A Gin, Not a Rummy

(Monte Dutton photos)
(Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, September 25, 2016, 10:10 a.m.

Now things are back to normal. It’s Sunday and there’s a NASCAR race in New Hampshire and, and by extension, my living room. In a way, the whole world is here. Demonstrations in Charlotte. News of a bright young pitcher’s death in a Florida boating accident. The final CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. Ten wins in a row by the Boston Red Sox.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

But the world of the living room isn’t real. It’s 72 degrees all the time, regardless of whether my television is taking me to Juneau or Tucson. I neither shiver nor sweat.

I venture out into the great beyond, which is almost infinitesimally smaller in scope and getting smaller because the whole world can be found inside.

Saturday was rare. I got to be a fan. It wasn’t pretty. Florida Tech, which I didn’t know existed but suspected because it stood to reason a state such as Florida would have a Tech, defeated the local college, the Presbyterian one, 28-7. Usually, when I’m sitting in grandstands, I’m watching the Clinton High School junior varsity. Most of the games I watch, I watch closely and take notes, because it is my job to write about them. The preparation is usually scanning some assemblage of material that is introductory and applicable to the game. The preparation on Saturday was boiling peanuts in a slow cooker overnight.

dscf3848On Friday night, I wrote about Dorman beating Laurens, 52-21, in tackle football. On Saturday morning, I produced a video about it. Then I tried in vain to find a noon game that was worth watching. Wisconsin was drubbing Michigan State. Ole Miss was clobbering Georgia. By mid-afternoon, I was watching Iowa at Rutgers.

Then to far PC, which is, oh, maybe five minutes from my house. Florida Tech was very accommodating because the Panthers arrived from, oh, eight hours from my house. Unfortunately, it was worth the trip.

The game was a major downer that I managed to withstand because of good, old-fashioned human interaction, fine barbecue, and just the right amount of gins and their accompanying tonics. Gin is like liver. People either like it or they don’t. People develop tastes for beer and scotch. I like gin. Did the first time I tried it. Don’t try it much anymore. In fact, I don’t think I’ve had a gin and tonic in, oh, five years before Saturday.

I tried my best to catch up. I had several before the game. I had one at halftime. I had several after the game, which began at seven, and ended at around 10:30 for the players and most of the fans, but not my friends, who lingered on to dissect the loss as if it were an unfortunate frog in a biology lab.

Gin is a versatile liquid, though hardly the only one being imbibed across a traffic circle from the lovely entryway of Bailey Memorial Stadium. It can be used to celebrate a victory or commiserate a defeat. Some people think various incarnations of alcohol have different effects on people. Tom T. Hall, in communicating why he likes beer (“It makes me a jolly good fellow”), also wrote and sang, “Whisky’s too rough, champagne costs too much, and vodka puts my mouth in gear.”

I have heard gin’s detractors say it tastes like drinking a pine tree, or Pine-Sol disinfectant cleaner, and that always makes wonder how they know what disinfectant cleaner tastes like.

“Hey, you like gin?”

“I don’t know. Never had it. What’s it taste like?”

“Oh, Pine-Sol.”

It’s quite possible that some people who claim to hate gin have never tried it because they didn’t want to find out what Pine-Sol tastes like. I like gin. And tonic. And a squeeze of lime juice. If that’s what Pine-Sol tastes like, well, I’ll take your word for it.

A friend offered a snort of this special bourbon whose name now eludes me – the bourbon, not the friend – and said, “It’s real smooth, but it’ll sneak up on you.”

Having just watched the Blue Hose fall ignominiously, I said, “Well, it can’t sneak up on me too soon,” but I didn’t try the bourbon. Its charms would have been lost on me.

 

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy either Forgive Us Our Trespasses or Crazy of Natural Causes, and you’ll get a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs, absolutely free.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is on Amazon sale at $2. Surely my work is worth that much of a gamble.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

 

The Name’s Ramirez. Hanley Ramirez.

Fenway Park: I've been there many times, but not lately, and I'm unlikely to get back up there soon. (Monte Dutton photos)
Fenway Park: I’ve been there many times, but not lately, and I’m unlikely to get back up there soon. (Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, September 16, 2016, 10:38 a.m.

The week started to turn late last night. I was watching TV with the sound muted when David Ortiz hit his 537th home run, surpassing Mickey Mantle’s career total. Then I got finished editing a video – it was to promote my books – and turned the sound back on when ninth-inning singles by Ortiz and Mookie Betts made it 5-4.

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

It had been 5-1, Yankees, before Ortiz hit his eighth-inning blast. It was still 5-2 when the ninth inning began.

Hanley Ramirez. Ortiz is amazing for a 40-year-old man. Ramirez is amazing compared to last year. It wasn’t just a home run. It was a blast to dead center. Walk-off homers don’t happen every night.

Thus energized, I set my song “Go Big Red” – written about the Clinton Red Devils, not the Boston Red Sox – to yet another video, which meant I took about five takes to get all the words right, and wound up with the video still uploading on YouTube when I was asleep.

