“Who’s that? Chickenman?” asked Misha, the secretary.

Indeed, I had meant to draw something like The Savage DragonTM, whom I’d doodled before in an effort to ape Erik Larson’s style, but I must have been nervous. He really looked like some kind of chicken fetishist on steroids.

“The Chicktacular Chickenman,” I replied, sheepishly.

“What are you going to do? Scare the parrot away with a drawing of a larger bird?”

I didn’t really have time to explain. I took the finished drawing and ran outside, hoping to find the pirate still in the area. Sure enough, he stood stunned in the parking lot.

“Yar, matey, where be the docks?”

“I’ll see if I can locate them from on high, ya scurvy dog. SQUACK!”

He had managed to gag poor Mrs. Bilbao, who seemed more embarrassed than frightened at this point. At least as near as I could tell from this angle. Well, I would have been embarrassed.

The paper started to feel heavy and suddenly the hand of Chickenman was reaching out from the paper and growing a more “real world” scale. I dropped the sheet immediately and watched in amazement as Chickenman rose from the paper in amazing 3-D!

“Holy shit,” whispered Misha.

Chickenman stood, brave and tall, his outline illuminated in the sunlight. It was one of those typically heroic poses you see on any of a thousand comic book covers.

“Good day, citizen. What seems to be the trouble,” he bawked.

I pointed at the buccaneer.

“I see. That pirate will be no match for CHICKENMAN, protector of poultry, champion of chicks!”

“He really was Chickenman,” muttered Misha, “what do you know?”

The Egg-bourn avenger sort of half ran, half leapt at Happy Jack, clucking merrily. He threw eggs from his utility belt (which I had intended to be small bombs filled with knock out gas when I drew them) as the kidnapper turned to face him.

“Yar! Lunkhead! It be a giant chicken! SQUACK”

The parrot swept down from above and – GOOSH – he was clobbered by a well thrown egg and knocked out.

“Salty Peter, lad!”

“Release the damsel, evil-doer, and your pet will come to no further harm.”

“Yar, she is my plunder, bird! Do your worst!”

“I shall.”

The two drawings sprang at one another. Happy Jack attacked with Mrs. Bilbao over one shoulder and a dangerous looking bottle of rum in his good hand. Chickenman was all feathers and fury.

The argued as they fought, but I couldn’t make out a word of it. They were talking faster than auctioneers.

“So that’s how they fit all those words in during fights in comic books,” I thought.

It looked like the pirate was going to win the day, when suddenly he dropped to his knees, crying. He released Mrs. Bilbao who retreated across the parking lot.

“Aye. What you say is true, you bloody big bird,” Happy Jack sobbed.

“Big Bird,” the Chickenman said, “Wow – that is a much better name than Chickenman.”


It turns out that Chickenman had told the pirate that, while they were fighting, his parrot could be in need of serious medical attention. It also turns out that he had asked Mrs. Bilbao out on a date and needed to borrow my Colt. What could I say? I handed him the keys after he had changed into his “civilian” identity.

“Drive safely, Chickenman,” I said.

“Big Bird, please,” he replied with a huge, heroic smile.

I was too tired to explain the finer points of copyright infringement to him, so I just waved as he and my potential employer drove off. I hoped it would be a good date and that she’s like my drawing so much that she couldn’t resist hiring me.

“What is going to happen to the pirate?” Misha asked.

“Chickenman turned him over to the local authorities. I don’t even want to imagine the legal ramifications of this…”

“Does everything you draw come to life?”

“No – just some of the things I draw with this pen. But not everything, see?”

I showed her my duck drawing.

“What are these? Killer ducks?”

That was all it took – they started flapping their way free of the paper – evil looks on their little duck faces. That’s when I realized it. Apparently, drawing it wasn’t enough. Somebody had to name the drawing before it could come to life.

“Run,” I cried, as the ducks started putting on their little hockey masks and quacking menacingly.

To Be Continued
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Pirate Booty

“Did you hear about the gargoyle?”

I was sitting in the waiting room of Painted Desert Marketing. I didn’t know where else to go. Yeah, yeah, I might have released a demon into the world, but I still needed to make rent, you know?

I shaved on the road, which is never pleasant. I figured if there was going to be a mob after me, I wanted to be at least a little hard to identify. Shaved my head, that is.

“Mr. Pazoozak?”

“Sorry, what?”

