Not everybody plays golf willingly. Here's a bit of proof. Larry
On Father's Orders...
When the name, Peyton Feminita appeared on the entry list for this year’s Custerd Cup, heads spun and tongues wagged. “A 13 year old girl should not be playing in one of the biggest mens tournaments of the season,” says Mickey Dogslaw. He’s a longtime area golfer, player in “The Custerd” and a man who speaks for many. “That girl needs to play dolls and learn how to make pie.” Dogslaw takes a moment to finish his beer and carefully consider what he says next. “On top of that, if she beats the men who want to win it, what’s that say about the men who want to win it? We need a judge to stand up for the men in town, kick out the girl - so a man can win the trophy…legally.”
For his part, Eugenia Creamwell High School Football Coach Laverne Feminita says he’s not pushing his kid. “I’m just trying to give her a chance to prove she’s as good and as tough as the next man...or person...as the case may be.”
In case you’re wondering, Peyton was allowed to enter qualifying for the tournament because those checking the entry blanks did not realize she was female.
Geoff Deleary, Competition Chairman for this year’s event, says there is nothing in the rules that prevents females from entering. “We depend on our guys who read the entry forms to weed out the women. But, in this case, they missed it. I mean, her name’s ‘Peyton’ for corn sake. Next year, we’ll change the rules. But, come on. Who names their little girl ‘Peyton?’”
It turns out “Peyton” is one of the most popular androgynous names given by parents these days. Her Dad explains: “As a kid, I was always teased because my parents named me Laverne. Sure, it can be both a girl or boy’s name. But, when you pair it up with my last name, Feminita...well, it was rough.” The Coach took a moment to collect his thoughts. “I guess I wanted my daughter to have the same opportunities I did.”
Her mother, Cameron, agrees. “Our parents did it to us. We did it to her. Aside from being kind of bitter and angry, I don’t think it hurt us at all. In fact, it made us both determined to do whatever it takes to get even with Life.” Cameron says she’s happy her daughter has been “put in this position by her Dad, who only wants the best for her. Of course, we’d also like to see her in a pro golf career…which we would manage for her...as our retirement.”
In that qualifying tournament, by the way, the 13 year old shot a near course record 65, beating the next best qualifier by 12 strokes. She carded eight birdies and one bogey. That lone black mark on the card came after she got into an argument with her caddy (her father) about her allowance.
One of those playing in her foursome, Chaz Pestril, reported “I didn’t know Peyton was a little girl until we stopped at the halfway hut and she trotted into the ladies room with a pushy older broad who turned out to be her Mom.”
I caught up with Peyton on her personal practice range, better known as the football field at Eugenia Creamwell High. Even though the signs clearly say “No Golf Practice,” it’s clear someone is bending the rules.
“I’d rather be at camp right now with my friends,” says the 13 year old phenom. But, that’s not happening.” Whack! She hits a crisp 5 iron it rises high over the football field, flies at least 200 yards and lands in a small island of grass in the school parking lot. Her Dad, is there to pop the ball into a shag bag. He gives her a thumbs up and yells something unintelligible. “I tell my Dad, it would be better for me to practice somewhere bigger. And, if he uses the phrase ‘Good effort’ one more time...” Peyton’s voice trails off as she sets up for another practice poke.
I ask her about the possibility of a lawsuit - filed by Mickey Dogslaw and Elmer Pittswheel. Whack! We both watch as the ball, off the face of the 5-iron, on nearly the same path - until it misses the small patch of grass and bounces off the asphalt and ricochets off several parked cars - setting off multiple car alarms. Coach Feminita yells something we can’t quite understand, as he runs away from the parking lot. Peyton puts the 5-iron in her golf bag. “My Dad says it’s a free country. And, that means I’m free to kick their butts.”
I help the Golfing teen pick up her gear and hustle into the wooded area next to the parking lot. Amid the sounds of approaching sirens, we shake hands and go our separate ways.
For a girl, that guy’s got a really firm grip.
Crime of Necessity?
Our reporter, Brent Green was not on assignment when he was trapped in a booth between two titans of local law enforcement at a local coffee shop. The debate is recorded here. Larry
What if I told you the number one problem on area Golf Courses over the last two years is number one? No, that's not a misprint, nor a conundrum. Number one is the number one problem. At least, it is if you look at police blotters over that time period. Yes, I'm talking about Golfers going number one - relieving themselves and their bladders - in semiprivate spots just off the official playing areas of our County's well-manicured Golfing facilities.
