Category Archives: golf humor

Heavenly Libations and Hacking Hoovers The Continuing Saga of Hoovers in Myrtle Beach – 2018 version

20180320_115513_001.jpg

Heavenly Libations and Hacking Hoovers

The Continuing Saga of Hoovers in Myrtle Beach – 2018 version

Preface

Over the years I have written many stories about our annual golf trips to Myrtle Beach, SC. At first they were mostly a journalistic play by play of the rounds we played that year, albeit with a humorous side to them. The last few, however, are a more creative attempt at story telling where I make stuff up to highlight the golf, but more importantly, the camaraderie we experience. In order to help explain some of the terms and people involved I decided to include the following.

Glossary

Dewey, Cheetum, and Howe – a multi-billion dollar sports management firm which is featured prominently in previous tales. See below for character descriptions of the partners.

Gray Wolf Transport – Most years I drive to Myrtle while the others fly down. To save money on baggage I transport everyone’s golf clubs in my gray 2013 Toyota Corolla S. This year I dubbed the enterprise as Gray Wolf Transport.

Punta Gorda, FL – the actual home of Jimmy Ouellette; aka Two Birds.

20 bucks is 20 bucks – a saying uttered by Bob Svirsky, the origin of which I have forgotten. 20 bucks is 20 bucks – a saying uttered by Bob Svirsky, the origin of which I have forgotten. **Editor’s note – it has been brought to my attention by Bob Svirsky; aka The Commodore, that the saying can be attributed to none other than the grand old man of the Hoovers, Loring Mackey; aka The Mahunna.

**Editor’s note to follow up the editor’s previous note – per The Rick: The true origin of the term is that it is derived from a t-shirt I saw in Key West a couple of years ago. I was going to buy one for Loring, but just didn’t have the chance. The T-shirt said “I’m not gay, but 20 bucks is 20 bucks”.’

Eight tenths of a mile – I am hearing impaired and while that is a source of frustration for everyone involved, it does at times provide some comic relief. We were driving to a golf course, I was navigating using the GPS on my phone. Now I can usually follow a conversation if I know what the context is which during the time in question was about the distance to the course; at least that’s what it had been. However, while I was busy exploring the map the context changed, and which I was unaware of, to where to go for dinner. When I was asked what I thought, I answered in what I believed to be the correct response given the context I believed was still current, and replied eight tenths of a mile. For the remainder of the week ‘eight tenths of a mile’ was a standard reply to any question.

Gotta go fast/Ricky Bobby/Shake and Bake – references from the movie Talladega Nights- The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Fireballs – shots of Cinnamon Whisky

The Principals at DC&H

  • Rocco Ian MacDougal – age 47 born in Dover, DE of an Italian mother and Scottish father. This mixed heritage explains his drinking preferences of Sangria in the morning and Chivas Regal after noon.  Took part in many black-ops as an Army Ranger, none of which can he talk about but he has let it slip it that one had something to do with Saddam Hussein.   One of the top agents employed by the Sports Management Agency of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe and had Ocho as his top client until Ocho quit golf and became an author. Recently named a full Partner in DC&H, he’s still waiting to see his name on the letterhead.
  • Samuel Dewey – age 62 born in Ogallala, NE.  Graduated from Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute in 1970.  His friends call him CR from his earlier career as a corporate raider.  Indeed, the founding of DC&H was as a result of a corporate takeover.  His business acumen is so sharp that he has been married and divorced three times and has never had to pay a settlement or alimony despite being one of the 50 wealthiest Americans..  He drinks Stoli Elit before, during and after breakfast and switches to Southern Comfort at lunch.
  • Vincent Cheetum – 59 born in Piney Green, NC, a little fart of a town just outside of the largest Marine Corps base on the East coast, Camp Lejeune, where his father settled after retiring from The Marines as a highly decorated Master Sgt.  After a brief stint as a roadie for The Grateful Dead, Vinny followed his dad’s footsteps and also retired from the Marines as a Gunnery Sergeant, hence his nickname of Gunny.  His beverages of choice are Schlitz and Jack Daniels.
  • Clyde Howe – 72 born in Altoona, PA.  He is a distant relative of Lord Richard Howe, the British commander during part of The Revolutionary War.  Graduated from The Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1959 and had a minor role in The Bay of Pigs Invasion.  Also, it was his ship that was fired upon by a North Vietnamese patrol boat in the Gulf of Tonkin.  The Ancient Mariner, as he is known by, retired as a Rear Admiral.  Has always expressed great admiration for the movie, The Big Lebowski so he drinks White Russians day and night.  The exception to this is when he brings out a 29 year old Cragganmore single malt Scotch that he sips while smoking Cuban cigars.
  • Marjorie Detwiler has been employed for these last 10 years by Dewey, Cheetum and Howe, as Director of Excursions and Executive Flight Attendant.  At five feet, 11 inches tall, Marjorie stood taller than all of the partners.  She received a Masters Degree in Sports Management & Entertainment from Harvard while playing shooting guard on the women’s NCAA basketball team and was an Honorable Mention All American.  Little in her college experience, however, prepared her for employment with this group of semi-hedonistic, inebriation record setting, globe-trotting golf, and adventure seekers.  Recently promoted to head the new space travel agency, Heavenly Libations.

 

 

The Rick scanned the faces of the minions sitting around the large teak wood conference table, his gaze causing a multitude of responses from the group of wannabe posse members.  The annual trek to Myrtle Beach is coming up in two weeks and The Rick is determined to have only those completely loyal to him accompanying him on this trip.  At least, that’s what he was hoping.  Instead, he determined with a scowl spreading across his face, the only minions available to make the trip were those who have been his posse in the past, and this did not please The Rick at all.

The agenda for this meeting was supposed to have been a secret so as not to frighten off potential posse members.  It had become common knowledge that The Rick was a very demanding and eccentric boss; one may even say he was a despot.  However, someone leaked the agenda thereby negating his desire to have new posse members to heap scorn and derision upon.  Needless to say, The Rick was not in a good mood.  “Which of these wretches spilled the beans?” he thought to himself as he looked at the familiar faces of the four who did attend.

********************

Meanwhile at another conference table, this one made of Amazon Rosewood, located in the stately home of Sam Dewey of the Dewey, Cheetum, and Howe sports management conglomeration, plans were being made for a historic journey.  The partners were bored, having golfed, hunted, and caroused every corner of the globe, they were seeking something new – and then Elon Musk sent a Tesla to Mars.

********************

As it turns out it was all four of the attendees who, unbeknownst to each other, were the meeting agenda whistleblowers.  Leakers who were now all wilting under The Rick’s scornful gaze. This is not to suggest that they didn’t have good reasons for their actions, however selfish or illogical those reasons might have been. The result of the leaks was phenomenal to say the least and while the four perpetrators may have acted separately, the fact remains that they probably saved the sanity of any who may have wandered into that meeting being caught unaware as to the agenda, and been chosen for the trip.

Now, you might be curious as to why this gang of four would want to be members of The Rick’s Posse given the knowledge they possess of previous Myrtle Beach junkets, and the ignominious duties to which they have been subjected. It seems that there is a rumor floating about The Rick Enterprises that he is either in negotiations with, or has already partnered with Dewey, Cheetum, and Howe in some sort of space exploration project.  Their collective hope is to be given positions in this rumored opportunity.  Fanciful dreams of riches to be made, of mundane tasks to be a thing of the past, of respect earned are mighty motivators in the minds of these downtrodden minions of a domineering boss.

“All right, I’m only going to ask once,” snarled The Rick, “If I don’t get an answer, I’ll have the four of you reassigned to the most desolate spot on the planet. Who leaked the meeting agenda?”

********************

The project is called Operation Space Drunk, the precursor to a new travel agency suitably named, Heavenly Libations, being researched and designed to offer a type of space booze cruise aboard space party stations orbiting around the Moon, Mars and Venus. The orbital party platforms are named; The Galactic Hooch, Lushed in Space, and the Cannabis Café.  The original plan called for The Galactic Hooch to orbit Venus but a sudden realization by Rocco had them scrambling.

“I remember watching that science program, Cosmos, with that astrological guy, uh, Grass something,” Rocco said, “anyway, it seems the planet Venus is so screwed up with greenhouse gasses that no one on the Hooch would see anything of the surface of the planet.”

“His name is Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and he ain’t no damned astrologist,” replied Clyde, “he’s an astrophysicist, but you are correct about Venus’ atmosphere. This could be a serious problem. Where are we going to send the Hooch?  Jupiter is out of the question for months yet.”

The four partners continued their walk through of the giant hangar that housed the three space stations.  They had been joined in the inspection by Ocho, who was there on their invitation, and on the sly from The Rick. DC&H was still desperate to lure Ocho out of retirement and back to his lucrative golf career.  Little did they know that Ocho was never going to return to golf now that he was a successful author. He was even being mentioned in the same breath with Vonnegut and Twain, and was being touted as the next great American novelist. It was only his undying devotion to his buddies, the Hoovers, that had him make the trek to Myrtle Beach every year; well, that and his chance to garner story material.

Ocho stopped as they were passing by The Cannabis Café, “What? Are you kidding me? I waited 40 years for the stuff to be legalized and now you have an orbiting doobie machine?”

“Yeah, kinda neat, ain’t it?” said Vinny, “we hope to corner the aging hippie market with what is basically a giant cannabis humidor.  We’re sending this one to orbit the moon, the thought being that all those new age types will identify with the moon.”

Ocho thought for a moment and said, “I have the solution for your Venus problem. Instead of The Galactic Hooch going to Venus, send The Cannabis Café. The clients on the Café won’t notice the difference.  Heck, they’ll probably freak out over the clouds.”

********************

A few weeks earlier in Punta Gorda, FL.

Jimmy Two Birds gazed out of the front window of his palatial retirement home.  Joey Fairways and NASCAR Bob were seated on the couch flipping channels on the massive 92 inch television.  Joey wanted to watch Wheel of Fortune; Bob was set on a replay of the 1992 Daytona 500. They had come down to Punta Gorda to not only escape the bludgeoning nor’easters of New England, but because Two Birds was convinced something interesting was going on in that newly constructed, gigantic hangar just across the swamp from Two Birds’ living room. One of the major factors for Two Birds to move to this house was because the small Punta Gorda airport fed his love for flying. Lately, however, things began to change as there was less and less of the small plane activity and more heavy construction equipment arriving daily. Soon, the only flights in or out of the airport were the company helicopters of DH&C and much to Two Birds surprise, The Rick Enterprises.

********************

The Everglades style air boat that Two Birds had ordered through Amazon, paying extra for expedited shipment, arrived the following morning. They maneuvered the boat into the murky waters of the swamp. NASCAR Bob pushed his way to the driver’s station and announced, “I’m driving,” and then in his best Ricky Bobby’s voice, “Gotta go fast.”

“I love that movie,” said Joey excitedly, “ooh, ooh, can I be your sidekick? I’ll be Bake and you can be Shake.”

“I hate to interject some salient information here,” said Two Birds sounding much more intelligent than usual, “but, we need to get to that hangar in a stealthy manner. Now, through my very expensive binoculars I found a good place for us to beach the air boat.”

“Wrong,” interrupted NASCAR Bob, “it is not ‘the air boat’, its name is The SS Shake&Bake, and I am now Commodore Bob.”

“And, I’m navigating,” Joey added, “That’s the sidekick’s job.”

“How can you be the navigator?” replied Two Birds, “I’m the one who lives here and has spent countless hours looking at this swamp. You don’t know where to go, I do.”

Joey started shaking his head, “No, no, no, I’ll be the one telling Commodore Bob where to go.  I am Bake, he is Shake. You’re just a passenger on the SS Shake&Bake.”

Two Birds, his patience having been tested to the limit, threw his hands in the air in defeat and said, “Okay, I’ll tell you and you tell the Commodore.  Is that good enough?”

With that settled, Commodore Bob started up the Chevrolet 350 engine, “Whoowee, will you listen to that baby purr?” as he revved it up even louder.

“What?” screamed both Two Birds and Joey as they were climbing into the passenger seats in the bow of the Shake&Bake.

“Tell the Commodore to go past that line of large cypress trees to starboard,” Two Birds yelled to Joey.

Joey strained to hear Two Birds and turned to the Commodore and shouted, “Two Birds said to go fast.”

The swamp came alive, the sound of the SS Shake&Bake’s roaring engine sending flocks of waterfowl racing for the heavens. Two Birds turned in his seat and started to yell for Commodore Bob to “Slow down”, but as the boat plowed forward those in the bow seats were drenched by a sudden wave splashing the occupants. Commodore Bob was laughing, the exhilaration of going fast taking hold. It was when he noticed that they were headed into a copse of large cypress trees that he realized he didn’t know where they were going. “Hey Bake,” he yelled down to Joey as he slowed the boat to a stop, “Which way do we go?”

“Tell the Commodore to follow the tree line for eight-tenths of a mile,” said Two Birds to Joey, “we’ll see a landing area just a few hundred yards to starboard once we get past the trees. There’s a pipeline that empties into the swamp. I don’t know what is coming out of it, but the usually lush, green vegetation in that spot is a not so lush grayish-brown.”

Commodore Bob glanced to his left as they came to the end of the cypress trees, and with a gleam in his eyes, and without warning, turned the boat hard to port, sending Joey crashing into Two Birds knocking him over the port side rail, his head now in the murky water. Joey reacted quickly and pulled Two Birds back on board.  Two Birds looked up at the joy filled Commodore and started to scream but instead of “Commodore you idiot”, a gargled, sputtering sound came out with a stream of murky water and a small turtle.

Commodore Bob slowed the boat to a stop. Up ahead was a beautiful expanse of open water dotted with groves of lily pads, resembling the pool area of a fancy resort, many of the lily’s being used as deck chairs by the frog tourists. However, unlike a resort pool area, a great blue heron stalked among the deck chairs, striking down and skewering a sun bathing amphibian. A large gator, aroused from his shoreline nap, slid into the water and started swimming toward the SS Shake&Bake. “Anyone want to play buzz the gator?” Commodore Bob asked.

“NO!” answered both Two Birds and Joey as they climbed as far back from the bow seats as possible. “Turn this thing around,” said Two Birds, “time to get on with our mission. It is also time to be a little more inconspicuous, so proceed as slowly and quietly as you can, but fast enough to leave that hungry reptilian behind.”

Commodore Bob mumbled to himself, “Couple of wussies,” and swung the boat around, slowly heading to the spot designated for their disembarking. The difference between what lay ahead of them and the lily pad haven behind was startling. There was no vibrant vegetation teeming with wildlife; only dead debris, and the droning of thousands of flying insects feeding on the decaying plants and animals, including the carcass of a gator. It was bloated making it look like an inflatable pool toy, “Anyone fancy a pair of gator skin shoes or belt?” asked the commodore, “we could drag that bad boy to shore and skin it.”

“NO!” answered both Two Birds and Joey.

“Couple of wussies,” mumbled the commodore steering the boat away from the floating haberdashery, and pointed the bow at the beach. “Eight-tenths of a mile or there about to the beach. What do we do when we get there?”

The massive building dwarfed the flat, lowland swamps that surrounded the former airport.  Hanging from each of the four walls, in three foot letters was DH&C Enterprises – Space Entertainment Division – Future Home of Heavenly Libations Travel.  Having bought the airport; constructed all of the infrastructure required to build and then launch the party platforms as well as the space shuttles to get the clients to the platforms; hired away most of NASA’s top engineers and pilots, the partners spent most of their non-golfing time at the site giving advice to experts in their fields, and being generally in a “giddy as a schoolboy” mood.

“We’re almost ready to deploy the party stations,” said Clyde, “except we are down a couple of pilots.  Seems that two of the ones we hired got into the Cannabis Café, and now they refuse to leave the smoking lounge on the third deck.  They keep sending text messages asking for pizza to be delivered.”

The Rick, with a wink at Ocho replied, “I have a couple of possible pilots we could use for this venture, though I will have to trick them into thinking that they pulled one over on me. I have found, over the years with the lackeys I surround myself with that they respond better to my orders if they believe they are important in the grand scheme of all things pertaining to me. So, let me take care of this little problem.  Jimmy Two Birds and NASCAR Bob will do nicely flying the friendly skies for Heavenly Libations.”

The trio clambered down from the beached air boat, swarms of insects descended upon them as they made their way through the thick, thorn studded foliage. Alternately swatting flies away from faces with one hand while the other was pushing thorny stems away from legs, they plodded along too busy to speak. Finally the insect horde diminished as they reached the top of a small hill where they stopped for a rest while Two Birds scouted ahead with his very expensive binoculars. He saw a door that appeared to be slightly ajar and was about to relay that info to Joey and Commodore Bob when some movement on the roof of the hangar caught his eye. He trained the binoculars on the roof and saw Ocho and The Rick walking toward a helicopter. Following them were the four partners heading to their corporate bird. Ocho stopped, and grabbing a pair of binoculars from the copter pilot, stared straight at Two Birds.

Two Birds dropped quickly to the ground signaling the others to do likewise. He continued to watch Ocho, hoping that they had avoided his attention. It was then that he realized that the bright orange shirt he was wearing along with the fluorescent yellow shirt worn by the commodore were sure to be noticed. As if to verify his suspicion he saw Ocho, as he was boarding the helicopter, wave to him. “Well, I don’t care if Ocho knows we are here,” he said to the others, “as soon as those whirlybirds take off, we head for that open door.”

 

Two Birds was the first through the door taking just three steps inside before stopping. The immensity of the interior of this hangar had him mesmerized for a moment but he was jostled back to reality when Joey, who was also being taken in by the surroundings and not watching where he was going, barged into him, followed a few seconds later by the equally bewildered commodore. “Holy jumping monkey butts,” exclaimed Joey, “this place is huge.”

“Forget huge,” replied Bob, “these are freaking spaceships. Ohhh, I gotta fly one of these.” He walked over to the closest party station.  The Galactic Hooch was setting on top of a very large truck trailer. Bob climbed onto the trailer and lovingly touched the surface of The Hooch running his hands along the bottom of the first of three circular decks. Each deck was connected by translucent elevator tubes that gave the illusion of being in the transporter on Star Trek’s Enterprise. He continued his inspection until he came across an access panel and pressed the open button. The hiss of the hydraulics was followed by the lowering of one of the translucent tubes.  Bob entered and pressed the button for deck one. To complete the transporter ambiance the elevators were equipped with a state of the art light show that showered down on the occupants a shimmering cascade of twinkling light mimicking the special effects on Star Trek. When the elevator reached deck one, the lights retreated upwards and the door opened. Bob exited the tube walking over to a map of the station. Each deck had ten different bars, some of which offered a specialized, limited choice of liquor. Vodka Valhalla, Tequila Temptations, and The Dude’s White Russian Experience were some of the names Bob saw, but the one that caught his undivided attention was The Fireball Express.  “Oh my,” he said, “gotta get me some of that.”

Two Birds wandered over to the station named The Cannabis Café. He had watched the commodore enter the Hooch and figured that the stations probably had similar modes of egress, so he climbed onto the trailer, walked around until he found an access panel and pushed open. Unlike The Galactic Hooch, the dominant shape of this station was rather joint-like. Two huge joint-like cylinders composed the main body of the spacecraft. They were connected to each other by the same type of translucent tubes, but these were horizontal moving walkways. They were also connected to the cockpit. It resembled a pipe’s bowl. The port side cylinder housed living quarters, recreational facilities such as golf simulators, bowling, and batting cages. The starboard side was the lifeblood of the Café. Vast hydroponic greenhouses for growing the various cannabis hybrids lovingly tended by a troop of robots that ceaselessly worked 24×7 to supply the finest grade Indica-Sativa blends for an eclectic clientele. The rest of the joint was a giant humidor for storing the hybrid blends that were delivered to one of the smoking lounges; each one of the eight lounges would feature one hybrid, changing to which ever one was the freshest each day. Names like Confidential Lemon, Hazy Days, and Purple Mountains Majesty were just some of the blends. The lounges were a series of eight smaller joint-like shapes joined together to form a circle that rode above and were connected to the two large joint-like cylinders. Two Birds found himself in the port side joint and looked around for some indication of where he should go, when a C3P0 droid approached and asked, “Are you delivering pizza to the two pilots in the Purple Mountains Majesty? They are rather hungry.”

“Sorry pal,” answered Two Birds, “just looking around. An independent inspection tour for The Rick Enterprises. I cannot be detained in the performance of my duty, so please step aside, or better yet, show me around.”

“Whatever you say, sir,” replied the droid, “follow me, and if I may, I have the authority to hand out samples.”

“All righty then. That’s more like it,” replied Two Birds, “lead on and hand me a doobie.”

Meanwhile, Joey arrived at the Lushed in Space, the station destined to not only orbit Mars, but also to colonize the planet. DC&H thought big picture and planned on building colonies surrounded by fields of barley, hops and malt for the first brewery on Mars. The main body of Lushed was shaped like a beer bottle. The topside of the beer bottle was emblazoned with a label touting DC&H Martian Brewed Ale. The bottom declaimed in bright bar-like neon, Lushed in Space. Continuing the theme of old beloved television shows, Joey was met at the entrance by a ‘danger, Will Robinson’ robot from Lost in Space. “Welcome to Lushed in Space,” he announced, “may I offer you a beer? We are well stocked with the finest brews from around the world, and will soon be from Mars.”

Generally speaking, Joey was not an imbiber of alcoholic beverages, though he would occasionally down a Fireball or two, but today he wasn’t in the mood for beer. “Say, Robbie,” he asked, “you wouldn’t by any chance have any Diet Coke on board?”

“We have an excellent supply of various soft drinks,” he replied, “they are for the colonists. There will be no alcohol allowed on the planet until the colonies are built, the crops are sown, reaped, and turned into ale. DC&H think that will spur them on to work a little harder and faster.”

“Great,” said Joey as he contemplated how many liters he should ask for. He first thought that two or three would be sufficient while he was still at Two Bird’s place, but then he remembered that Two Birds kept a well-stocked larder but the Diet Coke supply was depleted. Two Birds believed in having a goodly supply of necessary items; ketchup for instance. He had enough to last three lifetimes but couldn’t resist the periodic ‘buy 1, get 1 free’ sales. However, Diet Coke was not one of the necessary items in Two Bird’s pantry, so, Joey said, “I’ll take 20 liters.”

Two hours, and two liters of Diet Coke later, Joey drove the custom built golf cart the Lushed robot staff brought out, the cargo area crammed with 18 liter bottles, to the rendezvous spot at the door. The cart had the front end of a Dodge Charger, seating for six, retractable sunroof, and a stereo system hooked up to satellite radio. He was listening to a classic rock station grooving to ‘More than a Feeling’ by Boston when the Commodore staggered over. He looked over at Joey and belched. Joey thought he must have been seeing things as smoke came out of the Commodore’s mouth and ears when he burped. “Best Fireballs I ever had,” he said as he belched more smoke.

