Bubba_goes_for_broke_cover_final

David H. Hendrickson's first novel, Cracking the Ice, was praised by Booklist as "a gripping account of a courageous young man rising above evil." He has since published five additional novels, including Offside, which has been adopted for high school student required reading.

His short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Pulphouse, and numerous anthologies, including multiple issues of Fiction Fiver. His story "Death in the Serengeti" has been selected for Best American Mystery Stories 2018.

Hendrickson has published over fifteen hundred works of nonfiction, most recently his first book for writers, How to Get Your Book into Schools and Double Your Income with Volume Sales, and also Travis Roy: Quadriplegia and a Life of Purpose.

Bubba Goes for Broke by David H. Hendrickson

If a dim-witted, sex-crazed crook falls in love, does he get any dumber? You can bet a boob-jobbed Hooters waitress he does. And when she wants to become a televangelist with a little something extra, guess who's going to pay? Meet Bubba Winslow.

A hilarious comedy and crime caper by Kindle bestselling author David H. Hendrickson.

CURATOR'S NOTE

David H. Hendrickson's short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Pulphouse, and numerous anthologies, including multiple issues of Fiction River. His story "Death in the Serengeti" has been selected for Best American Mystery Stories 2018. He has published six novels, including Offside, which has been adopted for high school recommended reading. Bubba Goes for Broke begins as the story of the world's dumbest crook, but one who is quickly upstaged by Tiffany, a boob-jobbed Hooters waitress who can out-con the sharpest con. Against her, Bubba doesn't have a chance. – O'Neil De Noux

 

REVIEWS

  • "Good stuff... head-slapping, outrageous humor"

    – Terry Hayman, author of Chasing the Minotaur
  • "David H. Hendrickson tickles my funny bone in the best possible way."

    – Annie Reed, author of Pretty Little Horses
 

BOOK PREVIEW

Excerpt

One

Today he'd prove them all wrong. He wasn't, as The Boss had said on more than one occasion, "the second or third dumbest fuck in the universe." Bubba Winslow didn't think he was even in the top twenty.

With a gloved hand, he tapped the steering wheel to the beat of the Beyoncé tune on the SUV's radio. His Ruger .22 and a rubber skinhead mask rested on the seat beside him. The stolen SUV sat parked on the side of a vacant, tree-lined street facing the mouth of a cul-de-sac on the left. Sprinklers squirted jets of water—whish, whish, whish—across immaculately groomed lawns separating widely-spaced houses.

The dim early morning light slowly brightened. A car pulled out of the cul-de-sac, but not the silver Porsche. A Mercedes. Bubba drummed some more on the steering wheel.

A familiar pressure built within his bowels, as predictable as death, taxes, and waking up with a boner. Building and building until...

Gripping the steering wheel, he lifted his right butt cheek and let one rip, loud and long. He sank back in the seat and breathed a sigh of relief.

He sat up and groaned. "Oh my God." Grimacing, he rolled down the window. Fresh air rushed in, clean and pure. He fanned the air in front of him. Thank God it was almost June and he didn't have to freeze his ass off just to be able to breathe.

Sadly, it was like this before every really big job. His partner Ralphie, who'd timed one that had lasted over ten seconds, said that Bubba's police dossier recorded his flatulence right beside his fingerprints, the one as conclusive evidence as the other, though presumably not in a court of law.

Bubba doubted this. He'd never seen anything like that on CSI or Law & Order. Ralphie had probably just been busting his balls, but Bubba could never be sure.

Well, Ralphie could make his wisecracks and The Boss could call him a dumbass to beat all dumbasses, but after this score Bubba T. Winslow would have the last laugh. What had Shakespeare said? He who laughs last, laughs last.

Bubba waited. Still no Porsche. The pressure in his gut built. And built.

This time, he lifted his left cheek and let loose. That's how he did it; switch cheeks each time. Right, left. Right, left. It gave him a sense of balance.

Finally, at 6:38 a.m., the silver Porsche with its XLR8ME license plate flashed past, no doubt on its way into downtown Boston. Bubba fluffed his hair, then pulled the skinhead mask over his head. He looked in the rear view mirror and adjusted the fit, smoothing out the wrinkles on the neck. He hated how the mask clung tight to his face and smelled of rubber. But what he really hated was that it mussed his hair, flattening its natural texture. He had great jet black hair. Broads loved it. Some of them even ran their hands through it while he was banging them, which was A-okay with him.

He pulled out of the side street where he'd been waiting, turned left and then right into the cul-de-sac. Trees lined the roadside on both sides, interrupted periodically by mailboxes and long, freshly-paved driveways leading to huge, lavish houses, some barely visible through the thick growth of trees in the early light.

