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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Word Golf - An excerpt from "Killing Tom"

“Walt-O?” Jack asked, as he teed his ball up on the fourth hole, a delicate par 3, fronted by a smiling bunker with a creek running behind, both creek and bunker hungry for balls, anxious and inviting. “Seriously? Walt-O the fucking clown? That’s the best you could come up with?”

“I don’t hear you coming up with anything better…” Walter said. “What’s the yardage on this fucker?”

“A hundred sixty-two,” Jack said, pawing through his bag. “Probably a pitching wedge, I imagine…” He found what he was looking for and pulled out a brandy flask and unscrewed the top. Jack took a pull and passed the flask to his friend. “Have a drink, Walt-O…”

Walter took the flask and drank deeply. “See? It’s got a nice ring to it… Walt-O…”

“Why not Dumbass, the Retarded Balloon-Folder?” Jack pulled out an iron and addressed the ball, lining up a little left—he had been slicing a few. “Now that’s got a nice ring to it…” He took a couple of practice swings, then paused over the ball and pulled the club slowly back. He paused at the top of the backswing, belched and brought the club down fast, his knees bending and his arms flailing at the ball as if he were putting out a fire. True to form, Jack sliced the shot and the ball arced over the woods, then back over the fairway, dropping a few yards short of the green and running on. “Yeah, baby! I’m word-golfing! Woo-Hoo!” Jack did a happy-dance and took the flask from Walter and had a drink. “You’re up, Fuck-O!”

“Nice shot,” Walter said, pulling the pitching wedge from his bag. He teed up his ball and stood menacingly over the ball, his huge body swaying as he lined up his shot. “You know, sometimes you’re just a mean prick…”

“It’s going to be dark soon…”

Walter took a half swing and a nine-inch divot and the ball shot as if out of a cannon, hit the bunker, flew out of the sand and landed safely on the green. “Word golf! Word golf! Word golf!” Walter danced around the green like a great dancing bear.

“What the fuck did you hit?” Jack asked.

“Pitching wedge—like you said,” Walter answered, his face flushed from the Word-Golf Dance.

“Jesus Christ,” Jack muttered. “I hit a fucking six-iron…”

“You said pitching wedge…”

“I was hoping you’d drop one about fifty yards out and I could have a laugh…” Jack frowned and sheathed the six-iron. “A fucking laugh-riot.”

“See? That’s what happens when you’re a mean prick…”

“I’ll bet you still get a Mantle, probably a Yogi…” Jack had always been a Yankee fan—yet another quirk that Walter, a lifetime, long-suffering Cub fan, found quite annoying. He had taken to calling numbers which had no true worthy word-golf name by their Yankee equivalents. Therefore, a seven was a Mantle; an eight was a Yogi, and so on.

“Fuck you and your Mantles and your Yogis,” Walter said.

True to form, Walter carded a Mantle, Jack a Yogi.

“So I’ve been thinking,” Walter said as the two loaded their clubs into the minivan. “I think we should take care of Tom.”

“You’re drunk,” Jack said.

“That could be,” Walter shrugged. “It’s my day off… However, this does not make the issue go away.”

“The ‘Tom’ issue?”

“Exactly,” Walter said. “I’ve thought about it and at the rate he’s going, there is not going to be an inheritance – nothing left. And you and I will end up homeless and addicted to a variety of substances that we will not be able to afford.”

“Sounds bleak.”


They got into the van and drove from the course. “It’s gonna be hot before we know it,” Jack said. “Too hot to golf…”

“We can take him out on a lake someplace,” Walter said. “Then we can dump his crazy ass overboard. Then we can capsize the boat and cling onto it until help comes…”

“What would keep Twitchy from clinging on to the boat with us?”

“We would stay in the boat and poke him with oars until he drowns,” Walter reasoned. “Then after the bubbles stop coming up, we capsize the boat.”

Jack nodded. “I don’t know – that sounds like murder.”

“It is murder,” Walter said. “But Jesus Christ…” He let the thought drift.

“Poor crazy bastard,” Jack said. “He fucking creeps me out.”

“I know he does,” Walter said. “We’d be doing the world a favor.”

“Sure would,” Jack nodded. “But who says Lady Macbeth will be charging the gates of hell any time soon – who says she won’t spend the inheritance anyhow?”

Walter shrugged. “True enough. We come from a long line of octogenarians.”

“What the fuck?” Jack said. “What the fuck is an octogenarian – some kind of underwater scientist?”

“It’s people who live over a hundred years.”

Jack thought for a moment. “That would mean that the Lady would be around for another thirty or forty years.” He sighed. “There’s no hope that we could ever live that long…”

Walter smiled. “Well, we could take her out on the lake…”

They both laughed.

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