Flash Fiction

FLASH FICTION

 

SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Bubba & Junior

Part 3

On Willie’s Trail

willie

Bubba Lovejoy sat in the old school bus that served as the office of L&C Hauling, LLC, and opened the Nashville Tennessean. He turned to the sports section, and read an article bemoaning the sad state of Vandy’s football program, then turned the page to finish it. There he saw a full half page ad announcing an upcoming concert at the Ryman Theater featuring Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Emmy Lou Harris. It was titled, “The Outlaws: The Last Round Up.”

Bubba continued reading, and saw that the concert was in two weeks, and tickets were $250 each. He picked the phone up, and placed a call to the Ryman box office. A female voice answered,

“Ticket office. How may I help you?”

“I’d like to buy two tickets to the Willie Nelson concert.”

“I’m sorry sir, but the concert is completely sold out.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“No sir. I’m afraid it sold out in the first hour this morning.”

“C’mon, there must be some way to get a ticket or two. Help me out here.”

“Well, there is one option available. We have one set of VIP tickets left.”

“Great! I’ll take them.”

“Yes sir. These tickets include a preshow dinner and a post-show reception with the artists. There are four tickets in a set.”

“Great! Sign me up.”

“Yes sir. That will be $1,500. How would you like to pay?”

Bubba paused at the $1,500, but figured he’d con Junior into splitting it with him, so he replied,

“$1,500 is fine; I’ll put it on a credit card.”

“The tickets are $1,500 each, so the total will be $6,000 plus $823 for taxes and handling fees. Your total is $6,823; please give me your credit card number.”

Bubba gasped, and thought,

Holy shit! This will choke my visa card. But on the other hand, this may be my last chance to see these guys, and what the hell, I can put it on the company American Express. Who knows, we may be able to write it off as business expense.

“It’s an American Express card,” he said, and gave the lady the number and expiration date. When she entered the information and received approval, she asked,

“Do you want to pick up the tickets at “will-call,” or shall I mail them?”

“Will-call is fine.”

“Your tickets will be available starting at 5:00 on the day of the concert. Thank you, and I hope you’ll enjoy the show.”

Bubba said goodbye and hung up the phone.

I damn well better enjoy it; I just spent my entire savings account on the tickets.

Like the dog that caught the car, Bubba had to decide who he was going to invite to go with him. He made a mental run-through of his current lineup of lady friends, and realized that none of them were $6,000 dates. Here was an opportunity to break in some new talent. He was mulling this over, when Junior pulled up in his logging truck. He parked the truck in the lot, and came whistling into the bus.

Bubba handed him a cold can of Bud Lite, and asked,

“What are you so happy about?”

”It’s quitting time, and Lucy Lee’s momma has the kids. I’m hoping to get lucky tonight.”

“Well, I might have just the thing you need. I scored tickets to the Willie Nelson concert in Nashville week after next.”

“No kidding? I thought Willie was dead.”

Ignoring Junior’s sarcastic remark, Bubba added,

“Not only Willie, but Kris Kristofferson and Emmy Lou Harris too.”

“What happened to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, too young? What about the Grateful Dead? Oh yeah, Garcia IS dead. But who would notice in that zombie lineup. Sounds like an evening in Parlor B to me.”

“I can’t believe you’re not excited. Lucy Lee should melt in your arms when you tell her.”

“Getting Lucy Lee to melt ain’t gonna be helped by inviting her to a wake. You can give my ticket to someone out at Happy Acres; the place should be filled with fans who were actually alive when these guys were popular.”

“Look Junior, I already got you two tickets, and the company paid for them, and don’t forget, you owe me one.”

“One what?”

“Remember when you begged me to come to the Ole Miss–Alabama game?”

“Oh yeah, and the only reason you went was that you were hoping we’d lose.”

“That’s true, and I didn’t really enjoy the game, but at least I went with you. Like I said, you owe me one.”

“I’ll think about it. Do we have a ticket for Lucy Lee?”

“Sure, and I’m going to invite a date. The tickets include dinner and a reception afterwards.”

“Wow! That oughtta to be fun. Will everyone be on life support? How much did you spend on this?”

“Well, I sprung for the VIP tickets, so it was a little rich.”

What’s a little?”

Bubba gulped, and replied,

“The tickets were $6,000. But don’t forget, it includes dinner for four and a chance to meet the artists.”

“C’mon Bubba. You didn’t spend $6,000 of OUR money on a trip down memory lane.”

“Yeah, I did.”

“Well, I hope you and your friends have a great time. You can count me out, and I expect you to pay the company back out of your own pocket. If I told Lucy Lee that I’d spent $6,000 on concert tickets, it better be for all four of the original Beatles, along with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.”

“Junior, I can’t believe you can’t control your wife. I guess you’re just too much of wuss.”

“I may be a wuss, but I don’t have to spend $6,000 to get laid.”

“As usual, your mind’s in the gutter. I intend to invite a lady with an appreciation of the arts.”

“Really, who’re you asking?”

“I’m just about to give that lady deputy a call and invite her.”

“You mean Stella Stone, the Ice Princess? Lots of luck sucker. She’s turned down half of Barksdale County.”

“Well, Bubba Lovejoy hasn’t asked her yet. Let’s see what she says when I do.”

Junior shook his head, popped another Bud, and headed for home. Bubba watched him drive out of the lot, and picked up the phone and dialed the Barksdale County Sheriff’s office. A female voice said,

“Barksdale County sheriff’s office. This Betty.”

Bubba grinned and said,

“Hey, Miz Buford. This is Bubba Lovejoy.”