At the end of the cul-de-sac, Bubba turned into a rock-wall-lined driveway and headed up the slight turning incline that opened onto the Stapleton estate. The mansion, an immense edifice easily the size of four or five regular houses, greeted him, its lawn thick, green, and wet with dew. Bubba pulled up to the four-car garage on the left, swerving to avoid a skateboard. A hockey stick stood propped against the far garage door. Bubba peered into the garage bays and saw three of the four filled, a good sign.

He grabbed the Ruger off the passenger seat, sliding the safety off, and climbed out of the SUV. He had no intention of actually shooting anybody. The next time he did would be his first. But carrying the gun gave him a sense of power, a sense of confidence. It calmed his nerves.

Though he'd intended to move fast, he couldn't help but stop and stare at a backyard unlike one he'd ever seen. The smell of chlorine came from a huge swimming pool and hot tub on the left. Beside it, a golf hole two hundred yards long extended to a green backstopped by a forest that encircled the estate. Two tennis courts ran down the far right side, their surfaces freshly painted green with white lines. A portable basketball hoop with a glass backboard had been wheeled off to the side.

It was everything the drunk at Paddy O'Reilly's last weekend had promised. The guy, who had a real job as a postal carrier and was such an exercise freak he walked his entire route, had talked of the Stapleton's wealth, confiding that the missus gave him a lavish tip every week to bring the mail to her doorstep instead of the mailbox at the end of the driveway.

Bubba had listened to the drunk, a grin on his face and a Budweiser at his lips, waiting for the guy to tell him about the tip, wink, wink. That the missus balled his brains out then sucked him dry the second time around. But it hadn't been like that at all. The tip had been just a tip. Money without a hint of tits and ass.

Which proved that most drunks couldn't tell stories for shit. What was the fucking point of a story like that? Even if he didn't really ball the bitch, he should have at least made it up like most guys. A couple twenties in a small white envelope every Monday. Who gave a shit about that?

Until the light bulb finally went off beside Bubba's head. Hey, if Stapleton had all this dough, how about sending some of it his way?

And to think The Boss called Bubba stupid.

Bubba hustled along the walkway that curved from beside the garage around toward the front door, his head ducked down. He rubbed his forehead, trying to cover as much of his masked face as possible in case anyone was looking out a window. Brightly colored petunias in freshly laid bark mulch ran along the walkway.

He got to the front door and stepped off to the side, flattening himself against the side of the door frame. He pushed the doorbell. Inside, loud chimes rang out.

Bubba swallowed hard. His hands felt clammy. He breathed in the smell of the mask's sticky rubber.

He'd wondered if this part would work. The woman, or her kids for that matter, might not come to the door. They might have a way of seeing him and if they did, they certainly wouldn't open the door for someone wearing a skinhead mask. Hell, even he knew that. They might have a security camera or an intercom and demand that he identify himself before—

A woman's voice came out of the speaker just below Bubba's shoulder. "Just a second," she said, the sound clear without even a hint of tinny static. High fidelity even on the freaking intercom.

For what felt like a lifetime, though it might have been only ten or twenty seconds, nothing happened. Not a sound echoed from within.

Bubba got ready to bolt. The woman might have already called the cops and if so, Bubba knew what that meant. He knew how cops operated. They were never slow to respond in a neighborhood like this.

Bubba licked his lips. His heart hammered. Five more seconds, maybe ten.

He began to count down—ten... nine... ten. Bubba stopped, shook himself like a dog coming out of the water, and started over. One... two...

It was easier to count up than down.

Three... four...

Muffled footfalls sounded from inside.

"Sorry, Ginny," a woman called out from inside, her voice ever so cheery.

Ginny? Who the fuck was Ginny?

The front door swung open and a petite, middle-aged woman with short chestnut brown hair ducked her head out.

Her broad smile froze. Her green eyes widened. Bubba pointed the Ruger at her.

She screamed, backing away.

Bubba charged into the doorway, realizing there was a step only after he missed it and tripped. The thickly carpeted floor came up to greet him. His arms flew out and with them went the gun. In a flash, Bubba saw a front room as large as some homes. Dark mahogany everywhere. A glittering chandelier. A fireplace at the far wall.

The Ruger hurtled through the air, hit the chandelier, caught on one light, and fired. A deafening explosion rocked the room. Behind Bubba, the front door splintered. Shards of glass rained down from the chandelier. The .22 tumbled end over end to the floor.

Bubba lay on the plush blue carpeting, for a moment unable to move. His ears rang. He could faintly hear the woman screaming. The smell of gunpowder filled his nostrils; it's bitter taste flooded his mouth.

Then he saw the woman going for a button on the wall. A panic button that would bring the cops.

Bubba sprang to his feet and tackled her, as gently as he could, just short of the button. They fell in a clump, her landing sideways and him atop her, the pointed edge of her hipbone crushing his balls.

He cried out in blinding pain, barely keeping himself from rolling off her into a fetal ball. The woman struggled beneath him, but he outweighed her two-to-one and his 210 pounds was all muscle. Howling, he held a forearm on her shoulder, pinning her down, while he struggled to breathe.

