Copyright June 1997
DISCLAIMER : The personas of Xena and Gabrielle are owned by MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in writing this fiction. The game of golf is owned by no one and has no master.
CONTENT WARNING : The following scenario contains very little that is offensive. Theres no dying..fights..blood. There is a high level of frustration, so if you are easily provoked, you may wanna take a valium. Oh..theres no sex to speak of..but is always in the back of our itty bitty minds.
All I can say is.."FORE !!"
The duo had been traveling south for a few days. After all that had happened in the Amazon village, Xena promised Gabrielle a stop in a secluded glade. It was the least the warrior could do. Well, not the least, but it would have to do. The glade was beautiful, filled with tall trees, soft green grass, a sparkling pool with a sandy beach. This would be a perfect place to rest and relax for a few days. Xena was looking forward to some getting to know you again time with the bard. The experience with the woman from the future had exerted pressure on their relationship. She was hoping to put things back to the way they were.
Gabrielle had been concentrating on a project since their arrival. It was a surprise, she told Xena. This always made her nervous. Anytime Gabrielle had a surprise in the works, it usually spelled discomfort for Xena. She could only hope it would be minimal.
The bard entered the camp site holding something behind her back. Xena knew it was time for the surprise.
"Xena, close your eyes, and hold out your hands. And no peeking,ok ?"
"Gabrielle...whats going on ?"
"Cmon, indulge me a little."
"As if I dont do enough of that." Xena closed her eyes, extended her hands, palm up, and waited. She thought about peeking but the bard had already anticipated that possibility. She no sooner started peering with one eye, when Gabrielle playfully popped the top of her head.
"Hey ! I said no peeking. This is going to take all day if you dont play right. "
Xena had no intention of doing this all day. She shut her eyes for real this time. Satisfied the warriors eyes were really shut, she laid the surprise in her hands.
"Ok, you can open your eyes now."
Xena screwed her lip to one side as she opened her eyes. She looked at the piece of wood in her hands. It looked like a stick with a curved end. She didnt want to hurt the bards feelings, but this wasnt much of a surprise.
"Gabrielle..uh..you gave me a stick. This is what youve been working on for the last two days..a stick ?"
The bard chuckled. This was going to be so good. "No, Xena, its not a stick, its a club."
Xena arched an eyebrow and took the club in both hands. She went through a few defensive maneuvers. "Its too light to do any good, Gabrielle, but thanks anyway." She continued to whip it through the air.
"Its not that kind of club, Xena. Its for a game."
The warrior stopped in mid-swish, club held over her head. "Game ? What
game ? You know I hate games , Gabrielle."
"Yeah, I know, but I think youll like this one. Its a hitting game. Right up your alley. Something to help you relax. Cmon Ill tell you about it as we walk." Gabrielle started toward the stand of trees. Xena reluctantly fell in behind her still slicing the air with her weapon.
"Ok, Gabrielle, make this short. What kind of game is this ? " She sounded less than enthusiastic.
"Well, you remember when we were on the way to the Amazon village with Liz ?"
Oh, gods, not that woman again. "Yes..and whats your point ?" She tried to sound irritated.
"Oh, stop it Xena, you know you liked her."
"Yeah, I guess she was ok. But what does Liz have to do with this ?"
"Well, we were talking, and she told me about this game she plays. Its called golf. It was very interesting, lots of activity, hazards, traps, and rules...lots of rules. Sounded like fun. So, I thought we might try it. Ive fixed up a hole for us to play."
"A hole ? Im not getting in any hole with you. This sounds like a stupid game. Who in their right mind would invent a game with hazards and traps ?"
Gabrielle stopped and turned. "Please, Xena, just one hole. Pleeese.."
It was hard to refuse those eyes. "Ok, just one. How do I do this ?"
Gleefully, the bard retrieved two round objects from her satchel. She tossed one to Xena. The warrior snatched it out of the air. "Whats this ?"
"Thats the ball. You hit it with the club."
Xena held the sphere up and gave it the once over. "Not very big, is it ? How am I supposed to hit it with this scrawny stick..er..club ?"
Gabrielle took the ball from her and placed it on the ground. "You have to hit it on the ground. Oh, and you cant touch it with your hand until we get to the green."
"Whats a green ? This is sounding way too complicated."
"Just trust me, ok ? Heres what you have to do. We are going to go from here, down the area between those trees and near the pool, to a little elevated mound. Thats where the hole is. The object is to get the ball in the hole. Girl who does it with the fewest strokes wins. Its simple, really."
