Gwenivere sat in the sand with great fire of the sun beating in her face causing her eyes to squint. Through the slits she was eyeing a group of boys off in the distance. The midday sun shone directly overhead casting unflattering swarthy circles under her eyes. Her bum was moist from the wicking effect off her purple cotton leggings. They were sucking moisture from the damp sand. The boys watched Jeff, the leader of the triumvirate stomp a sand castle.
“Die…you silly peasants. Take that for raiding my castle!” Jeff shouted. And the other two boys gleefully agreed:
“Yeah die peasants!”
Gwen (for that is what Jane, her mother called her) had just a short while before meticulously and painstakingly built the tiny fortress. She had gone to gather wild daisies at the edge of the park to embellish her property. Upon returning she espied the boys approaching her tiny kingdom. She sat on her hams, then her bum where she is now watching them destroy her castle. She squeezed her ragged fur-worn bunny Brer in her right hand and her wild wilting daisies in her warm left fist. Her hair was tangled with sand seeds and burs, which gave her the appearance of a wild child. Her dirty violet soiled leggings kept her from standing at the moment. The daisies fell from her fist which softened as she watched the sand fly. Jeff decimated the last lump of sand that would have been the bottom level where the grand hall received its dignitaries from other lands. Gwen felt a volcano arising just deep to her her belly button. It spread upwards to her diaphragm then to her chest. Next it spread to her arms which began a nervous tremble. Her hands now throttling Brer began to tear his head off. A cotton muffled popping sound only Gwen heard as the lock-stitch threads ruptured. She detached Brer’s tan-bunny-head from his stuffed little body. The volcano ascending through flesh and nerve moved into her throat, then neck and finally her face. If anyone were to look at her this moment they would see her face now turning cherry red. But no one was looking at her. Hot tears streamed down Gwen’s face as she quietly buried Brer’s head in the moist sand. She rolled her pant legs up, took off her shoes and stood.
Jeff, Danny and Seth, now noticed the little girl with the messy hair rising on the other side of the sandy playground fifty feet away. They hushed their militant salvos and sniggered at one another.
Gwen shambled toward the entrance of the park, which was now her exit.
A reverberating warped instrumental refrain was just rounding the corner and luring the children like rats to a pipe. The ice-cream man was who was enjoying this sunny afternoon was pulling up to his regular stop: Sunny Pine Park. He had treats for the kids. He had treats for himself. Carl the aged, bespectacled, long gray-haired hippy, indulged in his inventory with a twist. He nursed his own little shandy: A concoction of frozen Minute Maid ice-cream with Sierra Nevada Hefeweizen as he navigated through suburbia.
Gwen reached into her hoodie front pockets to find a bobby-pin, a Milkway wrapper and a dime. She watched as Carl pulled to the curb and gave her wave. He noticed the red face and tear tracks but said nothing.
“Ice cream... Get your cold ICE CREAM!”
Gwen hung back. The clamor of the the triumvirate stopped Gwen in her tracks and they raced past her smelling of sweat and sand. Jeff pushed his way to the front.
“Ill take a Nestle Crunch.”
“Two-fifty,” Carl grinned a warm buzzed smile from the ice-cream truck’s service window.
“Two-fifty? What a rip,” Jeff said fetching three rumpled dollars with his sticky hands from his camo cargos. An irreverent little shit. Thought Carl as he took the money.
“I’ll have a Choco Taco,” Seth said.
“Me too,” piped Danny.
“Five even… even Steven,” chuckled Carl.
The boys took their change and gave a dirty look toward Gwen as they headed back for more mayhem in the park.
Gwen watched silently through narrowed angry eyes as a few more kids trickled toward the Carl’s truck and bought frozen treats. Carl glanced left and right to ensure no more suckers were coming. The warped refrain blared as he gassed the truck and sped off. He caught a glimpse of Gwen’s mottled face in his convex side-view mirror as he pulled away.
