Red-Turn of the Jedi

by Mark Johnson

     Master Yoda watched Luke fly toward Dagobah, as Obi-Wan Kenobi solemnly said, "There is another."
     Yoda's eyes grew wide.  "Mean you not your cousin, I hope.  Over to the red side long ago he went."
     "The force is strong in Bubba."
     "Not right is he."
     "He is quite inventive."
     "Inventive building a light saber with a 'barbeque' setting is not.  Wrong it is."
     "Then you find him some help yourself.  I'm dead, and you're an 800-year-old  . . . well, I never did figure out just what you are."
     "Jedi master."
     Obi-Wan took a moment to regain his composure.  "Yes, master.  Forgive me."
     Yoda shook his weary head.  "A bad feeling about this, I have."  They watched Luke's X-Wing land, as Yoda continued.  "Tell him about Bubba you may, after his training only."

     The planet RN-13 reminded Luke Skywalker far too much of Tatooine. Empty, deserted, desolate, these were all descriptions that leapt to his mind.  Luke did not expect much as he approached what appeared to be some sort of windowed structure on wheels.  Spotting the land speeder on blocks in front, he knew this was the right place.  Then he did a double take.  Strange, he thought, I've never seen a land speeder with a roll bar.
     "I've got a bad feeling about this," he muttered as he climbed rotting steps.  He knocked on the frame of the open door, and two large dogs rushed past him.  Dodging the animals, he was surprised to see a small, plain woman wearing some sort of tan robe and fuzzy blue slippers approach.  Her hair might have been dishwater blonde, but the plastic cylinders in it and the scarf covering made her hair hard to see.
     "Excuse me, I'm looking for Bubba Kenobi."
     "You a bill collector?  We sent your payment yesterday."
     "No, I am a Jedi, looking for Bubba Kenobi."
     She sneered.  "A Jedi?  They ain't no more of them."  She shook her head.  "But I reckon you'll try that 'Force' stuff if I don't fetch Billy Bob, so come on in."
     Luke followed her into the dwelling and looked around quickly.  The walls were decorated with unfamiliar religious symbols and a painting of a musician on black velvet.  His scrutiny was interrupted by a scratchy voice.
     "He's out back."  She turned to call out the back entrance.  "Billy Bob?  Somebody's here to see aomebody called 'Bubba Kenobi.'  I figure it's one of your good-for-nothing relatives.  Says he's a Jedi."  She turned back to Luke.  "Go on, he's foolin' with that Y-wing of his."
     Luke nodded ever so slightly and exited, hearing the screen door slam behind him.  He walked to a Y-wing fighter that had seen better days.  One wing looked to have been hammered back into shape, and was painted only with a coat of gunmetal primer.  The fighter had a sign affixed that read, "My Other Ship is a Corellian Cruiser."  A drawing on one of the windows was of a child urinating on a tie fighter.  The front displayed a painted red flag with crossed blue bars containing stars.  A pot-bellied man wearing a dirty white shirt and khaki pants stood up from behind the ship.
     "You looking for someone?"
     "I am looking for a Jedi knight.  Bubba Kenobi."
     "Bubba Kenobi?  The man wiped his brow with an oily rag, then pulled a small pouch from his pocket.  He opened it, took out a large pinch of the shredded brown substance therein, and placed it between his cheek and gum.  "I ain't heard that name in years."
     "You can tell me where to find him?"  
     "Sure.  He's me."
     Luke caught himself before speaking further, but his face belied his thoughts.
     "Well, son, I ain't done that kind of work in years.  Left it to my cousin.  He was into all that kind of stuff."  He spat to one side, then looked at Luke's face.  "You don't believe me, do you?"
     Luke said nothing, but his opinion was obvious.  Billy Bob closed his eyes and raised his left hand, pointing toward the dwelling.  The door opened and a bottle of beer floated into his outstretched hand.  He flashed his light saber and neatly sliced off the top of the bottle.  Seeing the disbelief in Luke's eyes, he said, "Thank the Force for long necks," then drank heartily from the bottle.  
     "The rebellion needs you!  If we don't stop Vader and the Empire, we will all lose."
     "Son, who died and made you Yoda?"
     "I've just returned from Dagobah, and Master Yoda.  And my name is Luke.  Luke Skywalker."
     "Planet's a dadgum swamp.  Worst skeeters in the galaxy, Luke."
     "But will you help me?"
     Billy Bob finished his beer and tossed the bottle into the tall grass beside his Y-wing.  "Ah, hell," he said, "I reckon it beats yard work.  Let me get my Jedi robe and tool box."
     With that, he walked into the house and returned quickly and quietly with a metal case, a camouflage-design bundle and what appeared to be a case of bottled beer.  "Betty Lou," he called, "we're gone to save the galaxy.  If I'm not back by dinnertime, don't wait up!"
     His wife leaned out the window.  "Billy Bob, now don't you go doing something stupid, like I could stop you if I wanted."
     He walked back and pecked her on the cheek.  "I luv ya, and I'll be back later."
     She just grinned, showing fewer teeth than Luke expected.  "Okay.  May the Force be with y'all."
     Billy Bob put on his Jedi robe, which was indeed camo, slapped Luke on the back, and said, "The old Y-wing ought to work fine.  I've souped-up the engine, added some new pipes, and she's pretty hot now.  Don't worry, this'll be a hoot.  And maybe we'll have time for me to show you how to use the Force to pick up babes.  You know, the Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded, so it's great to set up one night stands."
     As he watched Obi-Wan's cousin climb through the window of the ship, Luke's only thought was, "I've still got a bad feeling about this."
If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Mark Johnson