By Jacki Michels, for the Redoubt Reporter
I have a few friends who suffer from ornithophobia. I’m not sure why. Maybe they watched Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” at a crucial point in their development.
Other people may have had unfortunate experiences and never fully recovered. I get it. Having a winged creature attack you can be traumatic. When I was about 5 I was bit by a goose, and once I had a bat get tangled in my then-very-long hair. I got over it. Not only did I get over it, I really am a big a fan of all creatures that fly. There’s something innately cool about any creature that can soar in the heavens, no matter if it squawks, sings or screeches. I especially like chickens.
That is until until I met The Beast.
Technically, The Beast was merely a Rhode Island red rooster. As a youngster he’d get an ornery glint in his little beady yellow eyes, but I thought it was all show for the chicks. As he got older he got ornerier. He started stalking me. My hubby suggested roosters are too stupid to stalk. He said I should just be brave. “Act like you’re the boss,” he said.
The Beast came after me with his flesh-tearing talons and, yes, I was wearing shorts that day. It was war. After that I went into the coop with a snowmachine helmet, baseball bat — and no shorts. Well, wouldn’t you know it, that dirty rotten scoundrel still came after me! I passed scared and went right into angry. Right then and there I renamed The Best “Earl,” after the Dixie Chicks song about how an abusive spouse named Earl had to die.
If there had been a sports announcer on hand the bell would have rung. (Ding-ding!) He would have announced me, standing in the middle of the ring. “There she goes, looking a little bit like a bobblehead in that black helmet. There’s the windup (audible suspenseful sounds from the crowd as they all draw a breath). She swings (more suspenseful murmurings), and… she misses! (Aww!)”
He would have gone on, in his sportscaster voice.
“It looks like this fight is heating up. Will you look at that? There he goes, folks, The Beast makes a swift left jab at his opponent’s leg. She swings again (the crowd’s enthralled). He’s down! No — incredible — he’s getting back up!
“Wait, she’s left the ring — now she’s returning with what looks like a BB gun! There you have it, folks, it looks like a shootout today!”
The sports announcer guy would have continued on with a blow-by-blow report of how Earl sustained three shots to the head before he finally he fled to the coop and staged a grand Shakespearean performance while overdramatizing his own demise.
In the end, it took less than 20 minutes to get Earl de-feathered, disemboweled and simmering in the Crock-Pot.
Commercial break where sportscaster cuts to a Campbell’s chicken soup commercial.
I was sharing that story the other day at the feed store. In response to my story a very funny young man shared a hilarious encounter between a demonic goose named Satan and an incredibly unfortunate police officer. My son and I laughed and laughed. Everyone in the store laughed. I picked up my order of 15 new chicks and went home.
About a week later a friend gifted us with a rooster that thinks it’s morning at 4 a.m. and 5 a.m., and 6:30 a.m., and basically every 15 minutes in between, all day until about midnight. She also gifted us with two geese that cop an attitude when the rooster crows. It’s a hoot.
Anyway, so far so good, except the old rooster, George Foreman, is acting rather cocky since we’ve added so many new feathered friends to our flock. He is developing an ornery glint in his beady little yellow eyes. And, as it turns out, one of the new chicks is also a dude.
I think I’m going to rename them all Stewart.
Stew for short.
- Grounds for Divorce No. 3,484 — Ordering 20 MORE chicks before you check with your spouse to see if SHE ordered any.
- Grounds for Divorce No. 3,485 — Ordering 20 MORE chicks before checking with your spouse before to see if HE ordered any.
- Grounds for Divorce No. 3,486 — Suggesting chickens are too stupid to stalk and that wife should suck it up.
Jacki Michels is a freelance writer who lives (and loves) in Soldotna.