by Peter Johnson

I began as a jive-ass caddy reciting Shakespeare to over-compensated bad golfers. I was a ladies' man, too, the best damn door holder at The Club. After closing, I'd ride across the front nine with unbalanced debutantes, watch moonlight pool in the dimples on their backs. Just one of their junk males, but they liked me, they liked me! At the time I was trying to make my life look like an accident. I was hearing voices from the TV, even when it wasn't on. They were saying, "I haven't had so much fun in years. I really haven't!" Once I stood on the ninth fairway, hugging a car dealer whose son gave him an ice cube for Father's Day. He was crying, and it made me glad I was poor. "Just call me Sammy," I told him, though that wasn't my real name. I wasn't looking for a handout. I just wanted to play golf and escape those happy voices. I craved the smell of close-cut fairways at 6 a.m., with just me and the Head Groundskeeper, Red, punishing weeds and dandelions, driving brand-new golf carts over hill and dale. Red wanted to have the fat sucked out of his stomach and go back to Law School, but I was content with the grief rich people bear on their backs, with the imported French limestone circling The Club's in-ground pool. So when they confided in me, I hugged them and said, "Tell it all to Sammy." And on those nightly rides, I'd rear back and yell, "Fore"―predictable, for sure, yet it always made them laugh and stamp their pretty little feet.

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