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Chapter One: A Stiff Shot Of Southern Comfort
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Chapter One: A Stiff Shot Of Southern Comfort
It's an idea I had for a novel, no title yet. No worries though, I'm sure I'll have something by chapter two. Enjoy!
[1,314 words]
Literary Fiction
Kevin Myrick

K Myrick

I'm currently a College Student enrolled at Auburn University in Auburn, AL. I'm studying Political Science, but thinking of changing my major to English, or double majoring. I'm interested in computers, the outdoors and of course, writing. I read a lot instead of watching TV, because in truth there is nothing more of value to watch on TV anymore.
[December 2003]
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Chapter One: A Stiff Shot Of Southern Comfort
Kevin Myrick

Two men were sitting at a table, quietly smoking and sipping coffee out of white china coffee cups. One of them, holding a newspaper looked over at the other man, and asked him a question.

“What do you think about this?” The man holding the newspaper handed it over to
his companion, and thus quoted the newspaper.

“It says that ‘He is only out to get prestige in the community and make more money.’ Damn it! I don’t care that much about money!

"Why do they have to pick on me?”

“I don’t know, but Helen should do something about this immediately.”

Helen was their lawyer. Both of them had their legal services handled by Helen for
twenty years now, and she had done an amazing job with the lawsuits they filed against
companies, newspaper publishers, and others who just happened to cross their path. They had,
unfortunately been greedy at times. But now, they had more money than they could both
collectively count. And they donated it to community projects.

“Fuck the newspapers.” Newspaper said. He grabbed another cigarette from the
silver case lying beside his ashtray. The two men had been coming to this coffee shop for
long enough that they both had their orders filled within minutes of their arrival, and
the waitress brought both men their own ashtrays. For the sake of argument, they had
invested enough money into the coffee shop to buy it three times over.

“If you feel that way Jim, then we won’t pursue the matter any further. You know
just as well as I do that it will get worse unless we get that editorial sacked, and

“Well, Harry, I just don’t know.”

“It’s not a question of knowing Jim, it’s a question of whether or not you feel
right about getting someone fired, AGAIN.”

“I guess you’re right, as always.”

“Of course I’m right Jim, I’m always right.”

Harry picked up his coffee, and took another sip while Jim sat silently and took
the last drag off of his Marlboro Red. He then stubbed the cigarette out in his ashtray and
pulled the phone from his trouser pocket and dialed the number he knew so well. Harry lit a
new cigarette for both men, and handed one to Jim. Jim spoke for a moment, asking a
receptionist for Helen and saying his name and waited for her to come on the phone. Both
men smirked, took a sip of their coffee respectively, and then toasted to a new usurper
taken down.

Meanwhile in the large newsroom of the paper in question, the editor walked up to the desk
of one Howard Newberry the third. Howard, after finishing his Journalism degree at a small
private school called Walkers-Glenn University, joined up with an old south newspaper in
Savannah, Georgia. He had caused such a fuss in the Savannah area with the little old
ladies that it was necessary for him to resign. Now, because of his disgrace, he works for
a small paper in St. Clair County, Alabama. It sits outside the city limits of Ashville,
Alabama, that sits just offshore of Big Canoe Creek. It’s a forty-five minute drive to
civilization in Birmingham.

Of course, Howard sat and wondered again at his desk why he was doing this shit
job, and not working for a paper that was more prestigious, much like the Atlanta
Journal-Constitution. He was a shoe-in for a job like that, until the whole ugly business
in Savannah and the coverage of what has now been dubbed ‘The Housewife Shooting’.

               * * *

The story had been that a housewife named Jeanette Wilcox of downtown historic
Savannah had accidentally shot her husband in the middle of the night thinking he was an
intruder. Her husband, a prominent lawyer of a large Savannah firm representing the
interests of the paper mills of the Coastal Empire had stumbled in drunk after being at the
bar with one of his law firm buddies. The general suspicion was, and one that eventually
he investigated and found to be true, was that Hadley Wilcox had been sleeping with his
secretary on a daily basis. The general consensus in the gossip circles was that Jeanette
had found out about his latest round of infidelity and become frustrated about his lying to
her. And since the opportunity struck, she shot him with the .38 revolver in their lamp
stand drawer. He was only wounded, but found out later that she knew about his infidelity.
He filed for divorce and pressed charges. This of course, was after Howard had printed the
story on page 5 of the local section.

Now, Howard had a new set of priorities. He knew, much like everyone else did, that
he had to get out of this stinking hell hole of a small town and to someplace he could
actually do some reporting. The old south, much like Ashville, Alabama, really wasn’t
suited to his particular brand of stories, and it reflected in his general performance as
a writer. He prayed to god every day thanking him that he at least had a novel or two in
publication. A fairly small publisher to say the least, but enough to live off of for a
while as he wrote his next one.

His editor walked to his desk in what the staff lovingly called “The Bullpen” and
signaled him to come into his office. His editor, Mr. John Hill of Ashville, pulled a
cigarette out of a pack and then offered one to Howard. Howard accepted, and then lit his
cigarette with the Bic he kept in his jeans. He had been out of cigarettes for the past
half an hour and was waiting until lunch to go buy more.

“Howard, I got a call from Jim Lofton’s attorney. He’s hoppin’ mad about that
editorial you wrote.” John said this with the expression of the best southern drawl you
could imagine in the Deep South, especially in St. Clair County, Alabama.

“What do you mean by ‘hoppin’ mad’? Are Helen and Jim actually “hoppin’”, or are
they just really pissed off at me?”


“Wow. I must have said something he didn’t like at all. Maybe it was the crack
about him donating money just to make more money…”

“No need for that now. Unfortunately though Howard, the shit is going to hit the
fan and they are threatening to sue the paper. I can’t let that happen, because then the
Birmingham paper is going to buy us out. And frankly, I don’t like to work for no one but

“So in other words, I’m getting the shit-end of the stick. Is that what you’re

“Well, yes. That would be about the size of it.”


“I know, I know. But it’s either they sue the shit out of the paper or I fire you.
I lose either way. I’d rather not lose the entire paper. But I tell ya what. You’ve been
lookin’ for another job anyhow, and I’ve got a friend up at the Chattanooga Times-Free Press.
 I’ll give him a call and see what I can do. It’d be an opportunity to make up for your
pass transgressions against the fine folks of Savannah.”

“Thanks John.”

“Well, it’s the least I can do under the circumstances.”

By three that afternoon, Howard had packed up everything he brought with him and
left the building for his car permanently. The new novel was going to have to be finished
soon, or otherwise he was going to be up shit creek. At least for now, he was free to do
what he needed to do, and that was to get some sleep. He’d come pick up his check tomorrow
morning. Finally, he made it to his car and drove to his small rented house and went to



"Interesting but why do writers always write about writers writing! Has promise, though. Good dialog." -- Shelley, Fullerton, Ca, USA.


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© 2004 Kevin Myrick
January 2004

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