MAX FLY AND THE WALMART CAPER

Max Fly, Private Eye
President & CEO of
Max Fly Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control

The name is Max Fly and I am a private eye, a damn good one too! I was sitting at my desk staring out the window at the Burnt Corn All Night Diner and Laundromat watching a well-endowed waitress by the name of Bea Heine, serve up an order of cheese grits and scrambled eggs with a side of hash browns smothered and covered,  to Wayne Dwopps, our local TV weatherman, and wondering why the phone hadn’t rung in over a week.

My desk is located next to my partner’s, Chico “Zippy Doo” Rodriguez, a sort of illegal green card carrying Hispanic from Matamoros, Mexico, a small town a few miles across the Rio Grande River from El Paso, Texas. Zippy heads up our displaced persons and pest control divisions.

Zippy Doo, Head Of our Displaced Persons & Pest Control Divisions

“You all right, Max?” Zippy asked. “You look like one of them dummies at the Burnt Corn General Store.”

“I don’t know, Zip, a little down I guess. Today is kinda slow. Nothing on the docket. Actually, the whole damn week is kinda slow. Okay, it’s been a slow year. The last case we had was when Alan Skidmore contacted us and told us that someone had broken into his trailer and stole five pounds of bacon out of his refrigerator.”

“Wasn’t that when his wife got up for a midnight snack and was afraid to admit it.”

“Yeah, it was. Luckily, I took along Wanda Winchester, our reconciliation expert and she detected a faint bacon scent on the breath of Skidmore’s wife and she finally confessed.”

The phone rang. Both Zippy and I reached for it. Zippy was faster.

“Max Fly, Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control. Who is this?”

“This is Freda, Freda Livery, what’s your address there?” Freda is lacking in social graces and is the delivery girl for the “We Serve It Hot Pizza Parlor” located in downtown Burnt Corn where she works to pay for her tuition at the Burnt Corn Automotive and Bus Mechanics College, an online technical school.

“Freda,” Zippy began, “there are only 300 people in Burnt Corn and you have made deliveries here before how can you be lost? Aren’t you part Muskogee Indian? I thought Indians were supposed to be great trackers.”

“My people were great trackers until the white man civilized us.”

“Where is Gilroy doesn’t he usually ride with you?” Zippy asked.

Gilroy is Gilroy Skindancer another local Musgokee Indian and Freda’s boyfriend.

“Gilroy’s in jail. Sheriff Hertz pulled him in on an outstanding drunk and disorderly warrant.”

Sheriff Hertz is Wyatt Hertz, Burnt Corn’s ersatz Sheriff the main reason people refer clients to us. He and his deputy, Hiram Firam, are about as incompetent a pair of law enforcement officers as a pair can be.

Freda walked in with our pizza within five minutes after Zippy got her straightened away.

“That’ll be $7.95.”

Zippy paid her out of our petty cash fund, which was beginning to dwindle pretty fast, along with a $1.00 tip.

“Hey, hold up there, Freda,” Zippy yelled. “This pizza is cold. What’s up with that?”

“Oh, I had to stop at the laundromat and put my clothes in the dryer before they began to stink. Gilroy was supposed to do that, but you know what happened to him. Don’t you have a microwave in this dump?”

“If we had a microwave, we wouldn’t have had to call you for a HOT pizza!” Zippy yelled.

“Whatever,” she replied slamming the door behind her.

“Damn, Max, what are these fishy looking things? I didn’t order fish on this pizza. It’s supposed to be a five cheese pizza.”

“They look like anchovies, I think. Just pick ‘em off. I’m not hungry anyway.”

The phone rang. Zippy was slamming the first piece of pizza sans anchovies, in his mouth so I beat him to it.

“Max Fly, Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control, how may I help you?”

“Mr. Fly?”

I knew I didn’t know who this person was as nobody who knows me calls me mister.

“Yeah, who is this?” I replied.

