After the motor pacing with Tejay, I’ll take you guys down to Hunter’s place, down Woody Creek Tavern, yes, I’ll take you down there for lunch, just to see the place, and also his house, it’s a crazy little place, and we like Hunter, right, what, no, I never knew him personally, Hunter, but the sheriff did, of course, our former sheriff Bob Braudis, who is a great guy, a friend, and he was the first one on the scene from the department, who found Hunter, you know, after the incident, and then Joe, who took over, Joe DiSalvo, our new sheriff in town, he was also there, and he is a friend, too, we golf, in fact, we are golfing later, and so one day Joe made me deputy, did you know that, did you know I have a real star here somewhere?
Then he says, “look.” He opens up a kitchen drawer and pulls out a sheriff’s badge.
“You are a sheriff in Aspen?”
“Sure. So if you don’t behave, I’ll… hey, hey!?”
“Don’t touch it. Or I’ll deport you fuckers.”
On the Aspen golf course, where a local sheriff, whose name is indeed Joe DiSalvo, like Lance says his name was, which was a little confusing, because people have told us that Lance is a big liar, he is a fucking big liar, and a cheat, and a liar, we’ve read it in the papers for 15 years, so we’d better not trust what Lance says, don’t trust what he says, people warn each other on the internet, because Lance is a fucking doper and a big liar, that’s right, but then a whole group of other people, people with entirely other issues, like perhaps, oh let’s say, cancer in the family or in the lungs or inside the head, say a completely different thing about him, so it’s a little confusing, and so anyway, Joe The Sheriff says, he never understood why people disliked Lance so much.
“Spend 30 minutes with him. And you’ll change your mind,” he whispers, as Lance is trying, and failing badly, with his shot.
Armstrong looks down. It is as if he doesn’t accept a little failure in front of us, in front of his buddies, the alpha male persona just cracked before us, not that anybody would notice this – this is over in a second – but Jakob Kristian and I look at each other.
“Told you,” Lance sneers while pointing the small iron club in our direction, “the Blues Brothers are bringing me bad luck.”
His buddies laugh, because they are his buddies. And so we laugh. But Lance isn’t kidding. He is a champion. And champions don’t take a little failure easy. If it’s a game, you play to win. If you lose, you are a loser. I once witnessed a great boxing champion break a pool stick in two after a shot missed against me.
We decide to crawl into the small golf cart and leave the men to it. “Let’s get out of here,” Jakob Kristian whispers and throws his camera around one shoulder. Joe The Sheriff forms a surprised look. “What? You’re leaving already? We were starting to like you fellas.”
“You heard. We are fucking up his game,” I say.
“Argh. Remember. I’m a cop. I can tell when he is lying. Lance is just warming up,” Joe The Sheriff says. “But listen. When you head back, stay close to the trees. So you don’t get hit.”
Jakob Kristian and I have never been on a golf course before. It is silly enough for us already, wearing hat and tie – our normal outfit as it is – but seldom while being out on grass and having to follow around grown men in golf clothes. We look out of place. Also, we are in a small electric cart that barely fits us.
Andy Mill, another gentleman in the group, explains that there might be someone behind us. Other golfers, you know, teeing off. And that they are shooting back there. Aha.
Handshakes are extended, goodbyes are said, we begin the drive back towards the club house. “Jesus,” says Jakob Kristian. “Did you see Lance’s face when he missed his shot. The putt. Is it shot or putt?”
“Now I know how Ullrich felt for seven years,” I say.
“Stay close to the fence. Poor Ullrich. No wonder he never… Not so fast!”
“What? This pedal is… Jesus. Are you okay?”
At the clubhouse, we order drinks and stand outside smoking cigarettes. This doesn’t go down too well. The smoke blows in peoples’ direction. They look at us without expressions. They look, but with no expressions. Strange faces. We move quietly aside, down the drinks and head for the parking lot.
“Plastic surgery,” I say.
“And why do they need to cough when we smoke? We already cough!” Jakob Kristian laughs. “Hey, you know Andy Mill? He is a former skier. Was married to Chris Evert. The tennis player.”
“God, it’s hot.”
“I wonder what he does? Except for looking like the Marlboro Man. Perhaps that is his job. We are in Colorado, you know,” says Jakob Kristian.
“I wear too many clothes for this. How do I look? Tell me how I look.”
“Maybe he is a deputy too? How many badges are made? I mean, you could probably get one on eBay. Then we’d have a badge. Plus the guns!”
“But they are rentals. Doesn’t count. Weird how Lance says he hates guns. You’d think he’d have plenty. Being from Texas an’ all.”
“Please stop saying that.”
“They look like movie stars,” I say removing jacket, hat and tie. “At one point they just felt entitled to it. The American male. To look so cool. And then it was decided.”
“That drink was strong,” Jakob Kristian then says. “You are driving.”
“No. You are driving.”
“Doesn’t matter, Elwood. We just played golf with half of the sheriff’s department.”
From Rouleur issue 52.