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We're back with our first moth mainstage of 2021. Join us on Wednesday, January 27th, for True Stories told live, hosted by award winning writer and moth storyteller are Eric Thomas. Tickets are available at the Moth Dogs Virtual Mainstage. From PUREX, this is the Moth Radio Hour. I'm Jay Allison, producer of this radio show.


And in this hour, we present a live moth event held at the historic Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas. Your host is Ophira Eisenberg. Good evening, everybody.


Welcome to The Moth. I'm so proud to be in Austin. Thank you. Basically, The Moth is a non-profit organization dedicated to the art of storytelling.


It sounds so simple and it is and it's amazing. It was started by an author, by the name of George Dawes Green, who would be you know, he was living in the South and he had these fond memories of sitting on the porch late at night telling stories. Him and his friends would stay late at night telling stories to each other. And as it got later, the Moors would be drawn to the porch lights. It was called the moth.


And when he moved to New York, New York obviously has a fast paced people just going very quickly. They talk and sound clips.


And he just was so, you know, he reminisced of these times where he just would hang out and tell stories and really miss that.


So he started a storytelling salon in his living room and then it grew. People were excited by this and it grew to little venues and then it grew more to larger clubs.


And now we are going to theaters across America. We have a award winning radio show.


And our theme tonight is Nine Lives. So when we do the math, all of our storytellers have done amazing things.


They are incredible people. But by introduction, we always ask them a question that has to do with our theme. So for tonight, our question is who or what would you like to come back?


As for your tenth life, our first storyteller said very clearly, Emmylou Harris, perfect idea, Emmylou Harris.


And she said, Because I'm sick and tired of pretending to be her at karaoke, please walk the stage.


Trisha Coburn, everybody.


I grew up in a small town that sits at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Anniston, Alabama. The population in the 1960s was around 35000 people. Much of the town worked at the cotton mill, the Fort McClellan Army base or the Monsanto chemical plant.


The town stink like rotten eggs, and there was so much cotton in the air you just couldn't get away from it. Now, it was a poor and uneducated town where girls got married at the age of 14. They were usually pregnant by 15. My momma had five kids by the age of 22, and six of her eight husbands came from the Fort McClellan Army base.


Now, my siblings and I grew up in a housing project and at school we stood at the end of the lunch line. We had to eat last because we were the welfare kids. Now, Albert was Mama's first husband and the father of my three older siblings. When I was conceived, I was in prison for armed robbery and attempted murder. Mom always said he was my daddy. But, you know, I think she felt guilty because she didn't really know who my father was.


Oh, my 16th birthday. Albert told me over the phone, I hate your daddy. Oh, Mama says, is your daddy. You look like his kids. Well, Mr. Morris is our neighbor. You know, I did kind of look like his kids, but I don't I still don't know who my father is now. I was terrified of Mama's anger, especially when she drank. And sometimes she drinks so much. You just pass out for hours and leave my siblings and me locked outside the apartment until late at night in between husbands.


She had my older siblings quit school to help out with the bills. By the time I was eight years old, I was cleaning houses and babysitting. But, you know, I didn't mind. I felt safer working than being at home with Mom and all those strange men coming and going all the time. When I turned 12 years old, I got my dream job working the concession at the movie theater.


I got a chance to see how people outside the projects behaved and how they dressed.


They were real different from me. Well, one day the tallest woman I'd ever seen walked in. She went on a big pink hat. She was wearing a pink dress. She was carrying a pink pocketbook and wearing white gloves. She walks up to the counter and said, I'll have a large popcorn, a large RC cola and a large Hershey bar with almonds. I thought she must be rich. Nobody orders large.


So she looked at me and said, What's your name? And I say, Tricia Mitchell. She said, How old are you? And I'm thinking, why? She asked me all these questions. I answered, Twelve. She said, How tall are you, honey? I said, I don't know, man. She said, Withstand standing, said our second machine. I'm going to measure your height. She pulls out a pink measuring tape. She said, Man, you are tall for your age and she opens up your back and gives me a pink card.


She said, I am olma May Horwill.


I run Miss Macy's chance go down on tenth the Noble. Have your mama call me. I want to talk to you about you. Come to my charm school. Well after work I'm clutching that pink card. I'm all excited and I run home and mom was sitting at the kitchen table painting her fingernails red and drinking a glass of gin. I go, look, mom, Miss Macy wants me to come to her charm school. Momma looks at the car and said, Hey, oh, no, you ain't going down there.


