Kickaha takes Calex to play his first game ever of mini golf. You can probably guess how this is going to go.
It’s Called Mini Golf
A rust-colored lion ran on all fours through the city streets with a short green cloak flying on his back. There was an oddly-shaped brown patch of fur on his white chest that came into view as he leaped over a car stopped at a traffic light, startling the people inside. The sight of a lion running through the city streets was strange enough alone, but this one had a rider. A small orange kitten, though at least a bipedal one, rode atop the lion’s back. He was hugging his body against the lion’s back and digging his claws into the rust colored fur. Finally, the lion came to a stop, standing outside a large colorful archway. Hanging from the top of the arch was a sign that read ‘Adventure Mini Golf.’
“Roooaaawwwr!” The lion let out something of a tired roar as he stood up on his hind legs. His body shrunk down in size, until while standing upright he was only three feet tall, his tail become a lot fluffier and, and his ears a bit longer and less round. His cloak also fit him more naturally as he returned to his normal fox-coyote hybrid form. “This is the place.”
“Huh.” The kitten was now riding on the foxyote’s shoulders instead of his back, being barely more than half the foxyote’s reduced size. “So uh… Kickaha, what is mini golf? Cause I’ve seen golf on TV and well… It didn’t look exciting at all.”
“Oh don’t worry, Calex.” The foxyote grinned. “Mini golf is much more exciting. There are windmills, and castles, and slopes. And also you’re not expected to be completely silent while people play. It’s basically golf for people who aren’t so rich and have to pretend something they hate is fun just to put on airs.”
“I see…” The kitten rubbed his chin as he started through the archway. What he saw on the other side made his eyes light up. Indeed, he saw the promised windmills and castles! As well as model animals the golf balls had to be shot through, slopes, leading to tunnels where the balls might come out anywhere. It almost looked like a model city but filled with wild animals. “This… This is amazing.” Calex’s mouth hung open.
“Heh.” Kickaha grinned and ruffled the kitten’s head fur. “I suspected you might find the idea entertaining. Well, let’s go get registered and get our equipment to play.”
“I can’t wait!” Calex leaped down from Kickaha’s shoulders as he ran through the archway. On the other side was a small wooden shack that acted as the customer service counter. Calex leaped up grabbing the counter with his forepaws, dangling off of it and struggling to keep his head above the counter.
“Uhhhh can I help you?” asked the very bored looking teen girl who was not being paid enough for this job.
“One mini golf please!” Calex replied. His legs flailed as he struggled to keep from falling off.
“I believe what my feline friend is trying to ask, is if we could get two tickets for the course.” Kickaha came to the rescue, however he also was too short to see over the counter. Only the tips of his ears poked above it. “Why is everything in this world sized for humans?”
“Uhhhh.” The teen slowly stood up from her stool to look over the counter and see the two smaller critters. “Two child tickets?”
“… Yes.” Kickaha had the briefest of pauses before answering. This got him a dirty look from the kitten. “Ugggh. All right, all right, if you’re going to be difficult about it.” The foxyote snapped his fingers and promptly began to shrink in size. The teen who was now fetching clubs and so had turned around missed it, but after a few moments Kickaha had reduced himself to seven years of age, making him just six months older than Calex and a head taller. “Happy?” His cloak was now far too big on him.
“Honesty is important.” Calex responded.
“Alright, that’s $10 total.” The teen sat two putters on the counter and two golf balls, a red one and a green one.
“Calex, I can’t reach the counter anymore, pass the money up.” Kickaha reached into his cloak, produced a ten dollar pill and passed it to Calex. Calex barely kept his grip as he grabbed the money before slamming it on the table. Then he tried to grab the clubs and balls, but lost his balance and finally lost his grip as he fell from the counter landing atop Kickaha.
“You know, from the moment I saw you dangling there, I somehow knew it would end like this.” Kickaha tapped his fingers against the ground. The putters and balls wobbled and jostled, tumbling off the counter and helpfully clattering to the ground. “Well, let’s get to the first hole.”