Gwen walked fifteen feet west. She pushed the crosswalk button. She looked up and saw three hawks floating overhead riding on the midday thermal drafts. A huge white van was annoyingly partially blocking the side walk. She peered around it to see if the green walking stick man was blinking in the metal square crosswalk box. The large trees and brush behind her was creating ample shade and the dampness of her cotton pants gave her a little shiver. Just then a violent force knocked her forward causing her head to snap back. But it did not injure so much as cause instant consternation as to what hit her. The next thing she knew her face was being smashed into a greasy smelling itchy wool carpet devoid of anything other than blood from her nose. The moment that she was struck she was unaware and impulsively let out a stream of notes like that of a discordant whistle. Gwen had started to squeal hysterically before the the same man who knocked her forward clapped his hand over her mouth and tossed her face down onto the grey threadbare rug in his battered white van.
The power of a moment. In an instant, things can change. For example, on a bright clear day on the twenty-eighth of January over the Atlantic Ocean on planet earth in the year 1986 at exactly 11:39 PM and thirteen seconds an inexorable explosion occurred. The explosion killed seven exceptionally bright minds. The fateful cataclysm followed a normal process of extrusion, but a “failsafe” failure of of O-rings.” This moment was simply fate. But the power of the moment can also have diametrically opposed less sinister fates when that view of the same instant of phenomenal transactions played out on earth’s stage has an alternate purview. Not all stories may end as you like it— but we can conclude all the world’s a stage.
The instant the shrill whistling issued forth from the throat of young Gwen, Mindy Jeff’s nanny had reluctantly raised her eyes from the unnatural glowing glare of her iPhone to glimpse a man tossing kicking legs into a van and slamming the sliding door shut. He jumped through the passenger door. The van sped off.
Mindy had been obscured by the Pine trees and over-grown oleander where she tramped off to engage in a smutty phone call with her twenty-two-year-old randy boyfriend, Randy.
She had walked just about fifty-yards away, where she was hid among the Pines and oleanders to engage in her sexting and salacious call. Jeff and the boys were still audible so she figured no harm done. Even if she could not see the boys playing in the sand she rationalized her action of leaving her charges. She was satisfied that she could still hear them. Conversely she did not want the boys or any park patrons eavesdropping on her— for obvious reasons. With her face busied in the screen like much of her generation some vast wrongness registered in her immediate consciousness. Even just seconds before Gwen’s blood curdling scream.
The glance was enough to see the dirty deed. She saw the man. She saw the van. If Wayne Chasey, the abductor knew Mindy saw him, he would have nabbed her too. But he did not know. And foremost he would have first been annoyed by a woman spoiling the privacy of his agony.
Mindy’s fingers trembled as she keyed the virtual buttons. 911.
She was unaware of the flood of endorphins that pulsed through her veins as she had not studied physiology, but she suddenly felt the need to run to where she had left Jeff and the boys whom she was supposed to be supervising at the sunny, sandy park.
“911. What’s your emergency?”
“I think I just saw abduction.”
“What…. Mam your breaking up?”
“I think I just saw abduction.”
“What’s your location?”
“I’m at Sunny Pine Park in Rosewood”
“Did you see who was abducted?”
“No!” she began to cry now as she did not see Jeff, Danny or Seth as she rounded the bend.
With her tearful voice echoing the now empty park, the boys slipped out from the trees they were powwowing in to see the ruckus. She immediately headed toward the boys while crying into the receiver.
“Jeff!" Mindy called.
“Jeff, is that the person who took someone?’ The 911 operator spoke into the phone.
“No. No, Jeff is who I watch. I am his nanny. I thought he was taken.” She cried hysterically into the phone.
“Mam, mam I need you to calm down. Did you see who was taken? Do you know who took the person?”
“No. No! I just saw legs, bare feet… kicking and screaming, and a man slamming a door shut!”
