Synopsis: Two brothers conspire against another. An AU story set after the end of the series, circa 1903.
Category: The Big Valley
Word Count: 1,380
Heath and Jarrod Barkley practiced their putting waiting for their brother Nick. It was a beautiful day with cotton candy clouds, blue skies and honeysuckle air. Green grass and friendly company completed the day. Both men were dressed in appropriately golf attire. Heath had tan knickers, green socks, brown plaid vest and tan shirt. Jarrod wore long brown pants, green shirt and a green plaid vest.
“Boy, howdy I thought I was always the one late,” Heath chuckled as he scanned the golf course parking lot.
“Well, times have changed, brother,” Jarrod took a light chip and his ball went into the hole.
“More like Nick’s boys. I swear they get into more scrapes than I can recall.”
Both men looked up when they heard a loud roaring. A long backed canary yellow roadster pulled into the parking lot of the golf course.
Both men whistled and then laughed when they saw a familiar figure.
Nick jumped out of the roaster, grabbed his clubs, slung them over his shoulder and walked to his brothers.
“So brother, who suckered you into those clothes?” The blonde twisted his head and blinked looking at the bright purple and orange plaid knickers, vest and orange shirt along with a tan cap with a tassel.
“I’ll have you know this is most current fashion attire,” Nick grunted and preened.
“Fashion attire Nick?” the lawyer laughed.
“Well boy howdy, Nick. I think you could scare away a lot of crows in that outfit. Hmm, didn’t know purple and orange plaid were ever a combination along with your tam o’shanter.”
“It ain’t a tam o’shanter; it’s a cap,” Nick growled.
“Not with that tassel it ain’t,” Heath continued to chuckle.
“So did we come here to talk or play golf?” Nick grumbled. “Besides, Jarrod looks likes he taking a walk; so do you Heath.”
“Nick, Heath and I have an appointment after this round. Hence the more subdued attire,” Jarrod smiled at his brother’s antics.
“Except for Heath’s forest green socks.”
“Ain’t supposed to hinder fellow golfers, unlike your getup. Sure you ain’t trying to be a clown?” Heath gave a lopsided smile.
“Heath I ought to…” Nick put his right hand into a fist.
“BARKLEY PARTY TO THE FIRST TEE,’ the starter called out. The men walked to the first tee and started play.
The oldest of the Barkley men teed off the green and the men watched the ball sail over the green.
“Nice shot there, Judge,” Nick smiled, “But you ain’t seen nothing yet.” He placed his ball on the tee and took a long hard swing. The ball flew long and far and off into the rough.
“Hum, big brother, you play just like you ride.” Heath placed his ball on the tee and hit a perfect shot in the center of the green heading straight for the hole.
“Well, of course Heath’s ball is perfect. Wouldn’t expect nothing less of you,” Nick growled. “Shall we?”
The game continued through the first few holes, until disaster struck.
“I swear I always find the damn water,” Nick stalked to the small stream.
“Well, we always knew Nick knew where to find water for the cattle; guess it transferred to his golf game.” Jarrod shook his head.
“Funny, Jarrod. I figure Nick always knew where to find the cold beer.” Heath watched his ball roll to ten feet close to the pin.
“Yes, Heath. My balls always seem to find the sand traps. Reminds me when I was a lawyer.”
“Now I wouldn’t say that, Jarrod. You always seem to find your way of them sand traps and your cases a time or two.” Nick made a mark on his scorecard.
The men made the turn on the ninth hole stopping for a quick bite at the course restaurant and continued with their game.
On the eleventh hole, waiting for the group ahead of them, Heath looked at the greens, trees and heard the birds singing.
“I almost forgot to tell you, Jarrod. Stockton’s thinking of putting in its own country club.”
The lawyer scratched his head. “I thought Stockton was the country, Heath.”
“Well it ain’t, Jarrod,” Nick stood closer. “Why, our streets are paved and we got five stop lights. A regular big city, wouldn’t you say, Heath?”
“Yup, a big city.”
“So I take it the Barkley’s are going to be one of the founding members?”
“Boy howdy we are. Going to have a clubhouse, swimming pool, tennis courts and one eighteen hole golf course; sure will put us on the map.”
The group finished the hole and the men continued to play.
Heath putted in perfectly to the consternation of his brothers.
“How do you do that, Heath? My balls sail right past the hole.”
“Practice, brother, practice. I have a nice putting green behind the house. The nicest blue grass from Kentucky.”
“You ain’t never been to Kentucky, Heath. So where did you get the grass?”
“Ever hear of a catalog, Nick? I swear you can get anything you want from a catalog. A thing of the future, I’d say,” Heath chuckled.
“Catalog. Smatalog. I just don’t have time to practice and golf too. How do you do it?”
“Well Nick,” the blonde patted Nick on the shoulder, “if you went with me on those buying trips, you’d be able to play golf too. But your boys always seem to get into trouble just before we go.”
“My boys will be the death of me. Was I ever that much trouble, Jarrod?” Nick looked intently into his brother’s eyes.
“Do you really want me to answer, Nick? You know better; I swear your name was engraved on the paddle and if anything bad happened, father knew where to look. Your sons are just like you.” Jarrod hit his ball.
“Yes and Heath has the perfect children, of course,” Nick hit his ball hard, again landing in water.
“Perfect, Nick? Why I could tell you stories about my children that would make your hair curl,” Heath’s ball sailed perfectly next to the green.
The next few holes went smoothly and then the round was over.
“Well, Nick before you go, pay up,” Heath held out his hand.
“Of course, Heath won. You too, Jarrod; I ain’t the only loser in this group.”
Both men took out coins of their pockets and placed them in Heath’s hand. Two shiny copper pennies.
“Now brothers, this is two cents worth earning. A nice long round of golf with my brothers and a beautiful day at that.”
“Maybe for you, Heath, but now I got to go home to my honey-do list.”
“Yes, Heath and I are off to our appointment. Next month?”
“Of course next month, Jarrod. Wouldn’t miss this for the world,” Nick walked away, threw his clubs in the back of his roadster, jumped in and drove off.
“Nick always knows how to make an exit, doesn’t he,” Heath looked at Jarrod.
“And an entrance. Think he has a clue?” Jarrod said laughing.
“Not a chance. Boy howdy, is he going to have a good birthday tonight!”
“I’ll say. Couldn’t you have let Nick win just once?”
“Now Jarrod, Nick would get suspicious if I let him win. Tonight will be all the sweeter,” Heath said. “Yes, going to Scotland and playing there. Now you be sure to let my wife know about this gift of Nick’s and how I want it too.” Heath grinned ear from ear.
“Well truth be told, Heath, we’re all going! It’s my little secret.”
“Now this is going to be fun. Wonder how much you’ll owe after we play golf there.”
“Oh I wouldn’t start counting your pennies just yet, brother. Those courses are really rough. I figure Nick might win one or two.”
“We’ll see, Jarrod, we’ll see. Time to go home and get ready for the party, I expect,” Heath grabbed his clubs.
“Yes and this was never a good walk spoiled.”
“Well, Jarrod, Mark Twain doesn’t have any brothers, I don’t think,”
Jarrod took his clubs and the brothers walked arm in arm to the Judge’s Model A.