Saturday, October 31, 2020

Cotton Topped, Soul Brother




Cotton Topped, Soul Brother


In 1978, when I was nine years old, James Brown called me “the blackest little white boy I ever did see.”


I grew up in a single-wide trailer on Donna Drive in the Denny Terrace area of Columbia. Denny Terrace had been a predominately white neighborhood but was becoming a mix of older white families that hadn’t moved out and the influx of poorer blacks. At Denny Terrace Elementary I was the only white boy in my grade. There was one white girl, Julie. I was rail skinny with blue eyes and white blonde hair. Folks called me cotton top. Mrs. Green, my first-grade teacher, called me her “Blue-eyed sailor-boy.” My daddy called me Eddie-boy.


My daddy was a commercial painter and my mama was a secretary at a Baptist church on Olympic Avenue. My grandfather worked for the City of Columbia as a mechanic in the garage, later becoming the manager for the city’s garage. Not bad for a poverty ward who never finished high school. My grandmother was a nurse at the Baptist hospital where I was born and she delivered me. I was born on July Fourth and my mother ate Piggly Park BBQ in the hospital while the tv showed the race in Daytona.


When my mother went into labor, my uncle David, her younger and only brother, was so excited he put his jeans on inside-out. As a kid my uncle David was a great friend and I think he saw me as the little brother he never had. My mother had three sisters and David was the only boy. David inherited brown curly hair from my grand-daddy Pee Wee. Everyone in my mama’s family played at least one instrument and most played several. David played guitar, piano, bass and drums when he wasn’t getting into trouble.


One time when he was fourteen he caught the rug on fire and nearly burned down the house on Monticello Road. My grand-daddy sent him to Carlisle Military Academy in Bamburg for the rest of the school year. One time my mama and grandmother took him out to lunch when he was at Carlisle. They checked David out of the school and got in the car. My grandmother asked David where he wanted to go for lunch. He replied, “6509 Monticello Road,” they’re home address. My grandmother didn’t think his answer was funny. Driving into Bamburg they saw a dead dog that had been hit by a car, it’s insides spread all over the road. It was a disgusting thing to see. From the driver’s seat my grandmother blithely said, “bet he won’t have the guts to cross that road again.” No one laughed but it relieved the tension in the car. They went to a diner in Bamburg. He was better behaved after seven months of military school. Not to say he still didn’t find trouble from time to time.


In South Carolina you could get your license at fourteen. David wrecked several cars before my grand-daddy took his driving privileges and his license. Then David wrecked another car. He wasn’t a mean kid and he didn’t do drugs or steal, trouble just found him.


At sixteen David got engaged. My grandparents couldn’t believe it and wanted to kill him. How could he be so stupid. What girl would want to marry a hoodlum like him? After a long conversation with his parents, my uncle returned the ring to the Brendle's and swapped it for a new stereo. “You just never knew what you were going to get with him,” my mother said.


As an adult David sported a cheesy mustache that most folks now would call a “porn ‘stach”. He drove a Honda motorcycle which he could do sitting backwards. He’d let me ride with him sometimes, driving with no hands when we were out of site from my parents. He also taught me how to shift a manual transmission when I was four. I couldn’t see over the dash but he’d tell me when to shift and I would use both hands to navigate the shift gate.


My uncle David was in a band with two black dudes. David played a Fender Jazz bass and sang most of the songs. Leroy Brown played guitar, either a Fender Telecaster and an old Gibson acoustic J-45 and sang occasionally. Leon played drums.


As much as my mother would allow, I would accompany the band as they played gigs in the area. I think my mother assumed they were playing at white honky-tonks. For a while David and I would ride to the gig on his motorcycle, me on the back with the Fender bass slung over my shoulder and across by back, using my left arm to hold tight around my uncle’s waist and my right hand holding a Fender amp. One time my uncle took a curve a little too fast and the centrifugal force swung that amp wide right and we almost wrecked.