“What kind of vehicle mam?”
“A white van”
“What kind of van? What make? What Model? New or old?
“I dunno. I dunno. Older I guess. Kind of beat up but it had a sliding door. That’s the door I saw him slam shut.”
“Okay, mam which way did he go?”
“Is that east or west in front of the park?”
“I…I... don’t know.” And she did not know. Mindy may have been a kind and caring nanny, that is why the Montag family hired her. But Mindy was not a quick study.
“Okay he headed downhill,” Sarah repeated Mindy’s words.
The dispatcher was familiar with the park and recollected downhill was east. While speaking calmly to Mindy, Sarah’s fingers moved swiftly over her keyboard. She relayed info simultaneously to the local Rosewood Police, Fire and EMS responders.
“Okay Mam, what is your name?”
“Okay Mindy is this your cell phone you are calling on?”
“Stay put Mindy. I have police en route.” Mindy shook as she bear-hugged the three boys.
“What’s wrong?” asked Jeff Montag?
Her tears left black snaking trails down the middle of her cheeks.
“I don’t know Jeff. Someone was taken from the park.”
Garth Snyder and Mick Smith were en route to Sunny Pine Park. They were racing nearly full bore westward on Rosemount boulevard. The Crown Victoria’s engine roared through the hilly suburbs as they ascended in high gear. Garth, on the force less than a year, coming from a long long of cops, caught a glimpse about one-hundred yards ahead of white blur—what appeared to be a van swinging right and out of sight now. A vehicle moving way too fast on these streets. He thought.
“Slow down,” he said to his partner. I think we have our perp making a right there on block three ahead east bound.
Mick slowed down to about forty and swung a tires-screeching left as they approached Saint Beregonne Lane. He now flicked on his sirens. The sirens blare traveled quickly through the suburbs and suburbanites who were outdoors washing their cars or gardening looked up from their tasks. Wayne’s spine in an instant was like a ramrod. He was certain the sirens were for him. He was right. Yet, he could not imagine how that would be possible. He rationalized his fears away. It could not possibly be for me. Not a soul saw me snatch that little bitch.
Mindy was the soul. That set into to motion the fate of the pederast behind the wheel of the white van that was now speeding through the hilly residential like a madman. His van looked like a scene out of the TV crime drama, The Streets of San Francisco. Gwen thumped around the van slamming into the floor as they rocketed over speed bumps in the neighborhood and passed signs that read: Drive like your kids live here.
Mildred had just come out to tend her glorious front yard garden. She ventured out to touch and smell the Euphorbia, Alstroemerias, Catmint, lavender and her personal favorite the fuchsia pink hortensias. These roses’ heads were about the size of a salad plate when they were at full blossom. They were in full bloom today. The heads giving off a heady, romantic fragrance that reminded Mildred of her dead husband George. The gardeners did the bulk of nurturing: feeding, pruning and watering. Mildred got the glory on sunny afternoons when she ventured from her dark worn living room cane-back rocker. Mildred stood on her flagstone path contemplating putting on gloves or to touch and hold the petals with her bare hands. She had just decided to leave the gloves off and wistfully smiled as she took a step toward the thick bunches of of serried hortensia. Just then she became aware of the roaring engine. She froze at first thinking she was hearing ringing in her ears.
A crescendo of wood-splitting, metal crunching and a discordant blaring horn drew out Mildred’s neighbors. A carnal lust for blood and our commonality of morbid curiosity compelled some to run toward the wreck.
Wayne’s van had hit the speed bump that slowed rebel speeders on her block. They were installed by community force after a young boy was run over on her lane four years ago. A seventeen year-old, truant from the Kipwall High was high on dope, zipping through Saint Beregonne Lane on his way to buy beer. Kipwall was about a mile from Mildred’s. Everyone thought it was a shame.
