"The secret of success is sincerety. Once you can fake that,
you've got it made."
Glyme's Formula for Success
by David Joshua Rudd
Ryan was nine, and it was the best time of his life. He spent it
in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan at a small wood cabin by a
bay off of Lake Huron. Each morning, the sun would rise and fill
his attic room with light. He would race down the ladder into the
tiled dining room for a quick breakfast before starting his
morning expedition into the woods surrounding the cabin.
Each day he would follow a different deer trail into the woods
until he found a previously unexplored territory. The green ferns
grew tall there, sometimes even to the point of being taller than
him. In many places these ferns occupied more of the forest than
the trees, they would surround him cutting off nearly all of his
vision, but he could not get lost in these woods. His father had
taught him that if he walked in a straight line in any direction,
he would either come to an old logging road or to water. He had
tested this theory, and usually he found himself along the rocky
shoreline of Macinac Bay. Then he could follow the shoreline back
to the cabin.
His morning expeditions would end when he heard his mother
ringing the cowbell back at the cabin. He would find his way back
to eat lunch before beginning his afternoon exploration.
His favorite activity was hitting rocks. He would walk along the
shore, looking for the perfect stick. It had to be 30-34 inches
long and about 3 inches thick. If it had a flat side, that was a
plus. Once he found the stick, he would sit on a rock, pull out
his knife, and peel the bark off the stick. As soon as he was
finished fashioning his stick, he would wade into the bay and
find the smoothest, roundest stones visible and place them in a
bucket. He would then carry his newly found rocks to the end of
the dock, and one by one he would hit the rocks into the water
with his stick. If the stones reached the reeds in the middle of
the bay, it was a homerun. He loved baseball, and he was very
He was sixteen, and it was spring. Sitting in the dugout he
could almost smell baseball in the air. Jack, his best friend and
the teams second baseman, sat next to him. Jack was the real star
of the team. He was the team's best hitter, and he rarely ever
made an error. Jack and Ryan had been playing together since
fifth grade, and planned to continue playing together forever.
His team made their third out so he pulled his glove onto is
hand and jogged out to his position at shortstop. He was no
longer the short, chubby boy he had been. In the past year he had
grown six inches and turned his fat to muscle. Added to this
change in appearance was a slight amount of stubble on his darkly
complected face and his dark hair had recently been cut short.
"Ryan! You're playing too deep!" His coache's voice grabbed his
attention. He moved in a couple steps and began to scan the
sparse crowd behind the backstop. His eyes moved from right to
left looking for the familiar blonde head that had become so
important to him. Finally, he found her, content that she was
there, he could go back to concentrating on the game.
It was the ninth inning now, and his team was trailing by one
run. Runners stood at the corners waiting for someone to drive
them around. It was his turn at bat, and there was one out. After
waiting on two outside pitches, he swung at the third. It was a
ground ball at the second basemen. He raced for first knowing he
had to avoid the double play, but his foot caught in a sandy
patch on the infield. He stumbled, just for a moment, but it was
enough for the other team to relay the throw to first. They had
lost. He stood on the field staring blankly into space until Jack
took his arm and led him to the dugout.
That night he met his friends at the beach for their weekly
Friday night party. The bon-fire beside the dunes blazed high
into the sky, lighting up the beach for 50 yards in either
direction. In the distance he could hear the waves crashing into
the shore, and he could see the whitecaps highlighted against the
crimson sky. The tall dunegrass around him was bent over nearly
double in deference to the strong sea breeze coming off the lake.
He sat alone gazing at the lake and then the fire and then the
He smelled her perfume before he saw her. It was Lynda. "Ry,
don't you want something to drink?" she sat down beside him and
handed him a beer. "What's wrong?"
He looked at her and shook his head, "It's nothing, really, I'm
just kind of bummed about the game. I'll be okay in a bit."
"Well, it wasn't your fault, you played a great game." She
patted his shoulder and stood up. "Come on down to the water with
us, you'll feel better." Her eyes twinkled and seemed to almost
match the emerald water.
"Yeah, I'll be right down." He watched her silhouette run down
the dune to the beach and the fire. Her short, brown hair bounced
on her shoulders as she turned around and waved.
His mind wandered back to the ball field. He could still see the
hurt in DeAnna's eyes. "I'm not going to drink, I just want to be
with the group. Why won't you come?" He couldn't understand why
she had to be so good.
"You know I won't go there. You'll all get drunk and make fools
of yourselves. Why can't you ever spend a Friday night with me?"
He thought that her eyes had been glistening with tears. He
loved her eyes, that was the first thing he had noticed about
her. They were blue like the Carribean Sea, and seemed so pure
and innocent. In the year and a half they had dated, she had cut
her hair in different styles, and changed in other ways, but her
eyes had never changed. Why did he have to hurt her? He thought
that maybe he loved her.
