Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, December 5, 2008

Back to backwards

I've arrived at the conclusion, after much angst, that my new "reader friendly version" of the story was unmanageable. As much as I tried, I could not get the HTML errors out, and every time I tried to correct the format, more HTML errors returned. Therefore, I have gone backwards a step.

In order to read this opus, which is much like Moby Dick, except lacking its beautiful prose, social relevance and plot, one must scroll all the way down to the bottom, read the first post, scroll back up to the second post, and so on.

If you make the effort, I guarantee it will either make you laugh, or say "What is wrong with this person?" Either way, it's entertainment!

God bless you all.

And, I must add, Burty, R.I.P. My condolences, davids.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

XVII. 7/20/08

She had to tend to the niceties. Death Chicken Watch filmed while she led the shackled Snake B. Bauer to the paddy-wagon. A mass of onlookers assembled, no doubt the result of live coverage. Rows of RV's lined the walk to the paddy-wagon, and camera flashes nearly blinded Grimironie. When she shut him in, the crowd cheered. She couldn't wait to escape. Three crept up next to her. Among the din, she heard a distinct and snarky laugh. She turned and saw a striking woman in a trench coat, red stilettos and a fedora. She held a bison fraise on a leash. As he shook his little head, his pink tam bobbed.

Could it be? Grimironie wondered. Then, like mist, ephemeral, the woman disappeared into the crowd.

Three put his hand on her shoulder. "Shoot me with a clue-gun," Grimironie whispered.

"Oh chief!" Three called. "I think Grim left her pen back there. Gotta go get it."

Chief Kalel flashed a manly smile, which meant, "Okay! Go get that pen, you crazy kids!"

She nodded at Three, and they set off on their ATV's.

* * * * * * * * * *

They ripped through the hidden valley and climbed the western hill. The terrain grew too steep; they dismounted and climbed on foot. The sun began to descend over the hills. At the summit, Grimironie gasped and Three gaped; they saw Poultreus in the distance.

Death Chickens had set themselves in a semi-circle, preening their feathers and attempting to look sultry in a Death Chicken sort of way. In the center, Poultreus frolicked with the largest pullet known to man: Capon Frank. His feathers gleamed pure white. He was magnificent.

From a far off portable stereo, Debby Boone's classic vocals spread good feelings amongst the hens as Poultreus tossed a beach ball to Capon Frank:

...You light up my life
You give me hope
To carry on
You light up my days
and fill my nights with song...

Frank playfully tossed the ball back to Poultreus. He caught it. They hugged as best as they could considering the size difference and Frank's clawed feet.
Grimironie shed a tear, and quickly wiped it away. Could she baste him now? She remembered davids's words to her and noted Poultreus's face. It was full of adoration. She acknowledged the change within her.

"That's so precious," Three whispered.

He was right. She dropped her baster and stood. She looked Three in the eye.
"I can't take Frank," she said. Three smiled. "All this time, by chasing Capon Frank, I was chasing something to fill the vacancy in my life where love should be. But I found love instead. Billy Ray MacHaggis III, you are my vacant someone."

Three beamed. Then he took her in his arms and gave her the wettest and most passionate kiss that has ever been seen against a North Dakota sunset.

Afterwards, they turned to Poultreus and gave a triumphant wave. He waved back.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

XVI. 7/9/08

Somewhere behind her, Capon Frank lay in hiding. The urge to turn and find him was hen-pecking her, but she had to put it out of her mind. She had to focus.

The troops assembled. Their position was fortuitous; a niche in the Black Hills protected their flanks. Her radar showed the Porks' approach: imminent.

Her breath shortened and she broke into a sweat. This would be it. A resolution would come one way or another. It was too much suspense. She jumped off Mongoose and took a few steps forward. Any action was better than waiting for the onslaught.

Then she saw them: a swarm of black flecks like a million lentils dotted the horizon. The dots grew to pinto beans, then limas and then green beans. They stopped. Legumes were never the best side dish for poultry. She'd have recourse.

Something silver glinted among the Porks. Her heart leapt, and she turned. "Sautee them boys!" she roared. The first wave of D.C.D.A.'s rushed towards her, and she took to Mongoose. She'd be the first to tenderize pork, the first to make a scaloppini.

Bam! Bam! Bam! Emeril would be proud. Perhaps even Bobby Flay, she thought as she hammered through the front line. Haskins and Robie Ae reached her sides, hacking easily like a Scot through haggis. Crispy followed closely behind, sprinkling paprika onto the flattened hams. It occurred to her that he had found true love.

"He shall live to see his love!" she grunted to herself as she smashed, leaving prime chops in her wake. She would not rush ahead, despite the silver ATV trailing off in the distance. Bauer was circling the outcrop of rock. She would not leave Crispy again.