As the two picked themselves up and each grabbed a putter, they were pleased to discover they weren’t too oversized. It was clear these were meant for children, kids far younger than Calex and Kickaha’s apparent ages, but they were the right size for them. The golf balls were of course normal golf ball size. Retrieving their equipment, the two quickly made their way to the first hole.
Hole 1 was a simple course, simply a shallow hill that ended in a circular area with the hole at the bottom. No fancy gimmicks or tricks yet, but they were just getting started.
“So, do you want to go first?” Kickaha grinned watching the kitten. Kickaha enjoyed Calex’s company a lot, likely for the same reason Calex enjoyed Kickaha’s. For both of them, normal activities seldom remained normal. They just attracted all kinds of weirdness. And recent secret experiments with Calex and a month of living in a shoebox had taught him that the kitten didn’t just attract the weirdness. He WAS the weirdness. And that was why he had brought him here today, simply to witness what would happen.
“Alright!” Calex bounded up, set his ball down, looked at the hole, took aim and then paused. He stood there frozen for almost a full minute completely unmoving.
“Uhhh, Calex, you okay over there little buddy?” Kickaha asked.
“Oh fine!” Calex chirped happily. “I was just waiting for the mini part to kick in. I mean I thought it would happen as soon as I stepped up here… You know like a magic circle or something… But so far nothing.”
“I see.” Kickaha snickered. “I guess you weren’t aware, mini golf refers to the golf course being mini, not you.”
“Eh?” Calex looked around. “Kickaha, I hate to question your wisdom but there’s no way that’s right. How is this ‘mini’ compared to normal golf”?! We’ve got a castle! Lakes! Tunnels! A windmill I suspect I will soon have to go Don Quixote on.”
“Wait–you’ve read Don Quixote?” That caught Kickaha off guard.
“The point is, this is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than any normal golf course has. Most golf courses just have grass, sand, and if you’re really lucky water. I imagine they just look so big cause there’s nothing there. But… Look at all this stuff! This is way bigger than real golf! So that brings up the question,where does the mini come in?” Calex lifted up the club in the air as he examined it. He rubbed his paw over it, as if expecting it to do something, but as his paw passed from the handle to the metal part of the club he suddenly made a loud hissing noise and his eyes dilated. He threw the club away from him, leaped backwards and landed on all fours, fur puffed up.
“Uhhhhhh.” Kickaha stared at Calex with concern. “Is everything alright? I’m used to you being a little strange but… But uh… yeah… This, this is new.”
“Huh?” Calex blinked as his eyes regained focus. “Wha- Where?” He looked around confused, as if he had forgotten where he was. He sat up on his haunches, and quickly groomed his fur back into place before standing back up on two legs. “Sorry, I got distracted… I think. I was…” Calex shook his head; he looked completely disoriented “Sorry. What were we doing again?”
“Mini golf?” Kickaha took a step closer to Calex. On the one paw, he was very much concerned about the kitten’s sudden freak out. On the other, there was the very real chance the kitten might explode or something.
“Mini golf…” Calex muttered the words as if they sounded alien to him. He thought for a moment, and then was suddenly back to normal. “Mini golf! That’s right! We need to get to the mini part!”
“Uh yeah sure but…” Kickaha placed a paw on Calex’s shoulder. “Do you want to maybe talk about what just happened? You sort of freaked out there and-“
“MROWL!” Calex leaped away from Kickaha’s touch, then paused and seemed confused. “I don’t know why I just did that.”
“I see…” Kickaha looked at the golf club in his hand. The grip and putter were plastic, but there was a metal bar running between the two. He ran his own paw over it. He didn’t experience any problems from the touch. He generated a bit of electricity from his paw as he tried a few minor enchantments on the golf club. These specific types of things weren’t his specialty, but if the materials of something were basic enough he could figure out what they were made from. After a few seconds, he understood at once.