One of the regular bars the band played was Tubby’s Night Club on Monticello Road in Eau Claire. Tubby’s was a purple concrete block building featuring a mural on the front of cartoon characters out of something like The Whiz - Afros, bell bottoms and butterfly collar button-down shirts in crazy prints - walking over a rainbow into the front door.


Mama Jewel Morrison worked the register and payed the bands that played. After I’d been to the bar a few times with my uncle, she started keeping Moon Pies behind the counter for me. While my uncle’s band played she would keep me supplied with RC Colas and Moon Pies. Bills larger than $10 she kept in her bra. The place had been robbed a few times. Once she recognized the boy with the revolver and almost beat him stupid before the cops showed up. He didn’t mind the beating, it was that Mama Jewell called the boy’s mama that really upset him. Mama Jewell didn’t press charges. The beating she administered and for months the constant verbal brow-beating the boy’s mama gave him and the fact that everyone in the neighborhood knew what he did was punishment enough. He’s now a sergeant in the Columbia police department.


David introduced the next song with, “I believe Jim Croce wrote this next one about our guitar player,” and then joined Leroy’s guitar run with a baseline grove for “Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown.” He’s substitute “Jewell” for “Doris” in the song and wink at Mama Jewell. I loved that song as a kid and I’m pretty sure they played the song just for me.


Sometimes Leroy would play a few songs by himself between sets, often a blues tune that Jimi Hendrix played like “Hear My Train A’comin’” or “Wind Cries Mary.”


One night I was tapping a tambourine on the edge of the stage, just keeping time for myself and grooving to the music. The band started playing “I’m black and I’m proud” with Leroy singing vocals and I really started playing that tambourine. A woman at one of the front tables bumped me over to the center of the stage and the crowd roared with supportive laughter at this white kid jamming to James Brown. I really got into the moment and before the song was over I was sweat drenched and had peeled off my Evil Knievel t-shirt and was barefoot, beating that tambourine on stage in that black juke joint with my clinched right fist held high overhead as I belted out the lyrics with Leroy.


Mama Jewel greeted me, smiling wide and offering an RC and Moon Pie as my reward. Several women and men came back to the bar to compliment me, making comments like “that boy’s got the boogie woogie in him and gots to let it out”. After that I regularly joined the band on stage for a couple songs during their two sets.


After the near-wreck my uncle drove an green Ford F-100 pick-up truck with a few rusty spots. A juke joint in Gilbert had booked the band. Gilbert’s a small town of a few hundred people at the intersection of Two-Notch Road and Highway 1. Each July Fourth Gilbert hosts the Peach Festival. My uncles band had played the Peach Festival the year before and a black bar had booked the band for a few gigs. The engine revved and then fell dormant as we pulled into the gravel parking lot that night and the band was already a few minutes late so they had to get inside and get set-up for the gig. During the gig I sat in the back with the owner and a few other folks. As usual my uncle and I were the only two white people in the place. After the show the band returned to the parking lot about 2 AM and lifted the hood. A long handled, silver flashlight showed that the fan belt had not just slipped off but was busted. Leon said he could use some panty hose to make a make-shift belt that would probably get us home. I slipped back into the bar and talked a female patron out of her panty hose and flashed back out to the gravel lot presenting my prize. Leon shook his head, “Boy, I don’t even want to know” and installed the ersatz fan belt. It got us home and to the Napa parts store the next day.



Ninth birthday. My mom had bought a used chopper bike with a banana seat. We stripped it down to the frame, sanded it, and repainted it black. My party was at my grandparents’ house in Ballentine. We had watermelon, cake and ice cream. My father and grandfather had reassembled the black chopper and my big birthday gift was a set of plastic panels to mount on the bike with number stickers to put on the white plastic panels. It even had a red, white, and blue ‘flag’ Number One. As things settled down and people talked, my uncle David came to me and told me to be ready at ten o’clock that night, he had a special present for me.


