Short Story Corner: The Golf Outing

October 8, 2008

I went golfing with Pete and Horsey Joe yesterday at Ruffled Meadows, and I was having one of those days. I lost seven balls and flung three clubs into the water. And that was just on the practice green.

As we walked to the first tee, my confidence couldn’t have been any lower. It didn’t help that I accidentally wore my bowling shoes instead of my golf spikes. Though I have to admit, that wasn’t as bad as the time I wore my golf spikes to the bowling tournament. Or the time I wore my hip waders to my wedding.

Horsey Joe could sense my trepidation as I trudged to the first tee. He sidled up to me and put his hand on my shoulder.

“Be the ball,” he whispered in a calming voice. “Be the ball.”

Mind you, Horsey Joe is a scratch golfer. By that I mean he scratches himself inappropriately whenever he hits a good shot. But he’s also a pretty good golfer.

Hmmm, I thought to myself. Be the ball. It’s worth a try.

I put down my driver, laid down on the ground and curled up tightly next to the tee. Pete and Horsey Joe immediately began whacking me with their clubs.

I was the ball. It was better for all of us that way.

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Short story corner: “The Fuzzy Coat”

July 15, 2008

Stepping out of the apartment and into the crisp night air, I was startled by the brilliance of the full moon. It was at once awe-inspiring and welcoming — a beacon to illuminate my path to the Quick Mart seven blocks away.

I chuckled at the thought: Making a trek to the store after midnight to buy a jar of dill pickles for the cat. But who was I to argue with an irritable puss? When Mr. Grump wants pickles, Mr. Grump gets pickles. 

An impressive breeze impeded my pace and seemed to carry the low moan of a lonely animal, perhaps hungry … perhaps beckoning for company — or prey.

The beautiful moon and the moaning wind were my companions on this unplanned journey, and the absence of cars and carousers on the street was invigorating. It seemed I was starring in a scene from one of those “last man on earth” movies. And right on cue, a billow of fog slowly rolled out of the woods up ahead and to my right.

“Perfect,” I whispered.

Just as quickly as the fog appeared, a figure emerged out of the fog — heading hurriedly toward me.

It was large and ungainly. It moved with an irregular gait, as if slightly injured. Was it human? Animal? Ready to attack?

Fur. Lots of fur, outlined by the moon. Definitely two-legged. Hunched over, but moving with speed and intent.

“Oh my God,” I thought. “It’s a werewolf.”

Before I could summon my nerve to run, the beast was upon me. Well, not upon me, exactly, but standing within a few feet of me.  

I brought down my left arm, which had been shielding my face.

“Mrs. Fleckner?” I asked.

Yes, it was old Mrs. Fleckner, wearing a fuzzy coat, fuzzy gloves and fuzzy slippers.

“Mrs. Fleckner, what are …” I managed before breaking into laughter.

Mrs. Fleckner tilted her head in bemusement.

“I thought … I thought you were a werewolf, Mrs. Fleckner.”

I then doubled over in laughter, and Mrs. Flecker began laughing, too. Soon we were both laughing uncontrollably — hands on knees, tears spilling onto the sidewalk. Contagious, convulsive laughter.

We laughed until our sides hurt. We laughed even as we wiped the last tear tracks from our cheeks.

Then Mrs. Fleckner bared her razor-sharp fangs and chewed off my left arm and most of my left torso.