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"A Cautionary Tale of Fort Worth"

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 We were watching TV the other night and had on one of those true-crime channels. I was half-listening but when the narrator introduced a female character and said, “At 18, she moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where she fell in with the wrong crowd,” my ears perked up. If that’s not the first line of a David Hanners song, I don’t know what is. I wrote it down.

The next morning I opened my notebook, looked at the line and started writing, making up the story as I went. There’s been some editing, but what you see is pretty much what came out.

I learned early in my journalism career that most people behind bars are there because they got caught up in a cascading series of bad choices. Yeah, there are some psychopaths who are just evil, but a lot of incarcerated folks were trying to feed a habit of some sort and things spiraled out of control. That doesn’t absolve them of guilt or lessen the impact of what they've done; it is just a reminder that a lot of them started out “normal” and one bad decision led to another.

When I look at the forks in the road of my own life, I’m thankful I was either smart enough to make the right choice or too chicken to make the bad one.

I'm playing the Farida OT-22 on it. Am really liking that guitar.

 

 



A Cautionary Tale of Fort Worth
© 2019 by David Hanners

At 18 she moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where she fell in with the wrong crowd
Was the life of every party, drank too much and was too loud
Met Dale on the loading dock at work, they had chemistry to spare
Like high-test gas and a propane torch, they lived life on a dare

Said she knew a guy who knew a guy through a friend she used to know
Lived alone on Lake Worth, was supposedly flush with dough
It was supposed to be a simple robbery, hell, the guy might not even tell
But when he resisted Dale pulled a gun and things went all to hell

Dale got stopped for a busted taillight; you know it's always something dumb
When the cop saw the .45 on the seat, Dale tried to run
In the universe of bad ideas, that wasn’t the way to go
You might outrun a single cop but you won’t outrun his radio
 

In the ensuing gun battle Dale held his own ‘til he took a slug in the chest
Looked over to the passenger side, she was already dead

Fort Worth’s finest surrounded the car, Dale saw no escape route
Grabbed her hand, closed his eyes and waited to bleed out
Paramedics arrived in the nick of time and managed to patch the hole
Dale took a plea to avoid the needle, he’s doing life without parole

93 octane and propane torches seldom make for good pairs
You got two deceased, one in the Clements Unit, the tale ends right there
There’s no moral to this story; that’s not what life’s about
Except if you move to Fort Worth, Texas, don’t fall in with the wrong crowd



 

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For some of us, it wasn't about making the right choices, but a matter of pure luck. When I look back on some of the things I did when I was young, it's either luck or the grace of God (depending on your perspective) that I didn't end up dead or behind bars.

I had friends that suffered both of those fates.

There's a lifetime of songs between those two facts.

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I like your song and your style. I have managed to stay out of trouble so far myself, so I can´t relate to the story on a personal level, but it doesn't make it any less valid. It's enough to open a newspaper any day of the week to realize that these kinds of events are all around.

Lars

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Like this one  great lyrics, and I like the way the song moves, and there is some nice chord melody work in the measures separating the verses.  Great job on this one.

I've led an easy life, met my wife in ninth grade, we were married the fall after we graduated, and I've worked in IT base jobs since.  two kids, four grand kids, and about 4 years left on a mortgage.. look for an exit strategy now to start using the retirement plans we've been working on....

But,,  I've had friends who were not so fortunate, some of them are no longer here...  none of those guys took the road to Fort Worth tho...

 

 

Edited by kidblast

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I really like it...I like the tone of your Farida as well  I have tried a couple at Elderly's  been really tempted to get one..may still.  Anyway Good stuff thanks for sharing it.

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Nicely done, David. I sensed a little bit of that Lucinda Williams irreverence* right at the end. Not a bad thing. Your guitar looks and sounds nice, too.

(* = for lack of a better word)

For conversation sake only, do you think an element of time would help the story? I am awful at these types of songs.

Again, well done and add a couple of bravos while I'm at it.  🙂

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5 hours ago, PatriotsBiker said:

Nicely done, David. I sensed a little bit of that Lucinda Williams irreverence* right at the end. Not a bad thing. Your guitar looks and sounds nice, too.

(* = for lack of a better word)

For conversation sake only, do you think an element of time would help the story? I am awful at these types of songs.

Again, well done and add a couple of bravos while I'm at it.  🙂

Thanks for the kind words.

Re: an element of time. One of the issues with the song is it is pretty crowded, thought-wise, as it is. There are a lot of moving parts, and I'm not sure adding an element that dates the song adds to the narrative. The song takes place in contemporary times. (The Clements Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice referred to in the last verse didn't open until 1990.)

On one of the other acoustic guitar forums I'm on, we sometimes share songs and one of the concerns expressed there was that the woman -- who is the catalyst for everything -- is never named. We learn about "Dale," but we never know her name. That was a conscious decision on my part, and follows a literary and cinematic practice of having an unnamed main character. For example, we never know the name of The Bride" in Tarantino's "Kill Bill," nor do we know the name of the lead character in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

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7 hours ago, dhanners623 said:

Thanks for the kind words.

Re: an element of time. One of the issues with the song is it is pretty crowded, thought-wise, as it is. There are a lot of moving parts, and I'm not sure adding an element that dates the song adds to the narrative. The song takes place in contemporary times. (The Clements Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice referred to in the last verse didn't open until 1990.)

On one of the other acoustic guitar forums I'm on, we sometimes share songs and one of the concerns expressed there was that the woman -- who is the catalyst for everything -- is never named. We learn about "Dale," but we never know her name. That was a conscious decision on my part, and follows a literary and cinematic practice of having an unnamed main character. For example, we never know the name of The Bride" in Tarantino's "Kill Bill," nor do we know the name of the lead character in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

That's probably why my story songs are not good. I end up describing the tires on the getaway car for 3 verses and run out of time.

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15 hours ago, PatriotsBiker said:

That's probably why my story songs are not good. I end up describing the tires on the getaway car for 3 verses and run out of time.

 

You do a fine job. But, yeah, one verse on the tires is probably enough....

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Great song.

The right woman is just enough, the wrong one is one way to many.

I'm gonna write a book one day.  The folks that have only known me the last 20 years will likely pass out.  Most of the smart ones disowned me long before that...

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