Just Call Me “Smoky”

It’s time for THE WRITING CHALLENGE #FUN20119.

Check out the link for the rules and a list of the stories.

Here is mine:

Just Call Me “Smoky”

by J. Lillie

Z ear tuned his six string one more time. His nerves jangled like his mother’s dinner triangle at 5 P.M.

A piece of his heart wished for the simplicity of those days on the farm with his four brothers and three sisters. Life had been hard. The house had no running water and they heated with wood. The farm work was back breaking, but there had always been time for music and family and God.

Each night after the chores were done and supper was eaten, Momma would gather all the family around her rocker by the wood stove. She would read a chapter from the Bible Daddy had preached from and then she would have Z play his guitar and lead them in a hymn. After that they would sing the songs of the hills, the ones Momma had known since she was a little girl. They would sing until the moon rose high in the sky and the little ones dozed off by the hearth. Z always believed it was his father’s voice that sang through his mouth on those nights, not his own. It was all Z had left of the man who gave him life before losing his own.

Those nights with the family had prepared Z for his big break. They had birthed the story that would launch him to the stars and they had disciplined the talent his father had given him as a parting gift before dying two days before Z was born.

Zeruiah Teague had been discovered one Sunday in church by a Nashville promoter who was visiting his cousin in Robbinsville. It had been a banner day, a day that raised Z’s whole family out of the abject poverty they had always known. But Z had traded something that day when he became a star. He still thought of himself as “Z” but no one called him that anymore. Even Momma had given up using his given name or his nick name.

“Mr. Teague? We are at places in five.” The stage manager popped her head in the door to say.

Z smiled back at the pretty woman and replied, “Not Mr. Teague. Just call me Smoky.”

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