The Chicken Story (Parts 1, 2 & 3)

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).

The Zebra Story (part 1)

“Hey Heidi,” my Dad said as he poked his head into my room, “I’m gonna go to a llama ranch across the valley, do you want to come along?”

I was laying on my water bed, completely engrossed in a Nancy Drew mystery novel.

“Um, I don’t know…..,” I said with characteristic teenage uncertainty.

Every once in a while, my Dad liked to visit other local llama owners and swap business ideas and rearing practices.

I often went with him, but this morning I was gripped in the suspenseful plot of the book in my hands.

Smiling to himself, my Dad continued, “Well your Mom and sister are coming.  And I thought you might like to see the llamas…..  And the zebras.”

He said the last sentence with complete nonchalance and I almost missed it.

“The what?!” I asked, sitting up and staring at my father.

“The zebras,” he repeated with a chuckle.

I immediately launched off my bed, “You bet I’m coming!!  I’ve never seen anyone with pet zebras!!”

—–

When we finally arrived at the ranch, we poured out of the car and were greeted by the owner of the ranch.

My father stepped forward and they shook hands and introduced themselves–having heard of each other through other local llama owners.

As they talked, I eagerly scanned the surrounding corrals for anything that looked like a zebra.

“Do you see them?” I whispered to my Mom and sister, who were also looking for them.

“No,” they shook their heads.

Then my Dad and the owner started to walk off towards the nearest llama pen.

I elbowed my Mom and she politely called out, “Excuse me!”

They stopped and turned back towards us.

“Excuse me,” she said again, “Could you tell us where the zebras are?”

The owner smiled and pointed to a far off pasture, “They’re down there,” he said and then turned away.

“Thank you!” we called and the three of us started off in the direction he pointed.

—–

“I still don’t see any zebras,” I said with disappointment.

We’d been walking for quite sometime, but all we saw were empty pastures and a few llamas and sheep.

“They must be in the next pasture,” my Mom said as we came upon another gate.

“You’re probably right,” I said and we opened the gate and walked into the next pasture.

We looked around, but still didn’t see anything.

“Well, they’ve gotta be around here somewhere,” my Mom said hopefully, “Let’s just keep walking.”

While we walked through the large pasture, we talked about how fun it would be to see a zebra up close.

“They’re always so far away in a zoo,” my sister said, “It will be fun to pet one.”

I nodded with excitement, “And maybe we can feed them grass or something.”

Suddenly, I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye and I curiously turned to look back at the ranch house.

I squinted in the sunlight and put a hand up to shade my eyes.

“Hey, Ma,” I said strangely, “Do you see that?”

“What, dear?” my Mom asked, turning in the direction I was looking.

“That man,” I said, “There’s a man up there and it looks like he’s yelling at us.”

We all stopped to watch.

“I think you’re right, dear,” my Mom said, “I wonder what he’s saying…..”

The man was running towards us at top speed, waving his hat and yelling frantically.

He looked very upset.

“What on earth can he be saying to us?” I mused outloud.

I cupped my ear and strained to hear.

He was very far away, but his words finally reached us and cut through the air.

“Stop!!”

“Get out!!!”

“The zebras will kill you!!!”

To be continued…..

The Chicken Story, 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).

The Chicken Story, 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…