A speeding infraction was the least of Wayne’s worries. He could see the police sirens about four blocks back whirring and whining. They were after him. In the instant he took his eyes from the road ahead, to see who was trailing him he hit the speed bump. The left tire hit first and Wayne thought he’d run over or hit something. It jolted him. He whipped the wheel right to avoid what ever he hit on the left and smashed fantastically into the telephone poll in front of Mildred’s Arcadian like garden.
He slammed forward smashing his ribcage into the unforgiving molded vinyl resin. Bones and cartilage snapped and like wet soggy firecrackers. His head slammed into the dashboard causing a serious, oozing gash and a concussion he was not yet dead from.
Gwen had just prior to the crash cowered up against one of the rear passenger seats and had minimal forward velocity as she was already buttressed snug against the base of the the chair. But she did a pretty hard rebound, bouncing back once the van quit its forward momentum. She wet her pants. And smacked into the seat behind the one she had crouched up against. Other then a broken radius and ulna, she suffered no major physical trauma. Gwen was aware that they crashed. She laid there on the grey carpet wondering if the man who slapped her mouth earlier was going to grab her now and run. The engine juddered and quit. Stream rose with a sibilant note from the crumpled metal hood.
“Ohh… oh,” Wayne made some guttural sounds from the driver’s seat.
Gwen scrunched tight against her new chair. She did not yet feel the pain of her broken bones. Sirens approached and stopped. She smelled a burning smell. She heard yelling.
“Arggh,” a loud groan issued from the man in the driver’s seat.
Wayne pulled his body up gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles. His body coordinated imperfectly with his mind. With his left hand he grasped for the door handle and with limited strength tugged on it. The door creaked open.
“Freeze! Freeze! Put you hands up!” Yelled officer Snyder.
“Freeze!” echoed officer Smith.
Smith stood in the crook of his Crown Victoria’s driver-side door groping for the Motorola radio to advise suspect located. Snyder began his slow crouched walk approaching the wreckage.
Wayne heard the officer but had no plans of sticking around or cooperating. His mind flashed to the three previous children he had abducted Kimberly and Lacey and Jack. He learned their names only after seeing missing children news’ reports from the former towns he had passed through.
He nearly fell as he caught the edge of the van door to support his failing equilibrium.
Bright, fresh blood smeared across the driver’s side door window from the flowing head wound.
Officer Snyder kept shouting:
“Freeze! Stay where you are.”
Wayne held on tight to the van-door with his back to the officers.
He was not relenting to his impotence. He was summoning the energy to bolt as soon as the epinephrine kicked in and when he felt they were too close. Knowing or hoping they would not fire on this suburban street with people out on their lawns and porches. But today was the high tide of Wayne's misfortune.
Officer Smith decided to hem in the suspect from the right in a pincer-like tactic, in case the suspect was feigning fatigue and planning to bolt.
Smith slammed the Motorola back in the vehicle. It inadvertently knocked the five-speed stick-shift. The stick shift moved from park into neutral. The year at the academy tried to imbue the officers with mantra for heated situations. Such as ‘cooler heads always prevail’. But in the haste and flurry of spotting the wreck, the van door opening and knowing they were in pursuit of potential child abduction, Smith forgot to engage the parking break. A simple mistake. An easy oversight that would not matter much on level ground. Nothing to worry about so long as the car was in park. But Saint Beregonne Lane was a thirty percent grade down hill just about where the cruiser now perched. When Smith slammed the door shut the car rolled forward. At first Smith did not even notice. His eyes were swapping from the suspect to his partner as he was running forward. Finally, he noticed the car rolling forward, he first tried to jump in front of it to no avail. It was moving too quickly and he smartly jumped aside. He backed off and yelled to Snyder.
“GET OUT OF THE WAY!”
