FROM THE DESK OF: Deo
This week Aiza, Nina, and I talked about what it was like growing up in an immigrant family. We shared memories of pig roasts and mentioned that some of our family members had chickens as pets. It reminded me of that brief period of time my family also had chickens. Here, I will share that story which I wrote in college back in 2004.
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It was a lovely evening. The stars were out, a warm light breeze ran through the streets, and the pale moonlight made sure they were being peaceful. I had school in the morning but I didn’t bother setting the alarm. I didn’t have to anymore because they would do the job for me. They always did the job for me.
As the night passed by, I slept a deep slumber until the darkness faded into dawn. It was then that I was once again awoken by that god-awful sound.
“BOK BOK BOK BOK….”
It was five o’clock and I could have slept for one more hour if it weren’t for those goddamn chickens. It had been like this for several months now. It started with a trip to Bakersfield. We were visiting relatives whom my family calls “The Farm Boys.” The drive was long and boring, but at least I could take solice in enjoying the great scenery: endless fields of dead yellow grass.
When we arrived, the first thing I noticed was the smell of moth balls. It was so pervasive I could almost swim in it. I also noticed the interior tapped the spirit of a Jeff Foxworthy special on Comedy Central. The one where he says something like “If you’re watching television on top of a non working television – you’re probably at one of my relative’s house.” I then thought to myself, does this mean I might be a redneck?
They had lunch prepared when we stepped in the door. It was surprisingly very delicious. I guess one advantage of being a farmer is having fresh food to eat. Even their chicken was fresh. So fresh in fact, that I could tell they slaughtered it a few hours earlier.
They were very nice people and my family was very gracious of their hospitality. After the meal, they wanted to give us a present for making the long trip. My parents were never one to say no to free stuff, no matter how useless or inappropriate it would be, so naturally they were ecstatic when my uncles decided to give away two young chickens.
Holy crap, I thought to myself. What in the SAM FUCK are we going to do with these chickens? Seriously, is there any other livestock they’d like us to raise? A cow perhaps?
My Dad decided to lock them up in a cage on our backyard. It was very cute for the first couple weeks.
But then they started to mature.
They became more belligerent. Their calls resonated through the house and they would fight constantly. Worst of all they would do it for hours at a time. I almost felt bad for the hen who had no place to run when the rooster raped the living bejeezus out of her. A flurry of feathers and wings would bounce up and down their small cage. I wouldn’t even really call it a cage as much as I would call it a small table with metal wires around it.
Up until then, we had been a pretty normal family. We did about our business just like everyone else in the neighborhood. But now with the addition of our pets, we were different. We no longer blended in with our community; we were now that ghetto-ass house that somehow managed to have barnyard animals. During discussions about pets, people would talk about how cute their dog or cat was. I was stuck with the reply of “Oh me, well you see um…. I RAISE CHICKENS!”
My Dad thought they were great. He considered them his own little garbage disposals. I was constantly being told not to throw my left-overs in the trash. “What are you doing? Don’t throw that away, go outside and feed it to the chickens.” Nevermind that it will smell like a dead cat, we have LIVES to feed!
One day, I was eating KFC when I was reminded over the phone to feed them. I thoroughly searched the kitchen for chicken-food (read: garbage) but couldn’t find any. I was contemplating whether I should just let them starve to death, but when I looked down at my bucket, a light bulb in my head turned on. All I’m going to say is that our chickens committed a fowl offense and leave it at that.
The combination of violent outbursts, chicken shit, and rotten decaying food made our back area filthy and intolerable. They had to be separated. We moved the hen to the other side of the backyard and for a time, this seemed to reduce their noise level.
Unfortunately though, the neighbor’s dog was behind the fence where the hen was moved. The dog would dig his paws under the fence which made the hen go crazy. This in turn made the rooster go crazy, which in turn made all the neighborhood animals howl like hyenas. It quickly became like a scene from Jumanji. I half expected Ace Ventura to bust open my door and go “Alrighty then!”
They were too much, I couldn’t take it anymore. I desperately wanted to chop off their heads or at the very least, kick the shit out of them. Since I could do neither, I did the next best thing: I took a hose and sprayed the chickens full blast with water.
“For the love of God, shut the hell up!”
I yelled in anger as I made sure to aim the hose directly at their heads. Regretfully, my brilliant idea did not work as it only intensified their calling. To make matters worse, a few neighbors would come over and berate them during their sleep (the only time they didn’t annoy me).
“Cocka-doodle-doo.” My neighbor mocked.
“Idiot, don’t fucking do that cause that makes them–”
“BOK BOK BOK BOK…”
Damnit, now they’re going to be like that for hours .
And just when I think it couldn’t get any worse, the hen started laying eggs. Now there were like seven of those little fuckers running around. The daily scenes of Jumanji almost made me go insane. They were too much of a hassle and the madness had to stop. I begged and pleaded and begged some more that we get rid of them somehow.
They were delicious.