After receiving an anonymous tip, this reporter checked both the Persimmon Pines Police log and the Traylor County Sheriff Department's yellowed scratchpad of semiofficial entries. The result seems to indicate that both complaints and arrests for public urination on and around Golf properties is on the rise.
Persimmon Pines Police Chief Candy Stazniack says there's a problem. "Whipping it out in public is against several Town ordinances I can think of right off the top of my head," she said recently over coffee at Uruguay Cafe -- the new hot spot in Town recently opened by former undocumented Golf Course workers.
We had been discussing the issue for an hour as Isnelda Orchestrada, topped off our coffee cups - again. The Chief continued. "I've heard all the excuses, too." I could see the fire in Stazniack's eyes as she faced down vivid memories. "Some guys tell you their bladder's small - their prostate's enlarged - they've got some kind of kidney problem." She snorted and took another sip of coffee. "I don't want to get crude here. But, I understand that goin' pee pee is normal. We all do it. Right?" I nodded, but not too quickly -- so as not to put too much pressure on my coffee-filled bladder. "But, Brent, the problem is the Law don't make exceptions for guys who wanna find relief within eyeshot of some defenseless 80 year-old woman with a pair of binoculars. So, when the call comes in. Somebody's gotta hit the siren and lights and rundown whoever's floppin' that bad boy out in public. You know?"
Just then, Traylor County Sheriff Orville Wilburite walked in, spotted us in the booth and strolled over. "Brent...Chief. What's up?" I explained our discussion of the recent increase in reports of public urination on and around Golf Courses. The Sheriff pushed in beside me and motioned to Isnelda to bring over a cup of coffee.
"Yeah...big problem." Isnelda topped off my cup as she filled the Sheriff's. "But, I gotta admit, I got sympathy for guys who get caught two holes short of the next restroom."
The Chief cut in. "But, Sheriff. Face it. You don't see women squattin' behind a bush just off the tee."
It was the Chief who broke the awkward silence as she pulled a notepad out of her breast pocket and began reading. "Sheriff, we both know you have eye witnesses and even photographic evidence of public urination activity on our local courses." She closed her notepad and looked directly at Wilburite.
The "informal" meeting was taking a different tone. Wilburite looked at Stazniack and took a long draw from a steaming cup of coffee that would have seared the lips of less experienced men. Steam puffed from his mouth as he put down his coffee. "So, this is about your 'Pee Posse,' huh Chief?"
The Chief turned up her volume. "Most of this activity seems to happen on your watch, Orville."
"That's only because three of your four 'ladies' live in My County - and the one who lives in your jurisdiction has cataracts."
"They know what they've seen. And, so do I."
I was, obviously, caught in the middle of a long-standing disagreement between these two area law enforcement giants. I looked to Sheriff Wilburite for an explanation.
He shook his head and sighed. "I've chased down a lot of leads - listened to old ladies talk about just exactly where they saw some guy with a Golf club slinking behind a bush - or leanin' against a tree in a suspicious manner. But, I've never actually caught anybody in the act."
Chief Stazniack seemed to have heard this all before. Her face turned crimson as she leaned forward - talking in staccato bursts like an illegally modified semiautomatic. "You know who they are, Orville. You got witnesses. Good ones. They'll testify in Court."
The Sheriff exhaled a long, deep coffee-breath. "They ain't witnesses. They’re vigilantes. You recruited ‘em for your dirty little job, Chief.”
"I know who they are." Stazniack turned to me, pleading her case, "They've all called my office, too. I've tried to get officers out to the scene while the offense is still being committed but, we always seem to get there after the fly is up."
I nodded...appearing to understand the problem.
"It's very involved getting DNA evidence off tree bark and poison ivy. Last time we got a sample to the State Lab, it turned out to be dog wee."
Sheriff Wilburite leaned forward earnestly. "The only hard evidence I've ever gotten is from Crustacea Sputz. She's the only one with a telephoto lens on her camera. But, her hands shake too much for the pictures to let us see beyond a shadow of a doubt who the 'pee-patrator' is."
