Big Billy – A game of chicken

When I came home last week and told Minnie I got a good deal on a chicken, she thought nothin’ of it.

See, everybody knows my buddy Murph is a fella who knows how to get his hands on Big BIllythings. So it’s nothin’ strange for me to come home every once in a while with somethin’ real unusual.

Like a few months back there.

Look at this, I said to Minnie, comin’ in the back door.

What’s that?.

Box of joggin’ pants.

A box of – how much did you pay for that?

Ten bucks, I told her, openin’ up the flap and showin’ her about a dozen pairs of joggin’ pants Murph, uh, found somewheres. And she just raised her eyebrows and said hmmph like she was impressed. Because even if it’s somethin’ when she knows ya shouldn’t ask too many questions about it, a deal’s a deal, eh.

Anyways, over the years I done the same thing with all kinds of stuff. Three live crabs in a shoe box, a Sobeys bag full of hair clips, ten brand new brooms bunched together with duct tape – the list goes on and on.

So anyway, when I told her about the chicken, Minnie said – Good. We’ll have them cheese stuffed chicken breasts for supper tomorrow night.

Hang on now, I said. It ain’t that kinda chicken.

Whaddya mean? she says, lookin’ at me because she knows I’m up to somethin’. Well, I was gonna wait until Rosie got home and surprise her, but hang on a second.

I ran out to the truck, came back in put the chicken down on the kitchen floor – cute little thing with white feathers, and it started struttin’ around and peckin’ at the floor-coverin’.

What in the hell is that? Minnie said, jumpin’ back through the livin’ room doorway and stickin’ her head around the corner.

I told ya – I got a good deal on a chicken, I said.

Put it outside! she yelled. Are you nuts or what? That thing’s probably filthy – you’re gettin’ barnyard all over my kitchen floor!

And she hooted and hollered some more until I finally went to pick him up and put him outside, but did you ever try to catch a chicken when it knows you’re comin’ for it? The little bugger shut under the table and I knocked over two chairs gettin’ down on my hands and knees lookin’ for it. But by then it already shot out from under the table, right through Minnie’s legs and into the living room.

I don’t know if ya ever seen a chicken runnin’ around a livin’ room before, but them things are fast. I’d say this guy was clockin’ about eight laps a second. Up over the couch, down around the coffee table, up over the the little magazine rack by the TV, up on the seat of my chair, up on the headrest of my chair, then it would fling itself over to the couch and start the whole thing again.

And the whole time Minnie’s screamin’ at me and swattin’ me in the arm and the side of the head. Do somethin’! Get it! she was yellin.

I took a step back from her so she wouldn’t clock me and just by accident the chicken ran right into my leg, bounced off and sat there stunned for a second. Which was the only chance I had to scoop it up and cradle it under my arm like a football. Feathers flyin’ everyhwere.

Explain this one, now! Minnie said.

I will! I said. Gimme a chance to explain now! This ain’t no ordinary chicken, dear. This one here lays blue eggs!

As far as I was concerned, that explained the whole thing.

Blue eggs? Minnie said. So what if it does? What are you talkin’ about? Say somethin’ that makes sense or you and the chicken’ll be out in the yard on your heads!

I’m serious now, I said, and the chicken looked up at me. (Ya don’t really realize chickens got no facial expressions until one’s lookin’ ya in the eye.)

I figured I know how much Rosie loves animals and that, and I figured she’d be even more excited because this one lays blue eggs. And I figured all I’d have to do is get a couple of 2x4s and some chicken wire and I could build a little coop for it on the side of the baby barn. She could have her own pet chicken, like.

Minnie looked at me the same way she looked at me the time I hit my head on the ice and couldn’t talk right for three days.

We can’t keep a chicken in the backyard! Holy cripes, she was really screamin’ at me. Get out! Get it outside!

So I put it back in the truck and gave it a pat on the head and went back in to explain to her.

OK, I said. Maybe I didn’t go about this right. I just figured here’s this really special chicken that lays blue eggs and with Easter comin’ up and everything she could have her own real live Easter eggs…

Easter? Minnie says. What are you talkin’ about? It’s October, and Easter’s at least five for six months away!

When Rosie got home we got the whole thing figured out. For one thing, I guess I confused Easter and Halloween. And I guess the chicken I brought home was a rooster. And apparently roosters are male and don’t lay eggs at all, let alone blue ones. It’s an easy mistake, as far as I’m concerned, because like I yelled at Minnie – I’m not a friggin’ farmer.

Now Rosie, I said. You know all about animals and everything. Is it possible for a chicken to lay blue eggs? Because if they’re all sittin’ in Tim Horton’s laughin’ at me tomorrow morning, Murph’s gettin’ a puck in the face.

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