editors note: This section was getting a bit whiny, so I decided to whip out this true short story. Enjoy!

So Long Sucker! - 09.12.97

At the end of my sophomore year of high-school, a good friend of mine began to teach me the game of golf. I got hooked on the sport and eventually started playing whenever I could. Almost every day during the summers, we would drive out to the course in a nearby town and play a round. The membership fee was cheap since we were still in high-school, so we were bound and determined to get our money's worth. We weren't exactly hardcore golfing types, so we tried to have a little fun when we were out.

Some of our favorite activities included spinning his dad's golfcart out and hunting for golfballs in the long grass and weeds in the out-of-bounds areas. Spinning the cart out was a little harder to get away with, because if anyone saw us and told his dad, our fun would have ended fairly quickly. Looking through the grass for golf-balls wasn't quite as regulated, however, so if the course wasn't that busy, we would be out scrounging around between holes. This habit didn't happen to be just fun, though, it also happened to be kind of lucritive. In the several years that we played golf, neither of us had to buy a golf ball, and I probably still have enough to play for the next 10 years.

One day while sitting on the first tee, the clouds parted and a beam of light shone upon us. There, on the first hole, was the answer to all of our golfball needs. About 200 yards off the tee lied a small pond in which almost everyone hit at least once in their lives. It was only about 40 feet wide and 15 feet across, but it was placed at the perfect position to catch the golfballs of the overzealous. After checking it out a little more and testing the depth with our golf clubs, we decided to hang around the course until everyone had left.

After playing for about 5 hours that afternoon and evening, we timed our play so we would end up on the hole that was the furthest from the clubhouse just as it turned dark. As soon as we saw the last pair of lights, we ran over to the first hole as fast as possible and started getting ready. It was a nice summer night, so we took off our shirts, socks, and shoes and hopped in. We had misguessed the depth a bit, and the level of the water came up about midway on our thighs. The bottom of the pond was soft and it squished up between our toes and around our feet like pudding. After hiking up our shorts in our best sumo-wrestler fashion, we started our search.

After only seconds, we knew we had hit the motherlode. With every step taken, we could feel several golf balls rolling around our feet and being pushed into the mud below. Getting them out of the water was the tricky part. From the moment we had gotten into the pond, we had noticed a funky odor, and there was no way we were going to put our heads under (or even close to) the surface of the water. We did manage to fish them out using a sort of rigid, bending over technique. We were there for just over an hour throwing golf balls out onto the banks by our shirts. After we were finished, we loaded everything up and went back to my friends house to sort the loot. After we had divided everything up, we both had just over 200 golfballs. We celebrated with a high-five, but then noticed the funk we were radiating and decided to call it a night and shower up.

While I was lathering up in the shower, I noticed a small piece of mud that was stuck by my big toe on my left foot. After throwing some water on it and scrubbing it with my other foot, I looked down again and saw that it was still there. Upon further inspection, I realized that it was a leach. It had attached itself to my foot and was sucking my life blood. I was reminded of the movie Stand By Me and was suddenly very glad that the water wasn't any deeper. I finished up my shower and then got out, dried off and removed the leach with tweezers. After flushing it down the toilet, I quickly went back into my room and called my friend. He laughed at me and told me that his blood must have not tasted as good as mine. After joking around a bit more, we both agreed that it was gross and we wouldn't do it again. We didn't know just how right we were until we were at the course the next day and found out it was a sewage pond.