Two Birds walked over to join Joey and the Commodore holding a pizza box with one hand and a huge doobie in the other. “Nice wheels,” he chuckled, “how are you gonna fit that on the Shake&Bake, or even your haul of Diet Coke?”

“How about just driving out of the front gate of the complex?” quipped Ocho as he emerged from the shadows, “Turn right out of the gate, another right at the first intersection, and straight for eight-tenths of a mile to Two Birds place. It’s a tad easier a route than a loud airboat through a gator filled swamp. Why in the first place did you come that way?”

 

 

 

********************

Back to the present

            “Well?” said The Rick, “Stop stalling, and look at me, not at each other dammit.” When the four guilty parties still refused to answer, or look him in the eyes, The Rick stood up, his 6 foot, 4 inch chiseled body looming menacingly, his sparkling blue-green eyes shooting daggers, his bulging biceps threatening to rip through his expensive Armani shirt as he brought his fists down on the teak wood conference table so hard that water sloshed out of the crystal glassware in front of each cringing minion. Almost at once Two Birds, Joey, NASCAR Bob, and Ocho rose to their feet, and as if from a scene from the movie Spartacus they each cried out, “I am the guilty one.”

The Rick sat down, keeping his head bowed to hide the smile on his face. “Wait,” he said, “Each of you, without the knowledge of the others, leaked the agenda.  Is that what I’m understanding here?” After a moment of hushed consultation the seemingly chastened minions each nodded their heads. However, they all thought to themselves that they had outwitted The Rick. The Rick, his composure now regained, motioned for them to sit, and said, “I suppose the next question, and believe me I ask it in fear and trepidation, is why? What could possibly be the reason for this strange, bewildering betrayal?”

Joey was the first to speak, although it was more of a mumbling, stuttering, clearing of his throat with many uhs and ahems before he said, “I wanna be Commodore Bob’s sidekick in space.”

Commodore Bob nodded his head vigorously and only said, “Gotta go fast, gotta fly a spaceship,”

Two Birds hung his head and tried to slide his chair away from Joey and Bob but Ocho slid closer to Two Birds wedging him in.  Two Birds sighed and stood up, “Okay, here’s the deal. We know about Heavenly Libations and the plan to send party stations in space. We want, no, demand that we have a part in the project. Preferably, in the case of the Commodore and myself, based on our years of experience watching and reading about being pilots, in the roles of space station pilots. We will not take no for an answer.”  Two Birds sat back down and wiped the sweat from his forehead with a shaky hand.

The Rick looked at Ocho, ‘Well, what’s your reason?

Ocho smiled as he looked over at his companions. He took out his notebook and read back to them what he had written so far in his current story. “I’m just looking to get in a couple rounds of golf and to collect material for my stories. You guys are a goldmine of inspiration.”

**********

Marjorie Detwiler sat at her desk drinking her fifth cup of coffee, perusing her email.  She had risen through the ranks at DC&H and was now in charge of Heavenly Libations Space Travel.  The list of interested tourists grew steadily every day, despite the staggering sum encountered when booking a flight: $25,000 for a round trip fare; bar tab not included; $45,000 for an unlimited bar tab. Prominent politicians, the top entertainers from every genre, the hoi polloi oligarchs from around the globe, and the aging hippies all wanted to participate in what was being billed as, “The Heavenly Libations Tour of the Universe”. There was even a request from the head of The Flat Earth Society who was eager to prove once and for all that the earth was not a globe, and that all that hogwash spouted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson was just that, hogwash.  That brought a smile to Marjorie’s face as she read her next email; Neil DeGrasse Tyson also wanted to book a flight.  “Oh my,” she murmured, “I think they should fly together.”

A sharp knock on her office door followed by her secretary Chad entering caught her by surprise as he had never entered without waiting for her to answer his knock.  Chad cleared his throat announcing that there was a very insistent lawyer demanding to see Marjorie immediately.  He tried closing the door behind him, but the visitor bulled his way through, knocking Chad up against the glass trophy case that housed Marjorie’s awards from her basketball days at Harvard. The lawyer, a short, stubby fellow walked to Marjorie’s desk, set his briefcase on it, and plopped down in the chair opposite her. “Thank you for seeing me,” he said with a sarcastic smirk, “my name is Randall Pennyworth. I have been retained by The EPA, NASA, and the good people of Punta Gorda, FL, the town you are planning to inundate with toxic byproducts resulting from the launching of vehicles into space.”

**********

The weather in Surfside Beach, SC, the home of The Rick’s vacation estate, was mediocre, bearing little resemblance to normal conditions this time of year. The minions were concerned that there might even be snow, and that would certainly put a damper on their pilot futures. The agreement arrived at between The Rick and his minions was a simple one. If any of the want to be pilots, or a pilot’s sidekick, beat The Rick anytime during the week, then they would be granted the privilege of flying for Heavenly Libations.  The first round, played at The Tradition Club, went as expected. Two Birds, Commodore Bob, and Sidekick Joey were sky high in anticipation at the beginning of the round. The fact that with Two Birds now living in Florida, meant he was able to play year round and was sure that he could best The Rick easily. The others knew he was their best chance, but they were also alive with self-confidence, knowing that this was their time to rise above the mundane; to climb out of the despair of meaningless existence.

The euphoria, so prevalent on the first tee, subsided with every hole as shot after shot went awry, seeking regions known only to burrowing mammals or fish. The Rick, however, was on top of his game; driving 30-40 yards farther than even Joey with his new M2 driver. His touch around the greens was superb; his putter was in tune with speed and slope, one putts being the norm. It was clearly not the minions’ day. Two Birds could be seen muttering to himself; Commodore Bob was reduced to chasing the beverage cart begging for a Fireball, and Joey was flinging clubs everywhere.  This was the way things went for the next two rounds as well. At Blackmoor the next day, and at wind swept and cold Grande Dunes the following day, the results were the same; The Rick was dominant, the minions were doomed. By the third hole at Grande Dunes all Two Birds could think of was the world famous homemade chili Ocho was preparing for dinner.  Joey, while still enamored with his new M2, was less than thrilled with the rest of his new clubs and was not only flinging them with reckless regularity, he was leaving them where they fell. The Commodore, feeling the chance to ‘go fast in a spaceship’ slipping away, mounted a comeback on the back nine at Grande Dunes, but it fell short when his approach shot on 18 also fell short and now sleeps with the frogs, turtles, and gators.

The next morning, as Ocho was grinding Starbuck’s Espresso beans for another pot of coffee, a rather loud, almost deafening roar and rumble emanated from the dark mass of clouds that held sway over the dawn. “Wow!” exclaimed Ocho, “Looks like golf is out for today, my fellow Hoovers.”

The Rick, dressed in a silk kimono, paused at the top of the stairway landing, “I do believe we shall go shoe shopping today, and then perhaps we’ll play Cards Against Humanity until dinner time.  After which we will watch a couple movies; my choice, naturally.”

Joey and The Commodore rose from their seats at the breakfast table and said in unison, “So let it be written. So let it be done.”

“I’ve also given some thought as to how to make the golf more competitive,” continued The Rick, “tomorrow at Willbrook Plantation we will keep score a bit differently. We will go out as a five some. We will add the lowest scores for every hole by you four.  That will be your final tally for the round.” He looked around at his minions, they were already convinced that they couldn’t possibly lose. Partially because of the caffeine level in their bloodstreams, and partially because they now felt back in the game, their high fives and chest bumps became more animated by the moment resulting in minor injuries and some slight damage to the décor.

The less said about the shoe shopping, the better.  It was an agonizing four hours watching The Rick try on virtually every shoe in the store; a store that did not have a customer’s restroom.  A real hardship considering the amount and strength of Ocho’s robust coffee; add to that the fact they ate chili the night before. Finally, and with five new pair of golf shoes, The Rick declared it was time to go back to the condo; with a quick stop to get gas and to unload bodily fluids, etc.

**********

The day of reckoning was cool, but at least it was sunny. The drive to the course was filled with nervous excitement. The minions, who were so confident the night before were now starting to feel the pressure. Joey was already on his third liter of Diet Coke.  Commodore Bob was following the cart girl as she loaded up making sure she was well supplied with Fireballs.  Two Birds was in a dither about politics.  Ocho, however, remained calm as befits one who knows how the story ends. The Rick was all smiles as befits one who thinks he knows how the story ends. The match itself proceeded along the lines stipulated by The Rick with the four minions carding their lowest score on each hole. The problem with that was that while The Rick was shooting pars and bogies, the minions were often left with double bogies as the best they could do. So it was that through 15 holes, The Rick had a four stroke lead. With all their hopes seemingly about to crash among the rocks of despair, Ocho took charge. On 16, a par 3, Ocho’s tee shot landed a scant few inches from the hole giving the minions a birdie, while The Rick could only manage par. The lead was now three with two holes to go.  The 17th hole was a par 4 with a dogleg right. The safe play was to hit the tee shot straight and hope you made the corner for the second shot. Ocho didn’t play it safe and blasted a 260 yard drive over the trees guarding the corner leaving him only 50 yards from the green, and from where he proceeded to make another birdie. In a rare display of mediocre golf, The Rick chunked three shots in a row and made double bogie. Going to the par 5 18th, the lead was now down to one. From the tee on 18, the best drive was Joey’s who then surprised everyone by hitting his second shot 200 yards; his third onto the green; his fourth a 35 foot putt for birdie that had everyone holding their breath as the ball hit the cup on the right edge and did a 360 before dropping in for birdie. The Rick, who was also on the green in three, had two putts to win the match. His first putt stopped 2 feet short but was a certainty for par. While he lined up the putt, Ocho reminded him, quietly, that he needed to miss this for his plan to have his minions as pilots. With as much sincerity as he could muster he pulled the putt just missing the left edge of the hole. The minions were now Heavenly Libations bound.

**********

The ride back to The Rick’s estate was a boisterous affair.  Sidekick Joey and Commodore Bob even tried to do a chest bump while both of them were seat belted, and shoulder harnessed in the elegantly appointed Rickmobile.  Two Birds, who was sitting in the front seat while The Rick drove, just kept pointing and jabbing his index fingers for emphasis as he repeated over and over, “No more minion; time to blast off.”  The Rick shot Two Birds a look of disdain, but inside he was cheering just as loudly as his minions, ah, former minions. With them on the rolls as pilots, The Rick just upped his stake in the venture which up until now consisted of investing in and providing the   enormous amounts of rocket fuel they needed and stocking the massive inventories of alcoholic beverages and hybrid marijuana strains.  The drain on his multi-billion dollar reserves coupled with the monies invested in The Rick by his friends and cronies, would have worried a lesser man, but The Rick wasn’t even fazed.

Then the state of the art Bluetooth connection announced an incoming call.  The Rick hit connect and the display screen came alive with the four partners and Marjorie seated around a conference table; a scene of noise and confusion. From the chaos came a question from Sam Dewey, “Pakistan? You got the fuel from %$#^* Pakistan?”

In a monumental set of unfortunate circumstances beginning with The Rick trusting the Pakistani agent who assured The Rick that the fuel was not toxic.  In fact, he continued, “It is the first ‘green’ rocket fuel ever developed, guaranteed to even help the ozone layer repair the ravages of the Industrial Age.”  In actual fact, however, the exhaust from the rocket engines, given the vagaries of wind and weather, would have wiped out most of life from Tampa to Naples.

Ocho had been aware of the source of The Rick’s fuel and was skeptical of the veracity of the ‘green’ claim. On his first visit to the hangar he pilfered a small vial of the fuel that was going to be part of the marketing campaign and sent it to a lab for analysis. Thus it was Ocho, who without revealing the bit about the fuel, anonymously leaked to NASA, The EPA, and the town council of Punta Gorda that there were going to be many rocket launches by Heavenly Libations over protected wetlands and golf courses. To say that Ocho kept the fuel out of his correspondence with the agencies he contacted is true enough.  It wasn’t until he slipped a note into Randall Pennyworth’s pocket saying to check the fuel that all hell broke loose.

After a frenzied explanation to the fuming partners and the confused minions, The Rick, visibly shaken by this turn of events still managed to get back to the estate safely. Not waiting for someone to open his door, he bolted out of the vehicle and headed inside. The 125 inch television came on at his command tuned to MSNBC where a group of talking heads were already in damning mode concerning Heavenly Libations in general, and The Rick in particular. A few seconds’ later messages began scrolling at the bottom of the screen from investors, friends, colleagues, and the multitudes who harbored a grudge against The Rick, who were bailing out on The Rick Enterprises and otherwise distancing themselves from the man and the fallout sure to come.  From multi-billionaire to financial ruination does not take long apparently; even the shoe store was demanding the recent purchase of five pair of golf shoes be returned due to his credit card being denied. The Rick, to his credit, did not lash out, scream, or even cry; he merely sighed, shook his beautiful head of hair, and went up to his room where he did lash out; throwing objects around and banging is head against the wall. While this was a bit noisy, the tantrum did, at the very least, announce to the minions that The Rick was not doing himself in.

“What are we gonna do?” Joey asked, the realization that he was not going to be Sidekick Joey finally sinking in, nor would he be employed any longer by the devastated The Rick Enterprises.

Two Birds just sat at the table, the remains of his chicken cordon bleu barely visible on his plate. “Maybe I’ll just retire,” he said, “my cat Rufus would like that.”

Commodore Bob, he refused to dispense with the title, switched the channel on the TV to the NASCAR station. “I think I may join a pit crew,” he said as he downed a Fireball shot, “race teams are always looking for someone who likes to go fast.”

Ocho, who had gone up to check on The Rick, came down and said, “Oh, I wouldn’t be too concerned about things. I have a feeling that all will be well.”  He opened the freezer and pulled out a pint of Chunky Monkey, grabbed a spoon and began to eat, “Trust me. I have a plan.”

Later that night Ocho came down from his bedroom where he had been writing this story, and found The Rick sitting in his favorite lounger staring blankly at the ceiling, his silk kimono opened to his waist, an empty package of Oreo Double Stuff cookies lying at his feet.  Black cookie crumbs mixed with dots of double stuff mingled with his chest hair, the glass of milk in his hand dangerously close to spilling on the very expensive Persian rug that he no longer owned, but which did tie the room together. He looked up at Ocho bleary eyed, his crow’s feet wrinkles readily visible without his usual application of make-up. “I am ruined,” was all he could say.

“Now don’t lose hope,” Ocho remarked as he snatched the glass of milk as it slipped out of The Rick’s hand, “I have everything taken care of.  You’re going to be just fine.” He then laid out to The Rick his plan for making things right, pausing occasionally to let The Rick, who was understandably shocked at what Ocho was telling him, catch his breath.

When Ocho was done, The Rick pointed to the dining room table and said, “There are the keys to the Range Rover.  Take it before the creditors come to repossess it, gather up the others and get to Punta Gorda as quick as you can.  I’ll stay here and meditate on my new reality.  Do you think I’ll be able to keep this rug?”

************

With Commodore Bob and Two Birds trading time behind the wheel they made the trek from Surfside Beach, SC to Punta Gorda, FL in record time.  Joey insisted on navigating even though Two Birds was pretty confident he knew how to get home.  Ocho sat in the back seating section typing away on his laptop, or texting messages to the people and groups needed to get on board with his plan.  He had said nothing to the others except that everything would be explained when they got back to Two Bird’s house. That was all they heard from him during the drive except an occasional chuckle.  The only words spoken loud enough for them to hear was, “Yes, Mr. President. Thank you for your rational approach and kind consideration in this grave matter.” ** Editor’s note: This is a work of fiction and as such, the President in this story is also fictional and in no way depicts the current resident of the White House. J

The first thing Two Birds noticed when they turned the corner onto his street was two immaculately detailed extra-large Ford Econoline Vans parked in his driveway, but it was the first thing that Commodore Bob saw that stole the show. A brand spanking new Peterbilt double trailer semi with the same Gray Wolf Transport detail emblazoned on both sides of the vans and the truck.

Four large pizzas and a requisite amount of liquid refreshment later, the three former minions were ready for Ocho to share his plan. “Okay then,” said Ocho as he swallowed the last of his Guinness, “here’s the deal. I called in a bunch of favors and was able to convince the powers that be to go along. The illicit fuel is being taken care of by the EPA with no further action taken against The Rick other than his ruined businesses and loss of prestige. DC&H get to keep the party stations, though they cannot send them into space. That means that there are no pilot jobs for you guys, but as you noticed as we arrived, Gray Wolf Transport does have need of drivers. If you’re interested, we can start right away. The pay is $20 an hour. The first job is to load up the vans with as much of the liquor and Diet Coke that they can carry, and the semi with the humidor and weed aboard the Cannabis Café.  The booze and Diet Coke will be delivered to your homes for your use.  The weed is for me.”

Two Birds, looking a bit confused replied, “Wait a minute there Ocho. If The Rick is ruined and down on his luck, why are we taking his supplies. It seems to me that he would need the revenue.”

Ocho nodded his head, “That would be the case if The Rick hadn’t agreed to let me have the inventory for nothing except, and this is the beauty of being an author who can make stuff up as he goes, I am going to revive The Rick’s career in a future story about you guys. He was so happy with that he told me to take all I wanted.”

Joey, though somewhat disappointed that he would not be Commodore Bob’s sidekick, was thrilled with the prospect of having so much Diet Coke on hand, and a goodly supply of Fireballs for special occasions.

Commodore Bob cared nothing about the how and why of the plan. His attention was firmly focused on the fact that he would be driving a double trailer semi, and as he has said many times, “Twenty bucks is twenty bucks.”

AFTERMATH

Dewey, Cheetum, Howe & MacDougal – yes, Rocco is finally acknowledged as a Partner; more on that below.  Though foiled in their master plan to orbit planets and colonize Mars, the fact that they retained the space craft made for new possibilities. Coming soon; The Inter-Galactic Adults Only Space Station Amusement Park located in the Berkshire Mountains in Western Massachusetts. The three stations will all be upgraded with a state of the art animatronic Star Wars bar complete with all of the lovable aliens, including the band. The choice of location is ideal as weed is legal in Massachusetts and is only a few miles from the Hancock Shaker Village giving the wives and children something to do while dad is amusing himself at IGAOSSAP.

Marjorie Detwiler – left her employment with DCH&M as she was nominated and confirmed as the new Secretary of The Interior.

Gray Wolf Transport – Through the brilliant marketing and branding plan put together by Rocco, who was once again Ocho’s agent bringing untold profit to DC&H which prompted the change to DCH&M, Gray Wolf Transport went public on NASDAQ. Starting at $20.00 a share the price steadily rose and now stands at $86.00. The three original drivers were no longer driving the cargo vehicles having trained a new crew that now numbered in the hundreds. Taking their profits from the rise in the stock price they formed Gray Wolf Racing.

Two Birds – capitalizing on his years of experience as a fleet mechanic for a large utility company, he built a NASCAR ready, gray Toyota Corolla S, and christened it The Shake and Bake Special, regally bedecked with Gray Wolf images and logo.

Joey, aka Sidekick Joey; aka Bake – capitalizing on his years as an employee of the USPS, Joey was now the Pit Crew Chief for Gray Wolf Racing, changing tires with one hand, and a cold Diet Coke in the other.

Commodore Bob, aka NASCAR Bob; aka Shake – with the ‘gotta go fast’ motto emblazoned on the back of his alligator leather racing jacket, Commodore Bob was now the principal driver for Gray Wolf Racing winning the first race The Shake and Bake Special entered and which took place at the home of Ricky Bobby – Talladega.

Ocho – rich now beyond his wildest dreams, which only goes to prove the vivid, creative imagination he possesses.

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under golf humor, my stories

The Good, The Bad, and The Mostly Debauched

Making the Hoovers Great Again

Myrtle Beach 2016

THE MOSTLY DEBAUCHED

Boeing-787-Dreamliner-24

greenpoint-787-azure-lounge-04

Our story begins in a smoked filled, custom built Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  The smoke being generated by four elegantly dressed gentlemen, puffing away between bouts of oratory, on expensive Cuban cigars.  In the background, playing on the 72 inch screen is the movie Centurion, a tale about a massacred Roman Legion north of Hadrian’s Wall; next up is The Eagle of the Ninth, a tale about recovering the Eagle lost in The Centurion.  Yes, dear readers, our intrepid travelers have just returned from a month steeped in Roman history as they tramped all through Southern France and down all the way to the boot heel of Italy.   Tramped is a relative term as their notion of trekking involves state of the art Land Rovers driven by professionals who also double as bar tenders and cooks.  The magnificent tents, gifts from a prince in Saudi Arabia, that they call home for the trip rival 5 star rooms anywhere.  Who are these pampered, over-indulgent, seekers of knowledge and a permanent drunk?  Let me introduce the members of the sports management team of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe.

  • Rocco Ian MacDougal – age 51 born in Dover, DE of an Italian mother and Scottish father. This mixed heritage explains his drinking preferences of Sangria in the morning and Chivas Regal after noon.  Took part in many black-ops as an Army Ranger, none of which can he talk about but he has let it slip that one had something to do with Saddam Hussein.   One of the top agents employed by the Sports Management Agency of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe, he is now a full partner, albeit without his name on the marquee.
  • Samuel Dewey – age 66 born in Ogallala, NE.  Graduated from Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute in 1970.  His friends call him CR from his earlier career as a corporate raider.  Indeed, the founding of DC&H was as a result of a corporate takeover.  His business acumen is so sharp that he has been married and divorced three times and has never had to pay a settlement or alimony despite being one of the 50 wealthiest Americans..  He drinks Stoli Elit before, during and after breakfast and switches to Southern Comfort at lunch.
  • Vincent Cheatum – 64 born in Piney Green, NC, a little fart of a town just outside of the largest Marine Corps base on the East coast, Camp Lejeune, where his father settled after retiring from The Marines as a highly decorated Master Sgt.  After a brief stint as a roadie for The Grateful Dead, Vinny followed his dad’s footsteps and also retired from the Marines as a Gunnery Sergeant, hence his nickname of Gunny.  His beverages of choice are Schlitz and Jack Daniels.
  • Clyde Howe – 75 born in Altoona, PA.  He is a distant relative of Lord Richard Howe, the British commander during part of The Revolutionary War.  Graduated from The Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1959 and had a minor role in The Bay of Pigs Invasion.  Also, it was his ship that was fired upon by a North Vietnamese patrol boat in the Gulf of Tonkin.  The Ancient Mariner, as he is known by, retired as a Rear Admiral.  Has always expressed great admiration for the movie, The Big Lebowski so he drinks White Russians day and night.  The exception to this is when he brings out a 29 year old Cragganmore single malt Scotch that he sips while smoking Cuban cigars.

