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By Jim Porter

As usual, me and Buddy went to the Basser's club meeting last Wednesday down at Jake's Mobile station (hold it out in the car wash bay). After all the shoutin', cussin' and lyin' (if you belongs to a Basser club, you know jest what I'm sayin' here), four of us old-timers settled down to our regular 'after-the-meeting' 2 hour penny-ante poker game.

Well, seems like Jake had invited a potential new member to the meetin', and he turned out to be a new-hire at the local sheriff's office. Also, turned out he was a young hotshot who thought he was Dicky-boy Tracy and he run us all in for gambling'!!

There we wuz in a cell, being treated like a bunch'a crooks or sumthin', and waitin' on old Tom, the Justice of the Peace, to come hear our case. It was a sorry sight for big-time Weekend Semi-Pro bassers, you betcha. Me, Buddy, Joe from the plant loading dock and Preacher Willis - yep, we wuz not feeling too good about then. Especially Preacher Willis; he's a retire Southern Baptist pastor who sometimes fills in down at the local church, but fishes most of his days now. A real relic from the fire-and-brimstone days of pulpit pounding, he is.

Anyway, the Justice of the Peace showed up and wouldn't you know it-he wasn't our regular Judge what we all knowed. Worse, he didn't know us. And, when he eyeballed them charges about 'public gambling' and 'loitering' and stuff, we knew we wuz in BIG trouble.

After a while he looked down at me from that big 'Hiz Honor' perch up there and asked, "Well, were you gambling, like this charge says??" I sorta swallered a bit of my Redman, took a breath and in my best 'coming in the house after midnight and gotta explain it to the wife' voice, said 'No, sir, yer Honor. I was jest at the basser club meeting, I wuz."

He turned over to Buddy and asked the same thing and Buddy was so shook, he just shook his head like 'no' and turned kinda pale.

Then, he looked Joe up and down, mumbled something about 'now you ain't gonna lie to me too, are you?' kinda low under his voice and asked old Joe, "How about it, feller, was you gambling in that service station?" "Naw, sir, " Joe blurted, "I don't even know how to play cards. Naw, sir!!" By now that Justice was getting jest a mite fed-up with us I think and let us know that it were some kinda offense to lie in that hearing room and that we'd better straighten up.

Looking at Preacher Willis and figuring he'd get a straight story from a man-of-the-cloth, the Judge asked, "Well, how 'bout it, Preacher, were YOU gambling?"

Drawin' himself up right tall and gettin' one of his 'preach the Devil right out of here' looks on his face, Preacher Willis looked the Judge right in the eye and replied, "With whom, may I ask?"

Always did admire them Preachers.


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