Rons Rants

A Blog Is A Self-Inflicted Invasion Of Privacy

Location: Newland, North Carolina, United States

I'm a fifty two year old happily married man who doesn't really like many people which is why I live on the top of a mountain.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Carl's Corner... Part III

When we left our story, Elizabeth had just informed me that she had been being blackmailed by her ex husband for the last two years.

She had ALSO asked me if I knew a good hit man!

Back To The Story......

When she asked me if I knew a good hit man, I was taken aback for a second but, after a moment or so, I just laughed.

"With a prick like that, you don't need a hit man darlin'. Patience will do just as well. Somebody's gonna kill the fucker for you before too long." I said.

"If I don't do it first." Patsy said.

"I could do it you know." Elizabeth was NOT smiling. She looked as though she was invisioning actually killing David.

"Ok....time to forget about all this "kill the ex" talk." I cut in. "I'll have a vodka Kamakazi please Patsy."

She smiled at me as though I had said just the right thing at precisely the right time.

"One Kamikazi coming right up!" she shouted over the noise.

"VODKA Kamikazi please." I yelled. "Tequila makes me want to invade Mexico with a swizzle stick."

"You got it VODKA Kamikazi comin' up!" she laughed.

"Make it two." Elizabeth ordered. She smiled at me. "Hell, I can't let you party alone can I?" she asked.

The drinks came and magically disappeared, only to be replaced by two others.

Just then, a middle aged skinny dude came up to the bar, stepping between myself and Elizabeth.

"Scuse me my man but I am in urgent need of another libation." he said to me.

"No problem." I said.

Patsy showed up and the guy ordered a drink.

"Sorry Dave, cash only, your tab's full." she said.

He seemed astonished.

"Well, that's just not possible." he said. "I just paid it up a week ago."

Patsy shook her head.

"Actually, it was more like a month ago and you know Liz's policy." she told him.

"Give him one on me." I said. I felt embarassed for the guy.

He smiled at me.

"Well thank you young fella. Do I know you?" he asked

"No, we've not met."

I introduced myself.

"Nice to meet you Ron, I'm David and I am eternally in your debt." he quickly downed his drink.

Elizabeth turned to face me.

"Yeah...old Dave is in everybody's debt...eternally." she said.

"It's true you know." he said sadly. "I'm having a bad run of luck the last few decades."

"You're a damned drunk Dave." Elizabeth snarled.

"I am NOT a drunk!" he said defiantly. "I've never been to a damned AA meeting in my whole life!"

I laughed at the sight of the poor dude standing there swaying.

"Maybe you ought to go sit down a little while." I suggested.

He looked pissed at my suggestion.

"Why don't you mind your own damned...." he stopped abruptly. "Have you bought me that drink yet?" he asked.

"Yeah." I laughed. "You just drank it. Why?"

He considered that for a second.

"Were you by any chance going to buy me another drink?" he asked.

"I hadn't planned on it." I answered.

"Would you care to reconsider?" he asked.

"No...I think maybe you've had enough."

"Well!" he puffed out his chest. "I would suggest that you mind your own fucking business and.... I'll say, good evening to you!"

With that, he stumbled away.

Elizabeth and Patsy were laughing.

"I guess that little sumbitch told me didn't he?" I was laughing too.

"Ten bucks says he's back in ten minutes to mooch another drink off you." Patsy said.

"You've created a monster...." Elizabeth explained. "he's got what I call 'Bourbon-heimers'....the poor bastard can't remember shit when he's drinkin' which, is ALL the time."

"He ain't gonna get a chance to ask me again because I'm about ready to go home...I'm tired and this place depresses the shit out of me." I said.

"Hell, you think it depresses YOU? You should own this sumbitch." she laughed. "So, do you want the job?"

I told her that we would talk about it the following day but that I was pretty sure I'd give it a shot but only because I was broke and unemployed.

She laughed.

"Well, that sounds good to least you're honest. Why don't you get your guitar and play us a tune?" she asked.

"Like I said, I'm pretty tired and....." I began.

Suddenly, Patsy, who had been listening to the conversation, hopped up on chair behind the bar and started hollering.

"Who wants to hear this boy play some music?"

The patrons obviously wanted anything to break the monotony of that depressing dive because they start hootin' and hollerin' as though she'd asked if they wanted free drinks.

"Come on honey....pick us a tune." Elizabeth smiled as she slid a hundred dollar bill my way. "That ought to cover a few tunes and the trip you made for me today." she grinned.

"I didn't bring my guitar, remember?"

"Well shit...that ain't a problem." she tossed me the keys to her car. "Hurry back young 'un."

What the hell....I wasn't exactly flush financially and my social schedule wasn't filled either so....

I went back to the apartment, grabbed my guitar and was back at Carl's within a half hour.

As I pulled into the parking space I saw a couple of women leaving the place and getting into their car.

I got out of the car, opened the trunk, got my guitar and started to walk to the front door.

"Hey....are you gonna play that thing?" one of the girls asked through a half opened window.

"Yeah, as a matter of fact I am. For a little while anyway." I said.

"Are you any good?" she asked.

"I'm pathetic." I said. "but....I make up for it by being damned charmin'." I grinned.

I could see them talking and, within moments they got out of the car.

One of them was really pretty cute. Tall, brown haired with a nice body. The other was much shorter with long red hair and a little older with very large boobs.

The short one spoke first.

"Well, at least we'll have something to laugh at if you really do suck." she laughed. "This place is deader than my grandma. We were just going to find a place with some life!!"

"We've never been here before, we're from Georgia and we're staying at the Knights Inn down the road. We just had to go somewhere." the tall one said. "I'm Sara and this is Libby."

I introduced myself as we neared the door.

"Well, let's get this show on the road." said Sara as she pulled the door open.

As I walked in, I could see Liz, still seated at the bar. I walked over and introduced her to the two girls. She looked them over then looked at me.

"They just left here didn't they?" she asked.

"Yeah, well....they're back."

"We figured we'd see if he's as bad as he says he is." Sara said.

"Well, I don't care if he sounds like a cat tryin' to get out of a damned garbage can! It's gotta be better than watching this bunch of rednecks shootin' pool." Libby said. "Besides....he's cute." She said, looking at me.

Sara gave her a playful shove.

"Hey...I saw him first." she said.

I was laughing, enjoying the attention.

Elizabeth didn't look very pleased at all.

