Nothing But Nest
“Is that the last McGriddle?” Woodruff asked.
Bob dug through the wadded up napkins in the greasy bag, until he found the bottom. He looked at the breakfast sandwich, wrapped in yellow paper, and then back at Woodruff. With a solemn nod of his head, Bob confirmed the awful truth.
“I’ll play you for it,” Woodruff said as he waved his putter at Bob.
“Oh, now you want to play golf,” Bob said. “Two minutes ago you were all ‘You can’t play golf in Central Park, Bob.’ And now…”
“No, I said there’s not golf course in Central Park, Bob.”
“Ba!” Bob scoffed. “That doesn’t matter.”
“Uh, I think it does.”
“Look at all this grass,”
“It even has water hazards.”
“No problem, before you hit the ball just give one of these,” Bob said as he turned and cupped his hands around his mouth. “Fore!”
Several pedestrians ducked and look frantically in Bob’s direction.
“Would you knock it off,” Woodruff said. “You’re going to give somebody a heart attack.”
“You can’t give somebody a heart attack,” Bob said. “You can cause a heart attack. I’ve done that. Six times.”
“You’ve caused six heart attacks?”
“That depends, are we talking strictly about people or are you including raccoons?”
“Let’s include all living things with hearts that can be attacked.”
“Oh, then I’ve cause eight heart attacks.”
Woodruff shook his head at his friend, who sat next to him on the park bench. Two blonde women jogged by in matching pink outfits and smiled at Woodruff and Bob. Woodruff waved at the joggers as Bob began to unwrap the McGriddle.
“Hey!” Woodruff protested.
“We haven’t decided who gets to eat that.”
“You were serious?”
“Yeah, I’ll play you for it.”
“You know the old adage,” Bob said. “Never mess with a lumberjack when pancakes and sausage are on the line.”
“But you’re not a lumberjack,” Woodruff replied.
“Ancestry DNA says I’m 0.000017 percent lumberjack.”
“I’ll take my chances.”
“How is losing a breakfast sandwich my funeral?”
“Have you ever been to a funeral?” Bob said. “There are zero breakfast sandwiches.”
A brisk breeze blew an empty coffee cup down the cobblestone walkway until it lodged between the curb and the bench across from Woodruff and Bob.
“Okay, we’ll go shot for shot until somebody misses,” Bob said. “I’m going across the cobblestone and into that cup.”
Bob squinted one eye nearly closed and lined up his put. He drew in a shallow breath and struck the ball. It danced across the old stones in the sidewalk and slid right into the cup.
“Boom! That’s how it’s done!”
“Calm down,” Woodruff said. “Watch this.”
Woodruff produced a florescent orange golf ball and placed it at his feet. He surveyed the cup for a moment and checked for passersby before he looked back up at Bob. With a grin and a wink, Woodruff smacked the orange golf ball, while keeping his eyes on Bob. The orange blur went shooting across the cobblestone and careened into the Styrofoam cup on top of Bob’s ball.
“That greasy McGriddle is as good as mine.”
“All right,” Bob said with a bow. “After you then.”
They let a second pair of joggers pass by and retrieved their golf balls from the cup. Woodruff hurried up the walkway with Bob on his heels. They stopped at a fork in the path. One fork led out to a large pond and the other bent back toward a grassy knoll. A mischievous smile spread across Woodruff’s face.
“Time to take this game up a notch.”
“Okay, down this path, off that turtle shell, and up into the trash can.”
Woodruff dropped his ball and hit it before it came to a rest. The ball raced down the path, straight for the turtle that was resting on the bank of the pond. There was a loud crack as the ball bounced off the shell and looped back into the trash can.
The startled turtle began to retreat into the pond.
“Yeah, the turtle’s leaving!” Bob cried.
“You’d better hurry then.”
“That’s not fair.”
“All’s fair in love and pancakes.”
Bob quickly squatted down and placed his ball on the ground. He plucked a blade of grass and dropped it gently in front of him to gage the wind. The turtle had just reached the edge of the water when Bob stood up and whacked the ball down the path. It slowed in the mud only slightly before striking the turtle shell and popping up and in the trash can.
“Booya! Beat that!”
“That was impressive.”
“Impressive? I hit a turtle fleeing into the water. That’s nearly impossible.”
“Nah, I once shot into a kangaroo’s pouch at a hundred yards, and she was hopping away from a dingo.”
“Why would you shoot a golf ball at a kangaroo hopping away from a dingo?”
“Everyone knows an adult dingo cannot swallow a full sized golf ball,” Woodruff explained. “She used it as a choking hazard and got away.”
After retrieving their golf balls, Bob followed the path that led around the grassy knoll. He picked a spot just clear of a grouping of large maple trees and held up his fingers to form a square. Bob peered through his finger square and panned from one end of a long walking bridge to the other.
“Over the bridge, off the park bench, nothing but nest.”
“Let’s see it.”
Bob settled over the tiny white ball and swung his hips from side to side.
“Be the ball,” Bob whispered.
With a deep breath, he closed his eyes and drew back his club. A swing and a clack sent the golf ball flying into the air over the gothic bridge. The sound of a ping echoed back under the bridge as the white sphere hit the iron park bench and flew high up into the old maple tree. It landed softly in an abandon nest of twigs and leaves.
“Nice shot!” Woodruff said.
“Thank you,” Bob replied with a deep bow.
“That’s going to be tough.”
“Tougher than hitting a hopping kangaroo at a hundred yards?”
“No,” Woodruff smiled and dropped his ball in front of him.
“Hey!” a deep voice shouted as Woodruff drew back his club. Woodruff looked up at the shouting man, who wore a suit that matched his jet black hair. His swing sent the ball flying toward the man in the suit. The man ducked and the ball hit the lamp post behind him and flew over the bridge and up into the nest. “What are you doing?”
“Uh, playing for the last McGriddle,” Bob said.
“And you totally yelled in my back swing.”
“You can’t play golf in Central Park,” the man in the suit protested. “Your gonna hurt someone.”
“You really should have yelled fore, Woodruff.”
“You guys are nuts!” the man in the suit waved his arms in disgust and walked back under the bridge.
Woodruff and Bob shrugged their shoulders and wandered into the grass.
“Okay, my shot.”
“Nuh uh, you lost.”
“Did not,” Woodruff argued and pointed up at the old maple tree. “Nothing but nest.”
“Over the bridge, off the park bench, nothing but nest. Not over the yelling guy, off the lamp post, over the bridge, nothing but nest. Doesn’t count.”
“Well last round you hit the mud before you hit the turtle.”
“So we’re both disqualified then.”
“Fine, so who gets that delicious breakfast sandwich?”
Bob looked over at a row of park benches. An old man, with holes in his shoes, was sleeping under a newspaper. Bob looked back to Woodruff, who gave an affirming nod. Gently, Bob nudged the sleeping man with holes in his shoes. The old man stirred and sat up. He looked down at the yellow wrapper in Bob’s hand.
“Excuse me, sir,” Bob said. “Would you hold this for me while I race my friend down to the pond and back?”
Woodruff turned and bolted up the path.
“Winner gets the McGriddle!” Woodruff shouted.
“Cheater!” Bob cried.
The man with holes in his shoes watched as they raced away from him. When they were out of sight he unwrapped the greasy sandwich and took a bite while he perused his paper.