While roaming the countryside recently in the ol’ pickup truck, fiddling with the radio knob, I came to a jarring realization…literally. You see I hit something on that lost highway. When I stumbled out
to see what manner of creature I hit, I had another jarring realization…figuratively. What I managed to impale on the ol’ Ford Ranger was nothing less than the much talked about but elusive Chupacabra who has received more notoriety than Charlie Sheen as of late. How was I sure it was a Chupacabra? Well for one thing, there had been numerous sightings in my neck of the woods. Secondly, this creature fit the description of a Chupacabra – a leathery
scaly body with spines running down the back, long tail, claws, and a forked tongue hanging out of its lifeless head. There was also a slight sulphuric odor emanating from the body. This wasn’t some coyote with mange or a kangaroo that needed extensive dental work. No sir. This was the real deal. This was the creature that sucked the lifeblood out of cows, goats, and hillbillies from Possum Flats, Arkansas (I have relations there). The first sightings of
Chupacabras were reported in Puerto Rico back in 1995. Some suspected that it was the rum talking. I mean Puerto Rican rum will make you dream dreams and see visions. Enough of it and you’ll start writing like the late gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. It was Thompson who once famously said “when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”. No truer thing has ever been said. But anyway, I was a bit wobbly after the impact, but
managed to gather up Chupa and drag him onto the tailgate and into the back of the truck. If this keeps up, the county might have to designate this stretch of road a Chupacabra crossing.
While driving back to civilization, I began to ponder my next step. I mean I could call the local TV station and try to cash in on my new found fame. I could facebook my friends…I could take Chupa to the
taxidermist and display my prized trophy in my man cave…I could…Well, no. I would do something unthinkable. I would cook the sonofabitch. It was still early morning…I could slow grill it, invite some friends over and get the party started. Of course, that was easier said than done. Trying to find a cooker large enough to handle a Chupacabra carcass would prove difficult. When inquiring, I substituted “large hog” for
Chupacabra. I didn’t want my secret out just yet. I was finally able to procure a converted oil drum pit from my friends at One Stop BBQ and Used Cars. I got some tips for barbecuing “hog” and also received a coupon worth $100 off my next used car purchase. The battered Ranger was feeling nervous.
Next was the hard part. I called Earl and Donnie Ray and let them know
we would be enjoying an exotic feast. But first, I needed help gutting, scrubbing, removing scales and spines. Who’s got a chain saw? This would expedite matters. They still had no idea what lay in store. While waiting for them to arrive, I prepared the fire. Whether it’s chicken or chupa, it all begins with charcoal and mesquite. And I’ve got lots and lots of mesquite. I think the guy who decided to chop up mesquite, sack it
up, and sell it, is the same guy who decided to bottle water and sell it to the masses. A fuckin’ genius is what he is. Get that fire up to 250 degrees, and we’re on our way to what my granddaddy in North Carolina used to call a pig pickin’…chupacabra pickin’.
When the boys arrived, they didn’t know what to think. Donnie Ray surmised that I had abducted a
reptilian from the local zoo. Earl, on the other hand, chastised me for shopping on Craigslist. But after a few Tecates, I convinced them that what we had was a certified Chupacabra. We soon got down to business, cleaned it, dressed it, put it in the cooker. Earl saved the hide. He didn’t want to be denied the opportunity to be the first in his gated community/trailer park to wear custom made Chupacabra boots. Then we waited and waited and
waited. My thinking was that it would take ten hours to cook the bastard. In the meantime, conversation and imaginations ran high. Donnie Ray is every guy who you’ve ever seen on Cops who’s wearing a wife beater shirt. He’s the guy who asks Officer Smith if he can finish off his joint before they put the cuffs on him. Yea, that’s Donnie Ray. That’s how he rolls. Talk turned to possibilities and opportunities never
contemplated before. I mean isn’t The North American Field Guide to Chupacabras a book begging to be written? How long will it be before some Texas high school football team selects the Chupacabra as its official mascot? Earl could envision the George W. Bush Consolidated High School Fightin’ Chupacabras. After a few more Tecates, I could envision the same thing. What almost got lost in the conversation was our stated goal to eat the creature at
hand. I checked the internal temperature of Chupa - 175 degrees. Ring the dinner bell! Don’t let anybody tell you Chupacabra tastes like chicken. No more than West Texas rattlesnake tastes like chicken. Ok, it does a little. I would describe the taste as “gamey”; a term folks like to throw around when they’ve eaten deer, bison or some feral varmint they’re not acquainted with. Throw in some potato salad, cornbread
and sliced jalapeno, and you’ve got yourself a meal. And yes…more Tecate. Call it a feast Ted Nugent would be proud of. Now after a couple of beers, Earl can get a little nasty. After several beers, well he can get downright ornery and mean. One thing about Earl is that he wears a skull and crossbones eye patch due to a “hunting” accident. He once went “hunting” with an old flame. His wife found out about it, pulled
out her derringer and shot the old boy in the eye. He scares kids and dogs alike. Well by this time, Chupacabra talk had disintegrated into fightin’ words. “My chupacabra can kick your Chupacabra’s ass”, Earl shouted. “Well that’s easy for you to say. Mine is laid out on the grill and you’re eating him”, I replied. “So bring your pirate ass on, Mofo…”
The next day I woke up at the crack of noon to the strains of Willie Nelson singing Bloody Mary Morning emanating from one of the few radio station snot owned by a certain media conglomerate. I was wobbly, I was woozy, I was waylaid, weighed in the balance and found wanting, ready to board that short bus to West Virginia. The smell of burnt meat filled my nostrils as I made my way through the endless
stream of Tecate cans to the backyard. I flipped open the grill and found a burnt piece of fagot meat. Then I remembered…no it was all just a bad dream. Just like the eighth season of Dallas was a bad dream. There are no monsters in the woods children. No, there are far worse things. There are serial killers, global economic collapse, earthquakes, tsunamis, wars and rumors of wars, and Glenn Beck. There are Earls and Donnie Rays of the
world. At least in my world. There was a Hunter S. Thompson who coincidentally lived for a time in Puerto Rico. It’s reported he drank a lot of rum. And there was once a One Stop BBQ and Used Cars. They make some damn good ribs. And Chupacabras? Well maybe they run wild just like imaginations.