The Golfer

Style Issue 2018

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Q: Describe your reactions to this terrible injustice, Professor. Was there a red mist before your eyes? Did you turn giddy and wake up to find him lying lifeless at your feet? Just what happened? A: Nothing, sir. (Sensation in the grand jury room.) Q: Think again, Professor. Nothing? A: I merely reflected that, in spite of his standing scientifically, Dr. James T. Green was a moron and utterly devoid of morality and that I should take this into account. I did not lose my temper. Q: Did you snatch the card from his hands? A: I took it, sir. I did not snatch it. Q: And then did you cram it down his throat? A: I suggested that he eat it, sir, as it contained a falsehood in black and white, and Dr. Green complied with my request. Q: Did you lay hands upon him, Professor? Remember, now, we are still on the third hole. A: I think I did steady him a little by holding him about the neck and throat while he masticated and swallowed the card. Q: And then what? A: Well, gentlemen, after that there is very little more to tell until we reached the 16th hole. Dr. Green for some time made no further attempt to treat me unjustly and played in silence, acquiescing in the scores I had marked on my card. We were even as to hole, and it was a certainty that I was about to break 100. But I knew what was beneath this silence on Doc Green's part, and I did not trust it. Q: What do you mean? That you knew what he was thinking, although he did not speak? A: Yes, sir. I knew just what kind of remarks he would have made if he had made any remarks. Q: Were these remarks which he suppressed derogatory remarks? A: Yes, sir. Almost unbelievably so. They were deliberately intended to destroy my poise. Q: Did they do so, Professor? A: I don't think so. Q: Go on, Professor. A: At the 16th tee, as I drove off, this form of insult reached its climax. He accentuated his silence with a peculiar look, just as my club head was about to meet the ball. I knew what he meant. He knew that I stepped into the sand with my niblick—watched me with that look upon his face. I made three strokes at the ball and, as will sometimes happen even to the best of players, did not move it a foot. The fourth stroke drove it out of sight into the sand. The sixth stroke brought it to light again. Gentlemen, I did not lose my temper. I never do. But I admit that I did increase my tempo. I struck rapidly three more times at the ball. And all the time Doc Green was regarding me with that look, to which he now added a smile. Still I kept my temper, and he might be alive today if he had not spoken. Question (by the foreman of the jury): What did the man say at this trying time? A: I know that you will not believe it is within the human heart to make the black remark that he made. And I hesitate to repeat it. But I have sworn to tell everything. What he said was, "Well, Professor, the club puts these bunkers here, and I suppose they have got to be used." Question (by the foreman of the jury): Was there something especially trying in the way he said it? A: He said it with an affection of joviality. Q: You mean as if he thought he were making a joke, Professor? A: Yes, sir. Q: What were your emotions at this point? A: Well, sir, it came to me suddenly that I owed a duty to society; and for the sake of civilization I struck him with the niblick. It was an effort to reform him, gentlemen. Q: Why did you cover him with sand afterwards? A: Well, I knew that if the crowd around the locker room discovered that I had hit him, they would insist on counting it as another stroke. And that is exactly what happened when the body was discovered—once again I was prevented from breaking 100. The District Attorney: Gentlemen of the jury, you have heard Professor Waddems' frank and open testimony in the case of Dr. James T. Green. My own recommendation is that he be not only released, but complimented, as far as this count is returned. If ever a homicide was justifiable, this one was. And I suggest that you report no indictment against the Professor, without leaving your seats. Many of you will wish to get in at least nine holes before dinner. • "I knew that if the crowd around the locker room discovered I had hit him, they would insist on counting it as another stroke."

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