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A new comic serial about a man, his life and the path of most resistance
By Leif Ecklert
“I’m going to play golf this Saturday.” I said. The boys were in bed, the dishes were done, and everything was fluid, peaceful. The perfect time to work my magic.
“You don’t play golf.” Natasha said without looking up from her book.
“I know. Rob from Reclamation asked. They’re short a guy. Apparently, odd numbers are bad in golf. They need a fourth.” She loved numbers. This would serve to anesthetize her will to resist.
Reclamation was where all the leather scraps from the various projects at work ended up. I don’t know what happened to them. It was behind huge doors, and it was loud. Sometimes it sounded like the gods hammering the gate to the underworld shut. Other times it was more like heavy metal music played through a megaphone. I never went near the place.
Every day a guy from Reclamation came and took the scraps to the Pit (the common term for Reclamation). I had to sign a sheet verifying the weight and had started joking with some of the guys. They were all pretty nice. Every one of them was a big barrel-chested guy, big, thick arms, big round fingers, big booming boisterous voices. And they all had the same perfect straight, laser-cut goatee. It was amazing. Seven guys, one beard, they might have put it on when they left the Pit.
“OK.” She said, smiling at me.
“They have carts, and Rick is loaning me his clubs, so all I have to pay is green fees.” She loved saving money. Soon, she would be putty in my hands.
“Have a good time.”
This was not going at all the way I planned. Clearly she had mastered some new negotiating gambit. I needed to be careful.
“Did I mention they have clubs? And carts? Did I tell you I would only have to pay for green fees?”
“You mentioned that. I think you should go. It will be fun. Everybody should try new things.”
I was wary, but things could have gone worse.
Saturday morning came, and the sun was shining. It was cool, dry, windless, a perfect day for golf. I guess. I didn’t know anything about golf.
Rob pulled up in his pickup truck, and as I was leaving Natasha said, “Don’t get hurt.”
“I know. Make sure you have your insurance card, in case you get hurt.” She said, and then she sighed.
“You worry too much.” I kissed her on the forehead.
We hit the first tee. Rob explained the technique. Keep your head down, keep the club face straight, follow through, and keep your eye on the ball.
“Sounds easy,” I said.
I swung, a caveman swing, with all my might, everything in me focused on that one small point. I was going to kill that ball! The sound was heavenly, “THWACK.” The transfer of energy from me to club to ball was exquisite. It returned a slight vibration up my arms, a gentle electric tingle, as if to say “thanks for hitting me so well.”
My head jerked up so quickly to watch the ball I hurt my neck. “Damnit, I can’t tell Natasha about this.” I thought.
“Did anybody see where it went?” I asked, expecting praise, big, hearty pats on the back, admiration piled upon amazement.
“It went in the trees, way over there.” Rob said, pointing to some trees that were on the other side of the road. Turns out I am terrible at golf, and as the day wore on I got worse. It became more about getting it over with than anything else. We rushed through, racing from hole to hole.
With three holes left it turned into a race against time. They let me throw the ball. Just to expedite things.
With two holes left it turned into a race against each other. Golf had become a real sport. With an exciting element of danger.
We rounded the corner toward the last hole, and Phil and Matt began to pull ahead. Rob pushed so hard on the accelerator pedal something snapped. It was stuck. That was fine. We weren’t slowing down. This was competition.
The electric motor was whining, almost screaming. An odd smell and grey smoke flowed from underneath me. The tires were barely gripping the path. We were neck and neck. Rob threw his cooler in the bushes, to lighten the load.
Rounding a corner to the left I leaned out for added traction oblivious to the small valley just a few feet from the path.
The cart gave up, stopped dead. Forward motion ended, but not for me.
Flight is wonderful, gliding through the air, liberated, the world is thick, and heavy, the air is fresh, light, free. I have never felt freer, more exhilarated. Until I hit the pine tree. And thudded with a disgusting dead sound I can still hear..
I was lying on my back on the ground, unable to breathe, pain radiating through every part of my body. It felt alien, as if it were not part of me. As if it grew from the ground. Long stringy vines wrapping around me, crushing the life out of me. I tried to roll over and take a breath; I could do neither. My life was ending, a casualty of golf.
A bird peered over a branch, looking down on me. He kicked a pine cone off the tree onto my face. “Stupid bird,” was my last thought.
I woke up in the hospital, wires, tubes, beeping machines everywhere.
Natasha was reading a book; on the TV a weatherman talked about a storm brewing.
“What did I tell you?” She asked when she saw I was awake.
“I don’t remember.” Amnesia was the best thing I could come up with.
“Should I order you some clubs?”
She smiled, walked over to me.
“No, it gives me a stiff neck.”
She laughed and kissed my forehead.
Leif Erklart chased success from Iowa to Ohio. He found glory managing a small department in a small production facility owned by a huge corporation. Married to the woman of his dreams, father of two sons, and firmly entrenched in the middle of the road.