Excerpts from Never Been a Finer Chicken

by Dr. Kovaks

When we got to the barn, Uncle Cal was already there, doing the best that he could to tend to the calf. Old Uncle Cal was never the same after the war. When the fighting finally ended, Cal was holding a grenade, the pin already pulled. After that, his left arm was good as useless, and Pa had to do most of the chores. Of course, Cal's narcolepsy was a problem too, and he dozed off at some funny times. You'd think that would have made us nervous, but it didn't. Old Cal's grip never wavered, even during a sound slumber.

...

Young Tom didn't understand the swell of emotions rising in his belly as he climbed into the ring. Goddarn that girl, thought Tom, what the heck do I care what Polly thinks? He and the pig stood opposite each other, waiting for the bell to sound. A keen fierceness shown in the pig's eyes as it sized Tom up, lifting its snout to catch his scent. Finally, the bell rang and the pig launched itself at Tom. All thoughts of Polly temporarily banished, Tom braced himself for the muddy, pink impact.

...

If I'm the only being that exists, thought Daisy, and my experience merely the conjurings of my own imagination, then I might take the stance that my own actions are of no moral consequence. I can act, but to whom are those actions relevant?

...

When we went with that chicken down to the county fair, we were, every one of us, just one big mass of tingles, all our hopes, all our trials and tribulations, sitting atop the tiny head of that shiny white bird. Did Daisy know and understand all that was riding on her? Most likely not, I suppose. But Daisy wasn't any normal chicken. She seemed to have a sixth sense, a sense never possessed by any other chicken I ever knew. So maybe, just maybe, some small part of Daisy was aware of the import that we attached to that day, as she clucked and scratched the bottom of her old tin cage.

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Copyright 1995
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