The clubs were made of iron.
That explained a lot. Kickaha had been doing a bit of research on Calex for a while now, outside the previous incident. Mostly, he had discovered that Calex was some kind of faerie, or at least something like one. And faeries and iron didn’t mix. From what he had seen, Calex could hold the club as long as he only touched the plastic handle… However judging by his reaction to Kickaha approaching, just being around the clubs was going to put him on constant edge.
“You know… I think these golf clubs are broken.” Kickaha tossed his aside as well. He noticed Calex’s stance become much calmer immediately. “We’ll just have to make our own clubs… Besides, they’re going to be way too big once we’re mini sized right?”
“So I was right on how mini golf works!” Calex was cheerful again, and grinning wide showing off his fang.
“Yup, you got it!” Kickaha smirked as he stepped next to Calex. His hand began to glow with green light. “Hey… See anything on the hole that could be used to make a new club?”
“Well…” Calex squinted as he looked around. And while Calex was distracted Kickaha touched the kitten’s shoulder with his glowing hand.. Immediately, both of them began to shrink. “Ah!?” Calex was caught off guard by the suddenness of it, though did not seem unpleased.
“It seems now that we’ve gotten rid of the broken clubs, the mini part can begin.” Kickaha grinned as he withdrew his paw. He felt his cloak growing heavier on him as he got smaller. A moment later, the cloak fell over him, covering him completely as he became too small to wear it in any manner.
Calex, being completely naked, had no such problems. Instead, he had time to marvel as he watched the golf course grow bigger and the grass grow closer. He was surprised as the shrinking finished that the grass only went up to his ankles. This fake golf grass was nothing like the real thing. At about two inches tall, there should have been some blades towering over his head.
“Mini-ness achieved.” Kickaha squeaked as he crawled out from beneath his cloak. He was still exactly one head taller than Calex. After looking around he paused and walked around to the other side of his cloak, opening a hidden fold in it. From within the fold he pulled out a tinier version of his usual cloak and quickly hung it on his shoulders. It fit perfectly.
“Hey isn’t that the cloak I made for you while you were stuck as a mouse? Calex’s eyes lit up seeing Kickaha had kept it.
“Yup, and inspired me. I now keep them in several different sizes.” He opened up a patch in his new tiny cloak revealing a tinier cloak, then there was another even tinier one within that. “I’ve found having these are a good precaution to take around you.” Kickaha grinned cheekily. The truth was, he knew there was no way he was getting out of this day without getting shrunk. After all, he had brought Calex to a mini golf course. There was no way for something to have mini in the name, involve Calex and not end this way. Regardless of the inconveniences that come with being small, it would have at least proved to be an interesting afternoon. Still, he was surprised that he was the actual catalyst this time. He had figured that Calex’s fey nature would take care of the shrinking, or a drone carrying of shrinking potions would accidentally lose its load, just happening to hit the foxyote and kitten, or that it just might happen spontaneously for seemingly no reason at all.
But… The thing was… Kickaha felt guilty. He didn’t feel guilty very often, but when he did, he was good at it — he was really properly uncomfortable. He hadn’t considered what the clubs might be made of. It was clear that the touch had hurt Calex in some way, likely both spiritually and physically. The kitten had already recovered… But, Kickaha felt the need to do something to make up for it. So he used a shrinking spell, to give the kitten the version of mini golf he envisioned.
“Alright I got an idea!” Calex climbed over the edge of the course and into some bushes. He came running back a few moments later carrying a couple of twigs. “We can use these as clubs.”
“Yes, these will work fine.” Kickaha glanced over at the red and green golf balls that were now slightly bigger than them. Gently putting them wasn’t really going to work. He was going to have to use the twig like a club to get them to move. It made him question if it even counted as golf. But then again, the inventors of golf probably wouldn’t have approved of windmills and fake animals either. So it was probably a bit late to start considering their opinions now.
