Chapter 6: Chicken Scratch 7-9


Six girls were led by the fat lady into another room with red and black checkered wallpaper and furniture. All the girls were golden-skinned, light brown or red-tinged hair, wearing white camisole and stockings. All six girls were young, how young, none of the guys knew, and none of them didn’t know for legal reasons. 

Thompson sat next to Farelly, they kept elbowing each other and giggling like teenage boys, an inside joke that Paco and Brooks were not privy to.

“Are they always like this?” Paco said, shaking his head.

“Yeah,” Brooks answered with an embarrassed sigh. “Pretty much.”

“How can you put up with it?”

Brooks shrugged. “It’s painful at times. They were the first ones to accept me when I moved down here from Toronto.”

“Yeah? That’s sick if they were the only friends you got. Lucky you got me. I make the whole group cool, like Reggie in Archie’s gang.”

Brooks was surprised by the comment. Paco wanted to be in their circle of friends, and he thought he was the leader. Never mind, they would dump him once this episode was over.

“You know that Reggie was the bad guy in Archie’s group, right?”

Paco stood up, took two girls by the hand, kissed both of them seductively, smiled at Brooks. “What’s your point?” He said.

“You’re taking two girls?” Thompson asked Paco.

“So,” Paco slipped some tongue to the girl on his left. “You and Farelly sharing a girl?”

Thompson and Farelly went white. They exchanged looks. They were both pissed at the suggestion they might experiment in such a way.

“No!” Farelly yelled.

“Fuck you, Paco,” Thompson whispered, grabbed a thin girl with no bust and extremely short hair.

“Hey, C’mon guys…what happens here…stays here…no lies…no truths will be told.”

Farelly laughed. “He’s messin’ with us,” Farelly took the hand of a bigger girl with lots of curves and curly hair in a bun.

Walking to his room, arms around the girl he’d chosen, Brooks saw two figures in black hanging from their doorway. He just caught them from the corner of his eye. He turned, saw it was a very tall woman and a large hunched man in a golden mask that only covered part of his face. Brooks stopped, stared at them. They were wearing chicken claws made of silver hooked to a chain around their necks, which sparkled under the lights in the hallway.

The man and woman watched Brooks cautiously.

The girl he’d chosen opened the door to the room. She said something in Spanish, urging him to go inside. For some reason, Brooks felt drowsy. Even after he’d taken an Adderall just as they entered the whorehouse. He rubbed his eyes, took the clear brown bottle from his jacket, and extracted another pill. He laughed, placed it between his teeth, and bit down. “Coming darling!” He screamed and laughed again. He went inside, the door slammed shut on its own.


Brooks suddenly awoke. He heard passing cars and laughing from Thompson and Farelly. It took him a few seconds to realize he was in the backseat of his SUV, and Thompson was driving. Some kind of hair-metal was playing on the radio and Thompson and Farelly were singing along with the song, having a grand old time. In the floorboard was a red and black speckled rooster clucking and scratching at the carpet.

Brooks gasped. He instinctively moved his body closer to the seat. “What the fuck is that?!” He screamed.

“Oh, good,” Thompson peered in the rearview mirror at him. “You’re awake. Man, what a trip this has been!”

“I have to admit,” Farelly giggled. “Best time I’ve had in a long time, buddy!”

“Where did this chicken come from?” Brooks breathed heavily. 

“It’s not a chicken,” Farelly said. “It’s a rooster.”

“Whatever! Where did it come from?!”

“You won it,” Thompson laughed. “Boy, you were like some sort of…party animal in Mexico.”

“I don’t remember…much….”

“Yeah, I’m sure you don’t. Dude, I don’t know how much mescal and peyote you took, but you oughtta be non-coherent from now on.” Farelly passed a beer to Brooks. “Whew! We rocked!”

Brooks opened the beer, guzzled it down. He felt a headache coming on. Then he made another realization. “Where’s Paco?”

They didn’t answer right away. Both shrugged simultaneously. 

“We don’t know,” Farelly said, pained by the question. “After that first night, he disappeared. So did the two girls he was with.”

“Yeah,” Thompson confirmed. “Weird. Just up….and disappeared without a trace.”

Brooks sighed. Oh, no, he thought. Paco got caught stealing the goods whatever it was from whoever he was supposed to be smuggling for. He’s probably dead. Brooks finished off the can of beer and dropped it beside the rooster. The rooster clucked, didn’t even flinch. 

“Brave fucker hanging around us,” Brooks snickered. “We can stop at the border and get rid of this chicken.”

“It’s not a chicken,” Farelly corrected him.

“Whatever the fuck, Farelly! Just get rid of it.”

“We’re past the border. We’re almost in Austin,” Thompson said.

“What? How did you get this past the border cops?”

“They just laughed,” Farelly said. “They mentioned we must have had a good time.”

“Well,” Thompson added. “The one border cop was scared to death. He kept screaming: ‘Go across! Go across, asshole!’ Ma, never seen anyone more afraid of a chicken—“

“It’s not a chicken—“

“Whatever, Farelly!” Thompson and Brooks said at the same time.


Weeks had gone by, and Paco still had not shown up. Brooks wondered about him, whether he’d gotten across the border with the contraband and decided to keep the rest of the money for himself. Or maybe he got caught at the border and was in custody. Brooks tried to forget the fact Paco still owed him the other half of thirty grand. It didn’t matter. In a week he and Debbie would be married. Brooks had already bought the house her Uncle was going to buy. 

Oh God, Brooks thought. Now I’m going to have to field questions from her Uncle Roy about how he was able to buy the house, where he got the cash. Suddenly, the whole wedding seemed like an awful punishment. I better start making up a lie right now, he told himself. 

Debbie, on the other hand, never asked where he got the money. She was thrilled with the house and considered it their first wedding anniversary. She moved in immediately. But she wasn’t happy about the rooster, which Brooks had taken to naming Rufus.

“That chicken has to go,” Debbie said, one night while they were watching the latest episode of the Bachelor. “I can’t live with a chicken scratching at my feet when I’m not wearing shoes.”

“It’s a sign of affection,” Brooks said.

“No,” Debbie retorted. “That chicken is a keepsake of a dirty disgusting weekend you had.”

“Yep,” Brooks grabbed the remote and switched the channel to the NBA finals. “Wow. Golden State is up by twenty. By the way, it’s a rooster.

“I can see that!” Debbie snuggled up to Brooks, kissed his earlobe. Are you going to tell me about Mexico?” She looked at him suspiciously. 

“No,” Brooks said 

“Why not? How do you know I might laugh at your little adventure?”

“You won’t. It was boring.”

“How…do you know…I might get turned on?” Debbie purred.

“You won’t. You’re too jealous.”

“Ha! You admit something happened!” She poked him in the face.”

“Yeah,” Brooks shrugged nonchalantly. “Farelly puked on Thompson.”

“Oh!” Debbie smacked the sofa. “You are hopeless!”

“Yep,” Brooks agreed, clued in to the game to care if Debbie had stomped upstairs to bed.

Next Tuesday, Chapter 6: Chicken Scratch pts 10-12


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