At the resort, the golf cart path that the vacationers used to get from their villas to the tennis courts, beach, bars, main hotel, restaurants, and shops wound through the golf course.

At the end of the fairway to the ninth hole, as the vacationers approached on their carts, a boy’s voice called out, “Golf ball!”

The carts swerved, skidded to a stop, drifted dangerously close to the muddy gulch; passengers ducked, covered their heads, only to be greeted by the laughter from the tree.

“Where are your parents?” they’d sometimes yell. Although the voice could be heard coming from a large Royal Palm tree, no boy could be seen.

The boy’s crying out “Golf ball!” continued for several days, until the vacationers learned to ignore him.

After a day or so of silence, as the golf carts passed the tree, without warning, an orange golf ball would nail their cart. A few bounced against shoulders, ears, heads, bursting their vacation bubbles.

When the security guards came to remove the boy from the tree, they asked him the same question as asked of him before, “Where are your parents?”

He said he didn’t know.

“This is no way to get attention,” a guard said. They told him some of the people he hit, names he didn’t know, like Twiggy and Sidney Poitier.

They said that when his parents showed up, they’d pay. And they’d all be kicked off the resort. He said his parents weren’t coming, but no one believed him.


Randall Brown teaches at Rosemont College’s MFA in Creative Writing Program. He is the author of the award-winning collection Mad to Live (Flume Press, 2008), his essay on (very) short fiction appears in The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field, and he appears in the Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction (W.W. Norton, 2010). He blogs regularly at FlashFiction.Net and has been published widely, both online and in print, including online at American Short Fiction, Tin House, and Mississippi Review; and in-print in Cream City Review, Lake Effect, and Harpur Palate.


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