Tuesday, December 16, 2014

You've Been Customer Served

What do you mean you don't want 10 GB of Justin Bieber songs for $29.99 a month?
I hate The Nutcracker.

My little sister took ballet as a kid, and each year they performed The Nutcracker in Spartanburg. I, of course, had to attend. It was usually anywhere from two to thirty-six hours long, depending on how well the girls had their routines down. So I would sit there, dressed in some itchy sweater and clip-on tie, quietly cursing Tchaikovsky as well as any 10-year-old could. And as I waited for my sister to spend her five minutes of stage time as a Gingersnap Sprite or Licorice Lemming or whatever the hell she played that year, I heard that damn song. You know what it is. I don’t know if it has a name. But it’s the Nutcracker song they play every Christmas.

Now, decades later, I still hate that goddamn song. And it takes me back to watching ballet as a kid.

Last week, we ordered my wife a new cell phone. She was eligible for a new one from Verizon with a two new year contract and about $40 worth of accessories you don’t ever need.

“Hey, man, you gotta buy the bug screen for your phone, or those locusts will just slam into that bitch all day long!”

What does that have to do with the Nutcracker? Just wait.

Verizon had a deal online for a new LG G3 phone for only $30. Take my money. As I processed the order, I saw they had an extra treat to dangle in front of us: Get a free LG 8.3 LTE tablet with the purchase. That’s one of those things you Google about seven times just to make sure they’re not bullshitting you.

So we processed the order, got the necessary insurance for when my wife sneezes on the phone and it shatters the screen, and let FedEx take care of the rest.

The phone arrived Monday. I had the moment of clairvoyance when I first placed the order that the tablet would not arrive. It sucks being right all the time.

So I settled in for a nice, long winter phone call to Verizon customer service. After a couple of disconnects and transfers, I finally reached a customer service rep who seemed about as pleased to talk to me as a South Carolina politician taking an ethics exam. He seemed genuinely surprised that I was a due a free tablet. He checked with his manager and had a nice surprise for me: the 8.3 tablet was out of stock with no back order options. Translation: You ain’t gettin’ one, fool!

So he again checked with his manager and offered a “comparable” solution: they would send me a free Verizon Ellipsis 7 tablet. Okay, sure. In Spartanburg, we don’t look a gift goat in the mouth. He signed me up for a two-year plan and we called it a night.

Well, until I got curious and looked up reviews on the Ellipsis 7. Turns out it’s about as popular as George W. Bush at a spelling bee. The average Amazon review boiled down to people saying they would rather catch a wasp in their buttocks than have this tablet for free.

So I called back. Same process, same disconnects, same offers for new plans that promise forest nymphs will climb out of my phone and give me 4 extra gigs of data. When I finally get a person on the phone who has more authority than a slug, I express my desire to drop the Ebola of a tablet that is the Ellipsis 7.

Oh, but this customer service rep has a surprise for me. There’s a magical certified preowned LG 8.3 LTE they’ve been hiding for a special asshole, and I have now won the prize. So I get that.

Which, of course, includes a $35 activation fee. I think that means I pay $35 for them to put a battery in it and turn it on. I could have had the fee waived if I bought $60 worth of tablet cases, stainless steel screen covers, and a pit bull chained to the tablet. Yeah, I didn’t get the math either.

So now I have a free tablet on the way so I can… play Words with Friends on a bigger screen. Oh, what the hell does this have to do with the ballet story?

Because for the approximate 45 minutes I spent on hold, they played the goddamn Nutcracker song.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hot Tub Slime Machine

Got paid 'bout three fitty for mah services in the hot tube.
In this edition of Is It Spartanburg?, the tale is almost too good to be true. You may have caught it in the national news, but this beauty is almost too good to be true:

1. Water Moccasin Nest Ruins Hot Tub Party
2. Drunk Man Found Naked and Swimming in Hot Tub Store
3. Gay Hot Tub Threesome Ends in Fight

You know you want to pick the last headline, and you're right. Three Spartanburg men engaged in a ménage à tub after two of them met another in a gay nightclub. They took their swim at a home where one of the men was dog-sitting (because why take the party to your own home?). According to police, one of the men, Austin Adams, 18, began arguing with Douglas Tench, 21, over who used to get paid more as a male escort.

And of course, in Sparkle City, them's fightin' words.

Adams and Tench engaged in more than just love taps in the hot tub, and it finally took the third man, Michael Gordon, 33, to separate them, according to police. Tench fled to another house to call the cops, resulting in the arrest of all three: Adams for assault and Tench and Gordon for providing Adams with booze, according to the police.

Needless to say, all three men admitted that alcohol was involved. That's just a given in Spartanburg.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I Drink I Can, I Drink I Can

All aboard the dumbass express!
Boy, keeping up with this blog is almost as easy as SC House Speaker Bobby Harrell remaining ethical in office. We haven't done Is It Spartanburg? in a while, and I've got a good one for y'all, albeit a few weeks old. Guess which story is real:

1. Drunk Man Holds Up Train; Forces it to Go to Charlotte
2. Drag Race on Train Tracks Ends Tragically
3. Train Drives Over Drunk Man Asleep on Tracks, No Injuries

A fascination with trains seems to be in the cards for every young man, and it starts at an early age. My nephew adored Thomas the Train early in his life, and I especially took delight (to my sister's disapproval) of having him repeat the name of Thomas' best friend, Percy. If you don't see the humor in this, ask a 3-year-old to say "Percy" and giggle foolishly at your own immaturity.

This fascination apparently extends into adult years, especially when intoxicated. Sometimes a superhero who had the misfortune of being born in a bad location emerges, and such may be the case with this inebriated fellow. Police say the man passed out on the train tracks, his beer still upright. Although this should be a recipe for a filleted redneck, this gentleman managed to escape all injury as the train passed over. Even better, you can catch some police footage at the link.

He did not escape the long arm of Spartanburg's finest as he was charged with trespassing on train tracks (a real crime in SC) and public intoxication.

In Holy City news, the first SC gay marriage ceremony took place in Charleston today following a federal judge striking down the state ban. Since we're one of the notches in the Bible Belt that gets used often after Thanksgiving dinner, there has been much weeping and gnashing of Scripture following the ruling.