“This is Frank, Frank Ferter. I am the security guard at the Walmart out on the by-pass.”

Frank didn’t need to tell me where the Walmart was as Burnt Corn only encompasses about five square miles and it isn’t really a bypass, it’s Alabama Highway 84 and there is only one Walmart. The next nearest one is in Monroeville about fifteen miles to the east.

“What can I do for you, Mr. Ferter?”

“Well, it appears we have a situation here and we can’t reach Sheriff Wyatt Hertz nor that worthless deputy of his, Hiram Firam. Nobody is answering the phone at the Sheriff’s office. My boss, Ms. Derry Yare, suggested that I call you.”

“Did you try reaching the sheriff at Patty Mae’s All Night Bar and Pool Hall?”

“Yeah, and Patty Mae said she ain’t seen them either. Can you come on out? Ms. Derry Yare said she would pay your fee if you can help us here.”

I looked over at Zippy. There was a pile of anchovies sitting next to the box of pizza. He had already consumed half the pizza and was guzzling down a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer.

“Well, my assistant and I are in the middle of our dinner. Can’t this wait?”

“Not really, Mr. Fly, I’m afraid it can’t. We have a situation here. There is total chaos and I am the only security personnel in here. The rest are female Walmart clerks and in spite of what all the wimmen are claiming these days, they just ain’t up to handling the altercation that I have on my hands now.”

“Tell me what’s going on, Mr. Ferter.”

“You don’t have to call me mister, mister, you can call me Frank. We got a Miss Josseleen Elida Sanchez here. She was driving a motorized shopping cart, without a drivers license I might add, through our Walmart while gorging herself on five-finger-discount grub and guzzling down some of our finest discount wine. I caught her grabbing a package of our week old fresh sushi, eat a piece, and then return it to the shelf.

Miss Josseleen Elida Sanchez

Next on her menu were mini muffins and cinnamon rolls. The damn woman consumed them in the same fashion as the sushi and, are you ready for this, Mr. Fly? For the main course, she ate a whole damn rotisserie chicken. By the end of the meal, she had drained two bottles of wine. All told, Ms. Derry Yare said she consumed $32.36 in food and drink, without even leaving a tip.

When I asked Sanchez why she did it she said that she was hungry and did not want to take any of the items outside of the store, but did consume everything she could while inside the store.”

“Where is she now, Frank?”

“She broke loose and jumped on the motorized shopping cart and is now riding around our parking lot. She has already rammed it into a Toyota Yaris and it looks like the Yaris is totaled. That damn Yaris is smaller than our motorized shopping carts. I didn’t know we had any tree huggers living in Burnt Corn who would buy one of them things. They must be visiting or passin’ through.

How soon can you get here, Mr. Fly?”

I glanced over at Zippy again and noticed that the only thing left to eat were the anchovies.

“You can call me Max,” I said. “We can be there in five minutes, but we have a hasty response fee of ten dollars that we charge when responding to situations without prior notice.”

“I’m sure Ms. Derry Yare will be inclined to pay your hasty response charge.”

“We are on our way.”

I hung up and grabbed my hat and my Smith and Wesson .357 that was located in my rigging hanging over the back of my chair.

“Finish that Pabst Blue Ribbon and grab your shootin’ iron, Zippy. We got us a situation.”

I filled Zippy in on what was happening as he slid behind the wheel of the Fly Mobile and headed toward Alabama Highway 84 that Frank Ferter referred to as the Burnt Corn By-Pass.

When we pulled into the Burnt Corn Walmart we noticed a large crowd of people milling around in front of the store, staring out at the parking lot where a diminutive Hispanic woman was driving erratically with a portly uniformed guard, who we assumed was Mr. Frank Ferter, in hot pursuit on foot.

Zippy pulled in next to him and asked him if that was the suspect he was chasing.

Mr. Ferter bent over at the waist and placed his hands on his thighs as he wheezed, “What in the hell do you think? Of course, it is. Do you think I’m out here running a freakin’ 10K road race?”

