Their wives first met at bridge club and soon became best friends. Their husbands, George and Charles, were polar opposites but shared a love of golf.
George, a retired Marine, known to all as Sarge, was a short and stocky man with a bull neck, a barrel chest and shaggy hair that stuck out from under his ever-present rain hat. Sarge only wore khaki colored cotton shorts that had never seen an iron. His shorts were held up by a sweat-stained belt that fit securely under his huge beer-gut. Sarge only changed his baggy white polo golf shirt when his wife made him. He played golf in a pair of Nike cross trainers so he would never have to wear socks or change his shoes to play. George or Sarge was a good player but never kept score except when a playing partner counted his strokes. Sarge was a liberal tree hugging Democrat who got his check each month from the Government.
Charles, not Chuck or Charlie – his name was Charles, was a retired CPA, and was the picture of perfection and in perfect physical shape. His Tommy Bahama shorts were sent to the dry cleaners and he ironed his own mercerized cotton shirts. He wore only FootJoy Classics. Charles prided himself in having a belt to match all of his golf shoes. Charles’ lanky frame, all 6’6” of it, made a USGA index of 5.6 even harder to maintain. Charles, a very conservative Republican, recorded the Glynn Beck Show on Fox News every day and read the Wall Street. Charles lived well on an income stream from savvy investments.
Each man learned to overlook the “oddities” of the other and they became the pair to beat in any club event at their Arizona desert golf club.
On a beautiful Saturday morning in early May the Mutt and Jeff twosome was engaged in moral combat (a $10 nassau with the back-nine pressed). Charles had attempted to cut the dogleg on thirteen and his ProV1x, with the “C” neatly Sharpied around the 3, had found a home in the Sonoren Desert. With the five minutes time-limit running out, Sarge heard a hissing sound to his right and jumped left impaling his left calf with numerous cactus spines. He looked to his right and saw a huge orange and black Gila monster backed into a box-canyon shaped rock formation. Sarge began his cautious attach with his sand wedge held in a hatchet position ready to rid the desert of this pre-historic monster. As he raised the sand wedge to deliver the fatal blow, Charles grabbed the club and shouted, “NO! He is an environmentally protected species.”
Wrestling his sand wedge/weapon loose, Sarge screamed, “Let me kill that son-of-a-bitch before he kills every golfer in the desert.” Charles circled between Sarge and the monster with his hands up in a protective manor and his eyes fixed on Sarge. Sarge growled, “Get the hell out of the way or I will hit YOU with this God-damn sand wedge.”
The lanky Charles, looking like a prize fighter and a model from Golf Traveler, hovered over the trapped lizard with fire in his eyes. He was ready to protect this reptile at any cost. Sarge, madder than he had been since his days in Nam, was looking for an opening past Charles to kill that hated lizard. Each man, ready for combat, had lost all sense of reality.
“What the hell is going on here,” said another member of the foursome. Neither man moved or said a word; they just stared into the eyes of the other. The fourth man in the group walked up surveyed the situation and started laughing uncontrollably. He said with tears of laughter in his eyes, “Now I have seen everything – two best friends fighting over a damn Gila monster”. This broke the tension of the moment and Sarge lowered the sand wedge with a sheepish look on his face.
Charles never one to admit defeat said to Sarge, “That little scene just took the rest of my five minutes and now I must declare my ball lost. You better not lose this hole.”
Word rapidly spread through the club about the Gila monster and the fistfight in the desert.