I read a newspaper article
recently that said that the weird thing about Americans is that they’re either ridiculously straight-laced
, or completely nuts
. John seemed to hold up this theory. He was the friend of a friend and when I met him in a bar he was hammered
. He claimed not to have been sober since the early Nineties. He had thinning hair, and a permanent mischievous grin.
I ignored him for most of the evening. I was trying to drunkenly seduce one of his female friends, and getting nowhere. But he caught my attention when I heard him yell, "I AM A PROFESSIONAL ROCK THROWER." I stared at him as he finished the story, and asked him to tell it again. It may or may not have been true. But it made me laugh.
John had some friends who were even crazier than him. When they were in college, they decided to go on a road trip and get loaded and laid in every Southern state. To a large extent, they succeeded.
After a few weeks of travelling, they found themselves, drunk and stoned, in a tiny redneck bar somewhere in the hills of some Bible Belt state.
It’s a real country bar. As they walk through the door, all conversation stops, and one-hundred bearded, buck-toothed faces turn to stare at them. John walked towards the bar, thinking, “5000 people in this town, and only five different surnames.” They ordered a couple of beers, and some chasers, and something to chase the chasers. The rest of the clientele returned to their conversations, but they could occasionally feel a suspicious eye on the back of their neck.
A few hours later, John and his friends were tanked and feeling a lot less cautious. They started whispering redneck jokes under their breaths and laughing raucously. They had consumed a lot of whiskey and snuck back out to the car for some smokes. They were so wasted that they failed to notice that the regulars had decided that they outstayed their welcome.
When it all began, John was sitting at the table. Bob, one of the guys, had eventually admitted that it was his round. He had staggered up to the bar and seemed to have been gone for ages. They didn’t even notice, until a booming Southern voice, bloody with rage, cut through the air.
“I’M GONNA FUCKING KILL YOU, MOTHERFUCKER.”
The guys slowly manoeuvred themselves around so they could see what was going on, just in time to see this enormous redneck with arms like oak trees. He was about to take a swing at Bob.
Bob, though drunk and stoned, was fast enough to sidestep the punch. While moving, he spun around on his heels, and ran at the door.
John and his friends, being drunk and stoned, thought this was the funniest damn thing they had seen in their entire lives.
They ran out after Bob and the irate redneck. Bob, who was the most unathletic person they knew, was breaking all sprinting records while evading the redneck. He had almost made it to the car when suddenly he stopped, dropped to the ground and came back up with a rock in his hand. The redneck slowed down. Bob stared him dead in the eye and shouted:
“I am a professional rock thrower. Don’t make me throw this rock at you.”
The redneck swore, and resumed running.
Bob took a classic pitcher’s stance, wound up, and hurled the rock straight at the redneck. It hit him square in the nuts. All the observers winced.
Bob grabbed another rock and stood still, panting heavily. The redneck, gasping, slowly picked himself up, muttering obscenities under his breath and began walking away. John and his friends started walking towards their car. The redneck walked over to his pickup and opened the door. Bob sensing danger, shouted again.
“I am a professional rock thrower. Stop right there, or I’ll throw another rock.”
The redneck dived into the pickup. Bob hurled the rock, neatly shattering the windscreen. A southern voice could be heard yelling “motherfucker!” from inside the truck.
The redneck re-emerged from the tuck, just as Bob was about to pick up another rock. John stopped laughing. The redneck was drawing a long shotgun from the pack of his car and was getting ready to turn to Bob.
Bob didn’t even shout his warning this time. He hurled the rock at a venomous pace. It smacked the redneck right between the eyes, who stopped for a moment, dropped the gun, and keeled over cartoon style.
At that exact moment, 100 rednecks came storming out of the bar, in a great tidal wave of denim and check shirts. The guys ran for their car. John dived into the driver’s seat. It started first time. He punched it to the floor, and flew out of there faster than one of Bob’s rocks.
They drove across two states before they felt safe enough to pull over. Eventually they did, and sat there in thankful silence. After a while they turned to Bob. “How the hell did you manage to hit him with that rock? Are you a professional baseball player or something?”
Bob thought about it. “No actually, I never really tried before today. I never made the Little League team. My pitching sucked.”