Snyder had the intuition of some grave danger lurking, looked over his right shoulder while nearly simultaneously leaping left. He went into a shoulder roll with his gun still drawn. He dislocated his shoulder on impact with the black hot concrete. As he regained composure, he jumped up in time to see the cruiser smashing into the driver’s side van door at first pinning Wayne and then crunching the door forward enough to hear the sick sound of bending, tearing metal. Wayne’s hips were crushed instantly. Blood spattered from Wayne’s mouth now onto the van’s driver-side window as if Snyder had actually fired his Bersa .380 and hit his head. Both femoral arteries were severed internally and massive spurts of bloods rushed through his muscles and fascia. Wayne fell back unnaturally as if he had hinge articulations just below his pelvic girdle. He collapsed backward like articulated wooden dummy. Wayne was very dead.
Gwen lay still heavily breathing. She did not know that Wayne was dead. She did not know her abductors name. She would not know until weeks later while sitting next to Jane watching a news story about a serial pedophiliac murderer who passed through Rosewood.
The Golf Shrew.
“What home so soon? You didn’t have any brilliant additions to the boss’s overhaul?” Cathy interrogated.
Adam slumped his once powerful shoulders eyes downcast. Cathy with the sweet cloying scent of Viktor&Rolf’s Flower Bomb comingled with Rodney Strong chardonnay that permeated her pores, galvanized enough momentum to lift her widening ass off the sofa. Adam cringed as she rose. She gave a wistful, almost lusty smile as she advanced his way. She passed him and headed to the kitchen.
“I’ve got Caleb coming over here in about ten minutes.” He half heartedly muttered as he hung his sports coat on the entry way hook. Inside Adam was still hoping to win her over as he did years ago, when he was a free safety, back in 82’ for the Tigers at Ridefall High.
“Caleb— who the hell is that?” she muttered. She was lit unnaturally by the glow of the fridge as she turned the spigot on the box of Gallo chardonnay. She was freshening up her five o’clock pour. Adam rolled his eyes.
“Oh hun, he’s the golf instructor I told you about. The guys at the office bought… us (me he thought) a round with an instructor for my birthday,” said Adam. Cathy rolled her eyes, mused and toed the fridge shut.
“Hmmf.” She retorted. “I didn’t realize that was already today.”
“We discussed it Thursday as the only day you didn’t have something going on near my thirtieth.” Caleb demurred.
“Well that’s true darlin’ she smirked, “I ain’t got nothing goin’ tonight but maybe YOU a little later,” she said lustfully.
He would do. After seven years of marriage, she was bored of him. But she was happy to get a little action when she was in the mood.
“Lord knows I am getting my hair and nails done tomorrow afternoon— so you can take me to Denton’s,” said Cathy.
Denton’s was a perfunctory monthly ritual. A stilted wine and dine and then back home to for a loveless bonk. Adam didn’t mind too much. Cathy, the ex-cheerleader made it a full time commitment to preening. Also she dictated no kids, so as to maintain her figure. It did work.
At least for Cathy. On the contrary Adam had a long deep yearning that could never be filled by the sporadic weekend pastimes spent with his one and only nephew, James. With a decent salary provided by Adam, childlessness and its freedoms, the couple ostensibly lived the ‘good life’.
Adam was cognizant that Cathy engaged in innocent flirtation. He knew about her trainer Biff (yes Biff), as well as others. But it kept her motivated. It drove her workouts. He imagined Biff’s eyes glazed, lustfully grazing over her breast and buttocks in various positions of exercise. Adam found himself simultaneously repulsed and lured to Cathy. Sure she kept up her figure since days on the squad. Her blonde scintillating hair was not as long now. Yet, she still retained those loose-big-shining curls that he thought were like golden sponge-cakes. He recoiled at his own private mawkish thoughts.
“Well honey I’ve got to change then.” Cathy interrupted the silence, breaking his reverie.
She was feeling good now. And always interested in meeting new fellows. She tossed off her sweats and fitted angora onto the floor. The maids will get it later. She thought as she intentionally created little messes about the place. She refused to contend with demeaning chores. With her aerobically toned and tanned body reflected in the boudoir-mirror she dressed, pondering possibilities.
