BIlly Fields is undeniably, irrefutably, unquestionably lost.
“Go out in the field,” they said! “If they won’t put you on television in the studio, make a name for yourself outside of the studio.”
That’s what they had all said. “They” being his colleagues, friends, and even former journalism professors. Billy had dedicated his life at a young age to the press and as such he’d gained more than a few contacts already in his relatively short career. However, nothing and nobody could prepare him for the reality of King Kong Frank’s mountain and now, not for the first time today, Billy Fields registers the tiniest bit of regret.
“Cripes!” Billy says out loud to no one after slapping himself hard on the neck. “These mosquitoes are HYOOJ!”
Something rattles off in the middle-distance.
“Is somebody out there?” He asks.
There is no answer…
Until there is.
“Better mind them skeeters,” The voice is a thick rumbling mess of Southern drawl and a lifelong affinity for the finest of all fine spirits, corn whiskey. “Less’n they get a mind to pick ya up an’ carry ya off somewheres.”
King Kong Frank steps out from behind a thatch of dogwood and birch. He is the visage of the stereotypical mountain man. So much so that nothing feels out of the ordinary about his tattered and torn overalls, complete lack of anything resembling a shirt, or the yellowed and broken teeth peeking out from behind the friendliest smile this side of the mighty Mississippi River.
Also, his feet are calloused and bare.
Billy Fields finds himself at a loss for words.
Frank takes a pull from a mason jar full of you know what that straightens his whiskers just a tad before breaking into a bellowing gut-laugh that pierces through the mountain wilderness.
“You got more guts than you can hang on a fence comin’ out here, boy.”
Unused to being snuck up on by a lumbering giant, Billy finally finds a few of his wits and engages the Smoky Mountain Savage on an intellectual level.
“Frank! It’s a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance!”
The Hillbilly Hercules raises a bushy eyebrow.
“Uh…” Billy switches gears on the fly, “It’s nice to meet’cha!”
“Pleasure’s mine, I’m sure.” Frank winks and takes another long pull.
The behemoth considers the small man in front of him. Brand new boots and khakis are a dead giveaway that Billy Fields is out of his element.
“Some folks might even go s’far as to say that yer kind don’t belong out here.”
Frank chuckles. It’s terrifying.
“Me, I know a man lookin’ fer some ‘shine when I see one! Amirite?”
“Um,” Billy starts. “That is to say-”
KKF cuts him off.
“‘Sides, ever’body knows it ain’t polite to wander up on these here mountains onto a man’s property without no invitation less’n ya was lookin’ fer a shot of some’a that man’s legendary hooch!”
Frank’s smile widens.
“It’s my great-great-great-grandpappy’s recipe!”
With a smile, the big brawler offers up his mason jar. Understanding that it’s now or never the intrepid Classic Wrestling correspondent reaches out and graciously takes the gift.
A quick whiff almost knocks him unconscious.
Underneath Frank’s giant red schnoz and behind that wiry beard the most famous rassler to ever come out of the Smokies grins a hokey looking grin.
“Bottoms up, city-slicker!”
Billy says a silent Hail Mary before taking the last quarter of Frank’s jar of firewater to the head like a seasoned veteran. This is a mistake. Immediately he erupts into the most violent retching fit of his life.
“HA-HAH!” Frank takes it up several thousand decibels. “GOT YOU SOME BALLS ON YA, DON’TCHA BOY!”
Undaunted, Billy tries to answer.
He nearly vomits and crashes down to his hands and knees.
Frank turns his gaze, now glaring through the screen.
“I seen a man powerbomb a bus one time in N’awlins.”
It’s true, he did.
“Comin’ up this weekend on Classic TV I’mma see about punchin’ one in the face! I’mma shove my foot so far up his hind-end that he’s tastin’ my big toe fer dinner!”
On the ground in front of Frank, Billy reaches up for help.
“Heh-heh,” Frank chuckles as he turns his attention back to Billy.
“That there Red Bull might give ya wings…”
His gap-toothed grin widens.
“But this here moonshine…”
Frank produces another jar from a deep pocket in his overalls.
“It’ll give ya 4-Wheel Drive!”