"We answered loudly and in unison hoping to be heard the first time, "we want to buy some BEER!"
The song ended just as we got to the word beer. So here is a picture of
three underage white boys in an illegal shot house screaming beer! Against a momentary silence that went completely unnoticed by anyone
else in the room. That was the kind of place Uncle Henry's was, fist
fights, stabbings were common, gunfights in the parking lot, just
another day at the office.
The guy on the stool gave us that "are you a cop" once over but then
quickly determined by virtue of our nervousness and overall goofiness
that we couldn't be cops. Wade was about five foot ten with dirty blond
curly hair hanging over his glasses with the ever-present Camel hanging
from his lips. Me? I was about the same height with long brown bushy
shoulder length hair with a baby face. My clothes no longer fit me right
due to the lack of a mother's home cooking which had knocked off most
of the baby fat. Jimmy was stoic looking; jet-black curly hair that
wouldn't stay down and he had this thin black moustache and a thin build
with blue jeans and sh*t kicker boots, serious looking but with a sly
Without leaving the stool the man turned and unlocked a large padlock on
a green door and as the door opened he nodded for us to follow him. We
were in a storeroom stacked to the ceiling with beer, wine, Malt liquor,
whiskey, vodka and gin. Brands of liquor that you had never heard of
before, "Williams's gin" or "Good Old Kentucky Bourbon" or "Robertson's
Vodka" With a name like Robertson's you know that it had to be good! We
took to calling it Bob's Vodka. Our beer choices were simple, Budweiser,
Schlitz or Colt 45 Malt liquor.
We looked at each other as Jimmy said "Three cases of Budweiser"
"That's thirty six dollars gentleman," the big man said with a smile as Wade grabbed a pint of Bob's Vodka the man added, "That makes it forty one."
We eased and scuttled our way out of Uncle Henry's with our beer, and
were glad to be alive and glad to have our alcohol purchases made. Now
you might ask yourself, "Why not just wait until you got to Florida to
buy your alcohol?"
That's a fair question, but you see Alabama sells 6% beer and Panama
City sells 3.2 beer. We were looking for more drunk for the money, more
buzz and less whizzing.Now the next step was up to me, we drove back to
town and to my friend Billy's house to see if he was home from work.
I've always had the ability to find weed, call it my special talent. I
was in Alabama less than one day before I had a connection. Billy was
dependable but he wasn't consistent. I'd buy a bag from
Billy and people would say, "Man has the dude got anymore of that?"
But he got what he got, he gets one pound or maybe two pounds and when
it was gone, it was gone and with Billy's reputation it was gone quick.
Billy and I got along well; I didn't bug him or call him on the phone.
I'd catch him at school and he'd say wait down the street, I get off at
ten. He'd park his green Maverick and come out with a lunch sack and
toss it into the front seat and I'd shake his hand with my thirty-five
dollars in it. Billy had done us right as always, a plastic baggie that would barely fold over.
Sitting in the back seat I began to roll a joint as we pulled off in Wade's dirty green Pinto. We smoked the joint and were all delightfully ripped
as we surveyed our plans for tomorrow's departure. Two gallons of shroom
juice, three cases of beer, an ounce of good reefer and a pint of Bob's
Vodka. If that wasn't enough to get us into trouble in Panama City I
don't know what was.
The plan was this; we would leave right after school around three in the afternoon and get to Panama City around six. Wade's older sister had
called and made the reservation for him pretending to be his wife. I
feel certain that so clever a ruse had never been seen before or since
by motel personnel on the first weekend of spring break in Panama City.
My day was preoccupied in anticipation of the trip so as I sat in my
second period class I never saw the paper wad coming that hit me on the
side of the head. I picked it up and looked out into the hallway and
there was Jimmy smiling at his aim. He pointed to the note; as I
uncrumpled it read, "Hey f*ck Head! Get your sh*t and come on! We're
leaving!" With universal sign language I shrugged my shoulders and
pointed at the front of the classroom.Jimmy answered in sign language,
holding up his hand waving while pretending to urinate.
I held up my hand and waved frantically, Ms. Barnes answered sternly, "What is it David!"
"Ma'am I really need to use the restroom," I implored.
"You can wait; class will be over in twenty minutes."
"But Ms. Barnes," I begged, "I really can't wait; it's one of those sudden urge type of situations that just won't wait."