Their annual golf outing is always the Tuesday after Memorial Day. The courses are deserted after one of the biggest weekends of the year. They can play golf at their own pace and “really enjoy” the day and company of a true friend, where there are no secrets.
They met when they were kids on the same little league team and have shared every facet of life ever since. They were part of each other’s wedding and their families were close – until Scooter’s divorce.
Each year these two long time friends revert back to their high school days: “get stoned and play golf.”
Billy, William as he is known these days at the law firm, was a real piece of work during the last two years of high school and his first two years at The U. After his second DUI within 18 months, with a bag of dope in his car, he got the message. Not saying he did not have a good time and party a little, but he sure cleaned up his act. Now at age 41, William is a partner at a downtown law firm and country clubber who has to carefully choose his opportunities to really be himself.
Scooter, a nickname that stuck because he was so fast on the ice, still has not grown up. When he finally got his BA in business, after six years, Scooter got a job at a small brokerage firm where from day one he was the top salesman. The ugly divorce cost him his family and most of his wealth, but not his devil-may-care attitude. Money is easy, women seem to be everywhere and his golf game has never been better.
When Scooter and Billy were in high school they were members of a not-so-great golf team. Most of the time, they were serious. Everyday after their round at the muni, where their team practiced and played its matches, they got smoked-up. And sometimes, if the coach was not around, during the round after a bad hole. “I can’t play golf as good, but it is sure more fun,” Scooter would say.
The duo checked into their condo, at the second rate golf resort not far outside the Twin Cities. They pre-paid their bill at check-in, telling the clerk that they would be leaving early the next morning so they would be… just a little late for work. The golf course was one of their favorites, old but real nice. Built before the most recent golf boom, with mature trees and wetlands on every hole.
Four beers to go and a few putts on the practice green, no need for the range – they would get warmed up on the course. Two mulligans each and they were on their way down the fairway as Scooter reached into his pocket and produced a plastic bag containing six neatly rolled joints. His eyes smiled as he explained, “since we are out of practice, I had that hippie car salesman that lives next door to me roll ’em up for us. He says this is some really gooood shit.”
“Think you got enough?” Billy said with a grin as he produced his lighter. A few quick tokes and a lot of coughing… all of a sudden the sky got bluer and the grass seemed greener. Billy’s eyes focused for a long minute on an eagle that slowly circled overhead while Scooter got into cleaning the grooves on his wedge with his golf brush.
On the third hole, a beautiful little par-3 with a lily pad laden pond on the front right of the green, Scooter shanked his tee shot into the forested area to the right of the pond. Billy drove the cart to the edge of the forest and Scooter vanished into the woods to take a quick look for the last ball in the sleeve of Pro-Vs. He did not return.
After what seemed like an hour, but was probably less than a minute, Billy stepped a few paces into the woods. He looked around — No Scooter. Billy put his hands to his mouth forming a megaphone, “Scooter, what the hell are you doing?”
The response was in a low slow voice that said, “wow man, did you see that?”
Billy took a few steps deeper into the wooded shadows and answered, “see what man?”
“That bird, err baby bird, err little duck…. ling. Oh look, there is another one.”
As Billy was approaching the statue-like Scooter about to say what bird, he froze in his tracks as another duckling leaped from a small hole in its tree-trunk home about twenty feet off the ground. It seemed like super slow motion as the tiny creature attempted to retain its balance in mid-air flapping its too small wings. Then the duckling hit the forest floor, padded with leaves and sticks, bounced once and scampered to catch up with its mother and two siblings.
Our stoned twosome watched in frozen silence as six more littermates took the death-defying plunge to the forest floor below. “Wow!! Man did you see that?” Scooter exclaimed again.
“Yea, I have heard about those wood ducks but never dreamed I would witness it.”
Scooter never found that ball or several others they proceeded to lose during their round, but the slow motion instant replay that kept rewinding in their minds would last forever. It took a few more beers, four Snicker’s bars from the beverage cart girl and two burgers at the turn to complete their five-hour round. The black squirrel, striped gopher and a fox pup added to the one day each year when these two old friends took time to relax and live life, but the new story of the wood ducklings became the highlight in the book of great golf memories.
The two tired, stoned and slightly drunk golfers never made it to the steak house. But the pizza delivery guy shared a few tokes and a glass of good red from Billy’s wine cellar.