"I liked him better when he couldn't talk," the fat man said, making a joke of it, but then he took a step closer and Train saw the flat shine in his eyes and knew it was trouble.
Mr. Packard said his name, and everything stopped. Didn't say it any particular way that you'd remember—in fact, you could almost hear a chuckle inside the word—but something was rolling down on Train, right on top of him, and just like that it turned around and rolled the other way. A moment passed and then the fat man smiled.
"I was only f———with him, Miller," he said. "He's f———with me, I'm f———with him. He's a smart boy, he knows that." Then he turned and looked at Train again. "That's right, ain't it, Leroy? You're a smart boy...."
Train couldn't answer. Back to that.
"We all seen you got a sense of humor...."
Train picked up the nine-iron and waited for the fat man to start down the fairway. Waited the way a Mexican would for the problem to go away. There were days he wished he could be Mexican himself—give up toting the bags and just work on the grounds crew for History, come out early and rake the traps or weed the flowers. He could always make things grow. But the Mexicans was all illegal, and the club hired them by the day, first come, first serve, and didn't pay them but a dollar for 10 hours, and even then Train sometimes saw them fighting in the morning over a place in line. Train guessed it was better work than picking fruit, and guessed they would caddy if the club would let them.
Carrying the bags, Train got a dollar and a half for 18 holes, plus whatever the tote gave him at the end. Sometimes in the summer, when the sun set at eight-thirty or nine, he made 12, 14 dollars. This particular morning, though, he wouldn't minded being a dollar-a-day Mexican in a flower bed. The fat man was staring at him again, trying to see if Train was laughing at him. Train could tell sometimes what white people were thinking, and was afraid it went the other direction too. He heard Mr. Packard again, sounded like he was fooling in a way, and in a way it didn't. "So what are we going to do, Pink? We waiting for the kid to apologize for you hitting the ball in the water?"
"Miller, you mind?" There was a bad note in that, stepped over the line between them, and the fat man heard it too, and then tried to change it after it was already out of his mouth. Tried to pull back the reins. Even now, mad as a snake and the best shot he hit all day laying in the pond, he seemed a little afraid. Like he worked for Mr. Packard, only it wasn't that. Train guessed that he'd seen the man's bad side, or maybe just knew it was there, the way Train did.
"Lookit," the fat man said, "I'm the one down five, one and three. This is between me and him."