Charleston, however, has not been smote from the heavens, there have been no riots in the streets, and traffic on the Mark Clark still sucks at the same rate. The word is church services and hangover brunches will still continue as scheduled this weekend. Sunday Funday is still a go.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thy Meat is Tainted

Your one-way ticket to hell.
For my nine readers, you know that I tend to keep the status quo on this blog as pretty light-hearted. However, I feel I can no longer stay silent on a growing societal problem in this nation, and it's one that tears at the fabric of our moral fortitude and familial values. This problem is a sinful action that, although once regarded as a pariah in our society, has now grown to be a tolerated and sometimes even celebrated behavior.

I am, of course, talking about the placement of mayonnaise on hamburgers.

Let not the vocal minority sway you from the Biblical food laws upon which our nation was founded. Mayonnaise is made from egg whites, vinegar, and lemon juice. As Leviticus 19:23 states, it is forbidden to eat fruit from fruit trees unless it is four years have passed after you planted the trees. Do you think your lemon juice comes from four-year-old trees? I think not, sinner.

Furthermore, Numbers 3:6 forbids the consumption of vinegar for you Nazarites out there.

Clearly a higher power did not intend for the miscegenation of beef patties and mayo. God made Ground Chuck and Tomatoes, not Ground Chuck and Mayo!

But that doesn't stop the liberals in Hollywood, the media, and foodie sodomites from pushing their mayo agenda on the public. Liberal fast food chains like Wendy's (which also pushes the advancement of gingers in our society) force customers to eat mayonnaise on their burgers unless the customer specifically requests it be removed. The agenda has even forced its way into public schools where students can marry their patties with packets of Hellmann's. Such practice happens without a single reprimand from school administrations. All the more reason to send your children to private institutions.

America was founded on moral principles that support ketchup and mustard on hamburgers. These are American condiments. Would John Wayne put liberal pinko mayo on his burger? Did the man not play Genghis Khan?

Mayo and burger fraternizing is a personal lifestyle choice, not a natural food preference. There are several examples today of people who are former mayo users; with guidance, instruction, and tough love, these people can be cured of putting white sauce on their beef.

Now, I know what some of you folks are saying. Who cares? Why not let people eat their burgers the way they see fit? Here's why: Because you're ruining the sanctity of food consumption. If this atrocity is permitted, what's to stop people from putting mayo on steaks? Ice cream? Corn on the cob? Apple pie? For Christ's sake. Apple pie. Think of the moral implications of it.

Mayophiles don't want equality; they want special privileges. No one is saying they don't have the right to eat burgers. They just can't eat burgers with mayonnaise, which is the way God and our society intended. Some of you argue for civil unions of the beef and mayo, but I tell you that in God's eyes, there's nothing civil about it.

Personally, if I have children, I don't want my kids subjected to that disgusting behavior. Why should my child have to watch some heathen slap a glob of Duke's on his patty? But if they turn on the TV at night, they'll see such behavior not only prevalent but encouraged. Mayo-agenda shows like Chopped or Iron Chef will push those perverse lifestyles on our children.

This is why I eat at Chick-fil-A, a God-fearing establishment that eliminates any chance of hamburger and mayonnaise fornication by refusing to serve beef altogether. I encourage you all to support your local Chick-fil-A's free speech rights in this endeavor. Dress like a cow and burn mayonnaise jars in the parking lot.

As I write, the push for hamburger and mayonnaise toleration has reached the great state of South Carolina. I hear rumors that the Cheeseburgers-A-Plenty at the Beacon will soon have white goo on their buns in the name of "equality". Guess I missed the part where someone argued for my rights not to be offended by someone's food choice.

Take a stand, people, before these mayophiles rise up and make us ketchup users the oppressed minority in this nation.

And to the mayo users, I hope you enjoy your Miracle Whip warm in hell.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Fresh Edition of Is It Spartanburg?

We're serving up fresh veggies on the menu again as we dabble in the crime world of South Carolina's most dangerous city. See if you can guess which one of these headlines is real from Sparkle City:

Woman Beats Husband Unconscious with Squash
Man Robs Bank with Cucumber Under Jacket
Brothers Attack Each Other in Fight Over Stolen Okra

In the South, one of the holiest of holy vegetables is fried okra. That's why when Ted Kelly allegedly stole okra out of his brother's garden, Anthony Kelly felt he needed to confront his sibling about the veggie snatch. Words were exchanged, and Anthony decided the best course of action was to hit his brother with a stick, according to police. Ted responded by hitting his brother back with his own stick, earning both of them a night in the county lockup.

Would I shock you if I said alcohol was a factor? Probably not. Police say both men were too drunk to give statements.

I'm not sure I can exactly blame Anthony, as my grandmother's fried okra tasted like someone took pieces of unicorns and lightly battered them in angel tears. I probably would have smacked my sister or a cousin with a stick if they jacked my fried goodies. My wife makes some pretty damn good fried okra, too.

We fry everything here in the South. Okra, pickles, sometimes even bananas. I usually abhor vegetables since I'm a strictly meat and potatoes guy, but fry em up and we'll do business. My favorite veggie frying pan treat from Nana were her squash cookies. She would take thinly sliced squash, place some kind of voodoo spell on them, and then produce these lightly battered and fried treats that tasted too good to be a vegetable.

Several family members have tried to replicate her recipe, but no one has quite hit the mark.

But if you can find someone who can, I will gladly beat them with a stick to steal them.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Let Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot

Todd Gurley plowed us similarly to how this tractor operates.
Well, howdy there. It's been a while. August was quite a busy month for me with work and moving into a new house in Charleston that I plum forgot to write an update for my six followers. I hope everyone had a Happy New Year this past Saturday.

Oh, it wasn't New Year's Day, you say? In the words of the appropriately quoted Lee Corso, "Not so fast my friend." In the South, New Year's Day is the first Saturday of college football.

Now, I know the feathered folks in Columbia will claim that the Hey, Pay Attention to Us! Bowl on the Thursday night game heralds the New Year, but that game is usually just a scrimmage, especially evidenced by the Gamecocks' 52-28 shellacking at the hands of Texas A&M, sans Johnny Football. And to be unbiased, my Tigers didn't fair much better after Georgia's Todd Gurley blitzkrieged Clemson to the tune of 45-21. Reports that Gurley stopped at the 25 yard line during his kick return touchdown to enjoy shrimp hors d'oeuvres and a nice glass of Chianti have yet to be confirmed.

