Sunday, September 24, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Okay, I hadn't planned on posting even a teaser of the current work in progress because I didn't want to jinx myself. I'm superstitious.

But I'm really, really proud of this section and amused as hell by it. So ha!

Plus, while there are hints in here that do pertain to the plot, this particular "setting" section is more to set up the next section, which I will NOT post, so it's pretty harmless. I hope. And yes, I know there's some passive voice that needs editing, but this is a rough draft. It'll pretty up later, ne?

And if I ever hit PowerBall, I am SO building this mini golf course!

He needed a distraction. If he stayed cooped up in the house with her all day, he would dig his hole deeper than it already was. It was long past time to take this non-relationship out into public.

Plus, he was bored.

"Are there any good mini golf courses around here?"

She looked up from her scrambled eggs and blinked. Though he'd felt uncomfortable since the night before when he realized she didn't want to introduce him to her friends, he couldn't help a tiny smile at that slow blink. She looked like a surprised cat when she did it, like she would comprehend in her own good time.

"I guess that depends on what you mean by good."

"Interesting. Difficult greens. No clowns or ponies or carnival music."

Instead of the amusement he expected, he received the suspicious narrowing of one eye. Hiding a sigh, he realized that it wasn't only her friends that she didn't want him to meet. She didn't want to be seen with him at all.

"Never mind. I'll just borrow a book after breakfast."

Something in her face softened. "Are you that bored?"

"Of course not." He sat up straighter. "I read all the time."

"Jack...." She paused a long moment before her chin came up. "Chimera Green is the best, but it's also the busiest because it has other stuff like batting cages and go-carts. Go Go Putt Putt is obviously for kids. I'd say our best bet is Arg, Me Hearties."

His lips twitched. "Arg, Me Hearties?"

For the first time all morning, she smirked. "Pirate themed."

"You don't say."

They stared at each other, lips twitching, for a full second before bursting out laughing.

"It's Talk Like a Pirate Day all year there, Jack, I kid you not."

He fought for breath. "That's it. We're going. I have got to see this place."

"I have to warn you. I am terrible at mini golf."

His chuckles wound down to the occasional guffaw. "Do you hate playing?"

"Bite your tongue." But she smiled. "I love playing. I'm just terrible at it."

"Fair enough. What time do they open?"

In less than an hour, he pulled his Envoy into a parking spot barely ten yards from a cinderblock building painted to look like a pirate ship. Plaster cannons poked out of the sides at regular intervals. He killed the engine and sat staring for a long moment.

"Boggles the mind, doesn't it?"

He nodded, caught between wide-eyed and highly amused.

"Every time someone finishes in under par, they fire the cannons."

"No way."

She snickered. "They have them set up with compressed gas and sound effects. The guy checks your score card and hollers 'Fire all!' and it's like a touchdown at Tampa Bay."

Shaking his head, he opened his door and stepped out. "I love this place. I don't even have to go inside to know."

"It is definitely something else."

He kept his hands safely in his pockets as they walked toward the building so he wouldn't accidently put his arm around her or grab her hand. She walked close to him, and that was enough for now. Besides, she wasn't hiding her eyes or darting glances around to see who might catch her with an escort. She seemed relaxed and even grinned up at him when he opened the door for her.

"Ahoy, maties!"

The chorus came from all sides, and he fought the urge to snicker. She nudged him with her elbow, and he looked down to find her eyes twinkling.

"Hope you brushed up on your pirate lingo. The desk is over there. I gotta go use the little wench's room."

He watched her go with a grin and nearly laughed again when he saw the signs on the bathroom doors. Wenches and maties. Good God.

"Welcome aboard, mate. How many rounds would ye like?"

Carefully hiding his amusement, he paid for a single round, not wanting to push his luck with her. If all went well, he hoped she would grab a late lunch with him before he drove back to Caston. He ought to work in another heavy petting session to make up for not being in the mood last night, but he might not be able to fit it in.

While he waited for her to return from the little wench's room, he looked over the decor with a wide smile. Rigging and nets draped every wall. Wooden casks and barrels piled in the corners, some even with fake rats squatting on them. The walls were painted like wooden slats, the ceiling criss-crossed with heavy beams. And the crowning touch, an honest-to-God cannon, squatted against the far wall, a pile of cannonballs beside it.

A hand on his arm turned him from his lolly-gagging, and he didn't bother hiding his amusement.

"This place is a scream. How often do you come here?"

She quirked her crooked grin. "Just once. The course is a little too distracting to really work on your game, and my game needs serious work."

"I gotta see this."

They chose putters, then pushed through the far door leading to the course. He stopped just outside.

"Oh. My. God."

"My sentiments exactly."

A scale-model ship capped a blue-tinted hill, all billowing sails and storm-tossed waves. Water hazards with real running water abounded. Alligators, a squid, and an octopus guarded several holes. And, of course, a sinuous, coiling sea serpent.

"I love this place."

She laughed and took his arm, heading for the first hole. "Let's get this show on the road."

© copyright Molly Burkhart, 2006


At 4:47 PM, Blogger Joely Sue Burkhart said...

I love this place too!!!!

At 5:32 PM, Blogger GutterBall said...

I'm gonna have to start buying PowerBall tickets again, Sis. I kid you not; I hit that jackpot, and it's "Arg, Me Hearties" on the sign!

At 4:05 AM, Blogger Devgel Zo said...

Yarrr, me hardies!

Such fun, Geebers! I can't wait to read all of it! Someone has *clearly* been watching some PoC lately, hmmm?

"But why is the rum always gone?"

Oooh! Can I come play at 'Arg, Me Hearties' when its up?


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