Her tenderizer met its mark each time. More of her precinct bolstered her sides. These Porks were no Death Chickens. They were much shorter, and had no feathers. Their numbers were greater, but they fell below the pummeling of skilled poultry harvesters.

Bam, bam bam! Their numbers were endless. Bauer had long disappeared.

A rain of teriyaki flattened the Porks before her. Brilliant! She chanced a glance back to view the baster. It was Three! His pecks gleamed in newly-waxed goodness as he pointed a fifty-gauge baster from each hand. He caught her eye and yelled, "Get Snake!" She watched him cock and reload.

Crispy rolled past her. "Go girlie!" he croaked. His wink said, "Get thine arse in gear.

That was all she needed. She revved Mongoose and spun out in the direction of Bauer's path.

* * * * * * * * *

The Porks fell in her path like falafel onto a plate. Though tough and stringy, they softened with a few blows. Bauer's ATV left clear tracks, and she was soon behind the line of Porks and heading toward retribution.

A narrow cave loomed ahead. Had Bauer discovered a back door to the Death Chickens? Had he already found Frank? She shifted and ran full-out. The smell of Asian spices followed her. Three was okay! She briefly thought of fried rice.

The pass through the rock was dark. She ducked against booby-traps, but found none. Bauer was running fast after Frank.

The tunnel opened into a hidden valley among the hills. She saw Bauer ahead, battling Death Chickens. They were mad with pullet fury and pecked viciously. He'd slayed several with ranch dressing, but his limbs ran red from their relentless pecking.

She couldn't get a clear shot at him, and had precious little marinade to spare. She ran Mongoose in closer.

Poultreus was not near; no doubt he was guarding Frank as a last line of defense to his father's legacy.

"Bauer!" she bellowed at full volume. He hesitated enough for a Death Chicken to knock him several feet from his ATV. The Death Chickens closed in, but he pulled out an automatic baster and fired at his perimeter.

Fifty yards: he was losing and she was smiling. She grabbed her back-up baster, and the ground shook. Clouds of smoke obscured everything: cloves. Yucky. The Death Chickens fell back, gagging.

Grimironie didn't stop. He was closing the distance to his ATV. As he mounted, she crashed into it (on purpose, for the record). He lay prone, flat on his back. She basted him with a basting fury she had never known before. It was Handy Manly's special recipe: beetroot. She used it all. Her baster clicked several times as she pulled the trigger after her ammo had been spent. Bauer rose.

"You think marinade will stop me, wattle-head?"

"Wattle-head? That's lame."

He hitched and coughed. If he got closer, she'd cold-cock him with her weapon. Bauer shook, yet moved forward. He turned red and broke out into boils. "W.T.F.?" he squealed.

"I have no use for acronyms," she spat. The bulbous protrusions from his body slowed his approach.

"What ...marinade?" he gasped, grabbing his throat.

"Beet-root, baby. Beet-root all the way."

"I'm allergic!" he coughed.

Grimironie grabbed a shish-kabob skewer from her backpack and burst one of Bauer's boils. It splattered on her shoe. Gross. She tossed the skewer aside. Within minutes he convulsed on the ground. The Death Chickens had disaappeared. She watched Bauer's agony in morbid fascination. It was like being sucked into an episode of the Tellytubbies, but far more disgusting. She lost all thought and watched in mindless enthrallment.

The roar of an engine broke her stupor.

Friday, June 13, 2008

XV. 6/13/08

The Badlands. They were bad. And bumpy.

Grimironie judged that she'd catch up to Poultreus by noon. High noon.

A few cryptic messages from Crispy reassured her. They were heading for her projected coordinates. She wondered if Three had recovered. Would he be there?

* * * * * * *

Red sun at morning: sailor's warning. Red sun at night: sailor's delight. This maxim was burned into her psyche as a child. Perhaps her mom sensed that it would be pertinent in her adulthood, yet... yet, she was far from the ocean.

"I defy prophecy!" she yelled to a gaggle of Canadian geese who were busy pooping on a nearby golf course. They appeared unmoved by her declaration. She questioned her sanity. She questioned her fortitude. She questioned her last pedicure choice: coral. Was it appropriate?

The internal agony ceased once she passed the rugged foothills and saw the vast field before her. Poultreus herded the Death Chickens through a narrow pass. She pulled to a halt.

This was the last stand. This was the ground that she must hold.

* * * * * * * * *

Grimironie Von Farmer, grand-daughter of the great Otto Von Farmer, assessed the battlegrounds. With a mass of white rock behind her, she knew that any Porks who passed beyond her line would clam victory.

She texted Crispy. He texted back, "brb."

