Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Last Dance at the Ranch, Part IV

Steve woke up and felt the need to apologize.

“Sorry man, give me a minute and I’ll be ready.” He was frazzled, and I'm not sure if he really knew what was going on. “Just let me take a shower and I’ll be good to go.” I was still a little drunk. Steve was still drunk too.

It took him about twenty minutes to prepare for day of golf and another day of drinking. God bless him.

When we started our round at 11:00 A.M., the starter said “You have both played this course five times each.” That was odd. And how would he know? And why would he give a shit?

We finished at about 4:30 P.M. Both of us played golf like a couple of dick heads, but our ending scores weren’t too bad, considering that I lost five balls and had to take a penalty for each of them. In the end we had a fun time.

We loaded our golf bags into the back of the FJ and headed straight to the bar.

“Hi, I’m Dennis,” a guy from out of nowhere said, as he reached out his hand for a shake. “I’ve played 60 rounds here.”

Steve and I walked up to the bar and found our old friend Kelly waiting with a Captain and Coke and a Gin and Tonic waiting in front of her on the bar.

“Thanks Kelly,” said Steve. “Here’s my credit card. It’s going to be a long night.”

We wanted to smoke, so we took our drinks out to the massive deck.

“I’m Joe,” another guy from out of nowhere said, as he reached out his hand for a shake. “Can you believe that I’ve played this course over 4,000 times?”

“Four thousand?” Steve asked. “That’s 200 rounds a year… That’s almost four rounds a week. Pretty impressive.”

Okay, okay we get it. The guys in the pro shop have been keeping tabs on all of us for twenty years and they get a kick out of telling each and every one of us how many rounds of golf we’ve played at Stevinson Ranch since the day they opened for business. Steve and I have played five times. Dennis has played 60, and Joe has played 4,000.

“Hi, I’m Dennis.“ Dennis was back reaching out his hand for a shake. “I’ve played 60 rounds here.”

We all shook his hand and both Steve and I acted like we’d never met him before. Including, but not limited to, the time he introduced himself to us five minutes before this.

“I guess Dennis is drunker than us,” I said to Steve.

“Then we have some catching up to do,” he replied.

We sat on the large wooden patio for a few hours, drinking one cocktail after another and listening to
funny stories from strangers.

Every twenty minutes or so, Dennis would come by. “Hi, I’m Dennis. I’ve played 60 rounds of the golf on this course.”

He was a funny guy and we started watching him make his way around the deck having the same conversation with the fifty or so people who were there. He was bumping into chairs and, at one point, almost fell into the fire pit.

By the time the sun was setting, Steve and I started becoming concerned about Dennis. We don’t know the guy, but we could tell that he wasn’t very good at being drunk. He was bound to hurt himself and he needed a babysitter. So, the next time he came by to introduce himself and tell us how many rounds of golf he had played, we started asking him questions.

Dennis was from Santa Barbara and made the five hour trip to Stevinson Ranch a few times a year with his buddy Tom.

I excused myself and went into the bar. The place was packed and noisy. “TOM,” I yelled into the crowd.

“That’s me,” said a mid-fifty-ish-year-old guy. “I’m Tom.”

“Are you here with Dennis?”

“Yea, why?” Tom asked.

“He’s pretty loaded and probably needs someone to look after him,” I explained.

“Okay. I’ll be right out.”

But he didn’t come right out. I returned to our seat on the deck and continued to watch Dennis deteriorate into a nuisance and a liability for another 30 minutes.

“Let me give this a shot,” said Steve, as he made his way into the bar.

A few minute later, Steve returned with two more cocktails.

“Did you find Tom?” I asked.

“Yea. He’s busy trying to get laid,” Steve explained. “He said he’d come get Dennis right away. They’re both staying here too. So I’m not too worried about them.”

We stayed for a couple more hours and finally decided to head to our cabin, where we would continue drinking.

This time, we remembered to bring our room keys and the little paper folder with the gate code written on it.

As we drove through the complex, we were surprised to see that there were very few cars parked anywhere near the cabins. We assumed that most of the people who were staying here were at the bar.

“Hey wait,” said Steve. “Back up for a second.”

Why? What’s up?”

“Just back up.”

I stopped and put the car in reverse.

Steve rolled down the passenger side window and looked carefully towards cabin 117. “Look at that,” he said. “Look up that walkway by the porch.”

Yep, I saw it too. There was a person lying in the bushes. Oh shit. Is that Dennis?

We parked and walked quickly to cabin 117. Sure enough it was Dennis. He was laying about five feet from the bottom step of his cabin’s porch. His knees were bloody, his shirt and shorts were muddy, he was missing a shoe, and he had pissed his pants.

“Dennis, are you okay?” I asked

“I think so.”

“Why are you laying in the bushes?”

“I can’t find my key.”

“Come on,” Steve told him as we helped him to his feet. “We’ll help you out.”

We went through his pockets and couldn’t find his key, but we did find his cell phone. So we found Tom’s number and tried calling him. It went straight to voicemail.

Tom’s an asshole and a shitty friend.

Finally, we decided that we would get Dennis up the steps to his porch and I would break into the cabin through the living room window. I had practiced this and knew it would be easy.

While Steve stayed with Dennis to keep him from falling down the porch steps, I carefully removed the screen and slid the window up high enough to fit my entire body through. Then I climbed up and slid across the window seal on my stomach and came through head first onto the floor of the cabin’s living room. Then, I turned around to close the window but it was now stuck open. It must have come off its tracks when I pushed it open. I worked on it for about 30 seconds, and then remembered that Dennis is probably never going to realize that the thing is open, so it didn’t really matter.

I opened the door from the inside to find Steve and Dennis exactly where I had left them. Dennis extended his hand and I expected to hear him say “thank you,” or “sorry to trouble you,” or something like that. But instead, he said “Hi, I’m Dennis, guess how many rounds I’ve played here.”

“Ummmm… Sixty?” I guessed.

“How’d you know?”


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