I touched on “Chickenman” creator Dick Orkin in my last post but I want to say a bit more about the character, and him. As I tell in my memoir Drinking the Waters at the Shores of Hell, Chickenman came on Kodiak’s sole radio station, AFRN – exactly at 0845, ten minutes after I should already be walking to school.
Academically, socially – my new Jr. High career’s already doomed. Once I’m hooked on Chickenman, I can’t leave until I hear that day’s episode. After those opening kettledrums, its guaranteed I’ll be late for school. Oh well! 100% worth it. See for yourself (Act Two) in this episode of This American Life.
Fast forward to my LA life, then speed through assorted traumas to my frame. Stop. I’ve just been sprung -again- from hospital and nursing home, after the repeated run at major surgery got me fired from my job. Now, I’ve got After-Market parts. Man, put a fork in this, because I am Done.
Candidly, I’m beyond hopped-up from all the Oxy pounded into me over the past two months. I’m also bloated and lumpy, and my carved-up backside looks funny in the dress I’m wearing. Somehow, two of my brain cells remember I’m close to the studio owned by Chickenman creator, Dick Orkin. !! Let’s just walk down there and pay a visit, thinks I. What a fine idea!
The studio comes into view. I’m here! I lean in its open doorway, sticking my head way inside. “Is Chickenman here?” I ask, trying to be funny.
“Who wants to know?” says a man sitting to my left. He’s got good posture, a singular profile and that voice. I’d never seen him before but OMG, its my hero!
I barely get a couple of squee! loose before I’m too loud and people inside are trying to have a recording session. Dick and another man walk me outside. I babble that he was the cause of my juvie delinquency and it was all worth it, as I’d gone on to having my own radio show. I don’t know how much of what I was saying came out as English, but they very graciously took a couple photos of me with Dick. Sadly, these would be terrible on a normal day, as I’m not photogenic. People wrinkle their noses as they swivel from me to photo; puzzled. “It doesn’t really look like you…?” I’m aware, OK? These should be prized photos, but with all my rearrangments they’re doubly bad.
I’m pointed back to the sidewalk, so I wave before I toddle on my giddy way. Dick and his son surely looked at each other, shook their heads, and vow to keep that door locked. Still – goals, humans. I never dreamed the show I listened to as a kid in Alaska would drive me to meet its creator. I gots goals.