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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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Pink stared at the ground and kept his mouth shut.

Mr. Packard handed Train the nine-iron, dropped a ball on the grass, and stepped out of the way. Train moved the club up and down in the air, feeling it. It was heavier at the bottom than his club, less flex in the shaft. The grip was soft, and he could hold on to it without squeezing. He felt the men waiting and stepped up to the ball, had a quick look at the green and let it go. Without looking, he knew where it was.

They walked down the fairway, Mr. Packard toting the bag, would not let Train touch it. "No sir," he said, "not on your life. You're the stick, I just carry the bag." Having a big time with Pink now.

Pink was up ahead. He never said a word when Train hit his shot; he never looked at him again all day, and he tried not to even look at the green, where Train's ball was laying almost in the dent it made when it hit, five feet from the pin.

And then Mr. Packard took a drop at the far edge of the pond and chipped it in for par, and Pink didn't seem to see that neither. He got to the point by now that he didn't care about the niceties of the game or how he looked in front of his friends, which in the game of golf was as bad as you could be beat.

Everything changed.

Pink saw he couldn't get his money back from yesterday, and everything that was easy before, he had to think about it now. And then Mr. Packard stopped his partner before he hit his driver off the tee and said, "Edgar, your name is Edgar, right? Is there a club in your bag somewhere that you hit better than that?" Might have been the first time he spoke directly to him all day.

The man named Edgar turned around, not happy to be interrupted.

"Something you hit straight?"

"Straight?"

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