The Golf Club – Part One
I’ve never once felt comfortable at my job. Every moment is thinly veiled with the aura of desperation. It is horrid. Together my colleague Sheriff and I are nearly synonymous with homeless beggars. Sure, we do not wallow in our own excrement – we are well-dressed, and we welcome everyone with a smile – but the differences end there. Because besides the fact that we work at a golf club, the service that we supply its members is completely unnecessary and – to be honest – a bit insulting. Anyone is capable of transporting their golf bag up a short flight of stairs and securing said bag to a cart. Anyone can manage wiping a moist rag against clubs scrubbing away grass and dirt. And nobody wants to participate in the forced, rehearsed conversations that occur day after day.
It’s just that Sheriff and I expect to be reimbursed for completing these mindless and superfluous task for them. These reimbursements are given to us in the form of tips, and these tips are what motivate Sheriff and myself to keep up this parasitic existence. We could not live without the members but they surely could continue with our permanent absence. Just moments ago, Mr. Rossi, an aging Italian man with an introverted personality, drove into the club and stationed his car near the back of the lot essentially out of my sight and sphere of giving a shit.
While most members momentarily park in front of the bag drop, pop their trunks open, and allow Sheriff or I enough time to abduct their clubs, I’ve learned my lesson with Mr. Rossi; he’s different. Either due to his shyness or refusal to be guilt tripped into giving me money, he has always denied my offer of help. So we’ve reached an understanding; if he wishes me only to watch as he struggles to lug his heavy bag across the parking lot and up the flight of stairs, then I’ll grant him this facile request. In return, he must participate with the sham that we are friends and that I’m not being paid by the hour to seem nice.
“There’s a lot of talent by the pool today, huh, boy?”
I’d reveal the name of the man that took the time to make this classy statement but the truth is that I have never bothered to learn it. He’s a fat, grotesque man who enjoys plopping himself down at the bar. He spends hours flirting with uncomfortable waitresses and eating the same stale peanuts day after day. Seemingly to protect his bottom from developing sores, he rallies up enough energy to come outside and smoke a handful of cigarettes from time to time. This wouldn’t be a bother but the fat man always sends wafts of cigarette discharge into my breathing space and tends to be a pervert.
“Do you see the one in the green bikini? Dear lord…”
The girl he is un-subtlety ogling also happens to be 15 years old; I wasn’t being rude or untruthful when I called the fat man a pervert. Instead of wasting the effort to turn and address the fat man, I decided it would be better if I just ignored him; if he wants to spend his smoking break acting as an amateur pedophile he can go ahead.
I made a promise to myself very early on when I first began this job: If I’m going to be fired, it is because I did something awesome and memorable; something to be proud of. I’ve always refused the ample opportunities I’ve had for petty thievery and I have afforded the greatest respect for those with power over me – though, it is for the sole reason that they have power over me that I keep it courteous. So I am not going to throw out years of labor and struggle just so I could be fired joining the fat man’s gawking at underage girls. That is not how I am going out.
Finally, after a few minutes Mr. Rossi has reached the bottom of the staircase. His bag of clubs is slung comfortably on his right shoulder as he effortlessly ascends. I described Mr. Rossi as aging earlier but that doesn’t define the man as weak. There is a massive difference between getting old and being old and Mr. Rossi was still enjoying his time in the former. “How are you today Mr. Rossi?” This is the question that I ask everyone. It is less me being polite and much more my attempt at breaking the uncomfortable silence. Mr. Rossi lifts his heavy head and I can tell he’s about to respond to my synthetic question but then his eyes go large and his gaze drops down to the cement. This is new. But then it isn’t. Sheriff quickly wisps besides me and rushes down the steps. His thinning hair bounces with each frantic stride. If I was the cool, unobtrusive bum that sat on the corner with a metallic can happy with every penny or dime that rattled into my meager bank then Sheriff would be the opposite. Sheriff is akin to the bum that dances the streets. He would approach the innocent and the deprived; an untamed monster drawn to the ever alluring scent of cash. If someone didn’t wish to relinquish their hard earned money then he would become more coercive. He would threaten, intimidate, or shame; whatever worked.
more by FRANCISCO LEYVA
photograph by Jay Mantri