"Sorry," says Laugeni. "I haven't been able to bend over since '89."
By the time the foursome reaches the 4th hole, the drizzle has turned to a steady downpour. Their clothes are soaked. Laugeni tugs at the black shirt he wore to slenderize himself as he shares with his fellow golfers his theory on slices. "You want to know what makes a really good pizza?" he says. "I'll tell you what. The sauce." He champions the sausage pie at Zuppardi's in New Haven. "They make their own hot sausage on the premises and throw it on the pie in clumps," he says. "Nothing beats a Zuppardi's pie."
Hardy demurs. "Have you ever had the white clam pizza at Pepe's?" he asks. "Clams, garlic and a layer of mozzarella. No tomato sauce."
"Pepe's?" says Laugeni. "What about Sally's? I'd settle for Sally's bacon, mushroom and pepper pie. If I'm in the mood for a little twist, I ask them to toss in a few dollops of ricotta."
Hardy is now salivating like one of Pavlov's pups. "I'd take Pepe's pizza over sex," he says. "The wait outside is an hour and a half."
Which is only slightly longer than the backup at the snack shed behind the tee box for the par-3 9th hole. The rain falls in fat drops now as the players gaze out at this famous green, which keeps going and going and going for maybe 50 yards. Bisected by an eight-foot-wide swale, the green is about the size of one of the double greens on the Old Course at St. Andrews. In other words, it's almost as big as Hardy's appetite. "My game is totally screwed up now," he says. "All I can think about is that pizza."
The other three confess that they are having similar difficulties and agree that it's time to pack it in and start packing it in. "After this hole, we're done," sputters the Radiator. "A true fat man would never work this hard."
"Damn right," roars Hardware. "Why stand in the rain golfing when there's a clubhouse a thousand yards away with a TV and a free all-you-can-eat buffet?"
Laugeni empties a bag of M&Ms into his mouth and says, "You ready to get that pie at Pepe's?"
"Hell, no," says Hardy. "Let's head for the free buffet. Free is a major component of fat." Hardy and Laugeni bang bellies again like mating water beds and veer off the course toward the vittles.