2, 12:43 PM PST
Texas State Fair Serving Up Fried Death-Row
DALLAS -- The
State Fair of Texas is well known for its deep-fried treats,
including (but not limited to) fried pickles, fried ice cream
and fried tamales. Last year, fried Twinkies were the big hit.
This year, fried death-row inmates are all the rage.
"Aw shoot, man, it ain't just the
prisoners," said Chuck Johnson, who runs one of the hundreds
of deep fryers at the fair. "People like the fried butter-on-a-stick
pretty good, too."
But when pressed, Johnson admitted that
deep-fried inmate -- also called "prison crispers"
-- was his No. 1 seller.
"Mmm-mmmm," said five-year-old
Tammie Lee Johnson of San Antonio, relishing her first bite of
human flesh, a crispy, oily ear.
"Tastes like pork rinds!"
SOLVES A LITTLE PROBLEM
Texas is by far the leading executor of death-row inmates in
the country, killing 33 people last year, compared to just seven
by second-place Oklahoma. Since 1982, the state has offed 310
people, which has resulted in a work overload for state officials.
"Hell, son, we couldn't bury them
fast enough," said Gary Johnson, executive director of the
Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).
"And damn, but that's a lotta meat,"
he added, explaining why TDCJ offered the corpses to the state
fair this year.
"Hell yeah, we was interested,"
said Rex Johnson, who heads the state fair.
"We damn well knew we wasn' t gonna
top them fried Twinkies if we didn't get something new and exciting
this year," he added.
"This year, anything that can be dipped
in a fry vat or electrocuted on a chair is up for grabs,"
said Linda Johnson, who coordinates the food booths at the fair.
Johnson was "super excited" at
the prospect of offering the public a chance to consume prison
"It was a total win-win for us, cause
it combines deep-fry with killing prisoners -- two of Texas'
favorite things!" she declared.
vary, depending on how hungry you find yourself. A snack can
be made of a heel or hand, while lunch may be a lower or upper
The "Ranch Rider," the Texas-sized
dinner portion, often features plenty of ribs, tender cuts of
leg and two succulent buttocks.
A handful of Texans -- mainly macho college
boys and ranch hands -- will order up eyes, tongues or "the
oysters," but others find that a bit disturbing.
"Most people don't want no head or
nothing," said Chuck Johnson as he served out sizzling portions
of prison crispers to fat-but-hungry fair attendees.
"So many of 'em know somebody who's
been executed, they're afraid they'll recognize some poor bastard
who's defense attorney fell asleep on the job," he continued.
"It could ruin your appetite."
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