Chris couldn't believe he was doing this. It was 6:00 am on a Saturday morning. He could still be in bed enjoying sleeping in, but no.. He had to be out here because he lost a bet. When was he going to learn not to bet against his undercover agent? Hell, when would all of them learn not to bet against Ezra? At least he wouldn't be alone in his misery. As he pulled into the lot he saw Vin's battered jeep sharing lot space with beamers and jags. The luxury cars looked a bit put out by the rust bucket sitting next to them. Josiah's Suburban looked even more out of place than Vin's Jeep.
Chris cruised through the lot looking for a space for his truck. Obviously, the lot hadn't been designed to accommodate large pick-ups with king cabs. Finally Chris just went to the far end of the lot and took up two spaces. He climbed out of the truck and headed for the clubhouse.
As he walked along the path he had to admit this was a beautiful place. Entering the clubhouse he found it to be exactly the way he thought an exclusive club would look. It was early, but the team weren't the only people there. A few distinguished looking men eyed the intrusion of the six unorthodox visitors. Chris could only sympathize with them when he saw his team. Josiah was dressed in plaid pants with a red polo shirt. JD had on denim shorts that came well past his knees. Sometimes Chris couldn't figure out why the kid just didn't wear pants. Buck was dressed casually in Khakis and an t-shirt that read: "Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms" with the added phrase, "Who's bringing the chips?" Nathan was also in khakis and a dark blue polo shirt. Vin sat next to Ezra arguing.
"I ain't wearing these shoes," Vin stated.
Chris could see he was in his usual well-worn jeans and a white t-shirt. His ever-present cowboy boots were slumped against a chair. Chris smiled when he noticed the shoes Vin wore.
"Nice," Chris remarked. Vin scowled and went to pull the shoes off.
"Mr. Tanner you have no choice," Ezra protested while shooting Chris an evil look. "They won't let you out on the course in cowboy boots."
Chris just shook his head as Ezra argued with Vin. The undercover agent was immaculately dressed in navy blue trousers and a lighter blue polo shirt. Chris decided to come to Ezra's rescue.
"Come on, Vin, give it up," Chris said. "Ezra won this bet so do what he says so we can get out of here."
"Aw hell," Vin cursed. "How much fun can it be hitting a ball with a stick?"
"I think it will be lots of fun," Buck said, waving to four women standing by the front doors.
JD just rolled his eyes. "It's a gorgeous day, Vin. It will be great."
"I'll say," Buck added. JD turned to see one of the woman wave at his roommate.
"Want to turn down that animal magnetism before we have every wild animal following us home?" JD complained.
Buck went to grab JD who quickly ducked behind Josiah. Josiah took exception to being used as a buffer and picked JD up and deposited him next to Chris. JD looked at Chris who was giving him the patented Larabee glare. The young man beat a hasty retreat over to Vin.
"This game has a noble tradition dating back to Scotland," Josiah said.
"Is that why you pulled out those plaid pants?" Nathan asked.
"Where else could I wear them?" Josiah asked innocently.
"Gentlemen, if we're ready we must go now," Ezra said. " Tee off is promptly at 6:30. If we miss it, we lose our spot."
Chris quickly changed into the shoes Ezra held out towards him. Vin was right - golf shoes were positively hideous. Well, then again, they were better than bowling shoes. Ezra was finally able to push them out the door to the waiting golf carts. Josiah, Nathan, Buck and JD climbed into one, while Chris, Vin and Ezra took the other. Ezra had initially gotten into the driver's seat but one glare from Chris had him taking shotgun. Vin just chuckled in the seat behind him. They got to the first tee just in time.
"I'll go first to show you gentlemen how it's done," Ezra said.
They all stepped back as Ezra chose his club and set the ball on the tee. He stepped back and took a couple of practice swings. When he was ready, he stepped up next to the ball. He swung the club up to the ball and stopped. Shifted his feet a few times and swung again only to stop before hitting the ball. He did this twice more before Vin had enough.
"God damn it, Ezra! Hit the damn thing already!" Vin complained.
Ezra sighed and readied himself. He pulled the club all the way back and swung. The ball went sailing as pretty as could be straight down the fairway.
"Nice," Josiah said.
"Who's next?" Ezra asked.
Josiah quickly pushed everyone out of the way and set up his tee. He started the same routine as Ezra and Vin just groaned. Josiah shot him a dirty look then turned back to the ball. Josiah took an experimental swing but didn't hit the ball.
"Wake me up when it's my turn," Vin said as he stretched out on the grass.
Chris hid a smile as he watched the sharpshooter put his cowboy hat over his eyes. Ezra hadn't been able to make Vin leave it behind. Josiah finally hit the ball and it went sailing into the rough. The curses coming from the profiler could have peeled paint. Buck didn't fair much better and JD had to replace four divots before he even hit the ball. Nathan's ball went straight down the fairway but not as far as Ezra's had travelled. Chris's ball landed not too far from Ezra's.
"Hey, sleeping beauty, it's your turn," Chris called.
"About damned time," Vin said as he got to his feet.
Vin grabbed a club at random, placed his tee in the grass, and put the ball on top. He stood right next to the ball, looked down the fairway and swung.
"Damn!" Buck cried. Vin's ball sailed right down the fairway landing a good twenty yards in front of Ezra's.
"Can we go now?" Vin asked.
"Mr. Tanner this hole is a par 3," Ezra said. "We still have to get the ball to the first hole."
"You mean we gotta hit the ball again?"
"Then can we go?"
"Sorry brother Vin, there are eighteen holes to a course," Josiah said.
"Fortunately I booked us only for nine holes," Ezra added quickly.
"Chris," Vin complained.
"Don't look at me," Chris said. "You were the one who made the bet."
