We don't have fox hunting in Brooklyn. I can't say we never had it. A couple of hundred years ago when the British owned the place they probably had it. I have to check that out. I like sports, although I'm not such a hot athlete myself. Sports can build you up a worthwhile body, help you let off a lot of steam that you don't know where it's coming from. One day when things got slow at the news stand I picked up a sports magazine which is where I read about fox hunting. At the end I came off entirely against it as a sport. For one thing, the fox never wins. And even if he won, what would he get for it? One of the horses? One of the dogs? Or maybe one of the lords who was chasing him. In fact, I got a sneaky feeling the lords were getting fed up with it and only did it because the queen expected it and would quit banging her sword on their heads to make them knights if they didn't carry on the ancient traditions to keep her empire from collapsing. Besides, they say she's on her last legs. Once a tradition gets a hold of you it's like your skin, you don't even know you got it on. I think Winston Churchill said that. They named two cigarettes after him.

   I showed the article to some friends of mine that afternoon. They were spread out on Lenny's stoop shooting the breeze and drinking lemonade after a hot game of stick ball. "Fox hunting?" Frankie pipes up. "What about bullfighting?" "I went to a bullfight once," I said. "What was it like?" everyone wanted to know.

   It busted me up, I told them. It broke my heart and it would have broke yours, too, if you had seen that bull. He trotted out from under the stadium as if he was going to a party, all frisky and full of pep. He was a small bull, happy, glad to be running around in the sunshine. He was in great shape, that bull. And why not? They been treating him like he was the most important bull in Mexico, feeding him vitamins, washing him like in a laundromat every day, exercising him, making him feel like he had a great future. One look at him and you knew he was looking forward to be the father of plenty more bulls and cows, which is what a bull dreams about every night. When he came racing out what could he think but all that cheering and whistling and clapping was for him. He hopped around that bullring so excited, as if he was expecting then and there to find his first cow. But, oh boy, was he wrong!

   Suddenly a blast from a brass band busts out with souped up tango music. Then a skinny guy in a fancy costume shows up. He's wearing a flat, round black hat with little balls dangling from it, as if he was telling you something. At first he pays no attention to the bull who is prancing about very friendly, not bothering the guy at all. Next, the guy lifts off his hat and makes a couple of sweeping bows to the crowd, waving it at them like he's chasing flies. The bull has no reason to think the guy in the fancy suit is after him, planning to make hamburger out of him with the big sword he pulls out. And that's what he does. But first some other guys on horses stick a half a dozen spears into the bull to get him mad. Then the skinny guy dances around the bull, showing off for the crowd which is now going nuts while the bull can hardly stand up. At that second the guy shoves the sword into him a couple of times and finally through the middle of his head until the bull is a dead duck. That's when the crowd really went wild.

   Everybody was quiet for a minute, kind of thinking about it. "Hey," Frankie yells. "Maybe you'd like to see a cockfight!"

   "A cockfight?" I said. "What's that?"

   "Two roosters with their claws fitted with razors go for each other until one slashes the other to death. I know a guy who has cockfights in his cellar. You bet on them."

   "That's horrible," I said, "watching a couple of chickens kill each other."

   "They ain't chickens, they're roosters!" Frankie laughs. "And what about it? They kill millions of chickens every day so you can eat them. Don't you eat chickens, Moe? Huh?"

-Al Geto




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Buckhammer's Last Chance | Once You Know, You're Stuck With It

Here We Come, Ready or Not! | Aaron

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Ah, Sweet Mystery Of Life | The Nervous Young Man

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Copyright August 3, 2000-

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