By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
Jay Bell, my good friend from “Bradenton-Fun-in-the-Sun-Baby-Florida,” surprised me during a phone call about two weeks ago.
The Jaybird’s been back home in Mexico, Mo., visiting family and friends. One of his childhood buddies is a preacher who lives in Arkansas.
“He wants to meet me in Memphis for a baseball game,” Jay said.
“Memphis?” I said.
“Hey, Morris, you don’t live far from Memphis.”
A week later, I was in a Beale Street restaurant eating ribs next to Jay Bell and his friend.
We’ll call the preacher “Bob” because what happens with the Jaybird stays with the Jaybird.
The night before I arrived, they went to the baseball game, then hit Beale Street, where they met two women who’d been in Mexico, Mo., earlier that day.
“They had pictures,” Bell said, “but they were blurry.”
“The pictures were fine,” Bob said. “You were blurry.”
“That sounds about right,” Jay said.
They got to the hotel by about 2:30 a.m., without the women.
“The preacher kept you out until 2:30,” I said. “The writer will get you home by 9.”
“Good luck with that,” Bob said.
He needed to get back home, so Bell and I had the rest of the day to ourselves.
It soon became clear Jay’s remaining brain cells were moving through a thick, fun-induced fog. There were little clues, like the way he barely touched his Budweiser and how his eyes were half a second slow when attractive women walked by.
“I think Bob blunted the spear that is Jay Bell,” I said.
“The Jaybird’s just getting started,” he said, but his heart wasn’t in it.
Later, we were looking for something to do, and I made an unusual suggestion.
“Cirque du Soleil is in Southhaven,” I said.
“Do they serve beer?”
“More than likely.”
We didn’t exactly blend in with the family crowd, but that was OK.
During one of his Budweiser runs, Jay bought a clown nose for $5.
“I don’t think I ever had the chance to buy a clown nose before,” Jay Bell said, wearing the red nose. “I probably could’ve bought 300 garter belts, though.”
“New experiences are good,” I said.
He nodded and added, “The contortionist is going to haunt my dreams.”
We got into bed by 11:30 p.m. Jay considered it a triumph that we made it past my 9 p.m. target.
We woke up the next morning with clear memories of the previous day. When it came time to go our separate ways, we both realized Bob deserved much of the credit for our enjoyment.
“The next time we hang out, you need to get together with Bob the night before,” I said.
“He’ll probably do it,” Jay said. “He’s a preacher. He’s used to sacrifice.”
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal entertainment writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.