If a man has good friends, he can live forever. -Intellectual Shaman

The sun was barely awake when I opened my eyes and the smell of black coffee lingered into my nose like a foreign woman. At 80, I had to find different passions; my latest enthusiasm was being a connoisseur of coffee. I drank the stuff that came out of civets and sampled the grounds gargled by working men; soon I found each variety colored my day.

Brad wanted to play golf, or was it that he wanted to win? The only way to do so, was to beat me, but I wouldn’t let him. I was blocking his joy, and it was pure delight.

The golf course we played hadn’t changed in 60 years. It was the only piece of land in that god forsaken county that loved the people who walked on it. This love is rarely felt on city streets where men walk to jobs they wish to avoid and the city screams without a word.

Brad never owned a car; he didn’t believe in them and perhaps I enabled his faith because I always picked him up.

“You ready to play golf?”

“I’m ready to beat your ass.”

“You’ll always be ready, but it’ll never happen.”

“It happened last time.”

“Last time? Are you kiddin?”

“Somebody has dementia.”

“Well, I still have my license.”

“Yeah, which woman at the DMV did you sleep with to keep it?”

“Alright, you’ll have to show me on the golf course.”

Walking where I had walked the last 60 years was a lot like retracing my steps; the past remained like a well-wore path, reminding me of who I was.

CLOSING was tacked across the pro shop in red letters.

“The last bright spot in this county is being rubbed out, I guess. It says, housing developments are coming. I always hoped I would die before everything around me changed because when you live in a place, you become that place, and when it changes, you have to die.”

“I say, bring on death,” Brad said. “Life takes on a repeat. I’m tired of playing this golf course and you’re depressing to listen to; I like change. In fact, I hate this stretch of land. You know what, I’ve never shot par here, not once.”

“That’s because you suck.”

“I’m better than you.”

“Okay, prove it.”

“Dollar a hole?”

“That’s a bit steep for me, but my social security should cover it.”

Brad teed it up and hooked his shot into the woods. “That’s my mulligan.”

“Okay, but I can’t give you a mulligan on every hole.” I struck my ball with pure power and it launched up the fairway 150 yards. Brad walked into the woods. One minute later, his ball shot out of the trees.

“Nice throw,” I said.

“You know I can’t throw that far; it was my 60-degree wedge.”

“Whatever.”

We played into the day and triumphed over the evening.

“What are you going to do on 17? You know that hole messes with your mind,” Brad said.

“Is it the hole that messes with my mind or is it you?”

“Hey, what are friends for?”

I slugged my shot under some storm clouds and Brad teed it up.

“Be sure to avoid the swamp on the right side of the fairway.”

“You’re so considerate,” Brad said. He swung. “Damn.”

“That’s out of bounds. Looks like you’ll have to tee it up again.

Brad Teed it up again and swung. “Damn.”

“Third times the charm,” I laughed.

Brad glared at me and teed it up again. “Damn.”

“I think you might have to pick up.”

“Say, has anybody ever been murdered on this golf course?” Brad asked.

THE END

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