“It was Alesia, damnit”, yelled Clyde, his hands shaking so much that his scotch sloshed over the sides, “Alesia was Caesar’s greatest victory, bar none.  The engineering alone ranks that battle higher than any other.”

“I respectfully disagree.  Clearly Caesar’s finest hour was defeating Magnus at Pharsalus.” replied Rocco.  “Engineering!”, Rocco snarled, pointing his cigar at Clyde, “That was against a bunch of tribal pussies.  Pharsalus was against Romans.”  “Besides,” he continued after exhaling a series of smoke rings, “being a direct descendant of Mark Antony I think qualifies me as an expert on the subject.”

“Oh for the love of Mithras.  I’ll have you know, you scion of a traitor..” Clyde paused for a moment to belch and to regain his train of thought.

Vinny popped open a can of Schlitz with one hand while crushing an empty with the other one.  “I sincerely hope that you two will cease and desist this ongoing, never ending, pointless discussion.  I’m trying to watch the movie.  That painted Pict lady is kinda hot.”

Sam staggered against the lounge chair he was trying to sit in resulting in a wave of Stoli crashing upon the front of his Armani slacks.  “Damn turbulence.  I’m gonna have a talk with the pilot, bastard probably did that on purpose.”, Sam said while holding his vodka violated pant leg out away from his body.  “There was no turbulence, excepting of the drunken walk variety.”, responded Rocco with a big grin.

“Who the hell asked for your opinion?”, Sam yelled, “in fact, why the hell did we make you a partner?  You lost our best client by letting Ocho retire; by the way are we still making money off of his endorsements?”

Rocco scratched his head, and looked around wondering if he could find someplace to hide but even a 787 Dreamliner is limited in that respect.  “Well, Rocco, I asked you a simple question.  A simple yes or no would be a good place to start.”, said Sam as he stripped off his sodden pants to reveal a pair of boxers sporting the cast from The Big Bang Theory.

Marjorie Detwiler has been employed for these last 10 years by Dewey, Cheetum and Howe, as Director of Excursions and Executive Flight Attendant.  At five feet, 11 inches tall, Marjorie stood taller than all of the partners.  She received a Masters in Sports Management & Entertainment from Harvard while playing shooting guard on the women’s NCAA basketball team and was an Honorable Mention All American.  Little in her college experience, however, prepared her for employment with this group of semi-hedonistic, inebriation record setting, globe trotting golf and adventure seekers.  A perfect example was now playing itself out as Marjorie entered the lounge with her clipboard to brief her boys on their itinerary for the next week.  Seeing Sam standing in his underwear caught her attention right away but it wasn’t the pictures of Sheldon and Penny that drew her eyes.  No, this wasn’t the first time she had been witness to various states of undress; not the first time the veneer of professionalism that she strove to maintain no matter what the circumstance had cracked as she unsuccessfully stifled a chuckle. Peeking out of the front of the Big Bang boxers was one-eyed Sammy.

“What’s everyone staring at?”, asked Vinny as he followed the stares of his companions, “Oh my! Donkey man is showing off again, I see.”  “Is nothing sacred with you people?”, said Sam as he reached down and cradled one-eyed Sammy in his hands, “This piece of artistry in the flesh is of Biblical proportion and is so mentioned in Ezekiel 20:23, and I paraphrase for the squeamish, ‘and the women lusted after men hung like donkeys and whose emissions are as from a horse.’  So be a little more respectful, if you please.”  Sam then put one-eyed Sammy back behind Penny and Sheldon.  He looked at Rocco and thought that there was something he was going to say to Rocco but damned if he could remember what it was.  “I’m gonna get some fresh pants if anyone wants to come watch.”, Sam said and headed off to his suite.

THE GOOD

We are one week away from our annual visit to the hub of The Confederacy, although now instead of rice, indigo and cotton plantations tended by unwilling participants in that pristine agrarian society, there are acres of landscape modified into the curse word inducing, club flinging geographic phenomena of golf courses.  As has been typical of year’s past, the closer to departure we get, the more verbose we become; our excitement building to a symphonic crescendo.  This stoking of our desire to golf again is what sustains us through the long dreary months we are held captive by the gods of seasonal atmospheric conditions, El Nino and climate change.  The unhappy irony of this pent up, ever building crescendo is that by the third hole of the first day that crescendo becomes a white foamed wave, crashing furiously against the rocks of reality.  Thus I have come upon the idea to do dramatic readings from my novel in progress, Clash of Empires, thereby restoring the morale of my aging, battered friends; restoring a calmness to their tortured souls.  I was expecting heaps of excited anticipatory responses from my fellow travelers but instead was met with a torpid, ‘yeah, okay’, type of reply.  Except from Rick; he was so captivated by the idea that he suggests we dress in costume and play out the scenes.  Rick has recently retired from active employment and I am concerned for the health of his mind.

THE BAD

“Hello again.  This is Jim Nantz once again bringing to you live, the antics and the undeniably bad golf that is their stock in trade, The Hoovers in Myrtle Beach.  With me once more is my good friend and colleague, Sir Nick Faldo.  I must say you’re looking pretty dapper for a man who just a few hours ago was stuffing one dollar bills anywhere he could at a local Gentlemen’s Club.”

“Always a pleasure, Jim.  I guess those kids just make me feel young again.  But more to the point, what in the realm of Aphrodite’s tits are we doing broadcasting these buffoons?”

“In the contract old buddy.  Seems we were bought out by that sports management group, Dewey, Cheetum and Howe and they want to promote Ocho, so here we are.”

“Well I have news for you old chum, they are on the way here, or so I’m told.  Flying into Myrtle on that damned Dreamliner they own.  Coming in from Amsterdam of all places.  Probably hanging out at one of those cafes smoking who knows what and making asses of themselves.”

THE GOOD

Ocho awoke after a restful night on his lavishly appointed couch in the posh Hoover mansion, Chez Rick’s.  Ocho has by tradition provided the coffee for this week of golf and giggles and this year has brought two very good beans from Thanksgiving Coffee; a Kona Blend(cuz I can’t afford the real thing) and a nice Guatemalan.  Soon the sound of the grinder turning the beans of the gods into a brew-able consistency echoes off the walls of the condo kitchen.  A moment later the process of creating the elixir of salvation is made manifest by the aroma, an aroma that announces that the new day has begun and it is fucking glorious.

As a cost saving ploy and a chance to further enhance our male bonding experience, we are cooking dinners in for a few nights.  Ocho not only contributes to the workings of the intestinal regions with the morning infusion of the elixir of salvation, he is doubling his efforts for this evening’s meal.  Ocho is making chili; not too hot, just enough btu action to make you feel glad to be alive and feasting on this culinary miracle.  With Jimmy Two Birds working that Ronco Slice and Dice on an onion, Joey demonstrating his can opening expertise and Ocho putting it all together, how could it be anything other than a gourmet’s delight.  Every breath is soon punctuated with the smell of onion, garlic, beans, beef, etc coupled with the fading but still discernible aroma of Guatemalan.

THE BAD

Nantz: We are well into the second round and as usual there isn’t a whole lot of good to report on from these aging club flingers.

Faldo: I agree, although there have been flashes of, I was gonna say brilliance but that would be a bit over the top.  Let’s just call it sucking less than usual, such as The Rick paring all three holes at Amen Corner, not an easy task as I can well attest, being a winner there a few times.   Did I ever tell you, mate, about the tiff I had with my caddie over club choice at the par 3?  Well..

Nantz: Sorry Nick old pal, no time for your glory days routine. There’s nobody listening anyway.  Those dozy bastards who consigned us to this broadcasting nightmare probably don’t even remember that we’re doing this.  It’s a wonder they can function at a level higher than one of them three toed sloths.  You know what I heard?  That they all have agreed to donate their internal organs to science.  Mayo Clinic is desperate to find out why their livers lasted longer than some non-alcohol preserved specimens.

Faldo: Uh, Jim?  Clyde Howe is on line one.

THE MOSTLY DEBAUCHED

Clyde: Faldo?  You over rated hack, I wanna talk to that pompous bag of methane, Nantz.

Sam: You tell him that I’m gonna donate his balls to my taxidermist and have them mounted on my den wall.

Clyde: Nantz?  Don’t talk, just listen.  We own you now, pal, so you better get used to a new tradition like no other.  We’re flying in to Wilmington, NC to play at this place called Farmstead.  We will be listening to your riveting broadcast; a little less full of yourself and a little more entertaining would be appreciated.

Vinny: Another thing, we need some eye candy.  Nantz might still be pretty but Faldo’s late night exploits don’t exactly enhance his beauty.

Rocco: This is perfect.  We represent a nubile young lady who is a, she’s a, well she’s an entertainer at one of Myrtle Beach’s finer clubs.  Her name is Melody Storm.  Get her to do on the course interviews and stuff.

Vinny: Oh yeah, she’s hot.

Clyde: You got that, Nantz?  Melody Storm showing her stuff.  See you later.

THE GOOD

or perhaps, more appropriately,

THE EMBARRASSING

Another round completed at a very nice, new venue for us, The Grande Dunes.  Beautiful holes running parallel to the Intracoastal Waterway, greens that begged to be putted upon, ponds that demanded sacrifice and according to an informed staff member, water moccasins slithering in the shoreline greenery seeking unwary golfers to slay. Indeed, a round that will long be cherished for many reasons; each Hoover with his own memories of spectacular holes while ushering the not so spectacular to the darkest recesses of their collective minds.  Joey with his record shattering 97, Rick with his back to back pars on 8 & 9, Ocho with his blistering par,par,par,birdie,par and Jimmy with his good fortune to be in the same cart with Ocho during those blistering holes.  Ironic when you think on it.  Jimmy was the most effusive in praise of Grande Dunes and yet he played the worst of the four of us.  Just goes to show that inside the Hoovers beats the hearts of poets.

The setting sun was a display of grandeur and a perfect backdrop to the network interview area set up just off the 18th green.  Melody Storm dressed in a form fitting blue dress and oh what a form that was filling it.  Spaghetti straps on the shoulders held up what little material there was that formed the low cut cleavage revealing bodice.    Arising from the bottom of her right calf is a tattoo of an elegant climbing morning glory vine that enchantingly disappears mid-thigh under the dress.  Carrying a microphone and a clipboard she walks over to Ocho and Rick.  Joey alights from his cart like he was shot out of a cannon to join in on the interview.  Just as Melody gets into position she drops the clipboard.  Both Melody and Joey bend down to retrieve the item and Joey is met with an eyeful of cleavage.  Melody takes the clipboard from a mesmerized Joey and winks at him turning him into a glazed over statue, unable to move as the sun reflects off the beaded sweat on the top of his head.  On the other side of the green, Jimmy was still sitting in the cart when Melody bent down for the clipboard.  His view, when he was able to regain focus after the initial shock, was of the morning glory vine as it reached her well made gluteal region.  His first thought was the realization he really liked peaches; his second thought was that he could not get out of the cart until a certain condition abated.

THE BAD

Nantz: “I can’t remember the last time I was so enmeshed in the beauty and drama of a well played golf match.  Not Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy or even Sir Nick Faldo has ever brought to the golfing public a display of excellence such as the likes of The Hoovers have brought to us today.”

Faldo:”Bollocks!  What have you been smoking?  We’ve been on the air for 4 1/2 hours and have seen maybe half a dozen decent shots from these club wielding buffoons.”

Nantz:  quickly put his hand over Faldo’s mike, “What the hell is wrong with you?  Our new bosses are listening.  You better pucker up and start doing the arse kiss routine or we’re toast.”

Faldo: “Shite, I forgot.”  He reaches down under the desk and pulls up a bottle of Johnny Walker Black and takes a three gulp drink.  “Okay, I’m ready to pucker.”

Nantz: slowly takes his hand from Nick’s mike, “Aw now Nick, let’s not be jealous.  This is their time, yours has sadly passed you by.  Time for a brief word from our new sponsor, Hoover Eats, the last word in fine beef stews and chili and then we’ll take you down to the course for some in depth interviews with our latest staff addition, Melody Storm.

Faldo: “That’s right, Jim.  Hoover Eats is perfect for that post-round meal.  The chili is out of this world and let me tell you, I just had a bowl before going on the air and it tastes just as good the second time(he belches and smiles).  The beef stew has been rated highest among those who think Dinty Moore comes straight from God.  So stock up now; Hoover Eats – it keeps you moving.”

Nantz: “Now we are going down to Melody as she chats with Ocho and The Rick. Welcome to the crew, Melody.”

Faldo: mutters just loud enough for it to go over the air, “So that’s what she looks like with clothes on.”

THE MOSTLY DEBAUCHED

Farmstead Golf Course has the distinction of being geographically situated in both North and South Carolina.  This little fact is causing no little consternation to the partners.  It is illegal to drink on the golf course in North Carolina and 85% of the course is in North Carolina.  “Not having alcohol on even one hole is a travesty of justice,” yelled Sam, “and I’m sure is a violation of my god-given, constitutionally mandated rights.”  Marjorie didn’t bat an eye or move an inch, she just said, “Clyde!” and turned to exit the plane thinking how glorious the next few hours would be while her boys were wreaking havoc elsewhere.

Clyde looked at Vinny and asked, “How many North Carolina legislators do we own?”  Vinny scratched his head, crushed a Schlitz can and replied, “Four but there’s a fifth who is just awaiting our final offer.”  “Okay, call the fifth and get him or her on board and then conference in the other four.  I want an exemption in that ill-formed piece of legislature or our friends the congresspeople will, and I quote Walter Sobchak, ‘be entering a world of pain.’  Is that clear, Vinny?”  “Couldn’t have said it any better, Clyde, my wise old friend,” answered Vinny, the swish of a can of Schlitz being opened punctuating the moment.

“Hey Sam,” said Clyde, following Sam over to the bar for a quick one before their first drink during the limo ride to the golf course, “You’ve been a little too rough on Marjorie, hell we all take advantage of her from time to time.  Damn, but she’s a treasure and it is time we showed her our appreciation.  It’s time to implement our plan to buy out Expedia and a couple other travel outfits and start our own mega travel guide service.  Marjorie will run it as President of Travel Hedonists, Inc.”

THE GOOD

Despite the fact that Clyde and the rest expected Ocho to be the primary focus of the broadcast interviews and despite the fact that this was indeed a ploy by Clyde and the rest to entice Ocho out of retirement, the interview was still slanted towards The Rick as Clyde and the rest forgot about the inexplicable attraction between women and The Rick.  Ocho was only able to answer one question regarding his return to action.  At that point, Melody, aimed the mike at The Rick and proceeded to bombard him with inane questions about his favorite color, his favorite bands and whether he thought Donald Trump was evil.  However, it was not the interview questions that mattered or even, the answers.  This was two people becoming enraptured with each other.  Melody could only imagine running her fingers through that magnificent, never been treated for baldness, head of hair and The Rick, when he wasn’t glancing at cleavage, was captured by her green eyes and the way a strand of her brunette hair fluttered against her forehead.

After the interview, Melody tapped The Rick on the shoulder and said, “I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to finally meet you.  I am taking classes at Francis Marion Junior College.  I hope to get a degree in Business or Broadcast Journalism.  I read all about you and your rise to the top of the business world in our textbook. It was a chapter entitled, ‘The Profitability of Ruthless Capitalism’.  I was wondering if you would like to come see me perform.  I work at The Purring Kitten, one of the area’s finest dance studios.  After we could maybe talk.  I would so dearly love to talk to you about your experiences. I have so much to learn and this would be so much more informative than a dry, impersonal textbook.”

Hoover Bob returned to the group after a couple days visiting a friend.  He walked over to the table where Jimmy, Joey and Ocho were having a post round libation.  Besides, they had nowhere to go until The Rick said where and when.  “Who is that fawning all over the boss?”, asked Bob.  Without taking his eyes off of Melody, Joey told Bob who she was.  Jimmy could only manage a sigh and Ocho just rolled his eyes. “Do you think we should remove her?”, asked Bob, with an eager look on his face and already moving toward her, “She seems to be keeping the Chief from joining us.”  At that point Ocho got up and pulled Bob back, “Umm, I don’t think the Chief wants to be rescued.”

 Author’s Note

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, The Hoovers have all been sainted and shall  henceforth, on St Patrick’s Day, be known as:  St. Joey of the Fairway…St. Bob of the Pits (a NASCAR term) …St. Jimmy the Pontificator… St. Richard the Hoover Hearted… and St. Paul the Flatulent.

THE BAD

Nantz: “St. Patrick’s Day and our intrepid band of Hoovers are all decked out in various shades of green as they prepare to play the Nicklaus designed Long Bay Club.”

Faldo: “About the only thing missing is maybe a keg of stout and a fifth or two of Jameson’s.  Hell, I’d join them if they were so encumbered.  Fortunately I have my own supply of green beer on hand.  Did you hear the names they are going by today?

Nantz: “Some colorful ones indeed.  Well that’s interesting.  They were all gathered together on the 1st tee waiting for the group in front of them to get out of their way when of a sudden they all broke away from each other.”

Faldo: “Ten to one it was St. Paul the flatulent.”

Nantz: “And that is the perfect lead-in to a word from our sponsor Hoover Eats and their two new exciting entrees, Meatballs ala Jimmy and Rick O’Lobsitz’ Corned Beef and Cabbage.  With that is our newest colleague, Melody Storm.

Melody: “If you’re looking for a wholesome, nutritious, gluten free, antibiotic free, organically grown meal with 0% transfat, then you better look elsewhere.  Hoover Eats specializes in meals made the old fashioned way…with taste being the primary focus.  And I can state unequivocally that the new entrees, as well as the chili and beef stew, are stick to the ribs good.  Hoover Eats – it keeps you moving.”

THE MOSTLY DEBAUCHED

It was a sunny, 75 degree day as the partners rolled onto the first tee at Farmstead.  They were all wearing cargo shorts as the deep pockets could hold half a dozen various alcoholic nips or in Vinny’s case, a couple cans of Schlitz.  Since they spend a lot of time outdoors they were much more tanned than anyone else on the course but that didn’t stop Sam from applying a spray on tan which gave him an orange hue.  Clyde took one look at him and said, “Good grief, Sam, you look as ridiculous as that madman Trump.”  “Oh piss off, Clyde,” replied Sam, “and don’t you ever compare me to that bozo.  Calls himself a successful businessman; hell if we were as successful, we’d be out of business.”

The four of them then performed their own special pre-round ritual of pouring a libation on the tee box ground to the golf god, Hackus.  “Excuse me, gentlemen,” interrupted a stern looking golf course official, “but alcohol is not permitted on the North Carolina portion of the course.”  Vinny walked over to the course official, “Here, hold my beer while I make a phone call.”  Taking his phone out of the pocket of his Jerry Garcia emblazoned golf shirt, Vinny hit one number and a video chat session was opened, “Good morning Pat.  Would you please explain to this nice man about our special exemption?  Thanks and have a nice day.”  The course official took the phone and saw the face of Pat McCrory the governor of North Carolina.  “Who am I speaking to?” asked McCrory.  “I uh, uh.” stammered the course official, “Spackler, sir.  Charles Spackler.”  “Well, Spackler, I expect you and your staff to extend every courtesy to these fine gentlemen.  If they wanna drink on your course, they can bloody well drink on your course.  You got that?  Good!  Now, I don’t want to be bothered again about this.  I’m a busy man.  There’s an Andy of Mayberry marathon on TV right now and you’re making me miss it.”, replied McCrory as he ended the call.  Spackler handed the phone back to Vinny but as he started to hand back the Schlitz he was holding, Vinny chuckled and said, “May as well drink that one, Spackler.  I don’t think Pat will mind and besides, I already have another.”

 THE GOOD

The home cooked meal has been devoured, the dishwasher has been loaded,and a load of unmentionables is tumbling in the washing machine.  Now is the time for these feisty, energetic seekers of excitement to choose tonight’s entertainment.  Not constrained by the strictures of home life, wives, children and grand children, it is time to cut loose.  Rick reaches into a canvas bag that he’s been guarding against any intrusion in order to surprise us, “Are you guys ready to have some wicked good fun?”, he asks with a smirk that is at once both mischievous and mysterious, giving the impression that something naughty awaits.  Well, naughty it wasn’t, though there were some mentions of various parts of human anatomy that could be construed, in some circumstances. as being naughty.  No, the wicked good fun was a game called Cards Against Humanity; a party game in which players complete fill-in-the-blank statements using mature-content phrases printed on playing cards.  Hilarity ensued as we all vied to have the fill-in phrase for a question be the one that we each had chosen.  Oh, the mirth and mayhem we Hoovers enjoy during this annual golf expedition.  Many groups of guys come to Myrtle and fritter away their evenings drinking in bars or in gentlemen’s clubs, but not The Hoovers.  Night time for us is pints of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey or Cherries Garcia, Oreo cookies and a Robin Williams concert DVD, and then passing out before 11:00.

 THE MOSTLY DEBAUCHED

Never let it be said that a round of golf for these guys will ever be without behavior not usually seen in the prim and proper world of civilized golf.  Some of you who have read some of this author’s tales of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe, may remember an incident involving Clyde baring his backside as penance for a tee shot not going passed the ladies red tee box.  Well, dear readers, it happened again as Clyde lost whatever balance remained in his inebriated anatomy, resulting in his driver topping the ball 2 inches in front of his tee and thrusting him forward.  With his arms outstretched in front of him, Clyde plunged downward, his hands hitting the ground first thus softening the blow when his arms gave out and his face fell into the turf.  The blow to his upper body was further softened, however, by the cushion-like texture of the Bermuda grass.  The lower half of his body was not as fortunate.  The dimpled sphere lying 2 inches in front of his tee was now connected through his shorts and boxers, to one of his own dimpled spheres.  The force at which he fell at, upon contact with the ground, embedded the ball in his upper thigh region causing it to remain attached when he came to be suddenly sober and shot up like a rocket, shrieking like a banshee as the pain overcame the alcohol in his bloodstream. He wrestled his shorts and boxers to his ankles to determine the extent of the injuries to his, let’s say upper thigh area.  “Oh dear God in heaven,” came the plaintive cry of the Course Superintendent as he took his hands off of the steering wheel of the golf cart and placed them on either side of his screaming mouth and inadvertently stepped on the accelerator.  As misfortune would have it, he was going downhill and was heading for a slight curve in the cart path.  He missed the turn.  After a short bumpy ride through a patch of tall grass and scrub brush, he finally came to a stop as the cart began to submerge in the pond beyond the scrub brush.  Fortunately for the Course Superintendent there were no water moccasins ready to slay a wayward golf cart driver. Course Superintendent Charles Spackler pulled his cell phone out of his shirt pocket and held it over his head as he waded back to dry ground and over to the tee box where Clyde was still looking at his, let’s say upper thigh area.  Barely able to speak intelligibly he managed to sputter out, “Never in my life have I seen such a display of reprehensible, pre-pubescent behavior.  Wait until the Governor hears about this!.”  Just as Spackler was ready to dial the governor, Rocco grabbed his hand, “You might want to think about this for a moment.  You know, not rush into anything you might regret.  I seem to recall our friend the Governor saying something about not wanting to be disturbed while he’s watching Andy of Mayberry?  And besides Vinny here already sent our friend the Governor, pictures of old Clyde’s backside and, shall we say, upper thigh region.  He’s probably looking at them during a commercial break and laughing his ass off.  So, relax.  Here have a Schlitz and a nice Cuban cigar.”  Spackler took the beer and the cigar, sat on the ground, buried his head in his hands and wept.

