A Bull's Life: A story of racism, prejudice and perseverance
The following is a self-made interview made by a local resident of Houston, Texas. No animals were physically harmed in the making of this film, but emotionally, they may never be the same. Roll tape
Hello? Is the camera rolling? Well I can't tell because you covered up the red light. What? No, I told you already, it's not the color that stirs me up, it's when you move something around in front of me. I'm color-blind anyways genius. What? Ok, just restart the tape.
Hi, my name is John Bullingham and I am a Spanish Fighting Bull. I am a resident of the Houston, Texas and have lived here for about 22 years.
I guess it all started when I was born. When I came out of my mother, my parents were stunned to discover that their first-born child was a Bull. At first, the doctor thought I had some sort of skin issue since I came out dark colored and furry and both my parents were white. I also had hooves. I'm not sure which one of these abnormalities tipped off the doctor first.
I remember the day Johnny first came out of me...it was a bright Sunday morning and I had just gotten out of bed when all of a sudden, I felt him coming. I couldn't have imagined the amount of pain I was about to go through though. For 6 hours, I pushed and pushed and finally got his head out. Another 4 hours later and the rest of him came out as well. Needless to say, the hospital was forced to use their entire stock of morphine to keep me going. When he finally came out, I looked to my husband who smiled at me and told me "We finally have a baby." Unfortunately, it turned out to be a calf. I was stunned to find out that our child was in a fact, a bull. I finally learned why all of his kicks during pregnancy caused internal bleeding in my abdomen, but the fact that I had just given birth to a bull was a still a complete shock to me. The situation also wasn't helped by John drinking all of my available breast milk and leaving me flatter than a pancake on a grill.
In all honesty though, I did expect this a little bit. Looking at our family photos, I seemed to have realized that the bull my great-great grandmother kept taking pictures with, wasn't just her prize fighting bull, if you know what I mean...
I never realized my special situation until I went to school. Before, I spent time with my family on their farm, hanging out with other dairy animals and the chickens, but when I went to school, I found myself in an unusual and hostile environment. The teacher didn't know what to with me and the kids kept trying to ride my back. The awkward part was high school and puberty, when my horns started coming out. Until then, I was just looked at funny, but now, my horns just jabbed anyone in the eye who looked at me funny. It was purely accidental of course...
I finally got into college, where things were a little better. I had plenty of ground to roam and was able to pursue my degree in philosophy and drama, but I still couldn't get past all the judgmental stares from other students. However, I kept to myself and things were going alright. I met a beautiful young woman and needless to say, we soon got married after graduation. Everything was going just fine, until my emotions changed...Since high-school, I had a fascination with beautiful silverware and dishes. I don't know, the color just attracted me. I didn't think much about it, until shortly after graduation. I realized something that would change my life forever. I loved fine-bone China
I guess it was one of god's cruel jokes, you know? Hey, not only am I going to turn you into a talking bull, I'm going to make you like china, haha. As if my life isn't hard enough with animal control and PETA members trying to capture me and "release" me back into the "wild." Seriously guys, cut it out, I have to go to work in the morning...
Oh yes, I love John very much, ever since college. We both had the same likes, dislikes and we both loved to discuss philosophy. Oh sure, he might charge at a waiter who is changing the table sheets here and there, but he's a lot better compared to the other guys I've dated. I just...felt a connection to John. It's not that he is different, it's just that people make him seem different. He's really normal, like you, me, or any other talking bull. But as time passed, John's crippling love for fine tableware was becoming a problem. He just loved going into the stores, not to buy anything, just to look at all the different flower vairations and colorful drawings on the plates and cups. Yet, there would also be someone there who either got scared or just wanted to get John in trouble by dropping a plate or two. Before you know it, the cashier is hustling John to get out, which causes further mayhem as everyone in the store thinks John is charging them. Afterwards, John would somehow be held responsible for all the damage in the store and would have to pay for it out of the pocket. We even went to court a couple of times, but the judges were never on John's side. He was different...people didn't like his kind around town. They thought people like John were meant to belong in cattle ranches with all the other dirty animals. I mean, how would you feel if you were the only talking bull in town?
