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
Copyright © 1995
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