This story is a purely fictional account. Any relationship to any real person living or dead is coincidental. The narrative deals with involuntary castration, and is intended for mature readers who wish to view such material and for whom it is legal to do so. The author in no way condones or promotes such acts in real life.
Copyright (c) 2008 by POW. For spam prevention, an animal name has been added to the author's e-mail address. Remove the animal name to get the actual address: POWauthor zebra at yahoo dot com. This story may be freely copied and distributed so long as it is copied in its entirety, including the author credit information and disclaimer. The author welcomes feedback.
"A fine shot, your excellency!"
President-For-Life Zkhubriz scowled as he watched the tiny white orb bounce along the bright green grass until it rolled to a stop. Rows of flags fluttered along the emerald expanse, each marking a distance from the line of tees where the president stood with his golf instructor and his foreign guest. Off in the distance, bare brown mountains rose into a brown-tinged sky, a stark contrast to the well-watered verdancy of the driving range.
"Eighty-five yards at least!" gushed the instructor. "Perhaps ninety!"
The instructor hastened to tee up another ball while the president stood impassively. As soon as it was in place, the man scuttled quickly out of the way, as if he had had some prior experience with the consequences of dallying too long near the tee. President Zkhubriz assumed his stance, carefully lining up his feet, bending at the knees, and lowering the face of his oversized driver into position. The massive heft of the head bobbed and wavered near the backside of its intended target. When he had finally maneuvered himself into position, the president looked back toward his guest.
"This is a stupid game," he said.
Carl Elliot knew his eyes were not visible behind the dark sunglasses he was wearing, and so he allowed them to roll ever so slightly. Just slightly - he was a professional, after all.
"I couldn't agree more, excellency," he said.
President Zkhubriz hauled back on the driver and let fly. WHACK! It made contact with the ball, which flew off sharply to the right. After a short stint in the air, it dropped to the ground, bouncing and rolling along in a direction nearly ninety degrees away from its intended path. The rows of flags, fortuitously, continued off in that direction, too, allowing Noofir Hawaz, the instructor, to estimate how far it had traveled.
"Another fine shot, your excellency," Hawaz babbled. "I would say a good seventy yards!"
While the instructor hastened to set up the the next ball, the president said "Tell me again why I allowed you to talk me into building this golf course and driving range."
Elliot ignored the trickle of sweat dripping down his forehead. The heat in this God-forsaken country was appalling, but only a rookie would make so obvious a gesture of discomfort as wiping one's brow.
"Um, if you recall, your excellency, you had already decided to build both the course and the range before you hired me as your image consultant."
"Hmm," the president grunted.
The sounds of a struggle slowly became audible over the steady rush of the wind. Out of the corner of his eye, Elliot could see a pack of burly men emerging from the clubhouse, all of them wearing the livery of President Zkhubriz's elite Golden Horde guards. Among them they half-carried, half-dragged several smaller, thinner men, struggling and shouting and wearing much less clothing. Elliot turned a bit and ignored them as he had ignored the drop of sweat.
The president took aim at another hapless ball and swung. This time he clipped it along its top edge, sending it dribbling out a few feet away from the tee while the club continued on its arc, throwing the president off balance as he tried to compensate for the lack of the expected contact.
The instructor said brightly "That wind, your excellency! Gusting at precisely the wrong moment..." He rushed in, dodging the flailing club to set another ball on the tee.
"Bah!" grumped President Zkhubriz, hurling the driver to the ground. "How did you westerners ever devise such a pointless, purposeless entertainment? Worse, how did it become so entrenched among your elite that your business leaders are practically required to know how to play it?"
The burly men and their baggage had reached the far right end of the driving range, where the struggle continued. The instructor's eyes kept darting to look in that direction and a frown kept threatening to break through his veneer of good cheer. Elliot kept his attention focused on the president-for-life.
"There are plenty of CEOs who don't golf, excellency," Elliot replied. "But you make a good point that there are many who do. As for why you built a golf course here in the desert? You know the answer: you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. You want to play host to these oil guys, and a good host provides his guests with the comforts they enjoy. And one of those comforts is golf."
The president stomped back and forth across the tender grass of the tee area. He threw his hands in the air. "Even your folk sayings make no sense! Catch flies? Who would do such a stupid thing? No, in Tjimiklistan we have a better saying: Khran tzanpi, khraiti bashkanaj. It is difficult to translate the whole sense, but it means something like 'crush the weakling, seize his goods'."
"No doubt a very poignant sentiment for your people, excellency."
Hawaz hovered nearby, holding the recovered driver, nervously glancing down the range while still remaining alert to any hint that the president-for-life might be ready to resume play. The president-for-life, however, preferred to continue stomping.
"Now polo!" he declaimed. "There is a sport worth playing. But not the ridiculous version the English play. Pah! Those ball-less Englishmen took polo and emasculated it to match themselves! Did you know, Mr. Elliot, that polo has its origins with the Mongols?"
"Do tell, Mr. President."
