#217: Bobby Bland, "Two Steps from the Blues" (1961)

Folks, I’m tellin’ ya, you’re gonna wanna come on down here. We’ve got Corollas, we’ve got Priuses, we got 4Runners, all brand-new and priced to dazzle. I said it at the top of the hour, but if you’re just joining us: we got the ‘18s on the way, so the ‘17s have got to go. If you’ve ever had too much of a good thingyou know how it feels, you understand why we got such great deals down at Don Malone Toyota, just a tick west of the Motor Mile. We got all these beautiful cars, trucks and SUVs under a gorgeous blue sky, so get excitedwe want to put you into a nicer, newer vehicle, all at a rock-bottom, no-haggle price. Get out of your old vehicle and into a brand-new or certified pre-owned Toyotafor a limited time, I’m offering zero percent financing for 60 months on select 4Runners, but you gotta get on down here fast.

If you’re ready to swap your clunker for a beautiful, dependable 2017 Toyota Camry, or any one of the hundreds and hundreds of other vehicles we’re offering, Don Malone Toyota is the spot for you. I pity the fool who misses out on our June clearance sale: we have the best financing, the most knowledgeable, friendliest sales staff, and acres and acres of new and certified pre-owned Toyotas. Now, I want you to see some of the incredible models we got on offer right now. My crack team is rarin’ to show you, so let’s get to it, let’s pull up the first car.

Now, this is the Camryyou know it, you love it, you’ve made it one of America’s top-selling mid-size cars year in and year out. Our no-haggle price is twenty three-four-three. All Camry models have 10 airbagsfront and rear seat-mounted, side curtain, even front passenger, on the knees. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m 46, I tell you what: I messed my knee up, I could use the help. No need to worry, I’m still fine like wine, just crunched it swervin’ from a deer. Now, all Camrys have that Bluetooth connectivity: call your kids, call your wifeif you wanna cruise to the blues, I got the car you can use. It’s got an estimated 24 miles per gallon in the city, 33 on the highway, but it’ll get you down those country roads to the Inn Between. Tell ‘em Don sent ya; it’s been a while.

OK, what’s next? Here we got one of ourhey, look out, Clarence! Darn near run my foot over, but you know what? That can happen on live televisionwave to the folks at home, Clarence. It’s all happening at Don Malone Toyotalook at the people! We’ve got balloons for the kids, and you smell that? We’re grilling that barbecue all day for yamm-mmm. So, here we have one of our older models, a certified pre-owned 2014 4Runner, only 16,000 miles, thirty-three thousand, silver paint, not so much as a nick, I tell ya. Always loved silver, may be my favorite color. After my knee got banged up, I had some colloidal silver on hand, started applying. Gotta love this 4Runner, ladies and gentlemenget on down to the lot and you can take it away today. As always, Don Malone Toyota performs a 120-point inspection on every certified pre-owned vehicle we sell.

Back to the ‘17s, folkshere’s a Prius, still the top hybrid on the market. This right here is a Prius C hatchback. The Hybrid Synergy Drive, pre-collision system, LED headlampsyours for the no-haggle price of nineteen three-seventy-five after the $1500 rebate. And my goodness, look who’s piloting this craft, it’s my lovely daughter Shaina. Shaina, wave to the folks at home. I’m sorry to say she’s not a standard feature, but she is a mainstay here at Don Malone Toyota, just a couple feet from the Motor Mile. If you haven’t heard me say it, Shaina is the brains of this operationshe does appraisals, she’s working the lot, she’s finding the best pre-owned vehicles all throughout the Memphis area. Frees me up to bring you the best financing and prices available, all from the air conditioned comfort of our showroom. We’re talking $4,000 off MSRP, $5,000 off MSRPthere was a whole summer after I wrecked where I was in my office all day, filing paperwork, applying that silver. I’d walk out to my vehiclereal slow, mind youand it’s already dark, time to drop by the Inn Between. Folks, my accountant had to beg me to stop buying rounds for the bar, I love saving people money so much.

I’m telling you right now, I’ll take care of you. We got a committed, friendly sales staff that’ll match you to the Toyota of your dreams. We have a certified collision center, with genuine factory parts. I called up my wife a week after the accident, I told ‘er, “Honey, it wasn’t a deer come at me, I was looking at my phone, almost clipped a truck parked off a country road. Slammed my brakes, skidded into a gatebut you know what, we got the best technicians around at Don Malone Toyota, and sure enough, these fine folks are gonna have me on the road tonight.”

After she hung up I looked at my knee. And it was the darndest thingit’d turned blue.

So I call my doctor, he says it’s local argyria. Too much silver, not enough time in the sun. I closed up shop, headed home, but folks, that was the beginning of the end. But here at Don Malone Toyota, we’re just getting started, showin’ off these fantastic vehicles at unbelievable prices. We got our ‘17s priced to move, and I’ll be here ‘til the very last one is gone. Then I’m driving my trusty Corolla to the duplex, scalin’ those concrete steps,  steeping some of that bedtime tea, then I’m dreaming of new ways to get you home in a nicer, newer vehicle.

Because, folks, there’s no feeling like making your dream of owning a Toyota come true! We have every model to choose fromwe got vehicles as far as you can look. No need to mess with anyone elseour committed, friendly staff will help you find the car or truck you want at a price you can afford. Check out all this hullabaloo! We got hundreds of folks lining up to check out the 2017 Tundras, Tacomas, Avalons, Highlanders, and much much more that we got in stock. All new cars qualify for free window tint and a free nitrogen tire fill.

As sure as one and one is two, you and Don Malone are a match made in heaven. We’re part of the community, locally owned and operated since 1976, ever since this was Duke Malone Toyota. Good ol’ Dukerest his soulhe even officiated my wedding, down the road at Scott Memorial Baptist. Sherrilyn chose our first dance, wouldn’t tell me, left it a surprise. We were just standing there… I tell ya folks, those moments waiting on someone, that’s an eternity. Then the high strings, they hit like a bolt. And the cellos pour out like distant thunder. I’m swayin’ here and there, gazing at my beautiful bride, but all I can think of is this lonely guy, he’s just fingertips away from what he wants, but it might as well be on the other side of the lot. I could hear him, you know? The brushes were like slow steps, and the flute was a songbird out just before dawn. At the end he sang “I’ll follow you,” and those strings pull the sod out from his feet.

I didn’t know if someone had heard the gate crunchI looked back, didn’t see anyone in the pickup. I put it in reverse, got free, found a side road a little ways down. I got out to check the damageleft headlamp busted, smashed hood, caved-in bumper, slow leak in the radiator. Battery looked secure, though, so I started walkin’ around the front, wanted to look at the wheel wellall of a sudden, the endorphins gave out. I just crumpledmy shins ached, I grab my knee and I don’t feel the blood until I can see it on my fingers. So I’m lying on my back, right? Just sprawled out, legs on the grass, head on the road. I’m moanin’, then I start thinkin’ about the folks nearby, then the cops. Maybe there was someone in that pickup. How long did I look? So I turn my head to the left and right and just listen. I don’t hear a thing,  just me breathin’ and some hissing and clicks. Dunno how long I was there, folks, but I do remember finally looking up, and there was the sky, and I could hear a warbler, and the sun wasn’t up yet, so all I could seebefore I crawled back into the car and headed back to Sherrilyn, back to our sleeping children and the argument over breakfast, the deer and the ride with Shaina and the genuine factory parts, my cool office and the cab ride to the Inn Between and everyone lining up to take these ‘17s homeall I could see was blue and silver, silver and blue.

—Brad Shoup