Flash Fiction

Preface

The following short story is a tribute to a song.
It was written by Billy Roberts in 1965.
It was made famous by Jimi Hendrix.
But,
in my humble opinion,
Otis Taylor’s version at
The Kitchener Folk Festival immortalizes it.

I’ve changed it a little. Put a "positive" spin on it.

It’s called,

 

HEY JOE

I walked through the door.
Into the bar.

Paused.

Bird was on my left shoulder.

I had a Beretta in each hand. Non-chalant-like.
Hangin’ down by my side.

The bar was on my right. Barkeep behind.
A patron at each end. Far apart.
All in front of a wall of mirror.

In front of me were 5 or 6 tables w/ a few patrons.

Standin’ in the middle of the room was a woman.
She was facing some big guy.

He had his hands on her shoulders. Holdin’ her semi-tight to him. Tryin’ to.
She was tryin’ to pound on his chest. Or so it seemed.

Nobody really noticed me.

 

Bird broke the din of silence,
Awk, Hey Joe.

The woman shot her gaze at Bird. Then me.

As did everyone else.

Nothin’ left to do but raise my guns.
I shot at the mirror behind the bartender.
What a sound that made!
Several women screamed. Loud.

I aimed my left beretta at the couple standin’ in the middle of the room.

Everyone jerked back slightly.
Everyone but the woman.

“Nobody f***in’ move!”

I turned back to the bartender and shook my head –

“Don’t even think about it. Hands on the bar!”

He decided to twitch.
So I shot the dead mirror again.

He put his hands on the bar.

The woman took this opportunity to push the big guy away.

My attention shifted.


“Joe ! ?”

Bird echoed, “Awk, hey Joe!

She looked me straight in the eye.
So did the big guy.

He finally gathered himself.

“Hey, what the hell d’ya think you’re doin’?”
He sure thought he was pretty tough.

“I heard my woman was messin’ around w/ another man."
"What the hell d’ya think I’m doin’ ?”

“I’m gonna shoot her down. Then I’m gonna shoot you down.”

 

Just then I thought I saw someone put their phone up.
Maybe to start filmin’.
I waved my gun at them.

“Everyone! Hands on the table. Where I can see ‘em.
Phones down!”

Back to Joe.

“You messin’ around with this guy?”

Joe cocked her head and just looked at me. Real evil-like.
Didn’t say a thing.

“He had his hands all over you.
Not sure what I saw from you.”

“She’s w/ me. And you don’t scare me w/ those guns.”


He really did think he was a tough guy. Or was makin’ a helluva an attempt to appear so.

My glance shifted to Joe,
“You w/ him Joe?”

Joe cocked her head just a little more. Squinted her eyes.
Said nothin’.

I glanced over to the bartender. He was obedient.

 

“See, she ain’t got nothin’ to say to you.
Now get your f***in’ a** outta here.”

“Ya know, you’re really startin’ to piss me off.”

I said.

Awk, piss me off.”

I pointed the gun in my right hand right at him.
Then I shot. Just past his left ear.
Boy did he flinch. Probably sh** his pants.
I don’t think he thought he was so tough now.

One of the ladies fainted.

Joe just stood there.

“He was pissin’ me off.” I said.

Awk, piss me off.”

“It’s about time,” said Joe. I chuckled to myself.

“So Joe.
You w/ him?”

A slump of the shoulders and a roll of her eyes,
“What the hell do you think?”

“That’s what I thought."
"You know I just like to hear you say it.”

“And you, dummy, when a woman says, ‘Take a hike. Get your hands off me.’, I suggest you take your hands off and take a hike.”

“Especially my  woman!”

“Ya see, I know she wouldn’t mess around on me."
"She’s loyal. Plus, … she don’t wanna get shot.”

“She knows I would.”

“You’d be a lucky man to have a woman like my Joe.”

“I know she’d tell you she’s got a man."
"And if you didn’t respect her the first time,
she’d tell you to take a hike.”

“If you didn’t listen up the second time, you’re all mine."
"Which is where you find yourself at the moment.”

“So, you gonna shoot him down or what?” Joe asks.

Awk, shoot him down!

I survey the whole room.
Aim my left gun right at him and pull the trigger.

!!! BAM !!!

The big guy drops to the floor.

No. He ain’t dead. A blank.
(wasn’t so tough after all, was he?)

Joe walks over to me. Real proud-like.
Throws her arms around me.

Bird jumps to my head.


“God I love you!!!”

Awk, love you.

 

“I think we’re done here, this place is water under the bridge.”

“Time we headed down Mexico-way.”


Bird  squawks, “Awk, Mexico-way.

“I’m with you.” Joe walks out.

As I turn and walk out, I stop in front of the bouncer.
Sittin’ there. Arms folded.
I walk up to him.

 

I give him a nod. A little dip of the head.
“Thanx.”

He gives me one back.

I walk through the door.
Outta the bar.

 

The End

original lyrics - 
 

Hey Joe, oh whatchu doin' with that gun in your hand?
Oh yeah, I said,
Hey Joe, oh whatchu doin' with that gun in your hand?
 
I caught my woman with another man.
I caught my woman with another man.
I shot my woman,
Oh yeah, I shot her down.


******************

Here’s the link to Otis Taylor’s version,
presented at The Kitchener Folk Festival
I hope you enjoy it.

https://www.google.com/search?q=otis+taylor+hey+joe+kitchener&oq=otis+taylor+hey+joe+kitchener&aqs=chrome..69i57.16008j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8