*Features adult language and themes.*
“Oi, mate. You alright?”
Kurt felt a hand on his shoulder; it was gently rocking him. The longer he ignored it the more vigorously he was shaken.
“I think he’s dead.”
“No, he ain’t dead. He’s breathing. Maybe he’s in a coma or something.”
“We should probably call the medical staff.”
“Yeah, get on the walkie.”
Kurt heard the crackle of static and a far away voice asking what was wrong. He had no intention of moving, he was very comfortable; no idea where he was. The ground beneath him seemed firm, like a mattress that you could sink into. It shaped itself to where he was laying. The only bit of discomfort was on his shin. His trousers had ridden up exposing his leg to the cold air, he felt a rough surface beneath it.
“Hi, Maureen. We need a member of the medical staff over to the 9th green. We’ve got a bloke passed out in one of the bunkers. We can’t wake him up.”
“Right. Is he breathing?”
“Looks like it.”
“We’ll send someone over.”
9th green? Where am I?
Slowly it came back to him. He opened his eyes a slit. He was laying on sand next to a pool of vomit.
Shit. This might turn ugly.
* * *
“OK, look left… right… up.” The light stung his retinas making his head ache. It already hurt from the shallow cut on his forehead just below his hairline. Apparently he’d hit it on the lip of the bunker as he fell.
“You seem fine, Mr Sampson. I’m happy to let you go, but you might want to follow up with your GP if your headache gets worse or remains persistent.”
“Thanks Doc. I appreciate your help.” Kurt moved to get up when the doctor pushed him back down on the bed.
“I’m afraid you’ll have to stay here for a moment. The police need to speak with you.”
Kurt groaned. Fuck. This is really bad. He sat on the bed and pressed his fingers hard onto his temple, he could feel the blood pulsing; each pump was accompanied by a small burst of pain.
The doctor left the port—a-cabin, the bright sunlight filling the room momentarily before the large silhouette of a uniformed officer blocked it out again. The policeman stood in front of Kurt, he had a stern expression on his face and held a little notebook and pen.
“Good morning Mr Sampson, I’m PC Drury, I’ve been tasked to find out what happened to you last night and discover if a crime has been committed.”
Kurt held out his hand. “Morning Officer. I’m not sure how good it is, but here we are. I’m sorry to have put you to work.” The policeman ignored the hand. Kurt took it back. “OK. How can I help?”
“Mr Sampson, can you tell me the chain of events that led to you sleeping in a bunker on the 9th Hole at Wentworth during a PGA event.”
It sounds bad when someone else says it. “I’m here in a professional capacity. I was hired by Ian Jenkins as a sports physiologist, of sorts. I’m a self-help life coach by profession and Ian approached me last month to help him prepare for a few events. I’ve been here since Wednesday helping him with the mental side of his game. I’m sure you know the sort of thing.” The officer nodded and scribbled in his notebook. He looked back to Kurt, while still writing. How do they do that? “Ian did quite well this week, but unfortunately he just missed the cut yesterday. We consoled ourselves last night with a few drinks. I guess I had a bit too much.
“My hotel is just the other side of the course so somebody told me I should take a short cut across it to get back. Obviously bad advice in the light of day.”
“Do you remember who suggested that?”
“No I’m afraid I don’t. Ian has a lot of friends on the tour and I’m not familiar with everyone we were with.”
“Obviously you didn’t get back to your hotel. Was that solely down to your alcohol consumption?”
That sounds even worse. It’s not going to look pretty in print. Imagine the headlines.‘Kurt Sandtrap.’ ‘Drinking and driving.’ Kurt’s midnight bunk-up.’ Urrghh. What have I done?
“No officer, I admit that I was drinking quite heavily, but I still had my wits about me. I was making my way across the course, and that was irresponsible of me, but I was approached by two men. At first I thought they were ground keepers or security, it turns out they were muggers. I didn’t know where I was, but I guess I was close to the 9th hole. In fact I do remember a train going past just before they accosted me. You know the tracks run along the 9th?” The officer nodded, he was still writing without looking down at the pad. Come on, surely he’s just doodling, or writing gibberish to unsettle me. “They demanded money, I guess I gave them my wallet, and it looks like my watch is missing.” Kurt wrapped his hand around his empty left wrist. “Then they walked me over to a bunker and pushed me in. The doc tells me I hit my head on the edge. After that I don’t remember anything until I was found this morning.”
“OK, Mr Sampson. Can you give me a description of the muggers?”
“I’m afraid not. It was dark, and as I’ve said I was drunk. At the time all I noticed was that there was two of them, they seemed taller than me, just over 6 foot, they were big, errmmm…” Kurt started shaking, and sweating.
It was the first time the officer had stopped writing. He came over to the bed and sat next to Kurt. “It’s OK, Mr Sampson, you take your time. Do you fancy a cuppa? I can get you a drink if you’d like one?”
“Kurt looked up at the officer with glazed eyes. “Yeah, that’d be great.” A double if you can manage it.