It's a whorehouse. She throws the car down on the floor. Now, I'm really confused, but I knew I had to do something. So when Mama wasn't looking, I picked up that car and I went to a neighbor's and I call Miss Macing, told her mama won't let me come to her school. Miss Macy said, Don't you worry about that, honey. I'll call you mama. I'll handle it. Now, Miss Mason, you a little bit about my family history, because her husband was the town judge and he had sentenced Albert to prison a couple of times.


So Miss Macy told mom I could come to her school free and I might even be in the newspaper one day. And that could make Mama look real important. So Mama realized she didn't have to pay a dime and there was something in it for her. She agreed to let me go. So after work, I'd go to Miss Macy's and she'd teach me how to walk up and down stairs like a lady. She had some portable stairs carpeted in pink.


She taught me how to sit properly in a chair and even how to exit a room. You want to know something? I could exit this room right now and never turn my back on any of y'all. Mm hmm. I know how to do that.


It's a perk going to charm school. That's just one of the perks you get.


Well, the most important thing Miss Macy taught me, though, was how to walk a runway, how to tilt my pelvis and tuck in my stomach and keep my chin up. And she encouraged me to enter every beauty contest. It came to the state of Alabama and I did. And some of my one, like Miss Talladega 500 Raceway.


I ain't finished. Miss Cotton Crop and Miss Escalator, oh, yeah, but let me just explain something. I mean, it was the first escalator the town had ever seen. You got to have a beauty pageant, you know, and you have a beauty queen to ride and wave. And everybody who comes in from miles around it to look at them moving stars, you know. So when I turned 16 years old, I miss Macy, offered me a job teaching at the charm school.


So I go into work one day and she's all excited and she's waving this Glamour magazine above her head. She said, we're going to a modeling competition at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Now, I didn't know whether to start crying or get excited by New York City. I never thought in a million years I'd go to New York City. But the trip was going to be expensive. And I had a year. So I started working three jobs and saving every penny I could.


Well, one day I'm walking down the street and this little lady comes up to me and she says, Honey, I just got my welfare check, but I'll give you five dollars to help you leave to go up north. I said, ma'am, wait a minute, how would you know I need any money? She said, Well, Miss Macy went on the radio this morning and told the whole town that we got to help you leave.


And the town did help me leave, J.C. Penney's gave me a Madras mini skirt with a matching jacket. The shoe department gave me a pair of white patent leather gogo boots. The jewelry store gave me an alarm clock and the the beauty parlor frost in my hair. I walked in a brunette and I walked out a striped platinum blonde. They even peroxided my eyebrows. I had two orange neon beams plastered across my forehead.


Well, a few days before we were leaving to go to New York, an envelope arrives at the charm school with my name on it. Inside was 2000 dollars cash in a note that read.


I want to help you leave to become successful. You know, I still don't know who sent that to me and I still wonder to this very day. In May of 1971, I was 18 years old, mismo senior aboard the train for New York City with a bottle of Drambuie and a brown paper bag filled with Southern fried chicken.


Thirty hours later, we walked into the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. We had never seen anything like it was like out of a movie or something. And people sounded different and they looked different. And our room was a far cry from the cinderblock wall to my bedroom back in Alabama. Well, when the competition started, I was immediately intimidated. I thought for sure I did not belong. There are my striped hair and my white go go boots.


And I didn't see one girl walking there one way, the way MySpace had taught me by tilting and tucking and keeping her chin up there, walking all fancy and flipping their hair over their shoulder and acting out. Well, I pretended to be confident, but I was really numb. I mean, I was really scared people were going to find out who I really was, like this poor girl from the projects, you know.


But Miss Macy, she never stopped encouraging me. It was my turn to walk the runway. She said, you get on out there. Those judges need to how we show clothes in Alabama. Well, the competition was judged by two top model agents, Willamina and Ford, and by the editors of Glamour and Mademoiselle magazines. And when it was over, I didn't win anything. Nobody paid any attention to me and Miss Macy. Oh, she was just fit to be tied.


She could not understand why I was not picked out by one of those agents. It's a Sunday afternoon. We're going back to Alabama. The next day, Miss Macy's frantically pacing our hotel room, drinking Drambuie.


