Funny chapter from my new novel, a smile?

samzheresamzhere BannedPosts: 10,923 Senior Member
From my new private detective novel “Blood Vengeance” – a comical chapter about a sort-of golf tourney. Private detective Mitch King and his big, economy-size pal Antonio Villarreal (Tony Vee) are at a bar called “The Ship” and playing “golf.” And yes, The Ship and the tourney are based on a real bar (now sadly gone) where such goofy things really happened. Some language has been changed from the original to create a PG-13 rating.

Anyone who’d like to read the novel, PM me with your email and I’ll send you the PDF file. And btw, I've posted excerpts from the novel before but I don't think I've shared this one. If I did earlier, sue me. ha ha

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Chapter 22

Tony Vee and I were playing in a golf tourney at The Ship. Which was ironic because I’ve never actually played a round of golf in my life. Not that it matters, as we weren’t playing golf as much as we were bashing a golfball at random around the inside of a bunch of interconnected wooden buildings.

The Ship is a bar, sort of, keeping irregular hours and even more irregular clientele. The beer is cold and cheap and patrons are a fun mix of Houston oddballs—musicians, painters, newspaper reporters, attorneys, an occasional cop and even some private detective scum. The Ship is also a real life boat storage and repair shop that performs excellent work. The fact that the place is miles from navigable water seems of little concern. Owners trailer their precious cargoes for miles up the freeway just to let the shipwrights perform their magic.

The property is cobbled together from several old frame storehouses and such, indiscriminate size and purpose, connected via hallways and open gardens, a business that seems to have grown much of its own accord. The owner, Dalton Envers, is an old time jazz pianist whose family left him a lucrative boating facility. Dalton retains a small staff of loyal workers and the place’s boat repair reputation prevails.

Dalton also hosts jazz concerts and opened a bar in the front building mainly to support the music. He tolerates rock groups too, their louder music subjugated to another building to the rear of the property, but hardcore jazz musicians and buffs from all over the Southwest come to The Ship for sessions. And occasionally, to partake in impromptu and insane indoor golf tournaments that the place hosts. Nobody knows why.

How the tournament works is that you each toss a ten, maybe a twenty into the kitty and pick a club from a basket of old nine-irons. Play starts alongside the main bar, golfers teeing off from one of those rubber putting practice things, hopefully driving the ball out the back door into a small courtyard, then into the larger concert area, across to the warehouse, which marks the course turn and where everyone stops for a fresh beer. Next, down a hallway through the stoner room where jazz musicians gather to jam, play poker, and where late night smoke is green and intense, out to the courtyard again, finishing back at the bar with a putt into the cup.

Par for the one-hole course is twelve. Or ten maybe. Nobody knows that either. Nor cares. Windows are sometimes broken but there’s a fund. Players also get hit a lot but no compensation is provided for that misfortune. The winner keeps half the pot (the money, not the weed), buys the losers a round, and the rest goes into the waitress tip jar. It makes little sense but the real game of golf doesn’t make sense either and that hasn’t prevented vast sums from being spent on it annually.

“Fore!” I called out. I was in the warehouse and aiming at a ball that I assumed to be mine although nobody really kept score or paid much attention to whose ball was being hit. The ball was stuck against a wooden joist and I had to stand crossways to swing. A difficult lie, made even more tricky because everyone else was hovering, drinking beer and giving rude advice.

“You don’t have to friggin’ say fore here,” Tony Vee told me, just as I was stabbing at the ball.

I ineptly hit the ball sideways and the damn thing only bounced a couple feet. Then I caught a lucky tilt in the concrete floor and the ball rolled right out of the warehouse and headed merrily down the hall toward the stoner zone. Perfect. I looked up at Tony and smiled. “Five, then.”

“Beginner’s friggin’ luck,” he declared, talking around his cigar. Tony strode over to where his ball lay. Watching Tony hold a too-short club in his meaty fists and stoop over the ball like Godzilla perusing an army tank was amusing. But Tony actually plays genuine golf, and quite well. He swung briskly and drove his ball straight down the hallway with terrific velocity, where it rattled around and apparently bounced off the smokers sitting in their specially reserved room.

“Hey, the hell!” A cry of pain from an invisible target. “You guys watch it! We’re tryin’ to chill here!”

We all laughed.

Bill Tebaldi, a petroleum engineer and real life scratch golfer was next. His stroke was less vicious than Tony’s but precise, the ball nicely chipped.

There were only four players tonight and we all made it through the combination jazz session and smoking room without much hazard. Tony ordered a round of beer for any who claimed devastating injury from his ball, which of course turned out to be everyone sitting there, listening to an old Cream album. Their smokes had magically disappeared but just playing through got me a contact high anyway.

A Houston Chronicle sports writer named Andy Hinton won. At least we think he won. We all congratulated Hinton as though he’d just been victorious in the British Open at Old St. Andrew’s. Hinton is a tall, thin black guy and he bowed gracefully to us. “Yet another indication of my superior African heritage.”

“No way,” Tebaldi laughed. “You cheated three times.”

“Just taking my mulligans. Check the scorecard if you don’t believe me.”

Scorecards for a golf game at The Ship? Yeah, right.

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Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
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