"Ryan! Aren't you going to have any fun tonight?" The voices
down on the beach brought him back to reality. He stood up and
brushed the sand off his legs before running down the dune to the
Someone had brought a radio, and the sounds of SUNNY FM echoed
out onto the water. A few were attempting to dance, but a
combination of the sand and intoxication was foiling the effort.
Ryan looked around at the clumps of people surrounding the fire.
He saw Jack wearing neon pink shorts. Jack was always wearing
neon. As usual, he was the life of the party. Girls surrounded
him and everyone was laughing at something he had done. "Let's go
swimming," Jack suddenly said. Everyone laughed at first, until
Jack peeled off his shirt and headed for the water.
Soon Ryan found himself in the water with everyone else,
fighting the four and five foot waves. The radio could no longer
be heard, it had been replaced by the sound of laughter,
shouting, and the surf. Eventually, Ryan followed the crowd back
into shore to sit by the fire and warm up.
It was totally dark now, and as Ryan held his hands up to the
fire to warm up, he heard an invisible voice from the other side
of the fire. "Hey, Ryan, where's Jack? Wasn't he with you?"
"He said he wanted to catch one more wave before he came in."
Ryan glanced out to the lake as he answered. It had been a while
now, and Jack should have been in. He walked to the edge of the
water and shouted out to his friend, "Jack? Where are you?"
The only reply was the crash of the surf.
Every muscle in his body tightened as he jumped to his feet and
raced toward the water. "Jack! Hold on, I'm coming!" He dove into
the black mass of foam and water and swam frantically toward the
voice. He caught ahold of Jack's arm, only to lose it as a wave
crashed over his head. He reached out again, but couldn't find
the arm. He struggled to the surface to grab a breath. "Jack!" he
screamed, "Where are you?" The only answer to his question was
the crash of waves against the shore. He felt something slam into
his legs, and he dove back into the water. It was Jack. He pulled
the body to the surface and stared into the blank eyes of his
He felt someone behind him reach for Jack and to pull the body
toward shore. He let go, and stood in the water, bewildered and
wondering why he was here. He could hear the ambulance, and could
see the lights bouncing off the sky from behind the dunes.
He wanted to dive below the water and never come up.
Lynda took his arm and led him to shore.
He was seventeen, and it was summer. The sun burned hot on his
back, but that was a part of the job. He grabbed the arbor tree
by its roots and hoisted it up to the flat-bed trailor where the
other trees had already been loaded. He leaned against the edge
of the trailor and with a dirty hand he wiped the sweat from his
forehead leaving a streak of dirt across his face. Mr Bolthouse
climbed onto the tractor and began to pull the trailer toward the
main field. Ryan jumped on the trailer to hitch a ride back.
It wasn't a bad job. It was hard work, but it paid well and he
was working outside all day. It was the second summer he had been
employed by "Black Lake Nursery" and it meant he couldn't go
North, but that was okay because he could spend his time off with
He jumped off the trailer as it passed the greenhouses, and
walked over to the hose to wash his hands off before lunch.
"Hi, Ry. Do you have a break right now?"
He knew without turning around that it was Lynda. "Yeah, I'm
going on lunch break." He finished washing his hands and started
walking toward the pole barn on the edge of the tree field.
She walked beside him. "I was thinking that maybe we could go
see a movie tonight. My treat?"
"I already told DeAnna I would go out with her tonight. Sorry,
Lyn." He hoped she wouldn't press the point.
"I thought you said you were done with her. Are you ever going
to make up your mind?"
"I can't just dump her, I've given four years of my life to her.
I really care about her. She's so good to me." He knew inside he
wasn't sure he felt that way anymore, but he wasn't sure about
"Then what have you been doing with me? Do I mean anything to
you?" She turned to leave, "When you're ready for something real,
just call me." She walked away, her hair still bouncing like it
He finished lunch and decided to go home for the rest of the
day. He had to make one stop first, though.
Her mother answered the door. "Oh, hi, Ryan. How are you?"
"I'm doing good. How are you Mrs Verway?"
"Well, I'm fine. I'll go get DeAnna." She scurried off to the
back of the house to get her daughter.
DeAnna came into the room with her usual cheer. "My dad just
told me that the A's offered you a contract. That's great. Are
you going to take it?" Her eyes sparkled more than normal at the
thought of her boyfriend's success.
"Well, I'm not sure, it's just for the minors, but if they think
I can do it, I'll probably give it a shot." He looked at her and
wondered why he ever doubted. She was the most sought after girl
in his school, and yet she had never waivered in her love for
him. But here he stood, knowing that it wasn't working right now.
"Uh, listen, DeAnna. The reason I stopped by was that something
came up with my grandma's illness. I can't go out tonight. I'm
Her eyes lost their spark, but only for a second. "That's okay,
I understand. I hope she's doing better. Will you call me
He smiled, "Sure."
The waves angrily slammed into the shore, a warning of the
forthcoming storm. Lynda took his hand in hers and squeezed it.