"Yeah well, he works for me so back off and let him play." she snapped.

Well, that pissed me off.

"Elizabeth, you're acting like a bitch again. I thought we'd settled this attitude shit." I said, sliding the hundred dollar bill across the bar to her.

She didn't say anything.

"Do you want your money back?" I asked. "I'd just as soon go home."

She laughed it off.

"Aw.....I'm just kidding.....go ahead and play a few for us." she grinned. "Patsy! Turn off that damn jukebox, Ron's gonna pick us a tune."

Patsy did as she was told and a couple of people asked what the hell happened to the music.

Elizabeth whipped around on her barstool.

"This is MY fuckin' place!" she hollered. "You don't like it? Get the hell out of here 'cause I wanna hear this fella play some guitar!"

A scraggly little guy with long stringy hair piped up.

"I just put money in that machine." he shouted.

Elizabeth got seriously ticked off.

"How much did you put in it?" she hissed

"A dollar." he said indignanty.

"Well, I'll tell you what I'll do." she began as she got off the barstool and walked toward him. "I'm gonna give you your dollar back but....I'm gonna shove it up your scrawny ass!"

It was hilarious to watch the reaction of that little fella. He backed away from her as she approached him with a demonic grin on her face while holding a dollar bill in her hand.

"Elizabeth...I was just joshin' you!" he looked sheepish.

"Joshin'?" she steadily advanced towards him. "I'll give you exactly ten seconds to josh your sorry ass outta here."

She picked up a ball off of one of the pool tables.

"Come on Liz...I told you I was..." he began.

Elizabeth started counting.

"One, two, three, better move your ass Steve..five, six..." she continued.

Steve headed for the door but, apparently not quick enough for Elizabeth because she reared back and smoked a frozen rope with a three ball.

That old broad had an arm!

The ball missed Steve but shattered a big Budweiser mirror which hung beside the front door with loud crash. Glass rained down as Steve flew out the door. The three ball rolled all the back to where I stood.

Elizabeth turned to Patsy.

"That little sumbitch is BARRED until he pays for my fucking mirror!"

She returned to her barstool.

"You're gonna make HIM pay for the mirror?" I asked.

She grinned.

"Yep, and he'll do it too. He's been barred from every other joint in town and he's had two DUI's! This is the only place within walkin' distance for the little prick!" she giggled.

She meant it.

She sat back down and calmy asked.

"You ready to pick me a tune?"

I just shook my head and laughed.

"You are one crazy little woman." I said.

I went over, extracted my guitar from it's case then walked back over and sat on the bar stool.

Playing with no amplification pretty much sucks in such a noisy environment. No musician likes it but...this was just for shits and giggles so, I started playing.

I think I played "Highway Song" by Blackfoot be was many years, drinks and joints ago's pure supposition at this point but, the place got really quiet.

When I got through, the place went crazy!

Any musician will tell you, if they are being honest, that they are driven by responses such as I had that night. There were, maybe forty people in the place but, for almost an hour I played and they listened intently. It was really pretty cool.

After a while, while I was in the middle of a song, the front door opened and four guys walked in. They went straight to the abandoned pool tables talking loudly among themselves.

Within moments, the loud noise of the balls being released, racked and broken filled the room.

I have always HATED playing anywhere near the proximity of pool tables!

Taking that as my cue, (pun intended) I finished the song and told everyone that I was going to quit for the night.

The small crowd objected and, like a dumbass, I told someone that I was tired but also that I hated playing music near pool tables because of the noise.

Someone, I don't know who, took it upon themselves to tell the four guys to stop shooting pool.

Elizabeth, now sporting a big buzz, chimed in.

"Knock it off on that table assholes!" she screamed. "Ron's playin' music!"

One of the guys, a big mean lookin' guy walked over to her.

"We just wanna shoot some pool." he said and then looked at me. "He can play anything he wants to but I'm gonna play pool."

"Listen asshole, I own this place and if I say you can't shoot can't shoot pool!" she barked.

He considered that for a second.

"Fuck you." was all he said.

He turned to go back to the pool table.

"Get the hell out of here!!" Elizabeth screamed.

Again, the mean looking dude said.

"Fuck you."

He picked up his cue as I watched him when, all of the sudden, I saw one of the balls on the table literally explode!!

Really.....the damned thing turned to dust!

A thunderclap of noise followed and, instinctively, my head snapped around in the direction of the roar.

There sat Elizabeth with an automatic pistol in her hand.....and she was smiling.


To Be Continued........

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Carl's Corner... Part II

I took a shower and got ready to go to Carl's Corner for the first time. It was already almost nine o'clock and I was starving so, I hurried down the stairs and found Elizabeth waiting in the office.
She was obviously pretty well smashed already so I asked her if she still wanted to go.

"Hell yes! I've gotta go to make sure those shumbitches don't rob me blind!" she said. "Are you ready?"

"Sure, let's go." I said.

She tossed me a set of keys and told me to drive. I was thankful she did because there was no way in hell I was riding with her drunk ass driving!

She locked up the place and led me to her brand new Crown Victoria.

"Nice." I said as I opened the driver side door.

She stood by the passenger side door and glared at me.

"Something wrong?" I asked.

She shot me an evil look.

"Didn't your mama teach you any fuckin' mannersh?" she slurred.

I laughed.

"Sorry...I don't know what the hell got into me." I laughed as I hustled around the car and opened her door.

"That'sh more like little shumbitsh." she mumbled.

As I walked back around the car, I remember thinking that this old gal was a real pistol.

I got in and started the car.

"Where's your guitar?" she asked.

I looked puzzled.

"Upstairs." I told her.

"Go get it...I wanna hear you play shumpthin'." she barked.

"Right here?" I asked.

She shook her head.

"No, you dumb the club." she said.

I turned in the seat and looked at her.

"Listen lady, I appreciate the job and all that but I ain't your damned servant so, stop orderin' me around."

She copped a major attitude and threw her door open.

"Well fuck you!" she yelled. "You're fired!"

Damn!! I had just been fired from a job I had held for less than eight hours! A new personal record for me.

She stormed around the car and yanked my door open.

"You get the fuck outta my gotdamned car! I'll drive my own damned self!"

I got out slowly and looked at her standing there swaying a bit.

"Look, you've got no business drivin' in your condition Elizabeth." I said.

She stepped back a bit and adopted a defiant stance. I wish I could accurately describe the look on her face.