"I did not!" Vin complained as he climbed back into the golf cart. "It was Buck."
"How was I to know this was what he would pick?" Buck yelled from the other cart.
"What sport did ya think Ezra would pick?" Nathan asked.
"Nathan has a point," Josiah added.
"What's wrong with golf?" JD asked. "I think it's fun."
They drove the carts over to the fairway. Ezra parked close to where his ball had landed. They all grabbed their clubs and headed for their respective golf balls. They went in the same order with Ezra going first. When he hit his ball it sailed to the green and stopped 5 yards from the hole. Since Nathan and Chris were close to Ezra they went after him. Both golf balls landed on the green but a good distance from the hole. JD and Buck barely got their gold balls on the green. They all watched as Josiah seriously contemplated how to get the shot just right. When he took the swing the ball went sailing over the green to land in the sand trap on the other side. Again the big man started cursing.
"Hey, Ezra, I thought you said this game was supposed to be relaxing?" Vin commented.
"I guess Josiah just don't get it," Vin shrugged.
"Just hit the ball, Vin," Chris sighed.
"So the idea is to get the ball close to that flag?" Vin asked.
"Not exactly," Ezra said.
"Oh wait, ain't there a hole up there to get the ball in?"
"Yes the flag is sitting in the hole to mark it," Ezra explained.
"So I want to get it in the hole then?"
"Yes," Ezra said, patiently. "But for now just try to get it close to the flag."
Vin grabbed a club - again at random - and stepped up to his ball. He looked towards the flag then back down at the ball. He shifted a bit then looked again. He looked back to the ball and brought his arms back to swing. The club connected with the ball and made a satisfying crack. They all watched as the ball sailed towards the green. It landed close to the flag and they all watched the ball roll slowly towards the hole and fall in.
"Damn, I hit it too hard," Vin complained. "Guess I get points off for that huh?" Vin turned to look at his friends. They were all standing there just looking at him. "What?"
"He's played before!" Josiah complained.
"I doubt it," Nathan laughed. "He's just a natural."
"That ain't right," Josiah cried.
Nathan patted him on the shoulder as they walked back to the carts, Ezra shaking his head as he followed. JD patted Vin's back and said that was a great shot. Buck just tipped Vin's cowboy hat forward as he walked past.
"I don't get it," Vin said, pushing his hat back. "Did I do something wrong?"
"No, Vin," Chris laughed. "You did it right. I just don't think anyone was expecting that."
"What's so hard about hitting a ball into a hole?" Vin shrugged.
Chris laughed and followed the sharpshooter back to the cart. He decided that this day might not be so bad after all.
After seven holes Ezra decided this might have been a mistake. His six colleagues were wreaking havoc on the green. JD was leaving enough divots to make a gopher proud. Josiah cursed up a storm and bent two of his clubs. Buck lost interest at the fourth hole when he discovered the group behind them happened to be nurses from the local hospital. He'd tried to show off for them and was now so far over par it didn't matter what he did. Nathan was a steady player and was enjoying himself. Chris was the same, but seemed to be more amused by the antics of his team. Vin, though, had been a surprise. The sharpshooter was a natural. He didn't even try and he'd scored an eagle and two birdies and was now 5 points under par.
"Buck, are you going to take your turn or what?" JD asked.
Buck looked up from sitting in the cart with two of the nurses. "You take my turn, Kid."
Chris just rolled his eyes as he turned to Vin. "Why don't you go, Vin."
Ezra watched as Tanner grabbed a club and ball and stepped up to the line. He dropped the ball and got ready for his swing. Ezra knew this was a two-par hole and was curious to see what would happen. The sharpshooter looked down the fairway and took his shot. They all watched as the ball sailed towards the green. The ball bounced on the green and slowly rolled towards the hole. Ezra smiled as the ball effortlessly dropped into the cup.
"That is so not natural!" Josiah stormed off towards the clubhouse.
"Wow, I guess I win?"
Chris laughed. "I think it's time to call is quits, Ezra."
"I know when I've been defeated," Ezra, laughed.
They all climbed into the golf carts. Except Vin. "Now wait a minute!" The sharpshooter stepped in front of the cart. "I was just getting started."
"Come on, Vin, I'll buy you a beer," Chris laughed.
Vin shrugged and climbed into the cart.
"Might I suggest we head for the saloon?" Standish said.
"Good idea, Pard," Vin said.
They watched as Nathan stopped next to Josiah. The profiler climbed in, crossing his arms across his chest. Buck said he'd meet them there. Chris laughed knowing the mustached agent would be awhile.
+ + + + + + +
Two hours later found the seven ATF agents laughing and carrying on at the Saloon. Inez put her hands on her hips as loud laughter came from their table. Josiah bellowed and tried to grab JD. The youngest easily evaded the profiler and hid behind Buck.
"Easy, Josiah," Vin said, stepping in front of the big man. "Let me buy you another beer."
Ezra smiled. "Perhaps you should find another hobby."
"And give up the King of Sports?" Josiah lamented. "Not in this life time."
"I certainly won't be giving it up," Buck said, fanning the phone numbers he received.
"And what are these?" Inez came up behind Buck grabbing the papers.
"Nothing, Darlin', now give them back."
Inez quickly stepped out of his reach and raced for the bar. Buck was in hot pursuit as Inez threatened to drop the numbers down the disposal.
"I thought the game was fun," JD declared. "I was starting to get the hang of it at the end."
"Well, I won't be playing the sport of kings any more," Vin declared.
"Why not?" Nathan asked. "You were a natural."
"If I can't wear my cowboy boots then it ain't worth it."
"I'll drink to that," Chris said.
Vin raised his mug and clinked it against Chris's.