Heavenly Libations and Hacking Hoovers The Continuing Saga of Hoovers in Myrtle Beach – 2018 version

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Heavenly Libations and Hacking Hoovers

The Continuing Saga of Hoovers in Myrtle Beach – 2018 version

Preface

Over the years I have written many stories about our annual golf trips to Myrtle Beach, SC. At first they were mostly a journalistic play by play of the rounds we played that year, albeit with a humorous side to them. The last few, however, are a more creative attempt at story telling where I make stuff up to highlight the golf, but more importantly, the camaraderie we experience. In order to help explain some of the terms and people involved I decided to include the following.

Glossary

Dewey, Cheetum, and Howe – a multi-billion dollar sports management firm which is featured prominently in previous tales. See below for character descriptions of the partners.

Gray Wolf Transport – Most years I drive to Myrtle while the others fly down. To save money on baggage I transport everyone’s golf clubs in my gray 2013 Toyota Corolla S. This year I dubbed the enterprise as Gray Wolf Transport.

Punta Gorda, FL – the actual home of Jimmy Ouellette; aka Two Birds.

20 bucks is 20 bucks – a saying uttered by Bob Svirsky, the origin of which I have forgotten. 20 bucks is 20 bucks – a saying uttered by Bob Svirsky, the origin of which I have forgotten. **Editor’s note – it has been brought to my attention by Bob Svirsky; aka The Commodore, that the saying can be attributed to none other than the grand old man of the Hoovers, Loring Mackey; aka The Mahunna.

**Editor’s note to follow up the editor’s previous note – per The Rick: The true origin of the term is that it is derived from a t-shirt I saw in Key West a couple of years ago. I was going to buy one for Loring, but just didn’t have the chance. The T-shirt said “I’m not gay, but 20 bucks is 20 bucks”.’

Eight tenths of a mile – I am hearing impaired and while that is a source of frustration for everyone involved, it does at times provide some comic relief. We were driving to a golf course, I was navigating using the GPS on my phone. Now I can usually follow a conversation if I know what the context is which during the time in question was about the distance to the course; at least that’s what it had been. However, while I was busy exploring the map the context changed, and which I was unaware of, to where to go for dinner. When I was asked what I thought, I answered in what I believed to be the correct response given the context I believed was still current, and replied eight tenths of a mile. For the remainder of the week ‘eight tenths of a mile’ was a standard reply to any question.

Gotta go fast/Ricky Bobby/Shake and Bake – references from the movie Talladega Nights- The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Fireballs – shots of Cinnamon Whisky

The Principals at DC&H

  • Rocco Ian MacDougal – age 47 born in Dover, DE of an Italian mother and Scottish father. This mixed heritage explains his drinking preferences of Sangria in the morning and Chivas Regal after noon.  Took part in many black-ops as an Army Ranger, none of which can he talk about but he has let it slip it that one had something to do with Saddam Hussein.   One of the top agents employed by the Sports Management Agency of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe and had Ocho as his top client until Ocho quit golf and became an author. Recently named a full Partner in DC&H, he’s still waiting to see his name on the letterhead.
  • Samuel Dewey – age 62 born in Ogallala, NE.  Graduated from Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute in 1970.  His friends call him CR from his earlier career as a corporate raider.  Indeed, the founding of DC&H was as a result of a corporate takeover.  His business acumen is so sharp that he has been married and divorced three times and has never had to pay a settlement or alimony despite being one of the 50 wealthiest Americans..  He drinks Stoli Elit before, during and after breakfast and switches to Southern Comfort at lunch.
  • Vincent Cheetum – 59 born in Piney Green, NC, a little fart of a town just outside of the largest Marine Corps base on the East coast, Camp Lejeune, where his father settled after retiring from The Marines as a highly decorated Master Sgt.  After a brief stint as a roadie for The Grateful Dead, Vinny followed his dad’s footsteps and also retired from the Marines as a Gunnery Sergeant, hence his nickname of Gunny.  His beverages of choice are Schlitz and Jack Daniels.
  • Clyde Howe – 72 born in Altoona, PA.  He is a distant relative of Lord Richard Howe, the British commander during part of The Revolutionary War.  Graduated from The Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1959 and had a minor role in The Bay of Pigs Invasion.  Also, it was his ship that was fired upon by a North Vietnamese patrol boat in the Gulf of Tonkin.  The Ancient Mariner, as he is known by, retired as a Rear Admiral.  Has always expressed great admiration for the movie, The Big Lebowski so he drinks White Russians day and night.  The exception to this is when he brings out a 29 year old Cragganmore single malt Scotch that he sips while smoking Cuban cigars.
  • Marjorie Detwiler has been employed for these last 10 years by Dewey, Cheetum and Howe, as Director of Excursions and Executive Flight Attendant.  At five feet, 11 inches tall, Marjorie stood taller than all of the partners.  She received a Masters Degree in Sports Management & Entertainment from Harvard while playing shooting guard on the women’s NCAA basketball team and was an Honorable Mention All American.  Little in her college experience, however, prepared her for employment with this group of semi-hedonistic, inebriation record setting, globe-trotting golf, and adventure seekers.  Recently promoted to head the new space travel agency, Heavenly Libations.

 

 

The Rick scanned the faces of the minions sitting around the large teak wood conference table, his gaze causing a multitude of responses from the group of wannabe posse members.  The annual trek to Myrtle Beach is coming up in two weeks and The Rick is determined to have only those completely loyal to him accompanying him on this trip.  At least, that’s what he was hoping.  Instead, he determined with a scowl spreading across his face, the only minions available to make the trip were those who have been his posse in the past, and this did not please The Rick at all.

The agenda for this meeting was supposed to have been a secret so as not to frighten off potential posse members.  It had become common knowledge that The Rick was a very demanding and eccentric boss; one may even say he was a despot.  However, someone leaked the agenda thereby negating his desire to have new posse members to heap scorn and derision upon.  Needless to say, The Rick was not in a good mood.  “Which of these wretches spilled the beans?” he thought to himself as he looked at the familiar faces of the four who did attend.

********************

Meanwhile at another conference table, this one made of Amazon Rosewood, located in the stately home of Sam Dewey of the Dewey, Cheetum, and Howe sports management conglomeration, plans were being made for a historic journey.  The partners were bored, having golfed, hunted, and caroused every corner of the globe, they were seeking something new – and then Elon Musk sent a Tesla to Mars.

********************

As it turns out it was all four of the attendees who, unbeknownst to each other, were the meeting agenda whistleblowers.  Leakers who were now all wilting under The Rick’s scornful gaze. This is not to suggest that they didn’t have good reasons for their actions, however selfish or illogical those reasons might have been. The result of the leaks was phenomenal to say the least and while the four perpetrators may have acted separately, the fact remains that they probably saved the sanity of any who may have wandered into that meeting being caught unaware as to the agenda, and been chosen for the trip.

Now, you might be curious as to why this gang of four would want to be members of The Rick’s Posse given the knowledge they possess of previous Myrtle Beach junkets, and the ignominious duties to which they have been subjected. It seems that there is a rumor floating about The Rick Enterprises that he is either in negotiations with, or has already partnered with Dewey, Cheetum, and Howe in some sort of space exploration project.  Their collective hope is to be given positions in this rumored opportunity.  Fanciful dreams of riches to be made, of mundane tasks to be a thing of the past, of respect earned are mighty motivators in the minds of these downtrodden minions of a domineering boss.

“All right, I’m only going to ask once,” snarled The Rick, “If I don’t get an answer, I’ll have the four of you reassigned to the most desolate spot on the planet. Who leaked the meeting agenda?”

********************

The project is called Operation Space Drunk, the precursor to a new travel agency suitably named, Heavenly Libations, being researched and designed to offer a type of space booze cruise aboard space party stations orbiting around the Moon, Mars and Venus. The orbital party platforms are named; The Galactic Hooch, Lushed in Space, and the Cannabis Café.  The original plan called for The Galactic Hooch to orbit Venus but a sudden realization by Rocco had them scrambling.

“I remember watching that science program, Cosmos, with that astrological guy, uh, Grass something,” Rocco said, “anyway, it seems the planet Venus is so screwed up with greenhouse gasses that no one on the Hooch would see anything of the surface of the planet.”

“His name is Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and he ain’t no damned astrologist,” replied Clyde, “he’s an astrophysicist, but you are correct about Venus’ atmosphere. This could be a serious problem. Where are we going to send the Hooch?  Jupiter is out of the question for months yet.”

The four partners continued their walk through of the giant hangar that housed the three space stations.  They had been joined in the inspection by Ocho, who was there on their invitation, and on the sly from The Rick. DC&H was still desperate to lure Ocho out of retirement and back to his lucrative golf career.  Little did they know that Ocho was never going to return to golf now that he was a successful author. He was even being mentioned in the same breath with Vonnegut and Twain, and was being touted as the next great American novelist. It was only his undying devotion to his buddies, the Hoovers, that had him make the trek to Myrtle Beach every year; well, that and his chance to garner story material.

Ocho stopped as they were passing by The Cannabis Café, “What? Are you kidding me? I waited 40 years for the stuff to be legalized and now you have an orbiting doobie machine?”

“Yeah, kinda neat, ain’t it?” said Vinny, “we hope to corner the aging hippie market with what is basically a giant cannabis humidor.  We’re sending this one to orbit the moon, the thought being that all those new age types will identify with the moon.”

Ocho thought for a moment and said, “I have the solution for your Venus problem. Instead of The Galactic Hooch going to Venus, send The Cannabis Café. The clients on the Café won’t notice the difference.  Heck, they’ll probably freak out over the clouds.”

********************

A few weeks earlier in Punta Gorda, FL.

Jimmy Two Birds gazed out of the front window of his palatial retirement home.  Joey Fairways and NASCAR Bob were seated on the couch flipping channels on the massive 92 inch television.  Joey wanted to watch Wheel of Fortune; Bob was set on a replay of the 1992 Daytona 500. They had come down to Punta Gorda to not only escape the bludgeoning nor’easters of New England, but because Two Birds was convinced something interesting was going on in that newly constructed, gigantic hangar just across the swamp from Two Birds’ living room. One of the major factors for Two Birds to move to this house was because the small Punta Gorda airport fed his love for flying. Lately, however, things began to change as there was less and less of the small plane activity and more heavy construction equipment arriving daily. Soon, the only flights in or out of the airport were the company helicopters of DH&C and much to Two Birds surprise, The Rick Enterprises.

********************

The Everglades style air boat that Two Birds had ordered through Amazon, paying extra for expedited shipment, arrived the following morning. They maneuvered the boat into the murky waters of the swamp. NASCAR Bob pushed his way to the driver’s station and announced, “I’m driving,” and then in his best Ricky Bobby’s voice, “Gotta go fast.”

