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• Chapter Twelve The Golf Tournament Sunday, August 17, 1969 Sissy slept late on Sunday morning, as she usually got to do, and woke feeling that something was out of whack, something missing, which she always felt when her parents were gone in the summers. Sunday mornings without the smell of chili and the smell of fresh-brewed coffee, without the sound of her dad’s strong right arm whomping pancake batter always seemed empty, sad. But today there was something else. Martha was catering the country club golf tournament banquet on Sunday evening, and Sissy had promised to work. She had to be at the café at two-thirty, spend the afternoon in the hot café kitchen helping cook, then help load thefoodinMartha’spickupcamperandgetitouttothecountryclub.After that, she would help dish it and serve. Of course, there would be the cleanup afterward. And putting up with the people who attended the banquet. Country club, what a joke! A few years earlier, the town had applied for and gotten a government grant for small towns, which they figured out they could use to put in a community meeting building, swimming pool, and nine-hole golf course. By allowing the schools to use the pool for swimming classes, they leveraged the original grant into an education grant as well. The complex sat at the edge of town in the middle of a cow pasture. The golf course had no irrigation except what nature dropped from the skies, so most summers the rough was the rough all over; the golfers—mostly members of the commercial club and a few of the wealthier ranchers and farmers—slapped up sand on every shot and were as likely to find a rattlesnake as their golf ball lurking in the weeds. Sissy had learned to swim in that pool, but what she remembered most was not the swimming classes themselves, but making fun of the PE teacher whose very tight swimming trunks demonstrated how ­poorly endowed he was. Well, that, and walking the half a mile back to town from the pool in the winter with her hair wet and freezing to the rollers that she had put in after she got out of the pool. 130 Chapter Twelve Speedy was already up and in the bathroom when Sissy got downstairs . The coffeepot, filled with water, sat on the sink, the coffee canister out, but no grounds put in yet. Sissy added scoops of ground coffee, put on the lid, set it on the burner, and lit the gas ring with a match. She shoved aside some clutter on the table, sat down and lit a cigarette. The lock on the bathroom door clicked. Speedy came out and sat at the table, her dark hair straggling against her stark white face. “What’s the matter with you? You look awful,” Sissy said. “I feel awful,” Speedy said. “Have you been eating leftovers out of your mom’s refrigerator again?” Speedy batted at Sissy’s cigarette smoke. “I wish you wouldn’t do that,” she said. Sissy waved her cigarette in the air. “Since when did you get to be such an anti-smoking nut?” Speedy’s face went from white to pale green. She ran back to the bathroom. Sissy heard the sound of the toilet seat lid banging against the tank, then retching. She got up and went to the door. “Speedy? What the hell is the matter with you? I think you’d better go to the doctor. This stomach stuff has been going on too long.” No answer. The coffeepot began to gurgle and burp. Sissy turned the burner down, but not before a brown foam had risen through the spout, dribbling a bit into the burner where it hissed and steamed and burned. The toilet flushed, then the water faucet came on. Sissy knocked gently on the door. “Speedy? Are you alive in there?” She pushed the door open and went in. Speedy stood at the sink, leaning over as she scooped water onto her face. “Speedy, this is too much. Look at you. You never were any kind of heavyweight, but it looks like you’ve lost fifteen pounds. You’re skin and bones. I think you shouldn’t wait until Monday to get to the doctor. I’ll drive you out to the hospital emergency room.” Speedy turned off the faucet and stood up, still leaning on the sink with her head down. “What the hell is it, anyway? You think you...


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MARC Record
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