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Austin Pecan Street Festival Cooked Burnt Orange


The Longhorns lost this Saturday, walloped with only 12 points on the board against a team that practices much m u c h closer to the ocean.

Their loss didn’t stop me from wearing burnt orange on the street. I wore it with a certain amount of uncertainty, since I have no pride, and I don’t particularly care for team sports.

Walking east and west along 6th in my burnt orange, Austinites were amped up on the bi-annual Pecan Street Festival.

Alligator legs with more fried batter than actual meat were being consumed heartily on a stick.


Corn on the cob with some cajun kick was right next door.

The petting zoo had a queer array of docile animals eating dry flakes out of babies’ palms.

1 deer received a lot of attention.

In Japan, deer are sacred. Here, they’re killed with javelin and eaten as sausage.

A little black kid with black horns trotted up to this deer and started stabbing the deer in the neck with its horns.

The deer held its ground only until the little black kid targeted its eye.

Then the deer had enough, stood up and tripped over some other little 4-legged kid.

I heard someone say,

“You won’t see that in the wild – deer tripping over baby goat!”

Perhaps frustrated with the whole petting zoo scene, the deer dropped hundreds of hard pellets of shit onto a thin layer of hay.

I heard someone say,

“It’s like a gumball machine!”

A man with an eyepatch sat outside the Forbidden Fruit sex shop. There was a warning sign on the door that said something like,


I went in defiantly. An old couple at the counter asked a gypsy clerk about cock rings. The old man held a persimmon ring against the light to get a better idea of circumference.

The man with the eyepatch came inside and bumped into my shoulder.

He said,

“Excuse me.”

I brushed off my burnt orange and got back to looking at orgasmic party favors.

Behind me, the old couple made a critical decision.

I heard the old man say,

“We’ll take this one.”

While they were paying at the register, a group of 3 girls walked in, started perusing inventory.

A second gypsy came out to the counter, patted down his oily beard, retied the batik bandana that kept his hair kempt.

I heard this gypsy tell the 3 girls,

“If you need help, I’d be pleased to service you in  a n y  way.”

The 3 girls giggled. One of them looked at my burnt orange and shook her head gloomily.

Why the fuck did I wear this shirt? Why the fuck did I voluntarily tattoo a featureless longhorn onto my chest. Who the fuck am I?

I sincerely didn’t know.

I bumped into the man with the eyepatch on the way out, just to rub some of my burnt orange on him.

Grupo Fantasma blowed horns and tapped bongos on a makeshift stage. Austinites danced on the street, under the nearly full moon. Everyone was sweaty and moving to a beat and drinking $4 cans of domestic beer.

I stood in the middle of the crowd and tried to find a reason to make my body move. The most I could muster was my hand patting my thigh. I looked up at the sky and saw a gaggle of migratory birds flying south. There were no stars anywhere.

The bouncer at Maggie Mae’s wore black Samba’s. I showed him my ID and walked upstairs to catch a breeze. The upper deck was packed with mostly the same kind of people. Some wore cowboy hats and cowboy boots and jeans so tight they looked like diseased skin.

Every fourth person had on burnt orange. I felt like I was a part of something larger than myself.

I hate feeling larger than myself.

Pulled out a little flask in my pocket and threw back some whiskey. Hit the spot. Grupo Fantasma still blowed and tapped on their stage, people still danced. I stared at the Alamo Drafthouse across the street. Its epileptic neon lights didn’t know how to stop.

A lot later, closer to 3AM, I was in someone’s car, sitting in the back seat with my window down. I could tell we were crossing Lamar Blvd Bridge. The Colorado looked inky this time of day, a million calamari writing their life stories on the riverbed.

Grupo Fantasma played through tinny speakers. Again I managed to pat my thigh.

I heard the driver say,

“You like Grupo Fantasma?”

I heard myself say,

“Not really.”

The driver turned up the music and honked his horn spasmodically. My ears felt like a child being forced to eat broccoli.

I heard the driver say,

“You need to add some spice to your blood. You’re too stiff, white boy!”

I heard myself say,

“I thought this shirt would do the trick.”

The driver turned around and looked at my featureless longhorn that will never mean anything to me. He laughed like a pig, brayed towards the end, and lifted his torso out of the seat to show me his burnt orange.

I heard the driver say,

“Want a bacon and maple syrup donut?”

I heard myself say,


We took a hard left, scraped bumper against parking lot, came to a screeching park. The little whiskey in my flask jiggled and made me need to pee. I rubbed my eyes and thought patience.

The driver combed his hair and dragged me to a menu standing slanted against the polished chrome trailer.



I scanned my context. Fleet Foxes played their dance-less music through speakers sitting on the trailer roof. Picnic benches mottled a gravel lot. Dozens of late-night vampires talked over paper plates of fried dough. 2 girls redefined skimpy.

We ordered 1 bacon and maple syrup donut for the 2 of us and sat down on a bench and waited for our name to be called. 4 Asian girls in burnt orange ordered their fare afterward and sat nearby.

Slow Club replaced Fleet Foxes. I bobbed my head and looked up at the sky with 7-12 stars and 1-2 planets.

The driver heard our name and retrieved our bacon and maple syrup donut. He used a plastic knife to cut it in half.

I heard the driver say,

“Which side do you want?”

I heard myself say,

“That one.”

The first bite made me think about broccoli. The second bite made me close my eyes and savor every molecule in the universe. The third bite made me devout. I imagined taking out my iPhone and updating my FACEBOOK status to say something like,


But I didn’t because I don’t have an iPhone.

The fourth bite made me make eyes with 1 of the Asian girls. I made sure she saw me checking out her featureless longhorn as I pointed towards mine. I flexed my chest, alternated from peck to peck, made the horns poke hers.

I think she was into my mating dance until she got her cream cheese icing with fresh cut strawberries donut.

September 28, 2010 10:31 am

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