“I love that movie,” said Joey excitedly, “ooh, ooh, can I be your sidekick? I’ll be Bake and you can be Shake.”

“I hate to interject some salient information here,” said Two Birds sounding much more intelligent than usual, “but, we need to get to that hangar in a stealthy manner. Now, through my very expensive binoculars I found a good place for us to beach the air boat.”

“Wrong,” interrupted NASCAR Bob, “it is not ‘the air boat’, its name is The SS Shake&Bake, and I am now Commodore Bob.”

“And, I’m navigating,” Joey added, “That’s the sidekick’s job.”

“How can you be the navigator?” replied Two Birds, “I’m the one who lives here and has spent countless hours looking at this swamp. You don’t know where to go, I do.”

Joey started shaking his head, “No, no, no, I’ll be the one telling Commodore Bob where to go.  I am Bake, he is Shake. You’re just a passenger on the SS Shake&Bake.”

Two Birds, his patience having been tested to the limit, threw his hands in the air in defeat and said, “Okay, I’ll tell you and you tell the Commodore.  Is that good enough?”

With that settled, Commodore Bob started up the Chevrolet 350 engine, “Whoowee, will you listen to that baby purr?” as he revved it up even louder.

“What?” screamed both Two Birds and Joey as they were climbing into the passenger seats in the bow of the Shake&Bake.

“Tell the Commodore to go past that line of large cypress trees to starboard,” Two Birds yelled to Joey.

Joey strained to hear Two Birds and turned to the Commodore and shouted, “Two Birds said to go fast.”

The swamp came alive, the sound of the SS Shake&Bake’s roaring engine sending flocks of waterfowl racing for the heavens. Two Birds turned in his seat and started to yell for Commodore Bob to “Slow down”, but as the boat plowed forward those in the bow seats were drenched by a sudden wave splashing the occupants. Commodore Bob was laughing, the exhilaration of going fast taking hold. It was when he noticed that they were headed into a copse of large cypress trees that he realized he didn’t know where they were going. “Hey Bake,” he yelled down to Joey as he slowed the boat to a stop, “Which way do we go?”

“Tell the Commodore to follow the tree line for eight-tenths of a mile,” said Two Birds to Joey, “we’ll see a landing area just a few hundred yards to starboard once we get past the trees. There’s a pipeline that empties into the swamp. I don’t know what is coming out of it, but the usually lush, green vegetation in that spot is a not so lush grayish-brown.”

Commodore Bob glanced to his left as they came to the end of the cypress trees, and with a gleam in his eyes, and without warning, turned the boat hard to port, sending Joey crashing into Two Birds knocking him over the port side rail, his head now in the murky water. Joey reacted quickly and pulled Two Birds back on board.  Two Birds looked up at the joy filled Commodore and started to scream but instead of “Commodore you idiot”, a gargled, sputtering sound came out with a stream of murky water and a small turtle.

Commodore Bob slowed the boat to a stop. Up ahead was a beautiful expanse of open water dotted with groves of lily pads, resembling the pool area of a fancy resort, many of the lily’s being used as deck chairs by the frog tourists. However, unlike a resort pool area, a great blue heron stalked among the deck chairs, striking down and skewering a sun bathing amphibian. A large gator, aroused from his shoreline nap, slid into the water and started swimming toward the SS Shake&Bake. “Anyone want to play buzz the gator?” Commodore Bob asked.

“NO!” answered both Two Birds and Joey as they climbed as far back from the bow seats as possible. “Turn this thing around,” said Two Birds, “time to get on with our mission. It is also time to be a little more inconspicuous, so proceed as slowly and quietly as you can, but fast enough to leave that hungry reptilian behind.”

Commodore Bob mumbled to himself, “Couple of wussies,” and swung the boat around, slowly heading to the spot designated for their disembarking. The difference between what lay ahead of them and the lily pad haven behind was startling. There was no vibrant vegetation teeming with wildlife; only dead debris, and the droning of thousands of flying insects feeding on the decaying plants and animals, including the carcass of a gator. It was bloated making it look like an inflatable pool toy, “Anyone fancy a pair of gator skin shoes or belt?” asked the commodore, “we could drag that bad boy to shore and skin it.”

“NO!” answered both Two Birds and Joey.

“Couple of wussies,” mumbled the commodore steering the boat away from the floating haberdashery, and pointed the bow at the beach. “Eight-tenths of a mile or there about to the beach. What do we do when we get there?”

The massive building dwarfed the flat, lowland swamps that surrounded the former airport.  Hanging from each of the four walls, in three foot letters was DH&C Enterprises – Space Entertainment Division – Future Home of Heavenly Libations Travel.  Having bought the airport; constructed all of the infrastructure required to build and then launch the party platforms as well as the space shuttles to get the clients to the platforms; hired away most of NASA’s top engineers and pilots, the partners spent most of their non-golfing time at the site giving advice to experts in their fields, and being generally in a “giddy as a schoolboy” mood.

“We’re almost ready to deploy the party stations,” said Clyde, “except we are down a couple of pilots.  Seems that two of the ones we hired got into the Cannabis Café, and now they refuse to leave the smoking lounge on the third deck.  They keep sending text messages asking for pizza to be delivered.”

The Rick, with a wink at Ocho replied, “I have a couple of possible pilots we could use for this venture, though I will have to trick them into thinking that they pulled one over on me. I have found, over the years with the lackeys I surround myself with that they respond better to my orders if they believe they are important in the grand scheme of all things pertaining to me. So, let me take care of this little problem.  Jimmy Two Birds and NASCAR Bob will do nicely flying the friendly skies for Heavenly Libations.”

The trio clambered down from the beached air boat, swarms of insects descended upon them as they made their way through the thick, thorn studded foliage. Alternately swatting flies away from faces with one hand while the other was pushing thorny stems away from legs, they plodded along too busy to speak. Finally the insect horde diminished as they reached the top of a small hill where they stopped for a rest while Two Birds scouted ahead with his very expensive binoculars. He saw a door that appeared to be slightly ajar and was about to relay that info to Joey and Commodore Bob when some movement on the roof of the hangar caught his eye. He trained the binoculars on the roof and saw Ocho and The Rick walking toward a helicopter. Following them were the four partners heading to their corporate bird. Ocho stopped, and grabbing a pair of binoculars from the copter pilot, stared straight at Two Birds.

Two Birds dropped quickly to the ground signaling the others to do likewise. He continued to watch Ocho, hoping that they had avoided his attention. It was then that he realized that the bright orange shirt he was wearing along with the fluorescent yellow shirt worn by the commodore were sure to be noticed. As if to verify his suspicion he saw Ocho, as he was boarding the helicopter, wave to him. “Well, I don’t care if Ocho knows we are here,” he said to the others, “as soon as those whirlybirds take off, we head for that open door.”

 

Two Birds was the first through the door taking just three steps inside before stopping. The immensity of the interior of this hangar had him mesmerized for a moment but he was jostled back to reality when Joey, who was also being taken in by the surroundings and not watching where he was going, barged into him, followed a few seconds later by the equally bewildered commodore. “Holy jumping monkey butts,” exclaimed Joey, “this place is huge.”

“Forget huge,” replied Bob, “these are freaking spaceships. Ohhh, I gotta fly one of these.” He walked over to the closest party station.  The Galactic Hooch was setting on top of a very large truck trailer. Bob climbed onto the trailer and lovingly touched the surface of The Hooch running his hands along the bottom of the first of three circular decks. Each deck was connected by translucent elevator tubes that gave the illusion of being in the transporter on Star Trek’s Enterprise. He continued his inspection until he came across an access panel and pressed the open button. The hiss of the hydraulics was followed by the lowering of one of the translucent tubes.  Bob entered and pressed the button for deck one. To complete the transporter ambiance the elevators were equipped with a state of the art light show that showered down on the occupants a shimmering cascade of twinkling light mimicking the special effects on Star Trek. When the elevator reached deck one, the lights retreated upwards and the door opened. Bob exited the tube walking over to a map of the station. Each deck had ten different bars, some of which offered a specialized, limited choice of liquor. Vodka Valhalla, Tequila Temptations, and The Dude’s White Russian Experience were some of the names Bob saw, but the one that caught his undivided attention was The Fireball Express.  “Oh my,” he said, “gotta get me some of that.”

Two Birds wandered over to the station named The Cannabis Café. He had watched the commodore enter the Hooch and figured that the stations probably had similar modes of egress, so he climbed onto the trailer, walked around until he found an access panel and pushed open. Unlike The Galactic Hooch, the dominant shape of this station was rather joint-like. Two huge joint-like cylinders composed the main body of the spacecraft. They were connected to each other by the same type of translucent tubes, but these were horizontal moving walkways. They were also connected to the cockpit. It resembled a pipe’s bowl. The port side cylinder housed living quarters, recreational facilities such as golf simulators, bowling, and batting cages. The starboard side was the lifeblood of the Café. Vast hydroponic greenhouses for growing the various cannabis hybrids lovingly tended by a troop of robots that ceaselessly worked 24×7 to supply the finest grade Indica-Sativa blends for an eclectic clientele. The rest of the joint was a giant humidor for storing the hybrid blends that were delivered to one of the smoking lounges; each one of the eight lounges would feature one hybrid, changing to which ever one was the freshest each day. Names like Confidential Lemon, Hazy Days, and Purple Mountains Majesty were just some of the blends. The lounges were a series of eight smaller joint-like shapes joined together to form a circle that rode above and were connected to the two large joint-like cylinders. Two Birds found himself in the port side joint and looked around for some indication of where he should go, when a C3P0 droid approached and asked, “Are you delivering pizza to the two pilots in the Purple Mountains Majesty? They are rather hungry.”

“Sorry pal,” answered Two Birds, “just looking around. An independent inspection tour for The Rick Enterprises. I cannot be detained in the performance of my duty, so please step aside, or better yet, show me around.”

“Whatever you say, sir,” replied the droid, “follow me, and if I may, I have the authority to hand out samples.”

“All righty then. That’s more like it,” replied Two Birds, “lead on and hand me a doobie.”

Meanwhile, Joey arrived at the Lushed in Space, the station destined to not only orbit Mars, but also to colonize the planet. DC&H thought big picture and planned on building colonies surrounded by fields of barley, hops and malt for the first brewery on Mars. The main body of Lushed was shaped like a beer bottle. The topside of the beer bottle was emblazoned with a label touting DC&H Martian Brewed Ale. The bottom declaimed in bright bar-like neon, Lushed in Space. Continuing the theme of old beloved television shows, Joey was met at the entrance by a ‘danger, Will Robinson’ robot from Lost in Space. “Welcome to Lushed in Space,” he announced, “may I offer you a beer? We are well stocked with the finest brews from around the world, and will soon be from Mars.”

