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THE LEGEND OF BEN DOVERMAN

DON’T YOU EVEN think of touching that penny again, I said to him, but he was
already bent to his elbow, his fingers clipped around the coin.
For just a moment, I remembered. All of this was meant to be. All of this, part
of the plan.
“Mr Doverman,” he said, “how can I do anything else but reach for this coin?”
The sky had turned and I don’t remember where I was when the sky had not
turned, but it turned alright and I was turning around to look.
My neck was something ostriches do when a marmot, or one or those snake
killing mongoose meerkat whatevers heist an egg from their nest.
The sky, I say to my caddy, I say to Max. My neck is still turned, then I turn it
back. I point my club at the clouds and they scream out death on all horizons, but
I know pointing at them will eventually make them go away. Even if they go
away if I don’t point, it’s the fact I can move my arm away from the coin that
reminds me I’d rather point.
“The sky could rain pennies forever and your job would be to figure out which
one was the right one. Which coin to pick up from under that ball,” I say to Max.
Then I turn and I rush at him. Straight forward, I’m an inch away from his
nose.
I stare into his face, two fused eyeballs stare back at me with all his question
and hate and no words behind them to say.
“And if you can’t,” I say, “it’s your fault.”
My eyes again, staring, “And the fault of nobody else.”
Max nods and backs away.
He bends over again toward the ball. The coin is at his ankle. He moves the ball
to grab the coin and then he puts the ball back where it was.

“DO YOU REMEMBER who I am?” I ask him. He’s my caddy and the big golf
club I swing wildly is always an eyelash or two away from a dented in socket.
There are few places I’d rather swing, and all I can do is swing where the club
is so close to my caddy.
My caddy Max is a swinger by the way, he cheats on his wife. With her
permission, or whatever they call it these days. She cheats on him as well.
The point is they have some kind of agreement. It isn’t a very good one. What it
gets him, aside from a new STD to rise a few bumps on his prick, I might not
ever know. And then I think of the coin and what any of us get from picking it
up. Poor Max.
The coin is a penny I drop to mark where the ball is, where it belongs. They do
this in golf games, to get their ball away from fellow competitors and not lose
their spot. If you weren’t aware, now you are. Everything is about your spot.
“I remember who you are, of course,” Max says to me. “You’re the great Ben
Doverman. You’re the greatest golfer in history. The only guy who’s had a hole
in one on a par four on a PGA tour club course. One of some, I forget how many,
people in history have done it, yeah, yeah yeah. Can we just move on to the next
hole?”
“That’s right,” I said, and, “So you know how important it is? Every swing that
I take?”
“Of course Mister Doverman,” he says. He tosses the ball up in the air and his
grip is the empty nothing straddling planet earth and all the black and who
knows what spanning the entire universe and its one shot to get everything right.
You’re reading the things that I think and you’re dreaming of the nothing they
are, I want to say to him. He could know more, but I don’t know that he cares.
The nothing I say is the nothing of what you are when you don’t swing, because
you don’t golf. You would never golf, but you would never know why it’s a
terrible choice to take swings at a ball. And maybe a worse one not to swing.
Max understand me, and “I get it,” he says. “You want me to bend over and
pick up this penny because we’re working so hard for a bunch of corporate
geniuses who want to make sure their money stays right. Am I correct?” he asks.
I have to stop for a moment. My club is up, it’s up under my armpit. I’m
straightening the buttons on my pop collar and the sweat I collect around my
neck is beads away from a necklace they sell at the head shop. I could be posing
as Themis and the scales of justice are the random objects I carry around to keep
my hands off everything I don’t want to bend over and touch. I know I’m on fire,
but I hate being so rational in front of my caddy.
Max only responds to commands.
And so, No, I say to him. You’re not right. They’re right. They’re always right.
Wherever they are.

