“I think I like baseball better, Daddy. I can’t hit such a tiny ball with such a weird bat.”
Fred Senior snorted. “Just hit the ball. I told you before. The course is where deals are made and suckers are suckered. You can’t do that on the baseball diamond! Just watch me. And watch Junior. Do what we do.” Fred Senior took a few waggles and smacked the ball a few hundred yards down the fairway.
Junior said, “Don’t worry, Donnie. You’ll get the hang of it.” He stooped down; he stabbed the tee into the soft ground and placed the ball atop in one smooth motion. “Besides, once you do get the hang of it, you’ll hit the ball farther than Babe Ruth ever did!” THWACK!
Donnie shook his head. Months of lessons and he still couldn’t do that. But he would. He would be better than either of them. He’d show them, he thought. I’ll hit it farther. I’ll hit it harder. He took the tee into his teeny hands and pushed it into the ground. He pulled a golf ball out of his pocket and placed it on the tee. He took a deep breath. He walked up; turned sideways. What did they say? Oh, yeah. Right. Tension on the inside, balance. Easy hands. Watch the ball.
Fred Senior snapped his fingers at the caddy and threw his driver to him. “Are you ever going to hit the ball, or what, Donnie?”
Donnie’s teeny hands began to sweat. He had to push fear away. Push it away. He swung hard. “Scheiss! That doesn’t count!” His face reddened. The Freds were already sitting in the cart. Damn. He had to hurry. He couldn’t hurry. There was so much to remember.
“Come on Donnie. Pick up your ball. You can drop it where Junior is.”
Junior had smacked the ball a good 250 yards into the middle of the fairway. Donnie’s face was red, but he grabbed onto the back of the cart. A few moments later, he walked out with Junior and dropped his ball a foot ahead of Junior’s.
“Scheiss!” (This was lately one of Donnie’s favorite words. He wasn’t allowed to curse in front of Daddy. Not in English any way.) His ball had rolled into a divot. He walked over and kicked his ball ten yards father down the fairway. He ordered the caddy to hand him a five iron. He managed to whack the ball sideways into some deep brush underneath a gnarly oak tree about ten yards off the fairway.
“Scheiss! Hey, Darkie — whatever your name is — come help me find my ball.”
The caddy handed Fred Senior his seven iron and joined Donnie in the weeds. “Here you go.” He pointed down to a ball nestled in the weeds. Donnie walked over and took a look. “Scheiss! Put it somewhere I can hit it!” The caddy, whatever his name was — they all looked alike — tilted his head and then shook it ever so slightly.
“Do you have a problem, Caddyman? Do we need a new caddy?”
“No sir. I just thought you were still learning and … “
“We’re not paying you to think Caddyman. Step lively! Go fetch the ball and put it where I can hit it!”
The large man nodded. “Strictly speaking, it’s your Dad who’s paying me. He wants you to … “
“Just do what I say, Caddyblack or I’ll get you fired!”
The caddy put down one of the bags and leaned over and picked up the ball. He frowned again at Donnie’s choice of marks — a large black swastika. “Where you want this? Are you saying this is unplayable? That’s a two stroke penalty, you know.”
“Scheiss,” Donnie muttered under his breath. He glanced across the fairway to see his Dad and Junior heading for the cart. They would soon be heading to the green. He looked back at the caddy, his anger and frustration still growing.
“Sir, I have to go give them their putters. How about if I leave your bag here for you. You decide where you want to hit from.”
“That was not my ball. Let’s look on the other side of that tree.”
“But, sir. Your brother and daddy need their putters.”
“Screw them! Come with me!” Donnie began to stomp through the weeds around to the far side of the tree.
The caddy, actually named Adam, by the way, sighed. Fred Senior and his son had already parked on the edge of the green and were gesturing for their putters. Hopefully, this little adventure wouldn’t take long. He followed Donnie around the tree and saw him standing there expectantly. He didn’t seem to be looking for a ball. He frowned.
Donnie put his teeny hands beside his mouth and screamed, “DADDY! DADDY! Help me! Caddyblack is showing me his thingie!”
The caddy stood there dumbfounded. “What are you doing! Why you say that?”
Donnie hissed under his breath: “Because I hate you. You made me do it.” Then, he screamed again, “DADDY! Help!”
The Freds were running toward the gnarly old oak.
Donnie was so pleased with himself that he had to work very hard to wipe the smile off his face before his Dad arrived. He replaced it with what he hoped was a very scared look. He need not have bothered. His Dad barely glanced at him and went instead up to the caddy.
“Get your filthy hands off my son! You should be ashamed of yourself! What the hell’s wrong with you? I’ll make sure you never work anywhere as a caddy again!”
“But sir — I never —”
“SHUT UP! I don’t want to stand here and listen to your lies! Get your filthy hands off our bags. God-damned round of golf ruined on the first God-damned hole. You are going to see some of my buddies soon. You won’t recognize us, but we’ll sure as hell recognize you! Now GIT! GIT!!”
Donnie put his face down in his hands to hide his laughter. It was difficult, but he managed to make it sound as though he was sobbing rather than laughing. He dug his fingers into the sides of his face till it hurt. Then he pressed even harder. He had to press really hard in order to make real tears flow, but it was worth it. Caddyblack wouldn’t be making him miss any more golf shots.
Fred Senior barked out to the boys that they were going back to the clubhouse and get this guy fired right now. As he hitched a ride on the back of the cart, Donnie thought to himself, this was the best round of golf — ever!