Within an hour, hundreds of D.C.D.A.'s rappeled down the cliffs behind her, and hundreds more parachuted on the field before her. She popped an Altoid and waited.

More choppers came. She stood taller. Her army had arrived.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

XIV. 5/28/08

The Death Chickens made a clear path for her to follow, but they made a clear path for Bauer as well. She ran Mongoose hard, stopping only once for four new tires and a tract bar adjustment and once for gas-n-goes. The tracks had long dried and were covered with pollen; she had a lot of ground to cover before she caught up with them.

Plan after plan fell flat as she sped north by northwest. Her army was far behind; she'd let her emotion get the better of her again. If she hadn't broken the unspoken rule among D.C.D.A.'s - don't get jiggy a a brat-fest with your partner- she might have thought through her actions.

She turned Mongoose's tracking chip back on. Even if Bauer's chest-hair grew up past his eyes and obscurd his vision, which would be possible with extra Rogaine, he would be able to follow her. The fast flight had obliterated the possibility of stealth.

Thirty seconds passed before Crispy's hologram popped up. It kept pace with her.

"Ah, ducklin'. Whatcher doin'?" he sighed.

"I don't know," she answered while steering over rough terrain. "I lost it again."

"Why're you headin' to the Dakotas?"

So that's where they were going. She'd read about the Dakotas as a school girl. There was one north, and one south. Their capitals were... they were..."

"Grimironie!" Crispy yelled.

"Uh! Umm. I'm following a stampede."

"Fer what good reason?"

"Poultreus. He's leading them. Taking Frank out of Bauer's reach."

"Tha's not likely, girl. Whacha think's goin' to happen when he catches up an' you're without backup? You plan to take on the Porks on your own? You think I could have made it on my own without apostrophes? We all need help sometimes. Ask fer help."

"Help!" Grimironie yelled.

"Done." Crispy smiled. His hologram vanished.

She felt like the field grew smoother and her breathing came easier. "Bismark!" she blurted triumphantly.

* * * * * * *

"Sweet ranch!" Maestro said to Chief Kalel, "where are the chicks?"

"You have a one-track mind. I've transported them to another farm for their safety." Even the egg incubators were empty.

Crispy limped over and whispered something in the Chief's ear.

"Time to move out! Kalel screamed. The troops roared in approval.

Friday, May 16, 2008

XXIII. 5/15/08

It was near noon. Grimironie sped north past the last Death Chicken sighting. Bauer's cries of agony still echoed in her mind; they spurred her on.

She saw movement on the horizon. She was near. As she closed the gap, she saw Death Chickens milling through the fields. She'd only encountered them when they were on the rampage, but there they were, as placid as sitting ducks, except that they weren't ducks. They were Death Chickens.

She slowed. They could be an easy kill, but they weren't her mission. A dark figure moved among them. She was down-wind; they wouldn't smell her. The figure became clearer. It raised a hand, and a Death Chicken lowered its beak to his hand. It had to be Poultreus. His laced feed: here was the result.

He sensed her approach before the Chickens did, and he walked towards her. She stepped off Mongoose, overcome by curiousity.

"Here they are, in their natural state," he said. "We can mainstream them, as long as they get their meds. In time, conditioning will take over. The meds won't be necessary."

Grimironie was entranced but skeptical. "You can't be sure of that," she whispered.

"Oh, I can," Poultreus said. "It worked on Frank."






"Snap out of it." Grimironie bit her lip. This development could open up a whole new market: Death Chicken farming. She'd be out of a job. There was always fishing for Alaskan King Crab, but she didn't like the cold or the high seas. He mind was swimming.

"Bauer's behind me," she said. "I breaded his troops. He's not happy."

Poultreus's patently calm demeanor faltered, and then re-emerged. "I've got to get Frank to a safe haven." He turned and ran towards the Death Chickens. Then Grimironie saw a sight she'd remember for the rest of her life. Poultreus pulled a saddle out of nowhere, mounted a Death Chicken and ran the flock northwest in a stampede.

She walked back to Mongoose at a loss. She'd have to revise her plan. It had been simple, but life was never simple.

* * * * * * * *

She calculated that she'd have five hours before Bauer's army closed the gap. It would be close, but it could be done. She remembered the children of the corn and their corn husk arches. "Use what you've got," she grumbled as she started weaving husks into facsimilies of D.C.D.A.'s.

She'd have carpal tunnel for sure, but she worked quickly. The finishing touch was harder. If only she hadn't dropped AP Origami in high school! It was sketchy, but from a distance the figure resembled her atop Mongoose, waving a .50 gauge baster. Then she laced the field with garlic bombs. If they didn't slow Bauer, then at least she'd be able to smell his approach. She looked at her radar; they were twenty minutes away. The sun was nearing the horizon. She left Mongoose's lights off as she drove after Poultreus.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

XXII. 5/14/08

She sat under the flourescent lights for hours. Three slept; he was not conscious when they brought him out of recovery. It was unbearable. She wouldn't be able to assess the damage until he woke. She sat by his side, jumping at every hitch in his breath.