Generally speaking, Joey was not an imbiber of alcoholic beverages, though he would occasionally down a Fireball or two, but today he wasn’t in the mood for beer. “Say, Robbie,” he asked, “you wouldn’t by any chance have any Diet Coke on board?”

“We have an excellent supply of various soft drinks,” he replied, “they are for the colonists. There will be no alcohol allowed on the planet until the colonies are built, the crops are sown, reaped, and turned into ale. DC&H think that will spur them on to work a little harder and faster.”

“Great,” said Joey as he contemplated how many liters he should ask for. He first thought that two or three would be sufficient while he was still at Two Bird’s place, but then he remembered that Two Birds kept a well-stocked larder but the Diet Coke supply was depleted. Two Birds believed in having a goodly supply of necessary items; ketchup for instance. He had enough to last three lifetimes but couldn’t resist the periodic ‘buy 1, get 1 free’ sales. However, Diet Coke was not one of the necessary items in Two Bird’s pantry, so, Joey said, “I’ll take 20 liters.”

Two hours, and two liters of Diet Coke later, Joey drove the custom built golf cart the Lushed robot staff brought out, the cargo area crammed with 18 liter bottles, to the rendezvous spot at the door. The cart had the front end of a Dodge Charger, seating for six, retractable sunroof, and a stereo system hooked up to satellite radio. He was listening to a classic rock station grooving to ‘More than a Feeling’ by Boston when the Commodore staggered over. He looked over at Joey and belched. Joey thought he must have been seeing things as smoke came out of the Commodore’s mouth and ears when he burped. “Best Fireballs I ever had,” he said as he belched more smoke.

Two Birds walked over to join Joey and the Commodore holding a pizza box with one hand and a huge doobie in the other. “Nice wheels,” he chuckled, “how are you gonna fit that on the Shake&Bake, or even your haul of Diet Coke?”

“How about just driving out of the front gate of the complex?” quipped Ocho as he emerged from the shadows, “Turn right out of the gate, another right at the first intersection, and straight for eight-tenths of a mile to Two Birds place. It’s a tad easier a route than a loud airboat through a gator filled swamp. Why in the first place did you come that way?”

 

 

 

********************

Back to the present

            “Well?” said The Rick, “Stop stalling, and look at me, not at each other dammit.” When the four guilty parties still refused to answer, or look him in the eyes, The Rick stood up, his 6 foot, 4 inch chiseled body looming menacingly, his sparkling blue-green eyes shooting daggers, his bulging biceps threatening to rip through his expensive Armani shirt as he brought his fists down on the teak wood conference table so hard that water sloshed out of the crystal glassware in front of each cringing minion. Almost at once Two Birds, Joey, NASCAR Bob, and Ocho rose to their feet, and as if from a scene from the movie Spartacus they each cried out, “I am the guilty one.”

The Rick sat down, keeping his head bowed to hide the smile on his face. “Wait,” he said, “Each of you, without the knowledge of the others, leaked the agenda.  Is that what I’m understanding here?” After a moment of hushed consultation the seemingly chastened minions each nodded their heads. However, they all thought to themselves that they had outwitted The Rick. The Rick, his composure now regained, motioned for them to sit, and said, “I suppose the next question, and believe me I ask it in fear and trepidation, is why? What could possibly be the reason for this strange, bewildering betrayal?”

Joey was the first to speak, although it was more of a mumbling, stuttering, clearing of his throat with many uhs and ahems before he said, “I wanna be Commodore Bob’s sidekick in space.”

Commodore Bob nodded his head vigorously and only said, “Gotta go fast, gotta fly a spaceship,”

Two Birds hung his head and tried to slide his chair away from Joey and Bob but Ocho slid closer to Two Birds wedging him in.  Two Birds sighed and stood up, “Okay, here’s the deal. We know about Heavenly Libations and the plan to send party stations in space. We want, no, demand that we have a part in the project. Preferably, in the case of the Commodore and myself, based on our years of experience watching and reading about being pilots, in the roles of space station pilots. We will not take no for an answer.”  Two Birds sat back down and wiped the sweat from his forehead with a shaky hand.

The Rick looked at Ocho, ‘Well, what’s your reason?

Ocho smiled as he looked over at his companions. He took out his notebook and read back to them what he had written so far in his current story. “I’m just looking to get in a couple rounds of golf and to collect material for my stories. You guys are a goldmine of inspiration.”

**********

Marjorie Detwiler sat at her desk drinking her fifth cup of coffee, perusing her email.  She had risen through the ranks at DC&H and was now in charge of Heavenly Libations Space Travel.  The list of interested tourists grew steadily every day, despite the staggering sum encountered when booking a flight: $25,000 for a round trip fare; bar tab not included; $45,000 for an unlimited bar tab. Prominent politicians, the top entertainers from every genre, the hoi polloi oligarchs from around the globe, and the aging hippies all wanted to participate in what was being billed as, “The Heavenly Libations Tour of the Universe”. There was even a request from the head of The Flat Earth Society who was eager to prove once and for all that the earth was not a globe, and that all that hogwash spouted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson was just that, hogwash.  That brought a smile to Marjorie’s face as she read her next email; Neil DeGrasse Tyson also wanted to book a flight.  “Oh my,” she murmured, “I think they should fly together.”

A sharp knock on her office door followed by her secretary Chad entering caught her by surprise as he had never entered without waiting for her to answer his knock.  Chad cleared his throat announcing that there was a very insistent lawyer demanding to see Marjorie immediately.  He tried closing the door behind him, but the visitor bulled his way through, knocking Chad up against the glass trophy case that housed Marjorie’s awards from her basketball days at Harvard. The lawyer, a short, stubby fellow walked to Marjorie’s desk, set his briefcase on it, and plopped down in the chair opposite her. “Thank you for seeing me,” he said with a sarcastic smirk, “my name is Randall Pennyworth. I have been retained by The EPA, NASA, and the good people of Punta Gorda, FL, the town you are planning to inundate with toxic byproducts resulting from the launching of vehicles into space.”

**********

The weather in Surfside Beach, SC, the home of The Rick’s vacation estate, was mediocre, bearing little resemblance to normal conditions this time of year. The minions were concerned that there might even be snow, and that would certainly put a damper on their pilot futures. The agreement arrived at between The Rick and his minions was a simple one. If any of the want to be pilots, or a pilot’s sidekick, beat The Rick anytime during the week, then they would be granted the privilege of flying for Heavenly Libations.  The first round, played at The Tradition Club, went as expected. Two Birds, Commodore Bob, and Sidekick Joey were sky high in anticipation at the beginning of the round. The fact that with Two Birds now living in Florida, meant he was able to play year round and was sure that he could best The Rick easily. The others knew he was their best chance, but they were also alive with self-confidence, knowing that this was their time to rise above the mundane; to climb out of the despair of meaningless existence.

The euphoria, so prevalent on the first tee, subsided with every hole as shot after shot went awry, seeking regions known only to burrowing mammals or fish. The Rick, however, was on top of his game; driving 30-40 yards farther than even Joey with his new M2 driver. His touch around the greens was superb; his putter was in tune with speed and slope, one putts being the norm. It was clearly not the minions’ day. Two Birds could be seen muttering to himself; Commodore Bob was reduced to chasing the beverage cart begging for a Fireball, and Joey was flinging clubs everywhere.  This was the way things went for the next two rounds as well. At Blackmoor the next day, and at wind swept and cold Grande Dunes the following day, the results were the same; The Rick was dominant, the minions were doomed. By the third hole at Grande Dunes all Two Birds could think of was the world famous homemade chili Ocho was preparing for dinner.  Joey, while still enamored with his new M2, was less than thrilled with the rest of his new clubs and was not only flinging them with reckless regularity, he was leaving them where they fell. The Commodore, feeling the chance to ‘go fast in a spaceship’ slipping away, mounted a comeback on the back nine at Grande Dunes, but it fell short when his approach shot on 18 also fell short and now sleeps with the frogs, turtles, and gators.

The next morning, as Ocho was grinding Starbuck’s Espresso beans for another pot of coffee, a rather loud, almost deafening roar and rumble emanated from the dark mass of clouds that held sway over the dawn. “Wow!” exclaimed Ocho, “Looks like golf is out for today, my fellow Hoovers.”

The Rick, dressed in a silk kimono, paused at the top of the stairway landing, “I do believe we shall go shoe shopping today, and then perhaps we’ll play Cards Against Humanity until dinner time.  After which we will watch a couple movies; my choice, naturally.”

Joey and The Commodore rose from their seats at the breakfast table and said in unison, “So let it be written. So let it be done.”

“I’ve also given some thought as to how to make the golf more competitive,” continued The Rick, “tomorrow at Willbrook Plantation we will keep score a bit differently. We will go out as a five some. We will add the lowest scores for every hole by you four.  That will be your final tally for the round.” He looked around at his minions, they were already convinced that they couldn’t possibly lose. Partially because of the caffeine level in their bloodstreams, and partially because they now felt back in the game, their high fives and chest bumps became more animated by the moment resulting in minor injuries and some slight damage to the décor.

The less said about the shoe shopping, the better.  It was an agonizing four hours watching The Rick try on virtually every shoe in the store; a store that did not have a customer’s restroom.  A real hardship considering the amount and strength of Ocho’s robust coffee; add to that the fact they ate chili the night before. Finally, and with five new pair of golf shoes, The Rick declared it was time to go back to the condo; with a quick stop to get gas and to unload bodily fluids, etc.

**********

The day of reckoning was cool, but at least it was sunny. The drive to the course was filled with nervous excitement. The minions, who were so confident the night before were now starting to feel the pressure. Joey was already on his third liter of Diet Coke.  Commodore Bob was following the cart girl as she loaded up making sure she was well supplied with Fireballs.  Two Birds was in a dither about politics.  Ocho, however, remained calm as befits one who knows how the story ends. The Rick was all smiles as befits one who thinks he knows how the story ends. The match itself proceeded along the lines stipulated by The Rick with the four minions carding their lowest score on each hole. The problem with that was that while The Rick was shooting pars and bogies, the minions were often left with double bogies as the best they could do. So it was that through 15 holes, The Rick had a four stroke lead. With all their hopes seemingly about to crash among the rocks of despair, Ocho took charge. On 16, a par 3, Ocho’s tee shot landed a scant few inches from the hole giving the minions a birdie, while The Rick could only manage par. The lead was now three with two holes to go.  The 17th hole was a par 4 with a dogleg right. The safe play was to hit the tee shot straight and hope you made the corner for the second shot. Ocho didn’t play it safe and blasted a 260 yard drive over the trees guarding the corner leaving him only 50 yards from the green, and from where he proceeded to make another birdie. In a rare display of mediocre golf, The Rick chunked three shots in a row and made double bogie. Going to the par 5 18th, the lead was now down to one. From the tee on 18, the best drive was Joey’s who then surprised everyone by hitting his second shot 200 yards; his third onto the green; his fourth a 35 foot putt for birdie that had everyone holding their breath as the ball hit the cup on the right edge and did a 360 before dropping in for birdie. The Rick, who was also on the green in three, had two putts to win the match. His first putt stopped 2 feet short but was a certainty for par. While he lined up the putt, Ocho reminded him, quietly, that he needed to miss this for his plan to have his minions as pilots. With as much sincerity as he could muster he pulled the putt just missing the left edge of the hole. The minions were now Heavenly Libations bound.

