Well, just one week from today and my book will be ready to go out into this big wide world. If you have pre-ordered your copy, thank you for your support. You can still pre-order Red Dirt Rocker at www.amazon.com or www.neverlandpublishing.com. Please enjoy another excerpt from chapter 15!
Red Dirt Rocker---
The following day, I still participate in football practice. As the final whistle blows, I jog off the field and head for the showers. I pause at the sight of the sun setting over the west bleachers. The sunset is blazing orange and purple. The oak trees in the distance look like they're sketched in jet black ink across the canvas of the evening sky. I love sunrises and sunsets; they always inspire me. I decide that my next song will have a sunset in it as I stand gazing up at the fiery globe that appears to be igniting the metallic bleachers. My band and I will be leaving for Sweden tomorrow. It suddenly hits me that this might be the last sunset I'll see from the fifty-yard line. I feel lonely and sad.
Inside the locker room, Coach's favorite Toby Keith song, "Made In America" is blaring on a dusty, circa 1990's boom box. The twangy, boot-scootin' tune elevates my mood. I hear Coach Bryan yell my name over the music.
"Hey, Forrest...ya ever think a cuttin' a country album?" Coach Bryan asks. His hick accent lays thick as biscuit gravy on his words. He spits a black, liquid stream of chewing tobacco juice into an empty Gatorade bottle.
"If I do, Coach, you will DEFINITELY be my inspiration." I holler back, and shake my head.
"Ahhh, son, ya know, country music's where it's at," Coach says with absolute conviction. Coach crosses the room and places his well worn, black felt cowboy hat on my head. He pats me firmly on the back with his huge, callused hands. Coach is like a bear that doesn't know its own strength. I squint my eyes shut and jolt forward a step, which prompts me to begin riding a fake bucking horse all the way to my locker. I swing an imaginary rope over my head, grab my Joe's Tire Shop ball cap and throw Coach back his cowboy hat like a Frisbee.
"It fits me pretty good, Coach, but I'd better let you keep it. You'll need it after the big game Friday. I'm not sure if the Swedes are ready for a cowboy from Coweta just yet!" I laugh.
"Hey, Forrest. Ya know we're all really proud a ya, bud. Knock em' dead son! We're gonna miss ya on the field, but we're glad yer followin' yer dreams, " Coach Bryan says, with genuine sincerity.
Thanks Coach, I can't tell you how much I appreciate all you've done for me. "I feel my heart grow heavy.
"I know yer gonna see a lot more of this big ole' world, Forrest." Coach returns. His smile widens in approval revealing bits of brown tobacco in his teeth. "I just wished you would've learnt to play country music." He teases, as he slaps me on the back again. This time I brace myself and stand firm. I extend my hand and Coach shakes it firmly. The calluses on my hands from playing guitar are small compared to the calluses on Coach Bryan's hands, which developed from years of daily farm labor. I respect Coach more than I can say.
"KISS huh?" Well they ain't no Toby Keith, but I guess they'll do, son!
On my way out of the locker room, I can hear the shrill sound of hair clippers buzzing. The trainer wielding shears turns to me as he shaves a no-neck lineman's hair down to a faint shadow of stubble.
"Hey, Forrest, come have a seat. I'll give ya a buzz cut!" he says, patting the back of the rusty metal folding chair.
"Oh, no thanks dude. I'm good. Maybe I'll catch ya when I get back." I kindly decline. I shake my long, shaggy hair and replace my ball cap.
As I leave the locker room, I raise my hands over my head and jump up to smack the "Tiger Pride" sign that hangs above the heavy metal door. The sharp, cold, evening air hits me square in the face. I inhale deeply. I turn back towards the dark, abandoned football field and yell at the top of my lungs, "GO TIGERS!!!" My voice echoes back in agreement twice, and then dies in the lonely, black shadows.
Authors Note---In loving memory of Coach Ricky Bryan~~