to Kelly. You can't stop thinking of what it would be like to send him on a book tour and have him read the 31 Days live, and for the first time. You are so excited you are bouncing around more than normal (and normal is a lot, let us be honest).
Near the end Kelly Gruber says, "so, you're not mad at me are you?"
And you say, God no man. We love you.
Published On: August 26, 2007
Permanent Location: http://www.forgetmagazine.com/gruber27a.htm