Monday, April 19, 2010


If you can't say something nice about someone,
give 'em both barrels.
That's what Later Billy used to say.
Course he didn't have many friends,
and most of them ended up wounded in some way.

What Later Billy did mostly was talk. Lacey said he could talk the ears off a jackrabbit. I suspect she never considered the damage Billy might do to an elephant. But there weren’t any of those around, and Lacey’s metaphors usually related to something close at hand.

Apart from putting things off, storytelling what was what Later Billy did best. When he was telling stories folks generally liked to hang around and listen a spell.

"You sure got a way with words," Cousin Luke said one inauspicious day. Course Luke was limited to some fifty-seven words, including twenty-nine of the cussing kind. "You oughtta send some of them off to those magazine types," Luke advised, "They pay top dollar for yarns like that."

"Maybe some of these stories will figure into print someday," Later Billy mused -- for about six months -- before he commenced to send his "tales" off to anybody that printed anything—except Billy’s tomes.

"All I got back for my trouble was little pieces of paper sayin’ ‘Don’t send us nothin’ else,’" Later Billy explained a few months later to anyone within earshot.

So, for a spell, Later Billy gave up his writing career while he held forth, ad nauseum, at the Bar None Bar & Bar-B-Q about the aggravations of his new profession.

"Them publishing fellers don’t know squat about what’s good. On top of that they don’t even know the King’s English. One of ‘em fellers wrote back saying "ain’t" ain’t a word. Now we’ve all heard ain’t used. So now you tell me," he challenged the assembled congregation of good ol’ boys in the bar, "is ain’t a word or ain’t it?"

Well, R.L.—who still was sporting a sizable knot on his head for telling Later Billy Sam Houston walked best backwards—chimed in quicker than a shot out of a shovel, "Ain’t is my favorite word!"

"Know what else one of them lamebrains said about my stories? Said they was "provincial". Now I looked that up in Webster’s book of words and what I got out of it was that my tales was "countrified". Now I don’t know what critter birthed that boy, but the way I figure it every story comes out of some part of this great country. So one way or the other, they’s all gotta be countrified. Best as I can figure, them citified publishing types was looking down on the Great State of Texas. Now I don’t know about you fellers, but I ain’t—I said I "ain’t"—takin this serious affront to the honor of all we hold dear, from turkey vultures to horney toads, without some measure of satisfaction."

"You gonna put a knot on their heads?" R.L. asked.

"I ain’t figured out yet what I’m a gonna do, but whatever it is, it’ll be a memory."

A silence fell over the Bar None Bar & Bar-B-Q while Billy pondered. Sometimes he’d stay that way for weeks.

Someone ordered another round of longnecks, especially for Later Billy. The idea being, if he was good and liquored up he’d do something that would be talked about for years, even if it was only Later Billy doing the talking.

"I tell you what boys," Later Billy said after an appropriate amount of time—just to give his words some weight in the silence they filled. "I think I’ll just send them a burden of stories. And I’m gonna use ain’t and git and yonder and y’all ever sentence or or so. I’ll send them more stories than their children’s children can read. If it takes me till my dying day I’ll educate them boys, or at least their young’uns to the ways of us provincials. Sooner or later they’re bound to say ‘Ain’t these yarns right up there with that Shakespeare feller? Let’s print ‘em and let the whole wide world in on what Texans ponder.’ "

Thursday, January 14, 2010


What with food prices risin like a cloud over Hiroshima, Harmon Hicks decided to start eatin Indian style. It weren't the smartest notion he ever had, not that he was ever known for his brilliance.

"Prickly pear, that's where I'll start! There's a whole batch of em in my back yard."

Being the cordial type Harmon invited everyone at the Bar None Bar & Bar-B-Q to drop by for supper. The only ones who took him up on the invite were Later Billy and Big Junior who both thought it might be an amusement worth watchin.

"I read up on it and learnt you gotta burn off the stickers first," he announced in his most authoritative voice pretendin he actually read up on the topic. Seems he simply had a vague recollection of the process.

"Once that's done you cut em into strips and cook em like okra," he elaborated. "No more store-bought food for me." He was right proud and grinnin big, like a politician at a county fair.

So.... sittin out by the fire pit he tossed about about a half dozen prickly pear pads on the fire and was turnin them over every now and again with a iddy bitty tongs when it happened.

Them pears started swellin up lookin all bloated like. As the insides got boiling hot, the outsides started to crack. Then -- kaplooy! They exploded like an antipersonnel weapon. Later Billy sprung to his feet and lit out like he was bein attacked by a swarm a Mexican Killer Bees.