I spent that night with my grandparents who went to bed about 9:00. Right at ten my uncle David crept into the bedroom I was in and took me through the kitchen and out the back door. We walked to the church next door and got into his truck and headed towards Eau Claire and Tubby’s club. Mama Jewell smiled bigger than usual as we entered. We sat down at the bar, another local band was playing on stage. After a few songs they asked me to come on stage and join them in John Lee Hooker’s “Boom, Boom, Boom”, me beating a tambourine in time with the music. Towards the end of the song the crowd became energized as a group of dudes came through the front door, the crowd parting as the last member of the group made his way towards the stage, Mama Jewell wiping off the front table, placing a cloth table cloth on the small round table, and lighting a small red glass candle. No table in the place had ever had a table cloth, much less a cloth one. And a candle. Too many drunks and partying to have fire. The four guys sat down and I realized that the man who attracted all the attention was James Brown. He had played a concert at the Township Auditorium in Columbia earlier that night and he had come to Tubby’s for an after party. My uncle David knew one of the guys that worked the stage crew at the auditorium and it was the crew member that suggested Tubby’s when Brown asked about a juke joint they could go to after the show.


“I almost feel like I’m at home”. Brown was born down the road in Barnwell. A few folks approached the table seeking autographs as the band continued to play. Mama Jewell went up front after few minutes to shoo away the fans. She said something into Mr. Brown’s ear and he laughed out loud above the volume of the band and pointed at me. He stood up and waved me over. I looked around sure it wasn’t me he was motioning to. The bar stools were empty around me so I got down and started towards the front, Brown watching me approach.


“Eddie-boy, I hear you got SOOUULL”.


“I love music. I like your music, Mr. Brown.” I couldn’t believe James Brown was talking to me.


“Call me James, little man.”


“Yes, sir,” I replied.


“Me and the boys gonna play a few shortly. I want you to join me on stage for a song or two. I hear you play the hell out of a tambourine.”


I just smiled.


“See you in a few minutes.”


I nodded and returned to the bar stool wondering what just happened.


At the end of the set the band that had been playing stepped off stage for a break. James Brown and his band walked onto the stage and picked up the instruments, tuning them as they arranged chords and acknowledged the crowd’s yells and whistles. They opened with “Hot Pants” before moving to “Get Up (I Feel Like A) Sex Machine”. By this point the joint was jiving, people dancing between the tables. James Brown motioned me forward while he announced, “I want to welcome to the stage a little man I just met who knows how to get down. A cotton topped, soul brother.” The crowd realized they were talking about me and parted so I could get through the crowd. Mama Jewell handed me a tambourine and the band started into “I’m Black, and I’m Proud”. I started slapping that tambourine on my leg and dancing next to James Brown. Everyone that had been seated got up and joined the others dancing. Brown started shuffling his feet in time to the music as he watched me beating that tambourine. The hot lights and stage fright got me sweating quickly. Brown was already drenched. The band moved into “The Payback”. Brown performed more signature dance moves as he pushed the microphone stand away from him before grabbing the mic cable and pulling the mic back to him.  I sat down exhausted and still not believing I had been on stage with James Brown finished the song and saw me sitting on the side of the stage. He motioned me back over as the band broke into “Make It Funky”, Brown dropping down and popping up into split after split before moving into “Super Bad.” I looked over and saw my uncle on bass and Leroy on guitar. Mama Jewell was in front of James Brown putting on a dance show just for him, Brown singing the words, “Super Bad” amongst the “God Gawd, ya’ll” and “I want to kiss myself.”

Eventually he slowed things down with “Papa Don’t Take No Mess”, me still rattling the tambourine and shuffling and sliding my feet as Brown had done. It was during this song that Brown announced, “this boy is the blackest little white boy I ever did see.” The crowd went nuts. I lost my mind. I remember a man giving me something cold to drink as I sat at the bar in a sweat-drenched afterglow of flashing fame.


I don’t remember much after that. I remember riding back to my grandparent’s house in Ballentine, the truck windows down and the cool night air blowing on me. David parked in the church parking lot next to the house and he carried me, half-asleep, through the thin wood line, around the fence, and back into my grandparents’ house.