She was the bad partner. She'd put so much energy into scrutinizing his weaknesses that she hadn't paid any attention to her own. First, she cost Crispy his leg, and now, and now...

The doctor said he's have a fair recovery. Fair? She'd left him behind in her ardor. No partner was safe with her.

He stirred; she bristled. He started mumbling, "Grrrrm ... trans-fat! ... chest hair..." It was torture. She put on the T.V. to distract herself.

A jingly jingle brightened the commercial break. A small boy, cherubic, graced the screen. "I'm hungry!" he gasped.

A fluffy pig puppet waddled next to him and smiled, "I'm Pigsy Porkster! I want to be your bacon!" The adorable boy hugged the puppet. Overhead, an angle swiped a tear.

Grimironie's teeth clenched. She stood in reaction. I'll make some bacon! she muttered while grabbing her jacket.

Three stirred again. He grunted, "No! ...pork rinds. Don't eat them, fool!" She leaned over and caressed his hair.

"It's okay, Billy-Ray MacHaggis III. You're safe."

He rubbed his hospital gown and muttered, "Stubble! I have stubble!"

He eyes teared. It must have been from the dryness of the radiator. "Get well," she choked, "You're better off here. I'm getting Frank, and Bauer. He'll hang from his sideburns before the next sunset."

* * * * * * * *

She sped maniacally up the Wisconsin Trail, bump-drafting deer and squashing gophers. In her mind, she saw Three over and over. The surgeon said, "He may be left with only a five-pack of abs. We won't know until the swelling goes down." She bit her lip. The worst-case scenario was abominable.

* * * * * * * * *

The sun rose over Bauer's camp. His victory looked inevitable, but his Porks hadn't risen. "Lazy slobs!" he bellowed.

They crunched; they slowly rose to their feet amidst Italian herbs. They had been egged and breaded! He howled insanely.

Friday, May 2, 2008

XXI. 5/2/08

The carnage was legendary. The Porks' archers attacked first, and launched ten thousand pork rinds at the D.C.D.A. army. Grimironie's men could barely move without crunching.

"Don't eat them!" Three screamed above the din,"They're full of trans-fat!"

The Pork foot-soldiers ran forward and met them mid-field. Basters shot in rapid fire; the air was rife with savory herbs. Porks battered D.C.D.A.'s with slabs of bacon. The ground was slick with congealed fat.

Grimironie fought through the onslaught, determined to reach Bauer, who hid behind his minions. She had to forego her baster, best only for long-range combat, and wield her meat tenderizer. She struck Pork after Pork, leaving a trail of pounded filets in her wake. Her Pork-lust was blinding. She saw only manly chest hair taunting her from the horizon, and every Pork in her way way a chop ready for harvest.

The Porks were too dense and Mongoose could go no farther. She leapt over the handlebars and somersaulted before landing amidst the enemy. She batted them quickly. They broke with dull thuds and dropped to her sides. She fought on despite the sharp pain in her arms. Left, right, duck! Duck! Duck! Goose! She blocked with her spatula and hit with her tenderizer until a clearing formed around her. The Porks began to retreat.

She spun and scanned her perimeter. Porks rushed back, away from her reach. She charged forward, but they were too fast. Grimironie, runner of the twelve-minute mile, could not keep up. Mongoose was far behind. Bauer was gone. Cowards.

She turned back on aching limbs. Her men had not fared as well. Many were on the ground, pulling bacon bits from their eyes. She counted those from her precinct: Ben Bradley had torn his best spandex, Maestro ran down-field sporting a newly fashioned Pork ear necklace and yelling "Who's your daddy! Who's your daddy!" Robie Ae stood firm, Kate rolled in with scores of Pork scalps dragging behind her ATV. Ewww. She didn't see Three. She didn't see Three!

"Grim!" Crispy yelled. She bolted in his direction instantly. Crispy looked okay. Her heart slowed. She breathed in. Then she saw the hand he held, and the tuft of blonde hair he exposed as he pulled away short ribs and a large pork tenderloin. She knelt beside him. He still had a pulse. Three was unconscious.

She scooped him up and carried him to high ground. She could not speak or think. She didn't even want tea. The choppers landed, and the E.M.T.'s took over.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

XX. 4/29/08

The men and women before her stared in anticipation. She saw those from her precinct along with scores of unfamiliar warriors. Even Chief Kalel joined, and sported a smashingly trendy new cape.

