Harry never understood his father's obsession with golf, nor his desire to equally enthuse his sons to play the game, introducing each at the age of 12, like his father before him.
There was a lot to be said about tradition.
Of course, it was not so much about playing the game as it was being an essential tool in the businessman's armoury.
Even so, Harry had never seen the reason why anyone would lose, just to make a deal, or get a favour. Perhaps that was the reason why he was not a businessman.
His brothers took to it like ducks to water. Needless to say, it was not because it was a tool. It was more about the prestige, and therefore bragging rights, of belonging to a very elite club.
And it was. Just the annual membership fees were eye-watering, certainly more than he had made over the last year, and had it not been for his father, he would not be a member.
It was the one thing his parents paid for him, or, more likely, his father had forgotten to cancel when Harry walked away from the practice.
Originally, the building was a huge sprawling exquisite colonial style mansion, and, over the years added to so that now, it had the distinction of making the top of Architectural Digests 10 worst buildings three years in a row.
It just showed that too much money, little understanding of ascetics, and a committee made up of stockbrokers, lawyers and bankers could do.
Despite that, Harry thought it was quaint, and it had instilled a desire in him to one day if he could afford it, buy or build an old colonial house of his own.
The one thing he did remember was the obscene display of wealth and privilege, outside, with all the prestigious cars, except his, and inside, with the antiques and expensive furniture. He had never understood the desire of the wealthy elite to surround themselves with the trappings.
Most mortals never made it further than the foyer, a few feet in from the front door where a large guard by the name of Cecil, the greeter, met every arrival. There was no sneaking in the back door, everyone had to present themselves at the main entrance.
If it wasn't Cecil, it was an equally voluminous man named Occo. Both were the sort of men who could repel all invaders single-handed.
It was Cecil's day, and Cecil knew Harry.
"Well, if it isn't Harry Walthenson, infamous private detective. Heard you were involved in the Jones Brother's murder cases."
Cecil was also reputed to have an ear to the underworld, which was not surprising given a small percentage of members were criminals wrapped up as businessmen.
"Only as much as I was present when the bodies were found."
"Nearly got killed over it, so they say."
Harry wanted to ask him who 'they' were, but all he'd get would be a benign smile.
"They, whoever they may be, seem to have interesting sources. If you have any idea who they might be, I'd like to know."
He shrugged. "So would I. I don't take kindly to people who harm our members. Now, it's been a long time, and I don't think you're here for a round of golf."
"You're right. It's about my father. Have you noticed anything unusual about him in the last week or so. I know he was here Monday, which is unusual."
"Not as unusual as you'd think. You know your father dies s lot of business out on the links. Been costing some new visits, and prospective members."
"Anyone we know?"
"You know I can't tell you that, I've probably said too much already. No, none of our business really. Now, staying or going?"
"I think I'll wander around a bit, it's been a while."
"Your brother Robert is here by the way. He's probably in the bar."
"Not for him. You have your membership card?"
Fortunately, he did, remembering the rules, not that the card left his wallet unless it came time to replace it. It was so long since he'd used it, it was sticking to the leather insert.
He swiped it in the machine, and it brought up the last time he'd visited, two years before. That time it was at the behest of his father, to meet a new client, one that had a daughter that his mother considered 'the right sort of young lady he should be associating with'.
Cecil passed the card back. "You might want to look in on your brother. He seems a bit lost at the moment. Your father was a little harsh with him about a week ago, a job he was supposed to do, and didn't."
Cecil was the sort of person who knew everything that was going on but rarely said anything. Perhaps he was worried about Robert, though my experience, admonishment usually rolled off him like water off a duck's back.
On the other hand, it might be linked to his father's departure and warranted further investigation. Checking out his locker would have to wait a little longer, not that Harry expected to find anything.
"Worth a moment to check up on him. Mr Walthenson can be a bit of a bastard at times."
"Only recently Harry. Got a phone call, out on the verandah about a month back. Turned purple some said, and then threw the phone against the wall as hard as he could. No prizes for guessing what that was about."
With the knowing look, Harry thought better than to ask, because, given a direct question, he'd cite privacy, but letting him talk, as he was wont to do, some days, he could inadvertently let slip some very useful information.
That was useful.
"For you maybe, for us that live with him, he can be a bit like a firecracker on the fourth of July. I'll pop in and see Robert."
Another member came along, and Harry lost the focus of his attention.
Harry made a note to self, get his father's phone records, and check the dates, find out who the caller was.
He waved to Cecil, but the man didn't notice, now deep in conspiratorial conversation with the member who'd just arrived and headed towards the bar.
© Charles Heath 2020-2022
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