I woke up my grandparents about four in the morning screaming “Lord, help me. I’m gonna die,” as I threw up Schlitz malt liquor. I have flash backs to this day of the seemingly non-stop stream of Schlitz vomit in the bathroom hall. I can still see the linoleum floor pattern and remember the cold porcelain. Several hours later the previous night’s events unfolded in my grandmother’s kitchen. Once again David was in the dog house.


That was the last of my nights in black juke joints, at least for a while. It was also the most fun I’d had since taking my lion to school for “bring your pet to school day”, but that’s a story for another time.



For my Uncle David who, no lie, let me shift gears when I was four.

Sons of Malarkey: North Carolina's First Motorcycle Gang

Early photograph made in Concord of Liam Mularchy with a "borrowed" Indian motorcycle.

Few people know that Cabarrus County is home of North Carolina's first motorcycle gang. The gang founder was Irish immigrant Liam Mularchy who arrived in America in 1909 after hearing about Cabarrus County from his Dulin cousins. Born in 1895, Liam Mularchy was no saint growing up in County Cork, Ireland and left the country with several warrants for his arrest.

Liam Mularchy's first two years in America were uneventful, arriving in Philadelphia before quickly making his way to Cabarrus County. He is listed in the 1910 Cabarrus County census living with his cousin Sugar Dulin in what is now the Midland area. Sugar Dulin's occupation is listed as blacksmith in the census but folks in the area knew Sugar Dulin as a small time, high quality moonshine maker. Liam Mularchy made money through various odd jobs that included clerk at Dr. W.W. Flowe's general store and sexton for Buffalo Creek Presbyterian Church.

Mularchy's first motorcycle ride was on a stolen Otto model in Ireland at the age of fourteen. He soon began stealing other motorcycles for what most people thought as joy riding, Mularchy was using the rides to form opinions about the various motorcycle brands and models. After his initial quiet life in Cabarrus County, Mularchy's first run in with the law concerned a stolen Indian motorcycle in Concord in June, 1911. A few months later he was arrested for stealing a Harley-Davidson in east Charlotte. The Harley was found three days later rapped around a tree on Highway 24/27. Mularchy was arrested at the Cannon Hospital in Concord as he recovered from his injuries.

The next summer Mularchy settled on a single brand, preferring the locally built model from the now defunct Dixie Motorcycle Works. Mularchy often commented that the Otto, Diamler, Indian, and Harley-Davidson had nothing on the power generated by the Dixie engine. The other brands provided some comfort to the rider through springs and design; however the Dixie Motorcycle was likened to an rocket-powered iron rail that went an astounding 75 miles per hour. Liam Mularchy incorporated the Dixie Motorcycle company's use of the Confederate flag into the original emblems of the gang, a four leaf clover with the Confederate flag's blue cross on red background. The gang's motto was Go hIfreann leat!, Irish Gaelic for "To hell with you!"

When World War broke out in Europe, Mularchy  returned to England and volunteered for the Irish Guards, an all-Irish regiment in the British army. Mularchy distinguished himself in combat, taking active roles in the battles of the Marne, Ypres, Somme, Cambrai, and Flanders. Several times he was offered promotions but would accept no rank higher than corporal. Several times he was busted to private for drinking or wild cavorting with local French women but could always be counted on in battle. Mularchy returned to America in 1919, sporting his ribbons, wound stripes, and several medals, including the Victoria Cross and French Legion of Honor. He was recommended for the American Distinguished Flying Cross for a raid on a German airstrip until it was discovered that he had stolen the Sopwith Camel while it was warming up on the tarmac.

 While overseas, Mularchy's gang remained active but lacked the flamboyance it's leader provided. Member's Jimmy "Scooter" Hill and Clarence "Tools" Stirewalt occasionally made the papers by out running the local police or disturbing the peace in downtown Concord as they rode down Union Street on Sunday morning raising hell and shooting pistols.