I couldn't help it. I snickered. If two of us found the Sheriff's word play humorous, there was one who didn't. "You can't poo-poo that evidence," said Stazniack.
The Sheriff kept smiling. "I'm not, Chief. With good police work, you should never 'poo-poo' something that's 'pee-pee.'"
Stazniack stood up and pounded her fist on the table. It landed hard enough to stop the snickering and knock the spoon out of my cup - flipping coffee on my t-shirt. She pointed at me. "That's why I sent you the anonymous note!" Then, she leveled both barrels at the Sheriff. "You're not doing anything about this problem.” The Chief squirted out of the booth and stood.
Isnelda strolled over. "More coffee?" The Chief waved at Stazniack’s cup. "Yeah! To the top. Him, too.” My bladder felt like the over-full, steaming cup in front of me. The Chief rearranged her mace, taser, cuffs and handgun and sat down again. "Well?"
Wilburite removed his hat; a sign of truce. "Candy, it's the same four women - all in their 80s - who have binoculars and a morbid curiosity about who’s peeing in the woods where no one can see them."
Chief Stazniack banged her forehead on the table in disgust. "Don't you see? That's why I bought them all binoculars and cell phones."
"So, based on an 80 year-old's shaky hands on 60 power binoculars - you drove your City Patrol Car into the County - my jurisdiction - where you ran down a Twosome on the 13th fairway at Hooking Hills?"
Stazniack took a sip of coffee to give herself time to ponder her answer. "They fit the description."
"What was the 'description?'"
"Two guys in a Golf cart wearing short sleeve shirts, shorts and baseball hats."
The Sheriff put his hat back on. Not a good sign. Who was on the defensive now? I wasn't sure. But, the Chief's tone changed. She put down her coffee cup. "I already paid the Golf Course for the cart. And, the guys who were in it jumped clear before I sideswiped 'em." The Chief thought a little more and added, "And, I took the police report on the whole thing - then buried it - so, it never made it into the press." There was a long pause as the three of us searched for the words that would bring this meeting to a close.
A tear trickled from Stazniack's good eye. "My witnesses want some legal action. They deserve it. We all do. The community needs closure - of all zippers on public property."
The Sheriff patted his counterpart's hand. "What you really want is for them four to stop callin' you. And, you think a few arrests is gonna do it."
The lack of a response seemed to satisfy Wilburite. He adjusted his sunglasses as he stood. "You shouldn't have given 'em binoculars, Candy. You created a monster." The Sheriff put a dollar on the table for Isnelda, started whistling a happy tune and walked out the door.
Chief Stazniack and I sat silently for a second. She took a sip of coffee, then tried to look me in the eye. But, I was sliding out of the booth and heading for the restroom at a gallop. She yelled after me: “I buried the report. There’s no way you’re gonna get the names of the guys I ran down!”
At least I think that’s how the sentence ended. Her last few words were obliterated by the squeak of the closing restroom door.
Editor's note: If you were one of the two men who were nearly killed by Chief Stazniack, please contact the Editor. Ed.
Linda Curdlesbeak, an accomplished 37 handicap, stabbed at a frank in a sea of brownish beans. "Last Thursday, I actually saw a fox on the third hole at Hooking Hills." She shuddered. Missy Merkle, the Waitress at The Hubbub Hut interrupted to see if anyone wanted more iced tea. Linda didn't - perhaps couldn't - answer. She was reliving the horror that gripped her for a week. "That thing was nearly as big as my cat. I'm lucky to be alive."
More and more Golfers in the greater Traylor County area are, apparently, feeling like Ms. Curdlesbeak. That's why, her Attorney Edgar Pillzucker recently helped her organize "Golfers Arming Against Golf Course Animals."
Pillzucker handed his client a tissue. "I believe," he said, "this is the first anti-animal activist organization of its kind - anywhere." Curdlesbeak blotted at her nose and continued, "Don't get me wrong, I love animals - as long as they're on a leash; or in a cage at the circus. That's why I'm so excited about the other three people who are joining me Wednesday night for our first meeting. I think it's a great beginning. It's time for those who love The Game to stand up against wildlife - put a gun in the Golf bag - and take back our Golf Courses!"