I could opine the tired old topics of college football such as who tailgates the best (Ole Miss with Clemson coming up in second), who has the best fans (Texas A&M), who has the best gameday atmosphere (c'mon... y'all know it's Clemson), who has a celebrity chef as a fan who is likely to vandalize your car with butter (Georgia and Paula Deen). Or even discuss the behavior of certain fan bases, such as Maryland fans' tendency to hurl beer, or Gamecock fans' mullets, or Alabama fans murdering each other after tough losses. Or we could discuss the ESPN-created SEC bias, but nah.

Let's talk about the stages a Southern football fan goes through each season. Now I'm not saying fans in other regions of the nation don't experience these, but down here, college football is a cult that makes the Branch Davidians look like Wake Forest fans.

Stage One - Illusions of Grandeur
Before the first kickoff, we will be national champs. Last year is history, no matter how bad your bowl loss was. We have a new QB. We have some new recruits. We have new uniforms. Our rival had someone arrested, so we're going to win it all. I bought some new window flags and a new lucky baseball cap, which, by God, this one will give us that push.

If you're a Gamecock fan at this moment, you believe your school is the 1985 Chicago Bears.

Stage Two - Rocky Balboa Stage
Okay, so we don't look spectacular... but neither did Rocky at first against Apollo Creed! Or Clubber Lang! Or Ivan Drago! And we will pretend Tommy Gunn didn't happen! Our coach will get it together. The QB just needs a few more reps. The defense won't give up that many yards.

If you're an Alabama fan, you're feeling this stage after beating Georgia State 108-3.

Stage Three - Rodney Dangerfield Stage
What?! We're ranked behind Alabama and Oregon? That's garbage. The whole system is rigged. Who does these polls anyway? Buncha journalists? Can't trust em. We're clearly the greatest team since the '72 Dolphins.

If you're a Boise State fan, you're preaching this after beating Southwestern Mountain Technical Cosmetology School three weeks in a row.

Stage Four - I Am Bear Bryant
We've lost one or two games we shouldn't. Clearly our coach is a buffoon. I know I could do better than this because I beat the same team 56-0 on XBox. It's time for me to sit down and draft up some plays to send to the athletic director along with some threats to pull my donations for next year.

If you're a Clemson fan, this is known as the Form a Lynch Mob and Hang the Whole Coaching Staff Stage.

Stage Five - Acceptance
Okay. Let's just hope for a mid-range bowl in Florida.

If you're a Duke fan and you reach this stage, you check your sweet tea for hallucinogens.

Stage Six - Please, Sweet Jesus, Just Let Us Beat Our Rival
Okay, I don't care about the rest of the season. Just please, please, please don't let us lose to those assholes again. I promise I will work at a soup kitchen all Christmas long if you let us win... by at least two touchdowns.

This is pretty much any fan of any Southern team with an in-state rival, regardless of record.
If you're an NC State fan, you're already looking forward to next year's new uniforms.

Stage Seven - College Football is Bullshit
Who got into the BCS?! (I know, it's a playoff now). Oh, they just let in another SEC team with one loss and left out an undefeated? Herbstreit is full of it. Corso is full of it. David Pollack is a vampire. Jesse Palmer wears skinny ties. This whole system is garbage. Why do I pay all this money and watch this crap every year?! That's it. I'm done with it. I'm going to watch nothing but the NFL from now on.

If you're an SEC fan, this is called, "Welp, my team sucked, but, uh, SEC! SEC! SEC!"
If you're a Florida State fan, you're too busy asking the meat guy at Publix for the Jameis Winston discount.

Stage Eight - Reluctant Traveler
Well, I'm not sure about this bowl game, but it's one last chance to see the seniors play. And it's my team. Okay, I'll go. It'll only cost a $1,000 or so to watch my team lay an egg to some MAC team that is ecstatic to be there.

If you're a Clemson fan, this is the I'm Not Falling For That Shit Again After the 2012 Orange Bowl Stage.

Stage Eight - Maybe Just One Peek...
Okay, I guess I'll watch the National Title game. Oh, Alabama won by four touchdowns? Awesome. This sucks. I'll never watch this again.

If you're a fan of an SEC team with a losing record, you are passed out in drunken euphoria.
If you're a Gamecock fan, you're trolling the message board of the team that lost to Bama.

Stage Nine - Withdrawal
Man, I miss college football. I wish August would hurry up and get here!

Happy New Year, ladies and gentlemen.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Eat Your Vegetables Version of "Is It Spartanburg?"

I am a unabashed meatatarian, and I care very little for green things that grow out of the ground. I still have horrid recollections of being forced to eat broccoli as a child. In this edition of Is It Spartanburg?, full platters of veggie oddity are on the menu. Here are your choices:

Squash truck, poultry truck collide on I-85
Man in critical condition following cucumber attack
Man says woman peddling vegetables door-to-door robbed him at gunpoint

Apparently it's a normal occurrence for door-to-door vegetable peddlers to find business in Sparkle City at 10 p.m., because when the 38-year-old victim answered the door, he decided this woman had a good deal. When he went to get his money, she whipped out a handgun and demanded he "give it up" (which can mean all sorts of requests in Spartanburg). The woman made off with $350 of the man's cash.

That can buy a lot of asparagus.

To give you a bonus story, there's no better way for two elderly men to settle their dispute over a woman than one of them threatening to kill the other with a jagged board. For 74-year-old Robert Early Humphries, deputies say the jagged board was his weapon of choice when he arrived at the victim's house to settle a love triangle dispute.

Bar Wars
Out of the Holy City, where we have bigger issues than heat-packin' vegetable saleswomen, the battle over bar business downtown continues to heat up. One councilman has proposed that bars be allowed to remain open until 2:30 a.m. but stop serving customers at 2. As Mr. Riegel states, "This also creates an opportunity for those who feel obligated to water the neighborhood lawns to do so in a more civil manner in an establishment's restrooms. By drinking soft drinks and coffee inside the bar, the patrons will also have the opportunity to enjoy good conversation and to sober up if need be."

Apparently Mr. Riegel has never been drunk and/or in a bar at closing time. "Good conversation" in a bar at closing time generally boils down to this. You're either 1. Making plans for Waffle House 2. Discussing where to keep drinking 3. Figuring out who you're hooking up with 4. Getting in a fight. No one wants to stay around and sip Folger's Choice while discussing the niceties of the weather. Generally #2 kicks in and folks are searching elsewhere to get their drink on.

