“We can go anytime, sir,” I say. “Put the ball in the cup, call it a scratch.”
He looks up from his club towards my voice. “Who’s that? Who said that?”
Was it stupid question day at the country club? “It’s me, sir,” I say with an unexpectantly squeaky voice. “It’s your caddy, and we’re past double boogie. Push it in the cup and we can go to the next hole.”
The golfer looks almost at me. “My caddy? Tell me, is the ball in the hole?”
“No, sir. It’s about fifteen feet to the north.”
“So I’m on the green.”
“Then maybe in a pesky sand trap?”
“Then I must have some pissed-off club member right behind me waiting for me to finish.”
“No, sir. I believe you were the last party to leave the club house. It’s quite dark right now.”
“Damn straight. I don’t need much light. I can feel the ball. I can sense the shots. Who needs eyesight?”
Is it Obvious Question Day at the country club? I want to say, yes. Yes, eyesight is a good asset for a golfer, you blind freak. Boy, do I hate being the newest caddy and getting stuck with you. But the Angel of Good Tips lands on my shoulder and I say, “Absolutely not, sir. All it takes is skill. You are on the green after all.”
“You got that right,” he says. “I’m on the green. Don’t need nothing but ability. Diabetes can’t take me off the green, can it?”
“Not a chance, sir. It’s your shot.”
“Watch how it’s done.” He hacks at the ball and it meanders several feet past the hole. “How’d I do, boy? Did I make it? Are we done with this hole?”
Are we done with this hole? Is it Unanswerable Existential Question Day at the country club? No, sir. We will never be done with this hole. We will be stuck on this green panacea like purgatory until celestial trumpets herald the end of our sentence. Chip it to heaven, sir. Chip it to heaven.
Perhaps we shouldn’t leave this green. This green is home-base. It is olly olly oxen free. On this green you haven’t lost your sight to diabetes. On this green I am not your little snot boy for tips. On this green we surely must be blessed. Here it is Elysium Fields. It is HyBrasil. It is Eden. It is getting darker and darker.
I should tell him he made the hole. I should tell we’re done. I should tell him.
But I find myself leaning on the 8th hole flag saying, “No, sir. You missed. But you’ll get it next time. I’m sure of it. You’ll get it next time.”
He smiles. “Yeah,” he says, “this broken body ain’t licked.” The sun has set and he swings one more time, for salvation.
Dave Macpherson lives in Worcester, MA with his wife Heather.