The Chicken Story (Parts 1, 2 & 3)

July 8th, 2008

Part One:

Every time we have someone over for dinner, my husband inevitably turns to me with a devilish grin and knowing look in his eyes.

Oh, no, here it comes…

“Hey, Heidi,” he’ll say, “Why don’t you tell them The Chicken Story?”

“The Chicken Story?” our guests repeat in bewilderment.

Then Charming laughs, folds his arms and settles back in his chair, waiting for the show to begin.

“You won’t believe this,” he always says, “It’s hilarious.”

Then I shake my head, take a deep breath and begin.

“Well, I grew up on a farm of sorts, and when I was five years old, I made up this game I used to play with our chickens…”

————-
“Heidi!” my Mother called from the front porch, “Lunch will be ready in five minutes!”

“Okay!” I hastily called back, barely pausing from my game.

“Here, chicky, chicky, chicky,” I said softly, tiptoeing across the chicken coop with my eyes glued to the corner of the coop, “I’m not going to hurt you.”

When I got close enough, I shot out my little arm and grabbed the unsuspecting chicken. She immediately started flapping like crazy.

“Whoah! You’re okay, you’re okay!” I said, feathers and dirt flying into my face.

I quickly ran the flailing creature over to the three garbage cans on the other side of the coop.

I pulled the lid off the nearest can, stuffed the chicken inside and closed the lid before that chicken, or any of the others inside, could fly out.

“Ruff, ruff!” our cocker spaniel barked excitedly.

Tammy watched me from outside the coop and wagged her tail wildly.

I bent down and smiled at her through the chicken wire.

“Hey girl!” I said, putting out my hand for her to lick through the wire, “I’m doing good today, huh?”

More tail wagging.

“I only have two chickens left, can you believe that?!” I whispered confidentially, “I’ve never caught them all before, but today I’m going to!”

Then I turned back to the coop. I chased down the last remaining chickens and promptly stuffed them in the cans with the rest of their flock.

Dusting off my hands, I smiled down at Tammy.

“I did it!!” I exclaimed, “I caught every single chicken, plus all our pigeons!”

More tail wagging.

“See those two cans?” I pointed, “They’re both filled to the top with chickens. And that third one has the pidgeons.”

“Heidi!” my Mother called again from the porch, “Lunch is ready!”

“Coming, Mom!” I yelled as I turned and opened the door to the coop.

All thought of the captured chickens flew completely out of my head…

To be continued…

———-

Part Two:

All thought of the captured chickens flew completely out of my head…

…until my Father came home from work that evening.

———–

“Don’t forget the forks,” my Mother said.

I took the forks from the counter and continued setting our large table for dinner.

“It looks like your Father’s home,” she said, watching his car pull up the driveway.

“Oh, good,” I said, “I’m hungry!”

“Don’t forget, we’re going to go get the rest of your shots for kindergarten after dinner,” she reminded me.

I frowned, “Okay.”

Then I sat in my assigned chair and hungrily waited for everyone to come.

“I wonder what’s taking your Father so long to come in…” my Mother mused outloud, looking out the window again.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged.

“Heiiidiii!!”

My head jerked up as the anger in my Father’s voice immediately seized me.

He was still outside somewhere. The yell sounded like he was near the garage, maybe by the–

“Oh no!” I gasped outloud, fear gripping my heart, “THE CHICKENS!!”

———–

“Come here,” he said through clenched teeth.

Meekly, I walked closer to the chicken coop.

My Father was standing inside the coop, next to the garbage cans.

Afraid to look, I peered silently up at him with bowed head as he reached down and took the lid off the first can.

Two frightened chickens flew out and landed on the ground. I waited for others to follow, but they didn’t.

My Father’s eyes bore into mine for a long minute. Then he slowly bent down and began counting.

“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven…” he methodically counted each and every lifeless chicken as he pulled it out of the can and laid it on the ground.

I just stared.

“…eight, nine, ten…” he continued on, it seemed like forever.

When he finally reached the bottom of the can, he turned to the second can. Again, when he opened the lid only a few chickens flew out.

If possible, my little body stood even more still.

The counting began anew as my Father pulled more dead chickens out of this can.

Finally, he opened the last can and, thankfully, all the pigeons had survived.

Amidst the pile of dead chickens, my Father turned back to me in slow motion. Then he began to walk towards me.

Heaven help me, I prayed silently, I’m a murderer, and now I’m going to die.

To be continued…

———-

Part Three:

Heaven smiled on me that day and sent a blessed angel to save me from imminent pain. An angel in the form of my Mother.

Just before my Father reached me, my Mother swooped in.

“I’m sorry, Honey,” she said to my enraged Father, “But Heidi has to go get her shots for kindergarten right now.”

Still frozen, I looked sideways at my Mother.

I knew we weren’t really supposed to go until after dinner, but there was no way in Hades I was going to contradict my salvation. So I just kept my mouth shut.

“How about we settle this after we get back?” Mother sweetly suggested, reaching out and taking me by the shoulders.

My Father looked at her and then he looked at me. Finally, he nodded and turned back to the pile of dead chickens.

Practically going limp from relief in my Mother’s arms, I went with her to the car and we immediately drove away.

———–

“So what happened then?” our dinner guests always ask.

“I ended up spending the rest of the night in my room,” I explain, “I considered myself quite lucky, considering what could have happened to me…”

This is when my husband always cuts in.

“Oh, but that’s not the whole story,” Charming smiles that devilish grin again, “Tell them whose chickens they were.”

“Weren’t they your chickens?” the dinner guests ask me.

“Well, some of them were… I found out later that most of them weren’t even ours. We were taking care of them for a lady from church who was out of town,” I grimace.

Clearly enjoying this, Charming continues, “And who had to tell the lady that you killed her chickens?”

I pause, and then finally sigh, “My brother.”

“Her brother! Can you believe that? Heidi kills off this lady’s whole flock of chickens, and her poor brother is the one who has to tell the lady,” my husband exclaims, “Where’s the justice in that?”

“I didn’t know he did that until years later!” I try to defend myself, “He worked for the lady, so I guess my parents just had him tell her when she got back in town. He offered to have us replace her chickens, but she said they were her pets, and you couldn’t replace pets.”

By this time, Charming is howling with laughter and all I can do is shrug.

“Would you like some more chicken?” I offer our guests with an innocent smile.

———–

In homage to those poor creatures who died at my hands over 20 years ago, I post this.

My rubber chicken.

(A poignant gift from my middle school speech teacher who couldn’t stop laughing after he heard this story).

RSS feed

Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.