3 … 2 … 1 … When I was growing up the biggest thing … uh … around … damn it.

3 … 2 … 1 … When I was growing up the biggest thing around our town … was watching my old high school play, they didn’t mess around …

Most times I got to the second or third verse before I screwed up, but, well, I was in the mood.

Now the Red Sox are two games ahead of the Orioles and five ahead of the New Yorkers, and new versions of “There You Are” and “Go Big Red” are posted online. Fame and fortune are sure to follow.

DSCF3712But first, there’s a high school game between the Red Devils and the highly regarded Abbeville Panthers – it will be several weeks before Clinton plays a team that is not highly regarded – to watch, take notes and pictures, and write about on deadline.

And I’m going to watch the Furman Paladins take on the Chattanooga Mocs tomorrow night. Chattanooga hasn’t allowed a point so far this season.

Paladins and Moccasins. Blue Hose and Camels (Campbell, in Buies Creek, which, I understand is in North Carolina). I might walk a mile for a Camel, but I’m not going to drive to North Carolina.

Hope springs eternal, though, because the Red Sox have prevailed over the Yankees.

It can all turn on one swing of the bat.

 

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy either Forgive Us Our Trespasses or Crazy of Natural Causes, and you’ll get a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs, absolutely free. Tell ‘em Mr. Monte sent you, y’hear?

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is on Amazon sale at $2. Surely my work is worth that much of a gamble.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

The Weekend That Was

(Monte Dutton photos)
(Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 7:38 a.m.

On Sunday afternoon, I walked out of Bi-Lo humming the theme from The Rifleman. I have no idea why. I haven’t watched a rerun of it lately.

Bum-bum-bum-buh-BUM-bum, bum-bum-bum-BUM …

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

What a momentous weekend. So much was happening I went to the supermarket to think about nothing.

Like most weekends, it had its ups and downs. I like to say that things are seldom mediocre for me. Either everything goes right or nothing does, but, in truth, most days are in between. I just remember the good and bad ones more.

dscf3767Friday night’s Laurens District High School victory over Irmo was inspiring. Then word arrived that Clinton had lost in Aiken.

Presbyterian got drubbed at Chattanooga, 34-0. The Citadel upended Furman, 19-14. I watched both games on my laptop. Denny Hamlin won the caution-marred and wreck-filled Federated Auto Parts 400 in Richmond.

Mookie Betts energizes the ballclub. (Monte Dutton sketch)
Mookie Betts energizes the ballclub. (Monte Dutton sketch)

On the other hand, the Boston Red Sox are running wide open. With 19 games left, they lead the Blue Jays by two games, the Orioles by three and the Yankees by five. David Ortiz hit his 536th homer last night, tying Mickey Mantle. Mookie Betts has become my favorite major-league player, partly because he wears my old high school football number and partly because he is the most exciting player to watch since Ken Griffey Jr.’s prime. Maybe Willie Mays’. Last night Betts caught the Birds napping and dashed unexpectedly home. He performs such magic quite often.

Billy Dunlap announces plans for the Laurens County Sports Hall of Fame.
Billy Dunlap announces plans for the Laurens County Sports Hall of Fame.

On Monday, I attended a media conference announcing the formation of a Laurens County Sports Hall of Fame and drove home to write a story about it. Then I did my due diligence on the high school games – Abbeville at Clinton, Laurens at Boiling Springs, Laurens Academy at Cathedral Academy – and I’m going to give LDHS coach Chris Liner a weekly call shortly. Then I’ll call Clinton’s Andrew Webb at mid-morning and LA’s Todd Kirk either afterwards or tomorrow morning.

This Friday’s assignment is Abbeville (3-0-1) at Clinton (1-2).

Between tomorrow morning and Friday night, I get to work on my next novel. The rough draft rose above 30,000 words last week. The latest published novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, is on Amazon Kindle sale for $2 until the end of the month. I should find out soon whether or not the fifth novel, Cowboys Come Home, is going to be published in the KindleScout program. My last two novels, Forgive Us Our Trespasses and Crazy of Natural Causes, have been published in that program, but I’m not sure Amazon is interested in a modern western. I hope so. It’s something completely different for me. I believe in it, and if it doesn’t get accepted, I’ll move on to Plan B. The nomination period – Amazon likes to survey what potential readers think of it – ends in two days (as these word are written). If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, and you haven’t done so already, I’d appreciate it if you’d consider nominating it here.

Obligations are closing in. In the next month, I’ve got a lot of record-keeping and paperwork to catch up on. I’ve got to prepare Cowboys Come Home for print release, regardless of whether or not Amazon chooses it for the KindleScout program.

Troy Dendy rushed for 216 yards.
Troy Dendy rushed for 216 yards.

For a free-lancer, my life has become rather regimented, which is mainly good. I don’t get out much, and feel lonely a fair amount of the time, but solitude has its advantages and observation is more important than interaction.

