The Adjustable Kid

By Audrey W.



“Okay, this time try to throw it TO me,” Johnny said, as Jennifer DeSoto prepared to toss a tennis ball. Gage was babysitting the little girl while Roy and Joanne took Chris to the eye doctor, and playing catch seemed like the best way to keep her entertained. It was a lot better than playing baby dolls and having to pretend to change smelly diapers.


The only thing Johnny hadn’t allowed for was the fact seven-year old Jennifer couldn’t aim a throw if she tried. If he stood back a ways, she would throw it way to his left or right. If he moved closer, the ball would go straight down towards his feet; it never seemed to go the same way twice.  As hard as he tried, the paramedic rarely could catch it. He was beginning to feel like a contortionist trying.


Now Gage stood between the farthest distance he had tried and the closest. Maybe Jennifer could finally get her aim right.


“Okay, sweetheart, I’m ready.” He was poised slightly bent over, his hands cupped in front of his abdomen where he figured the ball would end up. Jennifer pulled her arm back and let fly with the tennis ball. Johnny stood amazed as this time it went straight up and then behind her.




“Yeah?” He sighed.


“You sure you know how to play this game? You miss the ball all the time.”


“Well, you see, it has to come TO me before I can catch it. Or at least in the general vicinity of my hands.”  He could tell by the blank stare he was getting that Jennifer probably had no idea what he was talking about.


“What’s vicinty?”


“Ah, never mind. How about you pick up the ball behind ya and we’ll try it again? This time throw straight out, not up.”




Poised in a stance again and ready to catch the ball, Johnny waited as the little girl pulled her arm back. Before he even realized she released it, the tennis ball was heading straight for his left eye. First instinct was to dodge the object, so Gage did, once again not able to catch it.


Jennifer put her hands on her hips. “You need to be adjustable like me.”




“Uh huh,” the girl answered.


“Whataya’ mean?”




She proceeded to stand on one foot, her right foot off the ground at knee level; the girl tilted slightly to the left and held her right hand up high in the air. Then she posed herself in the complete opposite.


“See? I can move all sorts of ways!”


Johnny nodded slowly. “Adjustable,” he mumbled. A smile crept to his face. No matter how the game was going, this had made his day. Wait till he told Roy that Jennifer was an ‘adjustable’ kid.


Gage didn’t want to tell the child she could catch so well because he was better at throwing. Instead he let her give him directions on what moves to make to be ‘adjustable’ while she threw the ball. He still missed it, as her directions were as off as her throwing, but it didn’t matter.  In his eyes, it was a new game. . .something like playing Twister standing straight up.




Once again, I have to thank my kid for the inspiration. :o)