Mickey’s golf game was cursed, there was no doubt of it. Such dismal play could only be the work of something demonic, sent to torment him from the deepest recesses of hell. After a seven day hunger strike to drive out the evil spirits, it was still cursed. After the work of three exorcists and a prayer circle, it was still cursed. After baptizing his clubs in his cousin’s sacred beer—still cursed.
One could hardly blame Mickey for getting himself a set of magic clubs. He wasn’t a cheat. With a cursed game, injecting magic into it merely balanced things to a more natural order. An albatross delivered them to his home, C.O.D. Old school. He paid, signed, and took them in.
They were plain clubs, made of steel and persimmon. Nothing special. He called his buddy Calvin for an afternoon game. They spent a little time at the driving range to give Mickey a feel for the new woods.
“Play for a tenner?” asked Mickey.
“Naw,” said Calvin. “I’m tired of taking your money. It’s not sporting.”
“For drinks, then.”
“Seriously, Mick, I wouldn’t feel right,” said Calvin.
“We’ve got to play for something—these are my new clubs.”
Calvin shrugged. “For a Swisher Sweet, then.”
Mickey shook his head. “One Scotch. If it makes you feel better we can call it a celebration drink for my new clubs.”
“I guess,” said Calvin. “Let’s see what you’ve got.”
Calvin teed up on the first hole, an easy par three. He shot just short of the green, dead on toward the flag. “Still time to make it a Swisher Sweet,” he said.
“Nope.” Mickey teed up and drew back the club. It felt good. It felt right. He swung at the ball and hit it more squarely than he’d done in months.
The ball sailed toward the hole, and he swore it was true, but it slowed to a halt in midair and fell toward the fairway. He felt the wood vibrate in his hand and heat up. A breeze picked up and caught the golfball, floating it upward, carrying it toward the green. A swarm of bees rose toward the ball, the little buzzers bouncing off it, pushing the ball back toward the tee.
“Holy shit,” said Mickey. It was quite uncharacteristic of him to be crude, but you must understand what he was starting to realize. He’d rationalized that he needed the magic clubs to counter the curse, but deep down he had never believed it. He was a Democrat, after all. They don’t believe in such things. But now, against the power of the magic wood, the curse showed itself. A ball doesn’t just halt in midair.
“That’s a mighty trick ball,” said Calvin. “Where’d you get it?”
“Walmart,” said Mickey.
They looked on as magic and curse escalated their battle, now a goose flew under the ball, balancing it on its head and flying for the green. It had gained back most of it’s height when a cowboy—yes, a cowboy—road up on a horse and raised a shot gun to his shoulder, pointing toward the goose. The shotgun boomed and the goose lurched in the air, spraying feathers, though somehow the poor little devil flipped the ball upward with its bill before it plunged.
The ball fell to the grass and bounced, stopping right next to Calvin’s. Mickey considered the situation. Every hole was going to bring together terrible forces of good and evil, fighting in a war with far reaching consequences, demanding suffering and loss to unknowable lengths. Mickey felt an immense weight of responsibility on his shoulders, for this was not the kind of thing you would follow through on for something frivolous.
“Let’s go,” said Mickey. “It’s going to be a long eighteen holes.” He prepared himself for the worst. To Mickey golf was never frivolous.