I needed a fix and I needed it bad.
It had been two days and I was ready to drill a hole in somebody's head. Been shooting' speed the past six months and the highs are getting' lower each time. A drag. A real long drag. Once upon a time this red hot woodpecker could get anything he wanted by blowin' his horn and ruffling his red-headed cowl was as as easy as 1,2,3. The lil' chicks dug me, in spite of my beak and God-awful laugh. At one time, baby, I was king cock here in Universal city and my Bebop was the boppiest bop you could bop to. I was it, baby.
Until speed crashed this roadster.
Now it's hard for a woodpecker to live in the city. I blow my sax almost every night in Lantz Ritz club, owned by a real gone cat named Desota. A real horror show beast with a penchant for small animal dissection, especially birds with a red and blue suit of feathers.
Before I went on to do a set, I saw that Walrus in the audience, sitting at a table too small for him. He'd been coming to the club every night this week. Always in the same gray suit and polka-dot tie. Always sitting there, holding a hat box close to him, sippin' on a beer or two. I leaned over to my drummer, asked him who the Walrus was. My drummer took a long drag from his cig, “That guy? That's Wally. He knows Desota.”
Sure enough, after Suzie, the one armed stripper was through with her show, Desota came and talked to him. I saw Desota put a hand on the hat box. The Walrus moved the hat box closer to him, shook his head.
I knew what was in the hat box. I've run a few numbers for Desota. It has bread in it. A payoff for protection, more than likely. Suddenly a devil of an idea hit brain central. I bet I could pay off what I owe Desota, get a fresh hit, make the highs high again.
Get out of Universal city.
So I played my set. Blew my horn, wailed, screeched, stammered, sputtered, sang like a twelve year old boy with no nuts-----the audience just stared back at me. I turned to my bass player, shrugged. Somebody screamed at me, “Stop steppin' on Coltrane's shoes, ya bum!”
We went into our vibe, playin' the pop charts crap....audience mellowed out..seemed to dig it.
I was glad the shit was over. I needed a hit bad, I felt like I hadn't slept in a hundred years, and my drummer started callin' me Bela—or Lugosi---cause the dark circles under my eyes.
I waited at the bar, drinking tonic water cause that Panda bear bar tending bastard wouldn't cut me some slack on my tab. At about twelve thirty, the Walrus left his table, waddled to the bathroom, that hat box under short stubby flaps. I waited five minutes, followed as inconspicuous as possible. I passed by Desota's table. He was busy with Suzie using her good hand on him under the table.
When I got to bathroom, I could see under the stall that he was sittin' on the toilet. He was talkin' to himself in Italian. Weird. He was doing his voice and a woman's voice, but I couldn't understand what he was sayin'. Now I knew from first hand experience that Desota never put locks on the stalls. He sure was a cheap bastard.
I watched him finish his business, pulled up his pants. I burst into the stall. His back was to me. The Walrus screamed. I pecked his head several times, keepin' him from turning round to see me. Then I pushed his huge head into the toilet---my god what a big head that joker had. I smashed his head twice on the seat. First time, I broke one of his tusks. The second time, I busted his left eye. The third time, his head dunked into the smelly, black water. I held him in it for awhile, even flushing a couple times. I could hear him gurgling, cursing in Italian, when I let him up momentarily.
I flushed one more time, and he didn't get move. He didn't even make a mousey sound.
But he had a death grip on that hat box.
So I pecked at his flipper a few times, then it was free.
I know, I know. It's bad luck to leave a dead man face down in a toilet. But what are you gonna do. I made way for the exit of the club as fast as I could, protecting the hat box under a wing. I flew down the dark alley until I saw my building. I landed in the park. Got myself together. I walked the rest of the way, steppin' over Tricks and their Johns, winos having a knife fight. I snuck through the lobby, hopin' the old lady wouldn't hound me for bread.
Finally, three floors up. I safe in my nest. I sat at the kitchen table, took a swig of bourbon. I stared at the hat box. I toasted it. “Here's to you, baby. You're gonna get me back on track and outta this stinkin' city.”
I unraveled the pink ribbon that bound the top to the box. Tossed it aside and began to laugh, but shut myself up. I lift the top and threw it aside. I reached in, felt something completely mad diff from flat green paper. It was cold, fleshy. Then I felt something like string----no.
It felt like hair.
I saw head inside the hat box. A woman with large blue eyes, mouth open wide open and tangled blonde hair. She was staring up at me. Asking me why. Or was she yelling at me. no. She was screaming for help.
I sat back in my chair, took another swig of bourbon. I began to laugh uncontrollably. A loud maniacal laugh. So loud the neighbors were poundin' on my walls and screamin' at me.
It's all I could do, was laugh. It's just too funny.