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DISCLAIMER: MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures own the personas of Xena and Gabrielle. 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. There’s no dying..fights..blood. There is a high level of frustration, so if you are easily provoked, you may wanna take a Valium. Oh..there’s no sex to speak of...but is always in the back of our itty-bitty minds. All I can say is... "FORE!!"
CONFUSION WARNING: This story mentions a character and events from another bit of FF. If you’re interested in the whys and whatever’s, you’ll have to read the Dimension series posted here. I know... cheap shot.
Copyright June 1997
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, and 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 Xena nervous. Anytime Gabrielle had a ‘surprise’ in the works it usually spelled discomfort for the warrior. She could only hope it would be minimal.
The bard entered the campsite 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...what’s going on?"
"C’mon, indulge me a little." The bard loved to exert control over her lover.
"As if I don’t 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, than Gabrielle playfully popped the top of her head.
"Hey! I said no peeking. This is going to take all day if you don’t play right. "
Xena had no intention of doing this all day. She shut her eyes for real this time.
Satisfied the warrior’s eyes were really shut; Gabrielle 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 didn’t want to hurt the bard’s feelings, but this wasn’t much of a surprise. "Gabrielle...uh...you gave me a stick. This is what you’ve been working on for the last two days...a stick?"
The bard chuckled. This was going to be so good. "No, Xena, it’s not a stick, it’s a club."
Xena arched an eyebrow and took the ‘club’ in both hands. She went through a few defensive maneuvers. "It’s too light to do any good, Gabrielle, but thanks anyway." She continued to whip it through the air.
"It’s not that kind of club, Xena. It’s 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 you’ll like this one. It’s a ‘hitting’ game. Right up your alley. Something to help you relax. C’mon I’ll 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 what’s 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. I’ve fixed up a hole for us to play."
Xena’s eyes widened. "A hole? I’m 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. "What’s this?"
"That’s 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 can’t touch it with your hand until we get to the ‘green’."
"What’s a ‘green’? This is sounding way too complicated." The warrior was already ready to quit.
Gabrielle ignored the look on Xena’s face and continued. "Just trust me, ok? Here’s 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. That’s where the ‘hole’ is. The object is to get the ‘ball’ in the ‘hole’. Girl who does it with the fewest ‘strokes’ wins. It’s 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’. That’s it?"
"Yep, that’s it. Any more questions?"
"Yeah, one. What’s a ‘stroke’?"
Gabrielle laughed, "It’s every time you swing at the ‘ball’ with the ‘club’. Ready? I’ll go first so you can see how it’s done."
"So I suppose you’ve been practicing? Well, it doesn’t matter. How hard could this be? I’ll 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’. The ‘ball’ 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, "...it’s still your turn." She drew the warrior’s attention to her ‘ball’ resting comfortably, untouched. "Oh, and by the way, that’s ‘one.’"
Xena looked, and sure enough, it hadn’t moved. She already didn’t like this. "What do you mean. ‘that’s one?’ ‘One’ what?"
"Stroke, Xena. That’s ‘one’ stroke. You swung at it and it counts as a ‘stroke’." Gabrielle was busy making a mark on the parchment.
"That’s not fair, I never hit it "
"Sorry, but those are the rules. You swing, it counts."
" Rules... whose rules, yours, or Liz’s? 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’. It’s 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 don’t 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 sphere’s 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, that’s ‘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, "That’s ‘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 don’t count."
"You never said anything about ‘practice’ swings." The warrior’s 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 couldn’t resist, could you?" She was thrashing about with the ‘club’, scaring the indigenous life.
Gabrielle’s voice called to her. "You need any help? Remember that you can’t 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 didn’t 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, it’s 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 Gabrielle’s. Gabrielle had her scoresheet and marked four more lines under Xena’s name. "That’s 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....that’s ‘two.’"
This was beginning to get on Xena’s 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 it’s 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?"
"I’m afraid you have to be penalized for that. Hmmm...let’s see...’ball’ lost in water..." Gabrielle was searching through ‘the rules.’ "...yep...here it is...that’ll 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. "What’s this little notation...’one for Gabrielle...two for Xena? That can’t be right. You made this up, didn’t you?"