She said, I am not prepared to take you back to Alabama tomorrow. There is nothing there for you. She picks up the telephone and calls the Birmingham newspaper. She told them that had just been signed with the world's most famous model agency. When she hung up, I couldn't believe it. I said, Miss Macy, that ain't true. Nobody wants me in New York. Where am I supposed to fucking go back to Alabama with you. But, you know, when I look back on that, I realized that he had a far better understanding of how destitute my life was in Alabama and she just kind of ignored my protesting and ordered me to get dressed.


We were going to go down to the bar in the lobby at the hotel, which I put on my Madras mini skirt and go, go boots. And she puts on a big hat and her white gloves right when I'm reaching for the door, she picks up the telephone and calls Governor George Wallace. George, this is olma makes the horror will call you from the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, our local Alabamian girl, she just got sound with the world's most famous model agency.


That's right, Governor. We're putting Alabama on the map. Well, at that point, I just grabbed that bottle of Drambuie and I am chugging it.


Well, Mr. Macy grabbed my arm and we head down to the Palm Bar in the lobby of the hotel. We walked in and there sat Willamina in an entourage of people in a swirl of cigarette smoke.


Miss Misty walked right up to her.


I had behind a palm tree, Miss Macy, said Wilhelmina.


I am Omar Macie Harwell from Anniston, Alabama, and I have a young lady with me that I am not prepared to take back to Alabama tomorrow.


She's staying in New York City and becoming a professional model with your agency. Well, at that moment, I didn't know where the Wilhemina was going to burst out laughing or, you know, applaud Miss Macy. So Wilhemina said to me, I said, well, where is she? She snapped her fingers. Now I am sweating so much behind that palm tree that my white pantalla, the go go boots are all stuck together. So when I managed to unstick them, I go stand next to this amazing.


Willamina said. What, do you have a name? Yes, ma'am. My name is Tricia Mitchell. She says, So tell me, Tricia Mitchell, what's so special about you? Why would I want to hire you as one of my models? My heart was pounding at that moment. I didn't know if this was the right thing to say or not, but this one word popped into my head and it was the word that MySpace had always told me about myself.


And I said, Determination, ma'am. She said, well, why don't you come to my office tomorrow morning, the next day, Willamina handed me a contract. She said, I'd like to see what you can do with that determination. But first, we had to do something about your hair. Yo, yo, yo, sure are generous, thank you so much, I'm just not finished with my story, though. There's more to come.


So the next day, Miss Macing, I went back to Alabama and I said goodbye to family and friends into the life that I knew. Four days later, I moved to New York City and move into the Barbizon Hotel for Women on 60 30 in Lexington and began what became a successful modeling career for the next 11 years. Back in 1990, I was pregnant with our third son and we were living in New York City. This is the hard part.


I get a telephone call from his daughter. She said, Trisha. My momma wants to say good bye to you. She wants you to come down here. I didn't want to go, I mean, I didn't want to I didn't want to let her go, I couldn't imagine my life without Miss Missy, but I knew that I had to do it because I owed it to her and I owed it to myself, so.


The next day, my husband and I fly down to Anniston. And Miss Macey's room was at the end of the very long corridor, and as I walked towards her room, it felt like I was walking the longest runway I'd ever walked.


And I sat down next to her and I said. Thank you for believing in me. And. Thank you for taking time to help me. And thank you for opening up a door outside of Anniston. But more than anything. Thank you for saving my life. Thank you. Trisha Coburn. Trisha Coburn has worked as an artist in Boston and New York and has built an interior design practice.


She's working on a collection of short stories based on her childhood experiences growing up in Alabama.


To see photos of Trisha crowned Miss Anniston, Alabama, in 1971 and with Giorgio Armani in his showroom in Milan in 1972. Visit the moth dog. By the way, Tricia story came to us through our story hotline, where anyone can call and pitches a story that includes you radio listeners. You can leave a two minute pitch via our website, The Moth Dog, or call 877 799 Moth. We'll be back in a moment with a story about a good faith effort at marriage.


The Moth Radio Hour is produced by Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and presented by Paques.


This is the Moth Radio Hour from Prick's. I'm Jay Allison. You're listening to a live storytelling event held at the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas. Your host is Ophira Eisenberg, our next storyteller.


When I ask the questions of who you would like, who are what would you like to come back as she said, Molly Ivins.


Yes. And she said she's the only hero I've ever known. Please welcome the stage, Sarah Bird's.


Well, Molly, I still miss her, don't you? OK, the thing is that I always like to tell people that I came to Austin for graduate school, but that's a lie.


