To an outsider, there really was no reason for Bill Hall to be standing in the hallway.
The hotel was full of MLB All-Stars, and he wasn’t one. He wasn’t a fan favorite. Nobody was scanning the rosters of the NL squad, shouting “Wait a second… where’s Bill?!” He was just Bill Hall, of the San Francisco Giants. And his heart was filled with revenge.
“Excuse me sir,” a bellhop said.
Bill jumped. As any analyst would tell you, his instincts were starting to fail him. After several moments of silence, he stepped out of the bellhop’s way and waited to see he would ask for an autograph.
No, the hallway remained silent, save for the quiet squeak of the bellhop’s food cart, getting less audible as it was wheeled away. Bill was frustrated. He’d assumed by now the air would be filled with panicked, muffled screams. The plan he’d spent months crafting in airplane bathrooms and hotel bars seemed to be taking longer than he’d predicted.
It was simple, really. Way back in Spring Training, Bill Hall had been wronged. He quite easily slipped back to that moment in time, as he had many times since mid-March. There he was again, standing in the batter’s box in Clearwater. And there was Cole Hamels, out on the mound, preening in the sun.
“FUCK YOU, BILL HALL, YOU COWARD” Cole had shouted; though afterward, many people had informed Bill that nothing like that was said out loud, and the closest thing to a noticeable sound prior to his at bat was a sea gull screeching casually overhead.
“He’s a good guy,” Cole had said, but Bill knew what he meant. He could see it in his eyes. Cole may have been saying nice things, but his eyes were very plainly saying “Bill Hall is a gutless coward whose best days are behind him, and probably hasn’t satisfied his wife in years.”
And just like Bill thought, on the very next pitch, Cole Hamels came inside on him. And nobody came inside on Bill Hall. Especially not after insulting him with their eyes.
“He’s definitely a marked man for me now,” Bill had replied to the media, which people had laughed at. Sure, Bill may not be a household name in most houses, including his own. But if there was one thing Bill Hall could do well, it was say who was marked and who wasn’t. And he’d said Cole Hamels was.
So Bill had found himself plotting against Hamels from Spring Training onward, with his plans set to reach fruition just at the All-Star Game.
He had himself traded to a west coast team so that access to Phoenix, AZ would be even simpler. He watched as Cole Hamels had a season good enough to put him in the All-Star Game. And then, he would put together a situation that would end in Cole Hamels’ untimely death–and look entirely like an accident.
Because not only was Bill Hall un-pitch-insideable, he was a genius. And the dangerous part was, he knew it.
He’d placed the scorpion under Cole’s pillow, assuming that when the pretty boy laid down for his undoubtably fourth diva nap of the afternoon, he’d be met by a sharp sting and a sudden fall. But Bill had been standing in the hallway for six and a half hours now, and there hadn’t been a single bloodcurdling scream for his efforts.
“Maybe its out of poison,” Bill thought. ”It did sting me 40 or 50 times on the way over here.”
He looked down at the welts on his hands. They looked pretty bad. Maybe he should have used gloves. Ah well. He could fight off a silly poison if he had to.
The bellhop was returning from his journey down the hallway; but this time his head seemed to be comprised of colorful swirls and surrounded by miniature dancing Cole Hamelses, all mocking Bill relentlessly.
“Nyah, nyah, nyah!” they shouted in shrill, antagonistic tones. ”‘My name’s Bill Hall and I !”
“SHUT UP!” Bill bellowed. ”YES I DO!!! I DO IT ALL THE TIME!”
“Sir, are you okay?” asked the bellhop. ”You… you’re foaming at the mouth.”
Bill caught a glimpse of himself in the nearest doorbell. One of his eyes twitched involuntarily as his hands began to swell.
“Oh, I’m fine,” he replied, attempting a casual, laid back tone that greatly contrasted the crazed shouting from seconds before. He tried to coolly lean against the wall behind him to drive the point home, but in doing so slid to the ground without realizing it.
Just then, his phone beeped. To properly stalk Cole, he’d begun following him on all social media fronts.
“Here’s the scorpion that was in our room!” Cole had tweeted. Bill would have recognized that scorpion anywhere. The incompetent creature couldn’t even poison the right person.
“You son of a…”
“Sir?” asked the bellhop, who Bill now hallucinated as Cole Hamels wearing a devil costume and prodding him with a pitchfork. ”Sir, I’m calling an ambulance.”
“Call whoever you want,” Bill mumbled, slipping in and out of consciousness. ”That… that scorpion’s a marked man…”