I took on the challenge, along with three Twitter friends and fellow writers, to create a bizarre tale with tagline Bust Down The Door And Eat All The Chickens, inspired by the magazine of the same name. This is the result. Read more fabulous stories by my bizarre chicken partners-in-crime here:
To Dance With Scorpions For The Love Of Johnny Depp
As the moon rose, spreading it's light through the canyon, Louella knocked her boots upside down against the door jamb. Slipping her feet in without tying them, she lit a red candle and went out to feed the chickens. Grabbing a handful of feed, she clucked softly and slowly spun clockwise. The birds gathered around her, echoing her call and pecking at the food she scattered with each turn. Always clockwise - the rituals had to be performed faithful - always clucking with the same tones, these were the only ways to keep the scorpions at bay. The scorpions were everywhere - she'd even found one in her bed - that's why she bought the chickens that ate them greedily, as a five year old gobbles jelly beans. She'd started with three but now she had thirteen - the numbers had to be as precise as the feeding ritual - only multiples of three would work. She made a nice bit of money on the extra eggs she couldn't eat. When the chickens had become too old to lay, she had Seton kill them for her, then cooked them for the cats. Being a veggie, she wouldn't eat them herself. Before cooking came another important ritual, though - draining their blood.
She had found the perfect vials in a hippie store in Tucson. You know, the kind that sells Indian clothing, incense, tapestries with images of the Lizard King and Marley silk screened on bright, batik backgrounds. The vials were intended for mixing essential oils as perfumes and came in various appealing shades. One of these shades just happened to be an intense yellow, the colour associated with the manipura or power chakra. Louella was convinced it increased the potency of the chicken blood, it's innate power to repel scorpions. One whiff of the blood of their most aggressive predator and the demon spawn would flee. Seton had told her they were prehistoric creatures, she assumed you didn't escape extinction by being stupid. Draining the blood of each chicken that passed into the bottles, she added 33 drops each of sandalwood, lemon grass and lavender before freezing them. Afterwards she drew a pentagram for protection with a red sharpie, placed them in the wooden freezer racks she'd customized from dowels and chicken wire, safely stored until she made her blood and beeswax candles.
Louella had candles scattered in every room of her quirky little miner's shack. There were candelabras hanging from the ceilings, sconces on the walls and wrought iron, glass or brass candlesticks on every possible surface. Her neighbors thanked the goddess daily that she was intelligent enough to know that lighting them all would be suicide in the desert. She generally lit only three close by her and the six votive on the alter. His alter. The alter of Depp, Johnny Depp. She personally thought it sounded just as good as Bond and looked much better. Every thing Depp was better, there was nothing he touched that wasn't perfect, nothing he said that wasn't nectar for her ears. Today Luna had called her with the most glorious tidbit of news. He was in town scouting sites for his next film, had bought a hat in the Baron's shop on Main street. His blessed feet had touched the streets of her little town, the same streets where the dance would be held tonight under the full moon. She would dance with a passion verging on religious frenzy, a passion reserved all these years only for him - her demigod on earth. That is, if the spirits allowed her to get there.
Walking through The Gulch was an adventure on the best of nights, on a blue moon it was maddening. Some people thought Louella was crazy, (Crazy Louella they called her, the poor souls weren't known for their originality.) she knew she was more observant than most, that was all. She watched in wonder, never really getting used to the sight of the long dead women sitting on stoops, hanging out of windows and doorways. They cracked ribald jokes, or smiled and sighed coquettishly at the spectral men. Miners most, who ricocheted down the street - drunken through eternity as they were in life. She waved to Christibelle, the french whore who by necessity wore the black velvet ribbon tightly around her neck. Christibelle was renowned for her kindness, quite extraordinary considering her head had been half cleaved by a disgruntled customer. Louella always thought, "if a half beheading didn't make you a class A bitch, nothing could." Something to think about on those so called bad days... Two more blocks and she'd make it. Lengthening her stride without speeding up, so as not to draw attention, she held her breath for the last 9 feet. Some spirits had the irritating and disturbing habit of hypnotizing Lou, sharing their violent ends with her to ease the pain. She adored horror movies and wasn't bothered, at first. People do start to talk when you're found gaping at nothing a few times too many. Tonight she did not have time for their histrionics, she had a Divine Being to dance for. Louella sprinted the last 3 feet, turned the corner and reached Cafe Luna just as the third band started their set.
Never knowing what to expect was part of the fun at these events, tonight was exceptional in that respect. The band, Ambi Brain, put the B in Bizarre. Louella managed to gracefully weave her way though the crowd just as they launched into a cover of Skynyrd's Simple Man, done Rob Zombie style - if you haven't heard it, don't judge. She'd been tipped off that he was staying in the best room of the Rodial Hotel, a room that just happened to open on to Main Street. Standing in a convenient pool of golden light, Louella began to dance. Hair shimmering like copper ore flowed down her back, arms undulating to the melody. Her grey eyes smoldered as she imagined her beloved deity, so tortuously near, peeking through the drapes to gaze at her. He would become spellbound by her worshipful display, would understand immediately it was for him alone. Louella dared glance toward the window, there was movement! She danced savagely, the bracelets clanging violently on her arms. People started backing away, whispering as they so often did. "Jealous," she thought, touching the ampoule of chicken blood she bore round her neck. The others knew their faith, their love of all that was Depp couldn't compare to the perfection of her's. As the band tore into their next number, a calypso version of Angel Of Death by Slayer, Lou heard an excited murrmer from the hotel door. A beautiful raven-tressed man, wearing a new Panama hat, stood in the doorway. He turned to a small, feline blond next to him, whispered in her ear and smiled. Louella couldn't bear it! She pushed her way through the crowd as he turned to saunter up the street. She was almost there, only one person between her and the most heavenly creature in history. He stopped to watch the hula hoopers, giving her the chance she needed to catch up. Louella could not breathe. Grasping the beautifully wrapped package in her pocket, she dared to tap his shoulder. I touched him, she swooned slightly at the thought. One miniscule second and she would give him the tiny silver flask on the rugged chain, the glass it held filled with blood that would protect him during his desert stay. He turned, her breath caught in her chest as her heart skipped, matching the beats of the song. She stared into his eyes, comprehended the smile there as he said, "Hello. Did you want an autograph?" Louella's world suddenly turned to black, every particle of joy vanishing with that sentence. "No thank you," she said icily. Fucking idiots. Who in their right mind really thinks Skeet Ulrich even slightly resembles him? Disgustedly, Louella turned and walked into the hotel bar. Sweet oblivion was the only remedy, she heard a bottle of red calling her name.