The familiar sound of kibble clinked in the ceramic dog bowl. Adam did most of the chores when he retired from his day at the office. His eyes wandered to the fridge espying her “Honey-Do” list with a large pink, greasy smudge of lipstick at the tail end. Just then predictable as Pavlov’s bell Murgatroyd sauntered in wagging his tail. Miserable name for a dog. Adam mused. Nonetheless he bent and gave him a hearty scratch on the top off his head as he devoured the kibble.
“Ready!” volleyed Cathy’s voice out from the bedroom.
Adam had a spark of life, he stood erect for a moment, then looked at his iWatch and slowly regained his slumped shoulders. Just then the door bell rang. Chatty Cathy pounced.
“Let me get it darlin,” she called.
Adam saw she looked magnificent as she glided through the living room to the front-door (even for a game of golf). She was looking pretty in her pink Callaway golf skirt. She stayed trendy and youthful, if only in her exterior over their seven years of marriage. She nearly maintained her high-school figure and face. Just a trace of the consumption was starting. It was barely discernable to Adam. And the wider derrière not much of a concern. No, to Adam she was was a physical marvel: a buxom scented mobile dessert. Of course Adam’s friends thought otherwise. They observed her nights on the town and thought of her nothing more than a floosy, boozing, gold-digging shrew. Big boobs or no. Some women are like a Snickers bar with a hidden razorblade.
Her promiscuity may not have been witnessed first hand, but the flirtatious nature of her bar escapades and disappearance into the slick-wet paved streets of the Marina Del Rey bar district, after a couple cocktails were proof enough. Certain as a visiting business man perusing the red-light district leaves with a honey on his arm means more than just arm-candy for the night. It means… well business.
“Well aren’t you just a tall glass of water,” Cathy turned on her country girl charm. She was a bit coy in the delivery, always trying to play the “nice girl” act upon meeting new men. Though her country maiden fame was stained long ago. Many, many times before Adam. Caleb certainly was handsome. But he was not overly concerned with his image, other than attempting to appear the consummate professional golf instructor. Caleb liked, no he preferred male conversation and braggadocio, not because he was homosexual but he really enjoyed the concessions and compromises that male conversations tended toward. He loved the challenge but he also conceded to learn from any of his male clients who had a thing or two to teach him.
Cathy was tempted to give his buttocks a squeeze but sublimated that gesture into nonchalantly hoisting up her double-d straps while taking in a big breath of air infused with Flower Bomb. She instantly picked up on Caleb’s poise and confidence. It was chum to a shark, frankly.
“Well, let’s go then yall’,” Cathy suggested optimistically.
The three carpooled all the while Cathy making subtle overtures that sailed right over Caleb, but were caught by the still-got-it, free-safety. This was much to Adam’s disappointment. He simply chalked it up to her need for attention. She was always the star cheerleader. He mused recalling her big gleaming smiling, shouting mouth: “Hey Ho we won’t go. Hey Ho we won’t go!” The lithe and limber squad shouted, kicked and jumped pomp poms fling in his hazy memory. He could see her beautiful athletic body atop the girl pyramid, curls soft and bouncing with a halo around her.
“Ha, Ha, Ha!” Cathy let out an over-exaggerated laugh at the punch line of Caleb’s joke.
This snapped Adam out of his day dream. The car stopped and they opened the doors to fresh air of the seventy-two degree, balmy day at the Westchester course. I just love a good view don’t you she stretched her limbs overhead causing her white Callaway polo to cling tightly to her bosom. Caleb caught the image but quickly averted his eyes toward the green. She looked toward the course now too. It was a picture perfect blue sky. The shorn manicured emerald green undulating blanket was lightly dotted with folks far-off. She knew she had the boys to herself.
“Well this beats all. I thought you’ll all said this place was popular.” Cathy squawked.