As for alleviating the public urination issue, if you've made it to closing time at a bar, a 30-minute cushion ain't gonna ease the strain on your bladder. Chances are you are going to sprinkle a King Streeter's lawn and then your roommate's underwear drawer when you get home.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bonus "Is It Spartanburg?" Edition

When common sense attacks,
them Spartanburg boys don't cut it no slack.
I'm aiming for posting these once a week, but sometimes you come across stories too good to wait. So here's a bonus edition of Is It Spartanburg? featuring a little sword play today. Here are your choices:

1. Pregnant Woman Bites Teen After He Cuts Her With Sword
2. Man Holds Up Waffle House While Wielding Samurai Sword
3. Three Arrested in Pirate Sword Fight Re-enactment Gone Awry

Swords aren't generally the weapon of choice with gang members, but in Sparkle City, anything goes. If you picked headline number one, you're today's big wiener. Coming to us from the scenic west side of town, sheriff's deputies say Malaki Alberto Dominic Aguado got a little ornery when talking about his gang and challenged another man to a fight. One thing led to another, as in the man kicked Malaki in the chest, causing him to drop his knife, and then Malaki's father dragged him in the house as he threatened to kill everyone.

Deputies say Malaki returned with a sword and began thwacking at everyone in site. He hit the original target, but also sliced a pregnant woman in the neck. Malaki foolishly dropped his weapon (I mean, you're already pot-committed at this point), and in the ruckus, the woman bit him on the shoulder.

Dad cleaned up the mess until the deputies arrived to haul Malaki away. According to deputies, Malaki, of course, gave them all the obligatory "I know where your families live" threat.

I may have to work a little sword play like this into my next book, which you can read about... now!

Sparkle City Cleaners
Divorce. Lay off. Cancer. Three old high school friends have hit the wall, and they haven't even reached 30 yet.
But one night as they drown their problems at their favorite watering hole in their hometown of Spartanburg, their lives take a turn. They meet a notorious criminal who just got off clean in a high profile murder case. When an unfortunate series of events leads the three friends to killing the man in a desolate field, one of them hatches an idea:
Spartanburg is filled with crime and scum. Why not clean it up... and make a little cash on the side?
The three start the Sparkle City Cleaners, a hitman-for-hire business that offers its services to victims who can pay up and keep their mouths shut. Operating out of a rundown skating rink, the friends find business pouring in a lot faster than they can keep it up.
And it isn't long before their successful venture starts attracting the attention of the FBI... and one of the most notorious crime families out of New York.
Because in a bad economy, the killing business is always good. And everyone wants their cut.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Free books, free rides, and free fruit.

So good we're giving it away.
Download Tallyho in the Squat free on Tuesday and Wednesday.
I'm offering another giveaway with my book. You can download it here Tuesday and Wednesday, free of charge. Even better, the top ten rated reviewers on Amazon will be entered to win a $50 gift card from Amazon.

Don't have a Kindle? Don't worry. You can download the Kindle app for your computer or smart phone free of charge. Don't make Rye ornery. Download the story today.

Is it Spartanburg?
In this edition of is it Spartanburg, we're getting a little fruity. See if you can guess which headline comes from Sparkle City:

Man assaults victim with watermelon
Man allegedly steals $1,800 worth of peaches
Melon truck overturns; shuts down I-85

Think you know it? One of the little known facts about South Carolina and the Spartanburg area in particular is that although Georgia boasts its title as the peach state, the Palmetto State actually produces more peaches than our neighbor to the south. So, according to police, Richard Hill couldn't resist raiding a local peach farm and making off with $1,800 worth of the fuzzy fruit, which as you know, is a helluva lot of peaches.

Police say Hill also had 30 grams of marijuana on him. Hey, when you get the munchies, it's always good to eat healthy.

This Ain't No Free Ride
Hopping down the road to my new home in Charleston, the city has declared war on people who use UberX, the ride-sharing app that circumvents the taxi industry in the area. City officials and taxi company owners met to discuss how this service would cause them a massive loss in profits wasn't safe for locals to use. Violators will first receive a warning, then they could face over a $1,000 fine.

It's not exactly a surprising ruling as Charleston has a knack for kicking businesses in the teeth for the sake of tourist revenue and good press in tourist publications.

Uber has responded by offering to pay the fines of anyone the police ticket. I'm not sure if that's a good screw you to the city as they'll continue to make money off the issue, but at least Uber is watching out for its customers.

We locals can rest easy at night knowing the Charleston cops are cracking down on violent ride sharers instead of wasting time on all the unsolved homicides in the city (Charleston city beats out every other area law enforcement agency for unsolved homicides).

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A City that Sparkles

Introducing Spartanburg's new city flag.
Whenever I see an amusing crime headline online coming out of South Carolina, or sometimes anywhere in the nation, I like to play a game called "Is it Spartanburg?" It's a simple game, really. If I click on it and the dateline reads my hometown, I pat myself on the back and take a swig of beer. If I lose, I skip the pat and still take a swig.

Since Spartanburg holds the title of South Carolina's most dangerous city and is the 12th most dangerous place to live in the U.S., there are no doubt a wealth of crime stories coming out of Sparkle City. And many of them are absurd. As Bill states in Tallyho in the Squat, if Spartanburg had a city flag, it would be black with a chalk body outline.

So in what I've decided to be a weekly segment here, I'm going to let you play my favorite game at home. Beer swigs not included. I'll give you three off-the-wall crime headlines, and you have to guess which ones occurred in Spartanburg. Here is your first entry:

Bullets Fired into Home Shoot Down Fan

Woman Tries to Sell GPS to Trucker She Stole it From

Wedding Ring Found in Goldfish Snack Bag

Man Fires Shots at Toddler's Birthday Party

So which one is in Spartanburg? Okay, I cheated this time. They all are! And that's just for the past week. Granted, a discovered wedding ring isn't a crime story, but I found it unique no less. The most Spartanburg County-esque one was the shooting at the birthday party, although thankfully no one was injured. In that one, police say the suspect shot a .22 pistol and then a BB gun into the ground during an argument with someone else at the party.

I'll try to keep the stories recent. But it's hard not to go back to classic blasts from the past like this one. Or the time truck hitch testicles making one sheriff's deputy ornery. Or when things get really hot down in the South, just grab an ice cream and stick your family jewels in a money deposit bag.

But sometimes, the news out of there gets really grim.

