Pebble Beach, California, overlooking the most famous golf hole in the world. I’m sitting on the second floor of Club XIX. I’m nursing a Jack Daniels, eating beer nuts and wondering where the pebbles are. A seagull frets up and down the railing, eyeing my munchies. The sun will set in an hour and thirteen minutes.
I’ve carefully timed the last four foursomes. It takes twenty-one minutes, give or take three minutes, for a foursome to complete the eighteenth hole. There are some low fences and threatening-looking signs around the hole, but all the guards are on the other side of the hotel. No visible security to speak of.
My plan will succeed.
I have researched carefully the means of disposition of ashes after cremation. Although cremated human remains are typically ground to a fine consistency, the ash is particulate. Human ash is the color of bone; it consists primarily of small bone fragments. It is heavier than air, and thus it will not dissipate into the air if tossed. I have been warned specifically of this in advance, and I have accounted for it in my plan.
The guys in the foursome — well-dressed, male, middle-aged, clearly on corporate juice — pat each other on the back. I present a low-wattage smile to them, step over the fence and stride nonchalantly to the thick old tree on the fairway of the eighteenth hole. The tree is ringed by a small, hard border of compact yellow sandstone.
I pull the jar from my jacket pocket. I open it and hold it reverently. “Thanks, Papa,” I say, and I spread a tablespoon of ash onto the ground beneath me —
I look down. Now there is a light, but visible, smudge of white ash on the border of the sandstone.
If I spread all of Papa’s ashes where I stand, I’m going to make a mess. I close the jar.
I look down the course. Another foursome is about a hundred yards away and looking at me curiously.
The ocean. The ashes go into the ocean.
I walk to the ocean’s edge. The sky is steel gray, overcast, with hints of green and red sunset asserting themselves. I hear a golf ball bounce somewhere behind my head.
I open the jar and hold it reverently. “Thanks, Papa,” I say. I rear back and fling the contents toward the water, as hard as I can —
And the ash explodes into a great white dragon fireball! It jumps into the wind above me and rolls majestically down the course!
As I walk off the course I stop to fill the empty jar with sand from one of the sand traps. I have no idea why I do this, but it seems necessary. There are no pebbles at Pebble Beach. I went back to the car and cried a little. Los Angeles is only two hundred miles away. Hell, I can make it there tonight.