"Jeezus!" Later Billy yelled from a safe distance, about 30 yards away. "I thought you read up on this?"

Well, Harmon wasn't sayin nothin, him being too busy picking stickers outa his hands, arms, face and other body parts. Fool that he was he was still standin by the fire and them pads were still a poppin but he was mightily distracted by the pain of it all.

Big Junior, who by his great good fortune just happened to be waterin a nearby tree at the time, nearly wet all over his self when he heard the explosion.

"Okay," Big Junior said, "so much for the dinner. What's for desert?"

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Here We Go Again....

It's beginning to feel alot like a bank loan. Unless I want to forego that Christmas Potlatch altogether.

Okay. Maybe I'll just whittle or glue or duct tape some stuff into a kinda pleasin shape and give that away. I mean, hey, I'm all outta gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Which ain't a bad thing altogether.

Accordin to Almighty Google, "the three gifts had a spiritual meaning : gold as a symbol of kingship on earth, frankincense (an incense) as a symbol of priestship, and myrrh (an embalming oil) as a symbol of death." No joke.

Now I ask you, who in their right mind would give "death" as a gift? Maybe, if a feller did it might go something like this:

"Hey, Honey! Look what I got you for Christmas! A Death Insurance.... er, I mean, a Life Insurance Policy! It'll pay out one million smackaroos. That's just to show you how much I care. By the way, how you feelin today?"

Okay, that ain't gonna fly. None of it. Maybe I'll just hide out till New Year's Eve.

Monday, November 30, 2009


R.L. is about as smart as a feller can get with an 8th grade education. But I'll put him up against most anyone with a Ph.D specially when it comes to the money game.

We was jawin at the Bar None Bar & Bar-B-Q jus yesterday when the topic drifted into high finance.

"Take them bubbles you been hearin so much about. That dot-com bubble. Housing Bubble. Credit Bubble. Hell you got bubbles all over the place. Kinda like Lawrence Welk's bubble machine on steroids. It's about fake wealth.

"When you buy stock for $10 a share and it jumps up to $100 you think you're rollin in dough. So you borrow against that and start spendin. When you spend money you ain't got you're beholden to total strangers who are probably in idiot gear too."

"It weren't money to begin with." R.L. kept on yappin like anyone understood, or cared, about his fabulous insight. But that never stopped him when it came to talkin money. "It weren't money atall. Just potential money. When your stock is at $100 per share and you cash out right away have $100 -- before you pay them hidden fees. When it drops to $50 per share and cash out you already lost $50 plus more fees. So where did the other $50 go?"

Silence all around.

"The other day it was 80 degrees outside. Today it's hovering around freezing. So where did all that heat go?" R.L. was always tryin out simple examples what don't have an answer on simple folks who are thinkin he's actually askin a direct question.

Silence all around.

"Oh, I get it," Later Billy said after joinin in the listenin part for about a minute. "Like it was hot yesterday and cold today. So what happened to yesterday?"

Not willing to be deterred from his story R.L. just keeps on a goin.

"When that happens your stock drops like a stone. So you borrow more loot to keep your house, car and maybe even your whole family. But you can't borrow and spend your way outta a financial ditch. It's like diggin one hole to fill up another. Plain and simple. So what's happenin now? The gubment steps in and prints extra money and there ain't nothin to back it up. They're just diggin more holes.

"I reckon the gubment is pushin a Ponzi scheme. They keep printin more and more money to keep the scheme goin. Truth be told, we're headed for a money-bubble."

Well I didn't get nearly half of what R.L. was sayin but I knew he was onto something so I called over a feller I figured was extra-smart cause he had stock in Ford Motor Company. Big mistake.

"Hey, Cousin Luke! Reckon you oughta get in on this here conversation."

It seems Luke had inherited Ford stock from his grandpa what bought it back in the very beginning. It went way up over the years and now it ain't worth squat. But I didn't know that part.

I just turned them loose on each other and let them go at the gubment like it was public enemy number one.

Let me tell you about Cousin Luke. First off, he is 38 and still living at home. Once his momma asked, "Son, why don't you find yourself a nice girl, get married and give me a grandchild?"

"If you think," he replied talking through a mouthful of pecan pie, "I'm gonna move outa here and live with a total stranger you don't know me by half. Besides there ain't no one in this whole county I ain't double-related to. Any a my kids will turn out like Harmon Hicks. Have you seen how he lives? Ain't no kid a mine endin up like that."

