He explained that he did not just amplify the fairy tales he had been told as a child with additional detail or unnecessary drama. He just took snippets from their experiences together and added vivid details and fantastical drama. Most of the stories would also include characters from the popular TV shows that his children watched on a daily basis. Their day at the park would turn into a Wonderpets style adventure. A long walk through the neighborhood would be transformed into a Dora the Explorer expedition. His words to the other men in his golfing foursome were not boastful, they were genuine and sincerely fatherly.
I went home after our golf outing was complete, and I spent the remainder of the day doing some yard work, going on a short bike ride, and finished the evening watching TV with my wife. We watched some odd TV shows that night too. There was a documentary called Dogs Decoded that looked at the culture of dog breeders and the historic difference between wild canines like Silver Foxes (the dogs, not hot old ladies) and domesticated dogs. We also watched LA Ink; which is a show that is supposed to be about an LA tattoo shop, but is more about the eccentric owner and her hairless cat named “Ludwig.” There was another show about the author of Alice in Wonderland and his sordid lifestyle. Oddly enough Lewis Carroll was his pseudonym, he was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson... so close to being a hairless cat himself. We wrapped up our evening of TV watching with a show that delves into modern cryptozoological matters. This show was discussing the infamous El Chupacabra, or the mangy dog-like animal that is known to feast on the blood of cooped-up chickens and wander the fields of southern Texas and northern Mexico. Exactly what one should not watch before going to bed at night.
My wife was definitely having a hard time falling asleep, because she was vividly picturing the details of the El Chupacabra show we had just watched. As I laid in bed with her that night, I decided to give the fatherly improvisational story-telling style a try myself. I took our experiences from that day, mixed in some details from the TV shows we had watched on Netflix that night, and we embarked on a journey of nonsensical proportions. As best I can remember, the story went a little like this:
The letters L and A were displayed proudly in black and gray ink on the wrist of a girl named Katherine. People called her “Kat” for short. She was a confused young girl who tattooed permanence in her skin rather than finding a worthy venture to give her life meaning. She lied in bed trying to get to sleep, waiting for dreams to transport her into a fantasy land where she was understood and appreciated. That occurred in her daydreams, but she was interrupted by reality on a regular basis (most unfortunate). Sleep finally enveloped her consciousness and before the realization of where she was kicked in, a dark figure appeared in the corner. Her palms instantaneously turned clammy and began to match the dank air that she tirelessly attempted to pull through her nostrils into her gasping lungs. Her mind was quickly put at ease when the dark figure came into focus. It was a black rabbit whose fur color is patterned not unlike a tattooed human. Under normal circumstances, this would be an unwelcomed sight, but Kat found him oddly appealing and strangely calming. The Black Rabbit stared at her with a seemingly earnest glare, and hopped purposefully toward a beam of light that led out of the cave.
Kat followed him and tried to keep up. Without a care for her safety or any idea of what was in store for her through the lighted opening, she pushed forward. She reached the opening and her eyes took a few moments to adjust to the change in brightness. When she did begin to decode the information her eyes were sending to her brain, a fantastically whimsical tablescape was beset in front of her. The Black Rabbit was nowhere in sight, but Kat quickly forgot his existence and began to approach what seemed to be a forgotten tea party. There were Chai Tea bags on the table that were waiting to be dipped and rung out into cups filled with steaming water. There was also a plate of Lemon Scones that had obviously been sitting in the sun for at least a few minutes, because the icing was turning to sweet melted magma and the glass cover had a fine layer of condensation collecting on the inner dome. Kat went in to investigate. As she reached for the scones in an attempt to procure one to satisfy her hunger, a growling sound came from beneath the table. She jumped back at first, then her curiosity led her to lift the blue and red flowered tablecloth to see what was hiding underneath. Had she written down a top ten list of people or animals she thought she would see upon lifting that cloth before doing so, there was no way any one of the three things she actually saw would be on there (unless she were on Peyote).
Again, her brain took a minute to register the information here eyes were attempting to send it. After resetting her reality-to-dream decoder, she was able to recognize a domesticated Silver Fox, a Hairless Egyptian Cat, and the Black Rabbit. She explained to the motley crew of odd looking yet seemingly harmless animals that she was not there to harm them, nor had she any plans to interrupt their tea party. The Black Rabbit spoke up.
He said, “Nah dogg, we ain't a-scared of you. We is hiding from someone else... something else.”
Kat replied, “What are you hiding from then? The tea looks like it is getting cold and the scones are quickly heading for a spoiled state as well.”
