"I remember like it was yest'day the day I hooked up with Graken," I say to the hick sittin' next to me at the scraped-up excuse for a bar they call the Come-On Inn, "and I'd be sure glad to tell you about it if you'd set there a spell and mebbe spot me a shot or three of whatever you're drinkin'."
In the seedy world of cockfighting, blade-enhanced winners slash their way to temporary victory while the losers end up in barrels to be fried and eaten. Nate's usual hard luck changes when "Graken" comes along. Graken is a strange creature who thrives on the fighting and never, ever loses. Now Nate and his new partner Jerry travel the cockfight circuit with the unbeatable beast, happy to let Graken show them the good times. But good times always have to end, and... Graken's gotta eat. Can they stay ahead of their reputation and also keep the ravenous Graken satisfied? Are they willing to do what it takes? And... who's really in charge?
First published in the anthology The Midnighters Club, "Starbird" is a hick-noir/SF/Damon Runyon mash-up that's definitely not PC and is intended only for adults.