Cathy deemed popular akin with hoards of mall-shoppers. Materialistic women and men milling around kiosks and shoving their way through the rounds and registers at Macys and midpoint price boutiques. This is where she spent her time buying bobbles and bags when she decided to abstain for the day. It hadn’t occurred to her she could drink and shop.
“Your going to need a driver, maybe a fifteen loft, and a club set of irons. You are right handed correct?” queried Caleb.
“Well I’m good with both my hands sugar,” she asserted.
A crimson blush peeked through Caleb’s naturally tanned cheeks. He did not indulge the response. Caleb caught the flirt. He found Cathy repulsive. He had a strong self identity as a man with integrity. And even though his nature was to respond to just about any conversation he would forego a retort, especially as he glimpsed the stricken, embarrassed visage of Adam.
“Let’s take a quick pit-stop at the pro-shop. We can use my discount to pick you up a rental set of irons,” Caleb retorted. He diverted her overture.
“Oh I just love a pro shop. I love to shop and I certainly LOVE a pro.” Chatty Cathy was on a roll.
Adam spotted a v formation of geese overhead. There was a black one at the tip of the of the v. The flock was all structured zip and grace. Adam thought back to an enjoyable time. He was sitting in a pile of wood in the Susquehanna River Valley goose hunting with his old friend McCormick. They sat patiently, cold, shivering in the wet mud with the dense morning winter fog only to hear the taunting honking of geese. A frisson excited him as he recollected raising, aiming his Ithaca pump, adrenalin pulsing through him as he fired the tungsten pellets at 1550 fps hurtling toward its target. The echoing blast reverberating the valley followed by a satisfactory splash. He shot the black goose for sure.
After picking up clubs for Cathy the three headed out to the tee box, working their way toward the fairways first hole.
“Ladies first,” Cathy batted her eyes toward Caleb, while ignoring Adam.
“Okay, Okay,” replied Caleb, with a bemused yet jocular response.
“But just so you know, tradition says that the person with ‘honors’ goes first and that would be Adam our birthday boy.”
“Honor shmoners… ladies first trumps honors, says I. Now honey you just show me what to do with them balls,” Cathy snorted.
“First— let me show you how to swing.” Caleb took his stance and demonstrated a few practice strokes.
“Why you look like a regular champion golfer Caleb.” Cathy was attempting her best Southern charm.
“Cathy you are going to want to use your wood,” said Caleb. “That’s this one here.” He pulled out a club with large round head.
“Woods have longer shafts and larger, rounder heads than the others see. They are used to hit ball farther then your other irons. And that’s where we are now see way out there that’s what you aiming for.” He pointed south.
Cathy saw the first hole flag off in the distance. And then followed up with:
“Ooh I like your talk mister—wood… shaft…head,” she snorted obnoxiously.
“Its actually titanium but that’s no matter. Listen, I just want you to learn that this club will make the ball go far okay, you got that?” A bit of impatience registered in Caleb’s query as he tried to derail her unseemliness.
“Listen your aiming for that first hole there remember. This is a three par hole okay, so don’t worry you wont make it in the first swing.” Caleb said.
“Yeah, Yeah, I got it. That is all you got to do honey— aim for the hole,” she parroted and smirked.
She cast a side glance to Adam who was hanging back in the light, cool breeze that was blowing soft up over the green. She swung. Thwack! She sent flying huge chunks of green leaving a divot. The smacked ball headed amazingly toward the first hole.
“Woo-hoo, now that’s how it’s done honey.” she cooed toward Adam.
“Now, should we let the birthday boy go next?” Caleb asked.
“Why I think we should start a new tradition, ladies call it— and the lady says the good-looking golf instructor goes next,” she barked out, fondling the grip of her wood. Chatty Cathy was relentless.
“Its’ fine by me sweetheart.” Adam was relentless in his own way. Always hoping his sweet cheerleader would mystically reappear.