Black Rabbit told her to keep her voice down and her tone soft, and warned her of the real danger. He said, “We are not chickens ourselves, but 'El Chupacabra' will treat us like them. He will grab us by the necks and drink our blood to quench his never ending hunger for what he calls 'Sangre del Diablo'.”
Kat has lived in LA long enough to know what that means in Spanish, and is timid enough to realize that El Chupacabra is not someone, or something she wants to mess with. She peered back out of the tablecloth to scan the landscape for any oncoming peril, and once she saw nothing, she looked to the Black Rabbit under the table for further instruction. In that short time span, the Black Rabbit had disappeared and she was left only with a shivering Hairless Cat and the dead eyes and wagging tail of the Silver Fox to give her a clue as to her next maneuver. They turned out to be mute and useless, and she quickly grew tired of the futility of communicating with them. Neither of them posed any danger, nor did they provide any meaningful direction for which she could follow.
Kat decided that she was in no immediate danger from the claws or teeth of El Chupacabra, but her hunger and thirst for lemon scones and Chai tea needed to be addressed. As she poured a cup of tea and sampled a taste of scone, she heard a noise behind her that sounded of rustling leaves and snapping twigs. She twisted her body and turned her head, but was greeted with only the sights and sounds of wind rustling through the outer banks of the forest. She slowly turned back to her snack and drink to find herself eye to eye with El Chupacabra.
He smiled at her from mangy ear to mangy ear. His breath smelled of rotten garbage and he whispered softly in her face, “Sangre del Diablo.”
Kat was surprisingly unafraid of the splotchy haired beast that stood on four legs so dangerously near her position. She uttered calmly, “What is this Song-grey dell Dee-ah-blow you speak of?”
El Chupacabra growled pleasantly, “I have made spinach enchiladas at my house, and I need some hot sauce to spice up my recipe. I have heard that the Black Rabbit might have some, and I would be oh so appreciative if he would let me borrow it tonight. I would be sure to return it tomorrow if he would be so kind.”
Kat was a huge fan of enchiladas, and tried to drop the hint that she would like to join him for supper that night. She said, “I'm sure the Black Rabbit has the sauce you need, I'll talk to him for you, but only under one condition. Can I come over and partake in these enchiladas with you?”
El Chupacabra was ecstatic that someone else loved spinach enchiladas as much as he did, and he immediately said, “Sure you can come over tonight. I'll let La Chupacabra know to set the table for three tonight. Actually, do you think your friends Silver Fox and Hairless Cat would like to join us for a Mexican feast this evening? We rarely have parties at the Chupacabra house, and I think it is about time we start doing something about it. Kat, did you know that the other animals in this area think I am a blood-sucking beast of the night? What a trip! You drink from the neck of one coop of chickens, and then the stories just spread like wildfire. It's a small town, you know how people talk.”
Kat lifted the tablecloth to reveal Silver Fox and Hairless Cat, introduced them to El Chupacabra, and they all began shaking paws. Shortly thereafter Black Rabbit came scampering out of the forest to reveal he was there the whole time observing the interaction. They all apologized to one another for fearing the worst and spreading awful rumors. The time was set for the dinner party that evening, and each of them went their ways to their separate domiciles to prepare to meet in a few hours.
The spinach enchiladas were “delicioso” according to everyone, and the mood at the party was relaxed. La Chupacabra was quite the hostess, and nobody's wine glass was ever empty. El Chupacabra told stories and shared anecdotes from his travels throughout northern Mexico and southern Texas. Everyone was having a great time and special bonds were being formed as the night went on. The time came for after dinner treats, and many allusions to what this was to entail were made throughout the evening, so the anticipation was brimming amongst the guests. El Chupacabra had promised an end to the evening that they wouldn't soon forget.
He said, “Close jour ice, and pre-pare for de bess de-ssert ju half eva had in ju life.”
Smiles were pasted on the faces of Kat, Silver Fox, Black Rabbit and Hairless Cat as they waited in anticipation for “de bess de-sert dey ha eva half in dere life.” As their smiles and deep breaths of expectation melted into mouths agape and screams of fright, El Chupacabra moved expertly across the table like an practiced swordsmen. His teeth and claws scraping across each of their throats to flay their necks open one by one. Their blood dripping onto the table and into the open mouths of El and La Chupacabra. Once they had their fill of fresh life force to drink, they collected the remaining drippings for future consumption.
El Chupacabra turned to his wife and said simply, “Ju see mi esposa, jur fodder was wrong about me. Ju ask for 'El Sangre' I bring ju 'El Sangre'. Now less wash some Dora, I love dat show.”