The Ballad of Stinker, a Southern Trucker on a Mission to Deliver a Six-Pack of Schlitz to the President
Do you remember the 1977 drive-in classic Stinker Lets Loose!? Well, you shouldn’t because such a movie never existed. There is, however, a novelization of the film by veteran comedy writer Mike Sacks, who has written for Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, The New Yorker and a whole bunch of other fancy publications. He’s also written books about comedy like And Here’s the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Humor Writers About Their Craft.
In 2017, Sacks released the self-published novelization of Stinker Lets Loose!, a parody of 1970s road comedies like Smokey and the Bandit and Every Which Way But Loose. It tells the story of Stinker, a trucker on a mission to deliver a six-pack of Schlitz Beer to the president.
Stinker Lets Loose! also became a hilarious audiobook starring Jon Hamm as Stinker, along with Rhea Seehorn, Andy Richter, Paul F. Tompkins and Philip Baker Hall. And now, Stinker Lets Loose! has been rereleased by Simon & Schuster, giving Sacks’ good ol’ boy Stinker the kind of wide release he deserves.
To get the full tale of the Stinker, check it out on Amazon, and if you’re looking for just a taste, grab a can of Schlitz and check out this excerpt.
* * * * *
Stinker opened his dazzling blue eyes, slowly and with great effort. He could barely see. Was it the middle of the night? No. It felt like daytime. Maybe late morning at the earliest. His eyes squinted from what little light invaded through the dirty, drawn shades.
A languid country song warbled from a radio-alarm clock. Not surprisingly, it was about Stinker:
That man, he like to ride
Ride, ride, ride ... straight to his beer
That Stinker, he don’t like to never, ever hide!
This Stinker, he don’t got at all nothin’ to fear….
It wasn’t a good song, nor did it make much sense, but until the day Stinker died — probably right here in his trailer, crushed under the weight of his vintage erotica collection — he’d be more than okay with it.
Stinker reached across his messy, stained, well-used mattress — over the box of wombat scat and around the jug of doe urine — for the radio’s off button, hit it and then accidentally knocked over an empty bottle of cinnamon whiskey. The sound of glass hitting and then bouncing along the linoleum floor rang in his ears and made him wince. The label couldn’t be seen, but it was the brand of cheap cooze-booze to be found at any illegal backwoods juke joint owned by a former Navy cook named Gravy Boat. ’Twas the only style of booze Stinker ever drunk.
The great man now took stock of himself. He reached betwixt his thighs, making sure his ample package was still there.
There’d be a lot of upset ladies if it wasn’t.
Rutting season would continue.
Stinker was “well-favored” by nature. The big trucker above had made sure of that!
Stinker giggled. The giggle was high-pitched, much like a jungle creature’s. And extremely distinctive. Anyone who lived within the great state of Georgia knew this giggle, especially in the Southeastern part of Georgia, where Stinker resided and thrived. It would have sounded strange coming from just about anyone else but a man who owned a camouflaged carpal-tunnel splint.
“Moly holy! Where in the hell was I last night?” ejaculated Stinker, more to himself than to anyone else, as no one else was in the bedroom. “Where now?”
It started to slowly come back …
Ah, yes. With Lizzie … That spicy, slinky firecracker of an overnight waitress at Hank’s Saloon … That dirty little thang with the tight knockoff designer jeans. All moist around the edges … Teacup long since gone a’-cracked … Slick in the sluice and dry in the goose … And what did we do all night? Got drunk and then… Ahem.
That last part was best left to his own fading memory.
Where was Lizz now?
Not in this dump, that was for sure. She was a cat. Clean. Sleek. Stylish. Loved to lick. He was more like a dog. Smelly. Sometimes his penis was visible in public. Sometimes even his anus. He didn’t care. Hairy.
Lizz’s old man was a biker, which could spell danger: Don’t touch the snatch when daddy’s got the patch… Not that Stinker was overly frightened. Cause Stinker had the flesh. Lived the standard.