Anyway, after a spell I drifted back into the fray -- I mean the conversation -- and Cousin Luke was a mite peeved that R.L. hadn't shared his vast knowledge of the financial world before he lost all his inheritance with that Ford stock. Well, he actually lost more than that. Seems he took out a loan at the bank to buy a new Ford pickup -- double cab, four-wheel drive, extra long bed, V-8 with all the trimmins -- and used his Ford stock to back it up right before it hit rock bottom. Now he's got payments.

"You mighta told me bout all this afore now. Now I got loan payments," Little Junior told R.L. like it was all his fault about the pickup.

"What's your interest rate?" R.L. asked.

"What's that?"

Just about then Later Billy turned to me, noddin toward Cousin Luke and whispered, "I thought he just looked stupid."

Monday, April 20, 2009


I reckon this here new computer sittin in the dinin room is gonna ruin my life. It's done got a head start.

It all began when that banker feller, Harless, called me in to ask what was I doin trying to draw out one. Hundred. Thousand. Dollars? He said it like that and I said:

"Are you off your gourd or your meds? What would I do with that much money? And if I got all that loot in this bank a yours you damn well better start talkin so's I can get it out."

Well the next thing I knowed I was bein interrogated by that id-jit Sheriff's Deputy, Cooter Ray. Says he might have to haul me to the Iron Bar Hotel for bank fraud if I couldn't explain my way outta this.

Well, hearin that, I listened to Harless a might closer. Turns out someone out there in Cyber Space done went and stole my identification. "Cyber Space" was Harless's words. I reckon he's all ga-ga over space aliens and UFOs. But I just smiled and kept on listening.

Anyways, just to shut him up, I showed him my i.d. just to prove I still had it. Sides, his whiny voice was wearin my patience to the nub. But, Nooooo. He kept on a goin.

"Seems you were a victim of an on-line crime," he was sayin while Cooter Ray nodded his head and grinnin like they was in on some private joke. Then he said someone used a website -- Jeez where are these fellers from -- a looney bin or what? -- and then, as if that weren't weird enough Harless said someone actually fished all my vital information.

"So, just tell me, how can someone fish with a line from space into a web? And why?"

"Fished, Mr Gravis. P-F-I-S-H-E-D. Fished."

Okay, so he's looney and he can't spell. I got no problem with a banker what's a little nuts. Happens in every family. But if he's gonna keep up with my loot he'd better damn well know how to spell F-I-S-H.

"Seems you or someone in your household went to a website called "Goggle" and they were given all your credit card numbers, bank account number, and, well, all your numbers."

Well I knew who that was. My live-in-boss. She's got all my numbers for certain. So once I talked my way outta all that banking scandal I went straight home for some answers.

That's when things got real confusin.

While I was tryin to tell the new Queen of the Computer about what happened she was peckin away on that keyboard with one finger like a starved chicken. All the while talkin about how all the other womenfolk in that Garden Club had computers and were buyin stuff super cheap. "Bargain Gushers", she called them.

"I was told to go to Google and type in what I wanted and I'd find it right quick like. See!"

She was pointin to a "page" which isn't a page at all on her "desk top" which is really a kinda TV screen sittin on top a the dining room table. And there it was. Googel.

"Honey, that don't spell Google. That's Googel. Google is spelt G-O-O-G-L-E. Here, see, Harles wrote it down for me."

So when she opens up a new "window" -- which isn't like any window I've seen -- types in Google the same lookin page show up. But there, when you "search" for something you ain't lost, it doesn't ask for your life history from the get go.

So now all I gotta do is change the numbers on my bank account, telle phone, one tapped-out credit card, our home address, driver's license and social security card.

Or... I could just go to the Bar None Bar and Bar-B-Q round up auto graphs for my petition to shut down that "Garden Club", and see if anyone is interested in a barely used computer, and maybe get a lead on a good marriage counselor. There's bound to be a passel of em in town.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Well, procrastinatin on a Honey-Do List ain't all that bad according to Later Billy.

Seems his live-in boss got so fed up waitin for him to fix that screen door whats been slammin in the breeze like the wind chime from hell she went and made Later Billy an offer he couldn't refuse.

"You fix that screen door and you can have your way with me."

"Run that by me again." He thought he'd done died and gone to heaven.

"You heard me."

"You mean like anything?"

"Anything but that."

Later Billy knew what that meant.

"So, the door is wide open for fruits and vegetables," he grinned.

"Okay, but we're not doing grapes again."

"Well, Sugar, I gotta ponder on this for a spell. Chances like this don't come along hardly ever and I have to work up my own Honey-Do List for this one."

"Do it soon. This offer expires at the end of the week. And don't go yammering about this with those do-nothins at the Bar None Bar & Bar-B-Q."