The truth is that I moved here for love.


The object of my mad obsession was a guy I was living with in Albuquerque who made me laugh until I went my pants and was hotter than lava in bed.


And I don't know if all this hotness and hilarity was because I was so crazy in love with him are because of the crazy amounts of cheap weed that we smoked, whatever it was.


When he told me that he had to move to Austin to take some courses, I could not pack fast enough.


In Austin, we set up a sweet little love nest and he went off and got deeply, scarily immersed in these courses he was taking. I was alone. I didn't know a single person in Austin, Texas.


I got a little clingy and lonely and I realized that what I needed to sort of stop this slide of loser hood was a job and like a good job, not one of the crap jobs that I had always had working my way through college. So I held out for that really good job. And finally, the perfect job came along. Temporary archivist, technician at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library.


This was it. I could just see myself cataloging secret correspondence from Ho Chi Minh and and never before seen briefs about civil rights initiatives.


I had to get this job motivated by love. I rushed in and with a canny combination of lying and making shit up, I got that job.


Couldn't wait to race home and impress my beloved once again bask in his admiration when I told him about the super oppressive job I had scored.


He was not home. This was not unusual because he was hardly home at all anymore.


But that night, as the hours rolled by, I had time to reflect and I started thinking about how much he had changed since we moved to Austin.


He started taking those courses. I thought how distracted he came, almost as if he was keeping something from me. I had to face some very grim suspicions when he finally walked in around two o'clock in the morning, I confronted him with this there followed a soul searing, gut wrenching conversation, which I found out, yes, he was in love with someone else.


And that someone else was L. Ron Hubbard. He explained to me that Scientology is a religion dedicated to spiritual enlightenment through the pursuit of self-knowledge, but he was scared that I wouldn't understand that I that I wouldn't be able to accept, as I said, not understand. Are you kidding? We're both followers, Catholics. Of course I understand.


I understand the hunger that being raised a Catholic leaves you with for the rest of your life. You hunger for certainty. Of course, I understand that.


And there followed a period of bliss in which we explore Scientology together.


I learned about emitters and and operating things and I even took a beginners course. It was like a combination between a toddler's birthday party and assertiveness training.


We would have staring contest and the first person to blink lost.


The really sad thing was as much as I wanted to believe in God, I wanted to believe the more I learned about Scientology, the less plausible it seemed to me, until finally I had to conclude that it was a sci fi pyramid scheme.


A wall went up between us and overnight we became an interfaith couple. As I felt him drifting away from me, it terrified me, it terrified me and things at work were really not any better.


Instead of the secret correspondence with Ho Chi Minh, I spent my days unpacking yellowed copies of ladybirds, recipe for bunkhouse chili and reams and reams of letters from outraged schoolchildren telling LBJ to stop lifting his Beagle's, him and her up by their ears and photos.


There were photos of LBJ hiking up his shirt and showing that famous gallbladder surgery scar and lots and lots of pictures of his beautiful daughters, Luci and Lynda. There was one I remember in particular of Linda's fairytale wedding, and she's standing next to her handsome husband, a Marine captain, and he's cutting their gigantic wedding cake made of fruitcake with his sword.


There's another one, another beautiful photo that I remember of Linda on her dream date with George Hamilton there dancing together, the Magnolia Pail, Linda and the mahogany brown George Hamilton.


But what really riveted me were the makeover photos before the date.


In the photos, Linda had had her hairline plucked. She had been spackled engager geisha, white makeup. She had Big Bird eyelashes glued on.


I wonder, is this what I needed to I need a makeover to bring my man back to me. And then I realized no. No, it was not a cosmetic makeover that I needed. It was a spiritual makeover.


If my darling wanted spiritual enlightenment, I was going to give them some hot, sweet smoke and enlightenment.


I speed dated all the isms, Buddhism, Taoism. I read the Tibetan Book of the Dead. I dabbled in transcendental meditation. I got in touch with the guru and brought the three things he required of me three white folded handkerchiefs, five marigolds, a check for thirty five dollars.


And he gave me my super secret mantra never to be revealed to anyone.


UBA and. And then he taught me how to meditate. I couldn't wait to get home. And then when my darling arrived, I very ostentatiously plunked myself down on the floor and began to meditate. Being the grade grubbing overachiever that I was, I was certain that I would zoom to the head of the Enlightenment class and I would be levitating in front of him. He would be so dazzled he would fall down on his knees and our love would be reborn.


