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Kappel pointed his big white Caddy onto Lagoon Drive and steered south toward Diamond Beach where he had an important golf rendezvous lined up. He had one hand on the steering wheel, the other was tapping the armrest. A country station from St. Pete's was on the radio. If Kappel played his game right, the firm stood to make a million bucks, maybe more. That's why Kappel was a partner. He was a key man. He could win by a stroke, lose by a stroke, whatever would seal the contract. To his right, beyond a row of palms, the Gulf glittered like gold and silver and — and what? Lapis lazuli. A kingly color. Way back before he began his career in construction he used to quip that his great ambition in life was to be a beach bum — so nowadays it was like he had the best of both worlds.
Diamond Beach was only a couple minutes away now. Traffic coming from the opposite direction was sluggish. From the back of a long queue a red Camaro lunged out to pass. It overtook one car, two, then the guy was going for three. No, he'd better nick back in now. Jesus, he keeps coming head-on like a lunatic! No! Kappel's heart jumped. Kappel swerved off the road, banged over a culvert, and lurched to a halt under the palm trees.
He found himself beside Pirates and Monsters Minigolf which he had never noticed before even tho he probably drove past here a thousand times. It was a heap of purple-gray synthetic rock crowded chock-a-block with grotesqueries and wonders of the world such as an Easter Island head over here and a Taj Mahal dome visible over there and other universal marvels that Kappel could almost but not quite put a name to. His view was distorted since the windshield was riddled with cracks, like fractured ice. The glass must have imploded, Kappel thought, the air conditioning must have overloaded. And only last week he had paid $300 to get it fixed. He climbed out of the car and stomped toward the Pirates and Monsters Minigolf, intending to call for help from there.
Gord Bailey came swaggering out from amidst the trees as if he owned the place. Gord was a senior partner. "Arrrh matey!" he cried, or some such pirate gibberish. You could smell booze on his breath. He must have been the one in the Camaro, Kappel concluded.