A note. Before meeting with Curdlesbeak, I called Jiggs Dilwick, Greenskeeper at the County-Owned Course to ask if he had ever had complaints about dangerous wildlife on his course. Dilwick pondered. "I've been here 30 years. Only wildlife problem I recollect people gettin' upset about is goose poop on their shoes. Sure, we got a fox. 'Fact is, most people like catching a glimpse of him. Pretty thing. I think he's eating mice."
When I told Curdlesbeak what the greenskeeper said about the fox. The activist spit her tea across the Diner. "My God! There are mice out there, too? So, let’s say I’m on the green - and I reach in to get my ball out of the hole. Am I going to get bit by a mouse?”
Her Attorney scribbled in his notebook and handed his client another tissue. While Missy Merkle dabbed at the tea dripping from the backs of other patrons, I pointed out that Golfers in the area often see everything from groundhogs to wild turkeys, deer, coyote, frogs...and even snakes.
Curdlesbeak sobbed, "Why are snakes allowed out there? Golf is a civilized game. Snakes are not civilized! They don’t even have arms or hair! After we nail that fox...snakes are next on the list."
I asked the anti-animal activist what she would like to see done with the critters who meander onto area Golf Courses. Curdlesbeak put down her fork, looked at her Attorney and considered the question carefully. "Let's be honest here. I'm paying greens fees so I can try to enjoy myself. I can't enjoy myself if I'm afraid of being attacked by some vicious creature with long yellow fangs and terrifying eyes. I think every wild, untrained or unlicensed animal on the property should be removed from public land." She paused, considering her words carefully. "If the Golf Course won't do it, then the rest of us need guns."
Attorney Pillzucker, leaned across the table and patted my shoulder. "We don't want to sue. My client, however, has suffered a tremendous emotional trauma. She's emotionally distraught. Putting a firearm in her hands will empower her. Who knows how many others have suffered the same problems which can result in depression, mood swings and bed-wetting."
Linda Curdlesbeak put down her tissue and quickly added, “I only wet the bed once." Pillzucker handed his client another tissue as the interview ended.
Soon after lunch, I was on the phone with Traylor County Community College Professor of Natural History, Proudfoot Dibbledick, Ph.D. Dr. Dibbledick, who traces his ancestry back to a particularly cold Winter in 1819 when English settlers sought shelter in a Chockasoutauk Indian Village and Nature took its course, was nonplussed by Curdlesbeak's proposal to eliminate wild animals from area Golf Courses.
"As a person with deep ancestral roots in this area, I can tell you, wildlife in Traylor County is facing a do or die squeeze play by Developers and other opportunists who, seemingly, will stop at nothing as they squander our resources and defile the countryside with their gaudy towers of glass and steel and their misuse of forest and field for games which were never intended."
I asked Professor Dibbledick if the opportunists he was talking about included those who were building the new 885-acre Chockasoutauk Indian Casino and Golf Resort near scenic Poking Buffalo Lake, just below Persimmon Spires Natural Monument.
There was a brief silence on the other end of the phone. When Dibbledick spoke, it was just above a whisper. "My brother Donny and me are an Indian Tribe - along with, you know, our blood brothers. The Government says so. Believe me, there's a lot of money involved here. So, if a few animals have to move next door to Wasco County - or fall into the Lake - so be it. But, let me make it clear that, as Nearly One-Eighth Native Americans, Donny and I revere all animal life. And, whatever survives the building of our Casino and Golf Resort will be allowed to live as The Great One intended. We will not allow armed Golfers on Chockasoutauk land. All wildlife, from turkeys to raccoons, will roam free and unfettered - as long as they stay off our fairways and greens especially during aeration."
Before hanging up, Dibbledick added, "Did you know Linda is dating her Husband's Brother, Vivian? He owns Curdlesbeak Exterminators."
I called Linda Curdlesbeak back to ask for confirmation. Most of her reply was unprintable. However, she did close our conversation with this pithy sentence: "Tell the 'Indians' they better put metal detectors on the first tee. Because, I'm teeing off with a gun in my bag - and the safety's gonna be off."
If you're a Golfer and a Gun Owner and interested in joining a new organization that's sure to get a fair amount of attention, be at Chamberpot Middle School on Hussey Blvd. Wednesday at 8 p.m. The first meeting of the Traylor County Golfers Arming Against Golf Course Animals will also include a raffle - with prizes including several handguns and a $100 certificate for Pest Extermination Services from Curdlesbeak Exterminators.
