I walked into the pro shop.
Karoo was behind the counter. She’s an Asian grandma.
“How are you doing, Andrew?” She asked.
“I just need to sleep,” I said. “I have insomnia.”
She didn’t know what to say.
I walked out of the pro shop.
There was a gentle breeze.
I was mentally tired, but physically okay, so that it felt like I was walking through a dream.
The sun was shining, but it wasn’t hot. There was nobody in front of me.
On the third hole, I had to wait for somebody. I was playing bad, but I didn’t mind.
Then I noticed a Japanese guy, closing fast.
“Can I play with you?” He asked.
He smacked his ball into the other fairway. “I’m a beginner,” he said modestly.
I went to look for my ball, and then I saw his ball on the green.
“Did you see my shot?” He asked.
“Yeah, that was pretty good. What do you do for a living?”
“Ah—I run import/export business. Mostly, from California, some Idaho. Import onions and melons to Japan. I had to buy 113 freezer shipping containers for the summer months. The pandemic almost wiped me out. I was 120,000 dollars in debt.”
I couldn’t understand his wild rants. I just smiled and nodded and gave a few grunts.
His arms were flying, when he talked. “I’m 66,” he said. “How old are you?”
“Do you have children?
“I haven’t found anybody, and I have a peaceful life. A woman can be chaos.”
He smiled, like he understood. “I was married for five years. Then, I found coke in her purse. She was a drug addict. She divorce me and take everything, but I let her have it, to be free of her. Now, I’m gambling addict.”
I couldn’t believe my good luck. I was looking for a story, and this guy just showed up.
“Yes,” he said. “I was at the casino for 3 days. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. I just gambol.” He laughed. “I think it’s a disease, or—how do you say—a character weakness. It’s genetic. My father was a gambler.”
“That might be an excuse,” I said.
“What do you play? Blackjack? Poker?”
“Yes—I bet everything, and what is it that they say? Life is short. Everything is risk.”
“Why do you gamble?” I asked. “Is it for the thrill?”
“It’s for the dream. I bet 10,000 here and there. My wife call 911, and the police pick me up. She was worried, because I was gone so long. I lost track of time. What’s your job?”
“I work in a school,” I said.
“No, a psychologist.”
“Ah—I bet there are lots of single female teachers in your school.”
“Yes, but not the kind I’m interested in.”
“Oh—Big,” he said. He motioned with his hands, to show her enormous size.
“Yes, that true,” I said. “Have you heard of the word, Feminist?”
“Ah—yes. ‘We are empowered to be fat,’” he laughed.
I was laughing too. The guy was a lot of fun, but he had so much energy, he was making me even more tired.
Periodically, he would get a call, and jabber-away in Japanese.
“What year were you born?” He asked.
“Oh—you are the year of the rabbit. Cautious. I am the year of the monkey. Intelligent.” He danced around and scratched under his arm-pits.
“Have you ever been hit on a golf course?” I asked.
He looked at me, worried. “Oh, by a golf ball?”
“Yeah,” I laughed.
“When I was 41, a guy shanked it, and hit me in the jaw. It took corrective surgery. I was in pain for 3 years. Japanese superstition say, 41 is when bad things happen. It’s also when a man gets older. For a woman, it’s 33. I don’t understand it. Nobody from your generation is getting married.”
“It’s a risk,” I said.
“Ah—you are the rabbit, cautious.”
“Yes, I think that’s true,” I said.
“Oh—don’t believe that. It’s only a superstition,” he laughed.
We finished our last hole.
I never got your name,” I said.
“My name is Sam. Samurai Sam.” He bowed.
“It was fun playing with you Sam.”
“You too,” he smiled.