The Cock-fighter

Honduras. Just outside Tegucigalpa. 1983

The moon shone high overhead as I walked down the cobblestone streets. My fighting rooster Hegerty perched on my shoulder as we walked into a bar.

"You can't bring hens in here!" The bartender shouted as I walked up.

"You insulting my bird? You best not do that." I sat down at the bar and called for a banana-flavored pop.

"Get out of here, you fool. She looks like she's about to lay an egg. This establishment would be happy to schedule you a fight if you bring in a real rooster. Otherwise, we don't allow animals. He sent a can of pop down the bar. I reached out and caught it.

"I don't have to take this kind of crap. I'm out of here." I slapped a centavo on the table and left.

I let Hegerty walk by my side and began to look for another place to get a fight going. I'd raised her from egg to be a great fighting rooster. I'd been a bit disappointed when she'd turned out to be a female rooster, but that just meant a free breakfast every once in awhile.

Suddenly a voice whispered from behind an alley. "You looking for a fight, Hombre?"

"Who wants to know?" I called back. A thin man with a massive rooster walking by his side stepped from the alley into the moonlight. A long scar divided his face and shone in deeper silver.

"Go get your rooster, and we'll brawl."

"I've got her right here. We'll fight now," I said, a note of anger rising in my voice.

"Hombre, that's no rooster."

"We'll fight now," I repeated for good measure.

"Grunz will kill that poor little thing. What kind of scam are you running?"

"My Rooster will tear you to shreds! Little, tiny ones!"

"Bugok!" Hegerty added menacingly. "Bok bugok!" Grunz let out a bonecurdling scream in reply. Hegerty laid an egg in fear.

"What did I tell you about that?!" I screamed. "No eggs before a fight! Now, Heg. Attack!"

Hegerty launched forward and then leapt aside, just missing an upward slash from Grunz's foot. She jumped against a wall and lunged on him, tearing at his back with her talons. Flapping her wings, she hovered above a snap from his beak and then dived. Driving her beak into his head.

She let out a long, rounding kick and then landed a few feet away. Both roosters glared at each other. Both trainers glared at each other. The egg wanted to glare, but didn't have eyes yet.

With a cry and a cluck, the two roosters charged again.

"That freaking hen is insane!" The other man cried out. Flapping their wings at each other like sissies, they battled again, and again withdrew, and circled each other.

With one deft movement, Grunz lunged forward and tore Hegerty's head off.