21 (Horizon Lines) The Simplest Games

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               The first thing I did was buy new clothes, some khaki shorts and a few thick white shirts, they could look like normal clothing but out on the green they still passed as golf paraphernalia provided I wore a cap. I wouldn’t have bothered with any of it, but if I stayed here long they could pay for themselves in tips. “What’s the matter get tired of being bullet proof”, Becket said when he saw me wearing the outfit giving his usual wolf grin. He’d given no indication that he’d know what the holes in my clothing were before now, so his words startled me, but I just shrugged. “If you’re trying to fit in, I’d say learn the game first. People around here don’t care as much for flash and flare, they just love the game. Can’t say that for sure about the other visitors but on the green it’s mostly true”, he said it as he polished clubs checking his reflection in them.

               “I know the game!”

               “Wrong, you think you know it, come over here and I’ll show you what I mean”, I obliged as he slid the club into a bag full of its covered brothers, “Name one” he said waving over the lot.

               “9 Iron” I said pointing confidently to the biggest one

               “Wrong, that’s Wood boy, try again”, my knowledge of golf was limited to nine irons which I assumed started at the largest and worked their way down to one and were followed by a wedge and a putter. That added up to eleven clubs, this bag had fourteen. So I changed tack and started at the bottom.

               “Putter”, a nod, “Wedge, 1 Iron…”

               “Stop right there, I know you can count to nine, find me a 3 Wood”, I pointed back at the biggest one, “Wrong again that’s a 5 Wood, 5, 3, 1, Woods are drivers, which of these do think hits the farthest” I pointed at the 5 Wood again, “It’s is a little bigger yes but only to make the angle better for hitting the ball up instead of out, 1 Wood will get you closest to the hole provided you don’t hit the ground. Now that I’ve told you this which are my Long Irons” I touched Irons 1, 2, 3 and he nodded, “and the Shorts” 7, 8, 9, “Good, I assume you know what that leaves in the middle, so let’s move on.  What’s this little clip on the side of the bag for”, I looked as he tugged a little metal ring and could only shrug, “It’s for a towel, on a hot day a golfer gets sweaty. Now that we’ve covered the most basics of carrying do you know how to swing a club” I shook my head in an honest no, “Good then you don’t have any bad habits. We’re open year round but Mondays are a definite off season, next Monday me and you are going out and I’ll show you how, do you know why that’s important”

              “No”

              “Every once in a while you’ll get some idiot who hardly knows one side of a club from the other, you can never tell this idiot anything twice, but give him clear quick advice and if he listens he’ll be real grateful, understand”

              “Yes”

              “Also if you stay here long enough you’ll come to know the course, even good golfers might ask your advice on the clubs for that. Since you hardly know anything you’ll have to learn that from watching the ones that play well and remembering what they do differently. Also keep in mind how hard a man can hit the ball before you doll out advice, some power hitters can do things others can’t. Match your advice to a man’s apparent talent, that clear”, I nodded, “Good now get out there and find someone who needs a Cadi, even if your good for nothing else I’m sure you can start carrying the bag. Oh and one other thing, a lot of players only have one Wood.  It’s best not to say anything about it.”

              Early winter didn’t seem like the time for golf but the course was busy anyways. I went to the edge of hole one and offered my services. Becket had already made the rules of my pay clear earlier, as long as it was light out I was to be carrying or standing ready to carry. If there was no one playing I could still earn a wage by posting up like a statue ready to serve and if I slacked off on a busy day I would be sure to forfeit the same earnings. What he hadn’t bothered to mention with all his talk of ‘a man’ this, and, ‘a man’ that, was that several of the players were woman. I didn’t know woman played golf, I know it’s a modern age and all, but think about it, have you ever seen a woman’s football team on mainstream television. I never watched golf, but all the glimpse of professional golf I’d caught had depicted men, how was I to know. Woman played soccer, volleyball, tennis and sometimes basketball; I didn’t know they played golf. I mean there’s always that remote possibility of the one girl on the football team, but with golf there were almost as many girls as guys. It was honestly the most even numbers of the genders I’d ever seen in a sport. Tennis, girls, soccer, guys, volleyball, definitely more girl heavy even if I don’t know why, basketball, guys hands down, egotistical star players and whatnot it’s kind of a thing. Baseball used to be a guy thing, then it tried to switch over which went over pretty well as I understand it, but these days I’m not sure if anyone watches it anymore. Culture wise football kind of overshadows everything in the states so maybe I just don’t know what I’m talking about. Getting back to the point, I didn’t know girls played golf, surprise, surprise (Have I beaten this to death or what).

             My first customer was a woman and the first thing I had to do was keep my trap shut, which was probably a good thing since I didn’t have any good advice to give and from the get go she played a pretty decent game. I had to suppress a chuckle at hole 8 for purely personal reason, but it went by in a flash. She played all 18 holes in just over three hours finishing with a score of five under par. I’m not sure how good that is but I’m willing to wager it ranks as at least a minor freaking awesome even on a clear day. This was made apparent by my next customer a short man who dug into the grass with half his swings and didn’t keep score, he wasn’t a golfer, just a man at the resort trying his hand and he was terrible. I probably wasn’t any better so I kept my mouth closed again.  A few holes from the end it started getting dark and the tired man gave up.  Note to self a good golfer can finish a game in a morning, bad golfers take all day. Pick the right talent to Cadi for and you’ll walk the course twice, which means less standing around and a good break for lunch.

               The next few days I learned that the majority of better players liked to start early. What is it about athletes that makes so many of them chipper morning people? They called for clubs, I supplied them and slowly I began to see patterns to their choices. Long straights, short straights, bends, tree lines, fair way, waters and sand, almost every set of circumstances had a practical safe choice and a dare devils gambit. Go over the trees and skip the turn, hit it long you can angle it past the bunker, spin it against the wind for that extra bit of distance it won’t fly out of control and dive to the side. Talent had more to do with this game than any sport I’d ever seen, but at the same time there seemed to be more choice and more chance and even after that most of the people played against themselves. How did all of it even fit into one game? It had never occurred to me I would like golf, it just seemed like a lot of walking, but watching it I started to get the strangest draw to the game and its chaotic simplicity. I was eager for the promised lessons. I forgot Alisa; I forgot reputations, plans and home. I forgot the gang that probably wanted to string me up and the gun that was still in my backpack, suddenly the game I had never paid any attention to was my whole life and it happened almost overnight.

              Me, Golf…? What are the odds? Before Caddying I would have said a snowballs chance in hell, but it was rather like falling for Alisa, the unthinkable could be the strangest perfect fit. I was still a ways from seeing that though. That’s just how life is; everyone is always two or three steps behind their own reasoning and me being me, I was usually lagging by two or three more.

Created: Apr 09, 2014

Tags: apocalypse themed, the simplest games, 21, romance, indy adventure, science fiction, sci-fi, fiction, story, lines, horizon, horizon lines

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