The Genie of the Golf Course

Contributor: John Laneri

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My nemesis had always been the sixth hole at Hickory Hollow. It’s a dogleg left bordered by trees on the right – a setup that does not play well to a slice.

Naturally, I put my drive into the woods, watching it fly the canopy and disappear from view. All told, I took nine strokes to complete the easiest par four on the course.

But then, as I was reaching to take my ball out of the cup, I noticed a smoky haze begin to rise around my hand. Stepping back, I watched it slide up my arm and swirl around my head. I started to scream, but then, it coalesced into a man about the size of an elf wearing an old-fashioned green golf hat.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said bowing. “I’m Wilson, the Genie of the golf course.”

“Yeah, right,” I replied, as I turned to leave.

Hurrying beside me, he continued, “I’m here to grant you one wish for an entire year, if you accept my offer.”

His voice was remarkably deep for a little fellow.

For fun, I looked him in the eye. “Put me down for par golf. I’m ready to play like the pros.”

I started toward the next hole. Genies on a golf course – what bunk.

He followed me, his smoky trail swirling in the wind. “I’m privileged to offer more, if you want.”

I stopped and turned to him. “I’d be satisfied with shooting par.”

“That’s a common wish,” he said, as he reclined against his cloud and crossed his legs while considering my response. “But, it may not be the best choice.”

“What’s wrong with making par on every hole?”

“One needs to weigh the trade offs,” he said, as his lips curled into a smile.

“What kind of trade offs are you talking about,” I asked cautiously, as I began to have second thoughts in my rush to brush him off. I stepped closer to his cloud, my concern growing.

He reached for a notepad, his finger thumbing through several pages. “Golf: country club…No, that's not it. Resort… Tour.” He flipped back a couple of pages.

“Hurry up,” I said, “I’m here to play golf. The next hole is waiting.”

He looked up with a toothy grin. “Here it is… par golf.”

I listened to him spell out the requirements of the wish, my courage turning cold when he informed me of the imposed penalty.

He looked up and began laughing. “I’m afraid your sex life will go to the wayside for a full year.”

“I’m not interested in sacrificing my sex life,” I said firmly, taking another step to leave.

“Don’t be in too big a hurry. I’m offering you the opportunity of a lifetime.” He settled back to examine his fingernails. “Just think, you’ll be the world’s finest golfer for one entire year, even better than Tiger Woods.”

I considered my choices, knowing that beyond a doubt, golf was my greatest love in life. But, could I abstain for a year… even a couple of months?

Finally after a good bit of soul searching and introspection, I said, “I’ll do whatever it takes to shoot par golf.”

“Good choice,” he replied, as he tipped his hat and disappeared in a puff of smoke.

I stepped closer to the hole and ventured a look inside. From what I could see, the cup looked normal. I felt around the inside and then checked the grass near the edge. Wilson was nowhere to be seen.

Coming to my feet, I continuing on, feeling a bit confused by the whole encounter.

On the next hole, I teed my ball and cracked a booming drive, which set up a birdie. All in all, I finished the round one stroke under par.

And, that's how my year went. I won several local tournaments… made quite a bit of money too.

Then, one day last month, I again encountered that swirl of smoke rising out of the cup on the sixth hole.

“How’d your year go?” Wilson asked, as he stood to the side, brushing a swirl of eddies from his tunic.

“Good,” I replied. “Very good… my golf was spectacular.”

“I bet the sex was terrible.” He laughed aloud, slapping a hand against his leg. “I’m always amazed at what folks do to play good golf. People are so wrapped up in their sex lives. Personally, I find it a bit nauseating.”

I shrugged. “The sex was not all that bad... pretty good actually.”

“Not all that bad?” he asked in surprise, his green eyes searching mine. “Most of my customers go crazy when they’re forced to abstain for a year. I’ve got quite a few ex-clients living in insane asylums.”

Smiling, I went on to describe some of my better shots, including a detailed description of several holes-in-one, then I returned to the sex. “Well, I have to admit the sex was not as good as most years. Maybe, I was too busy playing golf.”

Still confused, he looked me in the eye. “How many time did you have sex – out of curiosity, of course?”

“I’d guess about once or twice,” I replied comfortably. “I don’t usually keep count.”

He began laughing. “One or two times… that’s terrible.”

Feeling a bit miffed, I waited for him to calm down then replied as best I could. “Maybe for some people that’s nothing. But, for an eighty-seven year old residing in a small town – no car, no teeth – that's like scoring a hole-in-one over water using the back side of a putter.”

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John is a native born Texan living near Houston. His writing focuses on short stories and flash. Publications to his credit can be found on the internet and in several print edition periodicals.
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