What I’m Thinking

Today’s Old Timey Word for the Week is one that I still hear occasionally, but not often, dab. “Here, put a dab of this on that bee sting and it’ll keep the swelling down.” They even used it back in the 1960s as part of the Brylcreem slogan, “Brylcreem, a little dab’ll do ya, Use more, only if you dare, But watch out, The gals will all pursue ya,–They’ll love to put their fingers through your hair.  Try a little dab of that this week.


It’s finally here!  The Rock Hole, the first book in the Red River mystery series, is now available as an eBook.  Download yours now from any online dealer.

A few months ago, I was asked to participate as a guest blogger for the My Book, The Movie, Blogspot.  Check it out at :



I have 23 years worth of newspaper columns that are just sitting there.  I ran across this one, which by the way won first place in outdoor writing by the Texas Outdoor Writers Association.  Thought you might like it.


            So there sat all the members of the Hunting Club, dumbfounded and howling with glee, along with dozens of other patrons in Doreen’s 24 HR Eat Gas Now Cafe the week before Christmas.

“Justice has been served,” Doc said as the ambulance left.

“I just wonder how long it will take them to open the bag again,” I mused, prompting further gales of laugher.

Oh, wait, you don’t know what’s going on.  Let me fill you in.

The excitement began when, in the course of their holiday shopping, John Henry and his family visited a taxidermist shop to look around.  It was his lucky day.  John Henry was the five hundredth person to enter the shop that weekend.  His prize? An extra-large freeze-dried rattlesnake…coiled to strike.

John Henry’s wife took one look at the coiled snake (fangs prominent) and emptied a plastic Foley’s shopping bag into which he deposited the diamondback, safely out of sight. They soon headed home, but hunger got the best of them.  In Doreen’s parking lot a dilemma became apparent.  His daughter wasn’t hungry and since the day was nice, she elected to remain in the car and read.

Problem:  She wasn’t about to stay in the car with a snake, dead or alive.

John Henry’s wife said the snake wasn’t coming in with them, so the solution was to place the bag in the shade of the car, slightly under and behind the rear wheel.  They trooped inside and settled into a booth, which happened to have a clear view of the parking lot and their car.  Now everyone could keep an eye on the Foley’s bag and the Major Award.

The family hadn’t even received their iced tea when a new Lincoln pulled up in the lot, discharging a snooty, bouffanted lady.  Apparently equipped with Shopping Bag Radar, she spied the bag.  With moves that put the cafe’s hunters to shame, she put The Sneak on her quarry, all the time casting furtive looks to see if anyone was watching.

Without breaking her stride,  the woman scooped up the bag with a smooth, fluid motion,  and entered the cafe.  John Henry’s daughter turned a page, never noticing the events that transpired outside her literary world.

Turning up her rather aristocratic nose at the cafe’s occupants, the woman marched past the counter to settle herself at a table, mere feet from John Henry’s fascinated family, and directly beside the ever-present domino game.  She sat the bag on the floor.

John Henry slipped out of his seat, ambled over to the Club members who were seated at the counter and quietly whispered the story to us.

We turned and positioned ourselves to watch the show.

Halfway through lunch the woman just couldn’t stand it anymore.  She had to see what she’d scored in the parking lot.

The would-be thief placed the bag on the seat beside her and peered inside.  Apparently her astigmatism wouldn’t allow her to get a clear look what was in the bottom.  She reached for the glasses on the beaded chain around her neck and perched the spectacles on her nose.  She peeked again.

REPORT:  A stuffed snake-in-a-sack looks just like a live one.

With a jolt like she was hit with 10,000 volts of electricity she screeched in terror, recoiled from the bag, launched to her feet, and fell backward onto the domino table in a drop-dead faint.  Dominos scatted across the floor and for the first time in weeks the game halted.

She rolled off the table onto the floor, her heavily sprayed, blue-haired head dribbled like a loose basketball for a moment.  When she was out of the way Wrong Willie Nelson played the deuce-five and scored fifteen points.

The limp plastic bag closed.

Things began to unravel even more when a pair of off-duty paramedics joined the fray.  In the confusion, John Henry couldn’t just walk over and pick up something that supposedly belonged to the woman, so we watched as the bag was deposited on the foot of the lady’s departing gurney.  This set off another series of shrieks from the now revived and strapped down individual.

“I know just how she feels,” Doc said.

The cafe erupted into waves of laughter after the noisy trio left for the ambulance.

“There goes my snake,” John Henry said, sadly.

“Where are you going?” I asked Wrong Willie, who jumped up and put on his coat.

“To the hospital.  I’ve gotta be there when they open that bag again.”


About reaviszwortham

Reavis Z. Wortham is the author of The Red River Mysteries from Poisoned Pen Press, and the Sonny Hawke thrillers from Kensington Publishing. Book 7 in the Red River series, Gold Dust releases September 4, 2018. Book 2 in the Hawke series, Hawke's War, releases May 29, 2018. The Humor Editor for Texas Fish and Game magazine, he's also a columnist for a number of newspapers and is a frequent contributor for magazines. For more fun, visit his web page at www.reaviszwortham.com for photos, appearances, reviews, and a little look back into history with a glossary of east Texas words used in both books. Happy Perusing.
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