body politic

Three months after the First Fidelity couples tournament she left her husband. Five months after she left the banker, we were married in Aruba…”


by ed markowski



The Republicans and the Democrats think they know the score, think they’ve got it down, and they think they know how to use it. Both parties love to throw the phrase at each other. They love to point fingers, make accusations and rub each others noses in it. When placed side by side these two words become a gourmet sound byte, they fit perfectly on bumper stickers, and they ride comfortably on the febrile minds, charred tongues, and blistered lips of every jive time radio mouth from Sarasota, Florida to Skagway, Alaska.

The Republicans amazingly use these verbal nukes when they fit the party spin while at the same time denying the existence of the phrase and its attending political philosophy. On the blue side of the great divide, the Democrats know the phrase and its political implications exist. All the proof one needs can be seen at the points where the city gives way to the suburbs, and the suburbs give way to gated communities located inside and beyond suburban borders. As is far too often the case the leaders of both parties don’t know what they’re talking about. I’m going to clarify this talking point for the American Electorate.

Her husband wasn’t just a honcho at the First Fidelity Bank Of Grand Rapids. He was the bank, vault, loan officer, and bankroll. At that time I was the golf pro at the Plum Level Country Club. He was sitting at the bar working on a Manhattan, and a barmaid named Sally. I walked past them and sat down at a table with a panoramic view of Lake Michigan.

He put Sally on hold, walked over, and sat down.

“Can I buy you a Manhattan?” he asked.

“Can you buy me a Long Island Iced Tea?

He flagged down the waiter. “Another Manhattan and a Long Island Iced Tea.” He pulled a Cuban Cigar out of his seersucker jacket, and handed it to me. Then he asks if I’m the Plum Level golf pro.

“I am.”

“Can you give my wife a few basic lessons between now and the Fourth of July?”

“I’d like to help you out but I’m booked solid from now through the second week of August.”

Richie Rich says, “I’ll make it worth your while. I’ll pay you four times your regular fee.”

“Why do you sound like a desperate man?”

“First Fidelity’s annual CEO couples tournament is coming up. We’re flying everyone out to Pebble Beach. I’m sick of being embarrassed by Gina. I’m not expecting a miracle. I just want her to be more competitive with the other wives. I’m not used to being at the bottom,” he said.

“Does Gina have a handle on the basics?”


“Holding the club. Gripping the club. Swinging the club. Maximizing the stroke factors. Placing the head of the club where it feels good and comfortable. Things like that.”


“Can she putt or use a pitching wedge?”

“ She wouldn’t know what to do with a wedge of cheddar let alone a pitching wedge.”


The CEO drained his Manhattan. I killed the last of my Long Island. He ordered another round for both of us. Can you help her?” he asked. I said, “Sure thing.”

Three weeks into the lessons, we were standing at the end of the sixth fairway between a water hazard and three sand traps. I was teaching her how to select and use irons. She interrupted the lesson with a kiss that drove me a thousand yards past the seventh crater on the moon.

Gina dropped the eight iron. “Now I’m going to be the teacher for the rest of the day. I want you to show me where you’re going to put your one wood, Mister Golf Pro.”

“I can take your husband’s money but I can’t take his wife.”

“Sure you can,” she said. He’s been inside Sally for five years. I owe it to the son of a bitch. Besides you’re not taking his wife. I’m giving myself to you.” Gina was right. I could and I did.

Three months after the First Fidelity couples tournament she left her husband. Five months after she left the banker, we were married in Aruba. We had a private ceremony that segued into a three week two person reception, honeymoon, and celebration of all things carnal both known and unknown in the world of men and women. After our honeymoon everything between us was diamond bright, donut sweet, and deliciously delirious.

We made love in department store rest rooms, church parking lots, bathed in the sacred light of Novena candles, apple orchards, canoes, and the spring scented moonlight. We made love over Cuba, Paris, Moscow, Ottawa, Little Rock, Mexico City, and Lovelock Nevada. We made love before, during  and after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We lived in a state of bliss until I played in The Cherry Land Cherries for Charity Pro Am Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan.

To fulfill the one requirement for the participants in the Cherries for Charity tournament, every golfer had to hire an unemployed local to be his or her caddie. On the eve of the tournament Gina and I got outrageously loaded at the Kal Ho Lounge in Kalkaska, Michigan. The place was flooded with unemployed Lumber Jacks and Jacquelines. On the way out I gave Paul Bunyan’s panhandling twin ten bucks. The twin was wearing grease slicked jeans, and a mustard stained t-shirt. The Salvation Army would’ve called the law on the guy if he tried to donate the rags he was wrapped in. Gina scans the twin. Gina tells the twin, “I love your style. You’re hired. You’re the perfect candidate for this job.” Question marks replaced the pupils in his bloodshot eyes. “You have the job, handsome,” Gina said. “I’ll pay you very well,” Gina said. The three of us spent the night at the Half Moon Motel. When he smiled and thanked Gina I mistook his teeth for a jumble of scorched corn kernels.

The Cherry Land Cherries For Charity Tournament blasted off at nine in the morning. Taking into consideration the fact that I was drunk and hung over at the same time, as was my Caddie, and Gina, I couldn’t believe I was five under par on the front nine. Before my second shot on the fourteenth hole my Caddie was explaining why he thought I should use a seven iron when the wind suddenly shifted, and drove Gina’s unmistakable scent from every pore of my Caddie’s skin, through my nose and deep into the center of my mind.

Seven months down the line I heard Gina dumped my Caddie for a Cabbie, then she dumped the Cabbie for a Busboy. Now that’s Class Warfare.

Originally published:
Issue Seventy-Six
February 2018


Ed Markowski lives and writes in Auburn Hills, Michigan.  Many, many more of Ed’s fine stories can be found in the Vault of Smoke

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