Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Midnight in Mexico - Part 3 of 3

“She said she was working for the ABC news
it was as much of the alphabet
as she knew how to use.”

--Elvis Costello

Frank Bennes was about as respected in the legal profession as Jim Williams was in his neighbourhood. He boasted having sued everyone from a monk to a little old retired nurse, and won. Now he was poised to finish off his greatest kill yet, country legend Tim McGraw. What Bennes had not anticipated was the hottest young defense attorney in America, J.J. Bentley.

When Bentley was first approached by Tim McGraw, he laughed out loud. “Bennes is insane,” he said. “They’ll laugh this thing so far our of court Jimmy Williams’ll get whiplash. Sir, I have greater things to do than defend a case that so clearly should have been thrown out of court long before this stage.”

Tim McGraw agreed with that assessment of the case, but the suit was for 10 million dollars and someone had taken it seriously enough for it to go before a judge. “If I just wanted to win the case,” he said, “I would go to a cheaper lawyer. But I want to file a counter-suit for 40 million dollars. I’m offering you 10 percent.”

Bentley was curious. He couldn’t imagine how to pull it off, but he was curious. “I’m listening,” he said.


“Mr. McGraw, we have heard Mr. Williams tell us how your song has ruined his life. It has been stuck in his head for a year and a half now and he has been unable to pursue what was once a very promising musical career because of it.” Bennes was going in for the kill. He knew the counter-suit was a huge bluff, and he was about to call it.

“What damages could Mr. Williams possibly have caused you that warrant the payment of 40 million dollars?”

“Well, Sir,” Tim said coolly, “the song ‘Mexico on a Midnight Run’ performed by Dwight Yoakam and written by Jimmy Williams has been stuck in my head for the past six years. I too have been unable to write because of it. Andy you may note that I have not had a #1 hit in that time. All because of that man’s song.” Tim McGraw emphatically pointed at Jim.

“I figure if a song in a man’s head for a year and a half is worth ten million, then a s song in a man’s head for six years is worth 40 million. The math works out.”

At that point the judge did laugh the entire case out of the court, much to the chagrin of Bennes, Bentley and Tim McGraw, who had been walking around with dollar signs ch-chinging in their eye-sockets for so long they had convinced themselves that their plans could not fail.

Jim was so flattered by the startling revelation that his song has stuck in someone’s head for six years that for the first time since his awakening he felt inspired to write a song that was not about his tractor. Jim thanked Bennes for his efforts and promised that the bill would be paid soon. He was so excited that he ran six blocks from the courthouse to his home. Upon arrival he suffered a massive heart attack. A neighbour drawn by the smell discovered his body three days later.


Six years later the news of Tim McGraw’s death rocked Nashville and country music fans everywhere. When Jane Shaw heard the news she recalled how her ex-husband had been a big Tim McGraw fan. It was the first time she’d thought about her ex in years. She remembered how he always used to pace around the house, looking for inspiration, belting out ‘John Deere Green’ at the top of his lungs. Waving goodbye to her kids as they approached their school, she wondered what had ever become of him. Then she got back in the car and drove to work.

Mexico on a Midnight Run
By Jimmy Williams

I wanna see you in a leather jacket and tight jeans
Long auburn hair flowin’ in the summertime breeze
Lookin’ hot on a Harley just-a-waitin’ for me
I’d be so shocked if you pulled up my drive
And said ‘hop on baby we’re goin’ for a ride’
I’d do it Babe I’d be ready to go
If you said to me ‘let’s go to Mexico’

Take me somewhere where there’s sun
Long white beaches bikinis and fun
We’ll go on your Harley make stops to make love
Down to Mexico on a midnight run
Down to Mexico on a midnight run

I still remember when we first met
We got so drunk and I’m willing to bet
That was how you wanted it to be
As much I want you, you wanted me
And we came together so naturally
But now I’m someplace I don’t wanna be
Workin’ so hard just to make a dime
Doin’ my best but I think it’s a crime
The way I see my best thoughts escape
Into the mind of the man and it feels like rape


We could be happy for the rest of our days
Livin’ like children always at play
I wish you and I could leave it all behind
Hit the road on a midnight ride
Freedom would be all we’d ever need
But I guess that choice has already passed
Yet deep inside I will always believe
That if we tried you and I could last
And each day down south would be a blast

Chorus X 2

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Seems like a neat little roman a clef, a novel with a key, where real characters are sometimes used to suit an author's purpose.
I like it.
Sometimes magazines will print exerpts from a novel with a key.