It was a couple stories ago, when we met Guy DeChamois - and learned of his penchant for collecting golf balls...some of them still moving on the fairways of Traylor County Golf Courses. Here's the follow-up direct from the courtroom! Larry
After a longish trial in Traylor County Court, Guy DeChamois, a 51-year-old Plunker Landing resident and owner of Le Chat en les Chapeaux was found guilty of multiple charges by a jury consisting mostly of his peers. The charges included: Aggravated Golf Ball Hawking, Establishing a Museum-Like Facility Without a Permit and Walking a Dog Without a Plastic Bag. Shortly after the verdict, DeChamois was sentenced by Judge Orson E. O’Hall.
The trial was held in the semi-temporary court room trailer behind the County Courthouse - which as been under repair since the mid 2000s. The proceeding was an emotional roller coaster that took at least 45 minutes of time that no one will ever get back.
Prosecuting Attorney, Jimmy Jimbo Hurtz called three witnesses to the stand: Persimmon Pines Police Chief, Candy Stazniack, longtime Valley Heights Country Club Member, Reggie Sputz and actual witness, Junefrieda Wobblash.
Stazniack testified the 79-year-old Wobblash who is a resident of the Traylor Park Luxury Condos - and, also her Aunt — called her on her cellphone and reported seeing a flamboyantly dressed man running in and out of the woods along the 7th fairway at the Slippery Meadows Golf Course. “She said he was doing this ‘in a suspicious manner,’” said Stazniak.
The Chief said she immediately left the Soft Serve Ice Cream window at the Chockasoutauk Casino and “high-tailed it to the 7th hole of the golf course” where she left deep ruts in the green and apprehended DeChamois as he attempted to “either swallow the evidence; or, hide it in his pants…or both. We never could figure out what he was up to. I mean…he’s definitely sort of guilty!”
The witness, Ms. Wobblash was also called to the stand. But, she sobbed uncontrollably while screaming she could not remember anything “because my niece says Mr. DeChamois will kill me if I do.”
The final Prosecution witness, Reggie Sputz testified he lost many balls along the fairways of the Valley Heights Country Club course and “often felt like he shouldn’t have lost all the balls he did.” However on cross examination, Sputz admitted he has a “terrible slice” and, quite possibly, simply lost the balls in the woods like everybody else does.
After DeChamois’ Court appointed defense attorney, Patricia Ulyee, poked holes in the testimony of the County’s two witnesses on cross examination, she proceeded to call a veritable army of character witnesses to stand up for her client.
First up was Judy Liverlung, General Manager of Traylor Park Natural Foods. Ms. Liverlung said she is a regular customer at Le Chat en les Chapeaux. “I feel Mr. DeChamois operates a very fair establishment with very little price gouging. I only had my credit card information stolen once. And, I don’t think Guy was in on it. Oh! And, the time he was accused of shoplifting at Traylor Park Natural Foods, it was totally a misunderstanding. He didn’t realize the pistachios were in his pants…you know, where he’s accused of hiding the golf balls. Hmmm.”
Following Ms. Liverlung, Eartha Scorch the former massage therapist at the Golfers Outcall Massage at Scubbins Quarry and current tattoo artist at Kat’s Tats (owned by Katerina Kornwholer) took the stand as a character witness and offered: “Guy always pays up front for his tattoos - unless he’s a little short - and that’s like always - right Guy? But, we love him at Kat’s Tats, cause he is always bringing us golf balls - and we sell ‘em in bags of two dozen and that pays off what he owes. He’s a really good dude.”
Another twelve witnesses followed - among them, DeChamois’ 82 year old Mother, who broke down on the stand and pleaded with anyone who would listen: “Can’t you all just leave my little boy alone? Wasn’t it bad enough he got a year of probation for stealing something - I can’t remember what. I mean it was in a garage. Nobody was using it!”
After witness testimony wrapped up, Judge O’Hall asked Prosecution and Defense attorneys if they had any closing arguments. Prosecutor Hurtz shook his head “no.” Defense Attorney Ulyee checked her watch. “I have a lunch appointment I don’t want to be late for…so, no.” The Judge nodded and turned to the Jury box. But, before he could send the case to the jury, the Jury Foreman, Julene Huffaton (Spokesperson for PACT - People Against Cool Things), stood. “We already voted, Your Honor.”
