billy bob pin

Laughing Cockroach
by Catfish McDaris

Sunlight sliced the clouds like a tomahawk, people were frying eggs and bacon on the hoods of their cars. Quick was hustling shoes, but lady luck was unhappy. He ducked into a dive bar to wet his whistle. It was cool and smoky, in the shadows there appeared to be some unusual clientele. He ordered a draft and opened his case. A few of the patrons moseyed over. Quick took out a matchbox and out came a huge cockroach. The bartender grabbed a flyswatter, but Quick held him at bay. The cockroach started singing “Hotel California” and dancing. Then he performed a few flips and dove into a shot of rye whiskey. Quick asked if anybody would like to buy a pair of shoes. Nobody said anything, so he put the bug back in the matchbox, packed his case and split. He got a few feet out the door and a man caught up with him. He said he’d like to buy the cockroach for a thousand dollars. Quick agreed, he counted the money and gave him a matchbox with a roach. They got in their El Camino and Quick let the magic cockroach out, they both laughed.

IMAGE: Billy Bob Cowboy Cockroach brass pin, available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Catfish McDaris has been active in the small press world for 25 years. He shot howitzers three years in the army and used to fish and hunt as a boy in New Mexico. Sometimes he goes down to Lake Michigan and feeds seagulls and dreams of mountain horses. He was working in a wig shop in a high crime area of Milwaukee.