Budweiser Blues, fiction by Cecile Dixon

Bud­weis­er Blues

by Cecile Dixon


When my olé lady, Kourt­ney run off with Dwayne, I took to drink­ing beer. A lot of beer. I still got up every morn­ing and went to work. My broth­er Jimmy’s sheet rock busi­ness didn’t suf­fer because of my drink­ing. But, as soon as five o’clock rolled around I’d climb in my truck and head to The Liquor Barn for my night­ly case of Bud and two packs of Marl­boro reds, in the box.

I didn’t pay the nosey ass cashier no mind when he stat­ed, “You sure buy a lot of beer.”

That’s a fact,” I answered and walked to the door.

See you tomor­row evening Lar­ry,” he called to my back.

At home I’d open a can of some­thing that Kourt­ney had left in the kitchen. She’d either been plan­ning on leav­ing and thought I’d starve or she was prep­ping for Armaged­don, cause the pantry was stuffed with canned goods. There must have been two cas­es of pork and beans alone. Not the good kind, but the store brand.

I leaned against the sink and ate pork and beans, straight from the can. That lit­tle bit of flab, that weren’t like no pork I’d ever seen, went into the trash.

After I’d fin­ished my sup­per, I iced down my Bud’s in the cool­er on the front porch, start­ed a George Jones cd and kicked back in the reclin­er that I’d moved out there. I’d fig­ured that after Kourt­ney left I could dec­o­rate any way I want­ed. My style was com­fort­able. By the time the cd got to “He Stopped Lov­ing Her Today”, I was on my fifth beer. Good tim­ing. I stood and pissed off the porch and sang with George. A dog down the road howled along.

What’s the mat­ter, your bitch leave too?” I yelled into the dark­ness. The dog quit howl­ing and the disc end­ed. Time for Hank Junior. I popped the top on can six, but before I could start “Row­dy Friends”, I heard the dis­tinct sound of a Cum­mings Diesel. To be exact Dwayne’s Dodge. The hair on my neck prick­led and I downed the beer with one swal­low and was open­ing anoth­er when that black Dodge rolled up in front of the house.

The moon was pert-near full that night. I didn’t have any trou­ble mak­ing out Dwayne set­ting behind the wheel. He didn’t say noth­ing, just looked hard at me. So I give him my hard­est look back. After a long minute he grinned, flipped me the bird and floored that Dodge. Black smoke rolled out of its twin stacks.

You moth­er fuck­er,” I yelled at his tail­lights. I could feel hot mad burn­ing my jaws. Son of a bitch might get away with tak­ing my woman, cause after all she will­ing­ly walked out the door, but he wasn’t gonna rub my nose in it. I threw my cool­er in the truck and lit out after him.

Now it’s a fact that a Cum­mins diesel is a strong engine and it’ll pull a brick house out of a shit hole, but it ain’t known for speed. I floored the ped­al on my old gas guz­zling-Ford and it fish­tailed onto the pave­ment, before lay­ing a lit­tle rub­ber then it smooth assed flew up the hol­lar. It weren’t long before I came upon Dwayne’s taillights.

I down­shift­ed and slammed right into his bumper. The quar­ter inch plate steel my winch was bolt­ed to held fast and I heard a crunch from his tail­gate. Olé Dwayne must not have been expect­ing me to pull up on him like that cause he swerved straight into the ditch, and before I could get stopped that steel bumper of mine caught his rear quar­ter pan­el. It opened up the side of that truck bed like open­ing a can of peanuts. The sound of split­ting met­al drowned out the noise of both motors. My cool­er flopped around and before I could grab, it slid to the floor. The lid held fast.

I jerked the wheel hard to the left and my bumper tore loose from Dwayne’s Dodge, tak­ing a big hunk of his door with it. I stopped the truck and climbed out to sur­vey the dam­age. The only dam­age to my Ford, far as I could tell was my steel bumper was jacked around a lit­tle and my winch might have got­ten pinned up. Now that Dodge was a mess. Most of the bed was gone or wadded up. The tail­gate was lay­ing in the mid­dle of road about twen­ty-foot back. Dwayne was try­ing to shoul­der his door open with­out any luck. He final­ly give up and climbed out the pas­sen­ger side. I was feel­ing bad about his truck until he opened his mouth.