The day was early yet, but there was already a string of bubblegum lodged securely within Stinker’s thick and lustrous ’stache. He’d have to attend to that later. Might even have to buy himself a monogrammed mustache wide-comb. Would go well with his monogrammed lice comb.
Stinker slowly made his way to a standing position. He was wearing nothing but his boxers festooned with the Confederate flag, and his authentic felt Stetson cowboy hat. Always with the cowboy hat. “I’ll be a dirty word!” he cried suddenly. “It’s you!”
Sitting in a broken rocking chair, just next to the broken television, was Stinker’s best friend and all-around loyal adventure comrade, Boner. Unlike Stinker, Boner was clean-shaven and already duded up in his “Tuff-Nut Tux”: crisp Levi jeans, mahogany red-supple genuine leather python cowboy boots with raised topstitching, an antique pewter belt-buckle in the shape of an agave leaf and a dark chocolate brown Biltmore Western cowboy hat raked handsomely to the side. Southern exquisite. A denim dandy. A hoighty-toighty honky-tonky cracker-backer slacker-wacker.
“Well, ain’t you look like a hundred and ten bucks,” Boner declared, smiling. It was an impish grin, one the ladies could never, ever resist. Even the guys had a difficult time ignoring it. Perhaps that had more to do with the discoloration of Boner’s teeth and gums but Boner wasn’t complain’. “Smoke,” declared Stinker, in a husky voice. “Need a smoke, pal.”
Stinker tried to assume a frontiersman pose but nearly toppled over. He gave up and sat back down. “Slow it down, jitterbug!” gibed Boner, laughing.
He tossed over a pack of fresh Salems. Stinker cooly caught the pack with one hand and then tapped out a “loose goose.” He flipped it into his sensuous mouth. Boner blazed Stinker’s cig, and then handed his best friend a pair of torn jeans and a denim shirt, the only style the great man wore. The shirt had a rhinestone peacock on the front giving the “middle finger.” No one knew why.
Regardless, it was glorious.
“C’mon, friend,” said Boner, pushing Stinker into the trailer’s kitchenette area. “Your buddy is brewing up some strong joe, as well as a pipin’ hot plate of hash.”
He was talking about himself.
“Harumph,” said Stinker, and then burped noisily.
Boner made a face. “You smell like the devil.”
“The devil I know? Or the devil I don’t?”
“Both,” said Boner, even though he wasn’t quite sure what Stinker meant.
He often didn’t. But it didn’t matter. They were best pals.
“Follow me, sir,” said Boner, pretending he was a maître d’ at a fancy, upscale French restaurant in the snootiest of academic leftist northeast cities. He led Stinker over to the trailer’s pressed-wood banquette. “We saved your table, monsieur.”
Stinker rolled his eyes. This was a game. Boner was forever playing the role of attendant, while Stinker was forever acting the role of rich, fancy gentleman. It was fun, but Stinker sometimes wished Boner could save it for another time. His entire body hurt!
Make no mistake, Stinker was in shape. But more like beer shape. He had some muscles but they were nothing to write home about. Meanwhile, what exactly did Lizz and him get up to last night? Whatever it was, he was now paying the full price! Stinker hated paying the full price.
Boner presented Stinker with a heaping, steaming plate of delicious fried taters. He then plunked down a huge cup of black coffee in a “SHIT KICKIN” mug, just the way Stinker liked it. “Can’t,” said Stinker.
“Well,” said Boner. “Don’t let your alligator mouth overload your hummingbird ass.”
Stinker took a deep gulp of the strong brew, and immediately began to feel better. He was a flat-out addict for this murky motion potion. “Where Rascal at?”
“Consumed by a croc?” declared Boner, handing Stinker a fake cloth napkin. “Ain’t my chimp.”