In good news out of Spartanburg (but probably bad news for police), another Blue Law takes a tumble as Sunday alcohol sales get the green light in the county. This should no doubt produce some fun stories after church for me to share with you. Cheers.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Of Beer and Futbol

Woke up this mornin', grabbed myself a beer.
Unique. Brilliant. Those are just some of the words the Magnolia Blossom Review used in their superb analysis of Tallyho in the Squat. You can watch the complete video review on the Youtubes. As the review says of the book, "A solid and humorous tale… I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting an afternoon of side-splitting down home humor and debauchery."

Today I'm heading over to Brewery 85 for the U.S. World Cup match vs. Belgium. Before we get into discussing the lesser version of football, lemme tell ya why you need to check this place out. Brewery 85 recently opened in Greenville, SC. It's run by two local boys, Will McCameron and Jeremy Caldwell. While Bud Light may flow like wine in the South, I align myself in the beer snob/craft brew faction. And if you're looking for some beer that's also unique and brilliant, look no further.

Not only does Brewery 85 have a great set up to enjoy a few cold ones while watching a sporting event, but some of their concoctions are better than the usual craft brew fair you'll find at your local watering hole. I personally prefer the Quittin' Time, a delicious Helles Bock.

Look. If you're a beer aficionado, do yourself a favor and check em out. Not in driving range? Give em a holler by phone and I'm sure you can work something out.

I certify that they did not offer me free beer to plug their brewery. Although that would be nice...

While I'm there today, we'll be watching the futbol. I don't care much for soccer. It doesn't drive me into fits of irrational hate like it does this favorite Fox News psycho, but like most Southerners, I'd much rather watch the American pigskin variety than guys in knee socks rolling in the grass in pain whenever someone blows on them. But why do I give a damn today? Cause 'Murica.

It's a superb anomaly. People who ordinarily avoid soccer like the Mark Clark Highway in Charleston cannot overcome their jingoistic zeal when the boys in red, white, and blue take the field. Chalk me up as well. Hey, if it makes us forget about which side of the political spectrum we fall for 80 minutes of united debauchery (plus three minutes added time for Congressional bullshit), then bring it on.

I don't really understand what warrants a yellow card, but I understand "Goal, y'all!"

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Dat's my cousin runnin' right dere.
So my friends and I ventured to the 68th running of the Blockhouse Steeplechase in Tryon, NC, this past weekend. It's horse race that serves as a front for a shit show of drunken debutantes, frat boys, and Spartanburg hicks. I lean more towards the latter.

Southerners take horse races to epic heights of pageantry and ridiculousness. The most infamous in South Carolina is the Carolina Cup, where the only horse race most participants ever see at the event is a beer chugging contest between some USC coeds. The Blockhouse isn't as epic of an event, but we hold our own every year with a dash of stupidity in our mint juleps. As you can see above, I make sure bring along my horse mask each year.

Amidst the usual smorgasbord of beer pong, cornhole, and some Wofford freshman passed out on a camouflage cot, the Blockhouse offers an assortment of unique goodies. There's a British PA man who drips of sarcasm and smack talk. They release several white doves, which causes most of the good ole boys with shotguns in their cars to exercise some restraint. A pack of hounds does a couple of laps around the track beforehand, and old bitties compete in a hat contest. There's a tailgating contest as well, but I think that's for whomever has the nicest setup, not the tailgate with the drunkest idiots. So we don't compete.

One of my favorite Blockhouse memories as a kid of 10 or 11 was waiting in line at the portable toilets. Two  drunk good ole boys decided they should push over a john--which contained another drunk good ole boy friend of theirs--into the creek. He emerged faster than a filly that had dropped her load before a race, covered in blue water and shit, both fists swinging. His friends had a head start and retreated into the mass of tailgates.

I don't have to tell you that folks up in Kentucky take it seriously. In fact, we had to miss out on a Kentucky friend's Derby Party in Charleston where people dressed to the nines--to watch a race on TV. And that's what makes the South awesome.

An even more redneck SC horse race event is the Elloree Trials, where your tailgate is notably out of place if it lacks a Confederate battle flag. Our entourage had a shotgun cocked at us at the after party by a nearby meth head, so we called it a fun outing.

The best part about these races? You get into the event with one car and as many people as you can fit on the vehicle. So if you want to join us next year, holler at me. I have bungee cords and a luggage rack.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Whatsoever goeth upon the belly

I'se in yer Mt. Plastic, drinkin' up all yer mimosas.
So a Gaboon Viper is on the loose in Mt. Pleasant, and it made folks a bit uneasy as they sipped their mimosas during Sunday brunch. Faux beaus everywhere suddenly became a little less country at the idea of this quite dangerous African snake slithering around near the Bridge Run.

Had the critter been released in Spartanburg or some of the other surrounding Upstate areas, I'm quite sure it would have set off a county-wide snake hunt, and the first one to corral the little bastard would have been given the garage door opener to the city.

Most Southerners become accustomed to growing up around snakes, and children are taught at an early age to look down at the ground when traipsing through the woods. This lesson saved me from a few snakebites in my day, including the time I encountered a 4-foot copperhead sunbathing near one of our Beagle pens as I hosed them down.

We're also taught to take care where we stick our hands when it comes to sorting through brush and woodpiles, a lesson that my father forgot a few years ago. It earned him a bite from a one-fanged copperhead on his pinky finger. About a year later, the family Labrador battled the very same one-toothed beastie. Although it tagged her on the snout and left a scar, Molly emerged victorious.

I'm sure Northern city folk have other worries, but poisonous snakes in the wild--or any snake, for that matter--aren't high on their list. Last year, when relatives came down from Cincinnati and we headed to the backyard for the usual Spartanburg tradition of blasting targets with our assortment of firearms, I watched as the entire Northern extension of my family walked right by a 5-foot black snake without any of them spotting the critter.

In the South, there is only one sentence for a snake that crosses our paths: Death. We were armed to the teeth, so justice was swift.

I know this upsets some folks, particularly any animal lovers out there. Sure, we understand that snakes make good predators for rats and other critters. But a snake in the yard can often lead to a snake in the garage, a snake in your pet's pen, or even a snake in the house. For example, the two enormous black snakes I caught doin' the nasty in my parents' basement.

On our property, snakes were a particular danger to the Beagle puppies we raised and the rabbits we tried to keep alive. We didn't fear them like Jimbo did; nay, we rained down death. But there's still plenty around the South to keep the population up.