It was quite obvious that, in her youth, she had been a very nice looking woman. Time and liquor had taken a severe toll on her but, she still looked pretty good under a few pounds of carefully applied makeup. She was about 5'5'' maybe 110 lbs and had a good figure for her age. Her face was a bit like a world weary Suzanne Pleshette with a hint of that crazy woman in "Play Misty For Me" Jessica Walter.

Kind of spooky.

Anyway....she had a mean look on her face even though she was smiling or, whatever that thing was that passed for a smile.

"What condition am I in?" she demanded.

"Well, you've been drinking a bit." I explained.

"Are you callin' me a drunk?" she screamed.

I was already tired of this damned woman.

" do whatever you want to....I'm going somewhere..without YOU and gettin' something to eat." I walked to my car.

I hadn't made it ten feet when she spoke up.

"What kind of gentleman are you?" she asked quietly.

Jeez....this woman was nuttier than chipmunk droppings!

I walked back to where she was standing.

"I don't know where you got the idea that I'm willing to take a bunch of horseshit from you but...I ain't!" I said angrily.

"I gave you a job." she said as though that made sense.

I leaned against her car and shook my head.

"Yeah....and you just fired me! Remember?" I asked her.

She didn't answer.

"Does everyone let you get away with this shit?" I asked.

She looked up at me and grinned.

"Yeah....actually, they do." she laughed.

"Well, I've got news for you...I won't." I said. " you wanna act like you've got some damned sense and go to Carl's or, do you wanna drive drunk?" I demanded.

She looked stunned for a second.

"Well?" I prompted.

She gave me a sly grin.

"I'm not sure if I like you or not."

"Liz, this is probably gonna come as a huge shock to you but I don't give a fat rat's ass whether you like me or not." I told her.

She genuinely looked disappointed.

"I'm your boss, you don't have to like me." she said defiantly.

"You're not my boss.....remember?" I turned back towards my car, fishing my keys out of my jeans.

"You're really gonna go?" she whined.

"You bet your drunken crazy ass I am." I shot back at her.

"I'm sorry." she said quietly. "You caught me on a bad day...I'll be good."

Again, the sly grin.

I had both arms on top of my car and was looking at her....speechless. She walked up and peered at me across the roof, her face visible only from the nose up.

"Come on....let's go have some fun, I want you to play some guitar for us!" suddenly she was an excited little kid.

"How the hell do you know if I'm even worth a shit?" I asked.

She laughed.

"I knew who you were when you showed up to rent the apartment....I saw you play in Five Points with a band a few times." she giggled. "I figured since you needed a job you might want to play for me at Carl's."

"You have music there?" I asked.

She rose up on her tip toes, exposing the rest of her face.

"Why hell no, just an old juke box." she snapped. "Carl's is a real shit hole but, I plan to change that."

"You call your own place a shit hole?" I was amazed. "Must be really bad."

"Oh lordy gotta see this joint. I bought it from Carl, the dispatcher. He needed the money so..I got it cheap's got potential." she explained.

I thought about it a minute.....

Here I was broke, living in a matchbox apartment, AND unemployed with approximately four hundred bucks to my name.

What the hell, I'd give it a shot and at least check out the situation....and get fed! Dear Lord....a young man's hunger is a merciless bitch.

"Ok, I'll go take a look BUT under a couple of conditions." I said flatly.

She cocked her head and waited.

"First of all, I ain't your whippin' boy so lay off the abuse."

"Done" she said.

"Secondly, if I do work for you in any respect, I get paid cash...daily or nightly, whatever the case may be." I demanded. "Oh yeah...the next time you fire me will be for keeps."

She looked shocked.

"What? You don't trust me?" she asked innocently.

"Lady, I don't even know you but so far....hell no I don't trust you. I've seen your type before."

"And just what is MY type?" she demanded.

"Ok...we may as well get this out of the way right now." I said. "You're a little dictator who likes to throw your weight around on the hired help. You drink too much and think too little. You've got more moods than Carter's got little liver pills. You've got a mean streak a mile wide and one inch deep AND you don't like being talked to like this!" I smiled at her.

To my surprise, she busted out laughing.

"Damn, you sure we haven't met before?" she was still chuckling. "Cause you just nailed me! Guilty as charged but....I pay well."

I could tell the confrontation had sobered her up a bit but, I never make deals with a drunk so I suggested we talk about it tomorrow after I'd checked out Carl's tonight. She agreed.

Carl's was located only ten minutes away and, when we pulled into the parking lot, it was almost full. Liz pointed to an open spot directly in front of the door and, of course I pulled the Crown Vic into it.

"Lucky break findin' an open spot by the front door huh?" I commented.

She snorted. "Lucky my ass! Everybody knows this is MY spot! I own a gotdamned wrecker service and they know I'll tow their ass!! Let's go."

I couldn't help but laugh. She was a fiesty little broad.

Carl's was located in a one story building which looked to have been, in better times, a little strip mall. From left to right, the building hosted a real estate office, an amusement machine company and the final two spots contained Carl's Corner.

The lower half of the front plate glass windows were blacked out as was the front door. There was a beer sign in the left side of the window and a small painted sign over the door which read, "Carl's Corner". Very clever.

Damned if Elizabeth didn't wait for me to open her door again so...I did.

I also opened and held the door to Carl's for her as she swept into the place like a movie star making her big entrance. She went straight to the bar as the bartender, a rough looking bleached blonde woman, delivered a drink to a spot which was obviously HERS.

As I made my way to the bar, I looked around.

The main room was forty feet wide and sixty feet deep. The bar itself was actually a nice old one with an ornate mirrored bar back and ran down the left side of the place. Two pool tables were located in the middle of the floor in the back one third of the room. Tables and chairs lined the right side of the room.

A small alcove was located to the left of the front door with a pretty cool stand up bar built into the far wall so that it looked sort of like a window in the wall which opened to another, smaller, narrower room. The back room contained ten video poker machines which were being played furiously by ten focused players. Rest rooms were toward the back of the place and a kitchen area was beyond that.

Finished with my little look-see, I went to the bar where Elizabeth was nursing her drink. It was standing room only at the bar so....I stood beside and slightly behind her.

"What'll you have?" the bartender asked.

"Michelobe please ma'am"

She looked at Elizabeth and then winked at me.

"Well....a fella with manners. Where'd you find him?"

"He's workin' for me." she replied.

"I might be workin' for you...remember?"