Mularchy's war stories and battle wounds only made him more popular with the ladies and the dare-devil combat only raised the bar for his exploits once he returned to civilian life in Cabarrus County. His banked military pay soon ran out and Mularchy needed a steady source of income. Prohibition rocketed Sugar Dulin's illegal liquor business. Dulin was one of only a few moonshiners with the business sense to bring in money before delivering the product by annual or semi-annual subscription. Sugar's brother Seamus was quite the dandy, the ladies man of the three. Seamus spent much of his time in more socially elite circles in downtown Charlotte. It was Sugar Dulin's 'shine that was served to the gentlemen in William Henry Belk's house on Hawthorne Avenue. Dulin's was also served in the Queen's College President's House, but only to the closest of friends. In Concord, wealthy businessmen like Charles A. Cannon and John Barnhardt proudly displayed Dulin's work in fine crystal decanters with the Dulin red and blue enameled clover crest. Charles Cannon's usual toast was "Go hlfreann leat!" with a wink and a smile.

Sugar Dulin sold subscriptions to his moonshine and the gang's first purpose was to deliver the moonshine to subscribers as each new batch was ready. The original gang members were Mularchy, Sugar Dulin, and Dulin's brother Seamus. Liam quickly sought like minded men with an aversion for the law and a need for speed. Mularchy made his way throughout the North Carolina Piedmont charming women and robbing bars and gas stations. Often he would make his get-a-way with a girl on his bike but stopping to let her off at the county line, lest he be arrested for kidnapping or transporting women across county or state lines for immoral purposes. Mularkey was famous for providing a glorious meal for a lovely lady, leaving a big tip, but failing to pay the check as he absconded with the girl. Several times we also paid off the mortgage for some poor family whose fight against eviction had made the papers. He even purchased a new bell for Bellewater Presbyterian, a black church founded by the former slave members of Buffalo Creek Presbyterian.

One time Mularchy delivered gallons of bootleg liqour and all four of Concord's regular prostitutes to the Robert E. Lee Training School, a juvenile detention center on Highway 49. Mularchy provided bootleg liquor for nearly any boy that desired it but limited time with the women of low virtue to boys aged sixteen and above. The following Sunday every minister in the county preached on the evils of alcohol and sexual promiscuity using Mularchy as their example. The boys at Lee Training secretly branded themselves with self-made tattoos of Mularchy's clover-leaf icon. As the men aged, they quietly held re-unions to commemorate the day Liam Mularchy "made them men." Even the surviving  prostitutes attended most years.

As Mularchy's exploits made the area papers, his last name was Anglicized to "Malarkey." The early Sons of Malarkey jackets and papers feature the original Gaelic  "Mularchy" spelling and motto in Gaelic. Sometime during the 1930's the members moved to the more widely recognized English spelling "Malarkey", capitalizing on the now locally famous name.

Following prohibition Sugar Dulin became a legitimate businessman and the use of roughnecks on motorcycles to deliver bootleg liquor was no longer needed.

By World War II, Liam Mularchy was nearing fifty years-old and the flamboyant events occurred less often. America's entrance into the war took all the crazy young men to Europe or Asia and the few remaining took advantage of the high wages the labor shortage produced to settle down. Sugar Dulin was a wealthy, respected businessman who had diversified into the textile business and opened a small bank in Mt. Pleasant. Seamus Dulin was shot to death in Charlotte, caught in the arms of a wealthy banker's wife. Liam Mularchy met his demise one night in August, 1945, celebrating the end of the war in Europe. Riding home on his favorite Dixie bike, he had too much moonshine and drove into the trees. Mularchy was killed instantly but amazingly the bike wasn't scratched. Cabarrus Creamery owner Robert L. Burrage, a former Sons of Malarkey member, purchased the motorcycle from the estate and displayed it at the Creamery for years.

As rambunctious young men returned from the war, many near-do-wells sought to capitalize on the "Sons of Malarkey" name and adopted it for their gang. By the mid-1950s the gang was dealing drugs and involved in prostitution rings in Concord and Albermarle. Robert E. Burrage, son of Robert L. Burrage, said his father was ashamed of the later group using the Malarkey name. "They were an embarrassment, a damn embarrassment! Daddy said the original Sons of Malarkey may have broken the law but it was done in good humor. Other than bootleg alcohol they never touched drugs and they may have paid a few girls for their services but they were never pimps or loan sharks."

