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A Detroit Tigers dinner for three: a short story

SCENE 1: The Arrival

Justin swears as he gets cut off again. He's normally partial to Michigan drivers but the rain was causing chaos on the roads. That and he was speeding. Kate couldn't get her car started again, and he had to turn around and intervene. Now he was running 20 minutes late to dinner.

He finally arrives and shoots down the long and winding drive way, parking next to a brand new Bentley. "That's odd" he thought to himself, "I was pretty sure he only drove domestic." He jogs up to the door and rings the door bell. *BAWITDABA DA BANG DA DANG* echoes on the other side of the door. The door swings open wildly. "JUSTINNNNNN, what is UP," yells Kid Rock, out of breath from sliding down his 2 floor banister. He has some spillage on his shirt and two Labatts in his hand. He shoves one into Justin's chest and slaps him on his back. "Hey, RR." Justin always went with Kid Rock's real name, either Robert, Ritchie, or RR. "Glad you could come on such short notice, G-Money is already here," Kid Rock said as he galloped into the other room.

Justin wasn't aware there would be others. He and Kid Rock  usually played Guitar hero by themselves, but something was different here. Kid Rock's energy level was higher than normal. He tried to rack his brain for anyone that Kid Rock had called G-Money before. The list was long. Was Gerald Laird in town? Gary Sheffield hadn't hung out with them in years. His apprehension continued to rise as he heard loud thuds emanating from the living room.

SCENE 2: The Introduction

They turned the corner and there he was, Wayne Gretzky, stick in hand, firing pucks at a six foot body double of Dustin Johnson. "Don't worry, he's just letting off some steam. How freaking awesome are 3D printers!!" Kid Rock fires an empty Labatt at the double and slaps Gretzky on the back. "Wayne, I want you to meet Justin, the meanest fastball throwing man on the planet."

"Nice to meet you Justin," Gretzky said as he rifled one last puck, "I hear you play a mean Free Bird"

"I dabble," Justin said modestly, still caught off guard at being so casually introduced to the greatest hockey player to live. "May I?" Justin turns and launches his Labatt at the body double removing the head. "Good toss," Gretzky says and shakes his hand, "what's for dinner?"

SCENE 3: The Dinner

"What do you think? Venison, with a side of venison. I killed this thing myself with death slayer over here," Kid Rock stated as he walked over to a closet. "Well that's a new nickname," Justin thought as he turned expecting to see Kid Rock's rifle. Instead he was triumphantly holding a sub machine gun. "You use an MP5 to hunt?" Gretzky asked incredulously. "Hell yeah, we strap ourselves into 4 by 4s and rip through the woods. They never see it coming."

"Efficient," Justin snorts. He had long stopped being surprised by Kid Rock's ingenuity. "Let's eat, this thing, I'm starving."

The dinner conversation was lively and random. Dialogue skipped from Miggy's new hair cut "I'm growing mine like it," Kid Rock said, to Gretzky's next investment tactic "I'm going to invest in the Blue Jays," to Verlander's trip to Napa. "What the hell do you do all day" Kid Rock questioned. "Well you taste different vintages and take in the country side," Justin volunteered. He knew he was going get a hard time from Kid Rock but Gretzky intervened, "Its really delightful man, we gotta get you out there." Rock looked incredulous, "I've got northern Michigan, you Nancys can keep Napa."

SCENE 4: The Competition

Stuffed, it was time for the main event. Justin was interested to see Gretzky play, he didn't take him for much of a gamer. The trio went through the customary stretches and it was on. Justin and Kid Rock went first, expertly dominating "Carry On My Wayward Son." Justin, feeling confident, gave Gretzky a nod and handed him the plastic guitar.

Gretzky was incredible. He would look away from the screen, taunt Kid Rock, and at one point seamlessly answered his phone, performed a stock trade with whoever was on the other side, and hung up his phone without missing a note.

The songs kept coming for the trio, after about two hours, a fair amount of beer and wine, and one shattered guitar, it was time to get back home. "Hold on," Robert said, "got you guys something."

Awesome time at dinner last night with these guys. @kidrock #thegreatone

A photo posted by Justin Verlander (@justinverlander) on

Justin was always a little off-put by Kid Rock's handouts after hangouts. It reminded him of Jeter's gift baskets, but who is going to turn down a shirt with your face on it that said Bad Ass? "Thank's again Robert, and let me know next time you are in town Wayne" Justin said as he headed for his car. "I'm staying at Hank's next month, we are gonna tear up some NHL 16, I'll give you both a call," Gretzky said. Justin couldn't imagine how good Gretzky was with the right stick in NHL 16 if this was how he played guitar hero.

SCENE 5: The Reflection

As he drove home, he thought of some advice that Gretzky had given him. "Just like real life, you don't want to waste the bonus too early. The best is yet to come." Verlander knew that next year would be the year he returned to prominence. His song has only just begun.

The End