Despite being an undead mummy nearly four thousand years old, Neville Imsety tried to keep up to date with all the modern fads. For instance, when he decided to take up golf in the autumn of 1926, he kitted himself out in high style. On top of his bandaged head he wore a tam-o-shanter that perfectly matched his short plaid trousers, and perfectly set off his red-and-white checked cardigan. He spent hours with all the right magazines, learning the difference between a mashie, a niblick, and a mashie-niblick. He had ten sleeves of balls sent up from New York, and a leather bag to carry all his gear.
“Fore!” he called, and took his stroke with real brio and flair.
Reggie, the thirty-year-old werewolf who served as Neville’s chauffeur and now as his caddie, had tried to point out the one accessory they lacked, but apparently the message hadn’t gotten through.
The grounds around Grimbly Hall, Neville’s estate, did not include a golf course.
There was a lawn, of course, a long strip of grass running around the house, which was otherwise surrounded by thick woodlands on every side. The lawn was neither wide enough nor flat enough for a regulation game of golf.
Neville’s ball lifted high in the air, sailing in a near-perfect arc with plenty of power behind it. One of the few benefits of being dead so long was that Neville had an upper-body strength that would put a living muscleman to shame. The ball spun perfectly as it flew, and looked like it might have gone four hundred yards. Sadly, there was a tree only twenty yards away.
The ball struck the tree a mighty whack and bounced off, almost straight back at the pair of them. Reggie ducked as it shot past him, then winced as his very sensitive ears picked up a terrible crash of breaking glass.
“Nasty slice on that,” Neville self-critiqued.
Reggie turned and looked behind him. One of the glass panes of the Hall’s conservatory was missing. After a moment he saw one of the gardeners emerge and look up at the broken glass. The gardener then started walking toward them at speed. As said gardener was an eight-inch tall man made of bright blue faience, it took a while for him to reach them. When he did he simply dropped the ball in front of Neville, gave the pair of them an inscrutable look, and started trundling back toward the conservatory.
“Boss,” Reggie said, “perhaps we should—”
“Fore!” Neville called, and took another go.
This time the ball failed to hit any trees. It did knock a few leaves off a quivering aspen, but it was October and those leaves were going to come down soon enough anyway. Without further ado the ball quickly disappeared into the cool shade of the forest.
Which, at least for Reggie, presented a whole new kind of problem. Finding the ball in those woods would have stymied the most industrious of human caddies. No golfer in the history of the sport would have been counted remiss for simply declaring the ball a loss and taking the penalty.
Reggie, of course, was no human caddie. With a sigh, he hitched the bag of clubs up onto his back, dropped to all fours, and sniffed the wind. “This way,” he called, and then he was off, running after the ball.
Sometimes having a supernaturally strong sense of smell was more of a curse than a blessing.