I was busy cleaning the mud off golf clubs and golf carts when it happened. I look back on this time with nostalgia, but I know most people wouldn’t trade places with me. I enjoyed being a cart kid because I worked in isolation. Wade was on duty that afternoon and it was getting hot in the Pro Shop; the heat always aggravated his unstable temper. He’d been closing the last week and his till kept coming back five dollars short.
While I was returning a messy golf cart filled with unopened beer, I noticed Wade through the Pro Shop window. He was turning bright red, almost purple and his neck was pulsating. I looked through the other window to see what was upsetting him and there was the boss. She was waving her finger at him, undoubtedly giving him a scolding for coming up short. Kelly exited the Pro Shop and waddled down to her Lexus, whereby, I entered. Wade was gasping for air, like he’d been punched in the gut.
“I should’ve been killed in Nam,” he said. “Working for a woman is worse than fighting Charlie.” He spoke to me in a whimpering voice that had been beaten. “Andy, go get me a frozen sherbet, will you? I need to collect my wits for a bit.” His face was all blotchy and if this hadn’t happened before, I would’ve sworn he was about to have a stroke.
I walked into the break room that smelled of hard alcohol, stale cigarettes, men’s aftershave, and BO. I always walked through it holding my breath. I don’t know how some of the guys could eat their food in there. The freezer was empty, with the exception of one cup of frozen sherbet. It was the kind that came with a wooden spoon. I grabbed it and sure hoped it would make Wade feel better.
Just then, a voice crackled over my radio.
“Pro Shop to Andy, Pro Shop to Andy. Where is my frozen sherbet? And we have a duck on the driving range we need you to catch.”
I ran back to the Pro Shop to give Wade his ice cream. “Next time I expect you to do it faster,” Wade said. “Now get in the picker and see if you can catch that duck before it gets hit by a golf ball and we get sued.”
I hopped into the cart and gunned it in the duck’s direction, which caused the bird to run away. Wade forgot to tell the driving range to stop hitting golf balls. I jumped out and tackled the bird. It bit me three times before I got my hand around its neck. I hoped I didn’t have bird flu. When I got back, I released it into the wild, drank the unopened beers, and went home feeling like I’d accomplished something.