By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
By Joe Eskenazi
By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
The rubes roared. The kid raised his jeans and beamed.
"I want you to remember," said Chicken before delivering the line that he uses to close every circus show. "We who have done so much with so little for so long are now completely qualified to do anything and everything with absolutely nothing at all. Thank you. Good night."
Chicken stepped down from the stage, but no one left the bar. They were all chattering with one another, laughing, and buying more drinks.
Chicken swaggered up to me with a de-vious grin.
"I can't believe you got that guy to shoot a bottle rocket out of his ass!" I said.
"You know why he did it?" Chicken asked. "You know why he did it?"
"No," I said.
"He did it because I fucking told him to do it!"
The bartender hadn't shouted last call when Ducky rushed up to me, still in her Knockers outfit. "Some rockabilly chick just came up to me, grabbed my hand, and put it between her legs. She said, 'I really loved your show. You were so great.' Then she told me that her boyfriend was sitting right over there, and that she wasn't wearing any underwear."
I didn't know what to say. The rockabilly chick was, in fact, sitting with her boyfriend and a couple of other swing kids. I shook my head and went back to my seat by the stage.
Ten minutes later, the rockabilly chick scuttled across the room and disappeared into the bathroom. Twenty minutes thereafter, she rejoined the swing kids. I looked over to the bathroom and saw Ducky emerge.
I smiled. "I saw that," I said.
She giggled. "That chick has double-G boobs. She's got em wrapped up under her dress."
I told her I'd never heard of double-G boobs.
"Once you go past double-D you can call them anything you want. You have to get custom bras."
"What happened in there, Ducky?" I asked.
"Let's just say she helped me get out of my clown costume."
Chicken was tired again. It was 3 a.m. He was hallucinating. And he was hungry. Chicken, Ducky, David, Justinian, and I were in a Boise supermarket, each looking for a separate ingredient for corn chowder: milk, frozen corn, bacon, some vegetables. No spices, though. Those would chew on Chicken's ulcer.
We attracted heat in the checkout line. The supermarket's security guard was surveying the crew, ogling Ducky. Justinian paid for the groceries. Chicken walked past the register and -- importantly -- through the shoplifting prevention panels without alarm. He sidled up to the security guard, a paunchy rent-a-cop who could have been 27 or 42. Chicken drew a long, black balloon from his pocket.
"When was the last time someone made you a balloon animal?" he asked.
"I don't want a balloon animal," the rent-a-cop said.
"Of course you don't want a balloon animal," Chicken said. "You want to watch me make a balloon animal. C'mon, anything you want."
The rent-a-cop stared at Chicken as he inflated the balloon into a long, black sausage.
"He looks like a poodle man to me," I said.
Chicken began to twist the balloon. "Poodles should be taken out to the desert and shot," the rent-a-cop said. "Only dog worth a thing is a trained pit bull. Maybe a Rottweiler."
Chicken was almost finished. "I'm going to give you something every man needs," he said. He looked the rent-a-cop straight in the face and held up a toy poodle. "An enemy."
The rent-a-cop stared at the poodle in Chicken's hands. "I can't take anything from a customer," he said.
"Tell you what," I said. "He's just going to set it here on this counter and slowly walk out of here. We didn't see anything."
We spent the night at Justinian's house and woke up late the next morning. By 3 that afternoon the '74 Duster was cruising along at an undeterminable speed -- I'd just realized Chicken had disengaged the odometer -- somewhere between Boise and Winnemucca. David was staring at nothing, Chicken was singing along with Billy Bragg, and Dammit was nestled on the shelf created by Ducky's push-up bra. I couldn't feel my ass.
"I'm not so sure about driving all the way to Boise for just one show," David said.
"What, did you think we'd stop and do a couple of shows on the way?" Chicken said. "Play Winnemucca?"
"Winnemucca rocks!" said David.
"Not even the radio station in Winne-mucca claims that Winnemucca rocks," Chicken said.
Back in Winnemucca -- officially, and ridiculously, mottoed the "gateway to the Pacific Northwest" -- Chicken determined the Duster needed a new tire. Or not a new tire, but a different tire. On Saturday, after 5 p.m., this was a problem. After a bit of aimless driving and direction-asking, Chicken found one garage that could do the job. There was one hitch: They didn't have any tires. The mechanic pointed him to Wal-Mart.
Chicken didn't bother with the front door at Wal-Mart. He immediately drove around back and found exactly what he was looking for: a pile of tires that Winnemuccans had thrown away. He picked one, examined the tread, and tossed it on top of the Duster.