“No need for the sarcasm, Mr. Ferter,” I replied. “Hop in the back we’ll give you a ride.”

“Head east,” he gasped, “she’s heading to the store. We can cut her off. Damn, the battery on that cart should be about dead by now. She’s been riding around for a good forty-five minutes. I feel like I sweated off at least five pounds.”

“Which way is east,” Zippy asked.

Mr. Frank Ferter looked at him and said while pointing to his left, “If you don’t know directions, how in the hell did you ever get out of Mexico?”

Zippy looked at him with disgust and replied, “That’s why we hire coyotes. They know where they are going and none of them are fat.”

When we turned the corner around the back of the store the suspect almost ran head-on into the Fly Mobile. She yanked the wheel to the right and jumped out, doing a perfect jump and roll, making me wonder if she was a former airborne ranger, and proceeded to run up a hill on foot.

“I can’t run anymore,” Frank Ferter snorted, “I’m plumb worn out. One of you has to go get her.”

I looked over at Zippy and he said, “Hell, Max, I’m driving.”

“The car’s stopped, Zip. You can get her.”

“Let’s settle this with Paper, Scissors, and rock,” Zippy replied.

“Dammit, both of you guys go. I think she grabbed some Ding Dongs on her way out the store. We are paying you your hasty response fee, so respond.”

The fact that we hadn’t had a case for quite awhile and we needed the money, we both jumped out of the Fly Mobile, Zippy took the keys before we headed up the hill in pursuit of Ms. Sanchez.

Since Zippy was a heavy smoker, he petered out about halfway up so when I crested the top of the ridge, I realized I was on my own and I was wheezing myself.

I looked down and I spotted the suspect sitting behind a rather large boulder eating her package of Ding Dongs and washing it down with a bottle of Thunderbird wine. I hoped that wasn’t the wine Mr. Frank Ferter was referring to when he said she was consuming some of their finest discount wine.

I pulled out my Smith and Wesson .357 as I approached.

“Excuse me, Miss,” I panted, “but I am going to have to ask you to come with me.”

She looked up at me and smiled, “Why don’t you sit down and join me for a little refreshment. I have another package of Ding Dongs and there is more than enough of this Thunderbird wine left for both of us,” she said, thrusting out the bottle in my direction.

I never was a big fan of Thunderbird. I preferred Ripple in my day, but I grabbed the bottle anyway and placed it down on the ground behind me.

“Why don’t you come back with me?” I responded, holding out my hand.

She grabbed it and I helped her up, surprised at how tiny she was.

When we got back to Walmart, Sheriff Wyatt Hertz and his deputy, Hiram Firam were there talking to a woman who I assumed was Ms. Derry Yare. The lights were rotating on the top of their Chevrolet Caprice squad car, casting a blue brilliance off the back wall of the building. Zippy and Frank Ferter were over to the side arguing about Coyotes and illegal immigrants.

I handed over Ms. Sanchez to Sheriff Hertz.

“Mr. Fly? I’m Ms. Derry Yare, the store manager. I wish to thank you for your help when there was none to be found anywhere,” she said, her eyes blazing at Sheriff Hertz.

Fly Mobile

“Please follow me and I’ll get you your money. I like your car. What kind is it?”

“It’s a 1958 Oldsmobile 98. We call it the Fly Mobile.”

“Nice. Here you go and I have included two Walmart gift cards as a bonus.”

“That’s mighty nice of you, Ms. Derry Yare, thank you.”

“That’s quite all right. By the way, are you married Mr. Fly?”

Max Fly And The Foul Smelling Caper

Max Fly, Private Eye
President & CEO of
Max Fly Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control

Max Fly Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control located in downtown Burnt Corn, Alabama,  where we have been protecting the innocent people of Burnt Corn from murder, narcotics distribution, robbery, extortion, loansharking and other nasty mafia behavior for over ten years. We are also licensed as pest control agents.

