After years of golfing frustration Henry Higgins has murdered his wife on the sixth fairway of Assbury Hole Golf and Country Club. Under interrogation from Thumper Thwaites the police golf champion he has confessed to the dastardly deed. Now he’s off to jail – where he won’t have to play golf ever again.
Now read on
As Henry Higgins and Detective Inspector Thumper Thwaites strolled towards the clubhouse, standing on the first tee was Major General (retd.) Sir Frederick Bletherington-Smythe. It was indeed Fearless Freddie, famed around the wilds of Darkest Africa for his skill in the murder of countless numbers of lion, buffalo, wildebeest, cheetah, hyena, and at least three bearers, for alas his skill with the elephant gun was matched only by the poverty of his eyesight.
Now, retired and living in a roomful of dead animal heads his only recreation was his twice-weekly trip to the manicured lawns and close mown fairways of Assbury Hole Golf and Country Club. His philosophy on the tee was exactly the same as when facing a charging rhinoceros – choose the biggest weapon you can find and kill it.
He stood on the tee now, with his ‘Very Biggest Driver you Can Possibly Buy’ in his hand. Behind him stood his caddy, or as Fearless Freddie insisted on calling him, his bearer, whose function was simply to find his master’s ball wherever it may fly from the tee. Fearless Freddie stroked his moustache, patted his bald spot, donned his golfing cap and faced down the fairway.
“Ahem, a hmm hmm,” the caddy coughed politely.
“For God’s sake can’t you see I’m trying to tee off?” screamed Fearless Fred.
“Major General (retd.) Sir Frederick Bletherington-Smythe stared at his caddy. Many years previously in the tall grass of wildest Okavango, Freddie had stood with an empty gun as a notorious rogue elephant had charged at him. His bearers had fled in terror; the pitiless African sun had beaten down upon his pith helmet and Freddie had stood his ground and directed his terrible stare upon the rampaging monster. The elephant had stopped in his tracks, gazed at the stern face of Fearless Freddie the implacable white hunter, had scratched the top of its head with the tip of its trunk, turned tail and returned to its herd a saner and wiser elephant. It was this same stare that Fearless Freddie now unleashed upon his caddy.
There was complete silence as Freddie launched into his drive.
“Look out!” yelled Thumper Thwaites and threw himself sideways.
“Fore! fore!” screamed Fearless Freddie’s caddy, but Henry Higgins was already imagining the safe, warm, comfortable world of his prison cell, a nicer, more forgiving world, a world without wind or rain, without knee-high rough, without bunkers, divots or downhill lies. Henry Higgins was dreaming of a place where all tee shots flew down the middle, where all approaches hit the green, and where all putts rolled straight and true. In the dim recesses of his mind, he may have heard a distant shout of ‘fore’, but in Higgins’ new world this had no meaning. Henry Higgins was in golfing heaven.
Fearless Freddie threw his club at his caddy and strode down the fairway. To his puzzlement in the right-hand rough, there were two people, one standing and one lying down.
“Seen my ball?” he enquired politely.
Thumper Thwaites stared at him in amazement and in a daze he pointed to where Fearless Freddie’s ball nestled soundly in the middle of the fairway having taken a perfect bounce off Henry Higgins’ head, gaining about thirty yards in the process. Fearless Freddie peered short-sightedly down at the spot where Henry Higgins lay prostrate in the long grass. “You’d better take him home,” he said. “He doesn’t look well.”
For the second time that week an ambulance drew up at the polished mahogany doors of Assbury Hole Golf and Country Club.
“Nice work, Thumper,” beamed DCC O’Brien, back at the police station. “Saves us the cost of a trial. What on earth did you hit him with?”
“No sir, he got hit by a golf ball, honest,” protested Thumper Thwaites.
“Yes, yes, of course he did,” smiled his superior, pencilling Thwaites in for a promotion.
At the pearly gates of heaven, the recording angel stared aghast at the latest arrival. “Oh no,” he thought, “not an eternity of golf stories,” while at the bar in the clubhouse of Assbury Hole Golf and Country Club the regulars talked of the amazing coincidence of how a man and his wife had both been struck down on the golf course within the space of a few days.
As they debated the odds of this happening Major General (Retd.) Sir Frederick Bletherington-Smythe strode into the bar having finished a highly satisfactory front nine.
“Afternoon Freddie,” said Fotheringham. “See there’s another one.” He jerked a thumb towards the clubhouse entrance.
“Another what?” asked Fearless Fred.
“Dead body. Hit by a golf ball apparently. Must be the season for them.”
“Don’t know what the Club’s coming to,” boomed Fearless Freddie, “ambulances making a great racket all over everywhere and dead people lying around all over the place. And as if that’s not enough, why, just now I hit an absolutely splendid drive off the first, straight down the middle and blow me down if there isn’t some idiot taking a nap in the rough.”
“Probably a non-member,” observed one of the crowd.
“Can’t understand why they let them play,” added another.
“Or women,” said Fotheringham.
“People coming here and lying down and dying and sleeping all over the course,” continued Freddie.
“Not to mention women,” interjected Fotheringham.
“Shouldn’t be allowed on a golf course at all. Golf’s a gentleman’s game,” pronounced Fearless Freddie.
The members nodded sagely and ordered another round of drinks.