Tim and Jerry stand a hundred yards from their projected goal. Two mildewed toilets sitting on a flat surface. Both men hold a nine iron in one hand and a can of Budweiser in the other. The morning is crisp with promise, they agree. Tim wears his lucky trousers with the zipper that never works and a hole in the back pocket with a blue football jersey that says Duke across the front. Jerry has on his Hawaiian ensemble and looks as if he’s on vacation.
“Yer fer-st,” Jerry says, “I insist.”
“Why dank ya, my good ser.”
Tim steps up to a golf ball, hands his beer to Jerry, positions his legs like a duck, and waddles into a comfortable position. He heaves a heavy, meditative sigh. He visualizes the ball as he strikes it with his club and then how the ball will arch up into the sky before gravity steers it perfectly into the bowl. He swings, the ball goes off, and then it plops into a grave yard of a thousand other golf balls. Tim stomps on the ground where the ball was, cursing himself under his breath.
“Ya know what yer problem his, don’cha?” Jerry asks. “Ya didn’t stretch. Ya know, relieve yer muscles so dey weren’t so darn stiff.”
“Yea, maybe yer right, I reckon. But, I dunno, don’t ya think dat maybe we weren’t fated to make dis here shot?”
“What?” Jerry steps up to where Tim stood, taking one last sip from his beer before handing it to Tim. “I wouldn’t ‘ave made dat bet if I’d a thought we’d nev-her make hit. I mean, what kind of fool do ya take me fur, Tim? A goddamn imbee-cile? Well, I’m not reckoned to be called no damn fool in my neck of da woods.”
“I didn’t mean hit like dat, Jerr. I was just sayin’…well, we’ve been at hit fur some years now, fifteen hif I’m correct, and I’m startin’ to think, maybe we weren’t made out to be no toilet shoot-hers. Maybe we should do sum-thin else fur a-while.”
“Dat’s one of the dummest things I think you’ve ever said.” Jerry leans on the butt on his club, as if it were a cane. He stares Tim straight in the eye, knowing Tim has too much yellow in his system due to the jaundice he was born with. “Ya know, yer momma sured be ashamed of ya if you’s were to turn high tail and all by backin’ out on an honest bet. I sure don’t know how’d I tell my parents in heaven how dey raised a man who backed out on his word. ‘Cause it’s yer word, Tim, it’s yer word dat matters. After all’s gone and left, what else does a man got, really?” Jerry spits out a brown glob of chewing tobacco near his goofball.
“I know I ain’t the philosir-phizing type like you’s is, Jerr, but dammit as all get out! Hit just don’t feel like we’re gettin’ anywhere, ya know, like that Siss-a-puss guy.”
“Are you’s a callin’ me a Sissy-fist?! Why, I oughta smack you’s right up the head, I oughta. Give ya a good ol’ Stooges clap on da back of da head, just you’s watch me, ser. I ain’t got nose respect fur no yella fella dat ain’t even willin’ to finish a bet. I mean, Tim, let me ask you’s a sum-thin.” Jerry steps back. He steps onto his imaginary footstool, almost breaking it with his weight. “Do you’s really ‘ave hit dat bad? I mean, really think ’bout hit.”
“I guess yer right. Maybe I question too much.”
“Well, dat’s the eternal struggle, brother. We’re all just tryin’ to think a little less. But as long as ya got yer beer and a good nine iron by yer side, well, dere’s nothin’ really you’s a got to complain ’bout. Nothin’ worthwhile, at least.”
Jerry positions himself and swings his club in a broken ellipse. His golf ball, like Tim’s, arches in a hopeful curve, hanging by an invisible thread pulling it through the air. The ball tips off the corner of the seat of one of the toilets and then falls to the ground.
“Yes, but den whut?”
“Well’s, we celebrate wit ‘nother beer, and den one of us gives da other a check fur five-dousand dollars!”
“But, Jerr, will dat really help anythin’. Sure, one of us will be a little more rich-her dan the other, but dat doesn’t change da fact dat you’s and I just spent fifteen years buyin’ beer, wastin’ time, and shootin’ fur a ‘possibility’. Can we really say dat hit was worth hit? I’m startin’ to think dat dere wasn’t no point, Jerr. Listen to me fur a second, ya hear, I ain’t speakin’ no yella speech or sum-thin, but I think we might’ve been better off contributin’, ya know, to da community, like wit jobs or sum-thin.”
“Yes, but den we wouldn’t ‘ave gotten to drink beer all day and shoot da shit. And we would’ve had to pay dem dreaded taxes, and I’ll tell you’s right here and now, I ain’t never going to pay nose taxes. Now stop yer philosir-phizing and pull up a ball t’shoot. I’m grabbin’ ‘nother cold one, ya want one?”
“Alright, Jerr, ‘ave it yer way.”
Jerry pulls out another couple of beers from the cooler, hands one of them to Tim, and then opening the other himself before drowning it into his gullet. He belches out his name, crumbles the can, and then tosses it aside. They piss, side-by-side, out the autumn water. Tim surreptitiously tries to measure the size of their dicks. He looks away in defeat.