"I see my countrymen, poultrymen, who have come to battle the Porks!" she yelled. "You gather behind me, Grimironie Von Farmer!"

A tangy D.C.D.A from a foreign precinct shouted, "You're not Grimironie Von Farmer! She's ten feet tall and has a better rack!" The crowd murmured in agreement.

"Aye!" Grimironie commanded, ""She's ten feet tall with a better rack!" She drove Mongoose back and forth in front of the masses. "And she shoots microwaves through her eyes! And marinade out of her arse!"

The crowd fell silent. Three coughed and shook his head "no." "That just didn't sound right." He said. She nodded in understanding.

"So anyways," she continued, "I am Grimironie Von Farmer! And I say, they can take our cul-de-sacs, they can take our commercial airtime, but they Can't Take Our Poultry!"

The army before her stomped and screamed. She was a hit! Cool.

"Grim!" Crispy barked. She turned around. The ugliest, stinkiest horde of Porks had assembled across the field. Far behind them, atop the hill was a familiar figure upon a gleaming ATV: Snake B. Bauer. "They're sending a messenger to give their terms!"

Grimironie turned on Mongoose and sped to the center of the field. Two Porks rode to meet her with a meatpacking parchment. The taller of the Porks ceremoniously unwrapped the parchment from a slab of bacon, and dropped the bacon onto the grass.

"Bauer's terms." The Pork scoffed. "Remove all of your chicken farmers from Wisconsin. He will grant you a right to all states from Georgia to Baja California southward, provided that no D.C.D.A.'s venture into his territory..."

Grimironie circled the Porks as the tall one read.

"Sign a contract which binds all of your cereal rights, and agree to purchase all chickenfeed from Pigsy Porkster." The Pork trembled under Grimironie's forceful stare.

"You can tell Bauer to sell his mama to a vanity press for all I care. I'll give you my conditions... tell Bauer to turn tail and run now, or I'll have you all encased in the world's largest can of Spam, and put you on display for the delight of all the school children in the United States of America, so that they can laugh and frolic at your demise!"

The Porks grunted, "It's your funeral!"

"I'm not done yet!" Grimironie continued, "And tell Bauer that I'll wax him from head to toe, and take out billboards across the country proclaiming that he's lost all of his testosterone!"

The taller Pork snorted, "You're fricassee! Up you're's"

"I'll show you what you get for bad spelling," Grimironie whispered as she sped back to her men.

"Kate Thornton!" She yelled, "Take your snipers and flee! Circle around behind the Porks, and hold the high ground behind them!"

Kate winked, "Niiice."

"Let them see you flee!" Grimironie instructed.

"Yeah, well, you can't miss it, can you?" Kate said. "Look, we're fleeing everyone! Didja notice that? Ray Charles would see it if he were still here. Fleeing. Fleeing. Here we go." Her voice diminished as she left. "Still fleeing now! Obvious to everyone..."

What a gal!

"D.C.D.A.'s!" Grimironie yelled, "Don't shoot until you can smell their trichinosis!"

Her army coughed and laughed.

"What the heck; shoot when they're in range!"

"No kidding," said Haskins.

The army prepared for the onslaught. A thousand basters cocked in unison.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

XIX. 4/22/08

Three rose from the hot spring. He flicked back his hair, and the droplets of water glistened like crystals against the sunrise.

"Hiya kids, har har," Crispy laughed. Grimironie jumped. She hadn't even heard his ATV approach.

"What are you doing out in the field?" she asked, "I thought you gave up overtime."

Three walked over in his bathrobe and squatted on a rock. Crispy coughed. "Yeah, well, ducklin', I got a little inside info. Word on the street is, well..."


"Bauer's been recruitin'. He's buildin' an army they say."

"Who says?"

"Aye, there, yanno, I got my sources. You just watch yourself."

"Give me a little more. I can't do much with that."

"It's an army of Porks. Tha's what I hear."

Grimironie's jaw dropped. Her years of paranoia had come to fruition, and she had been right all along. "Oscar Mayer!" she cursed.

"Worse," Crispy said. "Think bigger."

* * * * * * * *

The crack of the whip urged the men onwards until the grand oak creaked and uprooted. They pushed the fallen tree into a pit where it smoldered. A score of pigs turned on rotisseries above the burning trees: food for the men.

Bauer stood above the sty and watched the form within the mire writhe and struggle. As it rose from the dung, it looked more like a man. Bauer slapped his hand upon the being's face, leaving his mark. The mark was clear; it identified his minion. Each minion bore the same mark: Pigsy Porkster. The Pork rose and glowered. Bauer smiled.

* * * * * * * * *

Grimironie and Three doubled surveillance and shortened their trips. She took seismographs each hour, and Three set up booby-traps around their camp each night.

