A cool, almost imperceptible breeze saunters through the gallery. Foreshadowing Henrique Cordova’s demise perhaps? The fans, friends and relatives in the crowd surely hope not. Cordova has been known to fall victim to late-game jitters before though. Just last year, at this very same Minneapolis Open, Cordova’s six shot lead heading into the back nine dwindled faster than sand through an hour glass. Never mind the fact that that snow storm hit while he was teeing off on 12. Hasn’t he ever played through before?
But this time would be different. Henrique put his past failures behind him. Besides, his wife, Cecilia, was in the crowd. She was an emotional soul, always disentangling her feelings for the world to decipher. Cordova felt another collapse might mean trouble at home; he could tell; he had a bit of a sixth sense for these types of things. At this moment she was cheering him on…well, not so much cheering as threatening him with divorce if he failed again. Not everyone would take those words as motivation. Henrique…shivered a bit.
Lesser competitors wilt under the pressure of having the lead at the end of a major tournament. They might even feel jittery with the “encouragement” brought on by a woman such as Cecilia. Not Henrique Cordova though. That wouldn’t happen to The Slippery Snail! (He didn’t love the nickname but you cannot pick your own. Friends felt it was perfect for Henrique, and isn’t the consideration and thoughtfulness of friends more important than your own feelings?)
As he lined up his putt on the 16th green, hearing the faint whisper of a derogatory slur being spat by an underage youth, Cordova couldn’t help but feel unloved. Sure there was a large crowd watching him play golf. But weren’t they really just a large crowd watching golf and he happened to be the one golfing? Henrique began to regret having gotten those free passes for his “friends” that call him The Slippery Snail. What a bunch of jerks they are. He also regretted inviting his wife along, with her devil glares and anything-but-empty threats. Wasn’t this supposed to be fun, playing golf for a living? A dream job?…hardly. More like the nightmarish formulation of every feeling of self-doubt Henrique Cordova ever articulated to another living soul in this cruel world he resided in.
In the movies, this whole “scene” happens in an instant. All these thoughts and feelings pour through the protagonist line by line, picture by picture, yet the story only advances a moment, allowing him to refocus on the task at hand. Cordova wasn’t much for moments though. He had been standing like a dolt, hovering above his ball for going on a dozen minutes now. The crowd had grown restless, impatient, angry even. In fact, that wasn’t a cool breeze at all. People were spitting at poor Henrique, him having tortured them, stealing close to 15 minutes of their precious lives that they will never get back.
“This is awful,” Henrique thought to himself. What could be worse than trying to focus on an important putt with the collective vitriol of a small riot forming all around you, headed by your closest friends and family?
He slowly turned around, to face his fears only to see something out of place: a gargantuan, blue snail nestled between two evergreens. Feeling like this wasn’t a normal occurrence at any tour event, let alone the Minneapolis Open, Cordova began to reconsider his feelings on the scene at hand. He must be dreaming, right? At a careful yet paced trot, Cordova made for the water trap and jumped in. Rather than feeling the brisk rush of water around him, he woke up. There was no awful golf tournament with an entire horde of people who hated him. Henrique Cordova was not the Slippery Snail at all, rather just his normal self, his terrible-at-golf and unemployed self. He had no wife or even friends that gave him nicknames. All his worst fears…suddenly didn’t seem so bad.
He slowly drifted back off to sleep trying to recapture that pleasant world he had wandered into.