When I opened my eyes, he was on the couch sleeping with his back turned to me. I almost gave up, except for one thing, Edgar Casey. I loved Edgar Casey, the sleeping prophet of Kentucky. I read Edgar at lunch as I ate my invariable pimento cheese sandwich. And the one thing I loved about Texas at that point, the diet.


Dr. Pepper, I was reading as I started on my vanilla wafers about soul mates, he wrote about love's so true, so meant to be that they transcended life times and the soul mates would find each other again and again through many lives. This was me. He was talking about me and my soul mate. I ate a vanilla wafer and at that same moment I was overwhelmed by childhood revelries, a sort of Proustian moment where everything came back to me and I knew what I had to do in the very next box that I catalogued to be put on the shelves of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Library to last there forever through many, many lifetimes.


I sniff that Vinnell away for one more time, embedded that vanilla scent in the limbic chambers of my brain and put it in the box.


I put it on the shelf, I was certain that in some future incarnation reincarnated, Sarah would find that box. Perhaps she would be researching ladybirds, recipe for bunkhouses, chili.


She would open it. The scent of vanilla would come to her and she would remember. I have been here before.


I must find my soul mate how she was going to do this, I didn't know I couldn't figure everything out for future Sarah.


I was happy.


Now my hope was born again. I rushed home. I sure there were problems, a few problems to be wrinkled up in here now. But I have figured out eternity. We would be together forever when I got home. He was packing his car to leave. What did this mean, what are you doing? I've been called to L.A. to work at the Celebrity Center.


No, I pleaded you can't leave, were soul mates, were meant to be together in this life and in all future lives. That can never happen. Sarah. You're an S.P.. I was a suppressive person in Scientology, that means you are dead to me.


When he drove away, I was so shocked and heartbroken I could not even cry.


I could barely roll out of bed and go back to the library where my job was also coming to an end. Finally, there was only one box left to unpack and catalogue. When that box was done, my life in Austin would be over and I would go back to Albuquerque. I took this big box off of the top shelf and they're usually so heavy that I had to brace myself.


I pulled the box down and what, clanging into the empty shelf behind me because it felt like the box was empty.


I rushed over to my work area and underneath the bare bulb I opened up the big brown box and inside the big brown box with dozens and dozens of little white heart shaped boxes covered in satin with red curlicue riding on them. Oh, is this a cruel joke the universe is playing on heartbroken me.


I picked up one of the boxes and opened it inside. The little white heart shaped box was a tiny packet wrapped in red foil. I opened it up and inside was what looked like a piece of jerky.


As I stared at it, I realized what it was. This was Linda Bird's fruitcake wedding cake, the instant I realized what it was, I popped it in my mouth.


I did, I did, I popped it in my mouth and bit down this little piece of fruitcake jerky had been sitting on the tin foil for so long that it was exactly like biting into a piece of tinfoil.


And I got a giant shock in my back molars.


And at that literally electric moment, I started to sob because I knew it was over. If this. This fruitcake, the only it's actually eternal baked good there is. Had turned into this tasteless, metallic nothing in 10 years, what chance did my vanilla wafers have?


I knew it was over. I didn't have a soul mate in this life, I would not be sending any messages to a future soul mate. My sweetheart did end up going to Los Angeles and at the celebrity center, he met an actress named Mimi who took his last name, Rogers.


When they married, Mimi ditched him for Tom Cruise.


Tom Cruise ditched her for Nicole. And then there was Katie and then there was Suri.


As for me, I stayed in Austin. I stayed in Austin.


I went to graduate school, I became a writer, and just last week my supercute husband and I celebrated the 30th anniversary of our first date.


I don't think much anymore about eternity and reincarnation, I'm a follower Catholic who's gotten comfortable with uncertainty.


But the one thing I am certain of, I'm certain that my life, my real life, the life in Austin that I was meant to have began on the day that I found Linda Bird's wedding cake in the LBJ Library.


Thank you. Sarah Bernard. Sarah Bernard is the author of eight novels, many screenplays.


Sarah was recently voted Best Austen, author for the fourth time by readers of the Austin Chronicle and was inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame to see a photo of Sarah in front of the LBJ Library and a picture of a heart shaped box and wedding cake.


Visit the moth dog.


We'll be back in a moment with our final story about coming of age at gunpoint.


