Just beyond the curve, p.1
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       Just Beyond the Curve, p.1
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           Larry Huddleston
Just Beyond the Curve



  Copyright © 2009 by LARRY E. HUDDLESTON

  Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. All characters are totally from the imagination of the author and depict no persons, living or dead; any similarity is totally coincidental.

  Cover Layout & text design:

  Midnight Express Books

  POBox 69

  Berryville AR 72616


  In reality there are very few people in the world who do not long for fame and fortune. Many believe that given a chance they could make a difference. Most would fail miserably for any number of reasons. But there are exceptions, too.

  John Edward Travis was twenty-five, tall, dark and handsome and had a personality that made everyone he met love him. He was outgoing and generous. He was married to a beautiful girl name Donna Sue and he had a son named after himself that he adored.

  John was on his way to the top of the country music charts for the third time and his name was becoming a household word that ranked up there with Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty, Bill Monroe, and the list went on. His concerts were always sold out and he always stayed to mingle with the crowd and sign autographs. He never allowed himself to become estranged from those who had put him at the top. And for that reason his untimely death jerked the heart from his millions of fans. In fact, the whole nation, and many foreign countries, was in mourning for John Edward Travis, dead at the young age of twenty-five, leaving a wife, son and legend, much like the great Hank Williams, Sr.

  In January 1985 Austin, Texas was well on its way to becoming the new Nashville of country western music. Many famous musicians, from Towns Van Zant to Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings to Chris Christopherson had recorded their music there and helped to put Austin on the map as a booming music mecca, much like Branson, Missouri.

  On that fateful night in August 1985 John Travis and the Travelers were in the recording studio putting the finishing touches on the last song of their third album. They were looking forward to a few weeks off before beginning the tour to promote the album and the chance to mingle with their millions of fans across the nation and around the world.

  The band had arrived early and were in the process of tuning and warming up when John arrived from his home in Wimberley, Texas, thirty, or so, miles to the southwest of Austin, and perhaps twenty miles northwest of San Marcos. John and Donna had been raised around Wimberley and considered it their home, regardless of the money they were making. They liked the rural living the desert-like country offered.

  When John entered the recording studio with his guitar case that housed a 1964 Fender Stratocaster which he had inherited from his father, he was met with cheers, whistles and catcalls from the band.

  Cotton Stubbs, the rhythm guitarist, stepped to the microphone and sang mournfully, “Hurry up John, it just ain’t the same, without your singin’ and a’ pickin them straaaaangs!” His comment was met with good cheer and laughter from everyone, including John, who laughed and bowed to the band. He then got on his knees in supplication to them.

  “I wanna thank you boys,” he said prayerfully, barely containing his laughter, “for makin’ me the most famous and richest of this bunch! And, I might add, by far, the most talented and handsomest, and sought after, and chased, by wicked women, and...” Unable to contain his humor any longer he burst out laughing. He was joined by the rest of the band and the fiddle player, Ernie Bottoms, who had begun playing a sad, dreary accompaniment to John’s recital of all his superior endowments.

  When the laughter died down the band broke into a fast, happy tune that changed the whole mood of the studio. John leaned over and unbuckled his guitar case. He was just opening the lid when the phone began to ring in the mixing room. The mixing engineer, Tom Franklin, reached forward and flipped a switch on the console and then spoke into the microphone.

  “John, there’s a problem at home. You’re needed there, now!” the elderly man said seriously.

  John gently laid the Strat back into the case and closed the lid, buckled it, picked the case up and headed for the door. “I’m goin’ to Wimberley, boys,” he said, opening the door. “Tom, did they say if it was Momma, Donna, or John Junior?”

  “It’s your momma, John,” Tom replied, sadly. “You drive safe and hurry back, now. And watch those curves out there; you never know what’s waiting just around ‘em.”

  “I will,” John replied with a smile. “I ain’t tryin’ to die young,” he added waving over his shoulder and closing the door behind him.

  By the time he reached his pickup and swung the case up and over into the bed, he could faintly hear the band resuming their practice. He got in and drove carefully from the parking lot.

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