Golden Arm - Carl Deuker

Contents

* * *

Title Page

Contents

Copyright

Dedication

Part One

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

Twenty-One

Part Two

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

Twenty-One

Twenty-Two

Twenty-Three

Part Three

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

Twenty-One

Twenty-Two

Twenty-Three

Twenty-Four

Twenty-Five

Twenty-Six

Twenty-Seven

Twenty-Eight

Twenty-Nine

Thirty

Part Four

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

Twenty-One

Epilogue

One

Two

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Copyright © 2020 by Carl Deuker

All rights reserved. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to [email protected] or to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10016.

hmhbooks.com

Cover illustration © 2020 by Greg Stadnyk

Cover photographs: Silhouette of a baseball player © Matrosovv, Getty Images; fences © ia_64, Getty Images; Seattle downtown skyline © Beboy_ltd, Getty Images

Cover design by Kaitlin Yang

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Deuker, Carl, author.

Title: Golden arm / by Carl Deuker.

Description: Boston ; New York : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, [2020] | Summary: Lazarus Weathers, a high school senior from the wrong side of the tracks, seeks to protect his half-brother while pitching his way out of poverty, one strike at a time.

Identifiers: LCCN 2019006525 | ISBN 9780358012429 (hardcover)

Subjects: | CYAC: Baseball—Fiction. | Poverty—Fiction. | Stuttering—Fiction. | Single-parent families—Fiction. | Family life—Seattle—Fiction. | Seattle (Wash.)—Fiction.

Classification: LCC PZ7.D493 Gol 2020 | DDC [Fic]—dc23

LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019006525

eISBN 978-0-358-01171-2

v1.0320

For AARON, MARIAN, AND IMOGEN

The author would like to thank Ann Rider, the editor of this book, for her advice and encouragement.

PART

ONE

One

I live in a single-wide in Jet City, a trailer park in Seattle. I got my baseball glove for two bucks at Goodwill and found my Mariners cap in a garbage can by the RapidRide E bus stop on Aurora Avenue. I don’t have baseball cleats or an authentic jersey. I’ve never been to a major-league baseball game, and we don’t have cable TV. I follow the Mariners on my radio.

My mom has worked as a custodian at Northwest Hospital for so long that she has her name—Timmi—stitched on her uniform. She named me Lazarus because I almost died while I was being born, and there’s a guy in the Bible named Lazarus who came back from the dead. I’m not good at school, and I’m not good at talking, probably because I was born two months early. When I get nervous, I tilt my head sideways and my eyes roll back, and that’s how I stay until something frees up and the words move again. I went to speech class all through grade school, and that helped some. Still, if I’m with Antonio, my younger brother, I let him do the talking for both of us.

When I’m on my game, none of that matters, because my pitching speaks for me. The hitters all look more like baseball players than I do, but their fancy gear does them no good. My arm is free and loose like a whip, and everything slows. Everything except the ball coming out of my hand. The batter might slap a soft ground ball or manage a pop fly, but squaring up one of my fastballs and driving it far and deep?

Not happening.

When I’m in the zone, I know I’m good enough to get drafted by a major-league team, and maybe even good enough to make it all the way to the major leagues. But to take even one step down that road, I need a scout to see me when I’m on my game. Until that happens, nothing happens.

My school, North Central High, is a tough school. The kids are poor like my brother and me. Some are immigrant kids who don’t speak English at home. Some are in gangs, or are gang wannabes. Teachers and coaches desert North Central first chance they get.

Mr. Kellogg coaches our baseball team, and he does it alone. No assistant coaches, no