Ricky Harpole column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sleep-deprived shooter controls TV volume now  

Some days don’t seem to be worth getting out of bed for.

Often I wake up feeling as useless as a bustle on a mother-in-law. Hanging out with “Mississippi Billy” Simmons and Ms. Rita for a week or two is a pretty good cure.

When you need to shuck the blues you can cover a lot of ground with a couple of flat top guitars and a bandolier loaded with a dozen or so blues harps with an 88-key upright piano thrown in.

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We meandered down to a local bar and rattled the windows for a few hours and peacefully staggered home (with the aid of a compass and a road map).

That night I made an exception to a long-standing self-imposed rule. It’s been about 30 years since I went to sleep without a functional cannon of one sort or another within reach of one hand or the other.

I had foolishly disassembled my pocket piece the previous day. It is an antique two shot gambler style stack barreled derringer that is easier to take apart than it is to put back together. I gave up with about 20 parts and eight reloads staring back at me from a shoebox.

So I was without my firearm when gunfire erupted from Ms. Rita’s “bood-war” at about 3 a.m. There was a single shot which preceded a diatribe of some of the most amazing words I’d heard since my sailing days.

The hall was full of smoke and the atmosphere was lusty with cordite. Now, my disassembled pea shooter being discombobulated, I grabbed the first thing handy, which I assumed to be a squirrel rifle but was in fact an unloaded BB gun and charged the bedroom. I don’t know what I expected to find and I certainly don’t normally rush into a firefight with an unloaded BB gun. What I found was not what I expected.

After an investigation and inquisition which took up the best part of an hour, we finally got the facts straight.

Mississippi Billy likes to sleep with the TV on and on that particular night Ms. Rita got more than a little mule-lipped about the volume of the contraption which had trod upon her last extremely raw nerve.

Even so, she made a polite request (initially, anyway) for Billy to kindly reduce the volume.

Whereupon Billy cracked one crafty eye and feigned sleep. (In other words, he played possum on her.)
Unfortunately she saw that sneaky eye open and realized she was being played for a sucker. Whereupon she grabbed her pistol and attempted to reduce the volume via Smith and Wesson which (unlike the de-comissioned derringer that I had discombobulated) was designed to redesign a cast iron motor block or a television set, or in extreme situations, the roof of a house, which was what happened that night.

In other words, she used a Dirty Harry Model 29 44 S&W Magnum.

Well, she missed the TV and Mississippi Billy and me and the dog and we were grateful for her aiming miscalculations.

The roof, however, was not so grateful or fortunate. Then it rained for three days and the leak was on ol’ Mississippi’s side of the bed.

Well, I have been subpoenaed to patch a roof.

Layin’ low

Ricky Harpole
Contact Harpole at www.facebook.com/harpolive or www.colespointrecords.com