NT Franklin writes after his real job hoping one day to have it be his real job. He writes cozy mystery short stories, nostalgia short stories, and Flash Fiction. He has been published in Page & Spine, Scarlet Leaf Review, Fiction on the Web, Madswirl, Postcard Shorts, 404 Words, 101 Words, Freedom Fiction, Burrst, Entropy, Alsina Publishing, Fifty-word stories, among others. When not reading or writing short stories, you might find him fishing or solving crossword puzzles.
ME AND BART SELL GOLF BALLS
Monday afternoon Bart pedaled up the driveway grinning like a fool. This was going to be good.
“I got a great idea,” he said. “We should sell golf balls.”
“But we don’t have any golf balls,” I said.
“That’s okay. Look here.” Bart pulled two golf balls out of his pocket. “They’re all over the golf course.”
“Yeah, but aren’t people using them?” I asked.
Bart ignored the question. “I was riding on River Road, you know, the road along the golf course. And WHACK! A golf ball bounces next to me, goes sky high, and lands in the bushes across the road. Fair game.”
“You could have been hurt,” I said.
“Nah. Besides, I went into the bushes and found it and one more golf ball. Right there for the taking.
“You think there are any more for the taking?”
“I dunno, I found these two pretty easy. There are lots of bushes on the edge of the golf course. There have to be millions of balls in them. And there are the little ponds that a ball sometimes lands in.”
“I have a mask and fins,” I said. “We could get them from the little ponds when no one is looking.”
We wasted no time bicycling to River Road and scouting out the golf course. Bart looked around and said, “Most of the bushes are on the golf course side of the road. We should look there first.”
We laid our bikes down in the ditch and entered the bushes.
“Gold mine! There are two right here,” I yelled.
Me and Bart walked along the bushes and found a total of six balls. “They’re dirty,” I told Bart.
“Yeah? Follow me.”
I followed him to where golfers tee off for a hole. We waited until the golfers moved down the course. There was a ball washer right there under the Hole Number 9 sign. For free. Bart put a golf ball in the hole in the handle and pulled it up and down and presto, the ball came out clean. He washed up all the balls and most looked pretty good.
“Nice, but where do we sell them?” I asked.
Bart smiled.“Right here. Just wait a few minutes and another group of golfers will come by.”
Sure enough, four golfers drove up in a cart after a few minutes. Bart approached them, held out some of the golf balls, and offered them for sale. I stood behind Bart with my hands full of mostly clean golf balls.
“Four balls sold to the first group. This is great,” I said. “I thought it was funny the oldest guy in the group wanted to pay less for a ball but you held your price firm.”
“Yup. They don’t like the dirty balls, they bought the white ones. You know, I’ll bet they’re all clean in the ponds. We should go get your mask and fins.”
We raced each other home on our bikes to get my mask and fins and were back at the golf course in no time. Since I was wearing my swim trunks under my pants, I was all set to dive for golf balls in the ponds. We went to the small pond near where we found the first golf balls. I took off my shoes, pants, and shirt and put on the mask and fins.
“Look at that, the water is so clear, no green algae growing or anything.” Bart said. “This is going to be good.”
I waded in and found a couple balls with my feet and then dove with my masks and saw lots of balls. I came up with ten balls for ten minutes of work. I threw them to Bart and he dried them off. They all looked white to me. One had a slice in it so we might not get full price for it.
I heard Bart say “Move it” as another group of golfers approached so I climbed out of the pond and we hightailed it to the edge of the course.
“That was close,” I told Bart.
“Yeah, I guess. Ten minutes, ten white balls, ponds are the best place to get the balls. Let’s go to the next pond.”
We went to the next pond and as soon as the golfers left, I waded into the water. I had my sixth ball ready to throw to Bart when I saw two men with him.
“Come out of the water, son,” the older one said to me.
“Are we in trouble?” I asked.
The older one squinted his eyes, gritted his teeth, and then said, “You two boys have to come with me. Sam here will gather up your bikes and bring them to the clubhouse.”
Me and Bart sat in the locker room of the clubhouse. Bart never looked worried, but I started to sweat. I was sure we were going to get in trouble. We weren’t members of the golf course. Maybe even trespassing.
The older man said, “My name’s Tim and you boys aren’t in trouble, we just need to set some ball-collecting rules. I see you went into the water, so go stand in the shower and rinse off really well, okay?”
I jumped off the bench and headed to the showers.
“Keep your swim suit on,” Tim called after me.
“I showered and used the time to think. I didn’t come up with much.
Sam handed me towels and I dried off and took a seat on the locker room bench.
“Boys,” Tim started, “we can’t have you going into the water. You have to stay out. You can collect balls from the bushes off the course. Can you two live with that?”
“Sure we can,” Bart replied. I was glad he spoke because I don’t think I could.
“You see…” Tim fumbled for words, “…the balls in the water belong to the golf course.”
“We didn’t mean to steal them,” I blurted out.
“Well, you haven’t… yet. You were selling them, right?”
“Yes, but not the ones from the water yet,” Bart replied.
“Well, we’ll pay a finder’s fee for these balls from the water. The top price you’ve received and we’ll buy all of them today. Except you can’t go into the water ever again. Okay?”
Bart looked at me and I nodded.
“We can live with that,” Bart said.
Bart handed Tim the sixteen balls from the water and Tim handed him cash.
Bart asked Tim, “There’s something else other than the golf course owns the balls in the water, isn’t there?”
“Okay, you seem like smart kids so you maybe you should know,” Tim said. “We put chemicals in the water to keep it from turning green. The chemicals aren’t good for boys. Now you can’t tell your folks you were in the water or we’ll have to call the police right now. Okay?”
Bart didn’t even look at me before he said, “We can live with that.”
“Now, do you want to buy the other four balls we have?” Bart asked.
Tim smiled, shook his head, and said, “Why not?”
Bart stood up and stuck out his hand.
“Good doing business with you, Tim.”
Tim just chuckled.
I couldn’t get out of the clubhouse fast enough. We mounted our bicycles and headed away from the clubhouse, I let out a loud sigh. “I thought we were going to be arrested for trespassing.”
“Nah, I had it under control,” Bart said. “You know, we’re riding right by the Town Diner. We’ve earned a Coke and fries today.”
“Race you there.”
The Coke and fries were as good as ever and we had money left over. Twenty-four golf balls found and sold. All in all, it was a good day and who knows, there is always tomorrow.