The city golf course is full of hot music and delight, surrounded by suburban homes, where men grill beef on their barbecues and golf carts cut through the fairways against regulations, fueled by beer and marijuana. Slang gets thrown around, like a common language while unrefereed betting and arguing emerge, punctuated by cheers from unlikely great shots.
I teed it up and drove my ball down the par 5. A single in front of me turned around to give me a piece of his mind. I gave him a smile and his demeanor changed.
“You know… I played this course so I wouldn’t get rushed,” he said.
“Would you like to play through?”
“Sure. Do you get out here to play golf very often?” I asked.
“This is my second round of golf in five years. I had a couple of kids.”
“Really? And you didn’t get out for five years?”
“When you get married, you realize how selfish you were.”
“Strange, my married friends all tell me the same thing. Well, I’ll probably bump into you later; it’s slow up ahead. Have a good round.”
“You too.” And he smiled. His emaciated faced looked like it had stared at a computer screen for 12 hours a day for 5 years. There were dark circles under his eyes and whenever I saw someone who was on track with their life, it always made me feel good where I was. I played the next couple of holes with perfection. Perfection is a non-thinking activity that requires focused feeling without caring too much.
I walked between million-dollar homes and wondered at what the people did to live there. Suddenly, my contemplation was interrupted by a little salesman.
“Would you like to buy some golf balls?”
“What are your rates?”
“Three for a dollar.”
“Deal.” I handed him the bill. He reminded me of me.
Next hole, I ran into two kids who were 19 or 20.
“Do you mind if I join you guys?” I asked.
“Why not.” The charismatic one lit a duby and smiled through yellow teeth.
“What’s your name?”
“My name’s Andy. What yours?”
“Jerome. Are you kidding; that’s the wrong century?”
“Okay; my name’s Alex.”
“You owe me five bucks,” Tyler said.
“Do not; we tied that hole. It carries over to the next.”
They argued back and forth as they became higher than kites. Strangely, their golf games improved; the drugs really helped. Then Tyler swung on the 7th and hooked his shot towards a million-dollar home. Breaking glass made me cringe and Tyler yelped with excitement. “That’s not a free drop; pay up.”
“Are you kidding?”
Then an old man in a pink bathrobe ran out into the summer heat.
“Which one of you cocksuckers smashed my window?”
Tyler and Alex pointed at each other.
“Well, I’ve called the police.”
“Did you see it?” He asked me.
“Ummm,” I said.
“What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?”
“We’ll sort this out,” Alex said. “Don’t worry.”
“Okay, but I’ll need to get your phone number.”
“Sure, it’s 206—.”
“Okay, I’ll dial it. Mutt Cuts Services. You sons-of-bitches; just wait, the police will be here in two minutes.”
“Run,” Alex said.
I got into my truck just as the troopers pulled up. Their sirens wailed as they drove onto the city golf course. It was an unforgettable round.