Episode 13: Mercy!

In a matter of moments, Harry is surrounded by men in red, all with bulldog caps and beers, all settled in for the duration. By the time the large one, Bud, he says his name is, has worked his way around to possible Heisman trophy contenders in the upcoming freshman double-A recruiting class, Harry is beginning to loathe the sound of the ball on the bat.

Even the sight of Sam in a tank top has lost its allure, not to mention the food. What at first seemed quite appealing in a blowzy sort of way—bread-and-butter pickles, corn muffins, pulled pork barbecue, navy beans streaked with garlic and bacon, tangy sauerkraut slow-cooked with great chunks of andouille—is now nothing but fatty meat, over-wrought beans, and soggy cabbage.

The sun beats down mercilessly from a cloudless sky. The breeze off the Tidal Basin gives up entirely. The number 55 sun block in Harry’s hip pocket starts oozing down his leg. And the men in red, surrounded now by a cordon of empty beer cans, are still miles east of the Mississippi.

‘Take Georgia,’ says one of them, pensively, sucking down the last of what has to be his third six-pack. ‘When you’re in Athens between the hedges …’

And Harry wishes with all his heart that he were.

Previously on The Rocky Road of Love… Episode 1: One Fine Day. Episode 2: Fate and Chèvre. Episode 3: The Rocky Road Ahead. Episode 4: Could This Be Lunch? Episode 5: I Only Have Eyes for Stew. Episode 6: Harry in Love. Episode 7: Dinner for Two. Episode 8: Sam, Line 2. Episode 9: Romance at Home. Episode 10: Barbecue, Beans, and Slow-Pitch Softball. Episode 11: Play Ball! Episode 12: How ‘Bout Them Dawgs!

Up next … Episode 14: Harry Gets Mad!

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