Xena rather liked the sound of strokes but knew this had nothing to do with pleasure. "So, let me get this straight. All I have to do is get this.." she picked up the ball for emphasis, "..from here.." she replaced it on the ground, "..to somewhere over there.." waving an arm in the general direction of the hole, "..in the fewest number of strokes. Thats it ?"
"Yep, thats it. Any more questions ?"
"Yeah, one. Whats a stroke ?"
Gabrielle laughed, "Its every time you swing at the ball with the club. Ready ? Ill go first so you can see how its done."
"So I suppose youve been practicing ? Well, it doesnt matter. How hard could this be ? Ill go first." Xena stood next to the ball and prepared to swing. The bard started to give her a pointer, but decided to just watch. The warrior brought the club back and unleashed a vicious arc. So much, she spun in a circle. Coming to a stop, she peered down the fairway . It was nowhere to be seen.
"Humpf..piece of cake." She started to give Gabrielle room for her swing.
"Uh..Xena.." and then Gabrielle uttered the most dreaded phrase in golf, "..its still your turn." She drew the warriors attention to her ball resting comfortably, untouched. "Oh, and by the way, thats one."
Xena looked, and sure enough, it hadnt moved. She already didnt like this. "What do you mean. thats one ? One what ?"
"Stroke, Xena. Thats one stroke. You swung at it and it counts as a stroke." Gabrielle was busy making a mark on the parchment.
"Thats not fair, I never hit it . "
"Sorry, but those are the rules. You swing, it counts."
" Rules ? Whose rules, yours, or Lizs ? Where are these rules ?"
Gabrielle reached in her satchel and pulled the sheets out. She had been meticulous in writing everything Liz had told her about the game. It was quite impressive, and she handed them to Xena. "Here..the rules..read em and weep. Check the part about strokes. Its all there. Now we gonna play or not ?"
Xena scanned the pages and sure enough, there it was. A stroke constituted any purposeful swing at the ball during a regulation round. Round..what the Hades was a round. "Ok, but dont you go making this up as we go." She prepared to take her second stroke. In mid-backswing, Gabrielle interrupted her.
"Mind if I offer a suggestion ? You might have better success if you hit the ball with the curved end of the club, instead of the handle. Just a suggestion."
Xena cut her eyes at Gabrielle, turned the club around and connected, sending the ball into the trees. A loud thwaaack announced the spheres arrival in the woods. Its general location was noted by the flurry of wildlife exiting the area. She looked at the bard and stated the obvious. "I know, thats two."
Gabrielle placed her ball on the ground, took a few practice swings, formally addressed the ball and smoothly swung through, sending the object straight down the middle of the fairway. Smugly, she announced, "Thats one."
Xena snapped her head around. What do you mean, one ? You took two swings before you ever hit the thing. Did you lose count, or something ?"
"Those were practice swings. They dont count."
"You never said anything about practice swings." The warriors face was turning red.
"You never asked." There was an evil smile on her lips as they started for their respective balls. Xena began the search for hers in the underbrush, mumbling to herself. " I never asked..indeed. This is a stupid game. Thanks a lot, Liz. You couldnt resist, could you ?" She was thrashing about with the club, scaring the indigenous life. Gabrielles voice called to her. "You need any help ? Remember, you cant pick it up. You have to use the club to hit it. No cheating, Xena."
Irritated, Xena stopped tearing through the brambles, and stretched her back, looking into the tree branches. To her amazement, there was her ball, stuck in the crook of a branch. It was just out of her reach, even with the club. Well, Gabrielle didnt say anything about her charkam. She unhooked the disk from her belt and let it fly. It zinged through the trees, leaves exploded, birds took flight and finally the branch snaring the ball was severed. Xena snatched the rules equalizer out of the air. The ball fell neatly at her feet. "Gabrielle, I found it. Be out in a sec."
"Well, its about time." The bard had made her way over to where Xena was standing. "What was all that noise about ? I thought I saw something flying through the trees. "
"Oh, just some birds fooling around. Now we gonna play or not ?"
"Yeah, go ahead. Have a go at it."
