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Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Recently I was contacted by Mike Paulus of Eau Claire's Volume One. He had sought out the advice of Bruce Taylor, UWEC Poet Emeritus, as to whom he could contact to fill out two entries in an upcoming evening of "adult story telling". Here is the e mail:

From: Mike Paulus [mike@volumeone.org]
Sent: Monday, July 07, 2014 2:55 PM
Cc: Thom Fountain; Eric Christenson
Subject: Re: WANTED: Let's Be Honest Storytellers

Hey everybody!

We could really use some help getting 2 more featured storytellers for our Let's Be Honest show on Friday, July 18. The theme is "Sucker Punch: stories of getting duped ... or doing the duping."

If you have a great story for this show or know someone who does, please email me back!


Mike Paulus
online editor
Volume One Magazine
205 N. Dewey Street
Eau Claire, WI 54703
ph: 715-552-0457

Dr. Taylor's reply:

From: Bruce Taylor
Subject: RE: WANTED: Let's Be Honest Storytellers
Date: July 7, 2014 7:46:13 PM CDT
To: Mike Paulus
Cc: August Rubrecht , lheagle@larryhegle.com

Have you tried August and Larry?

Then I received a copy of August Rubrecht's reply:

Bruce, I very much appreciate your recommendation to Mike Paulus. I would love it if Volume One invited me to tell (especially if I could be on the same program as Larry Heagle). Unfortunately, I will be traveling to the Ozarks then for a mini-reunion with siblings, cousins, and one charming old uncle, one of the last two of my mother's siblings.

August Rubrecht, is without a doubt, THE best storyteller I have ever known! After my head returned to normal size, (7 1/8), I contacted Mike and told him I was available.

I will be a part of the show on Friday, July 18. I am going to use this blog today to "polish" up my true story.

It was a long time ago while I was still traveling great distances to do shows. This time around, I had gotten a call to perform comedy at a convention being held at the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center just outside Alexandria, Minnesota.

I got an unusually early start that morning and while driving, I noticed that my van was due for a 5,000 mile oil change. Since I reached Alexandria with plenty of time to spare, and found a Pennsoil Ten Minute Oil Change business right there on my way into town, I took advantage of my early arrival, pulled in, and checked in at the desk.

I did notice that they were extremely busy, but as I said, I had hours to spare, so I wasn't too worried. After registering my vehicle, I joined several other customers in the waiting lounge, grabbed a magazine, and asked the woman sitting near an empty chair if she would mind if I sat near her. With her permission, I took the seat and began absent-mindedly flipping through People Magazine.

After a bit, I introduced myself to the woman. She, in turn, introduced herself to me and I struck up a conversation with her. (I really do enjoy engaging people, even strangers, in this kind of situation, as it passes time in a way much better than reading People Magazine ever could!

Besides, I thought she might be able to give me some insights into the city of Alexandria that I could incorporate into my performance. When I asked her about Alexandria, she told me that she didn't know much about the town as of yet, as she and her daughter had just recently moved from Blue Earth, Minnesota.

This opened up a whole vista of questions I could ask: How old is your daughter? (20) What is your daughter's name? (Jane) What made you decide to move to Alexandria (job as a registered nurse) Were you able to find housing? (a "fixer upper" house).

She asked where I was from and what I do for a living and I told her I am from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and that I am an ex-middle school teacher that quit teaching. Had I not, I told her, I would have been the one on the roof with a high powered rifle. I told her that I am a comedian/guitar player. Why was I in Alexandria? I am the after dinner entertainment at the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center, I told her.

She lit up at the words "Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center". She exclaimed that her daughter works there summers as a waitress for convention banquets! And that as a single parent (divorced) she was very proud of her daughter's initiative (in seeking employment for the summer).

I then asked her to give me a physical description of Jane, in case I had a chance to meet her and tell her that I had met her mom. Barbara then really opened up to me, told me all kinds of great details . . . how talented her daughter is at interior design and implementing it . . . that she had just finished tiling the entire bath room and it looked like a professional had done the work . . . that she was schooling at the nearby technical school, pursuing interior design . . . that she missed Blue Earth and her boy friend, Jim.

She would have told me more but her number was called and she left to get her car. As soon as she left, I took out my little note pad that I always carried with me in case of comedic inspiration, and hurriedly scribbled all the facts I could remember so that if I did get a chance to meet Jane, I would be able to speak intelligently about her mother and she would not think I was just some weirdo vagabond trying to hit on her.

I arrived at the Arrowwood, a large and impressive place with a central conference center, surrounded by a golf course and spacious vacation town homes.

When I work a conference, before I even take the guitar out of the van, I first scope out exactly where it is that I will be setting up my sound system, where the nearest entrance to the banquet room is, and who I need to contact and let know my purpose for being there.

This I accomplished, the last step being to enter the actual dining area to see if there was a stage of some sort set up. When I walked in, there were two uniformed young women, busily putting down place settings of plates and silver. Jane's mother had given me a very accurate description of her daughter. I recognized her immediately.

It wasn't until that moment that I came up with a plan.

I approached them and watched as they worked for a moment, my gaze transfixed on Jane. She became aware of my seemingly rude staring and looked up from her work.

"Hi, Jane", I said, and then turned to leave.

"Wait a minute!" she cried out, "how do you know my name?"

"It's right there on your plastic name tag", I said, knowing full well she had no name tag.

She actually looked down at her uniform!

"I'm not wearing a name tag," she said, alarmed.

"Okay, you caught me," I said. "I know your name is Jane because I am psychic. In fact, You are giving off a very strong aura and there is much I can tell you about yourself."

"Like what?" she said.

"Well, for starters, you haven't been living in Alexandria very long. You moved here from . . . Blue Earth, Minnesota, because . . . "

I paused, winced, rubbed my temples.

"because . . . your mother received a better job offer."


"Did I not just tell you that I am psychic?

"I don't believe you. . . you are just making lucky guesses. What does my mom do for a living?"

Again, I paused as if waiting for inspiration. "Is your mother's name . . . I am seeing a "B" Ba- Ba- Barbara? .

Her jaw dropped.

"She is a nurse . . . no, not just a nurse . . . a REGISTERED nurse."

"And she is very proud of you because of your talent and gumption." I paused again. "You are studying interior design. you just finished tiling the bath room floor at your house . . . I closed my eyes . . . I can see it. You did a very professional installation."

Now I had her hooked.

"What else can you tell me??"

"You will be going back to technical school this Fall to finish your two year degree in interior design."

She looked at her fellow worker. "Can you believe this?" she asked. Her partner was frozen in place, silverware in hand.

I turned as if to leave, then turned back and said: "You are really missing Jim, aren't you?"

Then I started walking away and from behind me I heard the other waitress: "Hey! Don't leave! Do me!"

"I'm sorry. My brain is really tired. My head hurts. Maybe some other time."

I sure would have liked to have been a fly on the ceiling when she got home and told her mother about the psychic she met at work!

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