**********

The ride back to The Rick’s estate was a boisterous affair.  Sidekick Joey and Commodore Bob even tried to do a chest bump while both of them were seat belted, and shoulder harnessed in the elegantly appointed Rickmobile.  Two Birds, who was sitting in the front seat while The Rick drove, just kept pointing and jabbing his index fingers for emphasis as he repeated over and over, “No more minion; time to blast off.”  The Rick shot Two Birds a look of disdain, but inside he was cheering just as loudly as his minions, ah, former minions. With them on the rolls as pilots, The Rick just upped his stake in the venture which up until now consisted of investing in and providing the   enormous amounts of rocket fuel they needed and stocking the massive inventories of alcoholic beverages and hybrid marijuana strains.  The drain on his multi-billion dollar reserves coupled with the monies invested in The Rick by his friends and cronies, would have worried a lesser man, but The Rick wasn’t even fazed.

Then the state of the art Bluetooth connection announced an incoming call.  The Rick hit connect and the display screen came alive with the four partners and Marjorie seated around a conference table; a scene of noise and confusion. From the chaos came a question from Sam Dewey, “Pakistan? You got the fuel from %$#^* Pakistan?”

In a monumental set of unfortunate circumstances beginning with The Rick trusting the Pakistani agent who assured The Rick that the fuel was not toxic.  In fact, he continued, “It is the first ‘green’ rocket fuel ever developed, guaranteed to even help the ozone layer repair the ravages of the Industrial Age.”  In actual fact, however, the exhaust from the rocket engines, given the vagaries of wind and weather, would have wiped out most of life from Tampa to Naples.

Ocho had been aware of the source of The Rick’s fuel and was skeptical of the veracity of the ‘green’ claim. On his first visit to the hangar he pilfered a small vial of the fuel that was going to be part of the marketing campaign and sent it to a lab for analysis. Thus it was Ocho, who without revealing the bit about the fuel, anonymously leaked to NASA, The EPA, and the town council of Punta Gorda that there were going to be many rocket launches by Heavenly Libations over protected wetlands and golf courses. To say that Ocho kept the fuel out of his correspondence with the agencies he contacted is true enough.  It wasn’t until he slipped a note into Randall Pennyworth’s pocket saying to check the fuel that all hell broke loose.

After a frenzied explanation to the fuming partners and the confused minions, The Rick, visibly shaken by this turn of events still managed to get back to the estate safely. Not waiting for someone to open his door, he bolted out of the vehicle and headed inside. The 125 inch television came on at his command tuned to MSNBC where a group of talking heads were already in damning mode concerning Heavenly Libations in general, and The Rick in particular. A few seconds’ later messages began scrolling at the bottom of the screen from investors, friends, colleagues, and the multitudes who harbored a grudge against The Rick, who were bailing out on The Rick Enterprises and otherwise distancing themselves from the man and the fallout sure to come.  From multi-billionaire to financial ruination does not take long apparently; even the shoe store was demanding the recent purchase of five pair of golf shoes be returned due to his credit card being denied. The Rick, to his credit, did not lash out, scream, or even cry; he merely sighed, shook his beautiful head of hair, and went up to his room where he did lash out; throwing objects around and banging is head against the wall. While this was a bit noisy, the tantrum did, at the very least, announce to the minions that The Rick was not doing himself in.

“What are we gonna do?” Joey asked, the realization that he was not going to be Sidekick Joey finally sinking in, nor would he be employed any longer by the devastated The Rick Enterprises.

Two Birds just sat at the table, the remains of his chicken cordon bleu barely visible on his plate. “Maybe I’ll just retire,” he said, “my cat Rufus would like that.”

Commodore Bob, he refused to dispense with the title, switched the channel on the TV to the NASCAR station. “I think I may join a pit crew,” he said as he downed a Fireball shot, “race teams are always looking for someone who likes to go fast.”

Ocho, who had gone up to check on The Rick, came down and said, “Oh, I wouldn’t be too concerned about things. I have a feeling that all will be well.”  He opened the freezer and pulled out a pint of Chunky Monkey, grabbed a spoon and began to eat, “Trust me. I have a plan.”

Later that night Ocho came down from his bedroom where he had been writing this story, and found The Rick sitting in his favorite lounger staring blankly at the ceiling, his silk kimono opened to his waist, an empty package of Oreo Double Stuff cookies lying at his feet.  Black cookie crumbs mixed with dots of double stuff mingled with his chest hair, the glass of milk in his hand dangerously close to spilling on the very expensive Persian rug that he no longer owned, but which did tie the room together. He looked up at Ocho bleary eyed, his crow’s feet wrinkles readily visible without his usual application of make-up. “I am ruined,” was all he could say.

“Now don’t lose hope,” Ocho remarked as he snatched the glass of milk as it slipped out of The Rick’s hand, “I have everything taken care of.  You’re going to be just fine.” He then laid out to The Rick his plan for making things right, pausing occasionally to let The Rick, who was understandably shocked at what Ocho was telling him, catch his breath.

When Ocho was done, The Rick pointed to the dining room table and said, “There are the keys to the Range Rover.  Take it before the creditors come to repossess it, gather up the others and get to Punta Gorda as quick as you can.  I’ll stay here and meditate on my new reality.  Do you think I’ll be able to keep this rug?”

************

With Commodore Bob and Two Birds trading time behind the wheel they made the trek from Surfside Beach, SC to Punta Gorda, FL in record time.  Joey insisted on navigating even though Two Birds was pretty confident he knew how to get home.  Ocho sat in the back seating section typing away on his laptop, or texting messages to the people and groups needed to get on board with his plan.  He had said nothing to the others except that everything would be explained when they got back to Two Bird’s house. That was all they heard from him during the drive except an occasional chuckle.  The only words spoken loud enough for them to hear was, “Yes, Mr. President. Thank you for your rational approach and kind consideration in this grave matter.” ** Editor’s note: This is a work of fiction and as such, the President in this story is also fictional and in no way depicts the current resident of the White House. J

The first thing Two Birds noticed when they turned the corner onto his street was two immaculately detailed extra-large Ford Econoline Vans parked in his driveway, but it was the first thing that Commodore Bob saw that stole the show. A brand spanking new Peterbilt double trailer semi with the same Gray Wolf Transport detail emblazoned on both sides of the vans and the truck.

Four large pizzas and a requisite amount of liquid refreshment later, the three former minions were ready for Ocho to share his plan. “Okay then,” said Ocho as he swallowed the last of his Guinness, “here’s the deal. I called in a bunch of favors and was able to convince the powers that be to go along. The illicit fuel is being taken care of by the EPA with no further action taken against The Rick other than his ruined businesses and loss of prestige. DC&H get to keep the party stations, though they cannot send them into space. That means that there are no pilot jobs for you guys, but as you noticed as we arrived, Gray Wolf Transport does have need of drivers. If you’re interested, we can start right away. The pay is $20 an hour. The first job is to load up the vans with as much of the liquor and Diet Coke that they can carry, and the semi with the humidor and weed aboard the Cannabis Café.  The booze and Diet Coke will be delivered to your homes for your use.  The weed is for me.”

Two Birds, looking a bit confused replied, “Wait a minute there Ocho. If The Rick is ruined and down on his luck, why are we taking his supplies. It seems to me that he would need the revenue.”

Ocho nodded his head, “That would be the case if The Rick hadn’t agreed to let me have the inventory for nothing except, and this is the beauty of being an author who can make stuff up as he goes, I am going to revive The Rick’s career in a future story about you guys. He was so happy with that he told me to take all I wanted.”

Joey, though somewhat disappointed that he would not be Commodore Bob’s sidekick, was thrilled with the prospect of having so much Diet Coke on hand, and a goodly supply of Fireballs for special occasions.

Commodore Bob cared nothing about the how and why of the plan. His attention was firmly focused on the fact that he would be driving a double trailer semi, and as he has said many times, “Twenty bucks is twenty bucks.”

AFTERMATH

Dewey, Cheetum, Howe & MacDougal – yes, Rocco is finally acknowledged as a Partner; more on that below.  Though foiled in their master plan to orbit planets and colonize Mars, the fact that they retained the space craft made for new possibilities. Coming soon; The Inter-Galactic Adults Only Space Station Amusement Park located in the Berkshire Mountains in Western Massachusetts. The three stations will all be upgraded with a state of the art animatronic Star Wars bar complete with all of the lovable aliens, including the band. The choice of location is ideal as weed is legal in Massachusetts and is only a few miles from the Hancock Shaker Village giving the wives and children something to do while dad is amusing himself at IGAOSSAP.

Marjorie Detwiler – left her employment with DCH&M as she was nominated and confirmed as the new Secretary of The Interior.

Gray Wolf Transport – Through the brilliant marketing and branding plan put together by Rocco, who was once again Ocho’s agent bringing untold profit to DC&H which prompted the change to DCH&M, Gray Wolf Transport went public on NASDAQ. Starting at $20.00 a share the price steadily rose and now stands at $86.00. The three original drivers were no longer driving the cargo vehicles having trained a new crew that now numbered in the hundreds. Taking their profits from the rise in the stock price they formed Gray Wolf Racing.

Two Birds – capitalizing on his years of experience as a fleet mechanic for a large utility company, he built a NASCAR ready, gray Toyota Corolla S, and christened it The Shake and Bake Special, regally bedecked with Gray Wolf images and logo.

Joey, aka Sidekick Joey; aka Bake – capitalizing on his years as an employee of the USPS, Joey was now the Pit Crew Chief for Gray Wolf Racing, changing tires with one hand, and a cold Diet Coke in the other.

Commodore Bob, aka NASCAR Bob; aka Shake – with the ‘gotta go fast’ motto emblazoned on the back of his alligator leather racing jacket, Commodore Bob was now the principal driver for Gray Wolf Racing winning the first race The Shake and Bake Special entered and which took place at the home of Ricky Bobby – Talladega.

Ocho – rich now beyond his wildest dreams, which only goes to prove the vivid, creative imagination he possesses.

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heavenly Libations – an excerpt

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The Everglades style air boat that Two Birds had ordered through Amazon, paying extra for expedited shipment, arrived the following morning. They maneuvered the boat into the murky waters of the swamp. NASCAR Bob pushed his way to the driver’s station and announced, “I’m driving,” and then in his best Ricky Bobby’s voice, “Gotta go fast.”