The bard had been busted, but not defeated. "Nope, those are the rules. I get an advantage cuz I’m...er...smaller and younger."
Xena was scanning the parchment for verification of the ‘rule.’ "I don’t 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 didn’t. 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 wouldn’t be the least bit surprised at anything you’d do after conferring with Liz. And you can stop batting your eyes, it won’t work "
The bard carefully folded ‘the rules’ and strolled over to the water with Xena. "Well, you have some problem here. You’ll have to go in the water to retrieve the ‘ball’. I don’t have another one for you to use. " She shrugged her shoulders and looked at the pool.
Xena was not happy. "What? You mean you didn’t plan for this little contingency? Gabrielle...I am not going in that water. Now if you want to retrieve my ‘ball’, I’ll 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’. That’s where you take your next shot. Clear?"
Xena prepared to fling the Hades out of the sphere toward the ‘hole’.
"Hey...what are you doing? You can’t 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 world’s first sand trap. It wasn’t going to be pretty. Before she took her first swing, Gabrielle reminded her of the ‘stroke’ total.
"Let’s see, two ‘stroke’ penalty plus the six you already have. That’s..."
"Eight, Gabrielle. I can count! You’re trying to irritate me, aren’t 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 warrior’s ‘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’, you’ll be wearing this ‘club’ as an ornamental headdress."
Gabrielle gave the warrior some room just in case she really meant it. "I wasn’t 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, I’m visualizing all right. And it ain’t the ‘ball’ exploding out of the sand! " She connected, sending the sphere toward the grassy mound. It surprised even Gabrielle. "See, that wasn’t too hard." As they walked toward the bard’s 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. I’m exercising one of ‘the rules.’ "
"And which one is that "
As she disappeared behind a tree, she yelled back "I’m ‘taking relief’."
The bard was antsy to hit her ‘ball’. "Hey, hurry up, you’re stopping the flow of the game."
A disembodied voice responded. "Well, I’m 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 Callisto’s puny plumbing."
"Well, it’s not my fault. Blame it on another writer."
Looking ‘relieved’, Xena returned to the ‘fairway’. "Let’s 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."
"You’re 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 Gabrielle’s 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, that’s ‘the flag’. It’s ornamental. Pretty isn’t it?"
"But what purpose does it serve?" Xena inquired.
Gabrielle thought for a moment. "I’m not really sure. I don't think Liz told me that."
Xena wasn’t 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...let’s see...’hazard’...’traps’...’taking relief’...’unplayable lie’. Hey...why didn’t you tell me about this one...he ‘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, that’s where." Xena rolled her steel blue eyes towards the heavens.
The bard arched her eyebrow. "And just how did it get on the ground, Xena? Did you cheat? You touched with your hand, didn’t 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. " What’s this ‘gimme’ thing?"
"I’m not real sure. Liz said if you had a ‘can’t miss’ shot it was a ‘gimme’. You didn’t 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. I’m taking my ‘gimme’ right now."
"You can’t just ‘take’ it anytime you want. There’s no way the shot you have left is a ‘gimme’. You’d have to get it from here to the ‘hole’ in one ‘stroke’. And, I don’t mean to be critical, but you haven’t exactly demonstrated a lot of finesse there. This is not a ‘gimme’, trust me." Gabrielle was confident in her assessment.
Seeing a challenge, Xena pressed. "Well, I think it is. Care to wager?"
"Xena, there’s no way..." The bard was cut off.
Xena taunted her. "What’s the matter? Chicken? Pock...pock...pock...chicky...chicky..."
The bard’s dander was up for sure now. "Ok, that’s it! What’s 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. "
"I’ll admit it if I lose. And I’m not going to. Bet or not?"
"Ok, Xena, I’m 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 couldn’t 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 can’t use that. You’re cheating."
"I don’t believe I saw anything in ‘the rules’ saying I couldn’t use it. In fact, there’s nothing in them that specify the kind of instrument you have to use. So as far as I’m concerned, this whip is as legal as anything is. 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, you’d 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." Gabrielle 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 bard’s 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. That’s a lot of ‘relief taking’. It could be quite lengthy.
Xena had already started taking her clothes off. "Uh-huh... maybe we’ll play ‘hole’ number two tomorrow."
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