* * *
PC Drury let him go once Kurt had calmed himself and told him everything he could remember. The officer gave him a caution about his drunkenness, and told him that they would look into the mugging, but with the limited information, they would, in all probability, have no success. They didn’t assign a case number.
As he walked out of the club to find a taxi to get him back to his Hotel someone called after him. Kurt turned to see Ian trotting after him. “Kurt. Good to see you’re in one piece. I heard what happened. I take it you had an eventful evening after we separated.”
“News travels quickly.”
“Is it true they found you in a bunker on the 10th with your trousers around your ankles?”
“No. I was fully clothed and it was the 9th.”
“I was mugged. They took my wallet and watch, then pushed me into the bunker. Apparently I hit my head and laid there all night.”
“That’s some bad luck. Listen. I don’t mean to pile it on or anything, but I’m going to have to let you go. It’s nothing personal, but this sort of thing messes with my chi, you know?”
“Ian, I’m really sorry if this has shown you up or something, but I thought we were making some great progress.”
“Yeah, I appreciate your help, your methods have helped open my mind, you know. But I don’t think we’re quite meshing. It’s an aura thing, you understand.”
You fucking, hippy, dipshit. “Come on Ian, you can’t do this to me. We had an agreement. We were going to give it three months before we reviewed the progress. We made a breakthrough last week.”
“Like I said, it’s not personal. It’s totally professional. I haven’t made a cut since I bought you on board, you know. The ‘Feng Shui’ of the whole situation is a bit off. I can’t put it any clearer than that.”
“Alright Ian.” What a load of bollocks. “It’s been good working with you. I’m sure you’ll find the path that’s right for you.”
“That’s good of you Kurt. Listen, I’ll tell the other pros about you, I’m sure there’ll be someone that’s interested.”
“I appreciate that.” Kurt looked down at the gravel driveway awkwardly. He still had patches of sand on his suit and a tear in the knee of his trousers. “Can I ask a favour of you, Ian? It’s a little embarrassing.”
Ian moved closer to him. He was doused in expensive aftershave and looked immaculate in every way. He didn’t have a hair out of place, and his clothes had been pressed and starched so crisply it was surprising he could move. “Course, Kurt. I’ll do anything I can.”
“Like I said I got mugged. They took my wallet. I don’t suppose you could lend me some cash so I can get back to the hotel?”
Ian smiled smugly and reached into his back pocket. “No problem mate, no problem at all. Say no more.” He opened his wallet, somehow it seemed thicker when he unfolded it because a pile of notes were bursting out. He took out four £50 notes and slipped them into Kurt’s jacket pocket. “There you go. We’ll call it a severance bonus, yeah. You take care.”
“Thanks Ian, I appreciate it.” What a prick.
* * *
He caught a cab back to his hotel and let himself into his room. He went over to the dresser and looked at the phone he’d left there the previous night. He had 14 messages, 10 of them were from Alan, 3 from Isabella and 1 from his bookie.
I can’t believe I bet on that asshole to make the cut.
Kurt called Alan.
“Kurt, what the fuck’s going on? The phone’s been ringing all morning. Is it true you were found in the 5th hole bunker with your dick hanging out?”
Kurt let out a sigh. “No, Alan. It’s not true.”
“Thank God for that. Bloody hell, I thought we had a real problem.”
He let him feel relieved for a few seconds, before he set him straight. Alan deserved it. “I was found in the 9th hole bunker, fully clothed.”
“For fuck’s sake.”
“I was mugged, Alan. They took my watch and my wallet. Luckily I didn’t have my phone on me. I’ve got you to thank for that. I left it at the hotel so I didn’t have to keep picking up your calls.”
“How the hell did you get mugged on a golf course? Never mind. I’ve been calling you a lot to try and make sure stuff like this doesn’t happen.”
“Well it hasn’t worked has it.”
“Were you drinking?”
“Yes, Mom. I was drinking. That doesn’t change the fact that some fuckers jumped me does it?”
“Alright, alright. Sorry I assumed the worst. Tell me what happened and I’ll sort out the press release.”
Kurt walked across the room and sat on the bed that he hadn’t slept in. He walked Alan through the events of the evening and what he’d been through that morning.”
“Oh, that asshole, Jenkins canned me this morning too.”
“Ahhhh, shit. You’re kidding.”
“Nope, did it right in front of the clubhouse as I was leaving. I knew it wasn’t going to work. I did warn you. He’s way too faddy to stick with anything for very long. I’m surprised we lasted as long as we did.”
“Yeah, I guess. It was good money though Kurt.”
“I know, talking of work is there anything new in the pipeline?” Kurt laid back down on the bed. It was a hard mattress. He couldn’t help thinking the sand was more comfortable.
“I’ve got a few things here for you to look over.” He paused. “I thought we were going to keep things slow for a while? You know like we discussed a while back?”
“No Alan, I don’t think so. I need to make as much money as I can right now. I need to ride this wave for as long as it lasts.”
“You sure? You don’t seem like you’re in the right frame of mind. We never did sit down and talk about that program. I still think you need to some help.”