My life was never easy, especially since I was the only talking bull in town. Everyone stared at me, people yelled derogatory terms at me like "bull-shit" and "bull-y." I still wasn't treated as an equal. I was never allowed into the same bathrooms as humans, I always had to go outside, otherwise animal control would come with a cattle prod and shock me out of the bathrooms. I wasn't allowed to eat with other people in diners and had to wait outside the kitchen like "all the other talking bulls." Even china shops began to kick me out, putting up sign like "no bulls allowed" and "I'm sick of all the bull shit everywhere, no bulls allowed." It was one time and the guy wouldn't let me use his bathroom, jeez...
The Best Friend
Yea, I've known John a long time. We met each other at a bar. This guy was trying to start a fight with me and John saw it happening. The guy knocked me out, I was on the floor bleeding, John pretty much killed him with a kick from his hind legs, you know how these things go. After that, we just hit it off. We got us a drink and had a fantastically good time. We got drunk, got some ladies, rode a mechanical bull, which kind of upset John. Bad move on my part.
After that, we just became good friends I guess. Plus, he was a fantastic bull to drive with, especially when the cops try to give us a ticket and freak out when they see John driving. Haha, priceless...
But yea, John's had some trouble fitting in. Most people don't like him that much cause he's so different you know? I mean, he's dark, he's covered in fur, he could gore a bear, that sort of stuff. No matter what though, John always seemed to find comfort in good China. I don't know why, but the whole 'bull in a china shop' rule doesn't apply to him. Well...except when he's actually IN the china shop. Then there's a problem...
It's never my fault. It seems that no matter what I do, I always get blamed when all the china in the shop gets wrecked. It's pretty convenient to blame the bull, isn't it? I just simply can't enjoy my china. It's one thing that makes me happy in this world and I can't even spend 10 minutes trying to buy some without having the cashier trying to rush me out with a cattle prod. Seriously, since when do china shop owners carry cattle prods. Sick bastards...
After a while, I just decided to take a trip, maybe somewhere where I could be seen as an equal and not some freak. I put out a map on my table, closed my eyes and landed on some random country. Unfortunately, hooves don't work as well as fingers and it seemed that I had picked to go Europe, Greenland and Asia at the same time. I decided to just narrow my pick to whatever country sounded nicer in Europe. "Spain," I told myself, "that seems like a nice place for a bull," and so I packed and was off.
Oh, yes...I remember the trip. I wanted to go with John, but he told me he had to do this by himself, but I convinced him to let me see him to his plane. It took as a while to get him a ticket until we finally found an airline company willing to sell us half of the available aisle sits for John. The security wasn't easy to get through either. TSA had never been trained in the handling of a bull and didn't know how to get him into the body scanner, because they were so sure that he was hiding a bomb somewhere in his fur. After an extensive search by 6 TSA officers, an unusually awkward colon search by 3 officers (two of which were knocked out after John panicked and felt they were trying to castrate him), and a deep comb haircut by an unusually, friendly gay barber, John was finally able to board the plane. They let me walk with him to keep him calm in case anyone decided to wear all red or move a cape repeatedly in front of him. After John finally got seated, I waved bye to him and watched the plane take off...it wasn't until I checked the ticket stub that I realized where he was going. Spain....oh no, I said.
When I finally arrived, there was all this noise in the city. I wasn't sure what was going on, but a lot of people in white shirts and shorts were running around screaming Spanish. One guy pointed at me and yelled "TORO!" at which point, everyone around him began to run away from me. I was afraid that I had come to an even more uninviting place when all of a sudden, all these bulls came running from behind me. I wasn't sure what was happening, but I quickly put down my suitcase and suddenly, this sort of primal instinct came over me. I yelled "MOOOOOO!" and began to charge alongside all the other bulls, not sure what I was doing. After 30 minutes of this, chasing some crazy Spanish guys who lacked enough sense to just jump over the barriers to the sidewalk, I finally came to my senses and decided to go grab my suitcase and find my way around town.
