Friday, November 19, 2010


Click play for some mood music

I'd say that my parents screwed me up pretty good. They weren't normal. In fact, I'd say they were pretty fucking crazy.

My dad Rusty was the fourth bill in a traveling wild west show that had all the authenticity of your basic dime store six shooter.

And Ma? She was his apprentice and, truth be told, none too bright either. What else would explain how she'd let a two year-old brave the old man's "legendary" knife toss? He'd tell audiences he learned his trade from a Sioux on the South Dakota plains when in fact Uncle Snippy taught pop everything he knew in the back alley of a Baltimore liquor store. His mentor in the Art of Stupidity...

Yeah, they were all fucked.

Holidays were tough on the road. I remember one year the rickety show brought us somewhere outside of Sante Fe. I thing I learned - even as a baby - was Christmas just ain't the same without the cold. I needed to see that fake smoke coming out of my mouth.

Thinking they were doing their son a favor, they brought me to some fucking excuse for a North Pole at some Christmas tree farm outside of Lubbock, Texas. From the satanic Saint Nick to the sad burrow they plopped me on, it was a goddamn joke. Where were the elves? The presents? The fucking snow?

Another holiday ruined.

And you know how most kids go nuts on Halloween? One year, Pop decides to invite Uncle Snippy to the road and figured it would be more fun if they dressed up and I took them trick-or-treating. Flasks and all. By the 15th house, they were shitfaced and eventually hauled to the drunk tank. After I wandered back to our rodeo tent, all mom wanted to know is if I got her some candy.

# # #

But the years flew by and eventually they died. It wasn't anything as simple as a heart attack or stroke. Nope. Even in death, they embarrassed.

Constipated for days, Uncle Snippy suffered a brain hemorrhage while trying to force out a huge turd. They found him in the outhouse by the billygoat pen.

Ma? Well, she found Jesus. And while she was being baptized during her 'Born Again' ceremony in a cruddy lake, she slipped, hit her head under the water and drowned in no time flat.

But Pops takes the cake. One night after one of his benders, he decided to instigate a rabid monkey. Even in a cage, that chimp was stronger than a group of five men. He clutched onto dad's arm, turned him around and strangled him in 78 seconds flat.

Truth be told, I more relieved than bereaved. What I find funny, though, is that while they were fuck ups, their entire lives, someone had the forethought to draft a last will and testament.

Thinking they would repay me for the life of shit they bestowed upon me, I learned that I was willed the assets of their crappy rodeo act. Yup, I was the proud owner of a deaf horse named Trixter, 14 dull knives of various sizes, a pair of dirty chaps and of course, the right to use the name "Pronto Billy and his First Dame of the Open Frontier."


In my early 20s, I stayed with the rodeo and developed my own act of sorts. I sharpened those knives and employ about four illegals who dodge these blades every night.

I'm now known as Pronto Billy, Jr. and close the show to standing ovations whenever there's a crowd.

Every now and then, though, I see Ma and Pop peeking from behind that curtain and I have to be honest, it scares the shit out of me.

Art: Courtesy of Wip Wap Web. Music: "Sixteen Tons" by Tennessee Ernie Ford. It can be downloaded HERE.


  1. Oh no, Debra... I found these pics separately and figured they must be able to tell some kind of piece both comical and sad...

    I had a wonderfully smothering childhood from an Italian mom...

  2. Great. And to think that there are shittier lives than that.

  3. Another stroll-down-memory-lane classic. Love your work, sir.

  4. A big family barrell full of - uhm, life. It doesn't get much more ridiculous than that. Great work. ^^

  5. Oh my gosh Ant, I am absolutely rolling here! This has got to be the best voice of all your work I've read thus far. Yea, it is sad, but it's more humorous.

    Truly, you should add a warning at the top - when I got to how the uncle died, I nearly covered my screen in Dr. Pepper. :)

  6. I put on your mood music and then found myself dancing around in my chair and singing – I love that song! So I had to turn it off to read your story and it was sad and weird and, like Deanna says, FUNNY. I love how you find photos and let them inspire you.

  7. Excellent story Ant (I have a feeling we're not in New Jersey any more). Great voice and great characters!

  8. Great "slice-of-life" story again, Anthony.

    Loved this..."Constipated for days, Uncle Snippy suffered a brain hemorrhage while trying to force out a huge turd." Made me laugh out very loud!!

    Have a great weekend, mate.

  9. man, you had me laughing on that one....especially the way the uncle bought it. great flash fic!

  10. Those photos are creepy, but your story still had me laughing. This felt a little like self-parody, with him being so severe against Christmas and Halloween memories. Was that intentional, Anthony, or am I misreading?

  11. Not an overly happy life, but incredibly funny nonetheless. Great story!

  12. Damn son, that's a heritage to be proud of! (and those chaps'll fetch a pretty penny on Ebay ;)

  13. Well done! I come from a long line of pseudo - circus folk and politicians.

  14. I think this story is one of your most inventive to date. It's clever and perfectly woven around those photos. Uncle Snippy sounds like a blast.

    Yet again you have presented us with 1000 words of intriguing subject matter that could be expanded into a full novel. Fantastic work, Ant!

  15. I always wondered if you found the pics first or if you searched them out to fit the story. They always go perfectly together.

  16. I adore the phrase, "more relieved than bereaved." And in this case I do not blame him. What a family. I love what you got from the photos... creepy, creepy photos! Ugh!

    I have to laugh about the person who asked if this was you life. :)

  17. Well told version of somebody's life, I'm sure of it. Italian moms do rock - I loved my ex-boyfriend's full-blooded Italian mother almost more than him. : )

  18. OMG, I love the voice here. Priceless.

  19. Terrific story, Anthony! I was chuckling bat every turn


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