Having realized my own creative limitations, my contributions to the LA Daily will now be bi-weekly, instead of weekly. Let’s all celebrate with this week’s story, which appears to be about playing minigolf with my wife.
“Fucking Pagoda hole. That was bullshit. The volcano hole will be the great equalizer!” I declared.
She laughed as she teed up.
I looked around and tried to overlay my memory of this particular course over what I saw. My ponds were clean, my fountains were blue-tinted geysers, my little boats and seaside town didn’t have peeling paint or broken windows. The carpet on each hole was smooth and pristine, and the arcade inside the castle behind us was filled with dozens of different video games and pinball machines.
“I can’t separate how this place really looked in the ’80s from how I want to remember it,” I said. “I wonder if I’ve just idealized it, or if it really did look and feel fitter, happier, and more productive when I was a kid.”
She drew her putter back, and left herself in as good a position as any to get the inevitable six on the goddamn volcano hole. Behind us, the freeway was a wall of white noise, occasionally broken by the rumbling of a downshifting semi. The pond to our left was covered with a blanket of brown foam, broken by the nozzle of a dry fountain.
“Of course it looked better when you were a kid,” she said, “it was new then.”
“I can’t believe I never thought of that before. You’re exactly right.” I put my golf ball, yellow and worn, on the middle tee, feeling heat radiate off the heavy black rubber against the back of my hand. A gentle breeze carried children’s laughter and the unmistakable smell of that particular kind of pizza they only serve at minigolf courses past us.
I whacked my ball down the fairway. It rolled up the little volcano at the end and down one side, coming to rest in a corner next to some pine needles.
“I’m really bad at this,” I said.
“Don’t beat yourself up. I hear the volcano hole is the great equalizer.”
I gave her the stink eye as we walked down to finish the hole.
When I’m the king of the world, I’m going to buy a city block, and convert the whole thing to an 80s fun zone. It will have a classic arcade with vintage games, a single-screen movie theater, a waterslide, and a perfectly-maintained minigolf course.