This competition gives you a genre, object and location and you have 48 hours to write and submit a 1000-word story based on those characteristics. Here was my assignment:
- Genre - drama
- Object to include - a golf putter
- Location - a pier
Let me know what you think!
My One Regret
I don’t have regrets in my life but one. The day I lost that stupid contest to Kip is the one I’ve always wanted back. But still, he was my best friend; more than that, we were like brothers. But now, he’s gone.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that most people don’t expect to die young. I mean, we forecast our future and see ourselves making our way through middle age, retiring, wearing more cardigans, feeding pigeons, then some day keeling over with a massive heart attack sometime around 80.
So, when Kip told me about his aggressive cancer it caught me off guard. We’re only in our early thirties! He had told me before he told Jessica. I don’t think he had ever done that before.
Jessica. I had met her before Kip did. She was getting a slice of pizza at the boardwalk and I was in line behind her.
“Dang! I thought I had a five,” she said as the kid behind the window looked back, unaffected.
I was only 17, but I wasn’t stupid. “Here.” I tapped her on the shoulder with a five in my hand. From behind, I figured she was good looking: long red hair, and perfectly tan legs. When she turned around she didn’t disappoint; I was even a little stunned. Green eyes, a dimpled smile, soft lips, slender and athletic build, and even a little taller than I was at the time.
“Brian. Brian Hammond.”
We talked for a few minutes. She laughed. Seriously, she laughed at my humor. Even today most women don’t do that.
Kip and I saw her the next day. Still smoking hot, she was stretched out on the beach, underneath a yellow and white umbrella. She was in a red swimming suit that complimented her form as she stretched her long, smooth legs out from the umbrella’s shade. She had white sunglasses fixed into her auburn hair that was up at the time. She was reading something; I don’t remember what, but I’m sure it made her that much more endearing.
“Her name’s Jessica. She’s one of the Larsons who just moved in down the beach,” Kip said as he and I leaned over the rail of the pier and gazed at the 18-year-old goddess below us.
“Oh,” I said, acting as if I didn’t know.
“I’m going to ask her out…like…right now!” said Kip, fixing his sun-bleached hair and broadening his shoulders.
“Easy, Kipper. You’ll have to beat me to her,” I said, messing his hair with both hands.
“Let’s putt for it!” he said.
We had stowed a putter and a couple of chipped golf balls we snaked from the mini-golf course on the boardwalk behind the little burger-and-fry shack that sat perched like a gull at the end of the pier. We had discovered a knot hole in the slats of the pier that was the perfect size for a little putting practice. When the long summer days were getting a little boring, we tried different trick shots to send a ball down into the foamy ebb that swished among the wooden columns below. Neither of us had been successful dropping a shot that summer, but it had passed the time.
“Sure, whatever,” I said with a laugh.
“Whoever drops the putt gets first dibs.”
“Deal!” I said. What did it matter? Both of us would miss like we always did, and I’d ask Jessica out that night.
I was first. With a scuffed blue ball, I lined up the shot 20 feet away. We acted like we had some control over how straight the putts were, but in reality, the seams, nails, dried milk shake spills and other obstacles made a shot almost impossible to sink.
With my elbows tucked in tight and head bent down I tapped the ball. It rolled along the wood, gurgling over the weathered wooden planks. It slowed as it approached the hole, caught the left side, looped around and out to the right.
We both laughed and high-fived at what was the closest attempt either of us had had all summer.
“You must have really wanted that one!” Kip said.
Kip stood at the spot next. In the joking manner, like he always did, he shook his butt before tapping the shot. It rolled, bumped and hopped along the wood and slowed down just in time to hop down the opening, disappearing into the churning surf.
We both stood in disbelief.
Then Kip jumped, hollered and pumped his arm like he had just won the Masters.
I laughed and punched him in the shoulder as hard as I could. I was so pissed at that lucky shot! He couldn’t have done that again in a million tries! His celebration continued. He’d earned first crack at her, but I was confident I could overcome his advantage.
I sat at Kip and Jessica’s wedding wondering how much things could have been different with a little more luck. Who knows, one less nail or splinter and I’d have been standing in Kip’s shoes.
So, here I am again on the pier. Like before, I’m staring down at Jessica like I did 16 years earlier. This time she’s in a black dress, shielding her eyes, letting the waves lap at her toes as she stares at the sunset. The orange of the evening is setting her hair ablaze and bronzing her bare shoulders and feet.
Is it my chance? It was my humor she’d laughed at years ago. What a stupid thought to be having now! At what point do you just give up and admit you blew it? Good for Kip – he made the shot and got all the spoils.
I look at my feet. There’s a small rock…and over there is the hole.
If it goes in, I’ll call out to her.
I take aim, and give the stone a little kick.