 Marjorie lingered a few moments longer in the whirlpool bath steeling herself to listen to the ungodly number of messages waiting on her cell phone, and the imminent return of her boys.  Her mind drifted back as she savored the peace and tranquility of the last six hours; a most relaxing six hours.  First was a two hour nap, followed by an hour massage, courtesy of A Sacred Place Wellness Center.  Then a peaceful lunch of salad, fruit and three glasses of wine.  She felt the tension just evaporate out of her neck and shoulders like the steam rising from the whirlpool.  The sound of her cell phone alarm clock interrupted her reverie and jarred her back into reality.

THE BAD

Nantz: “Whoohee!  We’re finally done with this blasted assignment.  Pass me that Johnny Walker and let’s get shitfaced my good sir knight.”

Faldo: “Excellent fucking idea my good sir, ah, good sir.  Oh hell.  Have a drink.  Now I may be mistaken but I think we’re still on the air.  Can we say shitfaced and excellent fucking idea on the air?”

Nantz: “No worries.  There’s a five second delay.”  He pauses for a moment as the producer back in the studio in New York is screaming at him in his headphones.  “We’re fucked.  No five second delay.”

Faldo:  Picks up the ringing phone, “Um, Jim?  It’s Sam Dewey.”

THE MOSTLY DEBAUCHED

“Nantz?”, snarled Sam, “Don’t talk, just listen. What in ………………………..   You have screwed up every step of the way.  Did we want that pompous, most interesting man in the world, The Rick to be the interview focus?  No, we didn’t?  Did we want Melody Storm  to defect and become a business consultant on Fox Business?  No we didn’t?  Did we want you and that perpetually unintelligible partner of yours to put on a broadcast that was even mildly entertaining?  Yes we did.  Did you?  No you didn’t?  As a result of these failures to produce you and your partner are being reassigned.  You, Nantz, will be doing weather reporting from our office in the Aleutian Islands.  Faldo is now my caddie.”  Sam disconnected the call on his phone, sighed and said, “I love what I do.”

Marjorie listened to all of the messages and decided she could ignore all of them except the one from Fox Business wanting a reaction to a video of Clyde screaming and brandishing for all of the internet to see, his upper thigh region.  She switched on her laptop in order to see for herself the video that already had 123,000 likes and 57,000 shares on Facebook; plus being the number one trending hashtag on Twitter.  She also found the edited version on YouTube and wasn’t surprised to learn that ESPN was running it on Sports Center.  Taking a deep breath to stem the returning tension, Marjorie took another look at Clyde’s fall and started to chuckle; a chuckle that grew and finally burst forth as a full blown mirthful laugh causing her to fall to the floor at the foot of the bed.  As her laughter slowly subsided, she could hear the faint dialogue from the video feed then was surprised by a sudden change in the volume.

Clyde let out another anguished cry of pain as he waited for Rocco, who was fumbling with a ring of key cards, to get the door open to their suite.  “Oh for the sake of all that’s holy, get that damnable door open, will you?”, Clyde beseeched.  He pulled off the towel that had been wrapped around his waist; a towel that was soaked through with vodka, gin, scotch and Schlitz.  In an attempt to deaden the pain during the limo ride from the golf course, Clyde was drinking everything he could get his hands on.  He had also been pouring half of the contents of the various nips and Schlitz cans directly onto the upper region of his thighs as topical analgesics.  Clyde howled once more when Vinny bent down to take a look and accidentally brushed against Clyde’s upper thigh area with a Schlitz can.

Marjorie realized that the howl wasn’t coming from the video feed but was coming from out in the hallway.  With a mixture of dread and the anticipation of the inevitable, Marjorie got to her feet, walked to her door and with a trembling hand opened it.  Rocco, still fiddling with the ring of key cards, smiled at her.  Vinny turned to her and said, “Hi Marjorie.  Look at how many more dimples there are on Clyde’s right nut than on the left one.  Hey, what’s this Clyde?  Does that say Titleist?”   Sam staggered into the hallway from the direction of the backdoor.  “Where you guys been?  Who moved the front door to the back? ”  He lurched into the wall next to Marjorie’s door and slid to the floor.  Gesturing with his hands he first pointed at Marjorie and then at Clyde, “Have you seen the video?  I betcha that weasel The Rick leaked this to that traitor Melody Storm thinking this would ruin us.  I got news for that walking L.L. Bean commercial, this is gonna work for us.  You can’t buy publicity like this.”  With that pronouncement complete, Sam curled up on the floor and fell asleep.  Marjorie stepped over his fetal positioned form and opened the suite door that Rocco now realized did not need a key card and hadn’t even been locked.

THE GOOD

The Rick dunked another Oreo into the glass of milk, hit mute on the remote and while chewing on the milk soaked cookie pointed the uneaten half at the lovely Melody Storm who was breaking down in great detail the vile display of those immoral, unscrupulous business partners of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe to her fellow panel members on the Fox Business forum.  “Those dozy, drunken sots ain’t gonna know what hit them.”, opined Jimmy Two Birds as he swallowed the last of his frozen Strawberry Daiquiri.  Nascar Bob, peaked around the refrigerator door, “Hey, we’re almost out of beer. Who wants to make a Piggly Wiggly run with me?”   Joey got up, wiped the back of his hand across the chocolate cake crumbs on his lips and grabbed the keys to the Hoovermobile, “Let’s roll.”  Bob grabbed the last beer walked over to Joey with his right hand extended upward and outward, “High five, bro.”  Ocho, who had been busy with the effects of chili and strong coffee, hurried out of the bathroom and called out to Bob and Joey, “Hey, get me another pint of Chunky Monkey, high five bro.”

1 Comment

Filed under biographical, golf humor, memoir

Hoovers 2015 Myrtle Beach

0317151142

This is a rambling account of our annual trip to Myrtle Beach, SC.  I have entitled each section with a song title or a line from a song.

Growing Older and Tenser With the Times[1]

Ocho and his gang of ever increasing in age hackers of the sacred turf have once again escaped the cruel and bitter bonds of winter.  A winter that was going along nicely until February and then all meteorological hell broke loose and the leaden skies and howling winds buried New England.  A winter that saw poor Ocho climbing out onto his deck through the removed lower window of the door in order to clear off the five foot deep ‘freshly fallen silent shroud of snow’[2].  A winter that saw poor Ocho hanging out of a third floor window in a desperate attempt to clear the two foot deep swath of ice and snow off the roof before it crashed down on a poor helpless vehicle in the driveway below.  A winter that saw a large chunk of the aforementioned collection of ice and snow on the roof, crash down on the wife’s lease car causing multiple contusions, bruises and the decapitation of the passenger side mirror thus prompting the aforementioned hanging out of the window.  All of the Hoovers have similar stories of woe, exasperation and deprivation.  All except Jimmy Two Birds who has retired and now calls Punta Gorda, FL as his home, the fat bastard. J

Another result of winter in New England, though this is not erratic like the fickle patterns of meteorological mayhem, this happens every year.  We do not get much golf played, say after Halloween, so by this time of the year we are salivating at the thought we will be teeing it up again.  While we are suffering from this environmentally enforced dormancy we get periodic emails from Jimmy Two Birds about all the golf he is playing, how many pars he averages, in general how much he is improving, the fat bastard.  J

All Strung Out from the Road[3]

It was an epic almost Magellan like trek, this solo drive from Providence RI. to Myrtle Beach, SC.  At 06:00 Gray Wolf pulled onto I-95 south, eager to stretch his legs on this 1050 mile jaunt.  The route chosen will avoid the nightmarish travel corridor of New York City to DC and the attendant dollars spent in tolls on The Jersey Turnpike.  Instead, Ocho will wend his way out of New England via I-84 as it travels through land formerly occupied and or used by the Delaware, Huron, Mohawk and others.  Ocho pauses for a few minutes to refuel and to grab a cup of mediocre yet necessary coffee to stave off the effects of being up all night at work as there are many miles yet to go.

Near the blood soaked hills and fields of Gettysburg a foursome walks a golf course fairway now cleared of snow renewing Ocho’s energy level; an anticipatory foreshadowing of the week ahead.  The Mason-Dixon Line looms just a few miles ahead, one of the landmarks/milestones that Ocho uses as another means of energy revitalization.  Not only are these sights important in terms of how far is left yet to travel but they also stir up the historical thought process that inevitably comes to the forefront of Ocho’s mind.  The more prominent milestones include the rivers, Susquehanna, Hudson, Potomac and James.  Formidable obstacles all and makes me wonder in awe at the hardiness of our pioneer forebears.  Imagine the sheer effort needed to cross those rivers and the countless smaller rivers and creeks, the effort needed to climb and descend numerous hills.  Not to mention that those game trails they followed weren’t exactly Eisenhower Interstates.

I-81 south runs through an area rich in history.  It seems every exit leads to a Civil War battlefield, not that that is surprising as the Shenandoah Valley was the bread basket of The Confederacy and both sides fought to control it.  General Philip Sheridan greatly hastened the end of the war by destroying Shenandoah.  It’s amazing that this is the kind of stuff that filters through Ocho’s mind as he drives, that and the hope that there’s a rest stop soon.  Ocho and Gray Wolf need another nap.

Twenty-five hours later, 1050 miles, half a dozen cups of coffee and numerous stops to recycle said coffee and to take naps, I arrive at Jimmy Two Birds timeshare.  We are scheduled to tee off in a couple hours but it is one of those rare occasions when I am glad it is raining.  Gray Wolf and I are just a tad worn out.  J

 

 

Won’t Get Fooled Again[4]

In an effort to add a little excitement and the chance to win a sleeve of golf balls, Jimmy Two Birds instituted a Par 3 contest.  You win a sleeve if you get a par on a Par 3.  The rest of us protested that no one would win on account of our self-acknowledged ineptitude but Jimmy Two Birds persisted and thus those are the rules.  Today’s round was the first one played in about 4 months for Joey, Bob and Rick and the first one played in about 4 days for Jimmy Two Birds.  Jimmy Two Birds won a sleeve of balls today, the Fat Bastard.

The teams having been chosen in a random fashion, for today’s golf match are Jimmy/Rick vs Bob/Joey.  A pairing that elicited an immediate, ‘We’re gonna kick their ass!’ comment from Rick who then went out and shot a front nine 57 thus winning a sleeve of Ram balls for his excellence in futility.  As to the arse kicking, Bob/Joey put up a valiant yet vain effort losing 9-7, although Joey did distinguish himself by taking individual honors for the day harking back to the year Joey won our most prestigious award, The Harry A.  A feat so astounding that even to this day no one believes it actually happened.

Scenes from an Italian Restaurant[5]

Some of our more memorable moments take place at the various eateries we frequent while in Myrtle.  Last night at the Texas Roadhouse, for example, we simply reinforced the notion that we are losing our mental edge.  The tallying up of the bill proved to be an exercise of mathematical futility.  Determining that $35 was needed from 4 people because 130/4=35.  No one questioned that figure and we ended up $10 over what we needed.  With no immediate solution as to why the discrepancy, Joey, out of kindness, handed the extra $10 to Ocho.  The problem gnawed at Ocho on the drive back to the condo so he whipped out the calculator on his smart phone and lo and behold, 130/4=32.50.  Mystery solved and a time to celebrate so Ocho used the $10 and bought beer.

I’m Just a Substitute for Another Guy[6]

As has been the case the past few years Ocho’s financial woes have relegated him to the position of a stand by substitute golfer; not unlike some alternate on the PGA Tour waiting on somebody to drop out of a tournament.  I have to be ready at a moment’s notice in case one of the aging Hoovers can’t shake out the kinks from the prior day no matter how long they hog the limited hot water in the condo.

There are, I think, two prevailing theories as to why my fellow Hoovers insist that I come to Myrtle despite my monetary limitations.  Theory #1 is that they cannot do without my pleasant demeanor and witty repartee.  Theory #2 is they only care about not having to drag their clubs through airports and pay a small fortune to have them flown here.  Your guess is as good as mine as to which one is true.  J

Day number three and the call for a relief golfer has been made and Ocho is making his way in from the bullpen.  Now mind you the last two days were bathed in glorious sunshine and near 80 degrees.  Today is cloudy and only reaching the high 50’s.  Jimmy Two Birds is a no go for today’s round, the Fat Bastard.

Two days in a row for the relief golfer as JTB is once again hors de combat with a balky knee.  I feel bad every time I lace up my golf shoes at the expense of one of my fellow Hoovers, but only for a moment.  J

Day number five and for the first time ever in the annals of Hoover history a Hoover pulled himself out of a round halfway through.  JTB called ‘no mas’ after nine holes for the simple reason he was having no fun and was in danger of throwing his clubs into a gator infested pond.  Fortunately the relief golfer was at the course and took over for the distraught and frustrated Jimmy.  Unfortunately the relief golfer had to use Jimmy’s clubs and they weren’t any kinder to him than they were for Jimmy and almost ended up in the gator infested pond anyway.

 

Don’t Fear the Reaper[7]

For some reason, probably the onset of our advancing years and the aches, pains and medications needed, we had a jocular discussion on death and how we wanted our remains taken care of.  Jimmy mentioned having his ashes scattered over many of his favorite golf courses in Myrtle Beach but all I could imagine was a Big Lebowski type mishap.  A sudden gust of wind and Jimmy is scattered all over those officiating the event.  I came up with a couple possibilities for my epitaph … ‘All things considered, I’d rather be putting for birdie’… or (and this is a reference to my hard of hearing condition), ‘You can say anything you want about me, I won’t hear you anyway.’

Boring Stories of Glory Days[8]

I have been fortunate in my life to have two distinct groups of close friends.  The guys (and later the girls) I grew up with are once again a part of my life after nearly 40 years of no or very limited contact.  We have an annual reunion, this year being the 4th and those few days are filled with silliness and the chance to relive our glory days as young athletes.  We have played basketball & football.  We went bowling and visited the batting cages.  We recount our prowess with clear minds with no thought of hyperbole as we fail miserably to be what we used to be but laughing our arse off nonetheless.  We even have our own Hall of Fame of which we are all members and which we named The Moron Hall of Fame in honor of the fact that we actually made it to adulthood mostly unscathed and without criminal records.

That brings me to the group that sustains me in the ‘back nine’ of my life, The Hoovers.  For those who are not familiar with the history of the name we chose a brief digression.  It was somewhere on a golf course on Cape Cod.  We had just hit four of the more miserable tee shots in the history of golf.  As we watched the fourth one sail off to a place a golf ball ought not to visit, Jimmy Two Birds uttered these words, ‘We’re like a bunch of Hoover vacuum cleaners, and we can’t suck enough.’  Thus the name of the group was born along with our motto.  Since then we have traversed many fine fairways and even more not so fine areas of golf courses scattered throughout this great country of ours.  The main point of our exercise in futility is not so much trying to improve as that ship has sailed but to have more fun than should be allowed.  I would really like at some point to mike all of us for a round as there would be some great material to cobble together in a story.   So here’s to my buddies The Hoovers:  Joe Martin, Jimmy Two Birds Ouellette, Bob Svirsky, Loring Mackey and Rick Lobsitz.  May your balls be many and your strokes be few.  J

 

Every Day is a Winding Road[9]

Every nook and cranny of Gray Wolf is stuffed with the flotsam, jetsam and the necessary golf accoutrements needing to be returned to the normal habitat of our four intrepid Hoovers who must now sadly depart for the frozen wasteland of New England.   Rick and Bob are flying home from Charleston, SC while Joey opted to only fly to Myrtle and drive back with me.  Jimmy, of course, is driving back to Punta Gorda, FL where it is not a frozen wasteland, the fat bastard.  Included in the flotsam is Joey’s rather large suitcase that was not part of what Ocho brought down to SC.  Some creative packing was involved to accommodate it so as to leave room for Joey too.  It would have been a shame to have to strap Joey to the roof for the 1050 mile trek home.

On the road at 5:00 a.m. feeling the usual pangs of remorse that the week is already over, that the daily joy of camaraderie is once again relegated to memory and in my case to the written word.  However, those thoughts need to be suppressed in order to survive the long, long way home.  So with a stoical mindset Gray Wolf springs to life and we head home.  Nineteen hours later Joey is safely ensconced in his own bed and 15 minutes later Gray Wolf is safely at rest in his own driveway.  The trip home is mostly without incident.  The only traffic encountered came, naturally, when we got on the Mass Pike; a kind of welcome home committee.  Until next year, same time, same place.

[1][1] Paraphrased line from Bruce Cockburn’s ‘How I Spent My Fall Vacation

[2] Paul Simon I Am a Rock

[3] Bob Seger ‘Turn the Page’

[4] Pete Townsend ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’

[5] Billy Joel ‘Scenes From an Italian Restaurant’

[6] Pete Townsend ‘Substitute’

[7] Donald(Buck Dharma)Roeser –Blue Oyster Cult ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’

[8] Bruce Springsteen ‘Glory Days’

[9] Sheryl Crow, Jeff Trott, Brian MacLeod ‘Everyday is a Winding Road’

Leave a comment

Filed under biographical, golf humor, my stories

Myrtle Beach 2015 – an excerpt

Growing Older and Tenser With the Times[1]

Ocho and his gang of ever increasing in age hackers of the sacred turf have once again escaped the cruel and bitter bonds of winter.  A winter that was going along nicely until February and then all meteorological hell broke loose and the leaden skies and howling winds buried New England.  A winter that saw poor Ocho climbing out onto his deck through the removed lower window of the door in order to clear off the five foot deep ‘freshly fallen silent shroud of snow’.  A winter that saw poor Ocho hanging out of a third floor window in a desperate attempt to clear the two foot deep swath of ice and snow off the roof before it crashed down on a poor helpless vehicle in the driveway below.  A winter that saw a large chunk of the aforementioned collection of ice and snow on the roof, crash down on the wife’s lease car causing multiple contusions, bruises and the decapitation of the passenger side mirror thus prompting the aforementioned hanging out of the window.  All of the Hoovers have similar stories of woe, exasperation and deprivation.  All except Jimmy Two Birds who has retired and now calls Punta Gorda, FL as his home, the fat bastard.

Another result of winter in New England, though this is not erratic like the fickle patterns of meteorological mayhem, this happens every year.  We do not get much golf played, say after Halloween, so by this time of the year we are salivating at the thought we will be teeing it up again.  While we are suffering from this environmentally enforced dormancy we get periodic emails from Jimmy Two Birds about all the golf he is playing, how many pars he averages, in general how much he is improving, the fat bastard.  J

All Strung Out from the Road[2]

It was an epic almost Magellan like trek, this solo drive from Providence RI. to Myrtle Beach, SC.  At 06:00 Gray Wolf pulled onto I-95 south, eager to stretch his legs on this 1050 mile jaunt.  The route chosen will avoid the nightmarish travel corridor of New York City to DC and the attendant dollars spent in tolls on The Jersey Turnpike.  Instead, Ocho will wend his way out of New England via I-84 as it travels through land formerly occupied and or used by the Delaware, Huron, Mohawk and others.  Ocho pauses for a few minutes to refuel and to grab a cup of mediocre yet necessary coffee to stave off the effects of being up all night at work and there are many miles yet to go.

Near the blood soaked hills and fields of Gettysburg a foursome walks a golf course fairway now cleared of snow renewing Ocho’s energy level; an anticipatory foreshadowing of the week ahead.  The Mason-Dixon Line looms just a few miles ahead, one of the landmarks/milestones that Ocho uses as another means of energy revitalization.  Not only are these sights important in terms of how far is left yet to travel but they also stir up the historical thought process that inevitably comes to the forefront of Ocho’s mind.  The more prominent milestones include the rivers, Susquehanna, Hudson, Potomac and James.  Formidable obstacles all and makes me wonder in awe at the hardiness of our pioneer forebears.  Imagine the sheer effort needed to cross those rivers and the countless smaller rivers and creeks, the effort needed to climb and descend numerous hills.  Not to mention that those game trails they followed weren’t exactly Eisenhower Interstates.

I-81 south runs through an area rich in history.  It seems every exit leads to a Civil War battlefield, not that that is surprising as the Shenandoah Valley was the bread basket of The Confederacy and both sides fought to control it.  General Philip Sheridan greatly hastened the end of the war by destroying Shenandoah.  It’s amazing that this is the kind of stuff that filters through Ocho’s mind as he drives that and the hope that there’s a rest stop soon.  Ocho and Gray Wolf need another nap.

Twenty-five hours later, 1050 miles, half a dozen cups of coffee and numerous stops to recycle said coffee and to take naps, I arrive at Jimmy Two Birds timeshare.  We are scheduled to tee off in a couple hours but it is one of those rare occasions when I am glad it is raining.  Gray Wolf and I are just a tad worn out.  J

Boring Stories of Glory Days[3]

I have been fortunate in my life to have two distinct groups of close friends.  The guys (and later the girls) I grew up with are once again a part of my life after nearly 40 years of no or very limited contact.  We have an annual reunion, this year being the 4th and those few days are filled with silliness and the chance to relive our glory days as young athletes.  We have played basketball & football.  We went bowling and visited the batting cages.  We recount our prowess with clear minds with no thought of hyperbole as we fail miserably to be what we used to be but laughing our arse off nonetheless.  We even have our own Hall of Fame of which we are all members and which we named The Moron Hall of Fame in honor of the fact that we actually made it to adulthood mostly unscathed and without criminal records.

[1][1] Paraphrased line from Bruce Cockburn’s ‘How I Spent My Fall Vacation

[2] Bob Seger ‘Turn the Page’

[3] Bruce Springsteen ‘Glory Days’

Leave a comment

Filed under biographical, golf humor, my stories

Return of the Mahunna

11/4/2012 At Da Muni..