But a Gaboon Viper? Nah, I'm good. Happy hunting, Mount Pleasant.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spending Time With My Fools

It's not really fair to call drinking a great Southern past time as it's pretty much been a relic of every culture in every country ever since mankind figured out how to ferment just about any organic substance. Hell, in Africa they tap the damn palm trees and make wine of out it. But in the South, I would argue we turn drinking into an art form. We, on the whole, are the least responsible with alcohol, and South Carolina remains one of the biggest drinking states per capita in the nation.

We Clemson fans and our in-state rival Gamecock fans likely have a little hand in those statistics. After all, when you order a Coke from the concession stand at a game (they now have payment plans so you can afford them), savvy soda pourmen know to leave a little off the top so the buyer can slip in a little bourbon. Or a lot of bourbon until your wife bans you from bringing a flask into games because your postgame behavior on the Atlanta MARTA was, shall we say, "poor".

As Hemingway said, "An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend times with his fools." I, however, enjoy surrounding myself with intelligent men who like to act like fools. And we plan to do our share of foolishness this weekend here.

Booze and the remnants of the Confederacy have always produced the best stories, and it is from those I worked a few details into my fiction writing. There is a light of truth in the old joke, "What's a redneck's last words? 'Here, hold my beer a sec.'" (Or sometimes just "Hey y'all, watch this!") Thus I share with you an adventure in Chicago that five Southern boys (one of them being yours truly) had a couple of years ago.

I'm not sure what led us to Streeter's Tavern, but it took us maybe an hour and three minutes to hit legendary status there. I would like to point out that two of our party were a former professional wrestler and a parole officer. I believe these to be somewhat important details. Streeter's had a beer pong table, although you had to use water due to Illinois health code standards. We ran it immediately, and we soon found ourselves surrounded by DePaul students fascinated with these rowdy Southern boys who had invaded their bourgeois abode. We sang boisterously and loudly to every song played, and we soon had the bartender pumping in country tunes.

A line formed at the beer pong table and people asked us if they could sign up to play. One member of our party made up a fake list and acted the role of the beer pong bouncer.

Needless to say, we shut the bar down at 4 a.m. (two hours later than South Carolina drinking times) and stumbled to the subway. There I snoozed all the way to the hotel, and when my comrades roused me at our stop, I discovered that my legs no longer worked and I collapsed to the ground.

I found the only words appropriate: "Help! My legs don't work!"

Those of you who have read Tallyo in the Squat might recognize a similar occurrence with Jimbo on the Atlanta MARTA. One of my buddies dragged me off the subway while the other absorbed the constant slamming of the subway doors against his sides so I could escape. A lone flight attendant witnessed the spectacle and hopefully had a story to tell as she departed across the country later that morning.

Perhaps my friends get drunk so they can spend time with me. Either way, those moments make the best stories.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Sins of Writing

It hardly feels real, but Tallyho in the Squat is finally available to the public. Jump on it today and tomorrow if you want a free copy. Otherwise, it's just three bucks.

So friends and family often ask me about the writing process: Where do I get ideas? How do I find time to write? Why haven't I written a book about that time we got drunk together? Why am I not published yet? Why didn't you dedicate the book to me (I hear that one from my wife the most)?

Tallyho in the Squat isn't the only novel I've written, but the others remain unpublished. It's actually the shortest and the funniest, and because I enjoyed writing it so much, the one I pumped out the quickest. I have two others hiding in the coves of my computer hard drive, waiting one day to see light of morning and hoping to snatch up a byte or two whenever I clean up the laptop.

In writing over the years, I feel I have more authority to tell people what they should not do rather than what they should. Kind of like behavior during drinking. I've got plenty of mileage on how not to behave. So, I present to you, the seven deadly sins of writing:

1. Fear: I believe fear to be the greatest sin and the one that probably holds potential writers back the most. If you are afraid to put your thoughts down into words, if you are afraid to share them with others, and you are afraid to attempt to get published, you will fail as a writer. Not everyone will like what you write. They will be critical. You must accept that as part of the growing process. Even a person who can't write well can point out crucial flaws in your own. I could never play quarterback in the NFL, but I know a butt fumble when I see one.

2. Sloth: Just one more episode of House of Cards and I'll write. Just one more mission on Grand Theft Auto V and I'll write (seriously, that game is the methamphetamine of video games). Just ten more minutes on Facebook. You have to drop the excuses and take time to write. If you're serious about completing a novel, you should set aside at least an hour every day to write. If you think you don't have time, that means something fun will have to take a backseat for a little while.

3. Drink: Don't write drunk. Take that advice from a drunk. Hemingway could do it. Hemingway also had four wives, had his knee practically blown inside out in WWI, enjoyed bare-knuckle boxing for fun, survived two plane crashes, and when he had worn his body down, ate a double-barrel 12-gauge. Hemingway crapped out people like you and me after his breakfast. Writing drunk seems poetic and heroic, but you create two problems: errors and amnesia over what you wrote. If you mix sober writing with drunk writing, it will be the literary equivalent of a one-night stand with North Charleston prostitute after a night on the town.

I am by no means discouraging drinking in general; nay, I celebrate the idea. Your misadventures will form inspiration for your novel just as they did for mine. But keep teetotaling at the keyboard.

4. Posturing: Easy on them fancy words, hoss. Not everyone likes to read a novel with a thesaurus sitting nearby. If you want to emulate Hemingway, keep it simple like he did.

5. Ignorance: By ignorance, I mean not reading. Stephen King once wrote, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write." Simple as that. Reading helps you develop your own voice.

6. Wandering: This pertains to your plot. Have an outline and a plan. Know your characters' motivations and what they plan to do. That's okay if you later deviate; your characters will sometimes surprise even you and steer off into unknown waters. But don't just start writing without some semblance of a story in mind.

7. Lack of Confidence: Believe in yourself. Of those who start writing a novel, only three to five percent actually finish it. Aim for that precious goal. Then you can worry about how to publish it.

So there you go. Should you listen to me? Meh, who knows? I just published a book myself yesterday. Maybe you can find better advice. As King wrote in the preface to On Writing, "...most books about writing are filled with bullshit. Fiction writers, present company included, don't understand very much about what they do—not why it works when it's good, not why it doesn't when it's bad."

