Trouble in Monterey

“I thought I’d never make it out of there alive,” Jack continued.
“I’d been in some rough spots, but that one… there was no recovery. No one would find me at the bottom of the Atlantic, alone with the clams and crabs.”

“Oh, no!” Charlie gasped.

“Remember what ol’ Jack Bolton says, ‘When the going gets tough, and this God-forsaken game delivers a knockout blow to your neck. Yeah, Jack Bolton stares those demons of golf right in the face and says, ‘I’m 45.94 grams of high-performance dimpled Urethane. Is that all you got, pal? I can take it.’”

“And then?!” Charlie said.

“Nothing, Charlie. For a long time. I was losing hope. Yep, even ol’ Jack Bolton gets down from time to time. Until I heard a shout in the distance. ‘Incoming!’”

“The falling projectile splashed two yards short of me. With another ball this close, my chances of getting out of here improved indubitably. I tell you, Charlie, I would have burst if I had a seam. On top of that, she was beautiful. Her soft green cover was like creamy jade. My dimples became goosebumps.”

“She looked at me and said, ‘Are you going to say anything or just lie there looking lost?’”

“Staring back, I answered, ‘I’m Jack Bolton, sweetheart. I’m not lost. I’m just taking a cold plunge. But can I ask you a question?’”

“Geez, Jack, we just met. But I’m feeling in the mood. Shoot,” she said.

“What’s your name, and how do we get out of here?” I asked.
Smiling, she said, “Hikari’s my name. And I’ve got good news for you, Jack. My player has never met a ball she didn’t pick up. So today’s your lucky day.”

“Is it ever!” I said as a Sand Wedge fished us out of the water.

“Wow, Jack. That’s amazing! But how did you get here?” Asked Charlie.

“A couple of months back, we were out west, in Monterey.”


“Yes, siree. We were playing number seven. The short par three down the hill, hugged on three sides by the Pacific. The hole location was in the back middle of the green, 107 yards away. My player plucked me out of the bag. The other balls gasped in terror. But fear didn’t grip. Do you know why? ’Cause when you’re facing a par three with sideways blowing wind, deep rough, and water hazards all around, and it looks you in the square in the eye and asks you if you’ve packed your lunch, you stare that punk right in the face. You remember what ol’ Jack Bolton always says in a moment like that —— ‘Did you pack your lunch, Jack?’ ‘You bet your albatross I did. Jack Bolton eats watery par threes for breakfast with a black coffee and a side of extra crispy bacon.’”

“Go on!” Charlie beamed.

“My player grabbed his gap wedge. And he’s not a bad stick—a six handicap. The wind is slightly off to the right. The wind makes it tricky, as players tend to over-club and end up in the drink.

His strike caught me a little on the toe of the club, sending me out to the right toward the ocean. Immediately, he yells, ‘Hook! Hook!’ So, I turned left back toward the hole. Suddenly, the wind gusts. Now in danger of going long, my player yells, ‘Bite! Bite!’”

“Oh, no. Jack!” said Charlie.

“Charlie, like I told my previous player, I never fly faster than I can see. Besides that, it’s all in the reflexes. So, I redirected my momentum back across the wind and landed on the green six feet past the flag to the right. ‘Come on, ball!’ My player yelled through clenched teeth. I pulled back with everything I had and redirected my vector. I reached the cup with just enough momentum to fall into the hole like a feather on a pond.

‘It’s in!’ The caddies yelled. The other players in the group and the folks on the eighth tee all lost it. My player, half amazed and half in disbelief, sprinted down the hill to fetch me from the hole. Mayhem ensued! What a day.”

“That’s unbelievable, Jack!” Charlie said like a kid on his grandparent’s lap.

“My player plucked me from the bottom of the cup and dropped me in the felt-lined pocket reserved for the most valuable items. From there, it was straight to the trophy case. So, here I am with you, Charlie. Like Jack Bolton always says, Go out on your own terms, or it’s a one-way ticket to the shag bag.”

Author's Note:
One of my favorite movies from the 1980s is Big Trouble in Little China. The movie excels in multiple aspects, with Kurt Russell flawlessly bringing to life the iconic sidekick main character, Jack Burton. This story is a tribute of sorts because the only voice I could hear our protagonist use was that of our fast-talking Pork Chop Express driving hero.

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