Zippy Doo, Head Of our Displaced Persons & Pest Control Divisions

It was a balmy January night. We had removed our shirts and were sitting at our desks in our undershirts with the window open and an oscillating fan turned on high, blowing Zippy Doo’s cigarette smoke around the room. Our rigging, holding our Smith and Wesson .357 revolvers, was hanging over the back of our chairs. For most of the evening, we were watching the comings and goings at the Burnt Corn All-night Diner and Laundromat but I was currently mesmerized by the dark sweat stains that continued to grow under Zippy’s impressively cut arms. Zippy was watching a young coed as she carried a basket of soiled unmentionables into the laundromat. He was glassing her with his new professional lightweight Ziest Conquest HD 10×42  detective binoculars with the advanced HD lens design with extra-low chromatic dispersion. He received it last year as a gift from a small group of his relatives and close friends from Matamoros, Mexico, that he had smuggled into the United States to pick rutabagas in southern North Dakota. Where they got ahold of high-quality German binoculars in Mexico is unknown. He was still glomming onto the young coed when the phone rang. Zippy Doo answered.

“Max Fly, Private & Nefarious Investigations & Pest Control. Who is this?”

Helen Feelich

“This is Helen Feelich and I need to speak with someone from your pest control division.”

” I can help you. My name is Chico Rodriguez, but you can call me Zippy Doo.”

“Well, Mr. Doo, can you come over here right away? There is a revolting essence in my bedroom and I need you to investigate this problem.”

“Essence, eh? Well, we are kinda busy right now,” Zippy replied, as he swatted two mating flies that had taken over the top of what was left of his Sonic burger that he had for lunch earlier in the day.

“If we drop everything we are doing to take care of your mephitic problem, there will be a hasty response charge of $10.00.”

” What mephitic problem? I got a stench in here and I don’t care about your hasty charges,” she screamed, “I just want to get rid of that ungodly vapor so I can sleep. I have to be to work at the Burnt Corn Bare and Intimate Essentials, Brassiere, Corset, and Apparel factory by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. I am lead sewer on the line that sews the straps on the cups of the brassieres and tomorrow we are doing the double D cups. If I don’t get some sleep, I could sew my fingers into a double D brassiere and that just won’t do.”

Fly Mobile

“We’re on our way,” Zippy replied as he stood up and strapped on his .357 Smith and Wesson revolver.

“Don’t you think a .357 is a bit of an overkill for a skunk or some other malodorous critter?” I asked.

“Dead’s dead. Don’t matter how they get there,” he replied.

We jumped into the Fly Mobile with Zippy driving. He had just received his learners permit that he kept in the glove box along with his recently expired green card which was a forgery anyway, and rushed right over to 1221 Backwater Avenue where Mrs. Feelich resides.

She lived in a nicely appointed double wide and she let us in before we could even knock.

“Mrs. Feelich? I’m Zippy Doo and this is my partner, Max Fly. We are Private Eyes as well as pest control agents.

“That’s nice. now get in here and get to work and find what is causing this halitotic smell.”

As usual, it didn’t take us long before we solved the mystery – the smell turned out to be her husband, Amos, who was passed out under the bed. So for an extra $10.00 we took Amos to Patty Mae’s All Night Bar and Pool Hall in downtown Burnt Corn where everybody smells about the same and told him not to go home until after 7:00 a.m. We left him with a bar of Ivory soap the cost of which was added to Mrs. Feelich’s bill.

Amos Feelich

This is why we do what we do. It’s not for the big fees. It’s for the good feeling we get when we help remove the vermin and botheration that torment the poor citizens of this fine southern Alabama city.

You got a problem? Give us a call that’s all.

