They say revenge is a dish best served cold. I disagree. When we dined upon the flesh of the victim of our vengeance, it was quite warm. It also worked really well with a little barbecue sauce.
So ended the saga of Jumper the rooster. For this post, we felt two authors would truly put the tragedy, the test, and the triumph in perspective. Ryan's contributions will be in regular typeface, while Connor's will be in italics.
Not long ago, Mom got another scheme to build character in her children: to raise chickens and sell their eggs. One of the chickens we bought turned out to be a rooster, which my lovable but somewhat uncreative brother named Jumper.
Jumper soon proved to be a menace.
My younger brother and sister’s daily journey to feed the chickens became a journey fraught with peril once the rooster appeared.
He would stand in our doorway, refusing to let us in our own house. My dad decided it was time to end the rooster’s reign of clucking, preening terror.
When your eight-year old brother carries a plastic lightsaber into the chicken coop purely for self-defense reasons, it’s time to step up as a man and eliminate this threat to your family. And if you question why I had to use a machete, you clearly have not consumed enough Otter Pops.
In my defense, I don’t usually go around killing chickens with machetes. This rooster was the Al Capone of chickens, ruling the yard with an iron talon, surrounded at all times by his harem of hens.*
Somewhere along the line, we bought a machete, and somehow it ended up occupying a semi-permanent place in our living room by the side of the couch. Like villagers arming against the monster on the hill, my dad and I prepared to storm the rooster’s citadel and wreak our vengeance.
But my little sister, even injured by Jumper as she was, barred my dad’s path, distraught that the rooster she had raised from a chick was about to be dismembered with a instrument that had probably never really been sharpened. My dad retreated, and the rooster laughed in mocking.
Soon, though, my brothers and I took matters into our own hands. We were prepared to do what needed to be done, to protect my little sister’s honor even if she was too noble to avenge the wrongs done unto her.
I grabbed a shovel; Connor grabbed the machete and noose.
INTERMISSION: my mom once related to me a story told to her by an older man standing next to her in line at the hardware store. It was similar to ours, except that rather than resorting to a machete, the man had drugged the chicken until it was asleep, put it in his car under cover of night, and thrown it over the fence at Bear World. "Wait a minute. You don't know my name, right?" the man asked quickly after relating the story.
It’s not easy to murder a rooster. You have to contend with all sorts of difficulties, not the least of which is the guilt of killing another living being. To overcome this obstacle, we simply remembered the crimes he had on his record, including attacking our little brother, attacking our little sister, exercising unrighteous dominion, and being named Jumper. (Possibly embezzlement, bank fraud, prostitution and weapons smuggling as well. You never can tell.)
After a quick trip to the restroom (I never kill on a full bladder), we tried Phase One. This involved sequestering Jumper in the fenced area and chasing him with a machete.
And so I found myself standing with a machete to Jumper’s throat, his baleful gaze urging me to strike him down and complete my journey to the Dark Side. But I couldn’t do it! There’s something about holding a blade to a living, breathing creature’s throat that truly makes you feel like a coldhearted murderer. After twenty seconds of tense stalemate, my nerve failed me and the chicken walked free. I returned to the house to seek reinforcements to finish the job.
We resorted to Phase Two — shooting him with a paintball gun.
As it transpires, a paintball gun is insufficient to kill a tough chicken. The paintballs merely hurt the chicken enough to make the shooter feel like a really horrible person who tortures small animals.
Phase Three consisted of Connor chasing Jumper in a futile attempt to strangle him in the most humane way possible. (Notice the omission of the word "catching.")
It’s impossible to strangle a chicken when said chicken realizes you’re attempting to strangle it and instantly transforms into a raging demon bird that will do anything and everything in its power to escape.** That attempt marks the only occasion in my life that I have fled a chicken coop in terror.
At last came Phase Four. It was simply time. We had dilly-dallied for long enough, and I took a shovel and —
I’m going to censor that part, but if you need a visual aid, think of the shower scene in "Psycho."
*Or, as I like to refer to them, his hos. Hoes? Ho's? Houghs?
**including, but not limited to, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.