“That there’s one animal who ain’t gonna travel far,” replied Stinker. “Not with that big, fat, lazy ass.”
“She reached estrus last week,” said Boner. “Going all types of crazy. Chimp lost her mind. Why wouldn’t she run?”
Stinker retorted, “If she has run, I’m desiring she run off to find herself a male. And best of luck to ’im!”
Boner chuckled deeply and then sat down next to Stinker. All of a sudden, his expression showed one of deep concern. He remembered what he had to tell Stinker. And it ’twasn’t good.
“Hey, buddy, I hate to be the bearer of bad news and all…”
“Don’t tell me,” said Stinker. Here it comes, thought Stinker. A big roller-rink pickle.
“I’m telling you,” said Boner. “The Big Man wants to see you. Says it’s of mucho importance. Has another job for you. Says it might be the most significant adventure of your already spectacular life.”
“Of all days,” said Stinker. “Lord on a buttery shit biscuit, why today?”
Stinker’s stomach grumbled, and he floated out a lively one. A most dishonorable discharge. It smelled of government-issued hot dogs that had “turned” at a particularly depressing July 4th celebration.
“Helicopter is waiting,” said Boner, holding his nose in a funny way and pointing outside to a large grassy area. “Been here for hours.”
“Not going without Rascal,” muttered Stinker. “No way, no how. That’s a big negatory!”
“I wouldn’t push buttons,” said Boner. “Big Man sounded like he meant—”
There was a loud crash. Both Stinker and Boner jumped. Glass flew and the table was upended. Before he knew it, Stinker was on the ground. Boner was still standing — barely.
“Speak of the devil I know,” said Stinker, shaking his head. “There’s my chimp now!”
Rascal the chimp roared with displeasure. Ever since she had reached sexual maturity the previous week, the great beast was capable of significant, ungodly violence. Grabbing the coffee pot, she hurled it against the refrigerator. She bared her big, yellow fangs and grabbed at her flap-jacked breasts and her freakishly inverted teats. She chewed at the air. She stomped and BM’ed on the cheap vinyl flooring. The stinky soft-serve steamed ferociously.
“Madder than a tic in a tornado,” exclaimed Boner. “Bitch chimp has two speeds: violence or silence.”
Boner and Stinker threw back their heads and laughed uproariously. This chimp was off her rocker, there was no doubt about that! But there was also something about the old girl that was endearing. Maybe it was her loyalty. Or that she was always up for an adventure. Or good in a fight. Or free.
Stinker had stolen Rascal from an illegitimate traveling Injun circus in Alabama a few weeks back and they were already fast friends. Stinker found watching this most dee-ranged beast hilarious! More fun than reciting dirty limericks while dream-jamming downers!
Stinker wondered how this ol’ chimp was going to do on a helicopter flight. She was scared to death of enclosed spaces. Well, we’ll soon find out, he thought. He closed his eyes and listened to the damage being wrought. This should be fun.
The Big Man didn’t look happy when they arrived to see him, which, in fairness, was nothing new. “That’s one hell of a monkey you got there, son,” he said. “It really is something.” The Big Man was 70 but looked no older than 50. Sixty at the tops. Maybe mid-50s if the lighting was good.
“Ain’t a monkey,” said Stinker. He quickly added, “Sir.”
Big Man couldn’t tell if Stinker meant it or if he was just being country smart. Didn’t matter really. “Either way, he creates havoc wherever he goes,” said the Big Man.
Here we go again, thought Stinker, looking out the window, bored. This was a very powerful man who stood before Stinker. A powerful and dangerous man who had long ago become very rich by distributing convenience-store, barely-carbonated, corn-sweetened American-produced junk brew throughout the entire South. A hero. He had also somehow lost an arm.
So the Big Man wasn’t capable of adventures like he was back in his prime. But he was still exceedingly dangerous. And he hated animals. And the crippled. And the Democrats. Anything remotely vulnerable.
