A Short Story about Hockey and Cock-Fighting

Between the 2nd and 3rd period of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup, I left my apartment in District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to get some breakfast. It was about 9:00am.

I walked down the road and picked up some com suon: grilled pork, broken rice, vegetable soup, with some fish sauce and chillies on the side. And a banana.

I began walking back up the narrow alleys that led back to my apartment. And there in front of me, blocking my way back, was a cockfight.

There are lots of cockfights in my neighborhood. Dudes are always grooming their roosters, prepping them, carrying them around like children, getting them ready for the next fight. Sometimes you’ll catch a fight as you’re walking around: two birds frantically jumping around at each other, and a bunch of dudes sitting around watching silently, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. And always, at the end, the exchange of money.

I wasn’t about to walk through some damn cockfight. There was money on the line….I didn’t want to have my head smashed with a coffee mug for disturbing an important event. So I watched. It only lasted about a minute or so.

The men picked up their respective roosters. Someone brought some rubber things over to put on their feet. The men were exchanging money with each other: I saw a few 500,000 Dong notes floating around.

I walked through the fighting area to get past them. And suddenly one of the men with a rooster in his hands grabbed my arm forcefully. I looked at him. Grasping my arm forcefully, smiling an evil looking smile, he began to rub his cock’s tail feathers against my elbow. He was rubbing his rooster’s ass against my elbow. For good luck I assume.

It only lasted a few seconds. I was a little stunned. He let me go. All the men with money in their hands were watching me. Was I swaying bets? Had my elbow changed the odds?

I was going to stay and see, but the owner of the other rooster was glaring at me. His eyes were pure evil. And so I left. I didn’t want to be there at the end either way.

I got back to my apartment and started watching the 3rd period of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup on my laptop. The Bruins got close, but not close enough. They lost. Now they go back to Boston for Game 6.

So much for good luck. I hope that rooster got his f**king ass kicked.