Freddie felt appreciated. Since getting promoted to Associate, he no longer waited in the car while Mr. Andelli negotiated real estate projects. He now had a chair in the hall next to the ficus plant.
And Freddie no longer sat in the cart during golf outings. He stood on the green and held the flag as Mr. Andelli lined up his putts.
“All those late-night jobs – the cleanups, the pickups, the leg breaks – paid off,” thought Freddie. Now, squinting in the sunlight and listening to Mr. Andelli and his guests talk smack, he reveled in his bump up the Company ladder.
“Do you breathe in or breathe out when you putt, Andelli?” teased the short man in plaid golf pants standing near Freddie.
“Don’t fuck with me, Mr. Mayor,” said Andelli.
The Chief of Police, bursting in his yellow golf shirt and flirting with the girl in the beer cart, chuckled and snorted. The girl, both hands on the steering wheel, leaned away from the Chief.
Looking across the recently completed fairways, Freddie felt nostalgic. His intimate knowledge of the land underneath the manicured ryegrass evolved over time. This strip of turf outside of Bayonne had long been his go-to for disposing drums of sludge and body parts. Now it rolled over as part of a ritzy housing development, a landlocked Mar-a-Lago.
The men playing the course today called in many-a-chip and applied heavy muscle to make this project happen. Even the best city inspectors and reporters struggle to do their jobs shackled in a warehouse or from the trunk of an Oldsmobile.
“Mr. Andelli, I can’t believe what you done with this crap piece of land, sir,” said Freddie after Mr. Andelli stroked his putt from 40 feet out. “No one would ever know.”
Mr. Andelli stood up straight.
“Would ever know what, Freddie?” asked the Mayor.
The ball rolled straight for the cup. Before responding, Freddie pulled the pin with a sharp popping sound, bringing from the hole a gurgle of putrid sludge.
Brooks C. Mendell works as a forestry professional in Georgia. His stories have appeared in Mystery Tribune, 365tomorrows, Microfiction Monday and Daily Science Fiction. He earned degrees from MIT (including a minor in writing), UC Berkeley and the University of Georgia. Details about his writing and background are available HERE.