Billy Ray Montana, a sixteen year old fifth grader in Emma Jean Watson's class at the elementary school, is asking for donations to rebuild his science fair project. According to Billy Ray, Revenuers (IRS agents) shot up the still he was making in his back yard and destroyed the rocket fuel he was making for his rocket project.
Calls to the IRS office in Little Rock could not be made as we ran out of quarters for the pay phone and couldn't round any up until after quitting time. The recorded message we got at 7:30 p.m., however, didn't mention the still, so we are putting thier response down as "no comment."
Billy Ray thought he had a good chance of winning this year's science fair, as he felt his was the best entry. Said the young man, "Elmer's doing something on whether or not right or left handed guys can unhook a bra faster, Therline is doing something on why you can't use a yeast infection to make bread raise faster, Bud is doing a test to see if big boob size really makes you dumber (but he ain't getting nowhere as most of the girls won't let him squeeze to prove they ain't paddin'), and there's lots of solar systems and baking soda volcanoes."
Otis, the Mayfair brothers, and several others with stills have all volunteered to donate some of their own white lightning to Billy Ray to help with his project. "If a mason jar full of shine helps the cause of science," said Otis, "I'm all for it."
Emma Jean, Billy Ray's teacher, has declined the offers, saying "Billy Ray's got to stand on his own two feet on this one. Borrowed or donated corn squeezings can't be used to make his rocket fuel; he'll have to do it on his own."
When asked why he chose to make a rocket and rocket fuel for his project, Billy Ray said that "I seen that movie October Sky. I figured that if I won the science fair, they might make a movie about me and that would help me pick up girls and get past the fifth grade."
Billy also said that the toughest part of his rocket project has been "remembering how to count backwards from ten. I always mess that up and had to have Thelma make me up some cue cards."