He held the club about halfway up the shaft and absently began to bounce a ball off the blade. Straight up and down, then spinning it one way, then the other. The ball was out of round, and Train could feel the shape of it right through the shaft of the club, as if he was tossing it up and down in his hand. He sensed from bounce to bounce which side of the ball would land on the face of the club when it came back. He hardly had to look.
He sat in the corner with his Nehi and his golf club, and the other caddies played cards or slept. Except for the ball and the nine-iron, the caddy room was in slow motion, like it always was until the phone rang, and then Sweet would answer it and look over to see who he had and what shape they were in, and decide who went out to the first tee. For those few seconds it took to make up his mind, everyone sat up like they was posing for a picture.
Sweet had a sign on the wire mesh that said he was superintendent of caddies, and an identical one on his space in the parking lot. He had a hair-trigger temper and fingernails as long as a hairdresser. He knew all the members by name, but not by their faces, and remembered which ones would give a caddy a decent tip and which ones couldn't bring themself to do it. He had a diamond set in one of his front teeth and drove a three-year-old yellow Cadillac that he parked in his reserved spot next to the superintendent of greens. He had once been incarcerated at the state prison at Vacaville, for the criminally insane. He was light-skinned and handsome, and people whispered that he had a thousand women in his book, that he even slipped in and out the sheets with the members' wives.
People said he liked the old ones best.
He kept behind his wire cage all day, and padlocked it at night. The lock wasn't much, but nobody had ever broke in to see what was there. Once you crossed Sweet like that, you might as well look for other work.
Train sat in the corner, thinking. He didn't know how to find Florida's wife, or even if he had one. He didn't know where he lived, and he didn't know his real name, the one that would be in the telephone book. He looked at Sweet, sitting behind his cage smoking a Lucky Strike, his eyes half closed. A contented man. Train didn't want him paying attention to him now, holding all that cash, but he was the only one who would know Florida's address, or even the family name.
Train put the club down on the bench and walked over to the cage. Sweet raised his eyes, and Train had a distinct, last-minute thought not to let him find out what was in his pocket. That was followed by another thought, just as distinct, that somehow he already knew.
"So, man," he said, " Florida just up and died."
"Yes he did," Train said. "He passed away."
Sweet smiled at that, a secret smile. "Did he said he done eviscerated when he went?"