“Okay me first!” Calex ran up and swung his own twig at the green ball. It took off at a surprising speed. Even small, Calex was still a werebeast. The ball rolled all the way down the hill before landing in the hole. “GOT IT!” Calex leaped up and down in the air.
“You sure did!” Kickaha grinned. “You’re a natural at this. Now, my turn.” Kickaha smacked the red ball with his own twig. It did not take off quite as fast as Calex’s, but as it approached the hole, gravity did most of the effort. Like Calex, he sunk it in one shot. Not surprising, it was the first hole and just a single slope and a straight line. Of course, there was a new problem.
“Sooooo, Calex, think you can get those balls out of the hole and to the next tee?”
“On it!” Calex ran down the slope and dove into the golf hole. A moment later one golf ball flew out, followed by the second one just a few seconds after that. Then the kitten climbed out of the hole and looked at them. “Hmmmm, they’re not heavy, but a bit bulky. Pretty sure I can only do one at a time. Give me a few minutes to get them set up.”
“Of course.” Kickaha nodded as he made the walk to hole two. He also kept a lookout for normal-sized players just in case. He had not actually planned on causing any magical mischief today; the one thing he did was just to cheer up a friend. But… Obviously he might have to bring a few other golf players down to their size to maintain the illusion, and remove the risk of being stepped on. Luckily the course seemed pretty empty today. That was the advantage of coming on a weekday. Most people were at work or school, things that didn’t exist for Kickaha or Calex.
Though… At his current age, Kickaha realized there was a chance of being picked up for truancy. Though probably not too much of a risk at their current sizes… or species. And he supposed if it did happen he could copy Calex’s way of getting out of it, which was just to take a feral form.
“OK ready!” Calex had gotten both balls set up on the next course. This one was made of three possible paths, each leading to a different hole. The holes themselves were tunnels taking the balls down to a lower section of the course where the actual hole was. “I got to go first last time, so you get to go.”
“Surprisingly courteous of you.” Kickaha chuckled as he moved up. He swung the twig as hard as he could. It got the ball moving, and it went down the left path, landing in the hole. After a few seconds, it came out below bouncing off a few barriers, but stopping nowhere near the final hole. “A pity. Looks like I chose the wrong hole.” The foxyote paused and gave the kitten a suspicious look. “You didn’t let me go first to check that, did you?”
“That would be an impressive plan for me to come up with considering I’ve only known about mini golf for the last twenty minutes, and am kind of learning as we’re going.” The kitten seemed earnest, but he often did. Kickaha knew he wouldn’t lie, but that didn’t mean he would tell the truth. “But… Thanks! That’s a really good idea!” So Calex hadn’t done that on purpose. Probably. “Let’s see… There’s no way it’s the middle. Too obvious. Sooooo.” He swung his twig and sent his ball hurling to the right.
The green ball disappeared into the hole and could be heard rattling around, and then came out and like Kickaha’s was nowhere near the actual hole. In fact, it rolled straight into Kickaha’s ball, knocking it closer to the hole.
“Huh. I guess it was the obvious choice.” Calex seemed amused. “Well down we go.” He ran across the green.
“Uh Calex, the stairs are this way.” Kickaha pointed beyond the greens.
“Whaaaaat?” Calex looked at Kickaha like he was crazy. “Why would we do that when there are awesome slides right here we can ride!”
“Those are for the balls.” As Kickaha spoke he considered it though. He was a kid right now, mostly to fit expectations and pay kid prices. And he was definitely small enough to fit into the tunnels. Yup, giving in to childish instincts was the way to go to make the most of the day. “Eh why not.” Kickaha ran across the greens and dove down the left tunnel. “WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” The tunnel twisted and turned, making it far more interesting than any slide he had been on as a kid… Or any of the other times he was a kid. Funny how many of those times Calex was around.
“MEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!” Calex leaped through the right tunnel, enjoying the ride down as he came out near his own ball. Being further away, he got to go next, and sunk the ball easily. It didn’t take Kickaha much longer.
