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THE FOXX REPORT In Which Wiley T. Foxx Reveals His Political Origins I had never cared a rat’s ass about politics until that day I met the Chief. I had taken Shoogy Red* Shoogy Red’s my prized Allen Roundhead to a match over near Elm Mott. I can’t say exactly where, but you go across some railroad tracks west of town, and it’s down in these cedar breaks over in there somewhere. Anyway, it was a Sunday morning and people had come from all over. Shoogy Red was matched up against one of Emmett Wayne Easley’s birds, Easley’s Pharoah, I think he called it. Emmett Wayne’s out of Waco, and he and I go way back. We hardly got ’em in the pit that morning before Shoogy put the gaff to that Pharoah’s scrawny neck. Before you could say Jack Spratt there was Emmett Wayne with that bird’s head in his mouth, trying to breathe some life back into him. He got the blood out of the throat, but it was no use. That bird died in Emmett Wayne’s mouth. Anyway I noticed this tall guy with slicked-back hair and a white shirt and tie bending down over Emmett Wayne and the Pharoah like he was Emmett Wayne’s dad, or maybe the chicken’s. I knew why he was so all fired concerned; I had seen the roll of bills he had laid down on that no-count bird. I looked down at these brown and white wingtips he was wearing, and there was blood splattered on the white part, but he didn’t seem to mind, didn’t try to scrape it off on his pant legs or anything. We got to talking afterwards, and he turned out to be a real nice fellow. He was in state politics, he said, and some of his constituents had expressed concern *Shoogy, as Foxx pronounces it, rhymes with boogie-woogie. It’s a diminutive of Sugar. Ed. Note: Wiley T. Foxx, 24, is an obscure legislative assistant for an equally , obscure legislator who prefers that his name not appear in the Observer. When Foxx came by our office to take out a subscription for his boss, we were impressed with his earthy observations, his political innocence, his wide-eyed eagerness to master the arcane workings. of that august body known as the Texas Legislature. He offered to report regularly on his experiences during the session as he put it, “to be our Foxx in the henhouse, so to speak” and we accepted. This is his first report. about cockfighting so he thought he would see for himself what the fuss was all about. He said he didn’t know he would have to come all the way to Elm Mott. I didn’t say anything about the wad of bills he had lost, although I could have told him that Emmett Wayne’s birds have about half Dominicker in ’em, and they never do have much gumption. But I didn’t. He got to where he’d come by the house ever once in a while, and we’d talk birds. He’d ask me about breeding Roundheads with Connecticut Strawberries or Georgia-Shawls with Brown Reds or he’d want to know how much money I’d made off Shoogy Red. He knew a right smart. And then one day, just out of the clear blue, he asked me if I wanted to work for him in Austin. I told him I already had a state job, that I was driving a litter truck for the highway department. He laughed that big laugh of his and told me I could take that litter truck and shove it. And that’s how come I came to be in Austin. The Chief found me this nice little trailer park over in South Austin; he said the trailer I live in used to belong to a state representative from over in East Texas who decided not to come back this session. I like it. It’s reasonable, and I’ve got Shoogy Red with me in his little Aframe pen out by the utility pole. I like my work too. What the chief has me doing this was his big plan all along is drafting a bill to legalize cockfighting. And we’re going to cut the rug out from under all the bleeding-heart liberals by getting rid of the blood and guts. And how will you do that, Wiley? you ask. Well, I’ll tell you. What we’re looking into at the moment is first of all miniature muzzles so the birds can’t peck each other to death and also what we call chicken booties so they can’t claw each other to bits. We’ll get rid of the gaffs too, of course. The muzzles are no sweat, but the booties are a real challenge. They’ll be weighted, with buck shot or bb’s or something, so that when the birds fly into each other, they’ll feel the punch. Since we’re getting rid of the blood, that’s where the sport comes in. The problem is, these booties have to be heavy enough so they’ll have a little kick to them, but not so heavy that the birds can’t flap up in the air. Anybody who’s seen Shoogy Red fight knows he can flap higher’n a man’s head, slashing on the way up and cutting on the way down. Like I say, it’s a challenge, so the other day I went to see this fellow who works for Jim Hightower over in Agriculture. He said he knew a poultry expert down at A&M who could probably help me. And sure enough, the fellow down there said the booties we were considering had enough heft so that a direct blow to the THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13