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They say in space nobody can hear you scream. It seems an odd thing to drop into conversation. They also say that in the boundless stars there are places that would give cosmographers and quantum physicists everywhere conniption fits simply by existing.
One of those stood below: It looked a little like a golf course, a grassy fairway in the stars, surrounded by strange trees rooted into the fabric of the cosmos where, of all things, figures that looked suspiciously like knights in armour (some of them wearing what looked suspiciously like plus-fours) were clanking around the fairway crying ‘Fore!’ You’ve got to have some sympathy for the poor academic physicists at times like this. This sort of thing wasn’t supposed to happen.
These are the Missing Links. Some call them a fairway to heaven. Which, considering that in a little pocket dimension such as this, the weather is still pretty Earth-like, seems a little unwise. A sudden thunderstorm and a well-placed lightning bolt can often offend, after all.
The Links are also right smack near the Och Aye Nebula – those tartan bands of coloured stars that twinkle away into eternity. How could it be otherwise?
And from down below there was a tingling, a sense of something about to unfold …
Two stars twinkled in the air for a moment. Two figures materialised, spinning in a kind of dance step and then whirling around in an impromptu waltz.
It’s not entirely clear who trod on the golf ball that someone had left carelessly lying there.
Or who struck the other ball that came spinning through the air just then and hit the young man squarely on the head.
What was clear were the cries as he and the twinkly young lady with the scarf got tangled together and ended up rolling down the incline to the lake.
They say if you’re going to get anywhere in life, you’ve got to be prepared to make a splash.
‘Get out of there at once, sir! Get out of the lake, I say!’
He looked up blearily. Or was that blurrily? A man in armour and close-cut golfing-trousers was glaring at him from the shoreline and brandishing a golf club at him.
‘Oh, leave him alone, Lance. It’s just a boy, just some kid turned up out of the ether. He’s not doing you any harm.’
‘We’ll just see about that.’
The “boy” tried to think. There had been a girl, hadn’t there? ’S funny. He couldn’t remember that much else about her.
And she seemed to have disappeared.
‘Well, all right, then,’ the knight apparently known as Lance was saying, ‘let’s see his membership card. You do have one, I presume, sir? Come on, speak up.’
‘I … uh …’
‘As I thought.’ (He wasn’t sure why, but there was a gleeful edge to “Lance’s” voice that “the boy” didn’t like.) ‘Throw him into space!’
‘Lance! Steady on—’
The boy started suddenly in the water. He thought he’d felt a sudden pressure in his back pocket. Like something had just been placed in it.
He reached back and held it up.
‘Is this what you mean?’
‘There, you see, Lance, just because you haven’t seen him before. Boy seems to have his membership.’ The other knight leaned forward and offered him a hand. ‘Come along, lad, let’s get you dried out back at the clubhouse.’
Lance was fuming, but there wasn’t much he could do, apparently. ‘We’ll see about this,’ he was muttering.
The boy caught something about rules and challenges. He had a feeling he should be paying this more attention, but right now he couldn’t think to. The other knight clapped a companionable, armoured hand on his shoulder (ow) and murmured something meant to be reassuring.
Funny thing was, he was sure there had been a girl. She had been beautiful, he remembered that. And kind. And … And as he turned back to the water – and as a fish chose that moment to slide down out of his trouser leg – he could have sworn there was a face in the water. It smiled, and then it winked at him.
Then it vanished in the rippling surface of the water, and he caught the light of the sun twinkling on the horizon. When he looked back, the face was gone.
Guess it was just par for the course …
 Though the Honourable and Ancient Knights of the Course (known by other names, but hereafter known as the club) had petitioned for the big glowy advertising sign for The Fluttering Tartan bar and grill (“The Best Chocolate Malts This Side of the Milky Way!”) to be moved further out.
Although, this might just be because Lancelot complained that the light got in his eyes when he missed an important approach shot competing in the Christmas Day tournament.Published in