Tommy Biffle: Game face

“Well, we all have a face…”

Dateline: A steak joint

“The human face is, after all, nothing more nor less than a mask.”
– Agatha Christie

The face of this morning will soon change.

It is a black and white face now, darkness and fog it’s makeup.

It is 4:40 a.m., Saturday morning, Okeechobee, Fla., outside my Hampton ground floor room window I can see a white bird roosting in a dark tree, a white moon in the sky backlights the fog on earth.

It is still, even the ever present lizards that scurry everywhere, are gone.

The parking lot light illuminates a drop of dew running down the side of my black truck, the tiny white car next to it is making a dark puddle on the pavement with it’s morning drips.

Seven-point-four miles south of me on the other end of town Tommy Biffle is making one last round of making sure his boat cover is tied down tight, he has just woken up, skipped the morning shower, dressed and with a Gene Larew ball cap pressed tight and square on his head he is pulling slowly out of his motel parking lot, turning left for one-point-two miles, then a right turn north.

In a black and white morning Tommy Biffle will begin his 1,200 mile 18 plus hour drive North to his next tournament, the BASS Central Open on Table Rock.

In a black and white morning Tommy Biffle will leave behind him two Elite tournaments where his average finish was 87th place.

In a black and white morning Tommy Biffle leaves empty handed, hasn’t made a check so far this year.

It is 4:54am now.

All is quiet outside, I can smell the fog seeping around the window sill.

I am alone in my room with only the song in my headphones for company.

My notes from last night’s dinner with Tommy are spread across the creaky Hampton desk, I smile as I pick up the piece of paper numbered 1 and read in a whisper to myself the first question I asked Tommy last night:

“Dude, are you always as grumpy as you look?”