"The Mongols! Now they were a people who knew how to live! We Tjimiklis are direct descendants of the Mongols, Mr. Elliot, and their blood runs hot in our veins. Whether fighting or sporting, a Mongol was fierce and strong. With their horses, they were unstoppable! The only reason they never conquered Europe was they had better things to do! They had total control over their mounts, you know, man and horse working so well together as to be like a single creature. The Mongol rider had such force of will that his horse ceased to have any will of its own, existing only to serve its master. To fight when its master fought, to sport when its master sported. Only here in Tjimiklistan will you find horsemen equal to their skill..."
The president held out his hand. Hawaz rushed forward to place the driver into it, then rushed backward equally quickly to get out of range. The president began the lengthy process of assuming his stance.
"Did you also know that the Mongols played polo not with a ball, but rather the severed heads of their enemies?" he said.
"A delightful image, excellency."
"Of course, we no longer do that," the president continued, casting a long look at Elliot's mirror-covered eyes. "But Tjimiklian polo is still a far more invigorating pastime than its washed-out western cousin."
The commotion at the far end of the driving range had ended. The burly men were returning to the clubhouse, with no sign of their struggling burdens.
The president finishing lining up and took a swing. The ball flew out, landing a good eighty yards ahead and no more than ten or twenty degrees left of where it had been aimed.
"Oh, well done, your excellency! A truly inspired play!"
"Bah!" Down went the club again. "This is foolishness! It is an insult to use the word 'sport' to describe both golf and Tjimiklian polo. You might as well include macramé and sheep-buggery in the list!"
Elliot said nothing.
"Come," barked the president to Hawaz. "I want to play on the Zkhubriz tees now."
He stalked off toward the far end of the driving range. Elliot fell into step beside him. Hawaz hastened to gather up the president-for-life's equipment and follow them.
"Bringing golf to Tjimiklistan may be a necessary part of developing our country's oil resources," President Zkhubriz said as they walked, "but it does not mean we Tjimiklis have to weaken our souls like the decadent westerners! The oil executives may play on the standard course if they wish. But I intend to make more use of my own variation."
They arrived at the end of the range. Twelve tee platforms waited there. Elliot carefully averted his eyes from them, instead keeping his gaze on the brown haze in the distance.
The president lined up his massive driver again. His target quivered slightly, though the motion was not caused by the ever-present wind. Slightly larger than a standard golf ball, it sat atop a rope-wound stalk that protruded up from a hole between two wooden boards. The boards were mounted on hinges, so that they could be opened and closed like the lid of a box. Closed, as they were now, they provided a platform where the golfer could stand and from which the tee protruded.
A soft moaning noise emanated from the space below the boards.
President Zkhubriz lifted the driver over his head, held it there for a long moment, and swung. The head of the driver made contact and, with an oddly wet noise, the ball - or balls, for there were two - flew upward and forward. They landed on the bright green grass, rebounded with one small bounce, then lay where they landed.
The instructor, looking pale and perhaps a bit greenish, called out in a quavering voice. "A fine shot, your excellency. Twenty-five yards!"
From below the wooden boards came a thin, reedy scream. A few red drops stained the wood near the tee, though the rope was wound too tightly to allow much fluid to escape.
Elliot kept his eyes fixed on some kind of bird of prey circling in the distance near the brown mountains, not thinking at all about the painful posture the former owner of those balls must have been forced into in order to get them into the proper position. "Uh, your excellency? Are you sure you've thought through all the consequences of your particular innovation?" he asked.
The president snorted. "Consequences! What, more memos from the U.N.? A strongly-worded letter from Amnesty International? Be real, Mr. Elliot. This is oil we're talking about! Western governments may complain, but that's all they'll do."
He lined up on the next tee and let fly. The scream this time was a thick bellow, muffled somewhat by the wooden boards.
"Most talented, your excellency. Fifteen yards!" Hawaz looked positively seasick now.
"But what about your own people, Mr. President?" Elliot continued. "Don't they have... concerns?"
"Listen to yourself!" the president-for-life shouted. "You speak of these creatures as people! They're not men, Elliot, they're Tashkuin! They're like Kurds or Gypsies, breeding like rabbits and producing more of themselves than we Tjimiklis could possibly have need for. Fixing the rowdier elements among them has been our tradition for over a thousand years."
Another swing. Another wood-muffled scream.
"Magnificent, your excellency! Thirty yards."
"This is the perfect solution. Tjimiklistan opens up to the modern world, adopting western pastimes yet maintaining its ancient culture and traditions. So where's the problem?"
"Oh, there's no problem, Mr. President," said Elliot. "It's just that as your image consultant, it's my job to try to spin your government in the best possible light. This sort of thing doesn't exactly make my job easy."
"If it were easy, I wouldn't be paying your exorbitant fees," President Zkhubriz snarled.
After a few more swings, they reached the last of the occupied tees. The remaining four were vacant.
"A pox on their camels," the president muttered. "I told those oafs I wanted the full dozen today. So help me, the next time they can't round up enough dissidents they'll make up the difference themselves. Ah, well, it's too hot for this, anyway."
He tossed his club to the side. Hawaz deftly caught it before it could hit the ground.
"Mr. Elliot, join me for some gzjibrikht?"
"I'd be delighted, Mr. President."