Hello Ma

Skeeter sat in his tow truck and wrote the lyrics to a country song on a ketchup-stained Bunny Burger wrapper from the Red Rabbit Drive In. Titled, “Hello Ma,” Skeeter knew the tune would hit the charts. Singing softly to himself in a voice that sounded like rust looks, he put the finishing touches on the battle ballad that honored the trials and tribulations of suffering Afghanistan-induced PTSD.

Partial to baseball caps, Skeeter planned to buy himself a black Stetson with a rattlesnake skin band when he sang onstage at the Grand Ole Opry. Skeeter would step to the microphone and say, “This is my song about my living and dying in America.” Then he’d dig into the meat and potatoes of the matter.

“Hello Ma I hope you’re well

I need a bus ticket home

My sanity’s gone and my old lady, too

Got nowhere else to roam

Hello Ma I hope you’re well.

Sorry I ain’t called you in a while

Been on a bender for 13 weeks

The sober life’s not my style

You remember my pit bull? Well she just died. My best buddy Clay died too.

Outlaw bikers want the money I owe

Looks like I’m really screwed

Hello Ma I hope you’re well

Sorry I missed daddy’s wake

Totaled my motorcycle that same week

I sure could go for a steak

When I get home I’ll make it up to you

We’ll dance two-step in the bar until dawn

I promise you my words are true

You’ll feel like I never been gone

Hello Ma, are you still there?

Can’t hear your voice no more.

C’mon Ma please talk to me

I’m wounded from the Taliban war.

C’mon Ma, please don’t hang up

Don’t think I’m gonna last”

C’mon Ma, please talk to me.

You little boy’s sinking fast”

A month later Skeeter got a letter from a small record company in Nashville telling him the song was too depressing for the current genre of country music fans. The record company vice president wrote that Skeeter would be better off staying in the tow truck business. The song wasn’t very good, either, the VP wrote.

Skeeter had to admit the song wasn’t very good.

Now he had no idea what to do with the 1,500 red, white and blue T-shirts he borrowed money to buy with “Hello Ma” printed across the front and “Remember Our Afgan Vets” printed across the back.

Guess he’d just have to wear them to work.

At least he wouldn’t have to spring for a Stetson.