The Killing of Outlaws Grambling and Pilson – From The Texas Bounty Hunters

Shoots Plenty secured his horse to the hitching post in front of Madam Cortez’ House and proceded to walk around back to where Carmen had her crib. Two men came walking by, laughing and talking loudly. One of the men bumped into Shoots Plenty almost knocking him to the ground. They kept walking without looking up or acknowledging what they had done. When he arrived at the back of the house he rapped on the door, “It is Chief Shoots Plenty,” he said. The door cracked open and a slender arm reached out and pulled him into the room. Later, as he sat on the bed strapping on his Colt .45 and placing his black stovepipe hat securely on his head, he said, “Carmen, it is time that I go.”

“Where do you go to now, mi hermoso gran jefe?” Carmen asked while looking up at Shoots Plenty and placing the palm of her right hand gently on his cheek.
Shoots Plenty smiled as he slowly removed her hand and placed some crumpled up bills into it. He felt strong when she called him her beautiful big chief. He had never been called that before, not even by Gray Grass, because he was not a chief, and because he was not beautiful. Maybe it was his black stovepipe hat with his magical eagle feather, or maybe it was because he lied and told her he was a chief, or maybe because she liked that paper money he gave her. It did not matter. He was glad to be her big beautiful chief.
“There are two bad men in town that I must see and then I get more paper money. We travel to where the white men call Fabens. Do you know this Fabens?”
“Si, I know of it. There are hombres muy malos who come there from Ciudad Juarez to rob and kill so many people. You be careful mi hermoso gran jefe and return to your Carmen, si?”
“Shoots Plenty is careful.”
He stepped out into the morning sun, adjusted the gun belt on his hip, and walked around to where he spotted an old man across the street, sweeping down the steps of the saloon. He walked over and asked him if he knew where he could find Buster Grambling and Fred Pilson.
The old man stood up and removed a pipe from his mouth while looking Shoots Plenty up and down with a scornful eye and replied, “Yep, but I wouldn’t want to get crosswise with either of them two if I was an Injun, especially an old Injun like you. They got them Yankee rifles, the ones you load on Sunday and fire all week.”
“You mean the Henry Repeaters like that one?” Shoots Plenty asked pointing to the rifle hanging from the scabbard on his saddle.
“Yep, thems the ones. How’d an Injun get one of them? Ain’t that against the law?”
“I am the law.”
“Sure you are,” he said, shaking his head in disbelief. “Them twos in there in the saloon. Good luck cause you’ll need it.”
Shoots Plenty walked into the saloon. It was one of only a few times he entered one. Mainly because Indians were not allowed in most of them and also because he had no desire to be in one.
He saw the men standing at the bar with the Henrys propped on the floor, smoke curling over their heads from the cigars they were smoking. Grambling, the one who bumped into him, was the larger of the two, but still not a large man. His clothes were filthy like he had just ridden into town after spending a long time on the trail. Pilson didn’t look any better. Both of them wore what appeared to be Colt .45’s in their belts with most of the cartridges missing. He figured they stopped in the saloon first after riding into town then planned to go to the mercantile store to purchase or, more likely, steal more cartridges and gunpowder.
“You two you should come outside with me.”
His voice startled both men. They quickly swung around to see who was behind them, their hands instinctively going down to cover the butt of their gun.
“What did you say?” Grambling asked, not sure he heard correctly. “You an injun?”
“I am Lakota. Now, you and your friend, Pilson, come outside with me.”
“How do you know our names?” Pilson asked.
“I know. Now you should come.”
Grambling glanced over at Pilson and then they both started laughing.
“Don’t try to play rooster in my town, you filthy red skin,” Grambling said, while a grin spread across his pockmarked face.
Shoots Plenty took him in without moving his eyes. They were the coolest things in the hot smoky saloon but they set Grambling on fire. He was fumbling at his belt for fresh cartridges all the while smiling. Shoots Plenty had his fill of his charm so he shot him point blank between the eyes.
When he died he was still grinning.
Shoots Plenty turned to Grambling’s partner and said, “Your friend looks healthier than you do white eyes.”
“You best listen to good advice, you old red skin, Red don’t last around here.”
Shoots Plenty cracked the hammer of his Colt .45 again and shot Pilson between the eyes as well.
When he died he was not grinning.
Shoot Plenty stared with contempt at the dead body of Fred Pilson and said, “Red lasted longer than you white eyes.” He removed their gun belts and returned Grambling’s gun to his holster and threw them over his shoulder while he picked up the two Henry Repeaters and left, leaving both outlaws bleeding out on the filthy beer-stained floor.