I’ve been a bit glum lately, but my highs aren’t that high nor the lows that low. I’ve just hunkered down. I’ve decided I’m doing what I do, it is my fate, my only workable option, and it’s not merely that I love writing – whether about a high school football game or a chapter of fiction about a quirky teacher’s first day of school – but it’s what I’m supposed to do, all I really know how to do at this stage of my life, and the best path, however snarled, to success.

(Steven Novak cover design)
(Steven Novak cover design)

Please visit the KindleScout site and consider nominating my fifth novel, Cowboys Come Home, for publication. You’ll find sample chapters, a short synopsis and a Q&A. Take a look at it here.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy either Forgive Us Our Trespasses or Crazy of Natural Causes, and you’ll get a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs, absolutely free. Tell ‘em Mr. Monte sent you, y’hear?

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is on Amazon sale at $2. Surely my work is worth that much of a gamble.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

 

Worth It

Double rainbow over Presbyterian College. (Monte Dutton photos)
Double rainbow over Presbyterian College. (Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, September 9, 2016, 10:26 a.m.

Practice at Richmond is on TV. My old acquaintance Bobby Johnson is speaking at the Laurens County Touchdown Club today. I’m not going to make it, and I hate that. I spent yesterday driving to Greenwood to tape an Index-Journal video (I was a guest picker of high school football games), attending a junior-varsity football game and watching the Panthers lose to the Broncos in the NFL opener. Something occupied me in the morning beside the 13th chapter of my next and sixth novel, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

You’re welcome to ask or tell about it. It’s just a title.

Now I’ve written half a paragraph of Chapter 13. There must be something to that number. It’s not unusual for me to give up and write a blog, just to get the juice flowing.

Tonight I’m writing about a football game between the Irmo Yellow Jackets and the Laurens Raiders. The Clinton Red Devils are playing Green Hornets in Aiken. Pest control seems to be a burning issue in the county this week.

Aiken beat the Clinton JVs, 20-14. It was not a crisply played game. JV games tend to be conducted, apparently, like presidential elections. Imperfection can be enjoyable, though. Athletes blossom into manhood just like everyone else. The pain is physical, rather than emotional.

Shortly after we stamped out the last of the wooly mammoths, I played JV football. What I enjoyed most were (1.) getting to play offense and defense (though the first time I thought death was imminent), and (2.) being able to hear individual people, most notably my father, yell at me. Most of the time, it was something like “attawayduhplay, Monte boyyyyy!”

On the varsity, it was just one big roar.

DSCF3611

Times have changed, and, now, rather than having to run the stadium steps for having an elbow pad found on the floor, I can barely make it up them. As Shel Silverstein once wrote and Bobby Bare sang many times:

I’ve got arthritic elbows / I’ve got dislocated knees / From pickin’ fights with thunderstorms and crashin’ into trees / And my nose’s been broke so often / I might lose it if I sneeze / And, son, you say you still wanna be a winner?

Was it worth it? Oh, yeah.

It taught me (1.) even if it’s not your fault, it’s your responsibility; (2.) the fine balance of composure and motivation; (3.) dreams don’t always come true, but they never come true if you give them up; (4.) study the opponent, and he will often tip off what he is going to do; and (5.) if at first you don’t succeed, get better.

Other lessons were derived from football, but five is a nice number, and some of the detail is gory so there’s no need to go into it.

DSCF1257

(Steven Novak cover design)
(Steven Novak cover design)

Please visit the KindleScout site and consider nominating my fifth novel, Cowboys Come Home, for publication. You’ll find sample chapters, a short synopsis and a Q&A. Take a look at it here.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy either Forgive Us Our Trespasses or Crazy of Natural Causes, and you’ll get a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs, absolutely free. Tell ‘em Mr. Monte sent you, y’hear?

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is on Amazon sale at $2. Surely my work is worth that much of a gamble.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

 

 

The Difference a Week Makes

Laurens (green) and Chapman meet for the coin toss. (Monte Dutton photos)
Laurens (green) and Chapman meet for the coin toss. (Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, September 3, 2016, 12:21 p.m.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

If I had it to do over, I’d have worn an old pair of shoes. The rain was gone at K.C. Hanna Stadium in Laurens, but the new turf was squishy and so was the game.

It was a rough night all around in the county. Chapman pulled away late to defeat the Raiders, 49-33 – it was 33-28, Laurens, halfway through the third quarter – and soon news arrived from Greer that the Yellow Jackets had defeated Clinton, 21-7.

LDHS head coach Chris Liner chats with the officials.
LDHS head coach Chris Liner chats with the officials.

It was the usual for me. I talked to both coaches, offered some words of hope to a Raider lineman as he filed out the gate the same time I did, cursed a slowpoke with a Mississippi tag driving 20 miles an hour down West Main Street in Clinton, thanked the Lord when the decision to follow the slow Hyundai kept me from getting held up by a freight train, pulled in the garage, left groceries (non-perishable) in the truck, turned on the TV and the laptop, printed out the game stats, and wrote the best 450 or so words I could by midnight.

Then, fueled by coffee, I watched the Big Ten Network replay of Michigan State against Furman. A 28-13 loss by my alma mater to the 12th-ranked team in the country was the closest thing to victory this Friday brought.

