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Microsoft Word - 2014_Great_American_Fiction_Contest-12_Miles_48_Stops-by_Robert_Steven_Williams.docx

“Just before Charles was shipped off to Vietnam, we got in a big fight over what to do with the band. I wanted to promote the drummer to bandleader and find another bass player, not put things on hold the way Charles wanted.” Davida raised her eyebrows. She’d been expecting to hear her grandmother’s version of the Jackson teenage pregnancy saga, featuring Jackson girls from as far back as anyone in the family could recall. Her eye caught the photograph on the mantel of Corporal Charles Jackson in his army dress blues before he shipped out, just 18. Granny Jack rarely spoke of him or of her days in music; Davida had had no idea her grandmother could sing until the funeral. People still talked about the aching beauty of Ruby Jackson’s “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” that day, but Davida didn’t remember much of it. The only other photo of Charles was in Granny Jack’s bedroom, on the dresser, a publicity shot of the Tulips, Ruby at the center of three back-up singers, each with back-combed beehives and tight pencil skirts, Charles on the right in a suit and tie, looking dapper, playing electric bass. “You see, I had ambition, girl,” Granny Jack continued. “I was intoxicated by the sweet taste of a little success. I wanted to keep going, but your grandfather said I had to stay home for the baby. He was right, and that’s what I done, but when he died, I felt untethered. I started drinking, and then I rejoined the band,


Microsoft Word - 2014_Great_American_Fiction_Contest-12_Miles_48_Stops-by_Robert_Steven_Williams.docx
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