Before he mounted his horse, he looked over at the old man who had his back pressed against the saloon wall and said, “You should take those two over to the man with the box that captures the soul of the whites. Tell him to send them to Captain Smith with the Texas Rangers in El Paso.”
“I ain’t takin’ no orders from no redskin,” he said.
Shoots Plenty just stared at the old man.
“Okay, don’t get all worked up you crazy old Injun, I’ll do that.”
“I will be back,” Shoots Plenty said before he turned and rode off into the west Texas hills.
Later when Esben returned he dismounted his mule and sat down next to Shoots Plenty who was drinking Moccasin flower tea and softly chanting and speaking to himself.
“I return and that whole town is talking about some crazy old redskin, wearing a black stovepipe hat with an Eagle’s feather, claiming he is a law dog, who just walked into a saloon he ain’t allowed in, and shot Buster Grambling and Fred Pilson without even blinking an eye and took their guns before riding off. By any chance was that you, Shoots Plenty.”
“That was Shoots Plenty.”
“Did you fry your brain in this heat?”
“I told the white eyes I was a law dog. Did you tell them Shoots Plenty is a law dog and collect my paper money?”
“Whoever heard of an Indian being a law dog?”
Shoots Plenty sat puffing on his pipe without replying.
“You are not the law.”
“I know that, but they do not.”
“They know you aren’t the law. Everybody knows you aren’t the law.
They are glad to see those two gone, but they ain’t too happy that an Indian would think it was alright to ride into town and gun down two white men, no matter how much they deserved it.”
“They should be happy the crazy old redskin stopped at shooting just two white eyes. He could have killed many of his enemies.”
Esben shook his head.
“I told them we are bounty hunters and I made sure the pictures of Grambling and Pilson got sent off to Captain Smith. I have the paper money in my saddle bags on my mule.”
“That is good, Wasichus. Your Captain Smith has hired an old Indian and an old mule packer to find these men because he cannot find other white eyes to do this. Plus we are pretty damn good at it, is that not so, Wasichus?”
Esben looked at the old Indian and smiled, “I guess we are.”
“Did I tell you the story when that trickster Coyote tricked the long knives into believing that their paper money grows on trees? You remember how that trickster Coyote tricked the long knives to release him from their jail by telling them he could train that big white horse?”
“I remember. I’m going to collect some wood and start a fire.”
“That is good. I will speak louder so you can hear this story as you do your chores.”
“My chores?”
“Is that not what the white man calls their work?”
Esben shook his head in exasperation and replied, “Just don’t scare my mule.”
“Your one-eyed mule will like this story because Coyote took the pack mules from the long knives. That is a good thing.
This is how it happened. Coyote was out of the cheese and crackers that the long knives gave him when he trained that big white horse and he had little money left so he came up with another trick to play on the long knives who were still pursuing him.
He knew they were greedy, like all white men, and he devised a plan to get all the pack mules the long knives had with them.
He found a big walnut tree and swept the ground clean under it and strung what money he had left on its branches. Pretty soon the long knives came along and Coyote said, “I am going to tell you about this tree. Money grows on it and I want to sell it. Do you want to buy it?
The long knives were interested so Coyote told them, “It takes a day for the money to grow and ripen. Today’s crop is mine, but tomorrow it is all yours. I will sell you this fine tree for all your pack mules.”
The long knives agreed to Coyotes terms, and Coyote got a big rock and threw it against the trunk. Most of the money fell to the ground. “See, it only ripens at noon,” he said. “You have to hit it just at noon.” He whacked the tree again, and the rest of the money dropped out. Now it was all on the ground and the long knives helped him pick it up and put it in sacks. They turned all their pack mules over to Coyote as agreed upon, and Coyote started off.
He traveled the rest of the day and all night until he was in another country. Meanwhile, the long knives camped under the tree waiting for noon. then the officer told the soldiers to hit the tree, and they pounded it hard. When no money fell out, the officer ordered it chopped down, cut into lengths and then split up, in case the money was inside. Of course, no matter what they did they couldn’t find even five cents just old worms and bugs.”
Esben shook his head. “Shoots Plenty,” he said, “I am finding so many of your stories so far-fetched they are laughable. You surely cannot expect anyone in their right mind to think that a company of Union Soldiers would be that gullible that they would give away all their pack mules to a mangy old coyote in exchange for a walnut tree that the coyote said had money growing on it?”
“It is so, le mita-cola, my grandfather told this story to me.”
“I’m turning in. We have a long ride ahead of us tomorrow.”