Fuck you to hell and back Lar­ry,” he spit the words into the night. “Look what you did to my truck. I just got it painted.”

It came back to me. This was the sawed off fuck­er that Kourt­ney left me for. He start­ed this whole mess tonight. All my mad come roar­ing back. We stepped toward each oth­er at the same time. Some­where about the mid­dle of the road I swung with my right. Me being taller and longer my fist con­nect­ed with his nose. I felt, more than heard, his nose give way. When you’re hot mad there’s noth­ing more sat­is­fy­ing than the crunch of cartilage.

Blood poured from his nos­trils. He swung at me and before I could duck, his fist caught my jaw. My right ear rang. Pain shot into my tem­ple. “My mama hits hard­er, you fuckin pussy,” I yelled.

Now I’ve heard ath­letes talk about get­ting in the zone. It’s true for a fact. When your body gets loaded with adren­a­lin you don’t feel pain. All you can think about is get­ting to the fin­ish line. Or, in my case, whip­ping Dwayne’s ass. I want­ed to give him the pain of my emp­ty bed. The pain of talk­ing to myself. The pain of pork and beans.

I stepped in and land­ed three short jabs into his nose. His eyes began to swell. Dwayne land­ed a gut punch at the base of my breast­bone. Air whooshed out my mouth. I dou­bled over to try to catch my breath. He broad armed me across the back of my head. I stepped back out of his reach. Sweet night air filled my burn­ing lungs.

I hand­ed a hard blow to his swollen right eye. The lid split. He raised his chin up. My next punch caught his teeth. I felt my knuck­les tear open. He went for my gut again. I danced and his fist land­ed on my right side. I jabbed his right eye again. Blood washed over his face. He caught my lips with a hook. My mouth filled with blood. I sum­moned every ounce of mus­cle in my body. I swung a round­house. It hit his left tem­ple. He went to his knees hard, like a sack of led. I kicked him in his left ribcage. Bone crunched. He fold­ed up on the pave­ment. I was gear­ing for anoth­er kick when he raised his hand. He was done for. Whooped.

I stag­gered back against my truck and let my mind adjust to the fact that it was over. I leaned there, try­ing to slow my breath­ing and all the pain I hadn’t felt rushed in as the adren­a­lin fad­ed. There wasn’t a spot on my body that wasn’t throb­bing, burn­ing, bust­ed or plain raw.

Dwayne groaned and rolled onto his back. I could see his chest heav­ing. I spit a mouth­ful of blood and teeth out. My Ford was still run­ning so I opened the door and cut the engine. The red Cole­man cool­er was wedged on its side in the floor­board. I wig­gled it free and opened the lid, grab­bing two beers.

I tapped Dwayne’s boot with my toe, “here.” I hand­ed him a beer and he pulled him­self to sit­ting before open­ing it.

I sat down on the Ford’s tail­gate and resist­ed the urge to groan with the move­ment. The first mouth­ful of my beer stung like rub­bing alco­hol and I used it to rinse with before spit­ting it out. The sec­ond drink went smoother. I watched Dwayne fum­ble to get his beer open. When he final­ly did he drank a long pull.

I fin­ished my beer and threw the can in the ditch before get­ting out my tow chain. “Come on Dwayne, let’s get you out. I got­ta work in the morning.”


Kourt­ney, when are you and Lar­ry gonna give me a grandbaby?”

Every fuck­ing Sun­day before din­ner was over, my moth­er in law would ask me this same damn ques­tion. Today, before I could give her a vague answer my hus­band, Lar­ry, spoke up.

Mama we’re try­ing like heck,” Lar­ry said with fake seri­ous­ness and put his arm around my waist, “We try every chance we get. As a mat­ter of fact we…”

Bea, my moth­er in law laughed and swat­ted Lar­ry with a dish­tow­el, “You are bad, down right vulgar.”