Yeah. What he said.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In Memoriam of Twinkies and Groundhogs

Writing comedy is not an easy task by any means. While I find that I easily amuse myself through a variety of stupid actions and statements, making someone else laugh can be a much more arduous task. I enjoy evoking a laugh out of others; then again, I'm not sure many people do not enjoy such a feat. There have been many times I've fallen flat in attempts to produce a guffaw out of friends, but like that one good shot I can muster in a round of golf, I keep coming back for more if I can elicit a single chuckle.

That's why I admire a great comedian we lost yesterday in Harold Ramis. If Caddyshack, Animal House, Groundhog Day, National Lampoon's Vacation, and Stripes are a part of your classic film repertoire, then Harold Ramis had a comedic influence on you as either a director, writer, or actor. A venerable Renaissance Man of comedy, Ramis shaped much of the humor in the late 70s and 1980s in film. When you consider a specimen like Caddyshack, you recognize the silliness and over-the-top humor that the film boasts. But if you come across it on cable TV on some weekday night, you find yourself fixed on your couch, laughing as you quote the memorable lines. As someone who took up golf two years ago (and excels greatly at sucking at the game), the humor resonates even more for me now than it did as a kid.

But when we talk about Harold Ramis, people will inevitably rest on his most memorable project: Ghostbusters. Ramis both co-wrote and starred in the movie as Dr. Egon Spengler, who embodied the role as the nerdiest of the paranormal quartet and demonstrated to us psycho-kinetic energy with a Twinkie. Ghostbusters remains my favorite of the Ramis fare and one of my fondest film memories of childhood. So I suppose the passing of Ramis was an especially hard pill to swallow when we children of the 80s consider an element of our childhood moving on.

To quote fellow author and Spartanburg native Bryan Dull, "I feel so dumb and juvenile as I can’t shake the fact that for the first time ever… A Ghostbuster passed away today." Perhaps the most difficult part about growing older is watching your sacred cows, no matter how silly they may have been, drift away.

Ramis, in the form of Spengler, brought us Ghostbusters' most memorable line: "Don't cross the streams." It became an iconic statement in film lore and can be applied to almost any predicament in everyday life. I'm fond of it when debating people who like to wax hypocritical in political discussions. Needless to say, the line is iconic, and I therefore argue so goes Harold Ramis. An icon of comedy.

It would please me greatly to reach the level of comedic influence and prowess of Harold Ramis. But who am I kidding? You can't top Ghostbusters.

Don't cross the streams, friends.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Judge it by the Cover

I commissioned Adam Burgess at StudioAEB to design the cover for Tallyho in the Squat, and as I expected, he didn't disappoint. Adam is an extremely talented artist both on canvas and on the computer screen. I strongly recommend his services to you. 

I love what he did with the cover because he's captured the essence of Jimbo if the good ole boy happened to be a cottontail rabbit. And it ties nicely into the rabbit smuggling motif. Let me know what you think.

Stay tuned for more information on the book's release. It's coming soon.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Let Them Eat Milk Sandwiches

Snowpocalypse 2 has landed on the Southeast, and Charleston has succumbed to a horrendous case of chilly rain while the rest of South Carolina grinds to halt from a few inches of snow. We can only hope the milk sandwiches last long enough before Atlanta turns into a real version of the Walking Dead.

Anytime winter weather strikes the South, we become the butt of our own self-deprecating humor and the snarky criticism of our neighbors to the North. Cases like Charleston, where schools have shut down and bridges have closed over the cold rain, don't exactly improve the image. Northerners enjoy mocking our panicky runs on milk and bread when the threat of white stuff looms, and they question why we weren't ready for moments like this.

But a crippling snow/ice storm proves to be such a rare occurrence in the South that it doesn't make much sense to house a fleet of snowplows or other weapons to combat the cold. But then again, we're a little more resilient when it comes to other bouts of inclement weather. I and the rest of Charleston slept through one Category One hurricane and partied through another. The North and Cat 1 hurricanes? Not as much of a picnic.

Snow days are a rarity for children in the South, and they are met with an outpouring of appreciation and glee while parents scramble for milk and bread. I still recall the Blizzard of 88 that covered Spartanburg when I was 10. I think my sister and I were out of school for a week, and we took to speeding down a massive hill in the Clifton Glendale area daily on our sleds, which only received one real winter of use. Contrary to popular belief, we did not build our snowmen with mullets and smoking Camel Unfiltereds instead of a pipe. But those rare snow memories as a child growing up in the South maintain a special place in your heart due to their scarcity.

As an adult, the concept of snow in the South quickly turns from a novelty to nuisance, much like I would imagine it does for Northern children, especially those who still have to go to school in half a foot of white stuff. I was confined to the house during the storm of 2011 in the Upstate, and there's only so much Netflix you can take before you want to go get your SUV stuck in a snow bank.

But here in the Holy City, we only need some chilly rain to bring life to a crawl. Might as well head over to The Shelter and take refuge. Y'all be safe out there.

Monday, February 3, 2014

But My Pea Coat Just Cain't Cover Up My Redneck

I spend way too much time at The Shelter in Mount Pleasant, but for good reason. The bartenders are both affable and mischievous, the beer is cheap, and the locale harnesses in that typical Shem Creek atmosphere so many locals love. After the ice storm last week that is so uncharacteristic of the Charleston area, other Charlestonians and I were able to break our quarantine and finally venture out to practice our greatest talent: drinking.

While ponied up to our usual position at the bar, my friends and I beheld one of Mount Pleasant's trademark species: the broneck. To understand a broneck, if you are unfamiliar with the term, you must first understand Mount Pleasant, or, as some call it, Mount Plastic. Mt. P is the Charleston area's most affluent community with the exception of the Rhett Butleresque downtown that is south of Broad Street. Needless to say, there is nothing redneck or country about Mount Pleasant. The community is rife with salty dogs, hoity-toities, corporate heroes kicking back, and Peter Pan fellows clinging desperately to their Greek life memories and Natty Light. But a true redneck environment? Jimbo Fick would not approve of Mt. P.

So a broneck is a young male who has come from a privileged upbringing like so many native Mount Pleasantians have yet puts on a facade that they emerged from a more David Allan Coe-style environment. You often find them with unkempt, shaggier hair that holds up a new camouflage hat. As the specimens last night had to combat the cold weather, bronecks will have a camo jacket on as well. Work boots or cowboy boots are a must.

The broneck phenomena has exploded nationwide, and part of it can be attributed to the popularity in contemporary country, such as Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Florida-Georgia Line. The formula for a country hit nowadays is simple: mix in a jacked up pickup truck, a dirt road, a cold beer, a girl with painted-on jeans, and the CD of a country legend who sounds nothing like the song in question. It's too irresistible for the frat boy raised in the gated community who yearns to go country.