Then he remembered her kid. A teenager. Had he come rushing in to grab the gun? Adrenaline shot through Bubba. He readied himself to dive in one direction or the other.

But he saw no one.

He groaned. "Fuck!"

"Don't hurt me," the woman said, panting beneath him. "I'll get you whatever you want. Just don't hurt me."

Bubba staggered to his feet and retrieved the Ruger, all the while tugging at his belt with one thumb to relieve the pressure. His balls were on fire. He could barely breathe beneath the mask. Slowly, the throbbing pain subsided.

He waved the .22 at the woman, still lying on the floor. "Where's your kids?"

She blinked, looking confused. "Kids?"

Bubba noticed for the first time how pretty she was, for a woman in her forties at least. Not even the hint of crow's feet beneath the eyes, probably thanks to cosmetic surgery. A nice figure. Blue flowered blouse and black slacks. A glittering diamond necklace, had to be thirty or forty stones in the thing.

A bit old for him, but he'd do her. He thought about trying to charm her, sweep her off her feet, then next thing you know they'd be naked and she'd be moaning with the Big Bubba Meat Stick in her. That's what they said about rich women. Their husbands were always at the office, working late at nights and weekends, leaving their wives home and frustrated.

This one looked like she could use a good time and Bubba knew he was her man. He went to run his hands through his hair to both make sure it wasn't mussed and to emphasize its luxurious thickness. Its sexiness. No woman should be able to turn down a man with a head of hair like his, not to mention his irresistible physique. It amazed Bubba that women all over New England weren't giving birth the Little Bubbas every day.

But his fingers didn't touch a single hair, only the rubber of his skinhead mask. He'd forgotten. No wonder she hadn't given him any encouraging glances.

Bubba tried to get his mind back where it belonged, on the job.

"I know you got kids," he said. "I seen one of them this weekend."

The woman gulped. "He isn't here anymore."

"That skateboard out there is yours?" He waved the Ruger toward the garage. "And you play hockey?" Bubba grew annoyed. "Do you think I'm stupid?

"No," she said, eyes wide. "Those are Evan's. He's our only child."

"Where is he?"

"He's at school."

"It ain't even six-thirty."

Still lying on the floor, the woman shrank back. "He's at school. Away. At school. Honest."

"Whaddya mean, away at school?"

"He goes to Andover. The prep school. Philips Andover."

"He lives there?"

"Of course. It's a boarding school, one of the most famous in the country. Some of the Kennedys and the Bushes, both Presidents, have gone there. Evan comes home most weekends but he lives there. Haven't you heard of it?"

Bubba hadn't. A boarding school. A fucking boarding school! What kind of shit luck was that? He couldn't very well kidnap a kid who wasn't the fuck there.

"Shit!" Bubba yelled. Now what was he supposed to do? "You got no other kids?"

She shook her head.

"When's he coming home?"

"Excuse me?"

"When's he coming home?"

She stared at him, uncomprehending.

"Are you deaf?" he asked. "When is your son coming home next?"

"Why do you want to know?"

"I'm asking the questions!"

Her eyes widened. "So... so you can kidnap him? Is that what you're asking?"

Bubba hated when people did that, made questions that he thought were sensible sound foolish.

She looked incredulous. "Are you, like, making an appointment?"

Well, when she put it that way, Bubba supposed it did sound stupid.

"Listen—"

"You can't have my son! He's all I've got."

All she had? Who was she kidding? This place was a fucking mansion. A four-car garage. Swimming pool, tennis courts. All she had? And to think people thought he said dumb things.

"I don't have much cash in the house," she said, "but I've got a Rolex." She said, holding out her wrist for him to see. "But my son... you can't..." She shook her head, wild-eyed.

Bubba waved away the Rolex. He had no way of fencing it or any other jewelry without The Boss finding out that he'd been freelancing. And he couldn't very well pull off a kidnapping if there was no fucking kid, could he?

"Forget it," Bubba said. He had to get out of there. "Where's the bathroom?"

"Why? What are you going to do?"

"I'm getting the fuck outta here," he said. "But I can't have you calling the cops before I even get out the front door."

"I won't. I promise."

He gave her a look. He hated it when people treated him like a moron. She'd have the cops on the way before he even got in the SUV.

"I gotta lock you in the bathroom," he said.

She just stared at him.

"Hurry up!"

She got to her feet, still looking confused, and hustled down the hallway.

A marble sink, gleaming golden fixtures, and a large Jacuzzi dominated the most extravagant bathroom Bubba had ever seen.

"Get in the Jacuzzi," he said. It was empty.

She hesitated.

"Move it!"

She climbed in.

Bubba nodded. "Good." He clicked the lock on the door and hustled back down the hallway and out the door.

He started the SUV and was halfway down the driveway when an alarm erupted from inside the house.

How, he wondered, had she gotten out so fast?