Xena hacked at the sphere, advancing it a foot at a time. On the fourth effort, it finally cleared the trees, and landed just beyond Gabrielles. Gabrielle had her scoresheet and marked four more lines under Xenas name. "Thats six." The bard lined up her next shot and once more sent it unerringly on its way. It landed just short of the entrance to the clear pool. "Hmmm....thats two." This was beginning to get on Xenas nerves. She sauntered up to her ball and whacked the crap out of it. It took flight and, for a moment, looked promising. Then it developed a mind of its own. It veered off , landing in the water with a ker-pluunk, sending a concentric ripple across the once still surface.
"Great Zeus !!" , she exclaimed. "Now what ? How do I play out of the water ?"
"Im afraid you have to be penalized for that. Hmmm..lets see...ball lost in water..." Gabrielle was searching through the rules. "...yep..here it is..thatll cost you two strokes warrior...yep..two..count em..two big ones.." She was waving two fingers at Xena and smiling broadly.
Her jubilation was short-lived. Xena grabbed the parchment out of her hands. "Let me see that !" Scanning the page, she saw it. " Whats this little notation..one for Gabrielle..two for Xena ? That cant be right..you made this up, didnt you ?" The bard had been busted, but not defeated. "Nope, those are the rules. I get an advantage cuz Im...er...smaller and younger."
Xena was scanning the parchment for verification of the rule. "I dont know how to break this to you, but there is no mention of size or age in here. You definitely made that up."
"No, I didnt..I just forgot to write it down. I think that was about the time the rear guard dropped out of the trees. I was..er..distracted. Trust me..would I lie to you?"
She was flashing those emerald-blue pools at the warrior. Xena handed the parchment back to Gabrielle. "I wouldnt be the least bit surprised at anything youd do after conferring with Liz. And you can stop batting your eyes, it wont work !"
The bard carefully folded the rules and strolled over to the water with Xena. "Well, you have some problem here. Youll have to go in the water to retrieve the ball. I dont have another one for you to use. " She shrugged her shoulders and looked at the pool.
Xena was not happy. "What ? You mean you didnt plan for this little
contingency ? Gabrielle..I am *not* going in that water. Now if you want to retrieve my ball, Ill be more than happy to give you a flying start." Xena started toward her, fire in her eyes.
Gabrielle held up her hands in a defensive manner. "Hey..just cool it ! I was kidding, I have another one here." She fumbled through her satchel and produced another sphere. "Sweet Athena, lighten up, warriorgirl. This is supposed to relaxing." She flipped the ball to Xena who ripped it out of the air. Gabrielle proceeded to explain the penalty process. "Ok, now you pick a spot out of the water and drop the ball. Thats where you take your next shot from. Clear ?"
Xena prepared to fling the Hades out of the sphere toward the hole.
"Hey..what are you doing ? You cant throw it..you have to drop it. Those are the ru..." Xena cut her off and said sarcastically, "Yeah , I know. Those are the rules. " She dropped the ball and prepared to do battle once more. Gabrielle got out of her way. The ball was resting on the sandy beach. Xena was about to try to play out of the worlds first sand trap. It wasnt going to be pretty. Before she took her first swing, Gabrielle reminded her of the stroke total.
"Lets see, 2 stroke penalty plus the six you already have. Thats..."
"Eight, Gabrielle. I can count ! Youre trying to irritate me, arent you ?" With that, she came down on the ball and sand rained everywhere. Both players shielded their eyes. When the last grains settled back to their rightful home, Xena opened her eyes. She and Gabrielle looked at the ground. Not only was the ball still there, now it was sitting in a depression caused by the warriors club. Xena was fuming.
"May the guardians of Tartarus take me away from all this !!!" She narrowed her eyes at Gabrielle. "If you say still you turn , youll be wearing this club as an ornamental headdress."
Gabrielle gave the warrior some room just in case she really meant it. "I wasnt going to say anything." Silently, she mouthed, nine. "Maybe if you just visualize the ball exploding out of the sand toward the green. Liz told me sometimes that works."
Xena prepared to strike again. "Oh, Im visualizing all right. And it aint the ball exploding out of the sand ! " She connected, sending the sphere toward the grassy mound. It surprised even Gabrielle. "See, that wasnt too hard." As they walked toward the bards sphere, Gabrielle scratched on the parchment. "Ten for Xena..." Xena veered off toward the stand of trees.
"Hey..where are you going ? Your ball is over there."
"I know where my ball is. Im exercising one of the rules."
"And which one is that ?"
As she disappeared behind a tree, she yelled back "Im taking relief."
The bard was antsy to hit her ball. "Hey, hurry up, youre stopping the flow of the game."
A disembodied voice responded. "Well, Im taking care of a flow of my own. Just relax."
