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).