This morning I continued my love affair with coffee, listened to “Saturday Morning Rewind” on WPCC-AM 1410 with Buddy Bridges, Gene Simmons, Clinton coach Andrew Webb, Presbyterian College coach Harold Nichols and some very special guests, all live from Whiteford’s Drive-In.

Nichols was available because he was back from Mount Pleasant, where Central Michigan had defeated the Blue Hose, 49-3, on Thursday night.

DSCF3734

The enthusiasm was a bit forced Saturday morning. All they had left in the Whitman’s Sampler were dark chocolate — a tad bitter, but with the hope of sweetness next week — when Laurens hosts Irmo, Clinton visits Aiken, and Presbyterian crosses the mountains to Chattanooga.

(Chattanooga makes me think of Yosemite Sam, rearing on his horse, swinging his sword, and yelling, “The Yankees are in Chattanooga!” and then he roars off to find a baseball game going on.)

It’s always darkest just before the dawn. I don’t really think that’s true, but it can’t hurt to believe it.

As much as I try to be dispassionate – yes, I try to hold my professional reserve even though I’ve gotten to know all these coaches and many of these plays – last night was difficult to watch.

DSCF3735

Laurens led Chapman, 33-28, until Chapman took the lead and dominated the fourth quarter. By game’s end, a star running back, D.Q. Floyd, was out with a concussion and the starting quarterback, Nathan Rutter, had wrecked his knee.

Chris Liner
Chris Liner

Chris Liner, the immensely likable head coach, likened the plot of his first two games to one of my novels. As he was saying this, I was thinking of The Twilight Zone.

“Fan” is short for “fanatic.” Fanatics are quite often manic-depressive by nature. A team wins to a chorus of hosannas. It loses to a deep, irritable rumble.

Two games and two losses into a season, a coach has to fight a nauseating feeling. We’re not good enough! We’ve got to get better! How?

He knows better than to panic. He knows he must stay the course. He knows he must teach his players to do what they do better.

Coaches hitch up their britches and go back to work. It’s what they know.

Here’s a brief video on the Chapman-Laurens game.

(Steven Novak cover design)
(Steven Novak cover design)

Please visit the KindleScout site and consider nominating my fifth novel, Cowboys Come Home, for publication. You’ll find sample chapters, a short synopsis and a Q&A. Take a look at it here.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy either Forgive Us Our Trespasses or Crazy of Natural Causes, and you’ll get a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs, absolutely free. Tell ‘em Mr. Monte sent you, y’hear?

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is on Amazon sale at $2. Surely my work is worth that much of a gamble.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

One … or Two … or Nah

 

As of this moment, I just don't know. (Monte Dutton photos)
As of this moment, I just don’t know. (Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, September 2, 2016, 12:46 p.m.

It’s raining outside. The wind is blowing. The electricity flickered once. Football is to be played, as best I know.

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

My game tonight is Chapman (1-1) at Laurens (0-1). Clinton (1-0) is playing at Greer (0-2). If LDHS is postponed, I may head to Greer. Unless Greer is postponed. I may write about whichever game is played. I may write about one game tonight and one tomorrow. I might write about no game tonight and one tomorrow. It’s possible I could write about two games tomorrow.

Heaven forbid, if Laurens played at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Clinton (in Greer) played at 6 or 7. Surely I’ve got enough sense not to cover both games. Surely.

On Wednesday, I had Chinese food for supper. The lucky numbers in the fortune cookie included the high school football numbers of my father, my brother and me. Naturally, I saw this is as a good omen, so I bought a Powerball ticket, which I rarely do.

The only one of the numbers in the winning series was my brother’s, which makes sense because he was the best player.

So, yeah, there’s something to it. Just not money.

I’m reminded of the words of one-time Southern League president Jimmy Bragan: “Son, until the Southern League tells you you got a team … you ain’t got a team.”

Until you’re told, “You ain’t got a game … you got a game.”

By the way, Huntsville got a team … the next day.

As these words are written, I’ll be in Laurens, and I’m looking forward to it.

(Steven Novak cover design)
(Steven Novak cover design)

Please visit the KindleScout site and consider nominating my fifth novel, Cowboys Come Home, for publication. You’ll find sample chapters, a short synopsis and a Q&A. Take a look at it here.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy either Forgive Us Our Trespasses or Crazy of Natural Causes, and you’ll get a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs, absolutely free. Tell ‘em Mr. Monte sent you, y’hear?

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is on Amazon sale at $2. Surely my work is worth that much of a gamble.

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

 

Another Leisurely Evening Writing of Sports

I don't mind watching the coin flip from a distance. (Monte Dutton photos)
I don’t mind watching the coin flip from a distance. (Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Sunday, August 28, 2016, 10:52 a.m.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

Clinton defeated Laurens, 34-29, on Friday night in my second game on the Greenwood Index-Journal sports beat. Six days earlier, it had taken two drives to Saluda for me to report in detail how the Strom Thurmond Rebels defeated the Saluda Tigers, 38-7.

