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TRAIN
Pete Dexter
September 15, 2003
In the world of a 1950s California country club, the only black men on the golf course are toting bags, but the stakes for a young caddy with a gift for the game could not be higher
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September 15, 2003

Train

In the world of a 1950s California country club, the only black men on the golf course are toting bags, but the stakes for a young caddy with a gift for the game could not be higher

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Sweet looked up from the money. "Where you gone go?" he said.

"That's what I was asking, where Florida live."

"And how you gone get there if you find out?"

Train had thought about that too, and didn't know the answer. "Take the bus," he said.

"The bus don't go where Florida live. He clear the hell out somewhere in the valley. And the missus is jumpy, ain't let you in the door."

"He must of got home somehow," Train said.

"I tole you I'll take care of it," he said. "I got to go over there anyways tonight and tell them Florida passed on. That's in my description here, what I'm supposed to do."

Train stood still a minute, then turned around and went back to his spot next to Plural. Sweet gave him a good tote that afternoon, and it wasn't till sunset, when he was walking the road out to the street and Sweet came past him in his Cadillac, blowing dust and little pieces of rock behind him, that Train remembered that five dollars of the money was supposed to be his.

It made him feel better somehow, that Sweet had stole five dollars from him too.

He got up at 4:30, his eyes sleep-crusted in the corners, ate breakfast then washed his face and hands in the sink—there was no water pressure again this morning, not nearly enough for a shower—and caught the 5:30 bus to work. The bus let off just as the sun came up. The sprinklers was already on in the fairways, the water moving back and forth in perfect high arcs, not a breath of wind. Not even the grass had water pressure troubles in Brentwood. He walked from the street down the service road toward the caddy shed, but the shed was still locked up, and Train walked out in back, where last Christmas some members had nailed a fruit basket against the side of the building for the caddies to play basketball while they was waiting for totes. He found some golf balls from the practice range and began hitting soft little shots off the dirt, opening the blade of his nine-iron and cutting under the balls, almost without touching diem, lifting them up against the side of the shack until he found the right spot and began dropping diem through the hoop.

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