The second Sons of Malarkey group fell apart sometime in the Sixties. No one in Cabarrus County cared about them and there was little to attract a young man to the group. Hell bent boys moved to Charlotte attracted by the increased opportunity for profit through real graft. Boys who inherited a taste for law breaking on a local scale were regaled with the exploits of the original Sons of Malarkey and the current version of the 1950s and '60s paled in comparison.

In dusty clothing trunks throughout Cabarrus and Union counties sit brown leather jackets embroidered with a four leaf clover and Gaelic script exclaiming "To hell with you!"

Witch Doctor




What-A-Burger #13

Mt. Pleasant, NC


Mama and I ride into town to get supper at the What-A-Burger. It's a hot, early August night. The air conditioner in the our single-wide has been working all day to cool the house and can't keep up. Daddy's in Charleston painting an apartment complex. Mama drives the sky blue Ford Pinto into town. My Happy Days lunch box sits on the back seat.

Mama orders us two Witch Doctors and we watched Felicia get a large white Styrofoam cup, drop in a lettuce leaf and pour in some pickle juice and ice before quickly tapping a little of each soft drink -- cherry soda, Sun Drop, and Cheerwine. Felicia throws in a few pickle slices on top before putting the lid on. Mama orders a big cheeseburger all-the-way with mustard, chili, and slaw. I order a chuck wagon. Levita yells, "One big! One wagon!" back to Johnny in the kitchen. We sit down at one of the booths along the front window. 

There are two men in the next booth talking about country music. One man is wearing a white work shirt with a Sentry Fire logo on one side and "Bobby" in blue cursive on the other. He's wearing a "Hill & Sons" hat and smokes a cigarette. I can see from the pickles that he's drinking a Witch Doctor too. The other man has his back to us but he's wearing a plaid shirt and a off-white fedora hat.

Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" is playing on the radio behind the counter. Felicia and Levita talk about Steve Perry. Felicia thinks Steve Perry looks like a girl with his long hair. Felicia and I are in eighth-grade together. Levita is her older sister and Johnny is her older brother. They both graduated from the high school two years ago. Felicia, Levita, and Johnny's mama Jeanette manages the What-A-Burger. Jeanette opens in the morning with Merle (Muriel) and her kids close. Johnny works from lunch to close in the kitchen.

Felicia brings food to the two men in the next booth. "Mr. Avett, how's your wife?" Mrs. Avett was a teacher at my elementary school.

"Susie's fine. Were you one of her students?", the man asks.

"I was. She was my third grade teacher." Felicia says.

"I'll tell her you say 'hello'," Mr. Avett says as he smiles politely.

I see a stark naked man cross Main Street and walk down the sidewalk past Moose Pharmacy towards the What-A-Burger door. The What-A-Burger parking light is flooded with light. The man's skin was pasty white except his arms, neck, and face. There is a cigarette hanging on his lip.

The man walks through the front door and up to the counter to order. Felicia smiles, not sure what to say to grown man with no clothes placing an order like it is any other day. Levita turns around, stunned, "Billy, what the hell's going on?"

Billy, "Not much. How you tonight, Levita?"

"Billy, you feeling OK tonight?", Levita asks.

"Hot as hell. Thirsty."

"I can see that. Don't you think you aught to put on some clothes?", Levita asks.

"Can you just get me a drink, Levita? I'm awfully thirsty."

"Sure. Witch Doctor?"

"Yeah." Billy takes another drag from the cigarette.

"Johnny, can you come around here?"

Johnny looks through the kitchen window and sees Billy standing at the counter. "Why?"

I realized that, from Johnny's perspective, he just sees Billy from the waist up so it looks like he's shirtless but that's all.

"Cause Billy don't have on any clothes. That's all." Levita retorts.

"Well it's hot outside tonight. He's probably been working at the fillin' station in the heat. What do you want me to do?