Clinton's Tyreke Watts (61) and Tashymen Boyd (44) try to reach Laurens' Troy Dendy.
Clinton’s Tyreke Watts (61) and Tashymen Boyd (44) try to reach Laurens’ Troy Dendy.

The best part of writing about high school football is it’s back to the basics. It’s a gig where I am limited only by what I don’t see and deadlines. The worst part of writing about high-school football is also that it’s back to the basics.

Kris Evans-Williams
Kris Evans-Williams

The basics of love. Down in a Luchenbach, Texas, of the figurative mind. Or a hot press box and a steamy field, with a heap of steps in between. At this late stage of life, I never take them two at a time anymore.

Devin Hubner kicks.
Devin Hubner kicks. Bryson Payne holds.

Here’s a confession. I like writing on deadline. It’s more the art of the possible than politics, though it’s a little harder to make that point this year because barely possible events occur all the time.

High-school football is cleaner, though, personal fouls notwithstanding. Dirty tricks draw yellow hankies in football.

Andrew Webb
Andrew Webb

Not that anyone is as interested in how I write a story as the game about which I write, but I’ve already written about the game, which was a fine one. Not every game is a classic. If so, there’d be no such thing. How fondly this one will be remembered in Clinton, or reviled in Laurens, will depend on what happens to the two teams from here on out.

Writers typically wear lots of hats now, though the only one I had at Wilder Stadium was originated by the Asheville Tourists. I sometimes go partisan at the games but not partisan about the game. Oh, 30 years or so ago, I realized that the words of the coach wearing blue and red were more compelling if the fellow with the tape recorder wasn’t wearing black and gold.

After staring at it in various kinds of light, I’m still not sure which color the shirt I wore Friday night was. It has tiny stripes that are either white or gray. The base color is either navy or black. I think. Sometimes it looks ever so slightly greenish. Mainly, it’s dark.

It’s good to get this compelling discussion of attire out of the way.

This is how I covered the 84th football game between Clinton and Laurens that we know about.

I hung out in the parking lot and press box talking about the game and studying them a little. Only a little was required because I’d been watching them practice in various incarnations all summer.

DSCF3694

Down to the sideline carefully made I my way. I paid close attention to such matters as the inflation of the gigantic plastic simulation of a Clinton helmet that was at the end of a gigantic plastic tunnel that the Red Devils ran through, and milled about for what seemed like a long time within, before the game started.

The two bands collaborated on such uniting melodies as the national anthem. I appreciated their effort, in part because they played it in a key that enabled me to sing it myself with a modest degree of competency and range. I was mystified to see if the Raider band was still going to be lined up with the Red Devils when the Clinton team ran out through the a banner conveying an inordinate number of messages.

The LDHS band scurried safely away, with seconds to spare, leaving me room almost to get run over by the Clinton team because I was looking through a camera lens that made objects closer than they appeared.

Rookie mistake. Opening night. (I didn’t have to take photos in Saluda.)

DSCF3712
From left: KoKo Richey, Charlie Craven, Kris Holmes, Jishon Payne, and Zac Ray.

For most of the first quarter. I held up my camera and snapped a photo, then left the camera to hang around my neck while I scrawled something intelligent like:

1-10-27 10-11, +5, gd T by 17. Pursuit.

Then, when I felt confident that, out of 35 shots, or so, at least one would be suitable for publication. I started working my way back to the press box, slipping into an end seat (there weren’t many Friday night, but people tend to spread out a little in the non-reserved sections) after each play to scrawl something intelligent like:

2-5-32 9 le +3.

Then, 10 rows farther up:

3-2-35 10-22, shy, +1.

Staggering into the seat I had saved in the press box, I wiped my brow and scribbled:

4-1-36 punt 32.

For the remainder of the first half, I was continuing to record the plays while, at the same time, logging in the earlier plays on the coverage sheet I had downloaded from the World Wide Web! I mainly used that sheet alone the rest of the night, scrawling a little description in the margins.

Charlie Craven (10) and Donte Reeder (11)
Charlie Craven (10) and Donte Reeder (11)

I did the best I could. It was too hectic to be precise. When I looked at the statistics compiled by the teams the next day, it did not surprise me at all that Clinton quarterback Charlie Craven attempted one less pass – he was 14-of-20, not 14-of-21, as I had reported, and threw for 161 yards instead of the 149 I had quickly tallied – because, undoubtedly, at some point, I had forgotten to carry a “1.”

Gene Simmons
Gene Simmons

I packed everything in my handy backpack as the final seconds expired on the game. When I got to the field, I realized I had packed my camera, so I wedged the backpack against the chain-link fence and got the camera out. That way I could tape a video of Clinton coach Andrew Webb talking about the game to WPCC Radio’s Gene Simmons, and while I hated to eavesdrop on him, people routinely eavesdrop on me when I’m trying to interview someone, and I just couldn’t bring myself to interview Webb, or, for that matter, Laurens coach Chris Liner, while trying to look through a camera at the same time.

