Today’s challenge is: “Your friend calls to say she saw you in the back of a police car yesterday. What happened?”
“It all started with the chicken.”
“The chicken?” Betty leaned in close, resting her arms on the kitchen table. Her long hair teased the cup of coffee sitting in front of her.
“Yup.” I nodded. “The chicken.”
Betty’s shrugging shoulders screamed for more information. “Like a chicken breast? Was it fried? What kind of chicken are we talking about here?”
“An actual chicken. Like a live chicken….with white feathers.”
She leaned back into her chair, taking a sip of coffee. “Judy, do I need to be drunk to hear this story? ‘Cause sometimes the only way I understand your humor and logic is if I’m drunk.”
“It’s not complicated.” I could tell my efforts to reassure her weren’t enough. The only thing I could do was delve into the truth and all the layers that came with it. But, to satisfy Betty, I poured a shot of Bailey’s into her coffee.
She smiled, taking a sip. “Okay. I’m ready.”
“Once upon a time….” I began.
My mother sent me on a round of errands Saturday morning. As per usual, I had to make a trip to the post office. I hated the post office. The lines were always miserable; it didn’t matter what time of day or year it was. Add two hours to the actual time it should take to purchase postage for a package and that’s how much time it took me to enter and escape. Ten minutes after I entered, I turned and found a line outside the door. Any thought of escape quickly descended into nothingness. The post office was set up so you could only enter one door and exit from another. To make absolutely sure this rule was followed a barrier was set up, funneling people in the appropriate directions. So when I say I was trapped, I wasn’t kidding. The only direction I could move in was forward.
After an ungodly amount of time lapsed, I found myself behind three customers. That meant I still had 45 minutes to an hour to wait before it would be my turn. Something caught my attention and I turned to my left. That’s when I saw the chicken, free ranging around the United States Postal Service. It seemed like I was the only person to notice it. Everyone else just passed right by.
I watched the chicken for a few more minutes until it was my turn to go up to the counter. The gentleman working behind the counter was from India. I groaned when I saw him. Not because he’s from India; I could care less. I groaned because he spoke with a heavy accent, making it next to impossible to understand him. He also moved like molasses when processing packages. I could easily have been there for another hour, waiting for him to type everything into the computer.
I decided to make small talk while he was clicking away on his keyboard. “So, do you know there’s a chicken inside here?”
He looked up at me through a thick pair of eye glasses that slid down onto his nose. “No dear. We cannot mail chickens. They are perishable.” He pushed my package back toward me.
I shook my head, pushing it back. “No. There are no chickens in my package. Just clothes.”
He pushed the package back. “Sorry. You cannot mail chickens here.”
“No…you don’t understand.” I pointed to my left. “There’s a chicken running around the inside of the post office.”
“I may be from India but I’m not stupid. I know what a chicken is and you can’t mail it here.”
Great! Now he’s believes I’m racist. Fantastic! My breathing became exasperated; so did my temper, for that matter. I took a deep breath before continuing, “Look, there’s no chicken inside this box. I wasn’t talking about this box. If you’d step around the corner, you’ll see what I’m looking at.”
“I’m very sorry. I’m afraid I can’t help you. You’ll have to leave.”
“But…b-but….” The words kept stuttering out of my mouth. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t find my voice. Was he seriously kicking me out of the post office? Rude much!
Before I knew what was happening, I found my voice….and it wasn’t a good thing either. “THERE IS A CHICKEN RUNNING AROUND THE POST OFFICE!” Yeah…that came out a lot louder than I intended it to. It also caused a small amount of chaos. Several people eventually saw the chicken and started screaming.
It was seconds after the screaming started I felt a gun to my back……
“And that’s why you were in the patrol car?” Becca’s eyes were the size of half dollars. Her coffee cup remained full. I guess she was too enthralled with my story to take another sip.
“Yup,” I nodded. “And it was all because of the chicken.”
“What happened to the chicken?”
If that wasn’t the question of the hour…. “I don’t know.” I shrugged. It was true too. “I was taken to the sheriff’s department where I was booked on disturbing the peace and inciting a riot. Thirty seconds later I was exonerated of all charges and released. Nobody ever told me what happened to the chicken.”