By day, Joe B. was a mild mannered filling station attendant, but before you could finish your evening meal, Joe was well on his way to a hangover. Fortunately, Joe was an amiable and fun loving inebriant. All you needed to fear was his retelling of jokes he'd picked up in the bars. Joe never got the punchlines right so it was best to just say "Good one, Joe" and move on quickly lest he attempt to retell it. My dad said that Joe had been a different sort of fellow before his wife left him.
One summer evening as I was heading home from my piano lesson, I saw Joe leaning against the Savings and Loan Building. I stepped up my pace,hoping he wouldn't notice me, but he called my name and I was too polite of a child to not acknowledge him.
"Do you think your daddy would wanna buy my old rowboat?"
"Not sure Joe. "Ill tell him you were asking."
As I turned to go I saw the shiny new Cadillac convertible pull up to the curb . The driver of this magnificent machine was a woman wearing sunglasses. Her blonde hair was piled high on her head and protected by a pink scarf. Joe and I did what small town folks do when confronted with such a sight. We stood and stared.
The woman motioned for me to come closer and asked me where she might find a motel or hotel. I was about to tell her that she was in the wrong place to find either and point her back to the highway when Joe yelled "You're Jayne Mansfied! I didn't know much about Jayne Mansfield but I thought I knew that she was no longer among the living . Joe came right up to the car and leaned on the passenger door.
She protested but he insisted.
"I'd know you anywhere" he told her.
Starled, she grabbed her purse from the passenger seat. and held it close to her.
"He's harmless" I said.
She told him he was mistaken but he persisted.
"Can I haver your autograph Miss Mansfield? Make it out to Joe."
She looked at me and shrugged and I returned the shrug as she reached into her purse and produced a scrap of paper and a pen.
After I'd sent the woman off in the right direction I turned to find Joe sitting on the steps in front of the market.He was looking at his scrap of paper and slowly shaking his head.
"What's the matter Joe? " I asked.
"That wasn't Jayne Mansfiedl. Just look" he told me sadly as he thrust the paper at me.The paper read:
A great guy
"How do you know if wasn't her?" I asked, returning his paper.
He crumpled the paper, threw it on the sidewalk and told me
"That aint Jayne Mansfield's handwritin' "