Laurens head coach Chris Liner
Laurens head coach Chris Liner

That’s where I draw the line.

It was 11 p.m. The deadline was midnight. My house was two miles away. I hoped a friendly policeman would help me facilitate my wild dash home, but noooooo. When I told him I was on deadline and in a hurry, I’m surprised he didn’t assign a fellow media-loving cop to give me a mandatory motorcade to Cross Anchor and back.

I’m exaggerating a bit. I shouldn’t ask for special treatment. Hundreds of the people driving home could have been on deadline. People are on Facebook, and they want to post their observations faster than anyone else, too. Then there’s Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat … I should be thankful I had so little to do.

I got to the house, fired up the laptop that I had left ready to run, and downloaded the photos and video. While the progress of the downloads (or perhaps they were uploads; I forget) was recorded in bands (of color, not music) streaking across the screen, I put on some coffee and groped for a lead.

Sincere Hunt
Sincere Hunt

Big play by someone named Sincere. Sincere Hunt. Like A Streetcar Named Desire. Sincere effort. Bingo.

I went back to the laptop and wrote just that lead graph. Then I picked out six photos that were promising and messed around with the light, tint, color, etc., saved them and emailed them to Greenwood.

Thirty minutes. At least 400 words. Those 30 minutes were spent writing, hurriedly referring to notes, and listening to the do-it-all instrument known as a cell phone. In this case, it was the voice-recorder subsidiary.

With five minutes to go, I hurriedly proofread to fix things like “the Clinton” because I had changed it from “Red Devils” and forgotten to remove “the.” Then I emailed the story to Greenwood and fetched the coffee. By coffee’s end, sleep wasn’t an option, so I watched California clobber Hawaii out west while looking at all the tweets and posts that students, fans and players had entered while I was occupied with 400 words.

I had foolishly planned on getting up early on Saturday to attend “Red Devil Rerun” at Whiteford’s, but it was at 8, and that’s when I awakened, and so I listened to it on radio and took down some notes that may be useful for advancing Clinton’s game next week in Greer.

Besides, I had to produce the video and post it on the Index-Journal’s YouTube page.

Once upon a time, I was just a writer.

Laurens QB Nathan Rutter completed five out of 13 attempts for 61 yards and a touchdown.
Laurens QB Nathan Rutter completed five out of 13 attempts for 61 yards and a touchdown.
(Steven Novak cover design)
(Steven Novak cover design)

Please visit the KindleScout site and consider nominating my fifth novel, Cowboys Come Home, for publication. You’ll find sample chapters, a short synopsis and a Q&A. Take a look at it here.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy either Forgive Us Our Trespasses or Crazy of Natural Causes, and you’ll get a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs, absolutely free. Tell ‘em Mr. Monte sent you, y’hear?

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

 

The Renaissance Reaches Clinton

Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Clinton's Charlie Craven (10) to Kris Holmes. Laurens' Braylen McBeth in between. (Monte Dutton photos)
Clinton’s Charlie Craven (10) to Kris Holmes. Laurens’ Braylen McBeth in between. (Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, August 27, 2016, 3:21 p.m.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

It’s the day after Clinton beat Laurens, and all through the town, still no one seems to have his feet on the ground.

Or her feet. The hovering transcends gender, which has nothing to do with transgender anything else.

Today I went over to Presbyterian College, wearing perhaps the oldest Clinton cap that is still being worn. It’s black and has the word “Clinton” in red and white. If I was wearing it anywhere else, people would think I was for Hillary Clinton, which I am, but it has nothing to do with the cap.

People watching – and, in fact, meeting the Blue Hose – celebrated the cap. I’m satisfied some were for Trump. In Clinton, a Clinton cap transcends politics.

Richardson FIeld looked marvelous.
Richardson FIeld looked marvelous.

A Presbyterian football player celebrated my blue cotton football jersey because it had “94” on the front and his had “94” on the front and back. Derrick Washington is a senior defensive lineman from Milledgeville, Georgia. I told him I think I bought my jersey in a truck stop, and it was possibly because the year was 1994. He said he still liked it.

From left, Mark Wise, Sincere Hunt, KoKo Richey and T'Quan Cromer.
From left, Mark Wise, Sincere Hunt, KoKo Richey and T’Quan Cromer.

This was not a contemporary wardrobe I wore over to PC. My sneakers were relatively new.

For both the Red Devils and the Raiders, the long and winding road is only beginning. Next week Clinton travels to Greer, another place it has recently taken its lumps. Laurens is at home against a dangerous opponent, Chapman, which will be dangerous to Clinton later because they are in the same region.

DSCF3717At Bailey Memorial Stadium, Keith Richardson, my high school coach, was watching his grandson, who now plays for the Blue Hose, as did Coach Richardson himself. Bill Rhodes, who also coached me, was working the concession stand. Last night, Bill was in the background while I was shooting video of present coach, Andrew Webb, talking about the 34-29 victory over Laurens. Harold Nichols was there to coach the Blue Hose, but what I chatted about with all of them could be boiled down to, simply, a variation of “How About Them Red Devils?”

