Sunday, July 10, 2016
1st 5 Pages July Workshop - Lollis Rev 1
Name: Dan Lollis
Genre: Middle Grade Sports
Ladies and gentlemen, it all comes down to this putt.
I looked down at the golf ball, licked my lips, and spread my feet.
If he can make this putt, Win Moore, the pint-sized 8th grader, will become the youngest champion in golf history.
I lined up the putter and tightened my grip.
The hushed crowd waits in anticipation.
I let my mind go blank, pulled back my putter in one smooth motion, and then brought it forward. The putter made a satisfying PING as the ball jumped off the turf and shot towards the hole 25 feet away.
And the putt is away. Moving a little left-to-right. This ball has a shot.
I loosened my grip and leaned to the right — willing the ball to move in that direction.
Win Moore likes his putt. But does it have enough speed?
“Come on. Get legs,” I whispered under my breath as I moved towards the hole.
Almost there! But will it make it? The—ball—is—
The ball slowed to a stop, froze on the edge of the hole, and seemed to debate whether to move another fraction of an inch and fall in.
“Drop,” I whispered.
The ball shifted slightly and then—CLINK.
It’s in the hole! He made it, ladies and gentlemen! Win Moore has won the championship with that amazing putt!
I jabbed my putter toward the sky and karate chopped the air in front of me, as I ran to the hole and grabbed my ball. After kissing it, I held it up for all to see.
Someone cleared his throat behind me.
“Hey, kid? Are you done yet?” asked a dad with two little kids. “We paid for the 18-hole early bird special.” He leaned against the rainbow-colored windmill and crossed his arms while his two bratty kids swung their putters like swords and hit each other.
“Sorry, didn’t see you there,” I mumbled and ran away without making eye contact. I gripped my putter, crawled under the fence, and ran into the clubhouse. The bell on the door jingled as I went inside. Mom’s head was buried in a book, and she didn’t look up from behind the cash register at the counter.
“Welcome to Putt Putt Palace. Home to 36 holes of putt-erifc miniature golf and the best—”
“Mom, it’s me,” I interrupted. “You can quit the sales speech.”
She looked up and smiled, took a gulp of coffee, and shoved her nose back in one of her battered mini-golf maintenance manuals. “You’re out practicing early today. How’s the course?” I never understood how Mom could read and talk at the same time.
I glanced around the clubhouse. At the duct tape holding together part of the cash register. At the piece of cardboard over the broken front window. And at the flickering neon sign above the golf ball dispenser that read “PRESS BUTT FOR BALL”. The letters O and N burned out last summer, and Mom said that they were super-expensive to replace. I wish she would just turn it off. Do you know what teenagers do when they see a sign like that?
“This course is a dump, Mom, no matter how much you work on it. The windmill isn’t spinning — again. And something is wrong with the fountain on number three. Instead of nice blue water instead, it’s spewing brown foam that smells like sewage.” I gagged a little at the memory.
Mom plopped her book down on the counter. “This place isn’t a dump,” she said as she scanned the clubhouse and scratched her chin. “It just needs a little—work. How did you putt this morning?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Okay—I guess.”
“Did you win your championship?” Mom asked with a smile.
My face reddened, and I pulled my cap down low.
“Oh come on, Edwin!” I see you talking to yourself out there and jumping around like a maniac when you make a long putt. You think you’re the only one that ever pretended to be a sports star?”
“It’s stupid,” I said as I shoved the putter back in the rack and threw my ball into the giant “PRESS BUTT” ball dispenser. “Besides, it’s just putt-putt. It’s not even a real sport.”
“If it’s in the Olympics, it’s a real sport,” Mom said as she grabbed a screwdriver and tightened the heads of a few putters that had seen better days. “Any professional golfer would tell you—”
“It’s part of a real sport,” I interrupted. “And not even the fun or cool part. Smashing a ball 300 yards off the tee is exciting. Tapping a putt three feet into a hole is a game for little kids.” I waved my hand toward the window so Mom could see the two screaming, putter-sword fighting kids on hole nine. “See?”
Mom frowned. “Those kids are not getting their free ice-cream cone. The point is, Edwin,” she said as turned and looked at me, “Every shot counts. The three-foot putt is as important as the 300-yard drive. It’s not always about how far you hit it.”
“It is when you’re the shortest kid in the 8th grade and can’t even drive the ball to the fairway,” I mumbled as I grabbed a water bottle and my sack lunch from the fridge behind the counter.
“I gotta go,” I said as Mom tried to reach over and give me a hug, I ducked under her outstretched arms and made it out the front door before she could grab me.
“You’re never too old for hugs from your mom,” I heard her shout as I pulled the door shut. I spun around and literally ran into two teens. They were thick as a brick wall, and I fell flat on my butt.
“Watch it, munchkin! You almost made me spill my drink,” one of them said as he fumbled with his soda can.
“Uh—sorry,” I said as I propped up on my elbows. “I didn’t see you.”
“Short and blind,” the other one sneered. “Maybe your mommy can give you a hug and make it all better.” They both laughed, opened the door, and went inside.
I thought about following them in and getting Mom to kick them out, but what good would that do? Putt Putt Palace needed all the business it could get. Besides, I was used to the jokes about my size. I imagined for the millionth time what it would be like to be tall. I’d finally be able to jump up and touch the ceiling. I would be able to see over the heads in front of me in the movie theatre. And I would be able to hit a golf ball a mile.
I stood up, dusted myself off. I imagined myself on the tee box at Pebble Beach, gripped my imaginary club, closed my eyes, and took a practice swing.
And Edwin Moore crushes his drive. How in the world does someone his size hit the ball so far?
The alarm on my phone buzzed. No more time to play around. I grabbed my bike from the side of the clubhouse and took off pedaling. Mr. McManus would fire me if I was late. I swerved past the potholes in the parking lot, dodged the beat up orange cones that kept customers from parking in front of the dumpster, and shot past the crooked Putt Putt Palace sign begging customers to “TURN HERE FOR FUN-CREDIBLE, FUN-BELIEVABLE MINI-GOLF.