CAPTAIN WHO? MAX FLY, PRIVATE EYE, AND THE GREEN BAY PACKERS

 

 

He had one of his nightly capers broadcast on the evening news, not only that but a country singer recorded a song about it. If that wasn’t enough, he knew Max Fly, Private Eye.            Max had the pleasure of spending some time with him, but not on that particular night which, upon conclusion, became a part of Atlanta’s folklore.
After reporting about our wild days in Atlanta during the ’70’s and ’80’s, when Lewis Grizzard and Ron Hudspeth, two local characters, would spin yarns at a bar off Peachtree Street in downtown Buckhead, I received many responses from long ago friends, some of whom spent time with me as well as without me at that Buckhead bar, as well as other guys who wanted to share their stories about Lewis Grizzard. One friend went to high school with Grizzard in Moreland, Georgia and another remembered the name of the bar – Harrison’s.
There was another character that wasn’t mentioned because I couldn’t recall his name.  I was reminded who he was and immediately I wondered how in the world I could forget his name. It’s former Atlanta Falcon’s football player and ex South Carolina Gamecock’s All American running back, Alex Hawkins.
On many occasions, while we were there, he would stumble into the bar. I do mean stumble. His friends would yell out, “Hey, it’s Captain Who!”
He acquired that nickname from the days he played for the Baltimore Colts when he was one of the team captains. Before a game against the Chicago Bears, the captains of the opposing teams were being introduced and the Captain for the Bears was Hall of Fame middle linebacker, Dick Butkus. The referee said, Captain Butkus, this is Captain Hawkins. Butkus blurted out, “Captain Who?” Prior to that, he was known as Captain Midnight, due to his late night escapades.
The guys who frequented Harrison’s were a loosely connected fraternity of drunks. It was fun to be with them, but you didn’t want to pledge.
To say Alex was colorful would be an understatement. After his football days with the Atlanta Falcons, he worked as the color commentator for their games (he was the only excitement that team had at the time). He was a sports reporter for a local TV Station as well.
When Hawkins was in the bar along with Lewis Grizzard and Ron Hudspeth, nobody, and I mean nobody, wanted the evening to end. Hawkins was in a class by himself when it came to telling side-splitting stories. This is the story that made the evening news and it is priceless.
Evidently, Hawkins stayed out all night, which wasn’t unusual for him. His wife was out looking for him and was unable to locate him. When he walked in the kitchen the next morning she screamed, “Where have you been?”
He replied, “I have been out in the hammock all night. The moon was so beautiful I didn’t want to leave it.”
“You don’t expect me to believe that, do you? We took the hammock down two weeks ago,” his wife said.
After giving her a blank stare for a few minutes, he quipped, “Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”
That yarn started flying around Atlanta and immediately another parable was added to the legendary life of Alex Hawkins; it was reported on the local news stations and a song was recorded about it by country singer Collin Raye. He has a video on you tube. Here is the link if you wish to listen to it. It’s an entertaining song. https://youtu.be/BewKY_BpVXg
Alex played in an era when the money wasn’t crazy, but the players were. Most of them were just big kids who never grew up.
He turned 80 this year. Sadly, he is one of the oldest living professional football players and he is possibly suffering from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, CTE, brain damage, previously referred to as dementia pugilistica because it was thought to exist mainly in boxers.
He was drafted in the 2nd round by the Green Bay Packers and he was just one of the many crazy characters that we were fortunate to meet at Harrison’s that made us laugh, and that’s a good thing.
In between reading Lewis Grizzard’s books, you may want to consider picking up “My Story And I’m Sticking To It,” by Alex Hawkins.”
You’ll be tickled.
Well, this is my story and I’m sticking to it.