Judge O’Hall nodded. “It is getting close to lunchtime. So, what did you guys come up with?”
Huffaton didn’t dawdle. “Guilty…but, he’s not a bad guy…you know?”
The Judge thanked Huffaton and the rest of the Jury and turned back to the courtroom. “I’m hungry, too. So, I’m gonna pass sentence. I don’t believe I have ever been involved in a trial quite like this. On the one hand, the prosecution didn’t even come close to proving its case. It’s kind of like they didn’t even try.”
Prosecutor Hurtz rose to object: “Your honor, I was busy. My granddaughter was just starting pre-school and I didn’t have a lot of time for work.
The Judge banged his gavel. “Hold your water, Jimbo, I don’t plan to rain on your parade.”
That comment brought Defense Attorney Ulyee to her feet. “I object! Your Honor, no one told us about any kind of parade!”
The Defendant, DeChamois jumped up. “There’s a parade? When and where!?”
Another banging gavel quieted the courtroom. “If there’s another outburst like this, I’ll have to bang my gavel again.” Everyone sat quickly. Order returned to the stately doublewide courtroom as folding chairs and plastic lawn furniture scooted back into position.
“Now, like I said, the Prosecution didn’t do any kind of a job to prove nothin’.”
The Defendant, DeChamois stood up and stuck his tongue out at Mr. Hurtz. “Oh my god, I’m gonna beat this! Loser!”
The Judge raised his gavel, but DeChamois quickly sat down. “Sorry Judge.”
Judge O’Hall adjusted his glasses. “But, I also find that the Defense’s attempts to provide character witnesses who could completely exonerate the Defendant were - to say the least - not totally effective.” At this point, the judge took a long sip of water, leaving everyone in the courtroom to watch uncomfortably as some water trickled over his lower lip, down his chin and onto the verdict. Hall, blotted at the paper with his robe and continued.”
“Therefore, I find the defendant guilty of the charges - even though nobody even mentioned walking a dog without a plastic bag…which I thought was the worst of the three.” The Judge took another sloppy swig of water and didn’t bother wiping it up, this time. “But, here’s the cool part of all this. I’m sentencing you, Mr. DeChamois, to Community Service.” Another eruption of emotion flowed from both sides of the aisle. The Judge scowled and reached for his gavel. The courtroom quieted. “Before either side gets all excited, let me finish.”
A single golf ball slipped out of DeChamois’ pockets and bounced twice on the floor before he grabbed it and slid it out of view. Judge O’Hall returned to his sentencing notes. “As you know I work for the County. I’m on a committee that’s been looking for a Director for the Traylor County Natural History Museum for some time. We aren’t offering a lot of money. So, that’s probably why no one wants the job. But, here’s the deal, Mr. DeChamois - you are guilty of running an unlicensed stolen golf ball museum in your home - so, you’re a good fit to run the County Natural History Museum!”
“You’re offering me the job?” DeChamois half-rose - trying to avoid another round of gavel pounding.
“No, Guy, actually I’m sentencing you to 12 years of Community Service as the Director of the Museum. You don’t get paid. But, you don’t go to jail, either. Best of all, the County doesn’t have to waste time trying to fill this position! And I can quit going to worthless meetings. Bailiff, take this convict to his new offices at the Natural History Museum. Court adjourned. I’ll see ya’ll at the Food Truck with the juicy sliders. It’s parked one block over!”
While legal scholars argue over the fairness of the sentence, Guy DeChamois is now working for free at the Traylor County Museum of Natural History. We caught up with him, in his orange safety vest, as he was stuffing a rare, Blue Faced Warbler - for display in the endangered species display.
“I don’t have any hard feelings toward the Judge. I enjoy the work. And, I feel I’m really giving back to my community. Did that bird just wiggle?”
This reporter shakes his head “no.”
“Good, cause last time I had to chase him all over the room with a baseball bat. I really need this little guy to fill out the endangered species exhibit. It wasn’t easy to fine one - they’re almost extinct!”
Larry Caringer has been writing humor for broadcast for a long time. Now, he's writing it for you. The stories, here, are from a collection of short stories from his book "Golf Beat: A Year in the Life of Persimmon Pines."