“I love that movie,” said Joey excitedly, “ooh, ooh, can I be your sidekick? I’ll be Bake and you can be Shake.”

“I hate to interject some salient information here,” said Two Birds sounding much more intelligent than usual, “but, we need to get to that hangar in a stealthy manner. Now, through my very expensive binoculars I found a good place for us to beach the air boat.”

“Wrong,” interrupted NASCAR Bob, “it is not ‘the air boat’, its name is The SS Shake&Bake.”

“And, I’m navigating,” Joey added, “That’s the sidekick’s job.”

“How can you be the navigator?” replied Two Birds, “I’m the one who lives here and has spent countless hours looking at this swamp. You don’t know where to go, I do.”

Joey started shaking his head, “No, no, no, I’ll be the one telling Commodore Bob where to go.  I am Bake, he is Shake. You’re just a passenger on the SS Shake&Bake.”

Two Birds, his patience having been tested to the limit, threw his hands in the air in defeat and said, “Okay, I’ll tell you and you tell the Commodore.  Is that good enough?”

With that settled, Commodore Bob started up the Chevrolet 350 engine, “Whoowee, will you listen to that baby purr?” as he revved it up even louder.

“What?” screamed both Two Birds and Joey as they were climbing into the passenger seats in the bow of the Shake&Bake.

“Tell the Commodore to go past that line of large cypress trees to starboard,” Two Birds yelled to Joey.

Joey strained to hear Two Birds and turned to the Commodore and shouted, “Two Birds said to go fast.”

The swamp came alive, the sound of the SS Shake&Bake’s roaring engine sending flocks of waterfowl racing for the heavens. Two Birds turned in his seat and started to yell for Commodore Bob to “Slow down”, but as the boat plowed forward those in the bow seats were drenched by a sudden wave splashing the occupants. Commodore Bob was laughing, the exhilaration of going fast taking hold. It was when he noticed that they were headed into a copse of large cypress trees that he realized he didn’t know where they were going. “Hey Bake,” he yelled down to Joey as he slowed the boat to a stop, “Which way do we go?”

“Tell the Commodore to follow the tree line for eight-tenths of a mile,” said Two Birds to Joey, “we’ll see a landing area just a few hundred yards to starboard once we get past the trees. There’s a pipeline that empties into the swamp. I don’t know what is coming out of it, but the usually lush, green vegetation in that spot is a not so lush grayish-brown.”

Commodore Bob glanced to his left as they came to the end of the cypress trees, and with a gleam in his eyes, and without warning, turned the boat hard to port, sending Joey crashing into Two Birds knocking him over the port side rail, his head now in the murky water. Joey reacted quickly and pulled Two Birds back on board.  Two Birds looked up at the joy filled Commodore and started to scream but instead of “Commodore you idiot”, a gargled, sputtering sound came out with a stream of murky water and a small turtle.

Commodore Bob slowed the boat to a stop. Up ahead was a beautiful expanse of open water dotted with groves of lily pads, many of them being used as deck chairs for frogs. A great blue heron stalked among one such grove, striking down and skewering a sun bathing amphibian. A large gator, aroused from his shoreline nap, slid into the water and started swimming toward the SS Shake&Bake. “Anyone want to play buzz the gator?” Commodore Bob asked.

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Thoughts and prayers

Thoughts and prayers…thoughts and prayers…every disaster that strikes, we are inundated with ‘thoughts and prayers’.  Well, this last man made atrocity in Sutherland, TX where over 20 people were killed in church, has me wondering why those people weren’t already inundated with thoughts and prayers given their location.  If thoughts and prayers don’t help in a house of worship, then I think it may be time to look for another way to help the unfortunate.  Of course, it may be too soon, or not appropriate to talk about government officials living off of the largess of the NRA, or that maybe mentally disturbed individuals shouldn’t be allowed to buy weapons of any sort, or that maybe automatic weapons in the hands of the ordinary citizenry might be a bad idea, or maybe taking another look at the Second Amendment and the completely bastardized interpretation it has been given.  Nah, wouldn’t be right to look into those things.  We need a few more mass atrocities, I guess.  Thoughts and prayers to all those who put their greed before their humanity.

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Father Figure?

I saw a meme the other day thanking God for that man in the White House stating that he was the Father figure this country needs. I thought about what attributes a good father figure might have and have tried to apply them to you know who. I can only come up with questions as to what qualities the followers of this “father figure” admire in him. Is it the fact that he has been married three times and brags about grabbing pu%%y? Is it that he has fascist tendencies? Is it that he has started the process of deregulating banks and Wall St so his friends in WealthyWhiteManistan can accrue more wealth? Is it that he has effectively removed the Joint Chiefs of Staff and replaced them with a white supremacist who has no government/foreign relations/military experience? Is it that he has two spokespersons who continually lie, calling them “alternative facts”? Is it that he wants to take healthcare away from millions with no plan in place to replace it? Is it that he is so enamored of himself that he has to lash out at those who oppose him with mindless tweets(so-called judge????). Is it that he was born with a golden spoon in his mouth and hasn’t worked a day in his life, scrounging to make life better for his family; clueless as to how hard it is for those making minimum wage to make ends meet? And this is only a partial list of qualities he possesses. I’m sorry, but I find him extremely lacking in father figure attributes and I’m sorry for the followers of this un-fatherly figure as they come to realize that he is not their friend; never was-never will be.

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The Good, The Bad, and The Mostly Debauched

Making the Hoovers Great Again

Myrtle Beach 2016

THE MOSTLY DEBAUCHED

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Our story begins in a smoked filled, custom built Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  The smoke being generated by four elegantly dressed gentlemen, puffing away between bouts of oratory, on expensive Cuban cigars.  In the background, playing on the 72 inch screen is the movie Centurion, a tale about a massacred Roman Legion north of Hadrian’s Wall; next up is The Eagle of the Ninth, a tale about recovering the Eagle lost in The Centurion.  Yes, dear readers, our intrepid travelers have just returned from a month steeped in Roman history as they tramped all through Southern France and down all the way to the boot heel of Italy.   Tramped is a relative term as their notion of trekking involves state of the art Land Rovers driven by professionals who also double as bar tenders and cooks.  The magnificent tents, gifts from a prince in Saudi Arabia, that they call home for the trip rival 5 star rooms anywhere.  Who are these pampered, over-indulgent, seekers of knowledge and a permanent drunk?  Let me introduce the members of the sports management team of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe.

  • Rocco Ian MacDougal – age 51 born in Dover, DE of an Italian mother and Scottish father. This mixed heritage explains his drinking preferences of Sangria in the morning and Chivas Regal after noon.  Took part in many black-ops as an Army Ranger, none of which can he talk about but he has let it slip that one had something to do with Saddam Hussein.   One of the top agents employed by the Sports Management Agency of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe, he is now a full partner, albeit without his name on the marquee.
  • Samuel Dewey – age 66 born in Ogallala, NE.  Graduated from Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute in 1970.  His friends call him CR from his earlier career as a corporate raider.  Indeed, the founding of DC&H was as a result of a corporate takeover.  His business acumen is so sharp that he has been married and divorced three times and has never had to pay a settlement or alimony despite being one of the 50 wealthiest Americans..  He drinks Stoli Elit before, during and after breakfast and switches to Southern Comfort at lunch.
  • Vincent Cheatum – 64 born in Piney Green, NC, a little fart of a town just outside of the largest Marine Corps base on the East coast, Camp Lejeune, where his father settled after retiring from The Marines as a highly decorated Master Sgt.  After a brief stint as a roadie for The Grateful Dead, Vinny followed his dad’s footsteps and also retired from the Marines as a Gunnery Sergeant, hence his nickname of Gunny.  His beverages of choice are Schlitz and Jack Daniels.
  • Clyde Howe – 75 born in Altoona, PA.  He is a distant relative of Lord Richard Howe, the British commander during part of The Revolutionary War.  Graduated from The Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1959 and had a minor role in The Bay of Pigs Invasion.  Also, it was his ship that was fired upon by a North Vietnamese patrol boat in the Gulf of Tonkin.  The Ancient Mariner, as he is known by, retired as a Rear Admiral.  Has always expressed great admiration for the movie, The Big Lebowski so he drinks White Russians day and night.  The exception to this is when he brings out a 29 year old Cragganmore single malt Scotch that he sips while smoking Cuban cigars.

“It was Alesia, damnit”, yelled Clyde, his hands shaking so much that his scotch sloshed over the sides, “Alesia was Caesar’s greatest victory, bar none.  The engineering alone ranks that battle higher than any other.”

“I respectfully disagree.  Clearly Caesar’s finest hour was defeating Magnus at Pharsalus.” replied Rocco.  “Engineering!”, Rocco snarled, pointing his cigar at Clyde, “That was against a bunch of tribal pussies.  Pharsalus was against Romans.”  “Besides,” he continued after exhaling a series of smoke rings, “being a direct descendant of Mark Antony I think qualifies me as an expert on the subject.”

“Oh for the love of Mithras.  I’ll have you know, you scion of a traitor..” Clyde paused for a moment to belch and to regain his train of thought.

Vinny popped open a can of Schlitz with one hand while crushing an empty with the other one.  “I sincerely hope that you two will cease and desist this ongoing, never ending, pointless discussion.  I’m trying to watch the movie.  That painted Pict lady is kinda hot.”

Sam staggered against the lounge chair he was trying to sit in resulting in a wave of Stoli crashing upon the front of his Armani slacks.  “Damn turbulence.  I’m gonna have a talk with the pilot, bastard probably did that on purpose.”, Sam said while holding his vodka violated pant leg out away from his body.  “There was no turbulence, excepting of the drunken walk variety.”, responded Rocco with a big grin.

“Who the hell asked for your opinion?”, Sam yelled, “in fact, why the hell did we make you a partner?  You lost our best client by letting Ocho retire; by the way are we still making money off of his endorsements?”

Rocco scratched his head, and looked around wondering if he could find someplace to hide but even a 787 Dreamliner is limited in that respect.  “Well, Rocco, I asked you a simple question.  A simple yes or no would be a good place to start.”, said Sam as he stripped off his sodden pants to reveal a pair of boxers sporting the cast from The Big Bang Theory.

Marjorie Detwiler has been employed for these last 10 years by Dewey, Cheetum and Howe, as Director of Excursions and Executive Flight Attendant.  At five feet, 11 inches tall, Marjorie stood taller than all of the partners.  She received a Masters in Sports Management & Entertainment from Harvard while playing shooting guard on the women’s NCAA basketball team and was an Honorable Mention All American.  Little in her college experience, however, prepared her for employment with this group of semi-hedonistic, inebriation record setting, globe trotting golf and adventure seekers.  A perfect example was now playing itself out as Marjorie entered the lounge with her clipboard to brief her boys on their itinerary for the next week.  Seeing Sam standing in his underwear caught her attention right away but it wasn’t the pictures of Sheldon and Penny that drew her eyes.  No, this wasn’t the first time she had been witness to various states of undress; not the first time the veneer of professionalism that she strove to maintain no matter what the circumstance had cracked as she unsuccessfully stifled a chuckle. Peeking out of the front of the Big Bang boxers was one-eyed Sammy.

