This is a story about a chicken. Not a special free range chicken, but an old school chicken raised in a coop with a lot of other chickens. But for the sake of our story, we’ll call this chicken Mike. Now Mike was a rooster and all domesticated chickens are of the species Gallus gallus domesticus and are referred to as chickens so we will simply call Mike a chicken and ignore the fact that he was a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl in the wild which could help explain some of Mike’s problems.
It all started around Christmas time a few seasons ago…
Originally Mike was a respected chicken in the flock. Then for one reason or another, things started to go downhill for him. It all started with questions of his handling of some of the flock’s seed. And even though Mike was never fully implicated in any wrongdoings, these questions of impropriety started to wear on him. His reputation having taken a hit, he started going on the defensive in an attempt to eliminate ill feelings amongst his peers. And as these preemptive strikes tend to do, it started to backfire on our chicken friend. Trying to improve his standing and failing seemed to bring about a crisis in Mike’s life.
He sort of gave up on the flock and their way of life. He started running with the wrong kind of birds and pretty soon Mike’s life started to spiral out of control like an airplane with a passed out pilot. He started hanging out at chicken strip clubs, wasting his chicken money on lap dances from wasted chicks.
He started listening to chick bands and watching reality tv shows. He became obsessed with duck calls and camouflage outfits, crowing at all hours of the night and sleeping in until noon.
Then one day a friend walked in and found Mike passed out on a bed of his own plucked out feathers and they knew it was time for an intervention. So all of Mike’s friends surrounded him and introduced him to shame and a Guinea Fowl named Roger. The chickens told Roger to keep an eye on Mike and not let him get into the fermented chicken feed. And slowly Mike’s life started to turn around. He found chicken Jesus and was hatched again.
And we would love to be able to say that Mike lived happily ever after but it was not meant to be. And like so many young chickens, Mike was not able to slay his demons.
Mike was the altar boy of conformity for a while. He went to chicken church with the flock every Saturday like all religious chickens everywhere. Chickens go to church on Saturday so they can be prepared for Sunday which is the day chickens die and are roasted, baked, and or fried for their sins. Sometimes they are fricasseed for their sins with butter and lots of seasonings. He was aware of the risks but he took them anyway and started hitting the seed again behind the coop.
Some of the chickens asked where Mike was and called for an investigation into the mysterious late night comings and goings in Mike’s section of the coop. So the chicken police were brought in and before he knew it, Mike was under suspicion again but nobody knew exactly why. The chicken cops decided to follow Mike so they put a tail on him.
Then the chicken detective that had been tailing Mike was found in a ditch, beside the road, dead. It looked like someone had tried to make it appear as an accident and wanted all the chickens to think he was hit by a car, but it was apparent that this was a chicko-cide. To add insult to injury, it was discovered the vehicle in question had turned out to be a Range Rover.
Nobody had dreamed that Mike was into something so under-worldly and mob-like but chickens are unpredictable and can be dangerous under certain conditions. And these were those conditions. We are all familiar with Chicken Pox. Enough said. He had looked into the abyss and it had looked back at him and changed him. He was not the same bird. Where once he had taken pleasure in simply running around the yard flapping his tiny wings and crowing like a crazy bird, now he stared at the sky with a strange look in his eyes and openly dreamed of soaring like an Eagle. But he took the wrong path to get there. Instead of soaring with the Eagles, he ended up roasting with the Turkeys. And the fact that it was nearing the holiday season did not help Mike’s situation much. Everyone knows that the holidays are a really hard time for chickens. We lose more chickens during the holidays than at any other time of the year except July 4th. It’s not easy being a chicken.
The trial was short and sweet. Witnesses were brought in who swore under oath that Mike had been seen talking to a human and handing him money. This human was later seen driving down the same road where the dead chicken detective had been discovered. In the end it only took the chicken jury a few minutes to cluck him guilty. It was an open and shut case.
He had been hiding seed around the coop anywhere and everywhere. He was lying about his whereabouts and his source for the tainted seed he peddled around the yard and it appeared that he had formed an odd bond to Roger. When clucks got around that Mike had been pushing moldy seed to the young chicks, he was offered up to the slaughterhouse people who come by every week and pick up the failures to be made into food for humans. But as our story ends, all is not sad and all is not lost because there is a silver lining around Mike’s cloud. A lesson needs to be learned here. Chickens come and chickens go and there are over twenty four billion chickens on planet Earth. There are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird. People keep chickens primarily as a source of food, consuming both their meat and eggs. We are coming to the realization that chickens who are allowed to think for themselves taste much better than assimilated conformed chickens.
We are sad to report that Mike fell through the cracks of chicken society. It is clear that society did not live up to its obligation to Mike and all young birds like him.
But he sure made good soup.