"I'm glad you decided to come."
They were walking along the shore of Lake Michigan just before
sunset. The sand was still warm from the long, hot day, but they
walked on the hard packed sand along the water. The waves would
run over their toes just enough to keep them refreshed.
"I guess I'm glad I came. What are we going to go watch?" He
looked down at her. She was far shorter than he was, but he
didn't really mind.
She looked up at him with that same old emerald twinkle in her
eyes, "I don't care. It's up to you."
A dead tree had eroded its way down the dune and lay stretched
across the beach almost to the water. He stopped and sat down
with his back against the tree. She followed his lead and sat
closely to him. "Do you really want to go see a movie?" she
asked. She snuggled closer and her perfume drowned all thoughts
The storm had trapped the humid air onto the beach, he could
feel beads of sweat on his forehead. He started to stand up,
"Let's go swimming."
Lynda took his arm and led him to the water. Later, the storm
roared onto the beach.
He was nineteen, and it was early autumn. He hadn't been North
in four years. He missed it, but he didn't have time anymore.
Baseball had become his living, and he had a son to support. Such
trivialities as vacation and fun no longer existed. He pulled
down the window's tin-foil curtains to let the sun in, and
brushed the sand off his bed before sitting on it. He pulled out
the old letter.
"Dear Ryan, I know that most people think I should hate you. I
don't, though. I still love you. I can see that it won't ever be
the same between us anymore, and I can accept that. I'm sure it's
hard on you now, my dad says that you probably aren't making a
whole lot. We all have faith in you, though. You're a great ball
player, and whatever you put your mind to, you'll do it. Anyway,
I guess this is kind of short, but I just want you to know that I
don't harbor any anger toward you. Please come home sometime
soon, your parents really miss you, and so do I. Love, Dee."
The ink was beginning to smear because he had read it so many
times, but this time he crinkled it up and threw it in the trash.
He didn't need her forgiveness. He missed her, but he would never
crawl back to that town. He picked up the other letter on his
"Dear Mr. Sischo, We regret to inform you that you have been
released from the Oakland Athletic farm system. We appreciate
your two years of service to our organization and wish you luck.
Sincerely, Cam Brody."
He stared blankly, then looked around the room. His Salvation
Army couch was falling apart, the wooden floor needed to be
swept. Four nights' worth of dishes lay on the table. His eyes
rested on the pictures next to the tv. Lynda smiled out at him
holding their son Cody. He had his father's looks except for the
eyes. He could never see Cody's eyes without thinking of the
lake...and then of Jack.
They were all gone now. Lynda and Cody were in Kentucky now. He
thought back to the day she had left.
"Goodbye, Ry. I guess it has to be this way. I hope you succeed
with your baseball." The tone of her voice almost mocked him now.
He looked back at the second letter. He hadn't been playing
well, but he had just expected a demotion. Now, his baseball
career was over.
There was no one to take his arm this time.
He was still nineteen, and it was nearly winter. He walked along
the rocky shore of Macinac Bay. He had forgotten its beauty. He
stopped for a minute to rest. He sat down on a familiar rock and
gazed out into the choppy water. Memories flashed through his
mind like a newsreel of his life. Jack, Dee, Lyn, Cody. The water
splashed against the rocks and sprayed his face. It was
He knew what he needed to do. He was twenty-four and it was
graduation day. He sat in his seat between Janet Simmons and Paul
Sites. Then they called his name. He walked across the platform
and shook the dean's hand. He looked out over the crowded
grandstand. DeAnna was there, so were his parents and Cody. Lynda
On the lawn afterward, he stopped to shake hands with his future
employer, Mr. Frank Martens. "Thank you so much for offering me
this job, sir. I won't let you down."
The man smiled. "We need quality teachers, Ryan. Besides, I
think you'll make a pretty good teacher." He put his arm around
his wife and gave her a squeeze. "Ryan will do fine don't you
DeAnna nodded and took Frank's arm. Ryan watched the couple
until they were out of sight.
He was twenty-seven and it was winter. It was his first trip
North in four years. He sat in the cabin reading the morning
newspaper, listening to the crackling of the fire. His son sat at
an open chest looking at old table games.
The mother was on her honeymoon with someone she had met in
Kentucky. His son was with him for two weeks. "Dad, what is this
stick for?" Cody pulled it out of the chest and held it up.
He looked at the stick. It was an old tree branch almost three
feet long. It was covered with notches of all different sizes. He
smiled. "Put your coat on, Cody. I'll show you."
They walked down the short trail to the bay and out onto the
dock. The ice had almost completely thawed, and so he easily
broke through it with the stick. He leaned over the edge of the
dock and found a perfectly round stone. He pulled it out of the
water and carried it to the end of the dock. His son watched as
he lightly tossed the stone into the air and swung the stick with
all his might. The stone easily cleared the reeds.
A bird chirped in the distance. It was spring.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.