The moment passed. I dread­ed these Sun­days and tried to get out of com­ing every sin­gle time. Some­times the feigned headache worked. Today it hadn’t. So here I sat, sur­round­ed by Larry’s fam­i­ly, his par­ents, and his three sis­ters their hus­bands and so many scream­ing kids I couldn’t count them. All dressed in their Sun­day-go-to-meetin clothes and cov­ered with the smell of fried chick­en grease.

Bea hadn’t liked me since the day Lar­ry and me run off to Ten­nessee and got mar­ried. She said we should have wait­ed and had a church wed­ding with a preach­er. She sus­pect­ed I was preg­nant, and then she was dis­ap­point­ed when I wasn’t. We got mar­ried because of a baby all right. But it weren’t mine. It was my mama, preg­nant at thir­ty-eight with num­ber six. Each one of us with a dif­fer­ent dad­dy. I wasn’t hang­ing around as the live in baby sit­ter any­more. I con­vinced Lar­ry to elope.

This Sun­day we were the first to leave the in-laws house. We usu­al­ly were if I had my way.

In the car on the way home, Lar­ry said, “You sure are qui­et. You pissed about something?”

No,” I mum­bled and lit a cigarette.

You can’t let Mama get to you. She sure don’t mean no harm.” Lar­ry reached over and squeezed my thigh. “She don’t know how bad we want a baby.”

I don’t want to talk about it right now Lar­ry. I’m tired, I just want to go home.” I low­ered the win­dow a crack to let the smoke out.

Maybe its time we went to see one of them fer­til­i­ty doc­tors.” He swal­lowed deep and stared straight at the road. “After all we been mar­ried four years and…” He let his voice trail off with­out say­ing it. With­out say­ing four years mar­ried and we didn’t have a baby.

I ain’t ready to be poked and prod­ded,” I reached down to turn the radio on and Lar­ry grabbed my hand.

Kourt­ney, we…” I jerked my hand away and cut him off.

I said not now.” I turned the radio on. Even though it was a com­mer­cial for a lawn­mow­er, I cranked the vol­ume up, loud enough to drown Lar­ry out.

That night he gave up try­ing to talk to me and drank beer until he passed out in his reclin­er. I slept alone and pulled the cov­ers over my head the next morn­ing when he came in to get ready for work. He stood beside the bed for a minute. I pre­tend­ed I was asleep. I didn’t want pick up where we left off the night before. He must have been too hung over to fuss because he left with­out say­ing anything.

After I heard his truck pull out of the dri­ve, I got up and show­ered and got ready for work. It was my ear­ly day. I’d have to open and get my reg­is­ter draw­er filled before turn­ing on the lights and unlock­ing the Pig­gly Wig­gly door. I didn’t mind ear­ly days. It meant I’d get to leave ear­ly and have two full hours of me time. Time I didn’t have to account for.

I fixed my cof­fee and added an extra splash of sweet Ital­ian cream­er. The liv­ing room reeked of beer and I start­ed to pick up the emp­ty cans that were strewn around Larry’s reclin­er. But I stopped myself. They weren’t my mess. I reached to the top shelf of the book­case and pulled down my grandma’s old Bible. The zip­pered case was worn and cracked, so I was extra care­ful each morn­ing when I took it down. I ran my fin­gers across the gold let­ter­ing, Ada Jenk­ins.

Sigh­ing I tugged the zip­per open and felt inside the back cov­er for the pale green com­pact. The phar­ma­cist label read No-Ova, with Kourt­ney Hoskins under­neath. I pushed a small pink pill from its bub­ble and popped it in my mouth. Then I tucked the com­pact back in the Bible and placed it care­ful­ly on the top shelf before swal­low­ing the pill with a sip of coffee.

Kids, was all I ever heard from Lar­ry and his mama. Like hav­ing a bunch of brats was the sole rea­son to live. I want­ed to have fun, to dance and laugh and par­ty. I want­ed to fuck for fuck’s sake. I want­ed to do all the things my mama and her brats cheat­ed me out of.

