Today I went to the live poultry store to choose a fresh chicken for dinner. I think, sure, it is
terrible to be the indirect cause of an animal's death, but being so close to it makes it a matter of conscience to clean my plate and to use the bones for soup. Also I feel it's important to keep my money in the local economy and away from the Perdue Chicken board of directors. I hear their poop is mostly impacted feathers, which is inhumane on several levels.
A grizzled non-speaking brown man led me back to choose my victim. There, in the third cage from the left, I saw her. Looking at me upside-down was a brownish-red hen with the most expressive bird eyes I'd ever seen. Normally I view birds as a small step up from insects -- more than happy to peck you to death if it serves the flock. But not her, no, not her. I indicated that I wanted her alive by alternating the slashing throat motion with shaking my head no.
The proprietor opened the cage, threw her into a double paper grocery bag, stapled it shut, and handed it to me in exchange for a five dollar bill. I put her in the passenger seat, fastened the safety belt, and we drove home through the downy snow flurries.
I brought a packing box up from my basement storage area and shredded some rags and newspapers into it until I felt it would make a comfortable bed. She was still, scared. I removed the staples from her bag with a nail file, then turned her sideways until she stood up, and then turned her upside-down until she stood right-side up. She knew her way out of the bag.
I stroked her head. "Oh my little chickie chickie chickie," I said. "Oh, what shall I call you chickie chickie... Fuck! Peck, not bite! Bitch!"
"Ka-LAWK! Ka-LAWK!" she screamed and leaped at my neck.
Feathers flying, she chased me into my bedroom, where, after knocking a bit of furniture around, I was able to throw a fitted sheet over her. The fitted sheet promptly ran into the master bathroom. I shut the door.
"Ka-LAWK! Ka-LAWK!" she screamed into flannel.
Now I have an homicidal pet that I've no idea how to love, feed or restrain and appears to resent love, feed and restraint. And it looks like I'll be bathing in the guest bathroom toilet from now on. When I get the courage, I'll need to drive her down south and release her into the wild, beyond the frost line, probably down I-57 around Memphis, where she can find unfrozen food and do whatever chickens do.
Labels: walking home