Clinton head coach Andrew Webb
Clinton head coach Andrew Webb

For at least a night, Wilder Stadium was like it was in the glorious days of yore, and the game on Richardson Field was worthy of the comparison.

For the proud people of Clinton and its surrounding fiefdoms, order had been restored. Big, bad Laurens, from Class 5A — which, for some reason, suddenly became important because Clinton is still 3A, and, for some reason, people seem to have forgotten that Laurens District High School is no bigger than Clinton High School than it was last year – had been repelled in its invasion, and as is self-evident, Raiders tend to raid.  The schools haven’t changed, only the classifications, and because 4A is no longer split, Laurens has slipped up to a class that heretofore did not exist and Clinton has remained a bit more comfortably in 3A, where it has resided since the 1960s.

Let’s lose the class warfare. Laurens leads in A’s. Clinton leads in football teams … for the coming annum. Just because Laurens is in a higher class doesn’t mean it has more class.

DSCF3709The jaded news on this end of the county was that Laurens had won four in a row during a dark age in Clinton, and now the Red Devils seem to be advancing into the Renaissance.

Renaissance is not often a word used in relation to the untidy and boisterous sport of football, and I don’t expect any bumper stickers to show up celebrating the Red Devils as The Big Red Renaissance.

Oh, no, the yell will still be “Go Big Red!” in these parts.

Here’s the game story I wrote in the Index-Journal.

At the end, they're all in this county together.
At the end, they’re all in this county together.

CowboysComeHome_CVRPlease visit the KindleScout site and consider nominating my fifth novel, Cowboys Come Home, for publication. You’ll find sample chapters, a short synopsis and a Q&A. Take a look at it here.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy either Forgive Us Our Trespasses or Crazy of Natural Causes, and you’ll get a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs, absolutely free. Tell ‘em Mr. Monte sent you, y’hear?

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

Delightful Clinton Things

Dr. David O'Shields, in red, naturally, receives the game ball from all the runners, proving, beyond the shadow of a doubt that "the Raiders are coming, the Raiders are coming!" (Monte Dutton photos)
Dr. David O’Shields, in red, naturally, receives the game ball from all the runners, proving, beyond the shadow of a doubt that “the Raiders are coming, the Raiders are coming!” (Monte Dutton photos)
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, August 25, 2016, 8:33 p.m.

This was the most Clinton thing ever. The Clinton thing Friday night is in its infancy, because, dating back to 1920, Laurens has never played the Red Devils to begin a season.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

Clinton is a place where that most crucial transition of the calendar year – the ceremonial end of summer and beginning of football  – is celebrated by having a band that released a song that reached No. 17 in the country back in 1966 play a concert under a really nice shed next to the railroad tracks and across the street from the Confederate Monument.

In other words, my hometown’s citizens welcome the kids at Clinton High and Presbyterian College back to school by holding a live concert of music they barely remember and the kids never heard, that is, unless they watched The Swingin’ Medallions last year.

Just about as busy as Musgrove Street gets.
Just about as busy as Musgrove Street gets.

I might be a tad jaded. Mind you, I have witnessed Kurt Busch Day in Las Vegas.

Vegas Clinton ain’t. I like Clinton better. Besides, I can’t afford to gamble right now. Oh, wait. My whole life is a gamble.

The Swingin’ Medallions are from nearby Greenwood and objects of local renown. The townspeople turned out to hear the aforementioned hit, “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love,” and covers of 1970s rhythm and blues and our regional genre, beach music, which is the format of the local radio station, WPCC 1410-AM, Large Time Radio.

The Swingin' Medallions
The Swingin’ Medallions

It’s one of those trips back in time that most people get just driving through Clinton.

The cross country teams of Laurens and Clinton ran the game football from there to here, and they delivered it to District 56 Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields, who was once a classmate of mine at good old CHS, back when those who ran across country for sport were known as “harriers.” I believe runners around tracks might have been “thinclads.”

Unlike Friday night, Town Rhythms, the local Thursday evening free concert series, was a music-time decision. I wasn’t completely sure I was going, but the damned Red Sox lost, and I wanted something good to happen, so I decided I’d park as near as I could, stop by the Cuban restaurant for supper and watch the Medallions swing a mite slower than they did in wild, wonderful 1966.

Some folks staked out their spots early.
Some folks staked out their spots early.

Instead, I wound up eating pork barbecue, slaw and potato salad from a food truck and a Diet Mountain Dew I found elsewhere because the truck didn’t have any drinks beside water that were diet, and I love water but not with barbecue, and you know how fat people always drink diet, proving conclusively that it does absolutely no good whatsoever, but I’ve gotten used to it.

I hung around for half the concert because I bumped into a good two dozen people I haven’t seen lately, and we talked about such items as the old Howard Watkins farm being up for sale, and the sheriff’s race, and reckon how long it’ll be before Dempsey’s Pizza is open again, and other items that have more resonance in Laurens County than the earthquake in Italy.