And so the game continued, as they slowly worked their way through multiple holes. The process was longer than any normal game of mini golf thanks to tiny legs and not being able to hit the ball as hard or as far.
Eventually, they reached the more interesting holes. They arrived at the windmill hole. Calex had attempted to get his ball through at least five times, and each time the windmill blades had blocked it. Kickaha struggled too, but by a lucky shot got it through on his fourth. Meanwhile Calex was giving the windmill a death glare.
“Wait. you were kidding about going Don Quixote on this, right?” Kickaha asked with concern.
“UNLEASH THE CATS OF WAR!” Calex shouted as he charged the windmill, swinging his twig, only to have it get caught in one of the blades and launch the tiny kitten into the air. Suddenly, he found himself dangling from his twig, being slowly spun in a circle as he was lifted up and down. “Kickaha help!”
“Uhhhh how?” Kickaha sat back and watched the spinning kitten. Maybe turn into a bird? At their current sizes Calex wouldn’t weigh much, so most birds even shrunk would be able to hold him. He’d just have to time it right or…
Kickaha slapped a paw to his face.
“Calexm let go of your twig.” Kickaha said flatly.
“What!?” The kitten seemed shocked. “I need it to complete the game! How else will I play! I can’t just let it go.”
“There are bushes everywhere!” Kickaha gestured around. “You literally have your choice of new twigs.”
“Oh…. Yeah..” Calex looked sheepish as he waited to be close to the ground and then released his grip on the twig, freeing himself. “So right… New twig.”
After two minutes of searching for a twig, and ten more of trying to get it past that windmill, Calex finally got the ball through and was able to sink it into the hole.
“We’ll just… Not count the stroke count for that one.” Kickaha patted the kitten on the head. It wasn’t as if they were big enough to be dragging a scorecard around with them anyway. “You did good finishing it.”
“Right! On to the next hole!” Calex grinned, happy to have finally conquered the windmill.
Only the eighteenth hole remained. This one was a large complicated course full of twists and turns, ending in a castle where the drawbridge constantly opened and closed. Then even after that, there was a mini (well now giant) hedge garden to hit the ball through before making it to the final hole.
“Par 9.” Kickaha starred up at the giant par sign and whistled. “This one’s gonna be tough.”
“What’s par?” Calex tilted his head.
“Well…” Kickaha considered how to answer the question. They had been several strokes over par in every single course thanks to their current style of play. This one was going to take awhile. “It’s sort of for… A high score type thing based on how few strokes you take.” That wasn’t far from the truth.
“Someone did this hole in only nine strokes?” Calex’s eyes grew wide. “They must be a legend in the world of golf. I bet they’re a major celebrity or something!” Calex’s reactions amused Kickaha. Sometimes it really was fun to simply watch how the kitten’s innocent and naïve mind worked.
“Well… Let’s get going.” Calex smacked his ball, and what could only be described as a marathon began.
Even with his enhanced strength, Calex couldn’t get the ball very far per shot here. There were simply too many twists and turns. When he tried hitting the ball as far as possible, it simply bounced right back at him, and nearly ran him over once. He learned to take it slow fast. After half an hour both of them were standing before the castle and the drawbridge.
“The final stretch.” Kickaha’s arms were getting tired from swinging his twig around so much. “Just the hedge after this.”
“This looks easier than the windmill.” Calex studied the castle. “Just up and down, only one thing… But…” Calex dropped to all fours in front of the castle and wiggled his hind legs preparing to pounce.
“Calex what are you-“ Kickaha didn’t get to finish asking as Calex pounced through the castle entrance when the drawbridge was down.
“Castles mean treasuries! And treasuries mean treasure!” Calex shouted. “So I thought if we could stop and raid the castle… But the inside is weird… Not a lot of rooms. I’m sure there’s a secret entrance to the treasure room somewhere.”