Well dear followers of Ocho and other assorted Hoovers….yesterday we were pleasantly surprised by the appearance of the mythical Hoover known as The Mahunna.  I say mythical because just as in the case of Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster, sightings of The Mahunna on a golf course have been rare the last couple of years.  Yet there he was, ragged old golf bag thrown across his ancient shoulders, his rugged face caught up in a series of cackling laughter, the trickling of competitive juices coursing through his veins.

Some may think(more fool them) that two years on the disabled list would necessarily mean a drastic reduction in the skills needed to propel a golf ball from point a to point b in as few strokes as possible.  The first three holes provided a glimpse of the demise of The Mahunna as he struggled mightily to three straight double bogeys…no matter that the other three Hoovers were faring no better…we could tell that The Mahunna was weak, ready to be taken down like a drunken wildebeest by the ravenous pack of Hoover hyenas.  Too long has this grizzled veteran lorded it over his fellow Hoovers, too long has he ground us into pulp with his uncanny shot-making ability…time to bring him down.

Well, the wounded, drunken wildebeest apparently had more in reserve than the hyenas anticipated.  While the rest of us were muttering curse words at our ineptitude(I was so bad on the par 5 4th that I picked up my ball when I got a 100 yards from the green, tossed it to the green only to see it roll into a bunker), The Mahunna rediscovered his game…what a shock, I know.  He finished with 2 pars and 4 bogeys and once again blew us away just the same as it ever was….Meet the new boss/same as the old boss.

Welcome back Mahunna…you magnificent bastard!!

Leave a comment

Filed under golf humor, my stories

Myrtle Beach 2012/2013 – The Revolution Revelation

Myrtle Beach 2012/2013

The Revolution Revelation

Dedication

This story is dedicated to Simon James Atkinson Turney a Brit author I discovered in The Twitterverse.  Through our tweets he has somehow unknowingly awakened my muse.

                                                                              Disclaimer

Due to an egregious editing error by my staff, the 2012 story was invaded by 2013 events and personnel.  I fired my staff but kept the invasion going.  The result is a mix ‘n match story of 2012 and 2013.  I hope I have done it seamlessly and humorous enough to justify not firing myself.

Disclaimer #2

The main characters in this story are real; however, their true character has been subjected to:

  1. Hyperbole – 10%
  2. Poetic license – 73%
  3. Plain old made up stuff – 15%
  4. Truth – 2%

 

Prologue

          The gallery has gathered around the 18th green here at Pawley’s Plantation, each pair of eyes straining to get a better view as one of the most exciting sporting events that this or any other century has ever seen is reaching an exciting climax.  Ocho has stalked around this oasis of Bermuda grass, seemingly surveying every blade, every subtle break and curl, his concentration shutting out the murmuring of the crowd and the derogatory catcalls from his fellow Hoovers.  Never before in Ocho’s brilliant career has a putt meant so much.   With this one stroke, this one gentle nudge with the new belly putter, Ocho can at long last claim the title of The Hoover Myrtle Beach Champion.  He steps off the putt to get a true and accurate length; it is 13’ 8”.  Ocho has been almost automatic this week with his new belly putter, anything within 10’ has been a lock.  This one will surely test his nerves and skill, a 13’ 8” gut check….a 13’ 8” putt that will gain stature and length with each new telling of the tale….if he makes it.  Okay, it is slightly uphill…about a three ball break to the right.  The practice strokes are smooth and perfect…he stands over the ball and brings his new belly putter straight back and straight through.  The ball leaves the brand new belly putter face and begins its journey to glory and renown or will it be another soul-sapping defeat?

In the posh downtown Boston offices of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe, the mega successful sports agency, Rocco is holding fort on a number of issues concerning all things Ocho.

‘Ocho???’ queried Ocho’s agent Rocco Ian MacDougal, ‘Have you heard a word I said?’  You seem to be distracted or something.’

‘Oh man!  Now I’ll never know if the putt went in.  Thanks Rocco.’ replied Ocho, ‘ I was in the middle of a cool daydream and sort of lost my focus on the conversation at hand.   Big tournament coming up you know.  Gotta finally get that monkey off my back or at least get the banana out of my pants before the monkey notices it.’

‘I understand your concern but that’s still three weeks away.’ said Rocco, ‘The fine folks from The Petoskey Daily Shopper will be here tomorrow to do a serialized bio of you.  Hey I have a great idea, how about we let them follow you around Myrtle Beach the week of the big tournament.  I’m sure they will jump at the opportunity to see you in action as you finally destroy your buddies.’

“A great idea, Rocco.  It’d be nice to have some reporters around when I finally win this thing.”

“I’m glad you’re so confident, oh grand and mighty Ocho.  Your track record ain’t too sparkling.”

“This time for sure.  Every shot is important…focus and smarts will win it.  We’re playing some Nicklaus designed courses so I’m gonna think my way around just like old Jack used to do.  Can’t miss with Jack’s method and my mental acuity.  Oh by the way, who are the Petoskey Daily Shopper reporters?”

“You’re gonna love this one.  None other than Joan Rivers and Nick Faldo.”

“Great, let’s hope Joan has enough time to cover my story given her infatuation with The Rick. And Faldo? How’re you gonna keep him out of the Gentlemen’s Clubs?  Oh well, I can’t worry about that.  Gotta focus on the task at hand.  Oh yeah, I didn’t see any of the partners around.  Where they off to now?”

“I’m glad you asked me that Ocho”, replied Rocco as he sat back in his chair, put his feet up and relayed the following tale of mischief and mayhem starring Sam Dewey, Vinny Cheetum and Clyde Howe as they turn another vacation into chaos.

MOOSE AND SQUIRREL

          The globetrotting, golfing, and heavy drinking trio have discovered a new passion, big game hunting.  So we find our imbibing heroes in Alaska on a guided moose hunt on the Katmai Peninsula.  Everyone in the group is armed to the teeth with the latest in modern big game hunting weaponry with the emphasis on being able to stop an angry grizzly.  The exception to this show of massive firepower is Sam.  He loves the lore of the mountain men and how they survived the wilds with their wits and a 50 caliber Hawken.  Men like Daniel Boone, Kit Carson, Jim Bridger and Jeremiah Johnson carried this gun so it was good enough for Sam. 

‘Sam!’, argued Clyde, ‘You are a stubborn, mule-headed, crossways sonofabitch.’

          ‘Those were the exact words of my third ex-wife at the divorce hearing.’ replied Sam, “Besides, I don’t know what the fuss is about.  My gun has enough stopping power, as much as yours in fact.’

          ‘That’s not the concern.’ countered Vinny, ‘the concern is your ability to shoot the damn thing.’

          And so the argument went all through the daily tramps through the meadows and forests in their search for moose.  Sam stuck to his guns, so to speak, and carried that Hawken every day, locked and loaded and ready to destroy any poor beast that got in his way.  As the days dragged on with only one shot at a moose, a miss by Vinny, the drinking became steadily heavier.  Finally, toward the end of the fifth day they stumbled upon a large bull moose grazing in the meadow.  Miraculously, the moose was unaware of the less than covert approach being made by 3 drunken fools and 2 bewildered guides.

          As furtively as possible, Clyde rose up to take a shot.    At the same moment, Sam saw some movement in the brush to their rear.  Spying a patch of brown-grizzled fur through the underbrush, Sam fired his ever ready Hawken 50 caliber screaming, “I got me a bear!”  Not very well braced and more than slightly drunk, Sam was thrown backwards by the kick from the 50 caliber Hawken and plowed into Clyde.  Clyde, tangled now with Sam, stepped into a varmint hole twisting his ankle and sending him sprawling to the turf as he was pulling the trigger on the moose.  The shot went wild ricocheting off of a boulder barely missing the now aware moose. The butt of his rifle struck Vinny in the Schlitz can he was guzzling from sending beer everywhere and knocking loose two teeth.  The two bewildered guides were shouting in tandem, “Shoot the moose!” but alas, the moose decided to head for a quieter corner of the meadow and was soon out of range.  At long last the three hunters recovered enough from their various new injuries to inspect the bear shot by Sam and so they slowly made their way to the bushes.

          The remains, mostly blood stained foliage, of the poor, almost unidentifiable squirrel were scattered everywhere.  Not even a morsel for the crows could be found, only the end of its bushy tail.  Vinny sat down, pulled the top off of a Schlitz and toasted Sam and his excellent marksmanship.  The two bewildered guides finally gave in and joined their clients in a festive send-off to the obliterated rodent of the woods.  They had to fix up an old fashioned stretcher to carry or pull poor Clyde out of the bush and back to the cabin.  Luckily he was feeling no pain so the constant jostling and the occasional falling off didn’t seem to bother him too much.  The rip roaring laughter probably caused more discomfort than his ankle did. 

              They decided they needed to recuperate somewhere warmer, so they are now headed to Maui for some golf and relaxation.  Who knows, maybe they’ll do some deep sea fishing and Sam can bag a sunfish with his Hawken 50 caliber.

          As Rocco finished his tale, Ocho got up from his chair, shook his head and started out the door.  “Give them my regards.  See you in Myrtle next week.”

Every year it seems we come up with a new scoring system.  The main reason for this, aside from exercising brain material, is that Ocho needs to find one that works for him.  If Ocho ain’t winning under a given format then like a smelly, poopy diaper it is time to change the format.  This year’s format is courtesy of The Rick.  I copy it here verbatim from his email so that the vast Ocho Legion can read between the lines of this cleverly engineered document. 

Here is a suggestion on how to play the matches.
Round 1 everybody plays for dots and score. Based on round 1 dots (?) results, teams are made from #1 and #4 against #2 and #3
Round 2 – Team match play based on total score per hole.
Round 3 – 5 same teams as round 2, but the winner of each round has to give the other team a starting lead based on winning difference of previous round.
That is, if one team wins by 2 holes in round 2, they start with a 2 hole penalty in round 3.
We could also mix in one day of Best Ball Match Play if we wanted to.
Winning team takes the trophy – based on rounds won, tie breaker – holes won, 2nd tie breaker –  total stroke score.
Losing team buys winning team Dinner on last night.

Let’s examine this closely.  First off, The Rick says it is a suggestion.  Yeah right….come on, The Rick has spoken – so let it be done.  Secondly, the first round and choosing of subsequent teams….The Rick knows that Ocho probably won’t finish fourth thereby making it more difficult for Ocho to win as he will most likely not be paired with The Rick for the match play events to follow….and this throw away consolation prize of the losing team given a “head-start”????….give me a break…The Rick will control the action so that his team doesn’t win by more than two holes….The Rick can make up a 2 hole deficit by the third hole of the next round.  Thirdly, The Rick, he of an inexhaustible supply of funds, wants a free dinner.

There you have it my faithful Ocho Legion.  Once again Ocho is faced with an uphill struggle to prove his worth on the hallowed, sacred turf of the South Carolina coast.  It will be a test of wills, ability and whether The Rick can be his best with Joan Rivers melting at his side.  Yes….maybe this is the approach to take….egg poor Joan on and disrupt and destroy The Rick.

Cast of Characters

The Usual Suspects

Rick: caught up in his own self- importance – concerned with his image as perceived via the quality of his posse

Bob: as newest posse member he’s still feeling his way – does have tendency to reflect the mindset of a NASCAR driver, sees himself as Ricky Bobby – during the whole trip he is pestering Rick to let him drive

Joey: prototypical gopher, always aiming to please The Rick even at the expense of others or himself

Jimmy: only answers to Jimmy Two Birds – conflicted in his relationship with Rick – would love to stage a coup – an unabashed Obama supporter

Ocho: official chronicler of Hoover activities – host of the popular videos, The Real Ocho Reality Show

                                                Supporting Cast – Cameos – Walk-ons

  • Joan Rivers the face that launched a thousand scalpels – now a reporter for The Petoskey Daily Shopper – has a serious crush on The Rick and will go to great lengths to prove it.
  • Nick Faldomultiple major winner on the PGA, once glib and insightful as a TV color man for CBS he is now reduced to covering Ocho for The Petoskey Daily Shopper with Joan as his partner.
  • Clyde Howe – 72 born in Altoona, PA.  He is a distant relative of Lord Richard Howe, the British commander during part of The Revolutionary War.  Graduated from The Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1959 and had a minor role in The Bay of Pigs Invasion.  Also, it was his ship that was fired upon by a North Vietnamese patrol boat in the Gulf of Tonkin.  The Ancient Mariner, as he is known by, retired as a Rear Admiral.  Has always expressed great admiration for the movie, The Big Lebowski so he drinks White Russians day and night.  The exception to this is when he brings out a 29 year old Cragganmore single malt Scotch that he sips while smoking Cuban cigars
  • Various and sundry beverage cart girls.
  • Old hippie accordion player at Villa Romana.
  • Lisa and Heather – volleyball team mates from Coastal Carolina University.
  • The Des Moines, IA Near Sighted Optometrists Club
  • Darius Rucker & Toby Keith – I only want to be with how do you like me now
  • Dr. Clement Mayhew – plastic surgeon in a coordinated effort
  • Rocco Ian MacDougal – age 47 born in Dover, DE of an Italian mother and Scottish father. This mixed heritage explains his drinking preferences of Sangria in the morning and Chivas Regal after noon.  Took part in many black-ops as an Army Ranger, none of which can he talk about but he has let it slip it that one had something to do with Saddam Hussein.   One of the top agents employed by the Sports Management Agency of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe and has Ocho as his top client.  Not a golfer, he is here to see to the needs of his client, in other words he is a high priced gopher this week.
  • Samuel Dewey – age 62 born in Ogallala, NE.  Graduated from Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute in 1970.  His friends call him CR from his earlier career as a corporate raider.  Indeed, the founding of DC&H was as a result of a corporate takeover.  His business acumen is so sharp that he has been married and divorced three times and has never had to pay a settlement or alimony despite being one of the 50 wealthiest Americans…  He drinks Stoli Elit before, during and after breakfast and switches to Southern Comfort at lunch.
  • Vincent Cheetum – 59 born in Piney Green, NC, a little fart of a town just outside of the largest Marine Corps base on the East coast, Camp Lejeune, where his father settled after retiring from The Marines as a highly decorated Master Sgt.  After a brief stint as a roadie for The Grateful Dead, Vinny followed his dad’s footsteps and also retired from the Marines as a Gunnery Sergeant, hence his nickname of Gunny.  His beverages of choice are Schlitz and Jack Daniels.

Chapter One

                                     The Hoovermobile Road Trip

The drive down to Myrtle is traditionally a festive event filled with laughter and all manner of gaiety.  Talk of the seven day forecast is one of the many topics that will be dissected over the course of the next few hours, along with a hefty pile of trash talk to stoke the competitive fires within our Hoover souls.  Ocho is on the receiving end of the trash pile quite a bit given his proclivity to flame out in spectacular fashion in these annual jaunts to the heart of the Confederacy.  ‘Not this year!’ claims our hero, ‘I’m winning it his year….and this time I mean it!!’

The Rick as usual is behind the wheel of this elegant yet practical vehicle that was built specifically for The Hoovers, as we wend our way southward.  Despite his churlish nature and despotic tendencies, The Rick is a mild mannered, considerate driver.  I have only seen him get riled up once while driving and that was when he learned that Joan Rivers was going to be following us around all week.

‘WHAT??!!??’ screamed The Rick as he turned around to look at Ocho, ‘that’s just great.  You keep her away from me, Ocho.  You hear me!!  All of you guys keep her away from me.  Do you understand???  Do you hear me???’

‘You got it, Chief.’ responded Joey, ‘You want we should have a quiet word with her?’

‘I don’t care what you do.  Just keep her away.’ said The Rick.

You may ask, with good reason, dear reader, ‘If The Rick was turned around screaming at Ocho, who pray tell was driving the vehicle as it sped 75 miles an hour down I-95?’  Well, no one was.  Jimmy Two Birds leaped up from his back seat position and made a grab for the steering wheel remarking, ‘I can land this thing.’  The Rick recovering his composure, and shrugging off the lunging Jimmy Two Birds, returned his hands to the wheel and his eyes back on the road leaving poor JTB sprawled out on the console section with a can of Joey’s Diet Coke spilling into the pocket of his custom made silk, Obama in 2012 golf shirt.  ‘Dagblastit anyhow’, howled JTB, ‘We’ve defaced the President.’

Another of the activities that takes place during our fun-filled frolic down the interstate is periodic napping.  We are, after all, a bunch of old geezers now and need periodic naps in order to function.  Ocho especially needs a few naps as he has been up all night working hard in the secret underground location at 115 Waterman Ave., Providence, RI, of Brown University’s state of the art data center where he keeps all the essential systems running to provide the students all the necessities of life such as ITunes and the ability to swipe their ID cards to do their laundry.  It was just after waking from one of his periodic naps that Ocho noticed the vehicle in the lane next to them was The Petoskey Daily Shopper media van (well not exactly a van….it was a renovated El Camino with the TV cameras bolted to the floor in the back.  Now many of you have probably seen the Chevy Chase Vacation movies where the beautiful blonde in the red sports car comes zipping by and begins flirting with Clark Griswold.   In this case it was a lime green El Camino being driven by Nick Faldo with Joan Rivers hanging out of the window screaming longingly at The Rick.

‘Oh Rick.  Hey there Rick…can’t you hear me?  Yoo-hoo Ricky!!! ‘

This goes on for a couple of miles.  Joan desperately trying to get The Rick’s attention and The Rick desperately ignoring her.  Finally, The Rick can’t take anymore and floors the Hoovermobile leaving the poor El Camino shaking from the turbulence and with Joan almost falling out of the window.

‘I told you it wouldn’t work.’ stated Nick to a crestfallen Joan.  ‘You know as well as I that The Rick will be trying to avoid you all week.  Give it up girl.’

‘Not on your life buster.’ replied Joan, ‘now put your foot down and catch up with them.  Maybe if I flash a little skin.’

‘Forget about it.  This car can’t go any faster and besides if you start flashing stuff we could get arrested for environmental pollution or something.’, answered Nick as he slowed the El Camino down to a more manageable speed.  ‘Anyway, we know where they’re headed.  You’ll get another shot at disappointment soon enough.’

CHAPTER TWO

                                     Long Bay – A Real Sandblast

It’s always a mesmerizing and sobering fact that even when a day starts out with great promise, the weather is great, the expectations are running off the scale, the course is magnificent, etc, etc.; things can turn on you faster than a diving red tail hawk on a bunny.  Ocho has an abundance of confidence in all parts of his golfing acumen except for getting out of sand.  His bunker play is a topic of great amusement to his fellow Hoovers, not that any of them are much better.  In fact, Joey almost took out the rest of us with a mighty blast from a bunker that he, as we say, “got all of that one.”  A screaming dimpled cannonball came directly at the three of us standing on the other side of the green.  Fortunately for us the miscreant missile was on a rising trajectory and passed safely over our heads and landed some 50 or so yards back down the fairway.

‘Hey Ocho ‘, yelled Rocco as he made his way over to the practice green, ‘Got some exciting news.  Joan and Nick are going to be doing a radio broadcast of the matches on WCRP, a local Petoskey station.’

‘See if you can arrange a press conference for after the round.’ replied Ocho, ‘Maybe Joan can ask The Rick some embarrassing questions.’

On the air:

Nick: ‘We’re live from Myrtle Beach to bring you the play by play of this exciting golf championship –round 1.  The opening tee shot is just moments away so we’ll take this time for a station break and a few commercials to pay my salary.  You’re listening to WCRP – The Voice of Petoskey and Beyond – WCRP all the crap you can’t do without.’

Nick: ‘We’re back just a reminder that after the round we will be conducting a press conference, so stay tuned.  Update on the round in progress after these messages.’

Nick: ‘Okay, we’re back; finally.   The competitors have shaken hands and are walking off the 18th green and headed for a brew or two I imagine.  Good, they’ll be nice and lubricated for the press conference which will be starting in just a what?  Another station id?  Well we’ll be right back after this station identification.  You’re listening to WCRP in Petoskey.  How much more crap can you take?’

Chapter 3

                               If You Give a Hoover a Microphone

The press conference is being conducted by Nick and Joan in the bar.  The Hoovers are seated at the bar and are passing the mike back and forth as needed.

Joan: NASCAR Bob, we didn’t see you playing today.  Some kind of injury?

NASCAR Bob: ‘Well Joan, I wasn’t here in 2012 but I am looking forward to the big NASCAR race a year from this Friday.

Nick: ‘JTB, kind of a rough start today, a 109?  What happened?’

JTB: ‘First off Nicky, the name is Jimmy Two Birds.  I’ll tell you what happened today, I played like a Hoover unlike some of my companions who like to lord it over you even if it’s the first time any of us has played in three months.  I bet that The Rick wouldn’t be so high and mighty if our wonderful President, the ever kind and thoughtful Barack Obama, were in our foursome.’

Nick: ‘Jimmy Two Birds, let’s talk a little of your devotion to your chief, The Rick.

JTB: “Hey I only have one chief who I’m devoted to and that is Obama.  The Rick is nothing more than a stepping stone in my rise to power in the Obama regime.  He’s already looking into a pet project of mine which is to annex Canada so we can adopt their socialist policies.  If he gives it the ole thumbs up I could be governor of the state of Canada.’

Joan: ‘Hello Joey, pretty nice round today for a three month layoff.’

Joey: ‘I coulda shot in the fu#$%^g 90’s if it weren’t for that fu#$@%$ driver of mine.  But it was a pleasure to play alongside The Rick.’

Joan: ‘Do you have to cuss so much there Joey?’

Joey: ‘Let me just say this.  I am a man of few words.  I only speak when I have important things to say, so if I have a tendency to swear a bit you can be damned sure those words are fu%$^&* important.

Nick: ‘Ocho, I don’t know how to say this in a kindly fashion but you sucked today!’

Ocho: ‘Well said Nick old boy.  I did indeed suck today.  Out of 18 holes I must have been in 16 bunkers, that’s a whole lotta beach time and a whole lotta strokes.’

Nick: ‘At least you provided some comic relief there on 16.’

Ocho: ‘Yeah, had some fun in that bunker.  After two failed attempts to get out I just went postal and kept swinging at the ball in rapid fire motion until it finally made it over the lip and into the rough.  Think I took an eight on that hole.’

Joan: ‘Oh Ricky, I must say you are looking dapper today.’

Nick: grabbing mike away from Joan, ‘Sorry about that your Rickness, er your Ricktitude, your Rickerino, anyway that was a fine display of golf you put on today.’

The Rick: ‘Naturally.  I really enjoy beating these guys.’

Nick with Joan whispering in his ear: ‘Ahh, excuse me The Rick but Joan wants to know if you’d have a drinky poo with her after this is over?’

