Myrna Brown was a 42-year-old woman from Augusta, Georgia. For years, she had worked at a local bar in the heart of downtown, called The Whisk-A-Go-Go. It was a franchised branch of the original Whiskey A Go-Go club on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.
Myrna could hold her own, looks and figure-wise, against any twenty-five year old around and not many people knew her true age. She had seen many things and done and heard many more.
Since the Masters were held in Augusta every year, she had been privy to the lives of the rich and famous visitors and the even more rich and famous golfers. During the tournament and after the match of each day, those rich and famous folks would pour into the Club and a good time was had by all, especially Myrna.
She was not one to stand on ceremony when around these men. Their celebrity didn’t elevate them to any sort of superman status but it did afford them a certain je ne sais quoi.
The year before, one of the most famous golfers of all time “strayed” and he paid for it. After a night of drinking and carousing around, he passed out. Without a second thought, the “courtesan” promptly rolled him.
Everybody knew about it but it was kept out of the local and major newspapers and other outlets for the protection of his reputation and to prevent embarrassing his trusting and unsuspecting wife. One newspaper, The National Enquirer did not bury it but that paper was considered to be nothing more than a trashy rag.
Nobody paid much attention to what was written about the incident…but I did. The courtesan was interviewed with the promise of anonymity but through my aforementioned charm, I was able to acquire the name. It was Myrna Brown.
Myrna must have known that the odds of her ever “consorting” with another golfer were going to be pretty slim. According to one of her friends at the Whisk A Go-Go, she sold everything she owned and was headed to Las Vegas. She was hoping to find a job in one of the casinos and knew that her profession was also legal there. She knew at her age, competition would be stiff so within a week of her arrival, she had an appointment with a plastic surgeon to give her a brand new set of firm twins.
•Ms. Brown’s lifestyle may have been questionable, but was she on the plane for atonement? Was she on the plane to pay for stealing from the golfer? Reverend Smythe would say “vengeance is mine. I will repay, says the Lord.” If that is true and he was repaying Ms. Brown, when will the man she stole from pay his penance? Where was the justice in this one-sided punishment? She suffered a violent end and he lives to commit adultery another day. How could this be fair? Again, as Reverend Smythe would say, it was not for me to question the decisions of the all-knowing and all-powerful God.•
Chick Larson was a good-ole-boy from Asheville, North Carolina. He had just celebrated his 75th birthday and was on his way to headline at the Las Vegas Sands Hotel.
For years, residents had enjoyed listening to Chick stand in the middle of Pritchard Park and tell his outlandish tales and gut-splitting humorous stories, including how to land a “real mountain wife” and how to “quietly” get rid of her, “if’n she weren’t no good at cookin’.”
Chick had driven a city bus in his early life but he liked to drink a bit and would sometimes doze off while waiting for passengers to board. He was eventually fired, became homeless and instead of turning his anger outward, he developed a remarkable sense of humor.
He slept under a park bench unless it was raining or snowing. In inclement weather, he would nestle inside the alcove in front of Gentry’s pharmacy. Chick always marveled at the over-sized mortar and pestle replica in the storefront window and when he was inebriated, it was even more fascinating.
Chicks’ lucky day came when a representative from the North Carolina Film Board, named Ben Sawyer was looking for local talent and caught one of his performances. Through his connections with a pal in Las Vegas, he arranged for Chick to have a one-time shot at fame. When Chicks’ age was questioned, Ben said “don’t let his age fool you. He is hilarious.”
On Ben Sawyer’s word alone, Chick was signed as the opening act for Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin.
Chick had never been on an airplane nor had he ever owned a suit. When the townsfolk heard the news, they all threw in and bought him a custom-made tuxedo that would have made any highfalutin movie star green with envy.
•I smiled when I heard about the suit and the free shave and haircut the local barber gave him. I imagined that’s what the good people from the town of Whisper would have done.
Chick was leaving nobody behind except the people of Asheville, who he had entertained all those years. They, like I would be asking the same question. Why? What was the reasoning behind letting a man finally get his shot at stardom, only to have it taken away before he ever got the chance to shine?
I was not liking this God that Reverend Smythe defends so staunchly.•
To be continued________________________