I wasn't sure what city I was in because I had to take the only flight the airline company would let me be on. I found a hotel that read 'Hotel Pampalona' and I figured that's where I had landed. I had heard about this city and how bulls were known to participate alongside the Spaineards in cool events, like the 'running of the bulls,' which I wasn't too sure what it was, but sounded fun. I decided to enjoy the sun and took a brisk walk around the city. What I soon found out was that Spanish people are pretty f-ing weird. Every time I tried to approach one, they'd yell "TORO!" and flee while I'm asking him where the nearest restaurant is. I soon found some other bulls just wandering around and although my bullinian was a little rough, I engaged them in conversation.
"MOO. MOOOO. MOOO?" I said, which pretty much meant, "Hello, I'm from the States. How are you?"
"MOOOOOOO. MOOO. MOO." He said, which of course meant, "Oh, it's nice to see a foreign chap around these parts. Name is Richardo, but you can call me Alfonso or Marlene, if that's your fancy."
I had finally found someone to talk to in this strange and diverse city. I asked him what was going on and why everyone was running away from me. He frowned and replied
I was stunned. I couldn't believe what I had just heard, that it haunts me to even repeat it to this day...I....I need a moment....
Richardo, A.K.A. Alfonso, A.K.A Marlene
Translated with courtesy of Michael Dinggleberry
Oh yes, I remember the foreigner. He was a very nice bull. What's that? What did I tell him that day?....It's best if you don't know. That's all I can say. no, I will say no more. NO! I said NO! MOOOOOOOOOO!
But yes, he was a nice bull. I showed him around town, took him to some cattle bars, poked some Spanish people in the butt, you know, touristy things. We had some good laughs, we enjoyed ourselves, but then he finally had to go back home. I was sad to see him go, but it was nice to know someone who was making a name for himself and all of the bulls in the world. I told him to keep living the dream and fight for equal rights for both bulls and humans. To continue our struggle and to persevere against the ignorant masses who think lowly of us just because of our difference in color and testicle size. To signify our friendship, John gave me some china set he was carrying around him as a sort of security blanket. I thanked him for the china and smashed the 30 set piece into an 1,000 set piece china set. I then apologized, claiming in was an accident, but truthfully, my bullish nature got the best of me and I was to tempted to smash such a fragile thing. Plus, the floral decoration and style of calligraphy was too badly ornated to not have been some cheap set from some souvenir shop.
I will never forget that bull and I hope he finds his place in life.
I still don't understand what the hell that was about with my china set. Accident my ass, the guy moo'd right before he kicked the table and sent the set flying into a concrete pillar. The guy broke a 1790 Japanese Satsuma Earthern Ware Tea Set that was worth well over 5000 dollars. If you don't like it, then just give the damn thing back. Bulls...
Afterwards, I left back for Houston. I had finally had some fun with people I fitted in with. It made me realize that my struggle to gain equal rights for myself and other bulls, was not for nothing. I had to fight for all the other bulls in the world and make sure they had the same rights as everyone else. I will not stop the fight, I will continue until my dream is fulfilled and when my children will be able to play alongside white children, black children and Asian children. We will not be put into the back of the bus and we will demand for bigger buses to accommodate those bulls who will not be forced to sit in the back of that said bus! Most importantly, we will remove the stereotype of bulls in china shops and we will be allowed to browse selections of western and eastern oriented cups and saucers, without being harassed by the shop owners! Remember our struggle children, perhaps you can end the hatred against bulls and learn to live alongside us. I can only hope that will be the case. BULL POWER!!