Kurt sat back up. The anger came out of nowhere. “We’ve talked enough about all that shit. I’m tired of talking about it. I had one moment of weakness and you’ve been whining on about if for a month now. I don’t want to hear it. I need the work, and I need the money. Simple as that. You’re my agent, not my counsellor.”
“But Kurt, you’ve been all over the place…”
“I don’t want to hear it.” Kurt was shouting now. “I can handle my shit.” Kurt was pacing around the room, he found himself breathing heavily. Just as quickly as it appeared the anger was gone. He was calm again. “I’ll be in town tomorrow. I’ll come by the office about noon. We can talk more then.”
“OK, Kurt. We’ll do it your way.” There was silence for a moment. Kurt wondered if he’d hung up. “How are things with Martha?”
“Fuck off.” He jabbed at his phone to disconnect and tossed it onto the bed.
He had a long shower and dressed himself in fresh clothes, went around the room packing all of his belongings getting ready to leave. He planned to be on a train back to London as soon as he could. He went over to the bed, put his phone in his pocket, then wandered over to the dressing table and picked up his wallet.
I’m going to have to get rid of this now.
He opened the wallet, removed all of the cash and added it to the notes Ian had given him. He made a call to cancel all of his cards and put the wallet back into his jacket.
He stood in front of the mirror inspecting the man that stared back at him. His new suit made him look his usual self, smart and sophisticated.
Not at all like someone that spent the night in a sand trap. He fastened his cufflinks and looked at his left wrist, the skin was smooth and tanned evenly.
I’ve never worn a watch. I’m surprised nobody picked up on that.
As he got out of the cab at the train station he slipped the wallet into a trash can before going to find a way back to London. He had an appointment to keep.
* * *
He flopped down onto the bed, panting and sweating. His whole body tingled with the release. He savoured the feeling. As soon as the sensation started to fade his brain started to take over and let the problems back in.
Isabella got up to go to the bathroom and clean herself up. Kurt didn’t care. He didn’t need her to cuddle up to him in the warm afterglow.
Plus, I’m the reason she has to clean herself up. He smiled smugly to himself.
She came back and and began to dress.
“Are you in a rush?”
“No, sweetheart, it’s a little cold in here is all. If you want me again, you get the pleasure of undressing me.”
I don’t care. I’m done. Jesus would have a job resurrecting that any time soon. He looked around the room. It was a far cry from the Dorchester. He’d booked a motel on his way back from Wentworth. The room was cheap and dingy, the window looked out into a sad little courtyard with dead plants and a rotting bench. It was the sort of place that catered to travelling businessmen and tourists on a budget. There’s a bed, four walls and cheap porn on tap if it’s needed. Even though the walls are paper thin; nobody asks any questions.
Isabella had text him to see when he’d be back in London. She said she wanted to see him. He wasn’t fooling himself. He knew it was all about the money for her. Just like it was all about the sex for him. It was a logical arrangement. Each party got what they needed. He didn’t yearn for an emotional attachment. He didn’t need someone to care about his problems but that didn’t stop him complaining about everything to her.
I can call these counselling sessions and use it as a tax write off.
Isabella sat on the side of the bed next to him. “Hey Burt, there’s something I want to talk to you about.”
Kurt sat up. She doesn’t usually have a lot to say. Probably wants more money. I guess the economy is bad for everyone. “Sure, what’s up.”
“We need to talk about money.”
“OK, I guess you want more?”
“A lot more. What you pay me now covers the sex, but I need more for discretion.”
“What do you mean?”
“If you’re going to use a fake name it’s a good idea to change more than one letter, Kurt.”
“I’m guessing you don’t want the press to know that the man with all the secrets to happiness has a failing marriage and needs to visit a prostitute. And that’s without the drinking, and what I’m guessing by now is a considerable gambling debt.”
“You little bitch.” Kurt got up to make a grab for her. She moved quickly expecting a reaction. She pulled a small knife out of her purse and held in in front of her with a steady hand.
“£3,000 a month to keep my mouth shut, and the usual on top of that if you still want to fuck me. I’m guessing you don’t.” She picked up a bag on the floor next to her. “Your clothes are in here. I’m going to leave now. I’ll hand in the bag at reception and get them to bring it back to you. You might want to throw on a towel or something. I don’t need your answer on the cash right now, I’ll let you think it over. I’ll be in touch to tell how you can get the money to me.”
Isabella opened the door, before she left she turned. “Give me a smile, sweetheart. After all, your column gave me the idea. You’ve helped me change careers and regain my self-respect.” She closed the door. Kurt heard her footsteps echo away down the corridor.
He got off the bed and started pacing around the room in a panic, his hands on his head, tearing at his hair.
He felt a shock as his stomach did a back flip. He ran to the bathroom and vomited into the sink. He sat on the cold bathroom floor and began to laugh.
Stupid bitch. She knows I’ve got gambling debts. Who blackmails a guy without any money? He laughed until the tears came.
Many thanks for reading. If you have any feedback or thoughts, feel free to comment below.