“Hey Bubba. What can we do for you?”

“Miz Buford, I need some help. I’m trying to reach Stella Stone, and I don’t have her private number.”

“No you don’t, and I’m not likely to give it to you. If this is official business, I can pass on a message for her to call you.”

“I’m not going to lie to you. You’d just tell my momma, and I’d catch hell. I want to ask Miss Stone for a date.”

“Bubba have you lost your mind? The Ice Princess isn’t going out with the likes of you.”

“Now don’t be so sure. I’ve got hidden charms.”

“You got charms alright, but most of the females in the county have seen them, so I wouldn’t exactly call them hidden.”

“In addition to my charms, I’ve got tickets to a concert featuring Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Emmy Lou Harris.”

“Now that sheds a whole different light on the subject. I’ll get Stella on the radio and give her a chance to call you back.”

“Miz Buford, you’re a doll.”

“Oh, and if she still turns you down, give me a call. There’s not much I won’t do to see Willie and Kris. Emmy Lou I can take or leave.”

“If I strike out, I’ll give you a call, but don’t you think Burt will be pissed?”

“And I care if he is?”

Bubba laughed and said,

“Ask Miss Stone to give me a call, and by the way, the tickets include dinner and a reception with all three of the artists.”

“I bet you get a date, but if not, don’t forget me.”

Bubba hung up the phone and popped another beer. He propped his feet on the dash and waited for the phone to ring, and soon it did. He saw “unknown number” on the screen, and answered,

“Miss Stone, this is Winston Lovejoy. Thanks for calling me back.”

Stella paused a minute, and then said,

“I’m sorry; I’m trying to reach someone called Bubba.”

“This is Bubba. Winston is my real name.”

“I can see why you use Bubba.”

“You don’t know the half of that story. I’m still glad you called back.”

“I’ve been wracking my brain trying to place you. Have we ever met?”

“Actually, we have. Once when you totaled your cruiser at the gunfight at Larry’s Shell Station, and again when you hit the hog on Christmas Eve. I own L&S Hauling, and we have the wrecker contract with the County.”

“Oh yeah, you’re the dumb ass who told Willard that I was speeding when that damn hog ran out in front of me. I never had the chance to thank you for that.”

“Just told it like I saw it. Hope it didn’t cause you problems.”

“Not nearly as much as icing those guys at the Shell station or beating the crap out of Johnny Higgins, but it still gave Willard some heartburn. Betty tells me that you’ve got tickets to the concert in Nashville.”

“I do, and I hope you’ll go with me.”

“Tell you what. I tried to get tickets, but they were all sold out, except for some outrageously price VIP tickets that only Bill Gates could afford. Unless you’re a serial killer or married, I think you have date. I said I think, because I need to meet you in person before I decide.”

“That sounds good to me. When and where?”

“How about Claude’s Tap tonight? I go off duty at six, and I’ll come straight to Claude’s.”

“I’ll be there; I’ll be the dark handsome dude who looks like Brett Favre.”

“Great. I’ll be the dangerous gal in the deputy’s uniform. See you about six.”

Bubba was sitting at Claude’s bar nursing a Miller draft, when Stella came through the door. She was framed in the bright outside light, and looked like a cop fetish dream. When her eyes adjusted to the dark, she saw Bubba at the bar, and walked over.

“Twenty years in the NFL will age a man; you look like Brett Favre’s daddy.”

“Thanks. You’re absolutely stunning.”

“Flattery will gain you nothing, but tickets to see Willie might.”

“That’s what we are gathered here to discuss. I hope I pass inspection.”

“Driving over here, I realized we’d met before the shoot-out.”

“Oh really? I don’t remember.”

“You probably don’t. We were at Mississippi State at the same time. I met you at the Crossroads while you were pissing your college football career away. You actually had some talent. Too bad you flunked out. You bought me a beer, while I cleaned your clock at 8 Ball.”

“Beating me at pool won’t get you much; I was a hell of a lot better cornerback than pool shark.”

“I can vouch for that. So you’re in the towing business now?”

“Yeah, towing and hauling. Junior Swafford and I own L&S Hauling.

“What’s Junior’s real name?”

“Marion, but he wouldn’t answer if you called him that.”

“Marion Swafford. Didn’t he play at Ole Miss?”

“Not much. He was on special teams.”

“At least he stuck it out and got an education.”

“He got a degree. An education—maybe not so much.”

“Tell me again that you aren’t married.”

“Not now, nor have I ever been, nor do I have any plans to.”

“That means you have a date to the concert. Now, let’s get it straight about hotel rooms. There will be a minimum of one each.”

“Yeah, I already figured that out. The real question is, what we do with the other tickets.”

“Oh yeah. I meant to tell you that Burt and Betty will be going with us. Hope you don’t mind.”

He took a closer look at Stella and thought,

Lady, I’d go with you if you brought Godzilla, but he said,

“Stella, this is going to be the start of a great friendship.”

 

Willie Nelson photo is licensed under CC By 4.0 — linked to www.westernlegendsroundup.com

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Categories: Flash Fiction

4 replies »

  1. Well, let us see how many remember “The Cross Roads” and its’ significance to MSU students.
    While I’m at it, how many remember “The Bull Ring” on campus across the highway from the YMCA/post office?
    One more–Old Main burning down. That was a huge pile of bricks and very sad…..
    Jim

  2. Great dialog, especially “pissed away your career at the crossroads” even though the high-class $.25 beer drinkers were across the way at Mr. Echols place.

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