I got home at a decent hour, or else I wouldn’t be writing this, now, would I?

Maybe I’ll get a Cuban sandwich before I go to Wilder Stadium. Either that or a slaw-dog plate at Whiteford’s.

DSCF1979

(Steven Novak cover design)
(Steven Novak cover design)

Please visit the KindleScout site and consider nominating my fifth novel, Cowboys Come Home, for publication. You’ll find sample chapters, a short synopsis and a Q&A. Take a look at it here.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy either Forgive Us Our Trespasses or Crazy of Natural Causes, and you’ll get a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs, absolutely free. Tell ‘em Mr. Monte sent you, y’hear?

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).

Avoiding the Perils of Knowing Enough to Be Dangerous

(Monte Dutton photos)
(Monte Dutton photos)

 

Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges
Complete Supply of Ink and Toner Cartridges

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, August 24, 2016, 11:44 a.m.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

I thought I had been everywhere. Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota, Buffalo, Toronto, Kingston, Albuquerque … and some that Hank Snow never even mentioned in his song.

I thought I had done everything, particularly in regard to the writing of sports: NASCAR and all kinds of pastimes requiring, balls, pucks, pins, bats, sticks, cleats, wickets, racquets and girdle pads. Those are just samples. Helmets. Hats. Caps. You get it. I’ve written about lots of sports.

On Tuesday, I wrote for the first time about eight-man football and volleyball. I sent in volleyball results when I was a sports information director, and I watched it on TV on both beaches and wooden floors. I’ve seen people play beach volleyball at a bar in the mountains. The variety of volleyball I saw at the gym was … clearer. No one suggested I take part.

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The eight-man football was at Laurens Academy, where I watched practice a while and wrote a preview of Friday night’s opener against Holly Hill Academy. Then it was off to run a couple errands and stop off at Yo Cup for coffee both in a cup and in a cake. Then I migrated to the locally famed rivalry between Laurens District and Clinton high schools, this one with the combatants separated by a net.

DSCF3685I’m vaguely conversant in volleyball. I know what a dig is. It’s what happens when a reader takes a shot at something I wrote. A spike makes me happy with my book sales. A serve? Dum vivimus servimus. “While we breathe, we serve.” It’s the Presbyterian College motto. I didn’t go to PC, but I’ve learned that motto from repeatedly seeing the seal for the entirety of my life. I went to Furman. Christo et doctrinae. “Christ and His teachings.” A little service involved there, too.

DSCF3672Clinton’s service was excellent. It played a powerful role in the Red Devils’ 25-10, 25-19, 25-14 (i.e., 3-0) victory over the Raiders. Here’s my amateurish account in the Greenwood Index-Journal. When amateurish and in doubt, crafty veterans among the ink-stained wretches (now a bit more radioactively challenged in the technological age) resort to extensive quotes from the experts, the coaches. If we don’t know what happened, we are only too happy to let them tell us.

DSCF3673

DSCF3689There’s no need to feign authoritative knowledge. Nothing is more annoying than a journalist who thinks he knows more about engine building than Robert Yates or Ernie Elliott. Elliott, by the way, from experience, isn’t inclined to share. The job isn’t to know everything. It’s to make it comprehensible to others who don’t know everything, either.

My first postgame question to Clinton High School coach Jo Webb was, “Was this an upset?” She said she didn’t think so but in enough words to be helpful. When Laurens’ Diane Raabe said she didn’t want to take questions and would make a statement, that was fine. That was way cool.

I didn’t want to coach the Olympic team. I wanted 12 inches on the dadgum match.

DSCF3656

Please visit the KindleScout site and consider nominating my fifth novel, Cowboys Come Home, for publication. You’ll find sample chapters, a short synopsis and a Q&A. Take a look at it here.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Stop by L&L Office Supply, 114 North Broad Street, Clinton and buy one of my novels. Buy either Forgive Us Our Trespasses or Crazy of Natural Causes, and you’ll get a volume of my short stories, Longer Songs, absolutely free. Tell ‘em Mr. Monte sent you, y’hear?

(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)
(Cover design by Jennifer Skutelsky)

Kindle versions – you don’t have to have a Kindle, just a free app for your electronic devices – of most of my books are available here. Links to print copies are below.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is the latest. It’s a tale about a crooked politician who wants to be governor, whatever it takes, and another man trying to stop him. It’s outrageous.(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy of Natural Causes is about the fall and rise of Chance Benford, a Kentucky football coach who reinvents himself. It’s original.

The Intangibles is about the South in the 1960s, complete with racial strife, bigotry, resentment, cultural exchange and, of course, high school football.

(Crystal Lynn cover photo)
(Crystal Lynn cover photo)

The Audacity of Dope is the tale of Riley Mansfield, a pot-smoking songwriter turned national hero with a taste for the former and a distaste for the latter.

Longer Songs is a collection of 11 short stories that all began in songs I wrote.

Follow me at Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Twitter (@montedutton), Google+ (MonteDuttonWriter) and/or Instagram (Tug50).