Michael and myself continued to live at home. He stayed in Pensacola, and I remained in Mobile. We could drive all the shots and come home almost every night. We only had to stay over once or twice a week, usually when we ran the northern cities, such as Greenwood or Cleveland. So every day Michael would drive over to Mobile and meet me at the old Howard Johnson’s at I-65 and Highway 90, and we took turns behind the wheel.

Two (of many) problems with Michael, was that he was ALWAYS (and still is) late, and he would drive an old $200 car. When the car played out, he would just leave it alongside the highway, and go find another one. I had a new car, and usually ended up driving, but I was smart to his gimmick. At least I thought I was.

After a while, I got tired of sitting in the hot car waiting on my prima donna travel companion, so I would go into the nice, cold lounge in the HoJo’s and wait on him. Of course, our affection with Jack Daniel’s and Coke was born about that same time, so sometimes I would have one or two, sometimes three or four, depending on how late he was that day.

One afternoon, he was particularly late and the bartender hollered at me, “Percy, I think it’s Hayes on the phone for ‘ya.” I answered the call, and sure enough it was Michael. “Hey brother…,” he started out. “Man, I had a flat tire and I don’t have a tire iron. Will you come meet me, so we can change it and get on the road? We’re late.” “Late my a*#,” I thought to myself. I cussed all the way over the Bay Bridge, to the intersection he told me he was at. Sure as hell there is was, flat tire and all. Smiling like a mule eating briars, SITTING IN THE PARKING LOT OF A TRUCK STOP! It’s not like they didn’t have any tire changing equipment. He got me again!

I think you all can imagine the rest of the story. But that was Michael, and he possesses those same qualities to this very day. I loved country, he loved rock. I liked to go to Krystal’s, he loved the Waffle House. It was a perfect combination, right? And it was always the same ol’ chitchat driving down those old, two lane Mississippi roads.


I had two top pet peeves riding with Michael. My first hatred was his hair. If he wore out the bristles on twenty brushes a month that is an understatement. He continually brushed his bleached hair 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It drove me insane, and he knew it. I didn’t have any room to talk, my hair was bleached too, but I knew what hairspray was used for.
My second problem with Hayes during our early days was his music preferences. He was “the hot child in the city, running wild and looking pretty…” and my radio buttons were pre-set to pure country. To say that opposites attract couldn’t be truer when it came to our days on the road. This brings me to the night of the big wreck in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

It was about 1 o’clock in the morning, I was driving as usual, and we were heading south down Hwy. 49 headed for good ‘ol Mobile. Hayes insisted we stop at The Waffle House, and damn it I was determined to have a Krystal. For you Yankees, The Krystal is almost the equivalent of a White Castle hamburger.

“Waffle House…Waffle House,” he continued to whine. “We are going to get a waffle.” So, to keep the peace, I turned into the WH. The parking lot was packed full there was a line out the door. “See, told you so!,” I boasted. “We ain’t waiting in no damn line. It’s Krystal, or nothing.” I turned my new 1977 Mustang around on two wheels and headed for the exit.

For those of you that have never had the pleasure, Highway 49 is the major roadway in Hattiesburg. It is four lanes, and even had one of those fancy medians running down the middle. I had to be careful not to spell Meridian, because that was a town about 40 miles to the east, and that’s another story.

Anyway, The Krystal was located just right across the highway. However, there were about three or four eighteen-wheelers parked on the shoulder of the road, as I pulled out of the WH parking lot. Needless to say, they completely blocked my view of the oncoming traffic. Hell, I didn’t care I didn’t even look anyway because I was finally going to get a win over Hayes.

I’ll never forget that crashing sound, and the sight of a jeep flipping over what was left of the front of my Mustang. When it was all over, the jeep was lying on its side in the middle of the road. I guess it was my ambulance training, back in the day, but the next thing I knew I had climbed on top of the jeep, had its door open, and was checking on its occupants.

Thank The Good Lord nobody was injured, even though both vehicles were totaled. I had to call my parents to drive up from Mobile and pick us up I believe we made it home about sunrise. Damn it, I didn’t get to go to the Krystal! Hayes won again! We had to pass that very spot on every trip we made to North Mississippi. Do you think Lord Michael Hayes ever let me forget that night? Please…

I have at least a hundred more, but in my final Michael Hayes story for now, I might have to put him over. We were leaving a show in Meridian, Mississippi heading back towards Mobile again. I don’t know how it happened, but this time Hayes was driving one of his old $200 throwaway cars that I told you about last month. Oh yeah, I forgot to add he always drove like he thought he was Richard Petty.

We were on an old two-lane, winding logging road that ran through the woods of South Mississippi. The main thing that immediately comes to mind is that it was so dark outside. If there were any stars out, their light was blocked by the tall pine trees on each side of us. All of a sudden, THERE IT WAS! No less than a big coke machine right in front of us, in the middle of the road. Apparently some kids must have stolen it, and tossed it off the back of a truck.

Here comes the payoff. Hayes whipped that old beat up car around that vending machine onto the shoulder of the road, and right back onto the asphalt. We didn’t say a word to each other for about ten-minutes. “Was that was I thought it was?” Hayes asked me. “What?” I answered, “I think it was a possum.” Did you actually think I would put him over? Please…