“What’s everyone staring at?”, asked Vinny as he followed the stares of his companions, “Oh my! Donkey man is showing off again, I see.”  “Is nothing sacred with you people?”, said Sam as he reached down and cradled one-eyed Sammy in his hands, “This piece of artistry in the flesh is of Biblical proportion and is so mentioned in Ezekiel 20:23, and I paraphrase for the squeamish, ‘and the women lusted after men hung like donkeys and whose emissions are as from a horse.’  So be a little more respectful, if you please.”  Sam then put one-eyed Sammy back behind Penny and Sheldon.  He looked at Rocco and thought that there was something he was going to say to Rocco but damned if he could remember what it was.  “I’m gonna get some fresh pants if anyone wants to come watch.”, Sam said and headed off to his suite.

THE GOOD

We are one week away from our annual visit to the hub of The Confederacy, although now instead of rice, indigo and cotton plantations tended by unwilling participants in that pristine agrarian society, there are acres of landscape modified into the curse word inducing, club flinging geographic phenomena of golf courses.  As has been typical of year’s past, the closer to departure we get, the more verbose we become; our excitement building to a symphonic crescendo.  This stoking of our desire to golf again is what sustains us through the long dreary months we are held captive by the gods of seasonal atmospheric conditions, El Nino and climate change.  The unhappy irony of this pent up, ever building crescendo is that by the third hole of the first day that crescendo becomes a white foamed wave, crashing furiously against the rocks of reality.  Thus I have come upon the idea to do dramatic readings from my novel in progress, Clash of Empires, thereby restoring the morale of my aging, battered friends; restoring a calmness to their tortured souls.  I was expecting heaps of excited anticipatory responses from my fellow travelers but instead was met with a torpid, ‘yeah, okay’, type of reply.  Except from Rick; he was so captivated by the idea that he suggests we dress in costume and play out the scenes.  Rick has recently retired from active employment and I am concerned for the health of his mind.

THE BAD

“Hello again.  This is Jim Nantz once again bringing to you live, the antics and the undeniably bad golf that is their stock in trade, The Hoovers in Myrtle Beach.  With me once more is my good friend and colleague, Sir Nick Faldo.  I must say you’re looking pretty dapper for a man who just a few hours ago was stuffing one dollar bills anywhere he could at a local Gentlemen’s Club.”

“Always a pleasure, Jim.  I guess those kids just make me feel young again.  But more to the point, what in the realm of Aphrodite’s tits are we doing broadcasting these buffoons?”

“In the contract old buddy.  Seems we were bought out by that sports management group, Dewey, Cheetum and Howe and they want to promote Ocho, so here we are.”

“Well I have news for you old chum, they are on the way here, or so I’m told.  Flying into Myrtle on that damned Dreamliner they own.  Coming in from Amsterdam of all places.  Probably hanging out at one of those cafes smoking who knows what and making asses of themselves.”

THE GOOD

Ocho awoke after a restful night on his lavishly appointed couch in the posh Hoover mansion, Chez Rick’s.  Ocho has by tradition provided the coffee for this week of golf and giggles and this year has brought two very good beans from Thanksgiving Coffee; a Kona Blend(cuz I can’t afford the real thing) and a nice Guatemalan.  Soon the sound of the grinder turning the beans of the gods into a brew-able consistency echoes off the walls of the condo kitchen.  A moment later the process of creating the elixir of salvation is made manifest by the aroma, an aroma that announces that the new day has begun and it is fucking glorious.

As a cost saving ploy and a chance to further enhance our male bonding experience, we are cooking dinners in for a few nights.  Ocho not only contributes to the workings of the intestinal regions with the morning infusion of the elixir of salvation, he is doubling his efforts for this evening’s meal.  Ocho is making chili; not too hot, just enough btu action to make you feel glad to be alive and feasting on this culinary miracle.  With Jimmy Two Birds working that Ronco Slice and Dice on an onion, Joey demonstrating his can opening expertise and Ocho putting it all together, how could it be anything other than a gourmet’s delight.  Every breath is soon punctuated with the smell of onion, garlic, beans, beef, etc coupled with the fading but still discernible aroma of Guatemalan.

THE BAD

Nantz: We are well into the second round and as usual there isn’t a whole lot of good to report on from these aging club flingers.

Faldo: I agree, although there have been flashes of, I was gonna say brilliance but that would be a bit over the top.  Let’s just call it sucking less than usual, such as The Rick paring all three holes at Amen Corner, not an easy task as I can well attest, being a winner there a few times.   Did I ever tell you, mate, about the tiff I had with my caddie over club choice at the par 3?  Well..

Nantz: Sorry Nick old pal, no time for your glory days routine. There’s nobody listening anyway.  Those dozy bastards who consigned us to this broadcasting nightmare probably don’t even remember that we’re doing this.  It’s a wonder they can function at a level higher than one of them three toed sloths.  You know what I heard?  That they all have agreed to donate their internal organs to science.  Mayo Clinic is desperate to find out why their livers lasted longer than some non-alcohol preserved specimens.

Faldo: Uh, Jim?  Clyde Howe is on line one.

THE MOSTLY DEBAUCHED

Clyde: Faldo?  You over rated hack, I wanna talk to that pompous bag of methane, Nantz.

Sam: You tell him that I’m gonna donate his balls to my taxidermist and have them mounted on my den wall.

Clyde: Nantz?  Don’t talk, just listen.  We own you now, pal, so you better get used to a new tradition like no other.  We’re flying in to Wilmington, NC to play at this place called Farmstead.  We will be listening to your riveting broadcast; a little less full of yourself and a little more entertaining would be appreciated.

Vinny: Another thing, we need some eye candy.  Nantz might still be pretty but Faldo’s late night exploits don’t exactly enhance his beauty.

Rocco: This is perfect.  We represent a nubile young lady who is a, she’s a, well she’s an entertainer at one of Myrtle Beach’s finer clubs.  Her name is Melody Storm.  Get her to do on the course interviews and stuff.

Vinny: Oh yeah, she’s hot.

Clyde: You got that, Nantz?  Melody Storm showing her stuff.  See you later.

THE GOOD

or perhaps, more appropriately,

THE EMBARRASSING

Another round completed at a very nice, new venue for us, The Grande Dunes.  Beautiful holes running parallel to the Intracoastal Waterway, greens that begged to be putted upon, ponds that demanded sacrifice and according to an informed staff member, water moccasins slithering in the shoreline greenery seeking unwary golfers to slay. Indeed, a round that will long be cherished for many reasons; each Hoover with his own memories of spectacular holes while ushering the not so spectacular to the darkest recesses of their collective minds.  Joey with his record shattering 97, Rick with his back to back pars on 8 & 9, Ocho with his blistering par,par,par,birdie,par and Jimmy with his good fortune to be in the same cart with Ocho during those blistering holes.  Ironic when you think on it.  Jimmy was the most effusive in praise of Grande Dunes and yet he played the worst of the four of us.  Just goes to show that inside the Hoovers beats the hearts of poets.

The setting sun was a display of grandeur and a perfect backdrop to the network interview area set up just off the 18th green.  Melody Storm dressed in a form fitting blue dress and oh what a form that was filling it.  Spaghetti straps on the shoulders held up what little material there was that formed the low cut cleavage revealing bodice.    Arising from the bottom of her right calf is a tattoo of an elegant climbing morning glory vine that enchantingly disappears mid-thigh under the dress.  Carrying a microphone and a clipboard she walks over to Ocho and Rick.  Joey alights from his cart like he was shot out of a cannon to join in on the interview.  Just as Melody gets into position she drops the clipboard.  Both Melody and Joey bend down to retrieve the item and Joey is met with an eyeful of cleavage.  Melody takes the clipboard from a mesmerized Joey and winks at him turning him into a glazed over statue, unable to move as the sun reflects off the beaded sweat on the top of his head.  On the other side of the green, Jimmy was still sitting in the cart when Melody bent down for the clipboard.  His view, when he was able to regain focus after the initial shock, was of the morning glory vine as it reached her well made gluteal region.  His first thought was the realization he really liked peaches; his second thought was that he could not get out of the cart until a certain condition abated.

THE BAD

Nantz: “I can’t remember the last time I was so enmeshed in the beauty and drama of a well played golf match.  Not Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy or even Sir Nick Faldo has ever brought to the golfing public a display of excellence such as the likes of The Hoovers have brought to us today.”

Faldo:”Bollocks!  What have you been smoking?  We’ve been on the air for 4 1/2 hours and have seen maybe half a dozen decent shots from these club wielding buffoons.”

Nantz:  quickly put his hand over Faldo’s mike, “What the hell is wrong with you?  Our new bosses are listening.  You better pucker up and start doing the arse kiss routine or we’re toast.”

Faldo: “Shite, I forgot.”  He reaches down under the desk and pulls up a bottle of Johnny Walker Black and takes a three gulp drink.  “Okay, I’m ready to pucker.”

Nantz: slowly takes his hand from Nick’s mike, “Aw now Nick, let’s not be jealous.  This is their time, yours has sadly passed you by.  Time for a brief word from our new sponsor, Hoover Eats, the last word in fine beef stews and chili and then we’ll take you down to the course for some in depth interviews with our latest staff addition, Melody Storm.

Faldo: “That’s right, Jim.  Hoover Eats is perfect for that post-round meal.  The chili is out of this world and let me tell you, I just had a bowl before going on the air and it tastes just as good the second time(he belches and smiles).  The beef stew has been rated highest among those who think Dinty Moore comes straight from God.  So stock up now; Hoover Eats – it keeps you moving.”

Nantz: “Now we are going down to Melody as she chats with Ocho and The Rick. Welcome to the crew, Melody.”

Faldo: mutters just loud enough for it to go over the air, “So that’s what she looks like with clothes on.”

THE MOSTLY DEBAUCHED

Farmstead Golf Course has the distinction of being geographically situated in both North and South Carolina.  This little fact is causing no little consternation to the partners.  It is illegal to drink on the golf course in North Carolina and 85% of the course is in North Carolina.  “Not having alcohol on even one hole is a travesty of justice,” yelled Sam, “and I’m sure is a violation of my god-given, constitutionally mandated rights.”  Marjorie didn’t bat an eye or move an inch, she just said, “Clyde!” and turned to exit the plane thinking how glorious the next few hours would be while her boys were wreaking havoc elsewhere.