On the way to work I punched num­bers into my cell. I had them mem­o­rized because I couldn’t keep it stored in my phone. Dwayne answered on the third ring.

Hey, guess what? It’s my ear­ly day,” I held the phone to my shoul­der so I could down­shift at the light.

Ummm, I bet I might be able to sneak away,” Dwayne’s voice low­ered to a growl.

Where do you want to meet at?” I pulled into the Pig­gly Wig­gly lot. Del­ma Peters was already wait­ing at the door. She glared at me as I ignored her and con­tin­ued my conversation.

We could meet at the creek over on coun­ty line…” Dwayne whined, “I’m kin­da strapped for cash right now. Car sales are down, so my com­mis­sion wasn’t much.”

I don’t real­ly fan­cy the idea of get­ting buck assed necked in broad day­light.” Dwayne wouldn’t ever take a prize for his smarts. “I got the cash, I’ll meet you out on the lake, at the Lodge. I’ll try to get a room around back.”

Dwayne chuck­led, “That’s my girl. I love you Babe.”

I’d bet­ter get my forty five dol­lars worth.”

Oh trust me you will.”

I end­ed the call. “I guess I’d bet­ter get this store open so Del­ma can get her some Ex-Lax. Olé bitch is lookin kin­da con­sti­pat­ed.” I said to myself as I plas­tered my best cus­tomer ser­vice smile across my face.


Dwayne stared at the dark­ness in the direc­tion of the ceil­ing. He didn’t want to move and wake up Kourt­ney. He could feel her there, sleep­ing on his arm, like she didn’t have a care in the world. Sleep­ing in his bed, in his bed­room, in his apart­ment. In her mind she believed she had a right to be there.

Soon as Dwayne got home from work, there she’d be, wait­ing. Wait­ing, like she had every evening for the last two months. At first it was nice, Kourt­ney wait­ing with his din­ner ready. Wait­ing to drink some beer. Wait­ing to fire up a joint. Wait­ing, ready to fuck. But now, it had got­ten to the point where her con­stant wait­ing turned him off. She was just too will­ing. Last night he’d just want­ed to watch The Big Bang The­o­ry. But then she’d rubbed his crotch and his sol­dier had betrayed him.

So now here he laid, a pris­on­er in his own bed. Back when he first met her down at the Two Step, he was flat­tered when she bought him a beer. She was good look­ing and for an old mar­ried chick she had a body that made him stand to attention.

They’d been slow danc­ing to Josh Turn­er growl out Your Man. Kourt­ney whis­pered in his ear, “Show me your truck.”

In the park­ing lot, unlike most girls he hadn’t had to coax her into any­thing. She didn’t object when he rubbed his hands over her ass as he picked her up and set her in his truck. She’d pulled her jeans off and tugged his down before he had time to even feel guilty cause she was mar­ried. She didn’t even both­er to take her ring off.

It had got to be a reg­u­lar thing. She’d call him when she could sneak out. It was fun and he was free to live like he had, see who he want­ed. All with the side ben­e­fit of a steady piece.

But, then two months ago, at three in the morn­ing, she’d knocked on his door. “I did it,” she said like she’d won a prize. “I left Larry.”

She threw her arms around him. He pushed her back. “What the fuck did you do that for?”

She looked like she was going to cry, “So we could be togeth­er,” she touched his face. “Like we talked about.”

Dwayne tried to remem­ber back. Lots of times she’d talk about leav­ing olé Lar­ry, about what an ass­hole Lar­ry was. Dwayne would grunt agree­ment and try to grab one of her big olé tit­ties. He didn’t care if she left Lar­ry. That didn’t con­front him none. But he didn’t want a wife, Larry’s, some­body else, or his own. Now he guessed was too late to tell her.