Life’s a bitch, thought Stinker and snickered.
The Big Man pulled an expensive cigar out of an exotic cherry-wood cigar box with his good hand. “Care for one?”
“Why not?” asked Stinker. “Won’t stunt my growth any.”
Stinker gently took hold of the cigar and allowed Big Man to light him up. Cuban, Stinker thought. He hated Communists, but oh boy, did he ever love that pinko backy.
“You’re probably wondering why I called you here,” said the Big Man.
“Had some curiosity,” replied Stinker, tapping an ash out on his right leg, burning a hole right through the skintight, distressed denim. He didn’t care. Plenty of holes for everyone.
Stinker could see Rascal outside chasing the helicopter pilot ’round and ’round the chopper. Don’t get caught, Mr. Pilot. Don’t you dare get caught!
“I bet you’re wondering, alright. You and I have been through a lot together, haven’t we, Stink?”
I only allow my friends to call me Stink, Stinker thought. And then aloud: “Sure.”
“I ask and you do,” said the Big Man. “I wanted a ton of beer delivered overnight to the Dallas Cowboys and you did that.”
Yup, nodded Stinker.
“I needed a hijacked shipment of fresh stool samples delivered to NASA, and you did that.”
Stinker didn’t remember this one.
“I wanted you to alleviate a sticky situation down at the new Disney complex and you did that.”
“Still got the scars to prove it,” said Stinker, smiling, pointing to his groin. “That’s what I do, right? I’m a fixer. A deep-fried fixer who don’t ask no questions.”
“That’s why you’re the best,” said the Big Man. “No one better. Here’s the situation: I need you to personally deliver a six-pack of Schlitz to the President of the United States.”
“The President?” asked Stinker, surprised.
“The one, the only,” replied the Big Man.
“Why Schlitz and not Coors?” asked Stinker.
“You might not need to know that,” said the Big Man.
“But how?” asked Stinker. “You know damn well that with my particular past I’m not exactly a welcome guest at the White House!”
“That would be your problem,” said the Big Man, now seated, genuine baby-elephant-leather boots up on his fancy chestnut-veneer work desk. “And that’s why I’m paying you the big bucks.”
He emphasized big bucks with his one good forefinger.
“Speaking of which…” began Stinker.
“How’s $10,000?” answered the Big Man.
“Might do,” said Stinker. “Might not.”
“Think it might,” replied the Big Man, handing over a huge wad of cash. “Count it now. Go ahead. It’s all there.”
“I didn’t say I’d do it,” said Stinker.
“You didn’t have to,” said the Big Man. “I could read those big blue orbs of yours. All the evidence I need.”
Outside, Stinker could see that Rascal had just ripped off the helicopter pilot’s face and was now gorging on it as nourishment. There goes my ride home, thought Stinker and giggled.
“What’s so funny, son?” asked the Big Man.
“Not much,” Stinker replied, pointing out the window. “At least for that guy.”
The Big Man didn’t even bother to look.
“So I suppose I could use the $10,000, yeah.”
“I thought you would,” replied the Big Man. “Still paying off that convertible Trans Am loan?”
Stinker stood. “By when?”
“Wednesday night. Or the deal is off.”
“Wednesday!” screamed Stinker, who usually didn’t scream. “That’s impossible. Even for the Stinker!”
The Big Man rubbed a forefinger and thumb together.
“What am I doing, Stink?”
“I do not know.”
“Picking me a sad song,” declared the Big Man, mimicking the world’s smallest banjo. “Git! And you now owe me one helicopter pilot!”
How in the hell did he know that his helicopter pilot was just eaten by a chimp without looking through the window?, thought Stinker. Perhaps the latest in expensive video feed 1979 technology?
“And Stinker?” the Big Man continued.
A scream could be heard from outside.
“Impossible to find good help when you need it,” mumbled the Big Man.
But he was only talking to himself. Stinker was already long past gone-gone.