Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Night Johnny Ace Died by James Lee Burke

The March issue of Esquire has a short story by James Lee Burke to whet our appetite for Jesus Out To Sea, his forthcoming short story compilation. The Night Johnny Ace Died introduces a pair of World War II vets turned rockabilly musicians who find themselves on the outs with the music establishment in the south, and the honky tonk angel who helps drive a wedge between them. Here's an excerpt:

"When Eddy Ray and I first saw her, she was singing at a roadhouse called Buster's in Vinton, Louisiana. The heat had started to go out of the day, and through the screens we could see a lake and, beyond it, a red sun shining through a grove of live oaks. We were at the bar, drinking long-neck Jax, eating crab burgers, the big-bladed window fan blowing cool in our faces. Eddy Ray's attention was fixed on the girl at the microphone and the way her purple cowboy shirt puffed and dented and changed colors in the breeze from the floor fan, the way she closed her eyes when she opened her mouth to sing, like she was offering up a prayer."

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