They did the volcano scenes first, then the Lost World, saving the lethal golf game for last.
After seeing the dailies, when she and Bond scale the inside of Mt. Hallasan, swim across the lake, and slide through lava tubes, Ji-Jing dragged Harold outside.
Matthew made her look bad, then worse. He glided through the water while she splashed like a hyperactive child. Inside the cave, he glistened, pulsing with readiness, while she looked half-drowned. Covered with goose pimples. The water was freezing; she needed a body double.
No, Harold said. She could wear a wetsuit. For the cave, they’d wait until the pretty department fixed her however she wished. And if she behaved, Harold said, they’d go to the beach, leaving the golf game to Sung. Because what was golf? The character swings, followed by stock footage of a ball in the air. Get the characters’ attitudes in the rough, muttered curses, sardonic asides. Shots of them putting. Stock footage of the ball going in or not.
Except, that afternoon, Matthew—lost in his ongoing daydream about Brooke—wandered into the Jungman Beach Golf Club, rented some sticks, and took a few practice swings. Brooke was naked and circling him when he teed up. He followed her springy step uphill and down, unaware of Sung trailing behind. Her breath filled him with pleasure as he casually sank it from the apron. He felt the currents of her body in motion when he teed off again. Hole-in-one!
“With permission, Matthew, how good are you, playing golf?”
“It’s big in Sedona. Growing up, I played all summer after caddying.”
“You’ve played since then.”
“In LA, Sasha used to know who in the industry needed a comfortable lead and who preferred vying until the final stroke. With someone important, she’d find out whether I should start strong and blunder. Or drop into a few hazards early, pull ahead, and then fall apart. With some guys, I’d lose my nerve, others my luck.”
“Do you mind if I tell Harold?”
“Sung, it’s nothing.”
Whatever Sung said, however, amounted to a challenge Harold couldn’t resist. The cranes and cameras, all the volcano equipment was still on hand. So half the night the filmmakers strategized and fantasized. And at dawn, Matthew walked the course, carrying storyboards.
Ji-Jing didn’t protest. “Providing I play instead of Ib.”
Bond and Ji-Jing, Otto and Chun—each swung in turn. Then Matthew stepped in and hit the ball as scripted—more often than not. Enough so that when they wrapped, Ji-Jing challenged him to a game then and there.
“No, thanks. Let’s just say you won.”
But then Matthew bought a full set of Taylormade’s new Tech line for women. Unlike Barbara from Eon, his sister Vicky hadn’t liked the Hermes scarf he gave her for Christmas. Vicky never liked his gifts. He sent the golf clubs next day delivery.
Finished in Korea, they were leaving Barbados with Kim-Jo (a scene Harold and Ji-Jing had skipped), when Sung answered Matthew’s phone in the airport.
“Excuse me, please.” He held the phone away. “Do you have a sister, Matthew?”
“Vicky. She’s ten years older than me.”
“Yes? Why haven’t you mentioned her?”
He didn’t know. They weren’t as close as he wished. “Ask if she had a nickname for me.”
Sung did and handed him the phone. “Five minutes, Mattie.”
Damn. But Vicky was saying the golf clubs had changed her life.
“You’re that good?”
“Yes, I’m that good, Matt. I feel almost like you—a natural.”
“Oh yeah? Imagine what a natural I’d be teaching third grade. Do you still have those rose beds surrounding the swimming pool?”
“I’d love to.”
“I’ll make sure my girlfriends stay away.”
“Vicky, when are you gonna forgive me? Most 16-year-olds would do the same thing. Especially if they knew them as your friends. Mom was so angry she pressured me into marrying Sasha.”
“I heard about her. Should I be sorry for your loss?”
“Be sorry for her, Vicky. Sorry her parents never loved her. Sorry her husband never loved her. I liked Sasha when she was helping me and tolerated her when she didn’t. Consequently, she couldn’t love her kids.”
“I don’t know about consequently, Matthew. She was an awful person. That’s why I didn’t want to meet your children. I couldn’t stand hearing from her.”
“Will you meet them now? Dex and Ivy should meet you. I’m on my way home, so maybe tomorrow. Do you have Skype?”
“Send videos, okay? And speaking of meeting—I’ve met someone. Remember Brad Scanlon?”
“The freshman short-stop when I was a senior? Good for you, Vick.”
“Not the kid. His father.”
Brad Scanlon, Sr. owned Sedona’s most popular resort and a separate popular spa. “Is he teaching you golf?”
“We’re taking lessons together.”
“That’s great.” In high school, Matthew had caddied for Brad Scanlon dozens of times. If he was “taking lessons with her,” he was learning—not golf, but Vicky.
“This summer I’ll be going to LA a lot. What if I stop in Sedona on my way home?”
(click here for the next episode)