He climbed into her tent. "If this ends badly," Three said and paused poignantly, "I just want you to know, you can count on me until the end. The very end. The last, final end, for example, if you or I die, I'll be fighting. I'll baste until the last clove is gone. You know what I'm saying? The End. Fine'. Caput. Un gats. No more."

"Okay," she said. She got the point. "But let's not plan on that." Three smiled. She continued, "Tell me about your marinades."

"Now we're talking business," he grinned. "I want to first say a few words about extra-virgin olive oil..." He relayed his innermost seasoning secrets into the wee hours. When she closed her eyes, a few hours before sun-up, she knew that she had found a real partner, someone who knew when to use fennel, and when to opt for thyme.

Her plan just might work.

* * * * * * * * *

They pushed on into the wilds of Wisconsin. Occasionally, locals would emerge from their quaint ranches and wave. Now and then, they'd see a D.C.D.A. flag raised alongside a Packers flag in someone's front yard. The people were behind her, at least in a secondary fan incarnation, and that was enough.

They turned into a large field, and twenty-plus choppers descended. Grimironie swallowed hard, but saw Crispy's private helicopter and regained her composure. Gristle's chopper landed nearest to them. She and Three stood upright, shoulders back, and did their best to look intelligent, yet hip.

"Your samples have rendered some interesting results," Gristle said, staring meaningfully into their eyes. He handed Grimironie a spreadsheet. It showed that gas prices were certain to go up, and that the chickenfeed had been laced with Wellbutrin.

"Should I turn in Mongoose for a green ATV?" she asked.

"That can come in time," Gristle instructed. "What you need to find out is why Poultreus is calming the Death Chickens."

Indeed. Excel never failed.

D.C.D.A.'s from her base and afar assembled in a line, and the choppers took off. She saw Maestro, clad in a chic Hawaiian shirt and Ray-bans. He approached her with a Hawaiian surfer boy. She nodded. The surfer spoke: "I've brought an army from My Island. We're willing to fight with the famed Grimironie Von Farmer, and kill the Porks." Maestro nodded his approval.

"Will you fight my enemies? Why should I believe in your allegiance?"

"Ha!" he laughed. And looked towards the sky. "Did you hear that, Pele? She asks for my allegiance!" He turned back towards her. "The lava flows south, and you hate agent scams. That is enough for me. Besides, I've seen you on cable. I can tell you're good people."

Three gave her a quizzical glance.

"All right then," she said, "if you say so." She knew it was lame, but she had a really bad cramp and wanted to get moving again. She jumped on Mongoose and drove back and forth in front of the hundreds of D.C.D.A.'s and surfers who had come from afar.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

XVIII. 3/25/08

They sat in the chamber. Poultreus began his tale:

"I am not the original Poultreus. My father told me all he knew. He was a greater man than I. He foresaw a society where poultry could claim their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of corn. This he instilled in me."

He paused.

"Some of the rumors were false. He had no hand in the Great Roast, and his research on chickens had been perverted by his superiors. I don't say this lightly; none were superior to him. He was undone by the premature emancipation of Death Chickens. His goal was to create a self-sustaining utopia for chickens, but they freed the birds in the midst of his trials. His grief was maddening. Only the companionship of one lone rooster kept him from giving in to self-annihilation. I see the look in your eyes. Yes. Capon Frank.

Frank was his childhood companion. He looked after him as he would a son, a genetically experimental son ensured a long life through regular facials and collagen implants. His last words to me were, "Look after Frank. Keep him safe. I am alive in his survival."

I studied at Rensselaer, and then at Cornell. My life's work has been to protect and care for Capon Frank. My Dad loved him dearly. It is my tribute.

And here I am, entertaining two poultry mercenaries on the quest to kill him. I see your basters. You have the spice, and you think you control the universe. I think there's one worse than you, no less lethal, but mentally incapable of ethics: Snake B. Bauer.

I ask too much. I'm asking you to stand against Snake, protect Frank and walk away. Leave him the half-believed legend that he is, to descend into myth and continue his peaceful life."

"Peaceful!" Grimironie blurted, "Half a dozen families say otherwise! They're homeless!"

"It wasn't intentional," Poultreus answered, "those homes were baited. Bauer's been busy."

"Prove it," she hissed.

Poultreus grabbed his remote and ran surveillance tape of Snake B. Bauer in a gated cul-de-sac. There was no question; he'd laden the neighborhood with chickenfeed.

She thought of Uncle Otto. There had to be justice!

