Excerpt – Final Encore by Scotty Cade

November 19, 2010

My first book — Final Encore — is being released today.  I hope you will take a moment to read the excerpt below — and if you like what you read, just click on the cover picture to learn more.

Billy’s drive from New Orleans to Nashville was long and uneventful.  The uninterrupted hours of interstate, with country radio stations fading in and out, gave him a great deal of time to plan a strategy, at least a short term strategy.  The first day he arrived he would find a hotel, look for a day job to help with expenses, and then look for a more suitable place to live. 

As the first few days passed, he missed his family terribly, but was nonetheless energized with the infinite possibilities of the unknown.  Nashville was his new home and for as long as it would have him, he was happy to be there.  The first week, as planned he searched the want ads for a position that would sustain him financially.  He answered several ads and within a few days, had a great lead.  The position was for a foreman at a large horse farm just outside of town called the Lazy H Ranch.  He set up an appointment to meet the owner at ten o’clock the next morning.  It wasn’t his dream job, of course, but it would pay the bills until he found something in the music business.

 When Billy turned in under the large iron arch etched with “The Lazy H Ranch,” he looked down at his watch to confirm he was right on time, nine forty-five.  Billy drove down the dust covered road and after a half mile or so, he saw two large barns on either side of the drive with what looked like an old farm house that he assumed was used for command central.  When he got out of his truck, he was looked over, more than greeted, by a rough and unfriendly looking sort.  The man was short and stocky, carrying about thirty extra pounds on his frame.  His skin was scarred from years of acne and his teeth were stained from what appeared to be chewing tobacco, as indicated by the Styrofoam cup he spit into.  Hoping this wasn’t the owner, Billy introduced himself and learned the guy was a ranch hand named Buck Stevens.  Buck directed him to wait near the east barn and someone would be with him shortly. 

Billy waited around for about forty-five minutes and no one approached him.  He was about to go back and remind Buck that he was still waiting when he saw a tall, ruggedly handsome man walking in his direction.  The man, who reminded him of an older version of the Marlboro Man from the old cigarette commercials, walked up and offered his hand.

“Hi, I’m Jules James. I’m the owner of the ranch. Are you William Eagan by any chance?”

“Yes sir, but I go by Billy.” 

The two shook hands and looked each other over for a few seconds before Jules broke the silence. “I had just about given up on you, son. I thought your interview was at ten o’clock.”

“It was, sir,” Billy replied.  “I arrived at nine forty-five and Buck told me to wait at the east barn and someone would be with me in a minute.  I was just about to go back and see Buck, when I saw you walking over.”

“That’s funny,” Jules said. “I told Buck to have you meet me at the west barn.  I have a mare about to foal and I want to be there in case there are any problems.”

“I’m sorry about the confusion, sir,” Billy said. “Would you like me to come back?”

“No problem,” Jules answered.  “Why don’t you walk with me to the west barn and we can have a chat along the way.”

“Yes sir,” Billy said, and the two men headed to the stables.  

On the short walk, Billy filled Jules in on his experience with horses and why he was in Nashville.  Jules, of course, had heard the same story many times before, but listened intently and offered words of encouragement. 

They soon reached the stall housing the expectant mother.  The mare was lying on her side and as they watched her tense up every few minutes, it was apparent she still had some time before she’d deliver.  Billy thought she looked a bit distressed, but held his tongue and tried to get a better gauge on the situation.  As they examined the mare more closely, Jules continued to tell Billy about the ranch operations and the job he had available.  After the examination, Billy was sure something was wrong.  More convinced now, he mentioned it to Jules.

“Good call,” the ranch owner said.  “I was just about to tell you I’m certain the foal is breached.”  Billy spent the next several hours helping Jules try to get the foal in the right position for a natural birth.  Eventually they succeed and by late afternoon the little filly was born healthy.  

Once the danger had passed, the two men, impressed with each other’s abilities, cleaned up and headed back to the tack room to put the supplies away.  As they entered the tack room, Buck was filling up the feed barrels and looked up and eyed Billy.

“Well, Billy,” Jules said, “I’m pretty impressed with your knowledge and skill.  As far as I’m concerned, I’ve seen as much as I need to see.  If you want the job, it’s yours.”

Before Billy could speak, Buck turned around with a disgruntled look on his face and stormed out of the tack room, brushing Billy’s shoulder in the process.

“Wow,” Billy said.  “What was that all about?”

“Oh, don’t pay him any mind,” Jules replied.  “He interviewed for the job, but I just don’t think he has the skills to be a foreman. He’s a little hot headed for my taste.”

“If I take the job, is he going to be a problem for me?” Billy asked.

“Don’t you worry, I’ll deal with him,” Jules said.  “Does this mean you’ll take the job?”

“Yes sir,” Billy replied and the two men shook hands.

On the way back to the office, Jules said, “My wife and I own a little club on Broadway and I’m headed there for couple of beers, then right back here to check on our little one.  You want to join me?”

Billy said “Sure,” and within ten minutes they were on their way downtown.

When Jules’s truck pulled up to Jean’s Magnolia Saloon, they got out and headed inside. 