The Rick storming out of the bar: ‘That’s it! I’m outta here. Posse! On me now!’

Chapter 4

                     What Do You Mean I Can’t Have Liam Neeson?

After finally escaping the press conference, The Rick and most of his posse head for a secluded area of the golf course so The Rick can take part in a video chat with the renowned film director, Peter Jackson.  Well maybe not quite most of his posse, Jimmy Two Birds was conveniently waylaid by Nick Faldo and the two of them are now three shots of Swan Creek to the wind.  Meanwhile NASCAR Bob is popping wheelies and squealing rubber in the parking lot with golf carts like he was born to it.  Ocho in his role as instigator was leading a drooling Joan over to the supposedly secure area where she could observe The Rick; ready to make her move if the situation was right.  That leaves only Joey to protect The Rick and Joey is dozing contentedly in another golf cart 20 feet away from The Rick.

Ocho is in a prime location for over hearing The Rick as he discusses possible actors to play the lead role in the upcoming big screen telling of ‘The Rick’ a film presentation by We Can’t Help It, We’re Morons Media Productions and directed by Peter Jackson.

The Rick: ‘Whaddya mean I can’t have Liam Neeson?  He’s perfect for the part.’

Peter Jackson: ‘I didn’t say we couldn’t get Liam, I just said we need a couple alternatives, say like Tom Cruise or Kevin Bacon.’

The Rick: ‘No way I’m gonna be played by either of those guys.  How about George Clooney or maybe that DiCaprio fellow?’

Joan: as she slides into the seat next to The Rick, “Oh Ricky let me run my fingers through your magnificent head of hair! Oh Ricky, what is that cologne you’re wearing, Eau de Irresistible?”

The Rick: “What the heck?  Where’s my posse?  Joey, wake up and get this woman off me!”

Peter Jackson: “I say there, Rick old chap, having a spot of trouble?

Joey, at the mention of his name awakens with a start, sees Joan in the cart next to The Rick and springs into action.  Slamming his foot down on the accelerator Joey finds himself hurtling backwards as the cart was in reverse; he rolls over three sets of clubs before he can slam on the brake and in the process douses himself with a 2 liter Diet Coke.  Putting the cart in forward gear, he re-rolls the three sets of clubs and heads over to save The Rick.  “Hang on chief, Joey’s on the way” cried Joey as he bounced over the curb he hadn’t seen.

NASCAR Bob hearing all of the commotion and seeing The Rick undefended did a tight two wheel turn into the wooded area separating the parking lot from the practice area.  Zig zagging his way between magnificent, old growth oaks and new growth jack pine trees, Bob became Mario Andretti and Jackie Stewart rolled into one.  Hairpin turns around tree roots and the occasional stump were taken at maximum speed yet with the grace of Baryshnikov.  Momentarily distracted by a rabbit Bob was unaware of the large pile of sand he was rapidly approaching.  The ease in which Bob transferred from race car driver to pilot was rather a moot point as there wasn’t much Bob could do except eyeball the magnificent old growth oak tree looming on the immediate horizon.  A quick lean to the left and the cart came to rest wedged in the crook of two large branches about 12 feet off the ground.  Clambering out of the precariously perched golf cart, Bob managed to half climb-half fall his way to the ground where he was almost run down by Joey going over the curb he hadn’t seen.

Startled out of her very focused attention to The Rick, Joan became aware of Joey, wild eyed and Diet Coke stained, getting closer and saw Bob gaining ground as well as he half jogged-half stumbled his way forward.  With a last peck on The Rick’s cheek, Joan ran off squealing with delight. Joey and Bob arrived in time to hear The Rick say to Peter:

The Rick: ‘And as far as casting my posse, I don’t want anyone portraying them as they are.  I want a posse that does what a posse is supposed to do, namely keep Joan Rivers away from me!’

Chapter 5

   What Would Obama Do?

          After a short settling out period in which The Rick berated his posse in very descriptive and colorful terms we all piled in The Hoovermobile and prepared to head out for a leisurely and pleasant lunch.  ‘Where do you all want to go?’ queried The Rick as he shooed Nascar Bob out of the driver’s seat, ‘Not that it matters much.’

‘I wanna go to Hooters.  Obama wants us to go to Hooters.’ voiced JTB, to which Joey started to agree with until he saw the look on The Rick’s face.  ‘Maybe we should see where the Chief wants to go.’ Joey sheepishly proposed.

JTB: ‘I’m telling you, Obama wants us to see some hooters.  Give me one good reason why we should be deprived of the liberty to see some hooters.  A liberty, by the way, made possible by our beloved President.  What do you say, Nascar Bob?’

NB: ‘I just wanna eat and have a few brews somewhere where they have racing on a huge screen TV.’

The Rick: ‘Our beloved President notwithstanding we are not going to see some hooters.  We are going to Cheeseburgers in Paradise where unlike Hooters, the food is good.  I will brook no more debate on the subject.  One more word out of you Jimmy Two Birds and you’ll find yourself confined to quarters with no TV privileges.  Do I make myself clear?’

A chorus of ‘Sir, yes Sir’ rang out from the four chastised posse members.  JTB, more seething than chastised just turned away and muttered under his breath while climbing in the back seat of The Hoovermobile.  Ocho could hear snatches of the one sided conversation, words like revolt and coup and gonna get his were repetitive themes.  ‘Say Jimmy Two Birds.’ whispered Ocho, ‘Just want you to know that whatever you have planned, I am behind you 47%.’

We have developed certain traditions through the years we have been coming to Myrtle as a group, such as; I supply and brew the morning coffee, or bedroom assignments, or, and this is a big one, TV viewing seating arrangement.  The living room in our posh, four bedroom condo is sort of rectangular in shape.  Facing the TV, there is the dining room area to the left; Ocho traditionally sits in a tropical style rattan chair in that area.  There are two couches, perpendicular to each other; one sits between the two sets of sliding glass doors that lead to the relaxation room, or veranda.  The other is against the back wall, furthest from the TV.  Jimmy has over the years been relegated to the back wall couch while Rick, not unlike Dr. Sheldon Cooper, has claimed the sliding door couch as his spot.  Joey kind of moves from couch to couch saying he does that as part of his bodyguard duties, but I suspect he moves to where the best snacks are at the moment.  Nascar Bob, since this is his first excursion with The Hoovers to Myrtle, doesn’t have a seat yet.  I imagine though he’ll be back wall couch assigned.  What a picture, the three Hoovers of girth squeezed together cheek to cheek while The Rick is sprawled out on the sliding door couch, a bag of Oreos and a glass of milk at hand.

JTB, still smarting from the no hooters incident, comes down from his second floor bedroom, a copy of What Would Obama Do? in his hand.  Stopping at the bottom of the stairs Jimmy gives out a cry of acclamation in response to an Obama quote in the passage he is reading.  He looks up and notices that The Rick has not yet come down from the penthouse bedroom and that the sliding door couch was available.  After a short visit to the kitchen, Jimmy is now sprawled out on the sliding door couch, a bag of Doritos and a liter of Mountain Dew at hand.  The revolution has just gone up a notch.

The Rick: coming down the stairs; ‘Ocho, I’ve got a…What is Jimmy Two Birds doing in my spot?  And why is there a NASCAR race on TV?

JTB: ‘You know this is rather comfortable.  I think Obama would love to sit here too.’

Nascar Bob: ‘Oh sorry Chief.  I was just helping Jimmy Two Birds to understand the intricacies of racing; like drafting and so forth.’

The Rick: ‘Get out of my spot immediately or be banished from the posse!’

JTB: pulling out his cell phone he hits speed dial #1, his hot line to Obama. ‘Yes I’d like to speak to our beloved President.  What do you mean he’s not taking my calls anymore?  Uh huh, uh huh.  What do you mean he’s not gonna invade Canada? ‘

A much deflated Jimmy Two Birds tried to fight back the flood of tears coursing down his face and into his Mountain Dew.  He sets down his phone and picks up the Obama book as he ambles up the stairs to his room.  ‘What am I gonna do now?’ he asks no one in particular.

The Rick stopped JTB on the stairs and said softly’ ‘Sorry Jimmy Two Birds but you see, I own Obama,’  Jimmy just looked at The Rick, nodded his head and said, ‘I’m going upstairs for a bit; maybe play a little poker online.’  Rick continued on down and after wiping up Dorito crumbs and a spot of Mountain Dew, assumed his favorite sprawled out position.  Nascar Bob handed over the remote and The Rick surfed through the channels until a sigh of glee erupted from him, ‘All right, Duck Dynasty!’

Ocho was beginning to wonder if he would be able to pull off his next caper when at last Joey and Nascar Bob went out the back to feed the ducks and The Rick got up to use the bathroom.  As soon as The Rick shut the door Ocho was up like a flash and opened the front door and hushed and hurried Joan up to the third floor penthouse.  ‘Hide out on the deck then surprise the heck out of him when the moment is right.’ Ocho told Joan.  ‘Oh don’t you worry about me.  I’ve a feeling tonight is the night.’ said Joan giving Ocho a big wink.

‘Well’ said The Rick, ‘I’m off to bed.  I left a couple of cookies; you guys help yourselves and don’t forget my coffee in the morning.’  He had barely made the stairway before the cookies were gone and the TV was back on the NASCAR channel.

Chapter 6

                                            The Beckoning Deck      

Or

The Mask of Salvation

          As The Rick climbed the stairs to his third floor penthouse, Ocho sent a quick text message to Joan letting her know that The Rick was on his way.  She positioned herself behind the portion of the glass doors that was covered by the curtain; her hands were clammy and her heart was racing, could this be the night of romance she’s been dreaming of?  The Rick, not suspecting anything, casually went about his night time ablutions complete with farts, belches and scratching.  He emerged from the five star bathroom dressed in his finest silk pajamas and silk robe, both emblazoned with THE RICK on the pockets.  A look in the mirror and a final toss of his head to settle his magnificent hair and The Rick sauntered into the bedroom portion of the penthouse.  Once he was settled in the super king sized bed and under the imported Egyptian cotton sheets he donned his sleep apnea mask and turned off the light.

Joan was still hidden on the deck, barely breathing so as to not alert The Rick.  She watched as The Rick climbed into bed but turned away to remove her jacket and did not notice The Rick putting on his sleep mask.  When she deemed enough time had passed and that The Rick was now sound asleep she slid the door open and entered the room.  Her plan was to climb into the bed and kiss The Rick and then see what developed.  Using her cell phone flashlight she shined the beam on The Rick’s face expecting to see a beatific sleeping beauty.  What she saw instead was some sort of hideously masked face linked to a weird contraption on the bedside table.  Letting out a very loud and very frightened scream, she ran out of the penthouse, down the stairs and into the night, screaming the whole way.

The Rick startled from a pleasant dream sequence in which he ruled the world, sat up and saw the back of Joan as she ran screaming out the door.   Pulling off the mask The Rick began shouting for his posse ‘Joey, Jimmy Two Birds, Nascar Bob, Ocho stop that crazy woman!’

                                  Chapter 7

                   A Bandana, a Halter Top and Chaps with a Codpiece

A slight detour into factual events will occur from time to time in order to separate the fictional Hoovers from the real thing. This is one such detour. In the story, Rick is portrayed in a certain villain-like way whereas in real life he is nothing of the sort. A conversation that took place this morning regarding the teams in today’s upcoming match. Rick and I are partners by virtue of my extreme ineptitude yesterday at Long Bay. “Well”, says Ocho as he rises from the table, “Time to get dressed.”   “What are you going to wear?’ asked Rick, “Let’s coordinate outfits.” and “Let’s call ourselves the Ricketts” and “We can have our own victory dance.”

Fortunately, the closest we came to accessorizing was to wear the same color golf shirt.  The alternative is frightening to think about or to try and picture.  Later that day while having our after round beer we started discussing the look of our coordinated outfits.  The winning costume is a bandana, halter top and leather chaps with an optional codpiece.  I’m not sure why the codpiece was rendered optional.  Maybe we thought that would just make us look silly.

INTERLUDE #1

          A Synopsis of the 2012 Golf – The WCRP Highlight Reel

These highlights were gleaned from the WCRP broadcasts during those rare moments when golf was actually being described.  It was decided by the author and would surely have been seconded by his staff had they not been fired earlier on in the project, to condense the golf proceedings and to separate them from the tension filled drama that is the other subplot in this massive two year written dioramic undertaking.

Round 1 – Long Bay – described in Chapters1 & 2 – as a result of the scores today and per this year’s rules, Jimmy Two Birds and Joey are team mates vs. The Rick and Ocho for the rest of the week.

Round 2 – Blackmoor

Nick: ‘Much better results for Ocho today as he is sinking some putts and not one bunker, a huge improvement over yesterday.’

Joan: ‘I think the shot of the day was when he skulled a tee shot to a par 3 fronted by a large pond. His Titleist did its best impression of Jesus on Lake Galilee as it hopped at least ten times across the pond before smashing into the wooden wall that serves as the bank of the pond.’

Nick: ‘A close second was his tee shot that landed in a waste area 3 feet from a gator sunning itself on the bank of the pond.  Ocho wisely left the ball there.’

Joan: ‘The two day stroke totals – TR 99/92=191….JTB 109/95=204….Joey 102/104=206….Ocho 109/97=206….the match play is all square.

Round 3 – Wild Wing Avocet

Nick:  Ocho’s ball lies in the rough on the right side about 20 yards from the hazard, a difficult shot around the trees, over the 30 yard wide marsh with hopefully a fade that will curve back towards the green.  Ocho looks like he has his hybrid.

Joan: Yes Nick, that is his favorite club, his go to club.  I guess the smart shot would be to start his ball left of the trees with that fade you mentioned.

Nick: Okay…he starts his backswing…the ball is away…oh my goodness; I don’t think that was what he had planned. The ball, instead of going left of the trees has gone right through a gap of no more than three feet between two of the trees.  Now it hits the cart path on the other side of the protected area and bounds off the backside of a mound and into the fairway.  What a great shot!!!!

Joan: What great imagination…no one but Ocho could even conceive of such a shot….well except maybe The Rick.  BTW have you seen how dreamy he looks today?

Ocho: Whew!!  That was not what I intended, meant to go left of the tree.

JTB: Yeah you got lucky there…but once again we have proved that for a Hoover, aiming in golf is just a theoretical concept.

Nick: ‘The stroke totals after Round 3 – TR 99/92/96=287….Joey 102/104/99=305….JTB=109/95/102=306….Ocho 109/97/100=306’

Joan: ‘The match play totals has The Ricketts ahead by 3 holes; that means that Jimmy and Joey get a three hole head start tomorrow.’

Round 4 – Prestwick

Author’s note – Due to technical difficulties both with the broadcast team and with the golfers, we do not have any highlights from this round.  Four players-72 holes-4 pars-22 triple bogey or worse.  Best thing to do is to just walk away and forget this round ever happened.  Four day stroke totals – TR 107=394  Ocho 101=407  Joey 104=410  JTB 105=411.  Match play now has Jimmy/Joey up by three holes.

Round 5 – Tradition

Another author’s note – The technical difficulties for the broadcast team has been resolved; however, WCRP was so far behind in airing commercials that today’s broadcast was nothing but the running of said commercials.  For Joey and The Rick this is a good thing as they were worse than yesterday shooting 112 & 110.  Day five – TR 110=504 Ocho 97=504 JTB 100=511 Joey 112=522.  Match play – The Ricketts are up by two holes.

Round 6 – Pawley’s Plantation

Nick: ‘Welcome to the final round of this painful to watch championship.  We’re changing up a bit today as WCRP is still catching up with their sponsors so we’re doing a taped walk about with the players as they slog their way to victory on a very difficult course.  Just how difficult?  Let’s ask Ocho, who played here one time many years ago.’

Ocho: ‘That’s right Nick.  This place ate me up and spit me out; think I shot something like a 116, so when the chance came to subject my buddies to this horror chamber I jumped at it; even though that means I have to play it again but the frustration will be worth it.’

Joan: ‘Those par 3’s along the causeway are just so hard.  I hope my Ricky poo doesn’t lose his balls in the water.’

A few holes later…

Nick: ‘We have reached the short island green par 3 on the causeway and Ocho has hit a beautiful tee shot, he’ll have a putt of about 11 feet for birdie.

Ocho: ‘Hot damn!  You see that?  Too bad for The Rick, I think he splashed two.’

Joan: ‘Oh poor, poor Ricky poo, how it must burn his very soul to take a 7 on a hole while Ocho gets a 2.’

Many holes later…

Nick: ‘We’ve reached the 18th and The Ricketts need to win this hole to tie the match.’

Joan: ‘I’m here with Fairway Joey and he’s feeling a little nervous.’

Joey: ‘Boy oh boy, sure hope the deciding putt isn’t up to me.  Could be bad if I’m the one to beat The Chief.’

JTB: ‘Well ain’t this something?  It’s all up to The Rick now.’

Nick: ‘A snaking downhiller; about 8 feet.  It’s impossible to leave this putt short and he needs to make it to square the match.’

Ocho: ‘This is just like my dream how come I’m not the one with the putt to win?’

Nascar Bob: ‘Cuz you already missed your putt.’

Nick: ‘Hello Nascar, nice to see you here from the future again.  Okay, The Rick has lined up the putt, he is standing over the ball almost frozen in place, is that fear or just intense concentration?’

Joey: ‘Ahh, he always takes a long time to pull the trigger.  Oh there it goes!’

Nick: ‘I don’t believe it!  He not only left it short, he left it 2 feet short!’

JTB: ‘Holy crap!  We won!  Viva la revolution!’

Joan: ‘Wait…he gets a mulligan…my Ricky poo deserves a mulligan.’

Ocho: ‘Damnation, now we gotta pay for dinner.’

The Rick: ‘Wha, wha what happened?’

Nick: ‘For those keeping score the final stroke totals are TR 103=607  Ocho 108=612  JTB 105=616  Joey 109=631.’

CHAPTER 8

                              The Beluga Brothers

Probably the biggest non-tournament event that took place this week was the WCRP Beach Party.  The Petoskey Daily Shopper in conjunction with WCRP pulled out all the stops…spared no expense as they feted everyone involved with the Hoover Championship, and a few extras that just happened to be around. Everyone was keyed up to have a good time including WCRP’s Joan Rivers.

Joan to Nick – I hope to get The Rick to take me on a romantic walk along the beach where we can watch the sunset over the ocean.

Nick to Joan – Uh Joan?  This is the Atlantic Ocean ain’t gonna see no bleedin’ sunset.

The affair was catered by Jimmy Buffet’s Cheeseburgers in Paradise and live music was provided by Hootie and the Blowfish.  The spread was delectable with any kind of burger you can imagine including the monster ½ lb. Bacon-cheeseburger topped with chili.  Jimmy Two Birds and Fairway Joey, faces and shirts now coated with tasty chili drops, proclaimed them to be the best burgers in existence.  In keeping with his time honored tradition of downing frozen strawberry daiquiris whenever he dines at CiP, JTB quaffed 3 of the concoctions and was ordering his fourth when Fairway Joey coaxed JTB to join in a game of beach volleyball with some of the lovely bikini clad denizens of the beach.  So there they were these two leviathans, these behemoth specimens of man gone badly, amongst the young, nubile, and hot enough for SI Swimsuit consideration, specimens of woman gone superlative.

It was decided that Joey and Jimmy would play against Lisa and Heather, two of the more comely lasses who also happened to be team mates on the Coastal Carolina University Beach Volleyball Team.  On the face of it this match shouldn’t have gone more than 11 points all of which would have been garnered by the nubile ones but for reasons that can only be speculated upon Joey and Jimmy were putting up quite a fight and the two teams found themselves tied 10-10.  It could be argued that Lisa and Heather were taking it easy on these two sorry looking, out of shape couch potatoes and indeed that was the case for the first few volleys.  However, when Team Nubile realized that despite appearances, their foes were superb athletes underneath the flab, they turned it up a notch and the match became the primary focus for most of the merrymakers at the WCRP Beach Party.  The only real exception to the interest in the sand court excitement was Joan as she kept her eyes peeled on The Rick waiting for a chance to strike.

Volley after volley, some lasting minutes at a time, found Joey and Jimmy reaching some heretofore unknown level of volleyball prowess.  Beautifully setup passes and slams careened off of their stubby and calloused fingertips some finding pay dirt on the other side of the net, some being returned with the same ferocity and intent.  It was still any one’s games when it was mutually decided to take a five minute break with the score 10-10 and match point in the offing.  Joey, his bald head glistening in the afternoon sun, gulped down another liter of Diet Coke while Jimmy practically inhaled two more frozen strawberry daiquiris.  Their strategy to win the contest was simple and straightforward, do whatever it takes to get the ball back over the net.

Nick: ‘Hello, this is Nick Faldo, reporting live on the beach.  Joan Rivers was to join me but she is down in the crowd somewhere stalking The Rick.  Just behind me you can see Fairway Joey and Jimmy Two Birds having some refreshment, probably Gatorade or some such nutrient mishmash, gimme a stout and a shot of Swan Creek any day.  Now they are making their way to the court where they have the serve. 

         This is it.  Match point, the behemoths vs. the nubile in the Hoover Beach Volleyball Championship, sponsored by The Petoskey Daily Shopper and the makers of Swan Creek Irish Whiskey, remember when after a long day of menial labor and heading to the end of a mostly menial career looking at computer screens, get a grip on a double shot of Swan Creek, it’ll do the job.’

Fairway Joey twirled the ball on the index finger of his left hand while guzzling down the last dregs of a can of Diet Coke.  His right hand crushes the can and flings it out into the crowd where a fierce battle breaks out between string bikinied babes for ownership of the can.  Jimmy Two Birds, a look of befuddlement on his face, sort of staggers to his position by the net.  He turns around to wave to the cheering masses hollering “JTB, JTB”.  He tries to give the okay sign with his right hand but the shift in equilibrium toppled him into a surprised Lisa who was not facing JTB but was talking to Heather about strategy.  Talk about your primal greeting.

Nick: ‘Okay, Fairway Joey tosses the ball up with his left hand and slams a missile towards the right back corner of the nubile side. Oh what a play by Heather; she comes out of nowhere and sends a perfect pass to Lisa who sets up Heather at the net for a slam.  Jimmy Two Birds can only flail in desperation as the ball flies by.  Fairway Joey attempts to make a dive for it but only succeeds in falling on his face, his outstretched hands about 6 inches short of where the ball hits with a thud sending more sand in Joey’s face. 