The Moth Radio Hour is produced by Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and presented by Paques. From PUREX, this is the Moth Radio Hour. I'm Jay Allison, producer of this radio show. You're listening to a live moth event at the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas, with the theme Nine Lives. Here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg, our final storyteller.


When I asked him who were what would you like to come back as and and why, he said, as might, I'd like to come back as my dogs.


He said, because they are pampered. They get to sleep in bed with two hot guys every night.


Please welcome John Lincoln. I'm sitting at the front desk of the Wilderness Road in high on a hilltop overlooking Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. It's an old motel. It's way past its prime and it's way off the main highway that winds its way through the valley below. I'm 16 and I've got a job. It's my first job.


And the overnight desk clerk at the wilderness wrote in and from 11:00 at night till seven in the morning, I checked guests in and out and get to be helpful, get them extra towels, little bars of soap and work. The old fashioned switchboard, you know, the kind that Lily Tomlin's character Ernestine uses with the cables? Yeah, yeah.


It's great.


And I love my job and it's sort of helping me adjust to the culture shock that my family's been experiencing because we're Midwest non alarmists, Lutherans, and we've moved from Iowa, the place I call the land of beige food to the hills of Tennessee.


So it's the end of summer. It's the end of tourist season and it's just after midnight. And it's been a busy night at the wilderness, wrote in and finally get a chance to take a little bit of a break.


And I'm watching TV in through the door.


Walk these two scruffy looking guys and the first guy says, hey, we need a room. And I get up to wait on him and he says, no, I'm just kidding. This is a robbery, don't make any false moves and no one will get hurt. It might have caught me off guard, so I kind of laughed and I said, yeah, right. And he says, no, I'm real serious. And he flops this gun out of his waistband.


And I see the gun and I think, oh, a gun, a robbery. What do I do in a robbery? I know what the manager told me. Be calm. Get them the money and get them out the door as fast as you can. OK, so I turn to the cash register and I open it up and I start taking the money out. And there's quite a bit of money because it's been a busy night at the Wilderness wrote in and I realized I've got all this cash in my hand and I don't have anything to put it in.


So I kind of look over at him. And apparently he's forgotten to bring a bag. So I say, sir, would you like a bag? And he says, well, yeah, that'd be real nice. So I get him a bag and I put the money in it and I set it up on the counter real quickly because I'm trying to move things along here and I'm thinking we're almost done.


And he says. If you got a safe. And I say, well, oh, yes, we do have a say. Let me show you the safe.


So I take him over to this flimsy file cabinet safe we've got and he kind of looks at it and he says he wants to pry it open.


And I look at him. And apparently he hasn't brought a screwdriver, so I get him a screwdriver and I hand it to him and he starts prying the safe open and seems to be taking forever.


And finally he gets it open, he gets the money out. And I'm thinking, OK, we're just about done here. And he says, you know, I'm going to have to tie you up. And I think. Well, that makes sense, it is a robbery. So I grab an extension cord. And I hand it to him and I sit down and I put my hands behind my back because I'm trying to be helpful and move things along here.


So he takes my wrist together and ties them to the chair.


And when he finishes, he kind of looks around the office and he says, You got anything I could gag you with?


And I say, well. Would a towel work so he gets a towel and he puts it in my mouth and he kind of loops it around the back of my head very gently, and when he finishes, he says there.


Now, when the police come, you can tell him you couldn't go because you had a gag in your mouth.


So he gets up and they head toward the door and he stops as he's going out and he says, hey, I hope we get to rob you again sometime, you're real helpful.


And I say, Huh?


Yeah. And they drive away. So I get my hands free and I call the police and I go home to tell my parents about my little incident and my non-allergic Lamis parents are not terribly alarmed about the whole situation. And I tell them that I'd really like to keep working at the Wilderness wrote in. And they think about it and they say, well, OK.


And my dad says, John, just remember this. If you work hard and you're a good guy and you keep a sense of humor, God will take care of you. And I think, well, maybe. So it's a few months later, it's wintertime and it's a quiet night at the Wilderness Road in.


And I've switched shifts, I'm no longer working the overnight shift, I'm working the evening shift because I go to high school during the day and I'm sitting watching TV and in through the door walk two guys and I get up to wait on them and I see that the first guy's got a gun in his hand and I think not again.


