The country music group God Willing and The Creeks Don't Rise are about to become famous. Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with their talent.
The knock on his office door caught Deke Andrews with the whiskey bottle halfway to his lips. With a muttered curse he moved to return it to his desk drawer but paused as his gaze moved across his Elvis wall clock. The King’s outstretched arms informed him that it was just past ten in the morning, so Deke straightened and placed the bottle on his desk instead.
“The door ain't locked,” he called out.
“Hey Deke, you got a minute?” Ryan Ward asked from the doorway, his unruly blond hair hidden beneath a cheap cowboy hat.
“You caught me at a good time,” Deke replied, taking a sip from his bottle and smacking his lips loudly. “Have a seat.”
“Thanks,” Ryan said, an eager smile appearing on his young face as he sank into the threadbare chair. “I’ve got myself an idea but I wanted to run it by you before I did anything, seeing as you’re our manager and all. I think you’re going to like it.”
“Let’s hear it,” Deke’s mouth replied. “Not likely,” Deke’s eyes said.
“Okay. You know how all the guys in the band have changed their names to fit our group’s name? I’m thinking of doing the same thing.”
Deke adjusted his belt so that the bull horn belt buckle didn’t stab his hefty belly quite so much. He cleared his throat as he eyed the lead singer of God Willing and The Creeks Don’t Rise. Finally he declared, “I don’t follow.”
“Well, you know how they’ve all changed their names to creeks?”
“I don’t know how many times I have to tell you guys that Mississippi ain’t no damned creek,” Deke muttered, his thoughts turning to the anorexic looking man who played the fiddle as though he was trying to strangle it.
“We know that Deke, we ain’t idiots. It’s just that there ain’t no famous creeks and, you gotta admit, Mississippi is a pretty badass name.” They sat in silence for a moment as they both appreciated this fact. Then Ryan ruined it by adding, “Well, he don’t much like it when we call him Missy.”
“Then there’s the drummer,” Deke pointed out.
“Yeah, we’re not really sure what Floorboard was going for,” Ryan allowed, frowning slightly. “Drummers are a weird lot.”
“Ain’t that the truth.”
“Anyway, don’t you think it would be awesome if I changed my name to God Willing?” Ryan asked, the smile returning to his face.
“I see some problems with that,” Deke said slowly, reaching for the whiskey again. “One: you’d be asking the boys to call you God. I ain’t sure that would sit right with them.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t want that! They could just call me by whatever nickname they like. You know, G, or G Dot, or G Willy, or something like that. They’re a smart bunch, they’ll come up with something good.”
“You'll never hear me say different.”
“And just think of it! How badass would it be to open our sets with me coming to the microphone and saying,” Ryan sat up a little straighter and switched to his performing voice, “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I’m God Willing, and these fine gentlemen on the stage behind me are The Creeks Don’t Rise.”
Deke knew the question didn’t need answering and he could see Ryan knew it as well. He leaned back in his chair and enjoyed the moment. He was a big fan of times like that, when both parties in a conversation understood something without a word being spoken.
“Extremely,” Ryan said into that sacred silence. And then, as if he wanted to make sure the moment was completely and irretrievably destroyed, he leaned forward, tapped his index finger on the desk, and repeated with a slow nod, “Extremely.”
“All right,” Deke said with a scowl. “Problem the second: I’m not sure you’re even allowed to change your name to God. Remember my Uncle Jake? You met him last year at Hot Dog Expo 2010. Anyway, he tried to name his dog Vishnu and they were having none of it. Said it might offend people. His dog, Ryan.”
“Why’d he want to -”
“Crazy bastard loves Indian food.”
“Oh.” Ryan chewed on his bottom lip for a moment before pushing onward. “Maybe the rules are different for people.”
“Sure. And let us not forget problem number three: imagine the reaction when the media get a whiff of this. The fuss they’ll kick up…” Deke trailed off as he pictured this for himself. Two seconds later he had changed his mind on the matter. “Listen Ryan, I think you might be on to something.”
“Heck yeah I am! See? I knew you’d like it!”
“Let me make a few phone calls, get things in motion. I’ve got a friend at the courthouse who owes me fifty bucks. She’ll pull some strings for us. I’ll get back to you this afternoon with the good word.”
“Thanks Deke, I really appreciate this!” Ryan jumped to his feet and headed for the door, where he paused halfway into the hallway and looked back over his shoulder. “I think this is going to be a real turning point for the band. I can just feel it, you know?”
“God willing,” Deke replied, tapping the side of his nose with the index finger of his left hand and pointing at Ryan with the other.