“Did you hear about the gargoyle?”

“You mean the demon?”

“We don’t go in for demons around here.”


The secretary turned from me in an intolerant huff. I had heard a radio report about the demon heading towards Phoenix, stopping occasionally to terrorize a tourist or trash a gas station. I tried to figure out what the hell had brought the doodle to life. I mean, the obvious answer was the pen.

Just to make sure, I drew some ducks. I figured ducks couldn’t really hurt anyone. They were pretty nice ducks, actually. Hardly cartoonish at all. I waited ten, fifteen minutes and nothing.

I examined the pen carefully in the waiting room trying to see if I could determine, well, anything. It was smooth, cold now, and there was no obvious way to open it for an ink cartridge. I remembered that these fountain pens sometimes sucked up ink from the tip – at least they did in old time cartoons.

I stuck the ducks back in my briefcase. I drew a line down the back of my resume and stared at the ink. It was a thick, black (almost gray) line that just seemed to sit there, like the ducks. It wasn’t anything special.

“Do you need some tape, baldy?”


“You ripped your resume.”

“What? No, this is just a line.”

The secretary shrugged. I looked back at my resume and, before my eyes, the line turned into a big, open slice in the middle of the paper. No sign of ink, just a rip. Clearly, something was up with the pen, I concluded. Not the most brilliant conclusion, but all I could come up with at the time. I mused that it was a good idea that I hadn’t drawn what I usually doodled or a giant, disembodied vagina would be attacking Arizona.


“Nathan Pazoozak? What kind of name is that?”

“Uh, I’m not sure you’re legally allowed to ask me that…”

“Fair enough.”

The interview pretty much went downhill from there. Lynn Bilbao, the owner of Painted Desert Marketing, and I did not hit it off. I was still a little frazzled from creating a demon, and she, for her part, didn’t like my gender, didn’t like my religion, didn’t like my ethnicity and most definitely didn’t like my resume.

“It’s ripped.”


“So, would you wan to keep going to church even if we hired you?”

“You can’t ask me that during a job interview. It’s illegal.”

“Those laws were meant to protect minorities, mister.”

I realized I probably wasn’t going to get this job, but I was desperate enough not to say anything that I would regret later.

“Well, we might as well see what you can do. Let’s draw something, shall we?”

“Great. Where’s your computer?”

“We prefer to work on paper first.”

“Oh. Can I borrow a pen?”

“Didn’t you come prepared?”

I could see where this was going. Nervously, I pulled out the pen.

“What do you want me to draw?”

“Let’s see a pirate – like the one from those art school ads.”

I sighed. “A pirate?”

“We do a lot of business with Captain Morgan’sTM out here.”

I did my best. A big, goofy pirate with a surly looking parrot. The pirate had an eye patch, a hook hand and a peg leg. Clearly, he had been on the losing end of a few swordfights. He held a bottle of rum in his good hand. The parrot smoked – he had a peg leg, too.

“The parrot looks like he’s the brains of the gang,” said Lynn.

I had to agree.

“Well, clearly you have some skill – more of an illustrator than an artist though, huh?”

“Yeah,” I said, glancing nervously at the drawing, which was just sitting there at the moment.

“Leave your cell number – we’ll call you.”

“What about Happy Jack here?” I asked, indicating the pirate.

“We’ll keep it on file.”

Relieved, I headed for the lobby. Clearly, some part of the equation was missing, since old Jack hadn’t sprung to life. I was leaving my number with the secretary when I heard it.

“Yar! Grab the wench, you scurvy dog! SQUACK!”

“Mrs. Bilbao?” called the secretary.

Out through the door hobbled my pirate, a parrot on one shoulder, a screaming owner of a marketing company on the other.

“Get that damn hook out of my ass,” she ordered.

“Yar, that’s what I call booty, Salty Pete!” yelled the pirate.

“SQUACK! No booty puns or I’ll poop in your rum,” replied the bird, “Let’s head for the open seas!”

“Mrs. Bilbao!”

“Misha! Help me!”

Too stunned to react, I watched as the secretary bum rushed the pirate only to be chased off by 15 pounds of feathered, peg-legged fury.

“Do something!” Misha screamed at me as Happy Jack lugged her boss into the dry Arizona morning.

“I am,” I replied, already reaching for a fresh piece of paper and my strange new pen.

To Be Continued

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