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.