It can’t be easy to confront your past, when you’re a mega-millionaire and nobody disagrees with you any more. That can’t be easy, I admit, though only in an abstract sense since I’ve never even been a mega-thousandaire, but I think we can safely say that these days, Garth Brooks has no friends in low places.
What a nightmare it must be for a hugely-successful country (‘n’ western) singer seeking to kickstart his career after a twenty-year absence. After all, when Garth first set out on the road of Stetson stardom, it was common to hear the N-word. Promoters and city officials said it all the time, but that was a long time ago and Garth has been busy, raising a family, surviving on the few hundred million he made back in the hard times and slowly forgetting that anyone ever used the N-word in his presence.
Until, that is, he decided to put on a show especially for the Irish supporters he loves so much, the people who hold such a dear place in his heart, and he said to his manager, Y’know Tex, these here folks is lookin for more shows than the two we planned. Whyn’t we give ’em what they’re lookin for an’ bring my wonderfulness to the whole of Eye-erland, the most special place in all the world, that I have a really special place for, right here, in my heart?
Sadly, that’s not how it panned out. The evil Straw-boss of the evil city evilly only agreed to double the number of shows allowed in the Gaabowl, which meant that Garth was back to what he planned in the first place, and that was no longer good enough for a man with a bustin’ heart. Jest bustin’ with leurv for all those Eye-erish fans that he leurved so much.
No! said the man with the giant leurv-bustin’ heart. If it ain’t for
the full fifty-million bucks all my supporters, I ain’t playin’ at all. I have my principles, and my heart is heart-sore, I tell you, heartfully.
Well, hot damn! Shoot me with a rusty Remington if that city manager dude don’t eyeball Garth’s man and stare him back like the mean, low-down rattler that he is.
I done give you th’extry three days, Tex, drawled OK Keegan. What-all you want me to do now? It’s a done deal, y’unnerstan’?
Jest say it, replied Tex, his eyes narrowing and the sweat running down his stubble as his fingers twitched. Make yore move, hombre.
Keegan ran a Lucky Strike across the heel of his hand-tooled Mexican snakeskin boot and lit up a fine Cuban stogie.
You take this back to Garth, he hissed. Th’answer is No!
Yeah, said OK Keegan. That’s exactly what I mean. It’s the N-word.
It weren’t never gonna be easy for Garth. Too many days of fightin’ the weather. Too many nights of not bein’ together.
So he cried.
What’s this N-word? I don’t remember no N-word.
It didn’t make no never mind what fancy Eastern head-doctors they brought out to see Garth. He couldn’t remember no time nobody never told him No. No Sirree. That were a long time before he become the new Garth an’ he weren’t goin’ back there no-how.
There was ghosts in the street seeking revenge, callin’ him out to the lunatic fringe, so Garth’s out in the traffic checkin’ the sun when he’s hit by a golf-cart as he goes for his gun.
An’ he shouts No. No, no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no !!!!!!!
Better’n any fifty fancy Eastern head-doctors all the way out from Boston or New York or somesuch.
He turned to his faithful wrangler, Tex.
I recall, he said.
Yeah. I recall the N-word. Never did like it back then and I sure as shootin’ don’t like it now after all these years, but yeah. I reckon it’s No.
Tex pulled out a half-chewed old cee-gar, narrowed his eyes against the sun, wiped the sweat from his face and squinted.
What next, Boss?
Garth pulled hisself up to his full five-foot-four, adjusted his wireless headset and gestured towards the huge locomotive that panted quietly at the station.
See them fancy eastern head-doctors? he gritted.
Send ’em all back to their fancy hospitals out East, but keep the fires stoked in that there loco.
Yeah, Tex. I want you to bring back a wagonload of the fanciest Eastern lawyers money can buy. Yeehaw!