This quick fiction story was inspired by the creative writing prompt I shared on Patreon yesterday:
Jimmy Clipper wiped mud from his forehead with a monogrammed microfiber towel. He climbed out of the side of the electric golf cart – which now faced up toward the maw of the sinkhole.
His caddy, a college kid named Bryce, clung to the muddy rim above and screamed: “Why are we here?!”
Jimmy looked down at the murky water around his ankles. “Sinkhole,” he said. He couldn’t tell if it was just dim down here or if his vision might be fuzzy due to a concussion.
“I’m slipping!” Bryce yelled.
“Christ, it’s just twenty feet,” the pro golfer growled. “Let go.”
Bryce didn’t let go. Couldn’t let go. Wouldn’t. He tried digging the toes of his sneakers into the damp wall of the sinkhole, making vertical trenches that just threw him off balance. Instead of sliding down on his stomach, Bryce fell over backwards. Jimmy jerked aside, smacking against the other side of the sinkhole as the caddy’s spine cracked on the cart’s roof frame.
“Damn it,” Jimmy said. He watched Bryce flop into the water, face down. He pulled the kid’s head clear; dragged him to the slope. Almost tripped over the pole with a red number 10 flag. Bryce stared up into the sunny sky through the opening. Still alive, but unable to move.
Jimmy’s phone trilled. He found it in the pocket of his golf bag. Caller ID: Drift. His chest tightened. The phone rang again. Jimmy clicked the green circle, but didn’t speak right away.
“You OK, Jimbo?” She sounded almost cheerful.
His eyes narrowed. “Caddy’s crippled.”
“So much for his football career,” Drift mused. “I was as patient as I could be. Time’s up.”
Jimmy looked around at the sinkhole. “You did this?”
“Well,” she replied, “I own the course. But we’ll put it down to an act of God on the insurance paperwork.”
“On the 10th green? You’re a mon…”
“Look, just get the kid an ambulance. I’ll get the money.”
Something rumbled in the distance, gently shaking the walls of the sinkhole.
“Time’s up,” Drift repeated. The call ended. Jimmy tried calling back. Blocked.
“No. Nonononono.” Jimmy grabbed the flagstick, hoping to use it to climb out of the pit before the construction vehicle arrived to finish off him and the caddy. He braced the pole against the golf cart, which – on its side – was about four feet high. The flagstick itself was only about seven feet. It fell far short of the rim.
The bright yellow excavator reached the edge, spilling five tons of dirt and sand.
Jimmy’s last panicked thought: Celine Dion tickets weren’t worth this.