Yesterday, Alice took the initiative, by calling King’s Livestock Auction. The bidding wouldn’t be taking place for several days, but she convinced them to take my chickens early.
At my wife’s prodding, I drove into town to get some big egg cartons from Price Chopper so that I could load up my hens for transport. Of course, I was feeling guilty.
These Golden Comets had been great producers until the bitter cold set in. Recently, when I’d finally get through the snow to the coop, the chickens would hang their heads in shame as I’d reach into the laying box and maybe come up with one measly egg.
When I returned from town, Alice held the box lids closed as I stuffed my girls in. Naturally, the last chicken I had to catch was my super jumper, Red. When I bent to grab her, she rose over my head while hooking a claw into my nostril and slicing me all the way up to the bridge of my nose.
I was bleeding like a porker. All feelings of guilt were gone as I went back to the house to clean the wound with alcohol and stop the bleeding. Pressure, cold water, ice, nothing seemed to be working.
I had to be on the road shortly or King’s would be closed. Finally, I took large strips of toilet paper and pasted them to my face, loaded the chicken boxes into the truck and headed out.
I got the impression that the toilet paper stuck to my nose didn’t look too cool because Alice laughed a little every time she looked at me. I let the paper remain for fear I’d start bleeding again.
I was a little heavy on the gas peddle as we passed the intersection of routes 20 and 51. It was too late when I spotted a state trooper hiding on the side of the road. Of course, he took after me with his light flashing.
I pulled onto the shoulder, and he stopped several yards in back of me. When he approached and I rolled down the window, I could see that the toilet paper was the first thing he saw. “What happened to your face?” he asked.
“I was training a chicken and got scratched,” I told him. “We’re headed for the Chicken Olympics at King’s and we’re late.”
“I never heard of the Chicken Olympics,” the officer said soberly.
“Oh yeah,” I assured him. He didn’t seem to appreciate my humor.
“Have you been drinking?” he asked, as he sniffed the air in the car. He probably smelled the alcohol I had put on the wound.
“No!” I said emphatically.
“I’ll have to ask you to step out of the car,” he said as Alice’s mouth dropped open.
So there I was out on Route 20 trying to walk a straight line in the slippery snow with the toilet paper flapping in the breeze. Passing cars slowed as I tried to stand still on one leg.
When I slipped and almost fell, he pulled out a Breathalyzer and told me to blow into it. I could hear the chickens’ muffled laughter in the boxes.
After I passed the test, the officer went back to his car and returned a few minutes later. “Here’s some more paper for you,” he said as he handed me the speeding ticket.
Disgusted, I started the truck and began to slowly creep down the road towards King’s, which was probably closed by now. I was wondering what my friend, Charlie, would have done in this situation. He’s a resourceful guy.
Maybe he would have gotten a chuckle and disarmed the cop by pulling that dollar out of his pocket and getting my chicken to do a jumping demo. After all – Charlie had made his parakeet stand on his head for money!
Terry Berkson is a freelance writer from Richfield Springs.