         The serve goes over to Lisa and Heather and they seem to have momentum on their side after that masterful last volley.  Heather sends a bullet to Joey’s right.  This could be the match, but wait, Joey takes a tremendous leap sideways determined not to come up short this time.  The ball comes down only this time Joey is able to return it not with his fingers as he has overshot the mark but the ball deflects off of his head and heads to the net.  JTB having turned the wrong way is stumbling backwards and just manages to keep the ball aloft with a rapidly descending hand as he lands in the sand.  Joey knowing he may be needed arose as soon as the ball hit his head but while on the way to the net he trips in the large divot made by his now sand covered cranium and is sent sprawling face first; however, the ball hits his left hand and starts upward and over the net.  Both Lisa and Heather are caught too close to the net and the ball sails ever so slowly over their heads.  In sheer desperation they both lunge at the ball and probably could have made a play had they not collided mid-air rendering them incapable of reaching the ball.

         Unbelievable! The behemoths have won.  The scene on the sand is pandemonium.  Adoring fans struggle to lift the exhausted winners out of the pits of sand in which they lie.  The pair raises their hands together in triumph, their sweaty oversized bodies covered in a layer of sand.  On the other side of the net paramedics are administering mouth to mouth to Lisa and Heather, although it doesn’t appear that they were unconscious. ‘

“I don’t know about you Joey but I need a drink and a dunk in the ocean”, quipped Jimmy as he made his way to the bar.

“Let me just say this, lead on Jimmy Two Birds.”, replied Fairway Joey.

So after procuring a couple beverages they amble down to the water’s edge and judging the temperature to be acceptable they gallantly plunge in, washing away the sweat and sand of victory.  Floating amiably and in a slightly sleepy manner on their backs they come to the attention of the members of the Des Moines, IA Near Sighted Optometrists Club who are attending a convention this week.  Convinced that the two pasty white objects floating just off shore are actually Beluga Whales that are in trouble some of the members rushed into the water and they proceeded to float the poor whales toward the beach while others flooded the 911 emergency lines.  Once on the beach the excited yet misguided rescuers confiscated all the sand buckets they could from startled kids building forts and castles.  Bucket after bucket of water was poured on our two heroes until Joey was able to sputter, “I say do any of you have a Diet Coke?”

All at once the beach is overtaken by the sound of many sirens as the Horry County Police arrive on the scene followed by a convoy of Department of Natural Resource vehicles and for good measure a Coast Guard Cutter and helicopter are deployed to help with the whale rescue mission.  Two of the more zealous of the near sighted optometrists begin pushing and prodding the DNR agents toward the two white whales just as the whales rise up on two feet and begin walking back up the beach to the bar.  “Well glory be!!” exclaims one of the optometrists, “I didn’t think evolution happened that quickly, those whales developed bipedal motion in a matter of minutes.”

Chapter 9

                           She Broke My Heart So I Busted Her Jaw

                           (From the 1973 album of the same name by Spooky Tooth)

            The merriment shifted from the volleyball court to the makeshift stage where Hootie was getting ready to rock.  Jimmy and Joey, a bevy of bikini babes in their considerable wake, having replenished their beverages were leaning against the stage being completely knackered by sun, booze or Diet Coke, and the physical exertion their bodies were definitely not used to or ready for.  The sun drenched and well lubricated crowd broke into spontaneous dance as Darius started I Only Want to be With You.  Joey and Jimmy got caught up in the frenzied excitement and totally forgot their posse duties and protecting The Rick.

At the end of the Hootie’s set, the crowd clamored for more not having fully sated their festive mood.  All of sudden there is a loud whoop from Nascar Bob as he is leading Toby Keith up to the stage.  The crowd is even more frenzied now and when Toby joins Darius for the encore the noise was deafening.  Nascar Bob, hailed as the bringer of Toby submits to the urging of the crowd and climbs on stage just in time to join in on How Do You Like Me Now? and Whiskey for My Men Beer for My Horses.  One may safely assume that Nascar Bob isn’t giving much thought to the well-being of The Rick at the present time especially while he is being surrounded by a bunch of middle aged women handing him items to be autographed or gifts such as lingerie and one set of keys to a cheap motel on the edge of town.

One may also safely assume that The Rick is oblivious to his vulnerability as he is sitting on the beach engaged in a video chat with Donald Trump. It seems that The Donald is a little miffed at The Rick for using The Rick as his name when everyone knows that The Donald was using The Donald for his name long before The Rick started using The Rick and is threatening legal action against The Rick.  Thus we find Joan hidden behind a mobile drink cart that Ocho borrowed for her, stealthily approaching The Rick.

The Donald: ‘Listen, I don’t want to be unreasonable.  How about you don’t capitalize the t in the Rick?  I could live with that ’

The Rick: ‘That sounds fair.  Let me run it by Sam Dewey and I’ll… What the fu??

From behind the drink cart Joan springs forward and lands next to the Rick.  ‘Oh Ricky poo isn’t this just so romantic; just the two of us here on the beach with the sound of crashing waves.’  The Rick acting on pure animal instinct reared back and with an I-Phone 5 assisted right cross hit a startled Joan right square on the jaw sending her backwards where she crashed into the drink cart and hit her head on a wheel hub knocking her unconscious.  Now a word about the physiology of Joan’s cranium and face.  She has undergone many surgical enhancements over the years to the point that during the last procedure the surgeon had to implant titanium to help augment the now thoroughly abused facial muscles.  So basically now her skull and face are encased in a titanium shell.  The result of the punch was a dent, shaped like an I-Phone 5 seen from the top.  The wheel hub left a quarter sized indentation on the back of her head.  While there was no real structural damage to muscle and bone, the residual expression on her face was rather frightening in appearance.

The Donald: ‘Hey! Did I just hit Joan Rivers in the jaw?’

The Rick: ‘Yes The Donald, you did.  Good job that. Well I gotta run.’

The Rick hangs up on The Donald and hits speed dial for his personal helicopter. ‘Yeah I want you here at the beach helipad in 5 minutes.  Go!’  Spotting Ocho crouched over the still form of Joan and her dented face, he says, ‘Help me carry her up to the helipad.  I know just where to take her.’

The Head of Reconstructive Surgery at The University of South Carolina Hospital was an old college pal of The Rick’s back in their undergraduate days at Washington and Lee. Being slightly beholden to The Rick for years of generous donations to his department, Dr. Mayhew was more than happy to take on this case.  ‘Now listen Mayhew’ said The Rick, ‘when this is done just send the bill to Sam Dewey over at Dewey, Cheetum and Howe.  He’ll take care of it no questions asked.’  The Rick then grabbed Dr. Mayhew by the hands and pulling him closer whispered, ‘Just one other thing Clement…’

Dr. Mayhew watched as Ocho and The Rick walked away down the hospital corridor.  With a sigh he opened his hand and wondered at the ingenuity and engineering that went into this miniature gps transmitter.  Now, where to put it?

Chapter 10

                                         A Revolting Development

It was a tough morning for some of yesterday’s celebrants but Ocho was up at his duty bright and early.  “Now that’s a good pot of coffee,” remarked Ocho as he headed to the closest bathroom.  “Why is that?” asked Joey.  “Because it is still brewing, haven’t had a drop yet and it has already kicked in.” answered Ocho.  Joey, his normal pleasant smiling face masked by the pain exuding from every muscle and joint, fell into one of the chairs begging Ocho to deliver his coffee.  Jimmy Two Birds made the trip down from the second floor in a record time of 10 minutes, the strawberry daiquiris playing the Soul Sacrifice drum solo in his head in addition to the Ibuprofen proof pain the rest of his body felt.  Nascar Bob was also slightly unsteady on his feet but perked right up after two sips of coffee.  The Rick strode down demanding to know why no one delivered his coffee.

Ocho emerged from the bathroom to find his pals, his buddies, his fellow Hoovers gathered around the dining room table.  ‘Uh, Ocho?  Have a seat why dontcha?  We have something we would like to discuss with you.’, said The Rick.  Ocho sat down and felt the steely gaze of those with grievances, ‘Okay what’s up?’

Joey: ‘Here’s the thing Ocho, we have had enough of the vile character assassinations we have to put up with in these stories.’

Jimmy: ‘A zealot for Obama?  That’s taking poetic license too far.’

Rick: ‘Leader of a posse, while I like the idea you know that isn’t really me.  I mean I do seem to attract the ladies and I do like to wear L.L. Bean and I do like the idea of telling people what to do but I’m more like the let’s coordinate outfits kinda guy.’

Ocho: ‘So what do you guys want or think I can do about it?  After all I’m just an alter ego, a figment of the author’s vivid imagination.  Let me call my agent, Rocco.  Perhaps he can come up with a solution.  By the way, how do you feel about the way you’re written, Bob?’

Bob: ‘Hell I kinda like it.  Now is this confab over?  NASCAR race on in two minutes.’

Chapter 11

Yeah, I’m a Feckin’ Genius

What does an author do when the characters he has created decide to rebel against the tyranny of creativity?  On the one hand how much longer could I stretch out the whole Joan vs. Rick thing?  It’s been a staple topic for me to play with since 2009 and I indeed had fun with this out of character caricature of a close friend.  Well as they say in the old country, ‘all good things blah blah blah’.  Rocco did indeed come up with a solution, a very equitable if only a slightly one-sided legal agreement drawn up in the offices of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe.  To wit:

The author agrees to cease and desist casting his Hoover buddies in the fashion heretofore utilized over the course of the last few years and stories.  This does not include this story as it is still in progress and the since the author fired his staff there is no time for a re-write.

This agreement does not preclude the author using a different set of characterizations in the future in depicting his Hoover buddies.  This clause is especially important as the author has already done so.  You can glean these new works of superb craftsmanship at https://mystoriesandsuch.wordpress.com/ .

Leave a comment

Filed under golf humor, my stories

One More Time Let Your Madness Run With Mine – Michigan 2013

We survived the football game.

We survived the football game.

The title is taken from a line in the Steely Dan tune ‘Midnight Cruiser’

May 1st

                               It is less than two weeks before I hit the road once again and head to my real home, Michigan.  This trip will be a combined golf trip and The 2nd Annual Reunion of The Eastside Kids.  At present I only have two set tee times but that is subject to change.  The first round is at an old favorite, Dunmaglas on Monday 5/13.  Beautiful course set among the forest and hills of northern MI and with four holes set on top of a bluff completely open to the elements giving this part of the course a Scottish feel.  The second round will be at a new course closer to Detroit.  Cherry Creek  in Shelby Twnshp will have the added attraction of my good buddy Jim Irvine, the $6 Man.

Here’s a shot from Dunmaglas.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

   My itinerary is as follows:

  • Sat night – Motel 6 in Macedonia, OH
  • Sun & Mon nights – Motel 6 Traverse City
  • Tues night – Manistee
  • Weds night – Mt Pleasant Wold Motel
  • Thurs – Sat nights – Microtel Roseville

May 2nd

               Many of you may recall that at our 1st annual reunion, last year, we indulged in a couple days of basketball.  For the most part it was what should have been expected from a group of 60 somethings trying to make their bodies remember what they could do when they were 20 somethings.  There were however vestiges of glory still to be found, to wit; Tracy can still hit from anywhere and Rick is still a ball hound.  For my part my main goal was to not get hurt, of course I failed.  Pulled a calf muscle that bothered me for weeks after the fiasco.   So it is with some fearful anticipation that I announce that this year we are going to play football.  Yep you read that right; football.  A little history is in order here.  Back in the late 60’s we had a neighborhood tackle football team and a damn good one at that.  Under the brutal oppressive regime of our quarterback and despot, one Charles LeFurge, we ran roughshod over the other teams in the area.  Suffice to say that it is the  brain child of that same despot for us to play flag football.  Good golly but just the thought of blocking, running, or even what should be a simple task, reaching out and grabbing the flag makes my shoulder start aching.  Stay tuned for a full report including a list of the assorted injuries or perhaps a coup.

A couple pics of the basketball:

The Boys are Back in Town-0006

Look at all those smiling faces

The Boys are Back in Town-0119

This is The Dead Dave chalk outline photo.

May 3rd

                    I’m not sure if it’s my intention to blog some thing every single day before departure but it does seem that way.  Some possible visitations include a stop at Hartwick Pines for a jaunt into the past as I hike the trail through the last vestige of virgin White Pine in the state.  Spent many a pleasant camping/hiking trips there through the years, lots of great memories of The AuSable River Trail, of the strong enough to grow hair on a rock camp coffee, the camaraderie around the campfire at night…yes great memories.

May 8th

                   Been a few days since the last update but no mind, nothing much to report.  However, departure draws nigh, only three more working nights and then the road beckons.  Played a couple rounds at Da Muni this week…pitiful is the first description I can think of…less than mediocre at the very least.  Hope I have my A game next week when I tee it up with Jim $6 Irvine…certainly will need it as he can beat me using only a seven iron and a putter.  🙂

May 9th

                  One of the many interesting aspects of these Eastside Kids reunion affairs is the disparity among the group when it comes to politics.  We have had a few Facebook and email confrontations but we haven’t let that affect our historical relationship.  I affectionately refer to Chuck as a right-wing whacko and to him I am a flaming liberal hippy commie.  We do have a kind of a rule in place that forbids political discussions during reunion weekend…I mean its bad enough to have to listen to all the gripes about Jim Leyland and Phil Coke.  One huge, glaring disparity that cannot be swept under the rug is the choice of beer.  There are those among my cohorts who will drink anything including rotgut American industrial lagers and their weak-arse cousins the Lite beers.  However, there are also among my cohorts those of us who refuse to be dragged down to that tasteless realm and will be consuming only fine ales, stouts and porters.

guinness

                              Well the bags are packed and loaded in the car…I am ready to hit the road…except for one small thing, I am at work tonight so will have to wait another 7 hours or so.  I did load up the 6 cd changer for tomorrow’s listening pleasure.  First up is Flogging Molly’s Speed of Darkness…this album was written in honor of the city of Detroit….the connection is Bridget Reagan, the fiddle player and wife of the band leader, Dave King, is from Detroit.  They have purchased a home there…I think that is very cool.  The rest of the cd lineup includes more Flogging Molly in slots 3 and 5…they are the Live from the Greek Theater recordings…excellent concert…the other three cds are compilations of either Ocho’s A List or Tunes of My Times…the last song on the cd in slot six is Midnight Cruiser from which the title of this journal was derived.

May 11th

                      You all will be happy to know that due to popular demand I will be doing a Critter Count Report as I make the drive from the secret underground location of the Brown University data center to Traverse City MI.  For clarity I have divided the animal world into two parts – 1. the large-such as deer, elk and mountain lion… and 2. the squishable-such as skunk, opossum and meercat.  The  two day totals are not for the squeamish.  My totally accurate counting system has arrived at these figures:  living squishables = 0 ….  squishables who experienced up close and personal what it feels like where the rubber meets the road = 96.  The large animal count was limited to deer…no elk or mountain lions seen … final tally = 1 live deer and 6 deader than last week’s pork chops.  The bird count came out like this … hawks=4…vultures=many…large heron=1…various and sundry wrens, warblers, sparrows and thrushes etc that cannot be identified at 70 miles per hour.

A word about the weather in northern MI on this day.  WTF?  Almost white out conditions briefly a couple times on I-75 between West Branch and Grayling as snow squalls blanket the region with a “freshly fallen silent shroud of snow” (Paul Simon)  I am somewhat taken aback by this meteorological mishap.  I came prepared for golfing conditions not skiing or snowmobiling.

A few candid self portraits of taken in various rest areas along the way  and one shot of my luxurious first nights motel….spared no expense for this trip..  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rest Area outside Grayling MI on I-75…mysterious flaky white stuff on the ground.

                                                                                        OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

May 13th

             Disregarding the elements I decide to play my early morning round at Dunmaglas.  It was a bracing 36 degrees when I finally teed off around 8:45…oh yeah, the golf cart did not have a windshield so the ride was exhilarating to say the least.  I was wearing 5 layers so I was comfortable for the weather if just a bit constricted golf swing-wise…so after opening with 3 double and one triple bogey, my game finally came to life and played up to my mediocre standards the rest of the round.  Ended up with a 96 which considering the first 4 holes wasn’t too bad at all for this old, multi-layered hacker of the sacred turf.

stand of jack pine

stand of jack pine

covered bridge hole

covered bridge hole

frosty first fairway

frosty first fairway

May 14th

                        Road trip day as I make my way south from Traverse City to Manistee.  A lot of my travel today is on M-22 a scenic 2 lane highway that skirts the Lake Michigan shoreline.  I have an updated Critter Report … saw 6 live deer this morning and only 1 deader than last week’s pork chops…not paying attention to the squishies though I did see one live squishable critter – think it was a ground hog.  A related Critter Report from yesterdays round of golf…every time I play Dunmaglas I see a flock of wild turkeys and this year was no different…saw them on the same hole as usual.

The Big Manistee River

The Big Manistee River

May 15th

                     M-55 east out of Manistee is a mostly flat and straight road until it gets close to M-37 where it has more twists, turns and hills.  As has become a ritual I stop at a roadside park where the Pine River flows under M-55 at Cooley Bridge.  The observant will note that the bridge is no longer named The Petersen Bridge…I don’t know when the name changed but I intend to launch a full investigation into this matter.  To those of us boys who attended the annual Knox Church Men’s Canoe Trip on the Pine River, this bridge will forever be Petersen.

                   I am thinking about the first time I went on the trip.  I partnered up with a good buddy Rick Crees….neither of us had ever canoed before and The Pine is not a very forgiving river to novices.  We butchered our way down that river from bank to bank with the occasional foray onto partially submerged logs and boulders.  Ye gods what a nightmare … my left arm started locking up from all the paddling….finally we were rescued by Mr. Blackstock and Mr. Crees.  Those trips were epic, nightmarish canoeing aside,  the food was great, the volleyball was great, the talk around the campfire was great, all in all they were great times.

I’m also reminded of Rick Crees, my erstwhile canoe mate.  Last time I saw him he was home on leave from the army.  He was stationed as a male nurse in Germany…he went into the army as a conscientious objector.  The next time I saw him I was a pallbearer at his funeral.  He died while hiking in the mountains in Germany.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Pine River

Pine River

Perusing the map at Cooley Bridge Roadside Park.

Perusing the map at Cooley Bridge Roadside Park.

May 16th

                    Reunion time is here.  Traveling down from the great north to the environs of the city of my birth via M20, US10 and I75 to the sacred turf at Cherry Creek Golf Club located at 24 Mile Rd and M53.  Will be hacking with Jim 6$…well I’ll be hacking, Jim is actually good at this golf thing.  Here’s a shot of the dynamic golfing duo:

Ocho and Jim the 6 Dollar Man

Ocho and Jim the 6 Dollar Man

For those of you in the unwashed masses, back in the old days there was a TV show called The 6 Million Dollar Man- starring Lee Majors as a scientifically enhanced robotic hybrid dude.  Jim was always the strongest of the group and very athletic so we dubbed him the $6 Man and the name has stuck through the ages.  Cherry Creek is a nice venue…greens were like lightening compared to my round at Dunmaglas….consequently I was a touch long on a lot of putts, thus leading to a lot of three putts which in turn leads to a higher score and the accompanying bursts of inventive profanity.

Once we had tamed Cherry Creek it was time to meet up with some more of the reunion crew and shoot some pool and imbibe tasty beverages…well some of us drank tasty beverages, the others were drinking baby beer.  My contributions to these games of angles and vectors has always been minimal due to the fact that I am geometrically challenged and pretty inept at this particular activity.  No matter, we stayed only long enough for everyone to get there … we decided that seven dollar beer was a bit much,,,and then headed out to dinner and an exciting evening of catching up, laughing, swilling beer and just generally having fun.

Big topic of discussion is the upcoming football game tomorrow.  Chuck is bound and determined to see this through…just like the military man that he is or was, Chuck is prepared to sacrifice his troops for the greater glory of, umm, well the greater glory of Chuck.  He looks upon this as not just another thing to do, but as his swansong as a football player…his legacy as the best quarterback to rise from the mean streets of the Eastside is more important than the pain and suffering he will be subjecting the rest of us to.

Tracy ready to break...Chuck in the line of fire..Tom safe in a corner

Tracy ready to break…Chuck in the line of fire..Tom safe in a corner

May 17th

The Eastside Kids – Another One Bites the Dust – Football Extravaganza Day

a.k.a. The Swansong of a Legendary Quarterback

                  The excitement and anticipation has been building for about a year now regarding this year’s main reunion activity.  For a year Chuck has been chomping at the bit….using email after email exhorting the rest of us to get excited about the team getting back together for one last time…for the most part the rest of us have been reserving judgement on the possibility of playing football at the age of 60+.  We tried to point out the inherent dangers of asking this group to perform football actions; such as running, leaping, blocking, catching a pass in full stride, etc, etc but Chuck would hear nothing negative about the sport he loves.  So, he has come prepared…at least mentally…he has also spent the last year gathering info on flag football rules & regulations, gathering the required equipment; orange cones to mark the field boundaries, diagrams of different field configurations, flag belts with velcro for the flags and I bet if you press him hard enough you will find he did spend considerable time drawing up plays(that we didn’t use)…  One thing he kept repeating to us, “this is the last time I’ll get to play quarterback’…well heck, we were content on that having already happened…I for one wasn’t anxious to renew my football career and even after spending all of last night listening to Chuck ramble on about how much fun it was going to be, both during our impromptu party in room 210 and later in our room(yes, Chuck the right wing whacko and Paul the left wing hippy pinko are traditionally lumped together as roommates) as I tried to shut him up so I could sleep, I found myself hoping for a frog-strangling, gully-washing rainout.

Dan's Diner - breakfast on football morning.

Dan’s Diner – breakfast on football morning. We who are about to die eat bacon.

                   This morning dawned clear and sunny and the sense of foreboding has diminished and turned into the sense of the inevitable as we gathered for breakfast at Dan’s Diner.  However, things were not all bright and rosy.  Tracy called to let us know his mom wasn’t doing well…he had been up most of the night with her and did not think he would be joining us for breakfast or football   This was the first of many setbacks thrust upon Chuck on football morning.  Thankfully, Tracy’s mom improved  and he would be able to join us in a couple hours so one setback avoided….but….the dreaded threat of injury was still to be faced.

                    Having finished what I thought might be my last meal we headed out to face our destiny, well first we stopped to get beer, then headed to our destiny.  The car I was in was last in the three car caravan with Tracy in the lead car as he was the only one who knew where we were going.  Tom’s late model Caddy was in front of us when it began smoking and leaking fluid…at least he had enough power to make it into a gas station/convenience store parking lot before it conked out.