She looked at the bar tender.

"He's picky about takin' orders....the sumbitch!" she said dejectedly as she sipped her drink.

The bar tender reached out and shook my hand.

"If you don't like takin' orders, you've got no business working for Liz...she thinks she's General Patton!" she grinned.

"Screw you Patsy, you smart assed bitch! I'm tryin' to hire this sumbitch and you're busting my chops!" she shouted over the bar noise and juke box. "I oughta fire your ass!"

"Liz, you've fired me twice this month, a third time won't bother me none." she chuckled.

Elizabeth grinned that sly grin of hers and looked at me.

"Patsy's my sister, I can't really fire her. The hateful bitch would turn my ass in to the IRS so fast it'd make my head spin!" she looked at Patsy and added, "you bitch!"

Patsy just laughed and nodded her head, looking at me.

"I would to." she cracked, "I'm ALSO her bookeeper! I know where the bodies are buried!"

Elizabeth spun her stool around.

"Sit down for God's sake, you're hurtin' my neck big boy."

There was an old gray haired man sitting next to her minding his own business.

I shrugged my shoulders.

"Where?" I asked.

"Oh yeah." she said as she turn towards the old dude. "Charley, it's past your bed time...go home."

To my amazement, the old man simply finished his drink, threw some bills on the bar and left without saying a word.

"Damn Liz." I couldn't believe what I'd just seen.

"Oh, that's just old Charley. He's my flunky." she said quite proudly.

" ain't doing much to get me all fired up about workin' for you. You're a real bitch." I said matter of factly.

"Well hell, everybody knows that." she grinned. "It's part of my charm."

"Oh're a friggin' charmer all right."

She looked around the place.

"Well, what do you think of the place?"

"I've seen worse, not a lot worse but....I've seen worse." I said.

"'s pretty rough." she admitted.

"You serve food in this dump?" I asked "I ain't eatin' in here."

She laughed.

"We've got frozen pizzas and those pre-packaged sandwiches." she grinned.

"You do realize you promised me a steak."

" picky sumbitch...Patsy's got us a couple of steak dinners ordered from Swain's and they'll be here shortly." she looked pleased with herself. "T-bone...rare...right?"

"That'll work."

Sure enough, less than half an hour later, a guy showed up with the steaks and Patsy directed him to take them to the back of the place. Liz and I followed.

I hadn't noticed the door before but, it led to another room that was obviously the office. A really nice office.

Elizabeth pointed to a small a table and told me to sit down. The delivery guy, opened up the box and set the table with real plates, forks, glasses, condiments, the whole nine yards. I was impressed.

"Some take out dinner." I said.

"Yeah, I don't like that plastic stuff. It ain't dignified to eat off plastic plates. Beside's, Swains don't usually do take out. I know the owner." she said, obviously proud of herself.

She slipped the delivery guy some cash and told him to keep the change. He grinned from ear to ear and said he'd be waiting in the bar till we finished our meal.

I tore into my food with gusto as she picked at hers. She talked the entire time while I grunted occasionally just to let her know I was listening.

During the meal, I learned that she was originally from Georgia, owned several businesses including a wrecker service, courier service, the bar, dozens of rental properties, a real estate agency, a bookie operation and, most proudly, a floating high stakes poker game!

"Quite the little tycoon ain't you?" I joked.

"Nah...I ain't even started yet." she said flatly.

I finished eating, thank her for the meal and got up to move around a bit.

"Where the hell or you going?" she demanded.

"Just stretchin' my legs Ms. Hitler."

"Well, we've got some business to talk over don't we?" she asked.


"Do you want to help me turn this place into a joint where decent folks will come for some good music?"

"Sounds real interesting but, I still don't trust you Liz, you've got a mean, bossy way about you and honestly, I don't want to deal with a bunch of your shit." I told her. "I'm just being honest here."

She looked slightly pissed.

"Look, I talked to Bill Freeman today and he told me that you managed his place for over a year and put a killer house band together." she said. "He told me you did a good job for him."

I laughed.

"Damn, that's amazing." I was shocked. "I thought Bill hated my guts."

"He didn't act like it. Why would he?" she asked.

"Because I got fed up with his cheap ass trying to shaft me all the time. He was stalling on paying me five hundred bucks so...One Saturday night, I waited until the place filled up and quit..on the spot. The band left with me. I swear I thought that old sumbitch was going to shoot me!" I explained.

She looked shocked.

"Hell, I would have shot your ass!!" she growled.

"There you go sweet talkin' me out of takin' the job again." I said.

"Oh shit...I'm kiddin'." she grinned. "I'm too old to go to jail."

The office door flew open and Patsy came rushing in.

"David's back Liz and he's headed this way!" she shouted.

"Oh shit!" Liz jumped up.

"Who's David?" I asked.

"He's her husband!" Patsy hissed.

About that time, a very tall guy stormed into the office. He had a slim build, longish brown hair and the ruddy complexion of a man who enjoyed a drink or twenty.

He looked at me.

"Get out, I need to talk to my wife." he snarled.

"Ex wife, you prick!" Elizabeth shouted.

David looked at me again.

"You're still here?"

I looked at Elizabeth and grinned.

"He's sharp as a damned tack ain't he? I'll give him that." I said.

"I told you to get out." he repeated.

"Of course, he does have a limited vocabulary don't he?" I laughed.

Elizabeth spoke up.

"Ron, I don't want any trouble here. You better leave. I'll see you in a minute."

"You sure you're gonna be OK? Ole Ichabod here looks pretty pissed." I asked her.

She laughed.

"I'll be fine...this asshole won't lay a hand on me."

"She's right about that." he said turning to me. "but that don't go for you boy."

I walked towards the door and to within a few feet of him.

"Any time you feel like gettin' a mud hole stomped in your ass Scarecrow..bring it on. I'm a giver." I said giving him my best sneer.

He didn't say a word as I left the room.

Minutes later, he came rushing back through the bar and left.

Elizabeth came to the bar, sat down and motioned for a drink.

Patsy delivered it promptly along with another beer for me.

"What did that asshole want?" she asked.

"Same as" she snapped.

"It's none of my business're giving your ex husband money?" I asked.

She smiled sadly.

"Yeah, it's none of your business.....but I'll tell you. That sumbitch has been blackmailing me for two years now." she said. "You don't know a good hit man do you?" she added.

Holy Shit!!

To Be Continued....

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Carl's Corner

Just a note before the tale.....

I got yet another shitty, anonymous email from someone who, this time, suggested that I, "get over myself" which, prompted me to address an issue which, I hope ya'll will accept in the manner in which it is offered.

Here goes nothing.......

Sometimes, in the telling of my life stories, I get the feeling that some folks might think that I'm bragging on myself or trying to act as though I was God's gift to women and/or the music world. Trust me....

I was neither.

Still ain't.

The absolute truth is simple...

Musically, singing and playing, I was and am, quite frankly.....talented.

Sound arrogant?

Read on.

I was a pretty decent looking guy in my youth. So....quite naturally, I did pretty well in the music and the lady departments.

Sorry if that sounds arrogant but....that's the way it was.

However, I have always been uncomfortable when people complimented me on my singing talents because, I never felt as though it was something that I had accomplished.

It just WAS.

I always thought it was somewhat like complimenting a man on being seven feet tall. is what it is. No accomplishment there.......right?

Musical talent is the same thing as being seven feet can't take credit for either.

I know people who would crawl over a mile of ground glass to be able to carry a friggin' tune in a bucket yet, when I opened my mouth, I was able to sing at a level where people actually paid to hear me.

I never trained, worked, or even gave it much just came out sounding pretty good I guess.

Hell, my whole family can sing!

I don't know of one single person in my family for two generations who couldn't sing and...most could play the hell out of one or more instruments.

God knows why, but it's true.

Not one of us ever got famous or rich but....we were pretty good.

Not great.

Just pretty damned good.

I guess you could say that I'm a member of the "Lucky Sperm Club" in the musical sense.

The worst thing I've ever heard about my musical skills was when a record exec once said that I sounded too much like Kenny Rogers to ever make it and another time when two old guitar players who were in the crowd said that I had only played five chords in ten songs!! Damn......that STUNG!

It was TRUE but still......damn....that hurt!

Back in "the day", I was a big fish in several small ponds musically, over the years. I played with some pretty big fish, I made good money as a sessions singer and was employed playing music in bars for a lot of years BUT.....

I am not bragging!

Hell, you don't see me on TV or selling CD's or even appearing as some pathetic has-been on some, One Hit Wonder show.

I wasn't even that.

How sad is THAT?

What the hell do I have to brag about?


I have led a somewhat colorful times but....I ain't braggin' about anything except for maybe...the fact that I lived through those years!!.

I'm just an old honky tonk player with a bunch of memories so please....if you're gonna read this drivel, don't think I'm's just real shit that really happened the way I'm telling you it happened.

PERIOD. that THAT'S settled.....

On To The Story.....

In the early eighties, my old buddy, Tony H. was playing music in Charlotte, NC and I was playing in the Columbia, SC area. As luck would have it, Tony was just emerging from a nasty divorce and I had just left my second wife. Poor old Tony had been literally left homeless with no money in the deal.

I had recently told my wife to keep everything and that all I wanted was OUT.

As a result, I was living above a courier service garage in a tiny little appartment which featured one of those old Murphy beds. You've seen 'em in the old movies. Once you got out of bed, you would lift it up into the wall which, in this case, left a living space about the same size as our master bedroom nowadays but...I was happy as damned lark.

I was FREE!

I had been playing in a band for awhile but, around the same time that I left the marriage, the band broke up and, I was left with no place to play....or.... the means to make a living!

Tony called me around that time frame and told me that he had to get away from Charlotte...not to mention his maniacle rednecked ex-wife. He wanted to come stay with me a while until he could figure things out.

I told him to come on down and we'd work something out. Hell, at least I'd have him around to party with and we had always been tight musically and personally.

One morning, I awoke around ten a.m. to the sound of a LOUD alarm.

I jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes, grabbed my guitars and ran downstairs. Surely to God the place was on fire!

It sounded like it should be on fire!!

As I reached the bottom floor, I saw a little old guy hunched over a car battery with wires protruding from it which were attached to an object that looked like a fire house alarm bell.

The old guy looked up to see me standing there barefooted in a pair of jeans, no shirt, carrying two guitar cases and looking PANICKED!

He yanked one of the wires away from the battery and, thankfully, the noise ended.

He rose to his full height of approximately five feet and grabbed the big old bell as if he was going to pummell me with it.

"Who the hell are you?" he screamed.

I couldn't help but laugh.

Picture Barney Fife and Warren Oates rolled into one and you'de have old Carl. Complete with the terminal case of tremors!

To make matters even more comical, he had a very high nasally voice so that his voice sounded like a frightened duck!

What a voice!

I finally managed to regain my composure just as he hollered at me again.

"What are you doin' here!" he demanded in a "terrified duck" sort of voice.

Again, I could NOT help myself, I started laughing so hard that I had to set my guitars down on the floor while trying to catch my breath.

I looked at him as I was laughing and noticed that he too had begun to laugh.

I suppose both of us realized how stupid we looked to each other and we just howled for a few minutes while he pointed at me and I pointed at him with not one word spoken.

Finally, we recovered our collective composure and stopped laughing....almost.

"Man! Where the hell did you get that bell? The friggin' Titanic?" I asked.

"Where the hell did you come from?" he quacked.

We started laughing again.

"You first." I demanded.

"Screw you're in my house! Who are you and what are you doing here?" he asked.

"I'm living upstairs." I told him.

He thought about that a second until a look of clarity came across his face.

"Oh're the kid Elizabeth told me about."

"Yeah well, she didn't tell me anything about you old man." I said.

He got all fiesty on me.

"Who're you callin' "old man"?" he snapped.

I laughed.

"Hey, if you can call me a "kid" I can call you "old man" right?" I asked.

He turned around and placed that awful bell on top of an incredibly cluttered desk.

"Well, you have a point I suppose but believe me young man, it's a lot cooler to be called a kid than an old man. You should hope you live long enough to realize that." he groused.

"Well, if you don't give me a damned heart attack with that friggin' bell every morning, I might live long enough to do just that." I told him.

Just then, a call came in over the radio on his desk. He held up a finger, motioning for me to hold on.

"Carl here."

A disimbodied voice answered.

"Hey Carl...this damned truck is dead. I'm out on I-26 deader than Socrates!"

"Well shit on a stick Chuck! You're supposed to be picking up a package over at Allied Chemicals in forty five minutes and headin' straight to Charlotte." he hollered into the mic.


"Chuck....did you copy that?"

"Well.... yeah Carl, I heard you but, um, in case you forgot...I'm in a dead fuckin' truck......sittin' on the side of the fucking ROAD!!!" he screamed.

"Well aren't WE touchy?" Carl glared at the mic.

"Carl, either send out a wrecker NOW or I'm hitch hikin' back to town and stranglin' your ass!"

"Ten-Four.....asshole." he snarled.

Just then, the front door opened.

It was the owner of the business AND the building..... Elizabeth.

She looked at me standing there half dressed with two guitar cases at my feet.

She had a sly, flirtatious look on her face.

"Well, this is a pleasant change from seeing Carl's ugly mug when I come in!" She had one of those heavy smoker voices. "You keep showin' up like this for me every morning and I'm gonna have to cut your rent." she winked.

"Well, actually, I thought the place was burnin' down. Carl here was testing that damned bell and I jumped up to rescue my guitars." I grinned.

Carl interrupted.

" 'Liz....Chucks broken down on I-26 and he ain't gonna make it to Allied. I've gotta get the truck out to him and haul him back."

"What are you doing about the Allied trip?" she demanded.

"I reckon I'll call Allied and tell 'em we can't make it till later." he told her.

She shook her head.

"Nope...can't do that." she said. She looked at me. "What are you doing today?" she asked.

"Actually, I'm gonna try and find a job." I said.

"Don't waste your've already got one. Can you drive?" she asked.


She grinned.

"Well, your hired...I was lookin' for another driver anyway." she told me. "Besides....I like lookin' at you."

There I stood.... getting flirted at by a 50 year plus brassy old broad who had just solved my financial problems.

"Well, thank you ma'am."

"Don't thank me yet boy...go get some clothes on and be back down here in ten minutes." she barked.

What could I say?

I did just what she told me to do.

Within a half hour, I was pulling into Allied Chemicals where they loaded the little Mazda pick up truck with numerous boxes and gave me directions to my destination just outside Charlotte.

I made great time and made it back to the appartment, before eight that evening.

Elizabeth and Carl were waiting for me.

As I walked into the office, I saw that Elizabeth and Carl were sitting in the cramped little office playing cards, a bottle of V.O. on the desk between them.

"Hey guys....I'm back." I said.

Liz looked up with that mischevious grin of hers.

"Look Carl...he didn't steal the truck!!" she said.

"Who the hell is gonna steal a Mazda truck with 200,000 miles on it which....oh by the way, smells like fuckin' armpit?" I snapped.

She laughed.

"Oh did drive that one didn't you?"

"I guess so lady...the damn thing stinks to high heaven." I answered.

Carl laughed and looked at Elizabeth.

"Should we tell him?" he asked.

I could tell that ole Liz was a serious drinker and that she had already had a few. She snorted a bit as she said.

"Carl, I'm gonna fire your ass one of these days."

"Fuck you Liz, you can't fire me and you know it." he laughed. He looked at me and grinned. "That truck ain't never smelled too good since ole Vince lost his head in it."

They both laughed like mad.

"Ok...what's so funny? Did he puke in it?" I asked.

They just howled.

I was getting tired of their private joke so, I turned to head upstairs to my tiny little appartment.

"Hey you little prick!" Elizabeth shouted.

I stopped, turned around and glared at her.

"Can you play them guitars?" she asked sweetly.

She caught me off guard.

"Well....yeah but, only one at a time." I said.

"Why don't you go get one and play us a tune?" she asked.

"Because I'm tired and I smell like a friggin' armpit from driving the puke truck all day." I said emphatically.

She and Carl damn near fell out of their chairs laughing.

"Would ya'll mind giving me a heads up as to what's so fucking funny?" I asked.

Well damn!! You'de have thought I was the funniest son of bitch on the planet!!

Those two were damned near convulsing! They were laughing so hard!

I headed up the stairs, leaving them to their private joke.

Screw 'em.

I was just settling down in front of the television when I heard a knock on my door.

Opening the door, I saw Elizabeth standing there with a bottle of beer in her hand. She was smiling.

"What?" I demanded.

"Wanna beer?" she asked.

I just stared at her.

"Look...thanks for making that run to Charlotte for me. You saved me a contract. I owe you." she said.

I reached out and accepted the beer.

She walked into the room before I could invite her in. She looked around as though she had never seen the place before.

"I love what you've done with this place" she remarked.

I looked around the room. I had "done" NOTHING to the damned place aside from filling it with all my stuff.

No wall hangings, personal stuff or decor.

It was pretty much the same as when I had moved in.

"Yeah, I'm an interior designer at heart." I cracked. "It's a gift."

She laughed then, looked at me.

"I'm sorry we lost it down there was sooooo damned funny!"

"How so?" I asked.

She shifted uncomfortably in the chair then composed herself.

"Old Vince got depressed one night a while back and, well damn it....he LITERALLY blew his head off six months ago. We didn't find him until he had been in that damned truck for three one hundred degree heat....with the windows rolled up!" the crazy broad was laughing hysterically.

I had one of those spine tingling, "just saw a snake", sensations! Holy shit! I had just spent the whole day smelling a dead guy!

Fuck me to tears!!

I was damned near to the point of pukin' my guts up at this point!!

"You could have told me about that little fact!" I shouted.

She just grinned and asked...."Would you have made the run for me if you had known?"

"Hell no!" I answered.

"Well....there's your answer then! That's some sick shit ain't it? Poor old Vince." she chuckled.

She sat in the one chair in the room and looked at me.

"Son....lighten the hell up!" she said. "Life is all about finding out that the candy you just ate was once shit on by a fuckin' rat!"

I thought about that for a second until my head almost exploded.

"Is that supposed to make some sort of sense?" I asked. "I'm just wondering."

She shook her head as though I was a short bus riding student.

"Are you hungry?" she asked.

"Yeah, actually I am." I admitted.

"Come on....let's go down to the "Corner" and get a steak....I'm buyin'."

Being young, perpetually hungry and....oh yeah, BROKE...I leapt at the offer! Suddenly, the whole "driving the "dead guy" truck all day" prank on the new guy wasn't so important!!

"Sure, let me get a shower....I'll meet you downstairs." I said.

"I could scrub your back you know." she purred.

Dear Lord! She was an old lady for God's sake!!

I started to say something but, she interrupted me.

"I'm kidding...I'll see you downstairs in a little bit"

Thank you God!!

She got up and walked to the door.

"What's "The Corner" I asked.

She smiled and said, "Carl's Corner"'s my place...I own it.... You're gonna love it!"

To Be Continued.....

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Gretchen, The Hell's Angels....And Me. The End.

When we left off, Gretchen was trying to get me into a fight with a young dumb ass who was probably unaware that he was being played like a cheap fiddle. The crowd was getting rowdy and someone had "tipped" the band with a brand new chain saw.

Back To The Story.....

As I sat at the bar during the break, Gretchen sidled up to me with Chase in tow. She snuggled in close and whispered in my ear.

"Wanna go out to the van?"

I looked at her as if she had sprouted a second head and simply shook my head.

"No thanks" I said.

She spun around, grabbed Chase and began dancing seductively to the music of the juke box. I could see her talking to him furiously. Suddenly, Chase broke off their embrace and came storming up to me.

"You got a problem with me?" he demanded.

"What's that sonny?" I asked.

"Who are you callin' "Sonny"?"

"Boy, you're lettin' that little girl lead you into an ass whippin'. She ain't worth it so...why don't you go back over there and tell her all about how you chewed me out and frightened me to death.....before you get hurt." I said quietly.

All men, especially young, drunk men have a delicate ego and, as long as they don't feel as though they've been publicly shamed, they'll back off. So, I was being very quiet...I didn't want to wound his ego.

Chase wasn't buyin' it.

"Who's gonna hurt me?" he snapped.

I really was in no mood for his macho antics.

I was taller, twenty or thirty pounds heavier, older and, I was pretty sure, much more capable of kickin' his ass than he was of kickin' mine so.....I tried again.

"Chase...I don't want to fight you so, I'm asking you politely to leave me alone. Go back to Gretchen and ya'll have a good time." I said nicely AND quietly.

Well, the little puke decided to shove me off the barstool which, to his credit, he did. I half fell, half hopped off the barstool and landed heavily against a biker chick who was seated beside me.

She, in turn, bumped into a biker dude seated beside her. Sort of a biker dominoe type deal.

Of course, the biker chick yells out, the biker dude stands up and glares at me and Chase decides to take a swing at me.

You can always tell when a guy can't fight by the way the punch is telegraphed. Sometimes it's a wild look on their face just before they throw the punch. Sometimes it's the assuming of a "stance". With this moron, it was both.

He may have just as well slipped me a handwritten note saying, " I'm getting ready to throw a punch now!"

He was slow.

As I slipped his wild right hand, his momentum carried him chest first into the bar at which time I simply pinned him there.

"Chase, knock this shit off and go home before these biker people get pissed at you." I warned him.

Well, Chase was a hard headed young boy so....of course, he tried to wrestle out of my grip. As he spun to his left and towards me, I still had a firm grip with my right hand while I dug my left fist so deep in his stomach I swear I think I felt his spine!!

Seconds later, Chase was gyrating on the floor, gasping for air and making strange mewing noises.

I heard a scream, looked around and saw Gretchen flying at me with a beer bottle in her hand.

Like a spirit, Gino appeared out of nowhere and snatched her up like a bag of potato chips thereby preventing her from braining me.

"You motherfucker!" she screamed at me while thrashing in Gino's arms.

Gino looked at me calmly and said.

"Break time's over bro. I saw what went down. I'll handle it."

He didn't have to tell me twice...he had mean look on his face.

Minutes later, I was back on stage and playing again. I could view the aftermath of the little skirmish. Two guys dragged Chase out the front door and Gino followed with Gretchen still in his grasp.

About thirty minutes later, they came back minus Chase, as if nothing had happened.

Gino strode up to the stage as we finished a song, grabbed the mic and made an announcement.

"Bros....let's hear a "Happy Birthday" for my lil Sis...Gretchen!" he roared.

Everyone in the place cheered and roared.

Gretchen, who was now seated at the bar surrounded by her entourage, stood up and did a little dance step as the crowd hooted and hollered. She seemed to be acting normal again.

"Ya'll have a good time! LET'S PARTY!" he yelled.

He then turned to me and said. "Bro, you better stay WAY the fuck away from Gretchen. She ain't done yet."

"Why don't you send her ass home?" I asked.

"I can't do's her birthday bro." he gave me a look as though he couldn't believe I suggested such a thing.

We played another half hour or so and the crowd got wilder. Women were walking around bare chested as though it was the most natural thing in the world. Unfortunately, most of the ones who were willing to strut their goods weren't doing anyone a favor. Why is that?

As we played the last song, some really drunk biker dude came up the base of the stage screaming FREE BIRD!!!

Side Note: "Free Bird" is the bane of a musician's existence. Ever since it came out and we ALL played it at the time, some drunk will always request it....loudly. Once this happens, "FREE BIRD" frenzy strikes the rest of the drunks like wildfire and the only way to make it stop is to, of course, play "Free Bird"....damn it!

And play it we did! Once you start playing that friggin' song, you can't help get into the last part when the guitar solo kicks in.

As the song raged on, the bikers were dancin', hoppin', gyrating and spinnin' around like a bunch of damned possessed Druids.

I looked down and who should I see dancing right in front of me? You guessed it.....Gretchen. She was giving me a seductive come hither look and I couldn't help but be tempted but...I ignored her.

We got finished playing and I began talking to Tony about something or other. Minding my own business when, of course, disaster struck.

Gretchen had come on stage, grabbed a microphone and was screaming into it.

"It's my BIRTHDAY!" he screamed. "It's my fuckin' BIRTHDAY!"

Everyone was laughing uproareously.

I motioned for Gino to come over just a she slammed the mic down on the stage. My Shure 57 mic exploded into three pieces with a boom!

Aw man!

Again...Gino came to the rescue and snatched her off the stage.

A short while later, after I had determined the mic was officially D.O.A., we replaced it with a spare and Gino returned.

"How much do I owe you for the microphone?" he growled.

I told him.

"Shit...that little bitch is startin' to piss me off!" he said as a peeled off a wad of cash.

I accepted the money with a grin.

"Gino, it's gettin' late. When do you want us to quit?" I asked him.

"Aw come on bro! The night is young yet!" he slapped me on the shoulder. "I'll make it worth your while."

I protested a bit but, eventually, agreed to play at least on more set.

"What did you do with Gretchen?" I asked.

"She's locked in my office for now."

A thought occured to me.

"Gino, you've been straight with me and, as much as it surprises me...I like you and we like playin' for ya'll which is why I'm gonna tell you something." I told him.

"Go ahead bro."

"Gretchen told me that she's working with the FBI and DEA to get you busted." I blurted out. "She told me that three of the women with her are actually undercover cops."

He laughed.

"Bro...she's used that one too many times. I told you....she's a fuckin' maniac."

"'s bullshit?" I asked.

"Yeah...she's just nuts."

"Well, why in the hell do you put up with her shit?" I asked.

"She's my sister bro..what else can I do?" he said dejectedly.

"Well, sister or not..I'd kick her ass to the curb if she was mine." I told him.

"Did I tell you that she still want's me to mess you up?" he asked.

"No...I'm pretty sure I would remember that." I laughed.

"Hell, maybe I oughta go ahead and kill you. Maybe it'd make her a good birthday present." he wasn't smiling.

"Well.....there goes the next set dude. I don't play too well dead."

He laughed.

"Nah...I ain't gonna kill you little dude but, I am gonna teach that little bitch a lesson!" he snarled.

"How are you gonna do that?" I asked. "and STOP calling me that!"

"Sorry bro." he laughed. "When I let her out of the office, I'm gonna let her hear me warn you about messin' around with her and, of course, she's gonna come onto you BIG TIME after that." he chuckled.

"Oooookay, what happens then?" I asked uneasily.

His face lit up.

"Then I'm gonna drag your ass into the kitchen and shoot you of course!" he laughed.

I thought about that a second.

"Well shit....that'll teach HER a lesson all right!" I said sarcastically.

"Hell, I ain't gonna really shoot you but....she won't know that." he said. "I can't wait to see what she does."

He looked at me and pulled out a wad of cash.

"How much for the extra tunes?" he asked.

I waved him off.

"Nah..forget it. This oughta be interesting."

I went to the boys and told them that we were playing at least one more set. They grumbled a bit until I told them what was going on. Suddenly, those sadistic bastards were all for hanging out a bit longer.

"Worst case scenario is that he really shoots your ass and we gotta audition a new singer." Mike grumbled.

I stared him down.

"Hey....sue me. I'm just sayin'...." he shrugged.

Sure enough, a few minutes later, Gino shows up with Gretchen following dutifully behind him. He stormed up to me.

"Listen stay the fuck away from my sister. You got that?" he barked.

"Look man, she's the one messing with to her." I said.

"I'm talkin' to you bro." he reached out and poked a cucumber sized index finger half way into my thorax.

"Sure Gino....I've got it." I said.

"Good!" he glared at me. "Now, you boys get to pickin'."

We did.

We were thirty minutes or so into the next set when Gretchen started doing her thing right in front of me again.

After a while, she pulls her halter top down and gives me a view of her magnificient hooters.

Within seconds, Gino shows up and tells her to put her top back and glares at me.

We finished the set and I went to the bar where, of course, Gretchen shows up again.

"You wanna go to my van now?" she asked while rubbing her boobs against my left arm.

I looked over to my right and saw Gino watching the whole thing play out.

I looked at her conspiratorily.

"Let's go back to the store room behind the stage" I suggested.

"Let's go." she said.

As we were walking to the back of the place, a song came on the juke box which, I suppose she really liked because she started dancing wildly. Just as we got to the storage room door, she whipped her top completely off.

Spinning her around, I said....

"Gretchen....for the love of God, put your top back on! Gino's just looking for a reason to shoot my ass!!"

"I'm not afraid of Gino!!" she screamed while twirling her top over her head.

"Well that's real fuckin' brave of you Gretchen....YOU ain't the one he's pissed off at!" I said as I pushed her into the storage room.

Suddenly, as planned, Gino came crashing through the door...and he was looking seriously PISSED!!

Gino grabbed Gretchen by both arms, easily lifted her up to where she was looking him in the eyes and snarled.

"Get the fuck out of here.....NOW!" he shouted.

She didn't argued with him.

When he put her down she pulled her top back on and left the room in a hurry.

Just as the door shut, Gino locked it, unholstered his pistol, motioned for me to move behind him and fired two shots through the back wall without warning.

DAMN! In the confined space, it sounded like a howitzer had gone off in my head.

As someone began beating on the door, Gino actually giggled like a little kid.

"She's out there peein' herself about now!" he laughed.

I was laughing as well until I heard a woman's voice screaming......

"Open the door Gino....FBI!!"

He looked at me with a blank expression.

"Shit....the little bitch really did it this time!" he said.

"What are you gonna do?" I asked.

He shrugged his shoulders, put his pistol back in the holster and walked over to the door.

"I'm gonna go get my ass arrested looks like." he grinned. "Ain't my first rodeo you know."

He slowly opened the door and sure enough, there were three women and two men with guns drawn waiting for him.

I walked out behind him.

The look on the cops faces was hilarious. Those assholes were disappointed Gino hadn't actually shot my ass!

Minutes later, the place was swarming with all manner of law enforcement and they were herding bikers out the front door.

Gino was standing against the wall, in handcuffs, looking for all the world to be amused.

Gretchen ran up to me crying. She hugged me around the waist.

"Thank God you're alright!" she sobbed.

I pulled her away and looked into that beautiful face.

" are in serious need of some help. You're a friggin' nut case." I said.

Without waiting for a reply, I walked over to one of the law enforcement women and asked what they wanted me and the boys to do.

After an hour or two of making our statements, they let us go.

As I was about to leave, Big Wanda came up to me.

"Gino told me to give you this." she said.

It was another envelope with some cash in it. I accepted.

"Thanks" I said. "When can we get our equipment?"

"Call me tomorrow and Weed will bring it to you." she said.

I thanked her and left the place.

The parking lot was absolutely packed with blue lighted vehicles and news crews. What a freakin' mad house.

I actually got accosted by a reporter babe as I was getting into my car.

"Sir, can you tell us exactly what happened in there?" she asked.

"No ma'am....I'm just with the band. I don't know what happened." I lied.

The next day, my phone rang and woke me up from a sound sleep.


"I saw you on the news this morning....I told you them Hell People were trouble!"

The phone went dead and I could just see my Aunt Sue sitting in my Dranny's living room as they discussed what a worry I was to them.

The End....finally!!

Side Note: Gino ran his motorcycle into a bridge between Columbia and Charleston a few months later. He died instantly.

I never saw Gretchen again but, I heard she married a dentist from Greenville. Poor bastard.

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