As someone who actually grew up around some farm land, huntin' dogs, a creek, and a shady Li'l Cricket that my mama said I wasn't allowed to go to, I definitely do the image of a backwoods Southerner a disservice. There have been many a time I toned down my accent, overdressed for bar drinkin', and only wore camo for paintball. I supposed I've been like Bill Gulledge in that regard; I often put on an appearance that I didn't come from the outer edges of Spartanburg.

So I guess, in a sense, I'm like the bronecks. They came from the ivory towers of Mt. P but want you to think they're straight out of the shotgun shack. I can see the allure. I pretend my family didn't trade two Beagles for a goat once. Why do we seek out images that don't paint an actual picture of our upbringing? I don't have the answer. But I suppose Jimbo would have some wisdom about how we should be what we want to be.

So enjoy that Natty Light, bo.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

All the Sweetest Winds, They Blow Across the South

One question a few of my beta readers have asked about Tallyho in the Squat is whether or not Bill Gulledge is supposed to be me. While Bill shares some similarities to some details and events in my life, he's not intended to be a younger version of myself. In fact, there are times when I see more of me in Jimbo, particularly with our shared propensity to imbibe too much.

But Bill and I do share the distinction of having smuggled rabbits in 2009 from Somerset to Spartanburg when times got tough. To help make some ends meet for the family, my father hired me to bring back wild cottontails from a supplier in the small Kentucky town. It should be noted that my father is not like Buck Gulledge at all: he's not a millionaire, he's not a redneck, and he's got a firm grasp on his temperament. That, and my father and I have a much more amicable relationship than Bill and Buck.

But my father and Buck shared one similarity: neither could explain what was so special about Kentucky rabbits. Since he paid me to make the trip, however, I did not question the logic.

I made the trip to Kentucky several times that summer, and I did it solo. It would have been nice to have a Jimbo riding shotgun with me, but instead, I had just the radio and my iPod. As Bill laments in the novel, there are spots on I-40 in Tennessee where your radio choices boil down to either the fire and brimstone word of the Lord or Rush Limbaugh. I spent most of the time piping James McMurtry through my iPod tape adapter (great traveling Americana music).

Once in Somerset, I could not sequester myself in the hotel for the whole night. I had to sniff out a good bar, and I found one in Sully's. The watering hole served somewhat as inspiration for Catahoula's Saloon, albeit it lacked the larger, rowdy crowd of the latter. And dance routines by the staff. And a bartender like Rye Cotton. Although one cute bartender delved out free shots of Patron one night ala Rye style.

The people of Somerset are quite friendly, and they were quite inquisitive as well about my business in their small town. Usually after I explained my rabbit smuggling mission, they would smile and say, "Seriously, why are you really here?" A couple of years later, I came up with the sasquatch hunter story that Jimbo lays on Skeezy early in the novel.

To be fair to the town of Somerset, it's not a "shithole" as Rye describes it in the book. It models many small Southern towns: a quaint historical downtown area filled with local flavor, and then a sprawling highway that brings in the newer commercialized feel. On the outskirts, horse pastures are abound and a recreational lake. I often left Somerset disappointed that I could only spend 14 or 15 hours there each trip.

I do not know if any author has ever used the town of Somerset in a novel before. I hope I am the first. Jimbo describes the town as Spartanburg's "younger, looser sister". In reality, I would say Somerset is more like that cousin who lives far away who, given the chance, would be a lot of fun to hang out with if you had the time to travel. Hopefully I can make my way up there again.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

In Vino Veritas

The cliché statement for an author's inspiration is "write what you know." My favorite living author, Stephen King, takes a different spin on that in his book, On Writing (which, if you have any aspirations to be a writer, this book is an essential for your collection): King advises to write what's real. Is it believable? Could you actually see this scenario play out in the world the author has created?

And that's the advice I took when I wrote Tallyho in the Squat. It is crucial that an author write what he or she knows, but a lot of what isn't known can be made up for with research and sticking to what's believable. Despite the growing bourgeois cultural and progressive renaissance in many Southern cities, the down home, old timey redneck side still intertwines in the culture, refusing to relinquish its NASCAR and made-from-scratch biscuits unless pried from its cold, dead fingers. That's the side I wanted to capture in my book.

Haivng been born and raised in Spartanburg, SC, I could write what I knew while also writing what is real. There are plenty of Jimbos, Bucks, and Aunt Sissys still to be found in the nooks and crannies of Upstate South Carolina. There are plenty of Bills, too: educated Southerners who put on airs of intellectualism yet still cling to their Budweiser and camo. From there I could expand it to Somerset, KY, a town I spent some time in during the summer of 2009 doing exactly what Bill and Jimbo did: smuggling rabbits across state lines. To my knowledge, it is the only federal crime I have ever committed, although some of my actions on a few Spring Breaks are still hazy.

I found Somerset to be a prototypical small Southern town: set in tradition and full of loyal locals passionate about its existence, yet at the same time trying to make waves in the name of progression. I drank with several of those locals, most of them disbelieving that I had visited their town to bring back wild rabbits to Spartanburg. There were times I wished I had concocted a story for them, just as Jimbo did when he claimed he and Bill were sasquatch hunters for the federal government.

From there, I combined a few other items of familiarity: my own English degree, our family's troubles in the 2009 economy, raising Beagles, field trials, wild nights after a few too many beers, and a host of other stories and experiences from my life. Write what's real, King said. There are times when Tallyho in the Squat seems outlandish, but rest assured, somewhere in that incredibility lies at least an inkling of truth. The Southern life does not suffer the humdrum greatly.

King also warns, "If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered."

Tallyho in the Squat is certainly not a children's or young adult book, and writing about such a lifestyle can be somewhat crude. There were times even I paused after writing a sentence (such as Jimbo's untimely ode to Moby Dick in mid coitus) and said, "Wow... that might be a bit much for readers." But again, I revert back to King's advice. Would Jimbo behave in such a way? He most certainly would, and to expect anything less is to cheat the readers who have grown to know him.

We all have a Bill, Rye, Jimbo, Buck, Aunt Sissy, or even a Skeezy in our lives. Perhaps those people embarrass us or make us avoid their company. But when they're at their finest, like rubber neckers on the Interstate after a wreck, we love to watch.