Again, you were pretty good when you were just a young whippersnapper (unlike the famous Marquis)--I just had to use that one somewhere. :)
marquis de sade?

thanks ivan, you ole flatterer. not sure this is publishable material, but i'll keep rolling.
Interesting tale. It was enjoyable, and worth pursuing, IMHO.

I've used real people too as passive characters in my works of fiction. By that, I mean that they are referred to, but never seen, except in films or clips in which they actually appeared. As for their dialogue, I usually stick to things that they have actually said.

None of this is necessary, of course, but I'm wondering how much your characterization of Tim McGraw matches the actual Tim McGraw (as I said earlier, I was his dad's fan, not his). If it doesn't, I'm wondering if a completely ficticious character might suit the story better, for you could make him larger than life.

Don't mind me, I'm just meddling where I shouldn't. It's a fine story.
What a great ending!

I enjoyed this. I'm still trying to write this good and that, innit.
X: I once wrote a 'novel', really a thesis in the guise of a novel, chaulk-full of platonic dialogue, mostly unreadable...anyway, it featured liza minelli, tom cruise, lev tolstoy, Daniel Quinn, Benjamin Barber, and virginia woolf as fairly major characters. especially liza minelli, who became somewhat evil i think in the book. i did a reading of it once and one guy came up to me at the end and said enthusiastically, "You GOTta love that Liza Minelli!" The truth I know about as much about her as I do about Tim McGraw.

I think these people just represent certain things in my mind. McGraw represents a certain 'redneck' or 'hillbilly' way of life (I say that lovingly, in many ways I am one). So, you're quite right, it would work just as well with a fictionalized version and I could do more with such a character in some ways.

Incidentally, I did submit that book to a few publishers, and got one nice rejection letter that said it showed promise, but that they couldn't print anything that used real people as fictionalized characters. Funny habit of mine. I should see if I can find that letter and send that publisher some newer stuff.

Toast: I haven't read much of your fiction, but your slice-of-life stuff is fantastic. Far better than this story, I dare say.
Well, they can't publish it for the obvious reasons, most of them legal, part of it marketing.

I can dig attributing personalities to celebs that they obviously don't have in the interest of satire (your Minelli example, for example); or in othe words, exhibiting characteristics of perception. But that too can wind up saying something you don't mean, or want, to say.
all good that ends well?
Ha. Dude, I loved it.

Everytime you used "Tim McGraw" in the sentences, I imagined people in the story using his full name to address him. Very much like "Flight Of The Conchords" with their David Bowie stuff.

And for some reason, the visual of someone running as fast as they can, and then collapsing, makes me laugh. Maybe I'm a little cruel/evil...but it's funny, dammit.

Very entertaining.
I found this story entertaining. Running then collapsing well it is real life believable.
hi folks,

my beloved HAL has been in the computer hospital since friday. he's in critical condition. he may not make it.

on the upside i've written a great short story by hand.

anyway, i may be away from this a few more days at least until i get that sorted out.
I had a song stuck in my head for 10 minutes the other day. According to my calculations, I am owed about 120 from the Marines. (My daughters solo piece for her clarinet contest was the marine's hymn!)
HAL's back but no better - getting second opinion, most likely searching for new laptop soon. IN the meantime:

X: I agree with you, it's a double-edged sword. I haven't used celebrities as characters since 9-11. I did, however, recently read Tom Robbins do a nice job of it with Dan Quayle, whom he refrained from naming by name, only position.

Crash: I'd agree but I'm not so sure this one ended so great, at least not for the characters.

Rayke: I appreciate your appreciation of physical irony.

Kissa: really, could there have been any other conclusion?

BBE: L.O.L. go girl.
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