I've long known that there's a general fascination with the Chicken Ranch, but I never quite understood how far-reaching it really was. During the course of my research, I started uncovering a surpsising number of books on the Chicken Ranch started by other writers but eventually abandoned and left unfinished. What's amazing is just how big some of these names were who tried their hand at chronicling the exploits of the Chicken Ranch. I have no idea why the various projects were abandoned, but there are hints that some of the authors cannibalized their work, re-using it in later books. I've collected a sampling of what might have been, and share them with you now. I hope you enjoy!
No one would have believed in the early years of the nineteen-seventies that this brothel was being watched keenly and closely by a media personality more flamboyant than the sheriff though not yet as renowned ; that as prostitutes busied themselves about their various tricks they were scrutinized and surveilled, perhaps almost as intensely as a teenage boy with a stack of his father's Playboys purloined from under the bed. With infinite complacency Johns went to and fro down Highway 71 from Austin or College Station and beyond, gleeful in anticipation of the carnal pleasures that awaited. No one gave a thought that to become a legend, one must first kill a legend. It is curious to recall some of the sexual habits of those departed days. At most, horny Texans fancied there might be other, jealous men in Oklahoma or Louisiana, perhaps less virile than themselves and ready to settle for the missionary position. Yet across the airwaves in Houston, an ego that is to our egos as ours are to those of the chickens at the ranch, toupee white and unrealistic, regarded this brothel with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew his plans against it. And early in the nineteen-seventies came the great disillusionment.
YOU don't know about Edna without you have seen a play by the name of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; but that ain't no matter. That play was written by Mr. Larry L. King, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I never seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it was Sheriff Jim, or the governor, or maybe the Aggies. Sheriff Jim - Fayette County's sheriff, he was - and the Aggies, and Governor Briscoe is all told about in that play, which is mostly a true play, with some stretchers, as I said before.
It was the best of brothels, it was the worst of brothels, it was the heaven of hedonists, it was the hell of chaste, it was the epoch of innocence, it was the epoch of corruption, it was the season of prostitution, it was the season of morality, it was the spring of mass media, it was the winter of rural isolation, we had whores before us, we had "Closed on Account of Marvin Zindler" before us, we were all going direct to the Chicken Ranch, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the La Grange of the 1970s was so far like the La Grange of the 2010s, that some of its noisiest residents insisted on its history being buried, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
In a house on a ranch there lived a madam. Not a nasty, dirty, swine ranch, filled with wallows of mud and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, cattle ranch with nothing on it but cactus or maybe a tumbleweed: it was the Chicken Ranch and that means comfort.
It had a perfectly rectangular door like a screen door, painted white, with a dull gray aluminum latch to one side. The door opened on to a half-walled hall like a parlour; a very shabby parlour with smoke, with panelled walls, and floors of formica, provided with naugahyde stools, and lots and lots of ash trays - the madam was fond of visitors.
Hunter S. Thompson
We were somewhere around Ellinger on the edge of Fayette County when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like "I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive..." And suddenly there was a terrible clucking all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge chickens, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to La Grange. And a voice was screaming: "Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn leghorns?"