Every Sat­ur­day night she still want­ed to go to the Two Step and dance. She could dance with whichev­er good olé boy caught her eye. But, if he so much as tipped his hat at a girl, they’d be hell to pay. She wouldn’t even wait until they left the bar. She’d cuss him right there in front of God and every­body. Then she’d tie in on the girl, threat­en to scratch her eyes out. Dwayne knew he was fast becom­ing the laugh­ing stock of the coun­ty. Pussy whipped was what they said.

Here he was lying with a whole woman snor­ing on his arm, when he’d only want­ed a lit­tle part of her. He care­ful­ly slid his arm from under her head. She mum­bled some­thing and smacked her lips a cou­ple times. He flexed his fin­gers to get the cir­cu­la­tion back. If only she’d stayed with Lar­ry. Now olé Lar­ry had want­ed her. He’d heard down at the garage that Lar­ry was still moan­ing the Kourt­ney left me blues. Dwayne slid his leg off the edge of the bed. Maybe if he could con­vince Lar­ry that Kourt­ney saw her mis­take, olé Lar­ry might take her back.

Dwayne shift­ed his weight to the edge of the bed. Kourt­ney flung her arm out and slapped him across the chest. Dwayne froze until she rolled over and her breath­ing got even and deep. He’d go talk to Lar­ry tonight. Right now.

Slow­ly he crept out of bed and to the liv­ing room, slid into yesterday’s jeans and car­ried his boots to the stoop to put them on. Once dressed, he put his truck in neu­tral and let it roll down the hill before start­ing it. He felt good. He was gonna be a free man again. Dwayne laughed out loud.

As he drove he prac­ticed what he’d say to Lar­ry. First off he have to say he was sor­ry. He wouldn’t have to lie. He was tru­ly sor­ry. Then he’d have to tell Lar­ry how sor­ry Kourt­ney was and how much she regret­ted leav­ing. This was where lying would come in handy. He’d have make Lar­ry believe that Kourt­ney was just pin­ing away.

He’d pull up and knock on the door, real respect­ful. When Lar­ry opened the door he’d stick out his hand and say, ‘Man I want to apol­o­gize for any hurt I’ve caused you and I’m here to try to make it right.’ Yeah, that was a good start. They’d shake hands and he’d wing it from there.

Dwayne swung a right off the high­way and onto Larry’s road. He sung along with the radio, “And this bird you can­not change.” He down shift­ed and let his diesel stacks cack­le. “Lord knows, I can't change.”

He saw Larry’s house just ahead. He low­ered the radio vol­ume and slowed down. Just as he was get­ting ready to turn in the dri­ve, he saw Lar­ry. The Dodge’s head­lights lit him up, stand­ing on the edge of the porch with a Bud in his hand. Behind him was a reclin­er, a box fan, a table with a boom box and a Cole­man cool­er. A par­ty on the porch.

Dwayne pulled his eyes back to Lar­ry. Lar­ry looked sur­prised, but he didn’t look heart­bro­ken. His jaw was tight, but he didn’t look like a man who want­ed his wife to come home. He looked like a man who was free to par­ty all night long. All night on his front porch if he want­ed to. One thing he sure as hell didn’t look like. He sure didn’t look like he want­ed Kourt­ney back.

All the hope Dwayne had felt just before came rush­ing out, like air from bal­loon. Lar­ry wouldn’t gonna take Kourt­ney back. He was stuck with her. Here Lar­ry stood with Dwayne’s free­dom, while Dwayne was sen­tenced to life with Kourt­ney. “Fly high, free bird, yeah,” played softly.

Slow­ly Dwayne raised his mid­dle finger.


Cecile Dixon is a retired ED nurse who, after a thir­ty-year sojourn to Ohio, has returned to her beloved Ken­tucky hills to write and raise goats and geese. Cecile holds and MFA from Blue­grass Writ­ers Stu­dio. Her work has been pub­lished in Dead Mule School of South­ern Lit­er­a­ture, Fried Chick­en and Cof­fee, Pine Moun­tain Sand and Grav­el, Still the Jour­nal, Women of Appalachia, Of A Cer­tain Age, KY Her­sto­ry and oth­er anthologies.

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