INJURY REPORT #1

  • Cadillac is down – transmission/radiator hose ruptured – surgery required.
The Caddy is down - football is in jeopardy

The Caddy is down – football is in jeopardy

                  While Tom made calls to tow trucks and repair shops the rest of us took the time to converse and speculate on the possibility of not playing.  Chuck was visibly shaken by this twist of fate and kept pacing around saying to no one in particular, ‘ We are gonna play, dammit, we are gonna play.  Where’s my beer?’  By this time word had gotten to Tracy in the lead car and he turned around to head back to the rest of us.  As timely as to be expected in situations involving tow trucks and repair shops, we finally got an eta on the tow truck and a repair shop that would work on the Caddy right away.  Most of us then headed to the field, the others took care of getting Tom to the game after getting the Caddy to the shop.  Chuck was all smiles again.

Chuck setting up the field of play - Turtle supervises.

Chuck setting up the field of play – Turtle supervises.

While Chuck built the arena us gladiators prepared for the coming spectacle.  These preparations included making sure the beer was on ice, making sure our wills were up to date and that we had our medical insurance cards and tossing the ball around as we “ran” pass patterns from our youth re-familiarizing our bodies to the nuances and movements that would soon be needed.  Another delay, which Chuck took rather well now that the field was ready, as Turtle had to run an errand.  We used that time to good effect as we became more relaxed as we threw or caught passes to each other.  Perhaps that was his downfall, being too relaxed instead of ever vigilant in terms of how far to go in the catching of a pass.  To his credit, the catch was remarkable, probably the best of the day and we hadn’t even started playing yet.    The catch came with a price however.

INJURY REPORT #2

  • Jim $6 is down – seems that the right robotic hamstring has been over extended – placed on injured reserve immediately.

A collective groan of disbelief echoes off the trees and houses as we watched Jim $6 writhe in agony on the ground, screaming, ‘ Should have stretched!’  Mark, who coincidentally threw the pass that damaged the bionic hamstring, began immediately to stretch.  The rest of us had some more beer while we waited except for Chuck who when faced with the probable loss of the best player tried mightily to repair the damaged muscle by any means possible even the laying on of the hands.

Chuck massages Jim $6's hammy.

Chuck massages Jim $6’s hammy.

With Jim $6 hors de combat, that brought our playing number to 7 so Chuck decided he would play QB for both teams.  Oh my that was just what he wanted..a dream come true…QB twice on his last day.

The Eastside Kids – Another One Bites the Dust – Football Extravaganza Day

Football Follies – part two

1 belt fits most....2 belts fit Turtle

1 belt fits most….2 belts fit Turtle

                  Having gone over the preliminaries such as learning the rules and donning our flag belts we were ready for the kickoff…well hang on, we’ve another delay as Tracy is having some difficulty getting the flag belt around his ample girth.  Faced with another delay to his glory seeking, Chuck once again springs into action and finally after a five minute struggle they arrive at a solution.  For the vast majority of flag football enthusiasts one flag belt fits most, it takes two to traverse the Turtle.

Tom 'Thundertoes' Thielen aka Superman starts the action.

Tom ‘Thundertoes’ Thielen aka Superman starts the action.

Hiding behind Dave the Destroyer, Paul the hippy Bennett returns the kickoff

Hiding behind Dave the Destroyer, Paul the hippy Bennett returns the kickoff

The game itself was full of miscues, mistakes and bouts of laughter.  It is impossible to describe all of the action so we will concentrate on the highlights.  One of the first readily noticeable highlights was during the kickoff/return… we were all actually running, an activity that I personally had given up a couple decades ago.  The first play from scrimmage does however bring us to:

INJURY REPORT #3

  • Chuck – injured forearm throwing a pass – seriousness unknown as Chuck refuses to give in to the pain – a generous slathering of Ben Gay helps make the agony bearable – that and another beer.

You have to admire someone who continues to persevere despite the pain, despite the setbacks, despite not having anyone around who could run a pass pattern as explained in the huddle.  Chuck LeFurge screams in agony with every throw but every throw brings him closer to legendary QB status.  Just a few more plays and he will hold the unofficial record for most pass attempts and completions by a sexagenarian.  These things are first and foremost on the diminutive yet pugnacious QB’s mind as he calls the next play, a down and in pattern for me in the end zone.  The ball is snapped and I head down field at full speed(well even in the old days my full speed was slower than most, nowadays it is just slightly faster than a mall power walker)…doing the down part of the down and in proves to be no problem….however, when I make the cut for the in part of the down and in, this proves to be a problem.

INJURY REPORT #4

  • PB is down – pulled groin muscle – status day to day – running(or any reasonable facsimile thereof) is out of the question – recommended course of action-replace Chuck as designated QB.

You know that scene in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan where Kirk is screaming at the top of his lungs, ‘KHAN!!!!’?  Well that’s kinda like but not quite as amplified as Chuck’s, ‘NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!’  That’s why I think that the repeated questions of, ‘Are you okay?…Are you sure you can’t run?’ were not asked in the spirit of true caring for the the injured.  After a few moments of denial Chuck finally held out his hands and received from me my flag belt.  He will have to be content on being the best damned defensive back and receiver.

A Brief Interlude

We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the fine photographic contribution of our own award winning camera guy – Jim Shields.  Jim risked life, limb and possible divorce by putting his body in harm’s way countless times to get the perfect shot…not only this year but last year as well at our basketball debacle.  Way to go Jim…can’t wait until next year to see you straddling a lane to get that perfect shot of a bowling ball headed to the pins.  Here’s a link to this year’s slide show.  http://show-vid.com/view/9aabmxm4

The Eastside Kids – Another One Bites the Dust – Football Extravaganza Day

Football Follies – part three

 The teams were now as follows: The Blue Flags – Chuck, Dave and Wing … The Yellow Flags – Tracy,Tom and Mark with me reprising my role from 1962 when I was the designated quarterback for our Lenox St. touch football games.  I was 11 and had broken my left arm in September of that year.  While that did end my baseball playing for that season, I was not about to miss out on football as well.

Now, there is a slight difference in the way Chuck runs a huddle from the way I do.  Typical Chuck huddle: ‘All right maggots.  We’re gonna run an x-wide 35 on 3 and ladies try to run the right pattern this time.’  Typical Paul huddle: ‘What do you guys wanna do?’  The one downside to having a democratic type huddle is the danger that someone else will take over…kinda like Tracy did a few times, so on one play I’m lateraling the ball to him so he can throw a touchdown pass to Tom(a magnificent diving catch complete with a bloodied forearm).  On another play they don’t even hike to me…Tracy gets a direct snap and throws another touchdown pass to Mark.  Of course the only reason that play worked was the very impressive fake I put on(see pic).

Paul laterals to Tracy..Tracy throws TD to Tom

Paul laterals to Tracy..Tracy throws TD to Tom

Tom makes a diving catch and bloodies the ground.
Tom makes a diving catch and bloodies the ground.

What a mesmerizing fake by Paul as Tracy gets a direct snap.

What a mesmerizing fake by Paul as Tracy gets a direct snap.

Mark skies for the ball for the score.

Mark skies for the ball for the score.

The Blue Flag team also managed to score a touchdown although with a more traditional method.  They let the actual QB throw the ball and I threw a perfect spiral at least 7 yards down field to Chuck which he turned into a TD with a scintillating run after catch…at least that’s how he remembers it.  For some reason we have no photographic evidence of this scoring play but since this game is all because of and all for Chuck, I’ll let the possible delusion on his part stand as fact.

We now come to the exciting climax to this emotionally charged, physically draining battle between these giants of the athletic world.  When we were younger the least athletic of our group could arguably have been Mark.  This is not to say he wasn’t an athlete, I mean he did pitch us to a league championship and then to the finals of the city championship in 1966 so that is proof of his caliber, however he did go hitless for the entire season as well so you can see where I’m coming from here.  Yet despite his lesser pedigree and frankly a pitiful basketball player, he won MVP honors at last years epic basketball games.  The situation is this…the score was Yellow 14 – Blue 7 and we were running out of gas.  It was decided that the Blue team would get one more set of downs to tie the score. The Yellow team kicked off to Dave who looked like a cornered ostrich as he bobbed and weaved around trying to avoid being caught.  As funny and entertaining as that was it netted him maybe an extra yard.

All these Barry Sanders moves got him about 1 yard but was fun to watch.

All these Barry Sanders moves got him about 1 yard but was fun to watch.

Dave looking like a cornered ostrich returning a kickoff.

Dave looking like a cornered ostrich returning a kickoff.

The play called in the huddle was a sure fire winner and I felt every confidence that it would work.  Wing hadn’t caught a pass all day so he was my main target.  He sprinted out to the right on a down and out.  I looked left first to confuse the defense and then threw the best pass I had thrown in over 40 years but Mark streaked in from out of nowhere, stepped in front of Wing, intercepted the pass and ran like Forrest Gump to the other end zone.  Final score Yellow 21 – Blue 7.

Mark MVP Winningham seals the victory.

Mark MVP Winningham seals the victory.

Sadly, this marvelous play has come under some scrutiny as rumors have crept in speculating on some nefarious, underhanded shenanigans between Mark and Paul.  Not seen on film but certainly witnessed by everyone there was a jubilant Paul jumping up and down exhorting Mark to run like the wind.  The most damning evidence of a conspiracy to throw the match was however caught on film.  Now are you going to believe what you see or what I tell you?

Dirty deed caught on film?

Dirty deed caught on film?

Firstly my excitement over Mark’s interception – I was merely showing my happiness over a friend’s success.  Secondly the photo – this was only an exchange of funds for the Advil and beer I purchased for Mark prior to the game.  Yeah, that’s it and that should end these despicable aspersions heaped upon my character.

Let us not forget about Chuck and his dreams for his last game.  Although he was deprived of his Raison d’être, that of being recognized as a legend among quarterbacks, he did manage to catch a TD pass and on defense he was all over Tracy like a fly on a cowpie the whole game.  It gave Chuck immense satisfaction that ‘The Fat Bastard didn’t catch a single pass.’  I could point out though that Tracy did throw 2 TD’s and that we have photographic proof of Chuck holding the fat bastard on one play and face guarding him on another but I won’t point those things out as they would detract from Chuck’s special day.

After the Game

With the echoes of “MVP MARK” continuing to reverberate off the surrounding houses we limped or crawled to the cars and headed to the Microtel for re-hydration and recuperation … the re-hydration part required another beer run.  Room 210, the designated hangout, was the abode of Jim $6 who was limping badly as he made his way to the couch, a bag of ice in hand to ease the pain.  Chuck could hardly walk as well, this being a combination of many things, one – he hit the ground more than anyone while guarding the fat bastard…two – there wasn’t enough Ben Gay in the state for his screaming forearm…three – copious amounts of cheap beer; though this did help somewhat with the Ben Gay problem.  Tom was eyeing the war wound he received diving for  a catch in between swigs of beer and Rum Chata.  Dave had forgone the polite societal approach and was drinking straight from the Rum Chata bottle.  Wing kept looking back and forth between Mark and Paul searching for clues to prove the conspiracy theory.   Mark, still basking in the glow of glory attained took another pull on his Killians, and smiled from ear to ear at Wing.    Paul sat down gingerly, took a long pull on his Killians and reflected on the fact that he was 61 years old and has a pulled groin muscle…what is wrong with that picture?  At this juncture our illustrious photographer, Jim, came in and told us that the fat bastard was setting up for poker in the motel breakfast room and to get our butts down there.

The Microtel mgmt allows us hooligans to play poker in the breakfast room.

The Microtel mgmt allows us hooligans to play poker in the breakfast room. Note where Chuck is sitting…the cooler is just to his left.

Poker has a long history with this group, in fact card playing in general helped pass the time on many occasions at the flat on Nottingham.  There were many epic games of Hearts played in a smoke filled haze.  When we played poker it was usually an all night event with the winner(s) on the hook for the losers steak and eggs breakfast at The Clock restaurant on Warren.  No such high stakes are involved in the reunion games as the card playing is mostly just a backdrop to intelligent conversation about the arts or perhaps philosophy.  These are certainly not times that are filled with raucous hilarity or just plain silliness,  I mean we are, after all, mature adults.

Right about the time that we concluded  that Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy was an excellent painting but we were more drawn to Paul Gauguin’s Two Tahitian Women, the repair shop called which meant Tom and Dave would be heading back home and that we would be heading to Famous Dave’s BBQ for dinner.  The rest of the night was spent in 210 watching the Tigers, drinking beer(maybe I don’t have to mention that), telling stories and once again spending much time in laughter.  I wish I could remember some of the specifics…maybe we need to have a recording device running during these times of reminiscence but then that would expose the fact that we really don’t talk about Gainsborough or Gauguin.

May 18th

Shooting Pool with The Red Wings

Wing, Chuck and Jim $6 watching The Wings beat The Blackhawks .

Wing, Chuck and Jim $6 watching The Wings beat The Blackhawks .

Sometimes it takes a little more effort to get out of bed.  Sometimes you lie there and wonder if the pain of rising is worth it but then necessity removes all doubt as you stumble and groan your way to the bathroom.  While it does take a bit longer to recover these days eventually the really hot shower, a cup of coffee and a few Advil do the trick and you are able to make it to the car for the drive to Dan’s Diner for breakfast.  Make no mistake we will need as full a recovery as possible.  We have a full day of activity ahead of us with Rick Prince who since he didn’t take part in yesterday’s festivities will be raring to go and will most likely talk us into doing something stupid like play basketball.

Rick's backyard - Wing still contending that the fix was in at the football game.

Rick’s backyard – Wing still contending that the fix was in at the football game.

Having gorged ourselves on eggs, pancakes, sausage gravy and bacon it seemed like a good idea to just vegetate for a bit.  So after a (do I have to say it?) beer run, we headed to Rick’s to sit and contemplate the universe and it’s mysteries while we planned our day.  I like to say that the reason I became friends with Rick is so I would have a better chance at sweeping his sister Debby off of her feet.  Yeah, well as they say in the old country, “How’d that work out for ya?”  Suffice to say I never won her heart(until this year anyway…she is now my steady) but I stayed friends with Rick despite the pain of rejection.

Oft times we found ourselves in the throes of pain inducing laughter as we recounted yesterday to Rick though I think the funniest happenings in Rick’s backyard were the wanton destruction of two of Rick’s chairs by The Fat Bastard.  It seems that canvas seated director chairs or those outdoor chairs with wicker seats are no match for Turtle.  For a minute I thought we may have to call in the tow truck again to winch The Fat Bastard out of the collapsed canvas directors chair and then once we maneuvered him out of that one he sat and destroyed the wicker one.  Rick finally brought out a steel girder reinforced kitchen chair that held up magnificently under the bulky constraint of Turtle’s double flag belt circumference.

The only real tense moments of the weekend happened in Rick’s backyard.  Jim $6 apparently unaware of the ban on political discussions told a rather unflattering joke about Obama and Biden, the gist of which was that they are dumber than a bunch of sexagenarians running around playing football.  We all remember fondly the uncountable number of times over the years that Chuck has lost it and this had all the makings of a doozy.  You see Chuck loves our Presidential team and is hard pressed not to go all Rambo on anyone who would dare to besmirch the names of either Barack or Joe.  As Chuck rose out of his chair to confront the blasphemer he hesitated for a moment as he recognized what a futile gesture it would be to challenge The $6 Man so he regretfully sat back down with a forced guffaw and said, ‘Good one $6’.

notice the difference in the beer.

notice the difference in the beer.

All eyes on Mark who was sadly saddled with me again for a partner.

All eyes on Mark who was sadly saddled with me again for a partner.

Time to head out to what can now be called a Reunion Saturday tradition since we have had two reunions and both times we ventured to a pool hall appropriately named The Recovery Room.  It was also time for the Red Wing – Black Hawk playoff game to start and $6 insisted the channel be changed to it right as soon as we walked in the place….and who is gonna argue with $6?  We have established two other traditions at this pool hall emporium; to wit: there will be two pitchers of beer on the table – one is industrial swill/baby beer and the other will be Killian’s or Sammy…the other tradition is that Mark and Paul will be team mates and will not win a match.  We didn’t play too badly, I actually sank a few of our own balls but it was hard to concentrate due to the excitement of The Red Wing game and the fact that Rick had mentioned playing basketball.

May 18th

Part 2 – Nothing but Net

I wonder if when we have our 10th reunion and we are pushing or reached septuagenarian status, will we still be susceptible to the belief that we are immune to the ravages of time and aging?  Will we still fall for Rick’s appeal for just one game or if not a game then one game of twenty-one?  How many years before we act our age and do like me and $6 and refuse to budge from our seats on the front porch while the others tempt fate and an ambulance ride once again?  There are five players so the teams are Rick and Turtle versus MVP, Wing and Chuck.  Now at first glance, the unwashed masses would assume that Rick and The Fat Bastard had no chance against three opponents but they would be wrong…very wrong.  Time and time again, the pair would hit shots from everywhere even with Chuck draped all over them like a cheap off the rack suit(let’s face facts boys and girls – MVP and Wing ain’t basketball players so Chuck is all over the place like a crazed bee who can’t decide what flower to sit on).  Not that it does any good, Rick and Turtle will not be denied.  The game is to 11 and you must win by 2…the score is Rick/Fat Bastard 6 – MVP/Wing/Chuck 4 when the fickle finger of fate takes over.  All of a sudden MVP is Joe Dumars and Wing is Vinnie Johnson and now they can’t miss while Chuck’s, may as well carry the analogy to it’s fullest and say that Chuck is the Dennis Rodman of the team, continued hounding on defense and rebounding kept them in the game, feeding his team mates for bucket after bucket.  The sell out crowd of two on the porch are on their feet cheering every basket by MVP and Wing as the score becomes 10-9 in favor of the trio.  It is gut check time for Rick and Turtle and they rise to the occasion executing a perfect give and go with the fat bastard setting a monster pick on Chuck…tie game 10-10.  This is just the sort of basketball theater that will keep us wanting to play even when we hit 70…and oh what a finish.  Turtle inbounds to Rick but Chuck playing with reckless abandon, as you would expect from someone who used to jump out of a plane with a pack that weighed more than he did, dives in front of the pass and deflects it to a wide open Wing for the score.  However, while intercepting the pass, Chuck has crashed onto the cement court and taken a gouge out of his already damaged left arm.  So with the score now 11-10 and with blood running down his shooting arm, Chuck, who has not made a basket yet in this game, takes a pass from MVP, dribbles twice to his left, pulls up and shoots over the outstretched hands of Rick and before the fat bastard can swat at the next dribble.  In the annals of Eastside Kids pickup basketball games this game and more particularly this shot ranks among the best and there have been many memorable moments through the years.  To use the parlance of the times – “Nothing but net!!”.  Rick and Turtle just stand there staring at the ground in disbelief, Wing and MVP are dancing in the driveway and Chuck, red-faced from the sun, exhaustion and many beers collapses on the lawn, the grin of victory going from ear to ear.

May 18th

Part 3 – Helluva Reunion

Cards, Almond Chicken and Farewell

All vestiges of physical activity having been purged from our weary bodies we once again sat down at the poker table.  You would think that by this time we would have run out of things to laugh at but you would be wrong.  In between discussions on Nietzsche and Hegel there were periods of where we tended to be a little silly.  Again the specifics are elusive although I do remember that we concluded that both Nietzsche and Hegel were all wet….the only viable philosophical outlook according to this august group of achy but wise souls is Dudeism…as in The Big Lebowski…accordingly we will be bowling at next year’s reunion.  This could be colossal especially if we can get Bert Sawyers to join us…he and Jim $6 have both rolled a 300, Jim accomplishing the feat just a few months ago…Bert on the other hand doesn’t even remember how many he has thrown.

Wing Tom's restaurant The Golden Dragon - place will never be the same again...

Wing Tom’s restaurant The Golden Dragon – place will never be the same again…

In the intervening months between last year’s reunion and this one we added two more Eastside Kids to the attendance roll.  Bert Sawyers, a friend all through Jackson Jr High and Cass Tech and Wing Tom, a stalwart member of the 1966 Knox Boys Softball Team and fellow Cassite.  Bert was limited this year in participation however we hope to rectify that next year with the whole bowling thing.  Wing jumped in full force playing football, basketball and now with the supreme sacrifice.  The Golden Dragon, co-owned by Wing and his brother courageously opened it’s doors to this group of boisterous, Icy-Hot smelling, motley crew.    Wing wisely put us in a room by ourselves although I’m sure he questioned his sanity a couple times as things got a mite loud(read that as Chuck).  The food, all picked out by Wing was excellent…we stuffed ourselves on two huge appetizer platters and 8 or so entrees.  Someone, I’m not gonna say who, turned to Wing and asked, “So are we gonna be hungry again in half an hour?”  While we were there I was curious as to why it was empty on a Saturday night after all this is an award winning restaurant.  My curiosity was answered as we left.  All of the normal patrons were outside, it was as if they were waiting for something before they went in.  Wonder what that was?

It was back to Ricks for a few more hands of poker and the inevitable sad good byes.  This the 2nd Annual despite the twists, turns and delays was a rousing success.  Seeing Bert and Wing for the first time in almost 40 years was worth the trip alone.  Surviving the football game is the obvious comedic value answer to the question, “What surprised you most about this year’s reunion?”  The more cerebral answer is that it didn’t seem like a year had gone by.  We picked up so easily right where we left off last year that it couldn’t have been 52 weeks ago we last saw each other.  Another thing that wasn’t so much a surprise as it was a revelation sort of.  I thought that last year we had too much down time.  Time where we just kinda sat and tried to figure out what to do next.  Well we had the same periods of what are we gonna do next this year…and you know what?  I didn’t mind at all…was kind of funny; someone would ask that question/we would go off on another 5 minute sidetrack/someone would ask the question/yada yada yada.  Not sure how we ever decided what to do next, probably ran out of beer…at least that got us to the liquor store.

My last view of Chuck before I drifted off to sleep that night was him sitting on his bed, in his underwear, polishing off his final beer for the day.  Don’t know how many he had…somewhere between 14-18 if I had to hazard a guess.  I’m sure he’ll let me know.  I have my alarm set for 4:00, want to be on the road by 4:30 or so…yikes that’s early and only 4 hours from now.

My last view of Chuck as I pass by his bed on the way to the door is of someone in an almost fetal position sleeping the sleep of the fuzzy headed.  I told him I would give him a peck on the cheek when I left.

My last view of anything significant in the room as I look back before closing the door is a bloodied bandage lying on the floor by the bathroom door.  Gee I hope Chuck didn’t bloody the linen.

Epilogue

A One Question Pop Quiz

During the description of happenings in Rick’s backyard I mention Chuck’s love for President Obama and Vice President Biden.  Please select the best answer in this multiple choice, bonus point quiz.

  1. This is very true…Chuck has finally seen the error of his right wing whacko ways.
  2. This is very false…this is just a fine example of an author having fun.

10 Comments

Filed under biographical, golf humor, my stories