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Building Up

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Foreman Spike wiped his arm across his brow, letting out a sigh as he drove his excavator over to a dirt pile. The mayor had commissioned for some more buildings to be built in New Donk City, and that of course meant Spike was in the forefront of it all, what with his experience. Sitting back, he readied his hands over the controls, when he spotted something red out of his periphery. He turned in his seat. Mario himself was walking alongside the mayor, the both of them laughing about some joke Spike couldn't hear.

Even though he would yap at the other workers for lollygagging, he found himself taking his foot off the gas pedal and watching the two for a bit. Although he heard of Mario and Luigi through the newspaper and TV, it had been a long while since he actually saw either of them in person. In fact, the last time had been when Mario had invited him to golf.

It had been a nice, sunny day with a cool breeze, although that had done nothing to make Spike any less annoyed as he had walked up to the plumber, who was leaning on his golf club and chatting it up with the princess of that strange Mushroom Kingdom. After the princess left his side, however, Mario noticed him fast, and turned to him with a wide smile.

"You made it!" he exclaimed.

Spike let out a mirthless bark of laugh. "Yeah. So what's your deal?"

Mario tilted his head. "'Deal?'"

Spike scowled. "Actin' all buddy-buddy with me and inviting me to go golfin'."

Mario stopped leaning on his club and stood up straight. "It's been a while since we've seen each other," he said. "And you mentioned once you like golf."

Spike grumbled as he shifted the bag of clubs on his back. He couldn't deny that. "Whatever," he settled with. "Are we startin' soon or what?"

Spike had agreed to the golf game on the belief that there was a catch––that Mario was going to get revenge on him in some way for teaming up with Bowser or all the other times Spike had tried to bring Mr. Famous down a peg. Once Mario did anything of the sort, Spike wasn't above using that dirt against him and proving to everyone that he wasn't as great as so many claimed.

Yet with each stroke and birdie, Mario just smiled and clapped and said "Way to go!" to each player. Even when all the total scores were added up and Spike was deemed winner (naturally), the red-capped fellow just patted his shoulder. "Bravo!" he congratulated.

Spike frowned. "Grazie," he returned without thinking.

"Would you want to join our next golf match?"

Spike huffed. Mario had to be toying with him (right?), and he didn't appreciate that. "No, I'm good."

There was a quick flash of disappointment in the plumber's eyes, but a smile replaced it just as fast. "It was nice to see you again!" he said as Spike left, more confused than when he had arrived.

Spike had been bitter for a long time about Mario, about how he had just joined the job Spike had been working for years, only for Mario to get so much acclaim for saving a woman from some primate. He got so riled up over it, he even took up Bowser's construction job offer just to get back at him. Yet as the years passed, it got harder to hold the grudge when Mario had been so willingly friendly to him, even after he (admittedly) went too far.

Spike hummed, turning his attention back to the controls and pushing down on the gas. He would call Mario and see if he would be willing to catch up after so long, but for now...

He had work to do.