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Finn extended his left hand to grab the 16-ounce Miller Lite out of the cart girl’s grasp while also extending his right hand and asking, “I’m sorry, I must’ve missed your name the first time around.” It was the second time they had seen her on the course that morning despite the fact that they were only on the fourth hole.
“You know y’all probably shouldn’t be playing with a group of seven, right?” she asked innocently while putting Finn’s crumpled up twenty into her fanny pack.
Finn turned back and looked at the rest of the guys – John (the bachelor), Trip (Alex’s boyfriend), Ben, Spencer, Stew, and of course, Todd – before smirking and said, “Eh, I think we’ll be alright for the time being.”
They had arrived late the night before and were staying in Trip’s dad’s beach house where they had full access to the beach and four golf carts to transport them from the house to the course. The residence resided in a private association so there were little concerns about the fallout should things spiral out of control, but the distant nature of the house didn’t lend itself to unexpected occurrences. They considered getting two tee times for the first day of their long weekend but decided against it once they arrived and realized the pool situation that the house possessed.
After the first tee, the first foursome held up and waited for the accompanying threesome to catch up so they could all play as one larger group. Between the first and second tees is where they had their first run-in with the cart girl, only to run into her again on the fourth hole as previously mentioned. Just before she pulled her cart away from the tee box where the other six guys stood while Finn bought a beer, she slowed her cart down and looked back to finally respond, “The name’s Chelsea.”
Finn smiled at the rest of the guys before standing up straight and belting out, “Pleasure to meet you, Chelsea.”
As her cart continued up the fairway, Finn approached the tee box while the rest of the guys stood in their swimsuits, untucked polos, sunglasses, and visors. They collectively laughed before Todd teed up his ball and said, “Watch this,” attempting to outdrive Chelsea’s cart which was already clearly out of range.
“Alright, John,” Todd began while picking up his tee before the ball landed. “We got steaks, we got beer, we got booze. After we get off the course, I’m popping the shirt and hitting the pool until sunset when we can really ratchet things up.”
He made eye contact with Trip who was preparing to tee off next, both knowing that there was going to be something in the mix that was more than just red meat, thirty packs, and handles of bourbon, but there was a tacit understanding that it wasn’t to be spoken of until later that night.
Todd sat in the cart adding up the money from the scramble as music played from the Bose speaker resting in the cupholder while the rest of the guys huddled around Chelsea’s cart attempting to salvage any cold beers she had left. He looked over and noticed Spencer writing something on the back of his business card with a pen that he had borrowed from Chelsea, only to end up handing her the card upon finishing before walking over to Todd’s cart to see how everyone stacked up.
“What the hell did you just hand her?” Todd questioned.
Spencer, with a shit-eating grin on his face, chuckled before remarking, “Don’t worry about it – now where’s my money?”
“Just get in the cart,” Todd responded. “Let’s head back to the place – I’m thirsty.”
It was five o’clock as the golf carts approached the house. There was a cloud of smoke trailing the fleet from the cigars Ben had handed out upon finishing their round. The carts were sloppily parked before they re-entered the house and immediately went for the stocked refrigerator while Trip sprinted towards the pool and promptly did a cannonball. The others would soon join after firing up the grill.
The poolside conversation went as expected: everyone was questioning whether or not Finn actually found his ball on the 8th hole, Todd was getting roasted for taking a phone call at the turn, and Spencer (being the only single guy in the group) was begging for everyone to consider trying to get girls over that night.
“What the hell am I going to do with them?” John asked. “Talk to them? Nah, I’m good.”
Frustrated, Spencer’s only response was, “All I’m saying is that if Chelsea shows up with a group of friends, we’re not turning them away.”
“You fucking dog,” Todd shouted from a pool float. “I fucking knew you gave her our address.”
“Shooters shoot,” Spencer announced while manning the grill.
There’s always a lull that comes over a group of guys when they’re transitioning from a round of golf to a night of hard drinking. Your normally unused golf muscles begin to wear down and the buzz you carried throughout the day turns into a blanket of tired rather than an urge to keep drinking. But as the sun set and the guys lethargically ate their dinners around the patio table, it became evident that they needed a game changer and they needed it fast.
Everyone’s phones were either on airplane mode due to the bad service, plugged in to catch a charge, or playing music from the inside stereo that rumbled through the house’s outdoor speakers. Trip emerged from the dock with a beach bag full of something that the rest of the group struggled to identify. But as he got closer, all anyone could hear was him saying, “Get in the carts, we’re going golfing.”
With styrofoam cups filled to the brim with ice and hard liquor, each guy piled into their respective carts with their clubs still fastened to the back. Todd attempted to see what Trip had inside the bag but still couldn’t tell, nor could he even fathom what he had lifted from his dad’s boats. Being the ringleader of the group, Trip lead them down the mile long stretch of road towards the course to the clubhouse where they’d bypass the clubhouse and head straight to the par-4 second hole and park directly in the middle of the fairway.
Standing up out of his cart with nothing on him but Todd’s cell phone flashlight, Trip began to speak with a slur in his speech.
“Alright, boys,” he began. “We’re gonna play a little game that I like to call ‘flare golf,'” while pulling out a flare gun that was wrapped in a beach towel.
“John, as the bachelor, can you do the honors?” he asked.
John, while drunk, coyly grabbed the gun from Trip’s hand having no idea how to even fire it. He soon would realize that it was fairly straightforward despite having zero clue how far the flare would actually go.
“You got a yardage on this thing?” John inquired while checking for a safety.
Trip laughed, clearly having no idea. “I think it’s a grip and rip it type of situation, buddy.”
John put his sunglasses on for eye protection making it even more difficult for him to see in the night sky. With his arms pointed straight ahead and angled upward, he shot the flare into the night at an angle that he thought would end towards the green. Little did he know, the flare went much higher than any of their drives had soared that day. So high, in fact, it lit up the sky like an alien landing. While an immediate silence fell over the stunned group of guys, Todd chimed in, “We need to get the fuck out of here.”
There was an urgency of piling in the carts that they didn’t have when they decided to make their way back to the course just ten minutes beforehand. One by one, the carts turned around on the fairway and took similar (and reckless) routes back to the beach house in an attempt to avoid the clubhouse or any lit areas around them. The road to the house had no streetlights on it and the carts remained in shouting distance of one another.
Todd and John’s cart was the last in line due to the fact John was the last one in the cart after ditching the gun in a sand trap next to the fairway. As they came up on the house, Todd noticed the other three golf carts parked at the end of the long driveway.
“Fuck,” he muttered. “What now?”
His initial fear was the police or (more realistically) country club security. But what he saw as he peered down the driveway was not either of those, but completely different cars with two completely different groups of people talking to one another. The first group was a larger man and a busty woman while the other group was three girls, all appearing to be of a similar age to the guys spying on them from the end of the driveway.
Todd looked at Trip who laughed, “Well, the surprise is here.”
And Spencer laughed as well, chuckling, “And it looks like Chelsea is too. How about that?” .