"He don't have ANY clothes. No pants, no nothing." Levita looks back through the vacant kitchen window for Johnny's response.

"Dang it, Levita! I can't cook these orders and deal with the customers too. Call the cops if Billy's naked."

The entire time Billy's just staring at the lighted menu on the wall, high behind the counter like it was any other night.

Looking at Billy again, Levita calmly asks, "Billy, why don't you have on any clothes?"

"Without adjusting his gaze, Billy replies after taking another drag from his cigarette, "What do you mean?"

Levita turns to the wall phone and calls the police. "Peggy, this is Levita at the What-A-Burger, can you send someone down. Billy from the fillin' station's in here, butt naked."

"Order up!," Johnny shouts through the kitchen window. Felicia grabs the plates and walks them to our booth. Billy's still waiting on his Witch Doctor.

Felicia puts the plates on the table. Mama asks, "What's up with Billy?"

"I don't know. He ain't ever been like this." as Felicia turns and returns behind the counter.

"Levita, you gonna make that Witch Doctor for me?" Billy asks.

"Sure thing, Billy. Do you want anything else?", says Levita.

"Some onion rings." Still waiting like anyone else would.

The Mount Pleasant Police station is just two blocks down from the What-A-Burger so it doesn't take long for officer Barringer to arrive. Barringer smiles as he sees me as he walks through the front door. Officer Barringer comes into the middle-school sometimes to tell us how drugs are bad for us and things.

"Billy, you feeling OK tonight?," Barringer asks.

"Fine, Ryan. You?"

"I'm OK. Levita called me down here cause you ain't wearing any clothing. Did you know that you aren't wearing any clothing?"

Reaching for where his work shirt pocket would have been, Billy realizes that his Marlboro's aren't in his shirt pocket as usual. His hand slips down his chest as he tries to find the non-existent pocket.

"Must have taken off my shirt in the heat," a still dazed Billy says.

"You don't have on any pants either, Billy. We can't have you in here in front of women and kids butt naked. Let's take you back to the fillin' station and find your clothes."

"Levita ain't give me my Witch Doctor and onion rings yet."

"Billy, I don't think you have any money to pay for them. Let's go back to the station and get your clothes so you can pay for the food. Levita will get your order while we get your clothes."

"But I'm awfully thirsty. Can I get my Witch Doctor before we go?"

"Billy, we need to get some clothes on you -- now. You're making a scene in front of everyone."

I could see something in Billy's face change. Up until now he was dazed or talking normally. Now he looked upset.

"I'M NOT MAKING A SCENE, RYAN! I just want my food!" as he quickly turns towards officer Barringer, pushing the officer back with his hands.

With his left hand, Officer Barringer grabs Billy's right hand as Barringer reaches with his right hand for his handcuffs. "Billy, I don't want to do this but you can't act like this."

The two men are pushing and grabbing for each other as officer Barringer tries to get cuffs on Billy who clearly still doesn't see how anything is out of the ordinary. They tussle with each other before barging out the front door. Officer Barringer pushes Billy's face into the large front window as he finally gets both of Billy's hands cuffed."

"Order up!" from the kitchen window. Everyone in the place but Johnny is watching Billy and officer Barringer.

"Dammit, Ryan! I'm just trying to get a fuckin' Witch Doctor!" comes through the front window.

"ORDER UP!!," as Johnny glares through the kitchen window as he places the next order on the counter. Johnny now sees the naked Billy pressed, face-up against the front window. Everyone is still watching Billy and officer Barringer. Billy's pecker and balls are now pressed up against the glass, Billy's cussin' up a storm. A minute later and the two are in the patrol car pulling out of the parking lot.

Mr. Avett stands up out of his booth and looks at Bobby, "I guess the What-A-Burger #13 doesn't welcome naked customers." Bobby shakes his head and laughs, "Jim, you ain't right."



Billy had been working on a gas leak at the filling station and didn't realize he was getting high from the fumes. No charges were pressed.

For Aunt Fran.