DO YOU KNOW, I say to Max, what I did this morning, when I went to the
bank?
Of course I don’t know what you did this morning at the bank, Mister
Doverman, Max says, like only Max can get fresh. I only know that you probably
took out more money than I’ll see in ten lifetimes for loose pocket change while I
get stuck here with the lame kind of constant charity work hookers lend when
they suck off bedposts for a fee.
He sort of laughs a drool of something that stretches to his fuzzy wristband.
Then he stretches his words to make sure nobody saw how off that he is. Or,
that’s what I would guess.
Do you want me to bend over and pick up another one of your coins?
Well, I know to pace myself. I stop to assess the entire situation. It’s one of
those hot armpit days where everyone who’s woken up early to shower is
looking for a fast exit to hide the scent slipping away from under their pits and
everyone that hasn’t won’t move a muscle away from whatever lie they’re
working on fabricating next. Likely to get out of whatever horrible job they have.
So, “I swapped out a hundred dollars in pennies,” I say to Max, my caddy, “for
a hundred dollars, all in one bank note.”
Max sort of leans back to turn his chin up and think about what I’m doing. Or
look like he is, I sometimes wonder what happens behind peoples eyes and what
they lack back in there. What isn’t going back to where it should, to remind them
what is and where they should or shouldn’t go back to. What little extra they
have back there and why so little of it rarely comes in handy.
All Max can do is raise a finger, then he’s stumped again, shaking his head. He
doesn’t know.
I pace myself again, nothing in life should be rushed. Odysseus took three mere
days to construct the Trojan Horse. Imagine what he could have accomplished
had he waited a year. See a whole fleet of those wooden fuck horses on your
front steps, with little measures of counter response waiting inside, ready to get
you for taking your swings.
Or, look at the millions of bars in your neighborhood, the cigarettes and fast
food everywhere. Odysseus defeated it all long ago, let’s not forget what’s
actually real.
The world is over, I say to him, my caddy. But Max doesn’t completely get it
yet.

WHEN I WENT to the bank, this morning, I say to Max. Mind you, I take a good
swing in between each of my sentences. Nothing I’m swinging at matters much,
they’re just practice swings.
When I go for the ball I intend to smack the shit out of it and get it the fuck into
the hole.
Most people don’t know what it feels like to always be trying to get a hole in
one. The cops know this feeling, it writhes and begs at your chest. You feel the
angst and the rise of something circling in your stomach. It burns and releases a
tension inside your neck. It’s how those cops feel about everyone they set up and
kill. But all of this is besides the point.
“When I was at the bank, I asked for a lollypop,” I say to Max, my caddy, my
trusty accomplice. “And then I unwrapped the wrapper and I stuck it in my
face.”
I sort of smile wide and show the blue coating of blueberry whatever blue
lollypop sugar on my face and smeared on my teeth.
“And then I left them a dollar, to pay,” I said. “A dollar on the floor made up
of pennies.”
Max looks at me like he might know some of it. The rest is clouds that have
death on their outskirts and nowhere you look is going to change. You could
look nowhere but at the coin. Or your fingertips, most people wouldn’t get it.
Except maybe other golfers, you know, our society is growing stupid.
“I left them a dollar in pennies, everywhere I took a step.”
I shake my pockets and the loose jingle where I tore a hole in my pocket lets
another penny slip out.
There are pennies now all over the place around me, my feet are steeped in
copper. And no one knows which pennies to bend over for or pick up.
Now Max is presented with a little problem here. I have him bending over for
pennies to make my ball in for the minimum wage he spoon feeds into the
mouth of his young wife that sucks every cock she can find wider than the
penny.
My caddy Max, in this moment, suddenly knows something. It’s slippery, what
he knows and it’s wet and it’s coating his eyeballs. It’s inside him, slipping
around, but he can’t quite get it completely.
Not fully has it hardened in him yet.
And the rest of the day, I tell him, taking another practice swing at the ball. It’s
below my feet and I don’t care where it is.
The rest of the day I dropped pennies all over the place, I tell him, taking to
another swing.
Several dollars in front of the strip club, I swing. Several more in the grocery
store, I swing again. Several more at the mall, another swing.
Another swing and, Several more that way, I point.
I’m pointing across the green with my club balanced, it’s level with the horizon
line. I’m pointing it right where I know there’s a change purse full of bend overs
for anyone else looking to change how the human body functions. And I’m
counting.
I’m counting, how many times that body bends over from now until the day
that you die.

DO YOU KNOW why I did this? I ask him. I was a stock broker once, I worked
on Wall Street. With all the cockroaches and rats of society, I said. Whether or not
you knew.
He sort of shakes his head like he can’t be bothered.
“This was well after my father, a real dickhead, trained me to be a golfer. It was
in my days of floundering. Floundering and wondering if I was really good
enough to play golf,” I said, and then, “But those cockroaches and ankle biters,” I
add. “You know what they are?” I asked him.
He nodded. They’re the bottom feeding filth of society, he said.
Very good Max! I yelled. Another swing, I finally swing at the ball.
I chip it good it and it goes about a hundred yards and rolls off to the left. The
sand traps are to the right, so I shrug and I sigh and I say, They’ll go anywhere
for the coins.
My eyes sort of sink to a hollow state and I relax at my shoulders to catch up
with my breaths, the grass is soft and I sigh.
“You get it?” I ask Max, my caddy.
Max stands there looking stumped.
“I think I understand what you’re doing, Mister Doverman,” Max says. “I just
don’t understand why you want to destroy society so bad.”
Then, “The Scottish invented this game a thousand years or so ago,” he says.
“From what I know of the game.” He turns to nod at me with his two bug
eyeballs as he talks all the nonsense he knows. “And the British. The royal family
must depend on these precise measurements. Think about all those years we’ve
designed this place to be so exact. The balance of justice, the precise exchanges.”
He blinks good, something is stuck in his brain. “I mean,” he finally goes on.
“Think about what you’re costing these people. You’re changing the god
damned shape of the human body and what it costs one to move about,” he says.
His eyes are wide and he’s mulling over the possibilities. Nothing I’ve shown
him is out of touch with reality or possibility and all he can do is wonder how
the exchange of currency will never be what it was worth before I took hold of
those coins.
I know he’s seeing images of everyone bending over everywhere. People who
have never counted in such ways. Bent over and wondering what they lost.
For a quick moment, something appears behind his eyes. It looks like an entire
ocean was moved across the planet in an instant. Something behind his eyes had
shifted his thinking into a different category of thought. One of new ideas being
born. A smile is his only option.
“This really gave me a very, very different thought Mister Doverman,” he says.
I’m ready to finally swing at the goddamn ball, but he has me worried this
might be the most important thing in the world. All of us should stop the
universe just for him to figure it out. “I can see people in a hundred years from
now,” he says, “using metal detectors to search for old relics that you’re
responsible for spreading around like daffodil seeds.” He shifts his feet and his
hand comes up, he’s deep in another ponder, “And now, imagine that in a
hundred years metal detectors won’t have handles, and we won’t have to walk
around and bend over to dig up the coins once we locate them in the dirt. Think
about it,” he says, but I’m shaking my head. For a no. “We’ll have to design
machines that are so efficient, they can find all these loose pennies everywhere
all at once to keep up with inflation and bending and all of these rising costs!”
Max breaks out into a fit of laughing that’s high pitched enough to have me
reach up and plug my ears. It’s school girl and it’s annoying and it’s more
annoying sending my hands in the opposite direction of my back, getting ready
to bend over again.
“Pick up the fucking ball,” I say to him.
“This really makes me think more, what is the cost of golfers. On the planet, on
everybody else who has to keep up these courses and bend over for people like
you?”
Pick up the ball, this time I say it with a little more oomph to my words.
It seems to be working, Max bends down toward where I need him, but then he
rises up again to forget everything he’s supposed to be doing. Who knows what
this is costing the world, those pennies sure aren’t doing a good job of controlling
it.
He looks at me like he’s been stuck forever as a statue or something built in the
middle of this field to scare off the birds.
“Where did you figure this out?” he finally asks me. Another small smile steals
his cheeks upward and he runs into a laugh he can’t fit back in his stomach. His
eyes are so wild I have to blush also and pretend I’ve already moved on to
something beyond the coins.
“My wife,” I tell him, making sure to go easy.
His wife, Max’s wife, is probably in bed with his neighbor again. It’s always
best never to remind people what the truth is. The truth, it keeps them bending
over less. What we want is them bending over more.
“I figured it out while watching her at her yoga classes,” I said to him. And I
know something about that bending really has me wondering about all the stuff
that happens at foot level, and why everything we seem to do happens out of
view of our eyes, and always right around our hands.
The truth is, nothing is more important, where I bend over, for those coins.
And nothing, when all the bends are tallied, will be worth more than those coins.
Those coins will never be worth the bends.
This has to make anyone question, why all of these people are so willing to
bend over so much in golf, and what moving really costs the body.
I started playing the game long before I realized how much bending over it
required, and this is why now I have Max, my caddy. To help me with all of
these bends.
Those costs really do matter. Especially the cost of one having to bend, just ask
my back.
So, “Lets go get an ice cream cone at the golf club, shall we?” I say, and I throw
my arm up on his shoulder and we walk away like the pennies, the swings, the
bending over, nothing of it matters at all.

© Will McCoy 2020