Poultreus foresaw her reaction. "I remember an old colleague, Bartholomew, who complained that he missed all of the good drama. I took him to Frank, explained the story. Once he met Frank, he fell in love as surely as any nubile woman would love Orlando Bloom. He stuck with me, despite the stalkers and the feds. Soon I had a group of allies- Barty, Dolores Haze, Talps, Squicky Voyager, Melanie Hoo, Anthony- they fought with me, kept Frank's whereabouts a secret. One tragic day, I lost them all. They were lured into a time-share condo brunch with promises of mimosas, and Bauer was behind it. Not one of them made it out without putting money down on time-shares in Florida. The time and effort they had to put into cancelling their contracts was all consuming. I never saw them again after they received their legal bills. Life can be that cruel." He stopped, and gave them time to let it sink in.

* * * * *

They took off their blindfolds and set off on their ATV's. It was near dawn. She saw the silver RV, but too late. Snake B. Bauer had set a trap around his camp, and they had run straight into it. She was off of her game. The spike strip had thrown them from their vehicles, and they were trapped in a net.

"You came to me! I had no idea you could be so stupid. I overestimated you both." Snake gloated.

Grimironie was working on unwedging her hand from Three's clavicle. The net was constricting. One wrong move, and she'd be pinned by his pecs.

"Go on!" Grimironie shouted.

Snake was dense enough to let her buy time. "One real man versus a pretty boy and an angry girl: who wins? Me, that's who. You have no match for my testosterone and manly chest hair."

"Sweater" Three muttered. Their ensuing giggles and twitching set her hand free. She grabbed the keys from her pocket and remote-started Mongoose. Snake spun around. She cut the net with her swiss army knife, and they struck the ground.

Now she had Snake, mano a mano. He squealed like a spring chicken. She descended upon him instantly with a roll of duct tape. Grandpa Otto would have been proud.

They held him steady and man-scaped his chest hair. "Do we leave him?" Three asked after he added the finishing touches with the electric trimmer: "I I I."

"Yes." Grimironie said. They had no legal claim for arrest, at least, none that would ensure his permanent removal from Death Chicken hunting. She instinctively knew Snake would lose a day getting chest hair extensions at his stylist.

They rode off. Ole Plucky hadn't been avenged yet. It would have to be something more grand to honor his memory.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

XVII 3/5/08 Poultreus

Los del Rio's music and lyrics had put her in a trance, but her English Breakfast Tea brought her back to herself. What had she done? What would the Chief say? Nonetheless, she folded the Packer's jersey tenderly and placed it in her dufflebag. She felt more limber. A Capon Frank sighting couldn't come soon enough.

Gristle called at last. "It's unprecedented," he said. "The flora in the seed mix is common, but the synthesized pellets are a derivative of steroids and DNA-anti-actualization-morphifyers. Nothing like this has ever been recorded. It's the work of pure genius."

"But is the genius malevolent, or just not so bad?" Grimironie asked in her most stoic and inquisitive tone.

"Only its creator knows."

* * * *

She and Three spoke very little as they set off for the Wisconsin dells. She blushed at him a few times, but neither spoke about the night before, thank Purdue. Mid-day brought a new surprise: more baited fields. It was the same mix they had encountered before. The culprit couldn't be far off.

It was time for a stake-out. They drove several miles and circled back after sunset. She didn't realize that she had dozed off. A rustling woke her; it was so very close.

"So, you want to know the truth?" She turned groggily to face the speaker. He was a tall, African-American man in a leather overcoat.

"Yes, I do," she said. Grimironie rose. Three jumped to his feet.

"Those who seek the truth," said the mystery man,"seek it because it is the truth, and no other answer will suffice. Truth is beauty, and beauty truth, and if the sky is falling, well then, duck."

This mystery man was a brilliant sage, no doubt. She said, "Show me."

The man held out both hands. "In one hand: the blue pill. You will take it and forget all that I have said. In the other hand: the red pill. Take that, and you descend into the chicken coop."

He could be only one man. "Poultreus," she breathed.

"Yes. Your choice." He handed the pills to her. Each had a mark engraved on it, "m" and "m."

"These are freakin' M&M's!"

"Don't belittle the joys of M&M Mars!" he replied. She ate the red M&M. "I'll show you my work. Gather your things and follow me."

* * * *
Poultreus. He had been a myth, a boogeyman whose fantastic tales were told to children as a warning, and whispered in the back rooms of Death Chicken Academy. "Don't try to domesticate a Death Chicken or Poultreus will send them after you" was recited by countless parents whose children had taken an interest in livestock.

It was said that he once was a radical young food geneticist whose work set the grounds for chicken gianticism. They say he implanted thousands of eggs with a recessive gene which would become active once the Death Chickens acclimated to the wild. They say that he knew about PETA's plans for sabotage, and some say he planned The Great Roast himself. In wilder tales, he implanted himself with chicken genes, and had become a monstrosity.

