SOMEWHERE IN TEXAS, SOMEWHEN IN THE SEVENTIES
“Dunno if you know this, but I come from a place called Texas. Little town called Cascabel; small enough to know your neighbors, but big enough for the occasional race riot: just the right size. And down in Texas, the only thing bigger than football was Jesus, and you’ll notice He did not schedule church for Friday nights.
“That’s a fight even the Lord won’t pick.
“My daddy started me out young, and he started me out the Texas way: once he yelled ‘FUMBLE’ and tossed me in a river. I knew my X’s and O’s before I knew my ABC’s and I made my daddy proud in Pop Warner. Ooh, I was a mean cuss: I didn’t care that I was playin’ children. I’ll send em’ to the children’s hospital and tell ’em Roy Head sent ya. Yes, that Roy Head.
“You should have heard of me.
“When I got to high school, the coaches had been watching me and my magical legs for years. I could carry the ball down the field in ten or twelve steps, all the while juking and shimmying and faking teenagers out of their shorts, which was excellent practice for my show business career. I also did the kicking: I would pick the football up with my weirdo monkey feet and toss that sucker through them crossbars from fifty yards away. I was also the punter, but only on paper, as a true Texan would rather die than feel the sharp sting of shame that is punting.
“Real Texans go for it on fourth down.
“Football was our only bright spot in the dark desert of life. Our high school was underfunded, I guess you might say: our principal was also the football coach and the chemistry teacher and the janitor and he lived at the school, which was made up of salvaged plankery and duct tape. Our Spanish teacher was picked up each morning from in the front of the Home Depot, a different guy every day. History class was taught by a cocker spaniel named Spots.
“Spots was a real smart dog, but the material was beyond him.
“My senior year, we were undefeated and going to the state championship: we were playing the Dillon Panthers, who were the prettiest and most dramatic team in Texas. Always somethin’ going on with them people. Anyway, we was excited as anything, and me most of all cuz I got to do it with my friends. Big Bucktooted Pete was my center, and the only man whose gooch Roy Head has ever touched. Skippy Joe was the fullback and what I could not accomplish with my wonder-legs, Skippy Joe could with speed.
“Also, he was fast.
“Lord, Skippy Joe was a velocitous beast! A sinewy ferret snaking through the holes left by Big Bucktoothed Pete, he would churn them skinny thighs and plus he was covered with so much sweat that you couldn’t get grip of him. Skippy Joe also smelled real bad when he got high–like cat-piss from a foreign cat?–and that added to his untacklability. He would run right through ’em, I tell ya. Now, sometimes Skippy Joe would keep running right out the stadium and we wouldn’t find him ’til three days later. Once, he made it to Oklahoma.
“Skippy Joe didn’t die: he just achieved terminal velocity.
“The big game was that night and we was all so nervous. It is here that I will freely admit to being a man with no defenses against Lady Temptation, and her siren song. She sings to me in times of trouble, or when I’m bored, or before a show, or after a show, or the holidays. And do I harmonize with her? I do. Oh, Lord, save a sinner from hisself, I do.
“Me, Pete and Skippy Joe was three-part harmonizin’ that day.
“We started in on Beerios, which are Cheerios with beer ‘stead of milk: it was breakfast and you know I have strict rules about breakfast. Then we began the day, and we caroused with a football theme. First, we drank Vince Lombardis, which are equal parts whiskey, rye, and yelling. Then, we had Y.A. Tittles, which are just shots of tequila, but it’s such a fun name to say. Finally we had some Bill Romanowskis, which is when you break into a pharmacy and start randomly mixin’ things.
“We were no longer nervous, so that was a plus.
“It was gettin’ late and the school was dead across town, so we was gonna have to run it, but none of us was in the proper shape at the time. Big Bucktoothed Pete was naked and had begun to preach at people; when Pete was lit up, he always did get saved. And usually, people didn’t mind so much–being that people in Texas always got a minute for the Lord–but he was, as I said, naked. Parked on the corner was a convertible Lincoln Continental.
“If the car’s owner didn’t want it stolen, then why did he park it in my story?
“The keys were in the ignition and the pedal was to the metal, baby! We were flying, and the car was going real fast, too. Big Bucktoothed Pete was still naked and standing up in the backseat, spraying vomit and spreading the gospel at the top of his lungs. Skippy Joe was running alongside the car. I was drivin’ with my funky-legs and getting frisky with a couple cheerleaders.
“Shoulda mentioned: we met some girls, cheerleaders.
“We was a sight to behold and it should not have surprised me when the law spotted us and began to give chase. I was almost at the school, so I thought I could lose him with some fancy-type drivin’. I wasn’t thinking right: I don’t know no fancy-type drivin’! The powerful automobile spun out of my control! We drove through the school and took out dozens of children, their bodies flying this way and that. Our history teacher, Spots, was killed.
“We forfeited the game and never learned who won the Spanish-American War.”
“Do you want an Orange Julius or not?”
“SPOTS GRADES PAPERS IN DOGGIE HEAVEN!”
“I’m gonna get my manager.”