Clyde looked at Vinny and asked, “How many North Carolina legislators do we own?”  Vinny scratched his head, crushed a Schlitz can and replied, “Four but there’s a fifth who is just awaiting our final offer.”  “Okay, call the fifth and get him or her on board and then conference in the other four.  I want an exemption in that ill-formed piece of legislature or our friends the congresspeople will, and I quote Walter Sobchak, ‘be entering a world of pain.’  Is that clear, Vinny?”  “Couldn’t have said it any better, Clyde, my wise old friend,” answered Vinny, the swish of a can of Schlitz being opened punctuating the moment.

“Hey Sam,” said Clyde, following Sam over to the bar for a quick one before their first drink during the limo ride to the golf course, “You’ve been a little too rough on Marjorie, hell we all take advantage of her from time to time.  Damn, but she’s a treasure and it is time we showed her our appreciation.  It’s time to implement our plan to buy out Expedia and a couple other travel outfits and start our own mega travel guide service.  Marjorie will run it as President of Travel Hedonists, Inc.”

THE GOOD

Despite the fact that Clyde and the rest expected Ocho to be the primary focus of the broadcast interviews and despite the fact that this was indeed a ploy by Clyde and the rest to entice Ocho out of retirement, the interview was still slanted towards The Rick as Clyde and the rest forgot about the inexplicable attraction between women and The Rick.  Ocho was only able to answer one question regarding his return to action.  At that point, Melody, aimed the mike at The Rick and proceeded to bombard him with inane questions about his favorite color, his favorite bands and whether he thought Donald Trump was evil.  However, it was not the interview questions that mattered or even, the answers.  This was two people becoming enraptured with each other.  Melody could only imagine running her fingers through that magnificent, never been treated for baldness, head of hair and The Rick, when he wasn’t glancing at cleavage, was captured by her green eyes and the way a strand of her brunette hair fluttered against her forehead.

After the interview, Melody tapped The Rick on the shoulder and said, “I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to finally meet you.  I am taking classes at Francis Marion Junior College.  I hope to get a degree in Business or Broadcast Journalism.  I read all about you and your rise to the top of the business world in our textbook. It was a chapter entitled, ‘The Profitability of Ruthless Capitalism’.  I was wondering if you would like to come see me perform.  I work at The Purring Kitten, one of the area’s finest dance studios.  After we could maybe talk.  I would so dearly love to talk to you about your experiences. I have so much to learn and this would be so much more informative than a dry, impersonal textbook.”

Hoover Bob returned to the group after a couple days visiting a friend.  He walked over to the table where Jimmy, Joey and Ocho were having a post round libation.  Besides, they had nowhere to go until The Rick said where and when.  “Who is that fawning all over the boss?”, asked Bob.  Without taking his eyes off of Melody, Joey told Bob who she was.  Jimmy could only manage a sigh and Ocho just rolled his eyes. “Do you think we should remove her?”, asked Bob, with an eager look on his face and already moving toward her, “She seems to be keeping the Chief from joining us.”  At that point Ocho got up and pulled Bob back, “Umm, I don’t think the Chief wants to be rescued.”

 Author’s Note

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, The Hoovers have all been sainted and shall  henceforth, on St Patrick’s Day, be known as:  St. Joey of the Fairway…St. Bob of the Pits (a NASCAR term) …St. Jimmy the Pontificator… St. Richard the Hoover Hearted… and St. Paul the Flatulent.

THE BAD

Nantz: “St. Patrick’s Day and our intrepid band of Hoovers are all decked out in various shades of green as they prepare to play the Nicklaus designed Long Bay Club.”

Faldo: “About the only thing missing is maybe a keg of stout and a fifth or two of Jameson’s.  Hell, I’d join them if they were so encumbered.  Fortunately I have my own supply of green beer on hand.  Did you hear the names they are going by today?

Nantz: “Some colorful ones indeed.  Well that’s interesting.  They were all gathered together on the 1st tee waiting for the group in front of them to get out of their way when of a sudden they all broke away from each other.”

Faldo: “Ten to one it was St. Paul the flatulent.”

Nantz: “And that is the perfect lead-in to a word from our sponsor Hoover Eats and their two new exciting entrees, Meatballs ala Jimmy and Rick O’Lobsitz’ Corned Beef and Cabbage.  With that is our newest colleague, Melody Storm.

Melody: “If you’re looking for a wholesome, nutritious, gluten free, antibiotic free, organically grown meal with 0% transfat, then you better look elsewhere.  Hoover Eats specializes in meals made the old fashioned way…with taste being the primary focus.  And I can state unequivocally that the new entrees, as well as the chili and beef stew, are stick to the ribs good.  Hoover Eats – it keeps you moving.”

THE MOSTLY DEBAUCHED

It was a sunny, 75 degree day as the partners rolled onto the first tee at Farmstead.  They were all wearing cargo shorts as the deep pockets could hold half a dozen various alcoholic nips or in Vinny’s case, a couple cans of Schlitz.  Since they spend a lot of time outdoors they were much more tanned than anyone else on the course but that didn’t stop Sam from applying a spray on tan which gave him an orange hue.  Clyde took one look at him and said, “Good grief, Sam, you look as ridiculous as that madman Trump.”  “Oh piss off, Clyde,” replied Sam, “and don’t you ever compare me to that bozo.  Calls himself a successful businessman; hell if we were as successful, we’d be out of business.”

The four of them then performed their own special pre-round ritual of pouring a libation on the tee box ground to the golf god, Hackus.  “Excuse me, gentlemen,” interrupted a stern looking golf course official, “but alcohol is not permitted on the North Carolina portion of the course.”  Vinny walked over to the course official, “Here, hold my beer while I make a phone call.”  Taking his phone out of the pocket of his Jerry Garcia emblazoned golf shirt, Vinny hit one number and a video chat session was opened, “Good morning Pat.  Would you please explain to this nice man about our special exemption?  Thanks and have a nice day.”  The course official took the phone and saw the face of Pat McCrory the governor of North Carolina.  “Who am I speaking to?” asked McCrory.  “I uh, uh.” stammered the course official, “Spackler, sir.  Charles Spackler.”  “Well, Spackler, I expect you and your staff to extend every courtesy to these fine gentlemen.  If they wanna drink on your course, they can bloody well drink on your course.  You got that?  Good!  Now, I don’t want to be bothered again about this.  I’m a busy man.  There’s an Andy of Mayberry marathon on TV right now and you’re making me miss it.”, replied McCrory as he ended the call.  Spackler handed the phone back to Vinny but as he started to hand back the Schlitz he was holding, Vinny chuckled and said, “May as well drink that one, Spackler.  I don’t think Pat will mind and besides, I already have another.”

 THE GOOD

The home cooked meal has been devoured, the dishwasher has been loaded,and a load of unmentionables is tumbling in the washing machine.  Now is the time for these feisty, energetic seekers of excitement to choose tonight’s entertainment.  Not constrained by the strictures of home life, wives, children and grand children, it is time to cut loose.  Rick reaches into a canvas bag that he’s been guarding against any intrusion in order to surprise us, “Are you guys ready to have some wicked good fun?”, he asks with a smirk that is at once both mischievous and mysterious, giving the impression that something naughty awaits.  Well, naughty it wasn’t, though there were some mentions of various parts of human anatomy that could be construed, in some circumstances. as being naughty.  No, the wicked good fun was a game called Cards Against Humanity; a party game in which players complete fill-in-the-blank statements using mature-content phrases printed on playing cards.  Hilarity ensued as we all vied to have the fill-in phrase for a question be the one that we each had chosen.  Oh, the mirth and mayhem we Hoovers enjoy during this annual golf expedition.  Many groups of guys come to Myrtle and fritter away their evenings drinking in bars or in gentlemen’s clubs, but not The Hoovers.  Night time for us is pints of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey or Cherries Garcia, Oreo cookies and a Robin Williams concert DVD, and then passing out before 11:00.

 THE MOSTLY DEBAUCHED

Never let it be said that a round of golf for these guys will ever be without behavior not usually seen in the prim and proper world of civilized golf.  Some of you who have read some of this author’s tales of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe, may remember an incident involving Clyde baring his backside as penance for a tee shot not going passed the ladies red tee box.  Well, dear readers, it happened again as Clyde lost whatever balance remained in his inebriated anatomy, resulting in his driver topping the ball 2 inches in front of his tee and thrusting him forward.  With his arms outstretched in front of him, Clyde plunged downward, his hands hitting the ground first thus softening the blow when his arms gave out and his face fell into the turf.  The blow to his upper body was further softened, however, by the cushion-like texture of the Bermuda grass.  The lower half of his body was not as fortunate.  The dimpled sphere lying 2 inches in front of his tee was now connected through his shorts and boxers, to one of his own dimpled spheres.  The force at which he fell at, upon contact with the ground, embedded the ball in his upper thigh region causing it to remain attached when he came to be suddenly sober and shot up like a rocket, shrieking like a banshee as the pain overcame the alcohol in his bloodstream. He wrestled his shorts and boxers to his ankles to determine the extent of the injuries to his, let’s say upper thigh area.  “Oh dear God in heaven,” came the plaintive cry of the Course Superintendent as he took his hands off of the steering wheel of the golf cart and placed them on either side of his screaming mouth and inadvertently stepped on the accelerator.  As misfortune would have it, he was going downhill and was heading for a slight curve in the cart path.  He missed the turn.  After a short bumpy ride through a patch of tall grass and scrub brush, he finally came to a stop as the cart began to submerge in the pond beyond the scrub brush.  Fortunately for the Course Superintendent there were no water moccasins ready to slay a wayward golf cart driver. Course Superintendent Charles Spackler pulled his cell phone out of his shirt pocket and held it over his head as he waded back to dry ground and over to the tee box where Clyde was still looking at his, let’s say upper thigh area.  Barely able to speak intelligibly he managed to sputter out, “Never in my life have I seen such a display of reprehensible, pre-pubescent behavior.  Wait until the Governor hears about this!.”  Just as Spackler was ready to dial the governor, Rocco grabbed his hand, “You might want to think about this for a moment.  You know, not rush into anything you might regret.  I seem to recall our friend the Governor saying something about not wanting to be disturbed while he’s watching Andy of Mayberry?  And besides Vinny here already sent our friend the Governor, pictures of old Clyde’s backside and, shall we say, upper thigh region.  He’s probably looking at them during a commercial break and laughing his ass off.  So, relax.  Here have a Schlitz and a nice Cuban cigar.”  Spackler took the beer and the cigar, sat on the ground, buried his head in his hands and wept.