"I thought you got your own bladder back along with your body. Sounds like you still have Callistos puny plumbing."
"Well, its not my fault. Blame it on another writer."
Looking relieved , Xena returned to the fairway. "Lets get on with this. Your turn."
"Finally." She set her feet parallel to the ball, and once more smoothly executed a nice shot. "Hmmm...three for the bard."
"Youre really pushing it Gabrielle. Watch it ! "
Both balls rested just short of the small green. Xena gazed toward the mound. "What the Hades is that ?" She was pointing at Gabrielles staff. It appeared to be stuck in the ground. There was a piece of white cloth tied to the end, whipping in the breeze.
"Oh, thats the flag. Its ornamental. Pretty isnt it ?"
"But what purpose does it serve ? "
She thought for a moment. "Im not really sure. I don't think Liz told me that."
Xena wasnt about to get caught short on some rule again. "Give me those rules. I want to check for myself. You seem to have trouble remembering to tell me things until after the fact." Gabrielle handed the parchment to Xena and she poured over it.
"Hmm..lets see..hazard..traps...taking relief...unplayable lie. Hey..why didnt you tell me about this one..the unplayable lie. I could have used that back in the woods."
"I thought you found the ball in the brush. Where was it ?"
"It was in a gods-forsaken tree, thats where."
The bard arched her eyebrow. "And just how did it get on the ground, Xena ? Did you cheat ? You touched with your hand, didnt you ?"
"Gabrielle, I can honestly tell you that I did not touch that ball with my hands. Now where was I ?" She continued reading until a term caught her eye. " Whats this gimme thing ?"
"Im not real sure. Liz said if you had a cant miss shot it was a gimme. You didnt actually have to hit it..you just had it given to you. As a courtesy, I think."
"Now, this is a rule I can live with. Im taking my gimme right now."
"You cant just take it anytime you want. Theres no way the shot you have left is a gimme. Youd have to get it from here to the hole in one stroke. And , I dont mean to be critical, but you havent exactly demonstrated a lot of finesse there. This is not a gimme, trust me."
Seeing a challenge, Xena pressed. "Well, I think it is. Care to wager ?"
"Xena, theres no way.." The bard was cut off. Xena taunted her. "Whats the matter ? Chicken ? Pock..pock..pock...chicky..chicky..."
"Ok, thats it ! Whats the bet ?"
Smelling victory, Xena outlined the bet. " One who gets closest to the hole on the next shot, wins the hole. Deal ?"
"Well, you would say something like that. You have ten strokes to my three. It just kills you that I can do this better than you. Admit it. "
"Ill admit it if I lose. And Im not going to. Bet or not ?"
"Ok, Xena, Im not worried. This will be a lesson for you. A little humility will do you good." With that declaration, she swung at the ball sending it just barely on the green. "Not too bad." She turned and addressed the warrior. "Your turn. Oh, and try to keep it in front of you."
Xena looked at the ball..then the club. She tossed the club off to the side.
Gabrielle was definitely confused. "What are you doing ? I told you that you cant touch it with your hand. What are you planning on using ? Heh..your whip ?"
"Exactly.." Xena unhooked the leather strap from her side. Gabrielle was already protesting, loudly. "No way..you cant use that. Youre cheating."
"I dont believe I saw anything in the rules saying I couldnt use it. In fact, theres nothing in them that specifies the kind of instrument you have to use. So as far as Im concerned, this whip is as legal as anything. Now move out of the way."
Gabrielle had barely stepped aside when Xena let strap fly. There was an ear splitting craaack as the tip recoiled against the unsuspecting sphere. It lifted effortlessly and landed softly on the green stopping just short of the hole. Of course, if your tushy was tickled by the end of that whip, youd fly too. Xena was reeling the lash in and smugly turned to Gabrielle. " Gimme. I win. "
"ARRRGGGG...this is so typical of you !! Always bending the rules to suit your needs." She was beside herself.
Xena walked over to her most unhappy lover. She placed her arms around her and whispered in her ear. "Now for my prize, I need some relief of a different nature." She placed a kiss on the bards lips. Casually, they strolled to the green. The soft grass would do very nicely. Before they began taking relief in earnest, Gabrielle warned her. "You know, there are eighteen holes to this game. Thats a lot of relief taking. It could be quite lengthy.
Xena had already started taking her clothes off. "Uh-huh..maybe well play hole number two tomorrow."
The Bard's Corner