As Jules opened the door to the lounge, Billy’s eyes struggled to adjust to the dark lighting, he glanced around.  It was much larger than it looked from the street, he guessed about the size of a small supermarket.  On one side, the large mahogany bar ran the full length of the room.  Opposite the bar was a raised stage with a colorful set of drums, an electric keyboard and various musical instruments on stands. In the center of the room was an expansive oblong dance floor surrounded by split rail fencing with openings at each end, and what looked and smelled like fresh sawdust scattered about. Over-stuffed chairs in numerous groupings, along with high cocktail tables and bar stools provided ample and comfortable seating.

Jules immediately led Billy up to the bar and introduced him to a beautifully matured, very well dressed woman behind the bar pouring beer from a tap. His first thought was that must be Jules’ wife Jean and his second thought was that she To him, she didn’t look like she belonged behind a bar. As he studied her, he noticed her tall slim body.  She looked to be about five foot nine and her weight around one hundred and twenty-five pounds, give or take. Her smile was beaming. With her dark brown hair and deep brown eyes; she appeared to be the epitome of joy, strength and sincerity. He had heard the term “ageless” before, but had never really understood it. It had nothing to do with how young a person looked although this woman looked very youthful. It was really about natural style and confidence

“Hey, hon,” Jules said, “this is Billy Eagan.  He just joined the Lazy H as our new foreman, but he really wants to be a country singer.  Billy, this is my wife, Jean.”

Jean stuck out her hand and Billy said, “Pleased to meet you, Mrs. James.”

“Nice to meet you, Billy, and please call me Jean.  Welcome to Jean’s Magnolia Saloon. By the way, you any good?”

“Well, ma’am, I’ve been told I am by more than just my family and friends,” Billy replied, “and I sure hope no one’s been pulling my leg.”

Jean smiled.  “Monday nights once a month, we have open mic and you’re surely welcome to join us.  Many celebrities got their start here.  We have a regular crowd of talent scouts that hang around on open mic night just to see if they might just catch the next best thing.”

 “When’s the next one?” Billy asked.

“Tomorrow night, but you better show up early because every newcomer dreaming of stardom will be here and ready to go. And the best thing is, the winner gets to be the opening act for the headliner for the month until the next open mic night.  We open the mic at ten, but you better get here by eight to sign up. We only have time for ten acts before the regular house band starts.  I hope to see you tomorrow,” Jean added, as someone down the bar called her name.

“I’ll be here,” Billy said as Jean walked away. “And thanks.”

Jules and Billy sat at the bar enjoying small talk for an hour or so, getting to know one another at a leisurely pace.  Jean came and went as business dictated, but always came right back and joined the conversation.  Finally, after all the business seemed to be addressed, Jean landed on the bar stool next to Billy.

“So what’s the hot topic you two seem to be so involved in?” Jean asked.

“Oh, we were talking about the Ranch,” said Billy. “Jules was telling me you guys live in Brentwood, but that he sometimes stays at the ranch when he needs to pull a double, or when they’re expecting a foal, things like that.  So how long have you two been married?” “Forty-nine years now and still going strong,” Jules said, as he reached behind Billy and gave Jean a squeeze. “What about you, do you have a girlfriend, son?”

“Uh, no sir,” he replied.

Jean chimed in, “I don’t mean to assume anything, but do you have a boyfriend?”

“Uh, not at the moment, ma’am,” he said with a grin.

Both Jules and Jean smiled and Billy’s eyes got as big as quarters and they all broke into laughter.  When they were finally able to control themselves, Billy asked, “So how did you know about me? I mean, I try not to spit sequins when I talk .”

As they all chuckled again, Jean said, “Our son is gay and we’ve been around you sweet boys for over twenty years now.  One’s gaydar becomes pretty accurate after so many years.”

“I guess it does,” replied Billy.  “So, Jules, how will the boys back at the ranch react when they find out?”

“Oh, no need to worry about those lugs, they’re all harmless.  You may take a little ribbing every now and again, but if you pull your weight they’ll respect you and it won’t matter none.  But I would keep my eye on Buck. As I mentioned, he’s somewhat hot headed and he already has it in for you since he thinks you stole his job.”

Billy said, “I can take care of myself, but when Buck’s around, I’ll sleep with one eye open and a baseball bat under my bed.” 

The three of them enjoyed the rest of the evening and around midnight began to say their goodbyes.  Jules asked Billy if he wouldn’t mind taking the pick up back to the ranch and checking on the little filly, so he could go home with Jean.  She would drop him off in the morning on her way in to town. 

Billy agreed and drove back at a leisurely pace, taking a mental recap of all that had happened to him since he left New Orleans.  He eventually made it back to the ranch, and after checking on the mare and filly, hopped back into his truck and headed back to his motel room for the last time.  When he got there, he stripped down to his shorts, brushed his teeth and climbed into his bed.  For a long while he laid there and anticipated the next day and night.

Click on the bookcover to find out how to purchase Final Encore.

We’ll also be having a drawing at midnight tonight – free signed paperback, or     ebook or, for Atlanta people, 2 free tickets to RENT, beginning December 3rd at Atlanta’s hottest new  entertainment venue – Fabrefaction Theatre!

(I’ll be there for a book signing on December 10th for the evening show.)

4 Responses to “Excerpt – Final Encore by Scotty Cade”

  1. Kristin S says:

    This looks really good. I can’t wait to read it.

  2. Danthse says:

    looks good – good luck!

  3. ScottyCade says:

    Good Morning Danthse,

    My you guys are up late! Thanks so much for stopping in.


  4. Inaemi says:

    Wonderful info. I have bookmarked this site.

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