But something's not right. He grabs me and he slams my head down on the counter and he jams the gun into my bag. And he yells at the other guy to get the money out of the cash register. And when he sees that there's not very much money, he goes crazy and he takes the butt of the gun and he hammers it down on the back of my head and I see stars and I feel blood starting to pour it on my back.


And then he screams. Get down on the floor like Jesus on the cross. So I got down on the floor and I spread my arms to my side, like you said. And he drops to his knees and he grabs me by the hair and he pulls my head up and he screams, You want to play a little game, you faggot.


No, no, I do not want to play a little game. And then he whispers in my ear. You're either going to win. Or you're going to lose. And he puts the gun to my temple. And he spins the cylinder. And he pulls the trigger. And the gun goes. And I start to cry. I jump up. He got up. They run out the door. And they drive away. The police come. And I go home to tell my parents what's happened.


And my non alarmist parents are very. Very alarmed. And they tell me I have to quit my job. And you know, the really crazy thing is, even with all this happened, I don't want to quit my job. I like my job. The next morning, my younger sister and I are driving to high school and on a side street, we see this really cool looking blue car. And my eyes catch the drivers and his catch mine.


And he and I recognize each other. It's him. He squeals his tires and pulls out behind us and follows us. When I get to high school, I run into the office and I tell the principal that I've got to talk to my dad. I tell my dad that I've seen the guy who robbed me. He calls the sheriff. And he gives the license plate number that my sister has written down. The sheriff traces the number and he says he knows who it is.


But he wouldn't do something like that. He may be a little rough around the edges. But he's a good ol boy. And my dad tells me there's nothing we can do. That I have to let it go. But I know, I know it's. And I can identify him. And he's out there. A couple of days later, another motel is robbed. The manager tries to put up a fight and he shot and killed in front of his wife.


When I hear about. That could have been me. And I know. I know it's. A few weeks later. My younger sister and I have a dentist appointment in the morning when we finish up and we're walking out the door of the office across the parking lot at. I see the cool blue car. Parked outside the door to the bank. Next store. And I got this really creepy feeling. And then I think. Maybe I'm just being an alarmist.


We head back to high school. And at the base of the mountain, traffic comes to a complete stop. And all of a sudden. That blue car comes zooming by us on the shoulder, being chased by a police car. When traffic finally begins to move again, we got up to the top of the mountain. And there are police cars. In an ambulance. And a stretcher with a body on it. And that blue car. That night in the paper, there's an article about a bank robbery that occurred that morning.


The robbers had gotten caught in traffic. We've gotten into a fight with the police. One of them was shot and killed. The bank food robbed. Was next door to our dentist's office. They were robbing the bank while we were getting our teeth cleaned. And then I look at the picture. And I got this. Incredible sense of relief. And I know right then. That when my dad told me is true. That if I work hard.


And I'm a good guy. And I keep a sense of humor. The government really does take care of me. And there are good guys. And good old boys. And God. Takes care of both. Thank you. John Lincoln.


John Lincoln lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his partner Michael and their three kids, a Chihuahua named Petunia, a pit bull named Belle and the Tomcat Pooter, John's blog is called Ponderous Bull Postulations to see a photo of the teenaged John Lincoln, along with photos and extras on all our storytellers.


Visit the moth dog.


That's it for this episode of The Moth Radio Hour. We hope you'll join us next time. And that's the story from the on.


Your host for this live hour from Austin, Texas, was Ophira Eisenberg, selected as one of New York magazine's top ten comics, Aufiero has appeared on Comedy Central and VH1 and is the host of NPR's Trivia and Puzzle Show. Ask me another. The stories in this hour were directed by Meg Bolls, Maggie Seno and Sarah Austin Ginés.


The rest of the most directorial staff includes Kathryn Burns, Sara Habermann and Jennifer Higson production support from Kirstie Bennet, Genoways Berman and Brandon Hector.


Most stories are true, is remembered and affirmed by the storytellers. Both events are recorded by Argo Studios in New York City, supervised by Paul Request. Our theme music is by the drift of the music. In this hour, John Coltrane's Alabama See The Way by Jimmie Dale Gilmore. And if it's the Last Thing I Do by Smokin Joe Kubek, The Moth Radio Hour is produced by me, Jay Allison with Viki Merrick at Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.


This hour was produced with funds from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation committed to building a more just verdant and peaceful world. The Moth Radio Hour, as presented by the Public Radio Exchange PR NextG.


For more about our podcast, for information on pitching your own story and everything else, go to our Web site, Dumar Dog.