 Marjorie lingered a few moments longer in the whirlpool bath steeling herself to listen to the ungodly number of messages waiting on her cell phone, and the imminent return of her boys.  Her mind drifted back as she savored the peace and tranquility of the last six hours; a most relaxing six hours.  First was a two hour nap, followed by an hour massage, courtesy of A Sacred Place Wellness Center.  Then a peaceful lunch of salad, fruit and three glasses of wine.  She felt the tension just evaporate out of her neck and shoulders like the steam rising from the whirlpool.  The sound of her cell phone alarm clock interrupted her reverie and jarred her back into reality.

THE BAD

Nantz: “Whoohee!  We’re finally done with this blasted assignment.  Pass me that Johnny Walker and let’s get shitfaced my good sir knight.”

Faldo: “Excellent fucking idea my good sir, ah, good sir.  Oh hell.  Have a drink.  Now I may be mistaken but I think we’re still on the air.  Can we say shitfaced and excellent fucking idea on the air?”

Nantz: “No worries.  There’s a five second delay.”  He pauses for a moment as the producer back in the studio in New York is screaming at him in his headphones.  “We’re fucked.  No five second delay.”

Faldo:  Picks up the ringing phone, “Um, Jim?  It’s Sam Dewey.”

THE MOSTLY DEBAUCHED

“Nantz?”, snarled Sam, “Don’t talk, just listen. What in ………………………..   You have screwed up every step of the way.  Did we want that pompous, most interesting man in the world, The Rick to be the interview focus?  No, we didn’t?  Did we want Melody Storm  to defect and become a business consultant on Fox Business?  No we didn’t?  Did we want you and that perpetually unintelligible partner of yours to put on a broadcast that was even mildly entertaining?  Yes we did.  Did you?  No you didn’t?  As a result of these failures to produce you and your partner are being reassigned.  You, Nantz, will be doing weather reporting from our office in the Aleutian Islands.  Faldo is now my caddie.”  Sam disconnected the call on his phone, sighed and said, “I love what I do.”

Marjorie listened to all of the messages and decided she could ignore all of them except the one from Fox Business wanting a reaction to a video of Clyde screaming and brandishing for all of the internet to see, his upper thigh region.  She switched on her laptop in order to see for herself the video that already had 123,000 likes and 57,000 shares on Facebook; plus being the number one trending hashtag on Twitter.  She also found the edited version on YouTube and wasn’t surprised to learn that ESPN was running it on Sports Center.  Taking a deep breath to stem the returning tension, Marjorie took another look at Clyde’s fall and started to chuckle; a chuckle that grew and finally burst forth as a full blown mirthful laugh causing her to fall to the floor at the foot of the bed.  As her laughter slowly subsided, she could hear the faint dialogue from the video feed then was surprised by a sudden change in the volume.

Clyde let out another anguished cry of pain as he waited for Rocco, who was fumbling with a ring of key cards, to get the door open to their suite.  “Oh for the sake of all that’s holy, get that damnable door open, will you?”, Clyde beseeched.  He pulled off the towel that had been wrapped around his waist; a towel that was soaked through with vodka, gin, scotch and Schlitz.  In an attempt to deaden the pain during the limo ride from the golf course, Clyde was drinking everything he could get his hands on.  He had also been pouring half of the contents of the various nips and Schlitz cans directly onto the upper region of his thighs as topical analgesics.  Clyde howled once more when Vinny bent down to take a look and accidentally brushed against Clyde’s upper thigh area with a Schlitz can.

Marjorie realized that the howl wasn’t coming from the video feed but was coming from out in the hallway.  With a mixture of dread and the anticipation of the inevitable, Marjorie got to her feet, walked to her door and with a trembling hand opened it.  Rocco, still fiddling with the ring of key cards, smiled at her.  Vinny turned to her and said, “Hi Marjorie.  Look at how many more dimples there are on Clyde’s right nut than on the left one.  Hey, what’s this Clyde?  Does that say Titleist?”   Sam staggered into the hallway from the direction of the backdoor.  “Where you guys been?  Who moved the front door to the back? ”  He lurched into the wall next to Marjorie’s door and slid to the floor.  Gesturing with his hands he first pointed at Marjorie and then at Clyde, “Have you seen the video?  I betcha that weasel The Rick leaked this to that traitor Melody Storm thinking this would ruin us.  I got news for that walking L.L. Bean commercial, this is gonna work for us.  You can’t buy publicity like this.”  With that pronouncement complete, Sam curled up on the floor and fell asleep.  Marjorie stepped over his fetal positioned form and opened the suite door that Rocco now realized did not need a key card and hadn’t even been locked.

THE GOOD

The Rick dunked another Oreo into the glass of milk, hit mute on the remote and while chewing on the milk soaked cookie pointed the uneaten half at the lovely Melody Storm who was breaking down in great detail the vile display of those immoral, unscrupulous business partners of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe to her fellow panel members on the Fox Business forum.  “Those dozy, drunken sots ain’t gonna know what hit them.”, opined Jimmy Two Birds as he swallowed the last of his frozen Strawberry Daiquiri.  Nascar Bob, peaked around the refrigerator door, “Hey, we’re almost out of beer. Who wants to make a Piggly Wiggly run with me?”   Joey got up, wiped the back of his hand across the chocolate cake crumbs on his lips and grabbed the keys to the Hoovermobile, “Let’s roll.”  Bob grabbed the last beer walked over to Joey with his right hand extended upward and outward, “High five, bro.”  Ocho, who had been busy with the effects of chili and strong coffee, hurried out of the bathroom and called out to Bob and Joey, “Hey, get me another pint of Chunky Monkey, high five bro.”

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Rumours of Glory by Bruce Cockburn

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As soon as I heard that Bruce had written his memoir I knew that I had to read it.  I first heard of him and his music in 1984 and have been in awe of his talents ever since.  His songwriting has always been a breath of fresh air in this age where marketing is more important than the product.  Then there is his mastery of the guitar(at this moment I’m listening to Cader Idris – a remarkable acoustic solo)…whenever I see him in concert I inevitably focus on his hands while I lip-sync the lyrics. The last time I saw him in concert was just a week ago and is where my wife purchased the book for me for my birthday.  As you can see from the picture above, Bruce was kind enough to sign it for me. This was the second time I met him, the first was in 1994 at Berklee College of Music backstage after a show with my wife and three kids.  He was gracious enough to have our picture taken with him.  One of the things that jumps out in the book is how he struggled early in his career with relating to his audience because he is not naturally drawn to the spotlight.  He recounts his life in a mostly chronological order, starting with his early home life and in which he punctuates with lyrics from songs written during he period he is describing.  I found his telling of what certain songs were composed for and for who to be most enlightening.  Some of the songs were for specific instances in his life and yet could still be taken in other ways by the listener; that fascinates me to no end.

I’ve known for many years that he was involved in many humanitarian trips to war torn countries and in Rumours he goes into detail about those trips and how they shaped his perception of the world and the good and evil it contains.  His passion and compassion for his fellow humans comes shining through in this memoir as does his Christianity and his search for The Divine.  That aspect of his writing is certainly one that I found refreshing as I identify with his faith in God in a world where many of the religious among us are so intolerant of others to the point where my country is borderline hypocritical.

All in all the book was a balm to my mind and soul and has me feeling a bit more positive about my thoughts on God and the workings of the spirit.  I am glad Bruce took the time to produce a work that had to be hard to do.  He bares his soul and we, the readers can reap the benefits of his struggles and triumphs.  I highly recommend Rumours of Glory.  5 stars

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Filed under book review, memoir

Bruce Cockburn at The Cabot, Friday night 8/21/15

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My Bruce Cockburn love affair began shortly after my family moved from Detroit, Mi to Salem, MA in July 1984.  We made the migration in order to join with a group of similar minded Christians living in community and learning how to exist as small house churches.  It was at a summer night party, my new friends liked to party, we weren’t your normal church group.  The music was loud and everyone danced.  Then it was that I first heard Bruce’s music, the song was Justice and has this refrain: “Everybody
Loves to see
Justice done
On somebody else”

I was standing next Jim Lacy and asked him about the song and he then regaled me with how great this guy Bruce Cockburn was and said I should hear the song that had just started getting some radio airplay in the Boston area, “If I Had a Rocket Launcher.”  Within a week I had purchased his new album ‘Stealing Fire’ and was working on acquiring his previous albums as well; I was hooked.  I had always preferred listening to intelligent and imaginative singer/songwriters the likes of Paul Simon & Shawn Phillips etc, and Bruce certainly fulfilled those qualities and to boot he was, as I found out after seeing him play live, a world class guitarist.  Over the years, we have attended many of Bruce’s concerts, I’ve no idea how many but I would say 12-15; some with opening acts (Sam Phillips, Patty Larkin to name two), some accompanied by a full band, some just intimate Bruce only shows. Even managed to go backstage with my wife, two 14 year old sons and 5 year old daughter  and meet him in 1994.  Even though for only a few short minutes  I was struck at how gracious and engaging he was.  He actually remembered me from a letter I had written him about a year prior.

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Tonight at The Cabot was a solo show and as we waited for the concert to begin and then again after as I caught up with old friends while we waited in line for Bruce to sign his book, I reminisced about some of the shows we were at.  I got to thinking about my preferences for who should be his band mates if he ever goes on a “retirement tour”.  This after all may not be a far fetched idea as our hero is now 70 years old and while he is still going strong, I could see that he was tired, his energy level a little lower than usual.  Anyway, his farewell tour band should include the following: Ben Riley on drums, Steve Lucas on bass, Colin Linden on guitar and on keyboards – well I can’t remember her name, think her last name was Wolf.  So, if his manager, Bernie Finklestein is reading this, that is my humble suggestion.  🙂

As to Bruce’s performance tonight, he pulled songs out of every era in his vast repertoire from early works like ‘God Bless the Children’ and ‘All the Diamonds’….to later songs like ‘The Iris of the World’ and ‘Bohemian 3 Step’.  The staples were also played, ‘Lovers in a Dangerous Time’, ‘Rocket Launcher’, Wondering Where the Lions Are’.  Of my many favorites, he included ‘Rumours of Glory’, ‘Hills of Morning’ and ‘Pacing the Cage’.  His voice was strong, his fingers still displaying a mesmerizing nimbleness as he coaxed love out of his three acoustical guitars(I’m guessing that two of them were Manzers, not sure about the 12-string.)  I find that no matter how far I am sitting from the stage that my focus is always drawn to his amazing guitar playing.

I mentioned earlier about waiting in line after the show to get a copy of Bruce’s recently released memoir, Rumours of Glory, signed.  This was a birthday gift from my wife, indeed the tickets to the concert were also a birthday gift from my three children, two daughters-in-law and three grand children.  Bruce was most obliging to sign mine with a happy b’day to boot.

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I am glad I got to see him play again, it had been too  many years in between and I certainly cherished the music as it washed over me like a soothing balm for the spirit.  If you have not listened to him in a while, you should remedy that soon.

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