LEWIS GRIZZARD-ATLANTA-MAX FLY AND THE GOOD OL’ DAYS

 

 

The ’70’s and the ’80’s were wild times in the city of Atlanta. It was emerging from a sleepy southern town to an international city. Robert Edward ‘Outrageous Ted’ Turner was on the field, running CNN and the Atlanta Braves baseball team. As Outrageous Ted, he decided he could manage the Braves better than the current manager, so he fired him and took over the team, causing quite a stir in the traditional bourgeois baseball world. He had a way of staying in the news. He would say things like, “My son is now an ‘entrepreneur.’ That’s what you’re called when you don’t have a job.”
We also had Maynard Jackson, serving as Atlanta’s first African-American Mayor, and then there was our Peanut Farmer, Jimmy Carter, up in D.C. running our country, I guess.
Behind the scenes, we had a couple of local celebrities, journalists, one of whom was about to break on the national arena as a great humorist along the same lines as Mark Twain and I was growing old right smack dab in the middle of all this.
It was during this time that a group of us middle agers were desperately attempting to hang onto our youth. We formed softball and basketball teams and joined metro Atlanta “Adult” leagues to stay in shape, attempting, and failing, to compete with the younger bucks. That was okay, it was really about having an opportunity to get together and have a few drinks and burn off a little pent-up steam.
Some of us even carried it over to meet once a week, I believe it was a Wednesday, at a local watering hole on Peachtree Street in Buckhead. Today, for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you the name of the bar.
We would arrive around 4:00 p.m. and most of the bar stools were already taken. There was a group of local celebrities that hung out there; two being hard-drinking journalists, Ron Hudspeth who wrote for the Atlanta Journal, and Lewis Grizzard, who wrote for the Atlanta Constitution, two different newspapers that happened to be owned by the same corporation, Cox Enterprises. This was before these two guys became “Big” celebrities and authored books, chronicling their lives and times on Peachtree Street but they kept us laughing so hard, it hurt.
Hudspeth started a rag called The Hudspeth Report, one of those free papers you can pick up around the city. It’s filled with advertisements hawking everything and anything imaginable. Hudspeth would critique local restaurants and watering holes. This was a smart maneuver by him, as he was comped more than a few drinks and meals. I heard from an old friend that Hudspeth is still publishing this rag but now he lives in Costa Rica. I can only imagine why he is living down there.
Ron Hudspeth was fired in 1987 by the AJC for starting The Hudspeth Report, prompting his pal and drinking buddy, Lewis Grizzard, to resign in protest. Grizzard resigned on a Saturday and rescinded his resignation three days later. He said at the time, “I’ve quit four times, and this is the fourth time I’ve come back.”
I mean, why wouldn’t he come back? He was only writing four columns a week. What was not to like about that job? He was also syndicated in close to 500 newspapers around the country.
As they say in the rural South, Lewis Grizzard “dog up and died” in 1994. Wow, that long ago? Grizzard said one of his big worries was that “somewhere there is a great party going on, and I’m missing it.”
Well, the world is missing you, pal. He didn’t make it to 50. He was only 47 years old.
Here is the clip that brought back old memories and the many laughs we shared: