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Goodtime Charlie's Got The Blues

Cheap Whiskey, Cheap Bars, Cheap Women

Goodtime Charlie

Charlie downed another shot, sipped some beer to help it go down and glanced over at Martha, or Molly, or maybe Mary. He couldn’t remember and it didn’t matter. If she stayed for one more drink Charlie thought he’d get her into the back of his car. If he got her to stay for one more drink he knew she’d do it. He was Charlie Lowe. He was somebody- at least in this dinky, dead little town. He used to be somebody but now he just was somebody. If he didn’t get this babe he may as well join a monastery. At least there he’d get fed.

There was a time he always had a girl ready for the after-the-show party. He didn’t have any of those any longer. His agent, Stu Kraft, was always telling him he was,“lucky to get what he did get. You ain’t a star, Charlie.” Charlie knew that but some of these gigs barely paid his expenses. He had a three piece band when he could and they stayed as long as they didn’t get a better offer. His standard of living wasn’t what it once was and neither were his tastes.

He was staying at the low price motel. The only thing lower was the rent by the hour places. Charlie hadn’t sunk to that. Yet. He ate at the cheapest greasy-spoon around. He’d probably die from clogged arteries if not from a sex disease or an angry husband. The odds were about the same. He had to drive to gigs now and the van wasn’t all that new. It ran pretty good and was reliable so that was alright. It just looked like crap. He wished his backup band was as reliable as the van They looked like crap too. He never knew who would show up and in what shape.

Charlie was a rocker, pure and simple. At some places in the South he’d hear,“Hey, what’s that shit?” He would ignore it unless a beer bottle or a knife came his way. Then he’d slip into country with a rock beat. Those Southern rednecks were too drunk to notice that part.

Charlie would always bitch to Stu Kraft when he got those kind of jobs.“Damn, Stu, I could have got shot there. What the Hell kind of manager are you?”

“Charlie, you’re lucky I get anything for you. You weren’t that big, you know. Maybe I can get you a gig at a county fair? How would that be?”

“How come ya can’t get me a week at Disney? Paul Revere and the Raiders get that.”

“Well, Charlie, you ain’t Paul Revere and the Raiders. You were never that big.”

“So? Who remembers that?”

“Umm, the folks at Disney. Maybe the Nebraska State Fair. You always enjoy that.”

“Yea, I like that. Those are good people there. They never throw anything at me. That’s good ‘cause they got a lot a shit just layin’ around. They got some really big shitballs there. Okay, ya get me that and I’ll leave ya be for a while. No more redneck places, okay?”

“Charlie, I always do the best I can for you, you know that.”

“No, I don’t know that. If this is your best I’d hate to see the clients that you can’t do much with. They must be suicidal.”

Charlie hung up. He knew he wouldn’t get any place with Stu. What could he do? Find another agent? Who’d take on an old rocker like him? No, Stu was it. Stu would never leave him because Stu wasn’t Mr. Music himself. Charlie didn’t think Stu did all that well. Maybe, just maybe, they were made for each other.

***

Charlie started to say something to the woman about leaving and noticed her head was on the bar top. At first he thought she had spilled some of her drink and was lapping it up. Charlie had done that a few times; more than a few times. Then he heard a snore. Damn it! She’s passed out! Charlie thought she could hold her liquor considering what she was. He didn’t think she was a pro but she was a hell of a good amateur. He figured the deal was he’d buy the booze and she pay him back in the car. Not now.

The bartender came over and looked at the woman. He looked at Charlie and said,“You were one drink too many. I’ll call her husband to come and get her. He’s used to it.”

He’s used to it. Well, so was Charlie and he wasn’t any better when it comes right to it. Charlie wasn’t any better or worse. A real hooker would have been cheaper and more definite. Charlie hadn’t sunk to that either although he didn’t know why not.

***

Charlie staggered out of the bar and headed toward his van. He glanced up the street and spotted a cop car just barely poking out from an alley. No driving back to the motel He didn’t need a DUI in a small town. He could walk back to the motel in a few minutes. He wobbled up the street past the cops and then did something he was soon to regret. He went over to the car and yelled,“Goodtime Charlie’s got the Blues if you get what I mean. Ha ha.” Charlie didn’t know why he’d done what he’d done. He liked cops. They never hassled him. Sometimes when he told them who he was they’d let him off with a warning. Sometimes they’d say,“Who the Hell is Goodtime Charlie? Here you go.”

The next thing he knew he was on the sidewalk sucking concrete. He felt himself being cuffed and then yanked to his feet. One of the cops said,“Public drunkenness is a crime too. You aren’t going to need that motel tonight. You are going to be our guest. You can laugh at that if you want. We aren’t sensitive.”

 

(A new story fromAppalachia)

Joe Bob Becomes A Hero

Appalachia

Joe Bob stopped in at Marvin’s Fast Stop for a hot dog when he saw the gun. He should have drawn his gun and then confronted the robber. He didn’t and that led to his being a hero. The robber heard Joe Bob yell for him to drop his gun. The robber also saw Joe Bob hadn’t drawn his. He said to the Deputy, “Well, I reckon not. I have my gun aimed at you and your gun is still holstered.”

Joe Bob saw that right away. He felt stupid for the moment. Then he noticed the robber had a water pistol, not a real gun. He told him, “Now, there’s no need for anyone to get hurt here. Just put that there gun down and let me arrest ya.”

The robber shot Joe Bob in the face with pepper spray. He turned to Marvin and told him to hand over the cash or he’d get the same. Marvin wasn’t going to argue that. As the robber was grabbing the cash Joe Bob was stumbling around feeling like he’d been sat ablaze. While he stumbled he also knocked the pepper-spray gun out of the robber’s hand. Marvin then knocked the robber out with a baseball bat. The robber went down and wasn’t getting back up any too soon.

“Joe Bob, that was the bravest thing I ever saw. You didn’t have no way a knowin’ that weren’t a real gun. Good Lord, you took a pretty big risk.” Joe Bob wasn’t really listening. He was trying to figure out a way to put the fire out. He knew he hadn’t done anything except get sprayed but he was in no shape to argue with Marvin. He did think to tell Marvin to call 911 and get some backup here while he tried to keep from throwing up.

“Joe Bob, you knocked the gun outta his hand and I cold-cocked him a good one. Why you still hoppin’ ‘round like that. Ya look a little silly now.”

“Oh my God, I can’t see! I’m blind and feel like I’m on fire! The robber-”

“Now, Joe Bob, there ain’t no need to be using the Lord’s name in vain. You been to Sunday school. You keep that up and you are going to burn in Hell. Jus’ ask the Reverend Black. You jus’ ask ‘im. The robber ain’t goin’ nowhere any time soon except to the jail.”

More Deputies arrived along with the Sheriff. All he heard was a deputy had been shot. He was a little put out to find out it was pepper spray. He felt guilty for feeling that way but it was the way he felt. They got the robber to the jail. One of the new deputies was reading the guy his rights.

“You have the right to an attorney; if you don’t have one, or, can’t afford one one shall-”

“Of course I can’t afford an attorney. Why do ya think I rob places for?”

“Ah, ha! You’re confessin’ to robbin’ the store! This is easy!”

The sheriff grabbed the deputy and pulled him out of the room. “You dumbass! You hadn’t read him his rights yer. Not all of them. That confession don’t count. Dumbass.”

The DA, Paulie Williams, charged him with armed robbery and assault on a police officer. Squire Davis was appointed to defend the guy. He and Paulie met for lunch. Paulie figured Squire would try to talk him down to attempted robbery and simple assault.

“Squire, I know you want me to go with attempted robbery and simple assault but I ain’t going to. The Sheriff is mighty pissed about Joe Bob getting pepper-sprayed. He is all hot to have this guy do some real time. I got an election comin’ up and I don’t need the Sheriff bad-mouthing me.”

“I hear you. The guy really got clobbered by Marvin. They had to sent over to County Hospital. That took awhile and the guy felt like he had four heads. He’s gong to be a long time coming all the way back- if he does. Instead of Attempted robbery, how about simple assault on Marvin. Marvin did get the better of him.”

“Yea, he really laid that guy out. He seemed okay for a while before he started throwing himself around. They day it was kind of scary. Okay, simple assault on the robbery. But, he has to go down on Joe Bob- er, I mean he has to go do some time for that.”

“Okay, I can talk him into that, I think. Minimum time?”

“Okay. Let’s hope Judge Hill goes along with it. He’s up for re-election too.”

“Then I’d say we need to get the Sheriff to go along with it.”

The Sheriff wanted no part of the deal. The term, “Rot in Hell”, came up.

Paulie and Squire had another meeting. Paulie told Squire ,“The Sheriff is holding my feet to the fire on this one. He figures the guy has to do some hard time for the assault on Joe Bob. He don’t care all that much about the robbery.”

“Okay. I’m planning to ask Melvin about the ‘armed’ part of the robbery. Seems like after Joe Bob got sprayed it was pretty obvious the guy only had a water pistol. That isn’t too much ‘armed’ around these parts.”

“Oh, I see your putting on your ‘good ole boy’ act. Okay, I’ll go with attempted robbery. Best I can do.”

“Now, I know the jury will be all up in arms over the assault charge. They are good law abiding people. They also like Joe bob even if they think he’s cursed or spooked or -”

The Sheriff refused to budge on the assault charge. “I don’t care how much a fool Squire makes Joe Bob out ta be, I ain’t havin’ one a my deputies whacked around.”

After the trial Joe Bob was treated better for a while. Bobby Tasco finally had enough and told him, “Now, Joe Bob, ya listen to me. I’m an old man and I know a few things. Ya keep on struttin’ around like t ya been and someone like Teech Boom is gonna test ya. Believe that.”

Teech Boom was the local bully. Not everyone was afraid of him bit Joe Bob was in the group that was. He talked it over with his wife, Janie. She listened to him. She knew he had a reputation for being something of a klutz. After listening to him she told him, “Joe Bob, honey, Ya had your moment in the sun. Now it’s time to sit in the shade a bit. In other words, leave ff the strutting and go back to be just plain old Joe Bob.”






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