"Oh, Sweetie that never crossed my mind."

Later, at the Bar None Bar & Bar-B-Q, all the fellers weren't sittin at the bar as usual, but instead they was all hunched over a corner table like they was hatchin some conspiracy. Later Billy joined em so's he wouldn't be left out of any excitement.

Then's when he learned some motor-vational speaker held forth at the Ladies Garden Club and Gab Fest. And all the fellers was talking about how he told the womenfolk different ways to get their no-account, lay-about, beer-drinkin, couch-potato menfolk to get offa their butts and do something useful.

None of the offers were half as promising as Later Billy's. Nowhere near that.

R.L.'s old-lady simply pulled out a hand gun and said, "Patch that leak in the roof or else. This offer expires at the end of the week."

Little Junior was given the opportunity to go fishin all week if he'd do the dishes for a week. Hearin that, all the fellers chipped in for an extra large apron which he promptly spent on beer. 'Sides his very-common-law wife had a reputation for slippin around. No way was Little Junior about to wash dishes for a week so she could go back to her not-so-old ways while he was off tryin to catch fish.

Big Junior's woman said she wouldn't file for divorce again if he'd clean out that "pile of crap" in the garage. Since Big Junior only worked part-time, when he had to, he needed her income. Needless to say he jumped on the task. Her offer expired at the end of the day.

It was all Later Billy could do to keep his trap shut about his offer but he kept his word knowing full well that his missis was most likely the best a feller could ask for. Especially amongst this bunch of bar flies, or most anywhere else for that matter.

Later Billy hardly finished his second long neck before he hopped in his pickup, drove straight past the fruit and vegetable stand and headed home.

Bright and early the next mornin the screen door swung like new--sorta--and when the misses got up she found Later Billy workin on his list.

"Sugar," he asked with a smile as wide as his face could hold, "we got any Miracle Whip?"

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


You gotta hand it to that tellie vision picture box. It'll make you laugh, cry or go downright looney. But that can't hold a candle to this here Internet thingy.

Right now I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Or just surrender to stupid. I jus read that in the Great State of Texas there are some outright boneheaded laws. Here are a few examples. I My put my two cents in bold just so's you won't miss out.

1. The entire Encyclopedia Britannica is banned in Texas because it contains a formula for making beer at home. You can read how to make beer here. Now I reckon I'm an outlaw. So why stop there? Here you can get the entire Encyclopedia Britannica FREE for 30 days.

2. A recently passed anticrime law requires criminals to give their victims 24 hours notice, either orally or in writing, and to explain the nature of the crime to be committed. Oh jeez. I shoulda given notice on item #1 & 2. Now I done went and busted another law.

3. It is illegal to milk another person's cow. So, I drink a little glass most every night and I don't own a cow. I must be an an accomplice.

4. In Houston, it is illegal to sell Limburger cheese on Sunday. So, who the hell wants to be in Houston on Sunday or most any other day of the year? The same goes for eatin that smelly stuff.

5. In LeFors, it is illegal to take more than three swallows of beer while standing. Well, if anyone stuck to that law at the Bar None Bar & Bar-B-Q they'd be laughed outa the joint. Sides, what ya gonna to do if all the bar stools and chairs are filled up? Sit on the floor? I reckon that community must have deep pockets to go out and hire "sipper countin cops" to enforce this outright idjit law.

5. In Mesquite, The "hair is to be clean and well-groomed. Unusual coloring or excessive hairstyles that may include “tails,” “designs,” “puffs,” etc. are prohibited." Okay girls, you gotta hack off them pony "tails". By the way, what the hell are "puffs"? Sadly, I had no idea that the "ducktail" I sported back in high school would lead to this here crime spree. I reckon hair do's and don'ts oughta be heeded.

6. Abilene, Texas, for example, "It is illegal to idle or loiter anyplace within the corporate limits of the city for the purpose of flirting or mashing." Whoa! I can understand why a feller might flirt accidental like while waiting for a bus, or for the light to change, or maybe just to catch his breath. But mashing a woman, stranger or not, I draw the line there.

7. Texarkana, where "Owners of horses may not ride them at night without taillights." Now this here law is way past nuts. I mean, how the hell do you rig up lights on a horses tail?

8. In Dallas County it is illegal to own any realistic looking, phallic shaped, personal massager more than one foot in length. I ain't touching this one.

A final note: I'm waitin for the law to show up and haul me in to the hoosegow. I'm gonna need bail money so go ahead and send me some loot now cause I'll be lookin for a right smart lawyer to get me outa this here crime spree. If only I had warned the law afore I went and wrote this I mighta been within my rights.