Hughes walked into the pro shop. There was a tired kid behind the counter.
“Do you want to go out?” He asked.
Even on a summer day, the clouds were threatening. The sun was shining through, but there was violence in the heavens.
“Yes—and I need some golf tees.”
“You saved a dollar thirty-five with your discount.”
“Oh—I’ll be rich,” Hughes said.
There was nobody on the course.
Hughes teed it up and struck his ball down the fairway. He liked playing with himself. After the government forced early retirement on him because he knew too much, Hughes enjoyed going back to his teenage years, which meant lots of drinking and lots of golf. He used to be made of hard wood, but now the termites ate him from the inside. He was 51. At 50—he thought he could play golf and drink until he died. He was going to beat the course record inside of a year, but his strokes piled up, like the bodies he had disposed of, in the name of… freedom…or some such damn thing.
Now he was truly free, and he didn’t like it. The inner rot was coming from not being needed, and the prospect of living to 100, was too much for him. He had taken to smoking big cigars. A true addict is a true failure, and Hughes had tried without success for so long that nothing could make him feel good.
On the 13th hole, his drive hit a house. He didn’t think much of it. He just teed it up again and wacked his ball down the fairway, and when he got close to the green, he heard a voice behind him.
“Hey—is this your ball?”
“I don’t know.”
“It hit my house.”
“Well, there’s nobody else out here, so you can have it.” He gave the ball to Hughes. There was no confrontation.
On the 14th hole, Hughes drove his ball into a residential lawn. A woman, in her early 30s, was doing her gardening in one of those wide-brimmed flower hats. There was nothing to eat in her garden—only flowers.
When she looked at him, she had big white sunglasses covering most of her face, but they didn’t hide her bruises.
“Bad day?” She asked.
“The worst,” Hughes said. “Say—what happened to your face?”
“The dog gave me these. He pulled the leash and I fell.”
She was lying—it was the tone in her voice, that tried to tell the truth too carefully.
A Ferrari pulled into the driveway and a man got out, wearing black sunglasses.
“Lorraine—who are you talking to? I told you to get the grill ready. My friends are coming over.”
He ignored Hughes.
“What’s wrong with your wife’s face?” Hughes asked.
“She’s not my wife—and why don’t you go play with your balls.”
Lorraine went to deal with the grill and Hughes stood there.
“Are you deaf?”
“I have selective hearing.”
“Well—maybe you need to have your ears boxed.”
“I don’t know you, but I know, you hit your girlfriend.”
“So, what—it’s none of your business.”
“I’m making it my business.”
“What are you going to do about it?”
Hughes looked into his black eyes. The man’s suit suggested a corporate VP.
“Pistols,” Hughes said. “Walk onto the fairway.”
Hughes pointed a Walter PPK at him.
When they were 20 paces from each other, Hughes threw the man a Smith and Wesson.
“Now, I’m going to kill you and the only way to stop me, is for you to shoot first.”
The guns went off and the grass turned red.
Hughes stared into the stormy sky with a smile on his face.
It was his honor, on the golf course.