“Calex, it’s a fake castle.” Kickaha laughed. “You’re not going to find-“ Kickaha was interrupted by the sound of a loud rumbling coming from inside the castle.
“FOUND IT!” Calex sounded ecstatic.
“Of course you did.” Kickaha was going to just chalk this one up to the Calex Effect. And sure enough, after a few moments, the kitten came out of the castle wearing a silver ring with a moonstone as a crown atop his head.
“Neat right? Pretty sure it’s magical.” Calex went back to his twig and picked it up. “But we can figure that out after the game.”
“Indeed.” Kickaha reached out with his senses real quick to see if the ring was magical or not. It was. Fey magic. It’d probably cause some kind of magical transformation. Fun for later.
The two resumed. As Calex expected, getting through the drawbridge was easy, especially when their balls were just inches away from it when they took the shot. The hedge maze was a pain. The fake hedges were tall enough that neither Kickaha or Calex could see above them to figure out which direction the hole was in.
Kickaha found it first, coming around a corner and seeing the hole he let out a sigh of relief. His arms really were exhausted, and with one final whack he sent it into the final hole, and into the tunnel that returns golf balls to wherever balls come from.
Minutes later Calex had still not arrived. Kickaha knew the kitten didn’t have a good sense of direction, except in very specific situations, but even he was still starting to get concerned. Eventually, Calex did arrive, though by this point the sun was setting.
“Found the hole!” Calex shouted. Then he saw Kickaha standing near it and his ears drooped. “Awwww, you already got yours in first? I guess that means you won huh?”
“Well golf isn’t about who sinks the hole first but-“ Kickaha paused as he considered how many hits the kitten had taken at the windmill and must have taken during the hedge maze. He decided to just take the victory. “Yeah I won! But you still get to finish.”
“Right!” Calex swung his twig one last time and sent his ball into the final hole. Then he slowly approached the hole and looked into it.
“Whatcha doing now Calex?” Kickaha walked close to the kitten, close enough to grab his tail to stop him from doing something stupid if need be.
“There’s a slide in this hole!” Calex was grinning. “Maybe it’ll lead to a secret nineteenth hole!” He prepared to dive into the hole.
But Kickaha was ready. He quickly grabbed Calex’s tail with a hand glowing with green energy, and both kitten and foxyote grew back to their original sizes. Kickaha held out a hand, and suddenly his original proper sized cloak came flying from the first hole all the way to his outstretched paw so he could put it on.
“Heeeey what happened? Why are we big again?” Calex was staring down at the hole.
“Game’s over.” Kickaha explained. “You stop being mini when it’s over. That’s just the ball return hole, nothing special down there, sorry.” He patted the kitten on the head.
“Well it was fun.” Calex grinned. “But at least I found that ring and…” Calex felt up around his head, realizing that the ring had fallen off when he had unshrunk. He quickly looked around trying to find the ring not seeing it anywhere. “Uhhhh… I think the ring may have fallen into the hole.”
“And gone into the ball return?” Kickaha was both alarmed and amused. Considering the type of magic he had seen on that thing, it was going to cause some kind of chaos when someone collected the balls later. Well, hopefully it wouldn’t be anything too bad. Most of the enchantments the kitten unknowingly created were pretty mild compared to what was possible. It was just the shrinking ones that could become major problems. Odds were, someone was getting a new tail though.
But that tail wasn’t part of Kickaha’s tale. The ring was out of their reach, and the game of golf was over. He snapped his fingers as he returned to his proper age.
“Well I suppose it’s about time I get you home.” Kickaha ruffled the kitten’s head fur affectionately. “Odin should be getting off work by now.”
“Thanks for bringing me here!” Calex purred happily. “This was a lot of fun! I’m going to have to tell Odin about mini golf and see if he’ll come play sometime.”
“Oh that sounds very amusing.” Kickaha let out a heartful laugh. Then Calex quickly scaled up his back and perched on his shoulders. It was time to go home.