|Midnight Sun (standard:mystery, 1113 words)|
|Author: Cyrano||Added: Nov 25 2008||Views/Reads: 2416/1105||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Daniel Blake returned from work to find his wife had not returned home...she didn't return the next day or the next. Daniel feared for her safety. No belongings were missing and the weeks went by. Those weeks became months, then a year...till...|
Pulses of rain sweep in off the Pacific, funnelling through the practice ground at Bodega Golf Club. There's barely enough light yet to see from one end of the range to the other. On the high ground next to a wood, a solitary figure pounds golf balls toward the shoreline. The trees are full of sound; the commotion of crows, rain dripping onto leaves, and branches rustling. Rain saturates the man's jacket, seeping through to his shirt; squelching into his socks. But Daniel Blake is oblivious to these diversions. His only concession this damp, chilly morning has been a gentle rotation of the arms. For a man who does little exercise and approaching a fortieth birthday, this is not enough. Every one of the dozen golf balls spears off to the right. It is infuriating, an injury to his pride as a five handicap golfer. ‘Take it easy,' he reminds himself, ‘take it away slowly and hit through the ball.' He tosses another ball onto the wet turf; takes another practice swing before taking a deep breath, planting his feet, and making solid contact between steel and balata with no jarring of cold hands or tingling of fingertips. He watches the ball curve away in a lazy arc before reaching its zenith and plunging back to earth only a few paces from the practice pin. He grunts in quiet satisfaction and with the rain dripping off his hat reaches into a shag bag for another ball. The memory that haunts him through the night is now relegated to the back of his mind, at least whilst he dispatches a succession of white balls into the restless, grey Sonoma sky. For an hour he practices. For an hour he thinks of little else other than grip, alignment, tempo, takeaway. “I want you to keep taking the medication. Don't give up hope.” The doctor told him. But this platitude didn't make it easier. He hasn't given up hope, but he does keep asking himself how long will it be until there is no need to kill early morning hours watching black and white movies on the TV? He picks up his clubs and shag bag and makes his way back to the clubhouse, tossing them into his old 4 x 4 parked in the slot reserved for the club secretary. His eyes are drawn to the roof where water spills from a broken gutter. When first built the clubhouse had been the proud symbol of a prosperous community. There were sepia photographs of the opening ceremony with the mayor and a brass band and massed ranks of tweed coated onlookers. Since those heady days the clubhouse has been unloved and neglected. Just before eight thirty he steps inside the clubhouse and goes straight to the locker room. He towels his hair and pulls on a dry shirt and socks. Emerging into the bar area, Jenny, wife of Tom Richardson, club steward, puts her cigarette aside and thrusts a mug of coffee into his hands. “You'll be needing this,” she says, crinkling her nose. He nods appreciatively and slopes off to his office. The desk is clear. Absentmindedly he flicks through his diary. Entries begin on 1st April, April Fools' Day; the first day he eased his backside back into this chair. He swings round to gaze out the window, taking a sip from the mug and grimaces. The administration is straightforward enough; what he finds frustrating is relying on others to do the most mundane things. Once a director of a merchant bank he could snap his fingers and people jump. Not any more. The drip of rainwater into a bucket standing in the corner is testament to this. He smiles whimsically. His office has just enough space to accommodate a desk, filing cabinet, computer and solitary swivel chair. The shelves on the walls are crammed with files. It took Daniel only a few days to realise that his new job extended far outside these four walls, beyond the perimeter of the golf course. There is a community and he has become part of it; the affairs of the club and the town are inextricably linked. Henry Higgins, club captain and sail maker is one of the biggest employers in the area. His recent behaviour has become even more eccentric than usual. If Daniels' growing apprehensions about the business affairs of the club captain are well founded, he predicts there will be troubled times ahead. And he knows very well that if someone has kicked Henry, Click here to read the rest of this story (47 more lines)
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