Farmer Tice Root Beer
Best Dang Root Beer on the Whole Dang Planet !!!
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The world's unluckiest man returns for his wildest misadventure yet! This time, Farmer Tice is turning an old family recipe into a million-dollar business. Of course, he can mess up a one-man parade even if he's the grand marshal, and in FARMER TICE ROOT BEER, our hero gets plenty of chances to screw up royally. From his "good-fer-nuttin'" fishing buddies to Hokum high society, he sets the whole town on its ear. So kick back, grab an ice-cold sarsaparilla, and find out how Farmer Tice blows a sure bet one more time in Nelson Donley's rip-roarin', totally un-p.c. third book in this wildly original series.
The First Chapter
FISHIN' AT MILLER'S POND
It's summertime, and the livin' is easy. This was especially true for the farmers of Hokum whose wives always did most of the work. July was Farmer Tice's favorite month of the entire year, and for a very good reason—it was too soon to harvest and too late to plant, but just the right time to sleep and go fishing. The only problem Farmer Tice had, aside from his wife, was coming up with enough capital to pay for his summertime dreams.
That's why he headed on down to Miller's Pond. Ben Miller never seemed to mind him fishing there, because he rarely caught any fish. Ben was good-natured and easygoin’ at heart and would allow a select few of his friends to fish there so long as they limited themselves to one fish per visit and cleaned up after themselves before they left. Farmer Tice never caught any fish and napping never caused a mess, so he was no problem at all.
For several months, Ben hadn't seen what was going on down at his lake because he'd been spending all his time down at Swine Hall shooting pool with his lodge brothers—all of which, just like him, chose pool and other games, such as checkers and Go Fish, over chores. Besides, with all the NO FISHING and NO TRESPASSING signs he had his wife make with old wood and paint, there was no reason to think he'd ever have to deal with a slew of vagrants.
Old man Bunch had to close down the game room in the back of the lodge hall for a couple of days because the wives wanted to use it for their annual summer sow party. This was the time when all of the lodge wives got together to complain about their ‘lazy, good-fer-nuttin’ husbands—and no self-respecting Hokum man wanted to be there for that. Even Farmer Tice, who had no self-respect whatsoever, always stayed clear of that event. And so, Ben, with nothing else better to do, grabbed his tackle box and hightailed it out of there to go fishing. Last fall, Ben had that lake stocked with catfish and bass and figured by this time of year, the fish ought to be jumping out of the lake. So, he jumped into General Beauregard—his pet name for his jeep—and took off.
What he saw when he got to the top of the ridge overlooking his small lake was absolutely shocking—dirty young men with scruffy beards, and trash everywhere! Cans, bottles, shoes, garbage, shopping carts, and lots and lots of old mattresses. Why, the place looked only slightly better than Hokum’s best hotel.
Ben reached around the back of his jeep and grabbed a long, Iver Johnson, 12-gauge, single-barrel shotgun that he always kept in the backseat. Then, he stood up and aimed it at the chief vagrant below laying amid all that filth and garbage, sound asleep beneath a willow tree with his head on a big, brown jug and a cane pole between his knees.
Ben, not knowing who it was, yelled at the top of his lungs, “Hey, you down there! Yo! What ya doin' on my land? Can't ya read them signs?” When he got no answer, he fired a shot in the air to get the vagrant’s undivided attention. BOOM!!!
Farmer Tice, well knowing that it wasn't duck season, sprung to his feet like a rocket. He wanted no part of that buckshot. Seeing that it was only Ben Miller brought about a heap of relief, but Farmer Tice was still a bit sore for being woken up. Still, he appreciated the fact that his long-time lodge brother and friend had only fired a warning shot. He wasn't sure his wife would ever give him such a break.
“Ben! Ben Miller!! Jus' what in tarnation are ya tryin' to do? Kill me?” By this time, all the “urban entrepreneurs” had vanished like mice after the cat showed up.
“Oh, it's you!” Then, after looking around and seeing the desecrated landscape, Ben launched into a mini-tirade. “Jinx, jus' look at my place! It's turned into a dadgum slum!! And since you're right smack-dab in the middle of it, there's no one else to blame but you!!!”
Ben hobbled on down to the bottom of the ravine carrying his shotgun in one hand while grabbing onto his truss with the other. Not only was he angry about seeing his property turned into a haven for the homeless, but seeing Farmer Tice in the center of it only made him madder. Ben automatically assumed that Farmer Tice had gone on a drunken binge. Then, he got to thinking, and his tone suddenly changed from vinegar to honey.
“Hey, Jinx, what you got in that thar jug—moonshine?”
“Listen here, Ben Miller! You know dang well this here is a dry county. Our wives made it that way at the last election. So, don't you go a-gettin' any ideas 'bout spreadin' lies about me. Fer yer information this jug jus' so happens to be a batch of homemade sarsaparilla. And not only does it taste good, but it’s good fer ya too.”
“Simmer yourself down, Jinx. I knows you ain't no moonshiner. Moonshinin' is too much work fer a sodbuster of your caliber.” Before Farmer Tice was able to catch the brunt of that insult, he added, “Hey, I love homemade sarsaparilla. Mind if I have a taste?”
“Not at all,” replied Farmer Tice, handing him the jug.
Ben took a sip, holding the jug hillbilly style, and started guzzling it down until Farmer Tice yanked it out of his hands before he downed the whole thing.
“Say, this stuff's pretty good. It's not only refreshin', but a dang good tonic. After takin' jus' a few swigs, I'm feelin' spry all over. I'll bet if you was to bottle it, you'd make a heap of cash. If ya play your cards right, this could be the start of somethin’ big!”
“Ya think so?”
“Don't know why not. You know somethin', Jinx—I feel so good right now that I don't even care if them bum friends of yours fish in my lake.”
Of course, Ben didn't really mean that about allowing these happy campers to fish in his lake. It must have been the sarsaparilla doing all the talking. After fishing for a couple of hours, Ben started wondering why neither of them got even a single bite. After all, he had invested nearly $150 in stocking fees, so the fish should have been biting like mad. Ben looked at Farmer Tice and said, “Perhaps they is takin' an afternoon nap.” Little did he know that his lake had been fished plumb dry by Farmer Tice and Ben's uninvited inhabitants. Since there were no fish to talk about, the conversation shifted back to sarsaparilla.
“Jinx, I believe what you've got in that-thar jug ain't sarsaparilla at all.”
“No, what you got thar is a dang gold mine! That’s what it is.”
Farmer Tice pulled the stopper out of the jug and took a hard look inside. “Danged if I can see any gold. I guess I is gonna have to smash my jug to pieces to get at it.”
“Not that kind of gold, you fool. What I mean is that you've got one of the best drinks I've ever tasted, and I'll bet you can make a million dollars overnight sellin' it.”
“Ya think so?”
“With the right kind of marketing, I reckon. All ya need right now is to find someone who can help you get started. Someone with a good nose fer money—one of them guys with what they call 'business acumen'.”
“Now, where in tarnation do I find that?”
“Don't rightly know. Jus' heard that word the other day on the radio, but I think it's got somethin' to do with usin' yer brain ta make money. You need ta latch onto someone good at followin' the money trail.”
Thanks fer readin'