It is not often that I condescend to meddle with those conceited, cackling nuisances of a bird species, commonly called chickens; but when I do, I always regret it heartily for at least three days. They’re all very well, lying serenely on your plate with a nice, crispy coating over them, but in any other way, shape, or form, chickens have ever been my mortal foes.
We live on a five acre hobby farm with twenty chickens or so running loose, free to amble up and stare you out of countenance as you go innocently about your business, leaving moreover small but revolting traps across the yard. To crown it all, they have a distinct tendency – especially on those days when we’d stayed up laughing and joking until the wee hours of the morning – to crow and squawk and cackle directly beneath my window at sunrise…though, to be fair, they have perhaps acquired a bad name that way, thanks to my sister’s rooster alarm which she often forgets to turn off.
Be that as may, I consider it quite a cause for rejoicing whenever a batch of chickens get their come-uppance – though I prefer it fall on a day when it is not my turn to cook. Better yet if I do not have to eat them either – such free-roamers are apt to be tough.
Certainly, it was no matter of sorrow to me when my mother announced the imminent demise of yet another duo of those incorrigible, abominable squawkers.
The motive was something of a complicated one. The chickens belonged to my brother, with whom I had a standing feud for his refusal to pen them up as they richly deserved. A friend of ours had a friend who wanted two chickens for broth for a friend of hers, and the original friend of ours offered to trade a pair of younger chickens, not quite full grown, for a three-year-old pair of ours – a trade which promised to be advantageous to all parties – except, of course, the older chickens!
So, the night before, my brother tied up two chickens and in the morning he threw them in the pick-up (not literally, of course) and tied the string to the side. I, being the only licensed driver available at the moment, was deputed to drive them over.
I didn’t mind, since I’d be in the truck and the chickens would be outside. Also, without human passengers, there would be no bar on my speed. So I went on my merry way, deaf to all squawks of entreaty.
Gradually, however, as I bumped along over the gravelly country road, I became aware of an increasingly vociferous din behind me. Why, one would have thought I was murdering the poor chickens then and there – I glanced through my rear-view mirror.
How odd! The chickens were nowhere to be seen.
Then with a shock I realized that behind me there were two chicken balloons flapping their wings and squawking for all they were worth!
Author’s Note: This story is mainly fictional, though inspired by actual events.