“Not too shabby,” Caleb said. “Now rules of etiquette. See that divot there you made—
that patch of sod has got to be placed back. Its just a courtesy.”
“What ever would I do that for? Ain’t one of these fellers here— these cart boys runnin’ around got a job to do honey? I am a lady in a short skirt with dainty hands and long nails, I don’t don’t need to go muckin’ up my hands with no… what’d you call it… sot?”
Caleb sighed deeply as he bent to place the toupee like scalp of green back in its place.
“Okay, now you can learn not just by listening. Watch me.” Caleb stepped up and delicately placed his ball behind the tee markers. He swung a graceful arc and powerful stroke. Thwack! The ball ball traveled a velocity and speed that landed it within what appeared to about ten feet of hole one.
“Well it’s no Ace— but a dam mighty fine shot.” Adam finally piped up.
“Who’s Ace? Well I am certain this here man is as good as Ace honey. Just look where the ball flew off yonder. He is better than Ace I’m sure.” She retorted. Caleb sighed.
“This is a three par hole remember—I told you that. So it is expected that is a decent golfer might get his ball in the hole at three tries. Okay. If a golfer hits his ball in one shot into the hole we call it and “ace” okay.” Said Caleb.
“I bet you get your balls quickly in the hole pretty regularly.” Cathy was way out of line at this point and she hadn’t even touched the the subpar white wine in hours.
“Okay let’s let the birthday boy take a shot.” Caleb diverted the smut.
Adam nonchalantly let the dialogue roll over him like water on an unctuous goose. It was all harmless flirtation he supposed. Cathy craved attention. No harm done. While his mind mused one thing, sublimation took possession of his nerve fibers. He throttled the grip rather tightly unaware of his tonicity. He was deep in retrospection. He thought back to a time when he creaked open his home front-door, early one spring afternoon. He had gotten off work early and popped my Michellini’s Market to pick up her favorite chardonnay and a bouquet of flowers. With romance on his mind he came home to find the house eerily silent. A defined spicy odor imperceptible to his conscious registered in his subconscious as an unfamiliar smell. He called. No answer. He made his way through the dark house. He cracked open the bedroom door and there was Cathy sheets pulled up to her neck, eyes like a doe in headlights with a strange man beside her. Black tufts of fur coated his chest. The vision played on repeat over and over in Adam’s mind. So unusual. What a thing to focus on and remember after all these years. Black fur. But that was seven years ago. They were young and not yet wise to the vows they made.
Lost in his reverie. He didn’t notice Cathy behind him stroking Caleb’s back and handing him small card out of the back pocket of her Callaway pink skirt. She gave him a card. Cards she had printed up with simply her cell and email. She winked and placed her pointer vertically across her greasy, glossed lips. She made the global gesture as if to shush some one. Caleb not sure how to respond with a shaky hand viewing the card, unwittingly letting his fingers lighten. Just then a wild unknown gust came from the North and the card caught wind. It wafted as if in slow motion into the teeing ground. Cathy wordlessly (for once) sprung into cheerleader reflex like action. Just as she pounced in front of the tee box Caleb shouted. But it was too late.
Adam in a Buddhist like meditation, black fur black fur took a powerful swing. His nerves excited with tension drove home the hardest swing he ever had made. Yet it was with such refined grace and technique the ball flew. It flew with a force and speed such that it must have been less than a tenth of second when a sickening, thudding whack sounding like a thick, tight rind lemon being stomped echoed. The golf ball embedded deep in Cathy’s eye socket, bloodless and strangely looking as if she had one large white eyeball with no pupil. Adam froze with awe. The stillness amplifying the sound of his breathing. Sweet Cathy fell backward almost as if in slow motion, with a smirk amazingly on her banana slug like, pink-lips. Her Callaway was skirt flapping up from the breeze exposing her pink drawers. She was dead.