"India Blue" by Glen Hirshberg
This story was from "Dark Screams: Vol 8" edited by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar. Published by Hydra and imprint of Random House.
Not sure what to make of this story. To be honest I wasn't even sure what the hell was going on during most of what was being read. A lot of mindless cricket chatter and descriptions that didn't really seem to convey much. I was too busy trying to make sense of the writing and the style to even catch much of what was being described.
A man, Mr. Sifuentes, was called to do a DJ, or announcement, gig at the local stadium, The Fault. There was a new professional cricket league that was starting up in San Bernardino and he was going to be there for the opening day.
Upon arriving at the parking lot Mr. Sifuentes could see two groups of people at opposite ends of the stadium parking lot. They were rough looking and at least one of them had a gun. They were local gang members expecting the parking lot to be empty tonight. Probably a gang war, nothing new in San Bernardino. He went about his business and parked in the lot.
That’s when the new owner of the league saw him and came running over to greet him. Due to his extremely blue shirt, Mr. Sifuentes decided to call him Blue Shirt, or Mr. Blue. That’s how their relationship started.
Mr. Blue was a whimsical man, but serious, especially about cricket, his cricket, the American ’ Cricket League. He was quite excitable. He wouldn’t stop moving and talking and giving directions to any and all who would listen to him and some of those who wouldn't.
Mr. Blue and Mr. Sifuentes seemed to hit it off right away. They had a mutual respect for each other.
After Mr. Sifuentes arrived and he and Mr. Blue got the pleasantries out of the way they got down to brass tax. Mr. Blue was told that Mr. Sifuentes would have the keys to all the stuff in the stadium, have a security team, and everything else under the sun that someone would need to run a proper sports event. Mr. Sifuentes told him the bad news. He had none of those things. Mr. Sifuentes was able to at least get Mr. Blue and his teams into the stadium. That’s about where the rest fell flat. That didn’t seem to bother Mr. Blue though and the game went on as scheduled.
While the game was going on, a few very special visitors arrived to the game. Mr. Blue was ecstatic to see them arrive. He told Mr. Sifuentes that this was an honor to have them there. The Destroyer as he was known to most people in the cricket leagues was an administration god. He turned around everything he touched into a more profitable situation.
There were a few other people arriving as well, but they were in the parking lot. A large group of people on both sides of the parking lot were growing as the minutes wore on. Something was brewing and it wasn’t good. Could it be the end of cricket, or just the start?
The game of cricket was going on and was a weird mix of playing cricket and antics by the players for show. It was some of these antics that made the game fun and also brought an abrupt end to everything, even a few lives.
Cricket would be the catalyst for so many people in the story and also be the detriment of a few.
I try not to write bad reviews, I try to keep them neutral and look for the positive in what I did read or find. I had a hard time with this story. The story didn’t flow well and was not very smooth. There was something off about the writing style. The story seemed to jump around and used a lot of description that was unnecessary which led to confusion. The author could have done a much better job with his description and pace of the story.
There was also a sense that the one reading the story should be familiar with the game of cricket. In defense of the author he did try to give the basics of the game in the story, but it just didn’t work. More confusion, more jumping around, more antics. You were left re-reading paragraphs trying to figure out what the hell was going on.
Overall, I was very disappointed with this story. This was the last story in the anthology and sadly it left a bad taste in my mouth. The rest of the anthology was pretty decent, but I left the entire book with this story in my brain. Not how I wanted to end a book.
Give it a shot if you want, or like cricket. Maybe you can see the polished gems that I mistook for rough rocks. How this story made it past the editor in my opinion baffles me. Then again that is just me. I’m not an editor or a professional in the literature field. I just read and know what I like and don’t like. And I didn’t like this story.