portion of the artwork for Chris Haven's stories

Terrible Emmanuel Shoots a Morning Round of Golf
Chris Haven

First on the course, hush of morning light. His shoes leave islands in the heavy dew. He carries a 4-iron, a 7-iron, and a putter. He scavenges splintered tees from yesterday’s rounds, tees the ball down. He wipes his hand, dampening the back of his pants, takes quick measure, and fires a drive. Low, below the tree tops, safe on the left edge. The lie places his stance in the rough. His spikes bite into timothy grass and purple sedge, issuing seeds he’ll carry to the greens. He chunks the 7-iron, gashes a half moon of dirt that follows the flight of the ball. He walks the 13 yards to the divot, lifts it with the clubface, walks the 13 yards back and taps the grass back into place with his foot. His ball has landed short, but the mouth to the green has been trampled such that he can use the putter. It’s a 40-footer, uphill with a steep drop behind the hole. He should lay up but that’s not his style, and he blasts the putt hard into the rise. Too much pace for an afternoon but this is morning golf, and the ball cuts through the standing water, parting sprays on each side of its wake. Six inches more, four. Does it have enough? Two inches remain. A bump, a little left turn, and plink. A birdie to start the day. The path of the ball has etched a dry line on the green, a map of the impossible. A line that should inspire the next group that such a long putt is makeable. A line whose guidance won’t be true later in the day, only for this morning. He considers kneeling, brushing away the trail, but he leaves it. They’ll believe their own lines anyway. Nobody ever needed the light of day to disbelieve the possible.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 53 | Spring/Summer 2019