He looked like a man, a normal, yet dashing and ageless man with good fashion sense. She smelled good too; his cologne was intruiging with a hint of citrus, yet not overpowering. Three's cologne was slightly musky, yet pleasant. It wasn't Grey Flannel; she couldn't quite place it. Crispy would know...

"This way." Poultreus commanded. Grimironie and Three exchanged looks. The chicken coop looked impossibly small for three adults.

"After you," Grimironie said. Poultreus crawled into the coop. Three entered next. Her back-up baster was ready. She followed and fell.

As she descended, she made contact with an incline. It was pitch black. She spiraled downwards- a twirly slide!

Once at the bottom, Poultreus led the way through a maze of retinal scanners, fingerprint scanners, elbow scanners, and a computerized Soduku test. By the last lay skeletal remains of many who had foiled the first security measures, but fell prey to the irresistible grid of numbers, and wasted away in mathematical intoxication. Sad.

Friday, February 29, 2008

XVI. 2/29/08 heh heh heh

"Someone's been baiting the fields," Three said.


"Look over here." Grimironie crouched down and examined the pile of birdseed. There was something in it, something man-made. She pulled a vial from her pocket, donned latex gloves and carefully scooped up a sampling. Background music and artistic close-ups of she and Three looking pensive added to the drama as they marked off the fields with flags and tied off a rope grid to plot the evidence.

"We have to send this to the lab," she said. "I'm calling Gristle." Three nodded grimly. When the chopper landed, they gave their most serious and purposeful stares.

Gristle studied the vial; his blue eyes revealed that he was thinking many intelligent thoughts.

"What is it? Do you know?" Grimironie asked.

"It isn't Bam," Gristle mumbled, "I can't be sure. I have some ideas but I'll need a few hours to run tests. Good work. Right now you two need to get back on the case."

"Yes sir."

* * * *

They crossed the Wisconsin border. Had they run ahead of Capon Frank's path? Perhaps not. The Death Chickens they encountered were more frenetic, and strayed further from their usual feeding and nesting habits.

As they pulled into a pleasant little town for a decent meal and stay at a quality hotel, like a Comfort Inn, Grimironie searched for a silver trailer. She found none and relaxed a little. A banner announced "Annual Cheese and Brat-Fest." Heathens. She bit her tongue; she needed to loosen up a bit if she wanted to blend in with the locals.

They got seperate rooms at the Super 8. When Grimironie came out of the shower, she found a quaint Wisconsonian outfit draped across her bed: a Packers jersey and a pair of Wranglers. She was touched. She put them on, but left the cheese hat in the hotel room.

She met him at the festival. Three sat at an outdoor table. His white, silk shirt accentuated his man-cleavage, and his white pants said Look at me! I have joie de vivre! He waved a foam "We're Number One" hand when he spotted her.

"Exotic, isn't it?" Three smiled.

"Yes. And thank you for these," she said, curtsying as best as she could in the oversized jersey.

She was having the time of her life. Among the crowd of rowdy natives and full of Milwaukee's best, she wanted to abandon herself to the moment. She sauntered to a blazing garbage can, swilled her cup of beer, and dropped it into the flames. The melting plastic smoked like red-hot passion. Three walked to her.

The music swelled, and they danced the forbidden dance. She wanted the song to last forever- Hey! Marcarena!

Monday, February 25, 2008

XV. 2/25/08

She awoke hugging the bolster. A fuzzy blanket had been draped over her, and her neck was stiff. Too much oolong. Three was outside stoking the fire.

"Just don't talk too loud," he said, "I feel like my head's been pressed in a quesadilla." She was glad to see that she wasn't alone in her misery. She remembered blabbering about pork, the other white meat, with vehemence and blaming Oscar Mayer for the DCDAs' financial woes. She'd bored many people to sleep once she started on those rants.

Popcorn lay everywhere. Snake. Her ire returned, and with it the desire to do some unconventional basting. She packed up camp clumsily.

A young lad from a nearby farm stared at her from a distance. She smiled at him, and he moved in closer.

"I liek choklit mielk," he said.

"Me too," Grimironie answered. "What's your name, son?"

"Ben." He was an adorable little moppet who probably wanted an autograph.

"Is there something that you wanted to ask me?" she asked, reaching for her pen.

"I want chicken nuggets! Chicken nuggets! CHICKEN NUGGETS!" he chanted while running through their supplies.

"Flee!" yelled Grimironie. She and Three grabbed their bags and peeled out into the field.

"Chicken nuggets! Chicken nuggets!" the boy screamed after them. The world was going to hell in a bucket of original recipe breasts and thighs. Something was the catalyst, but what? Had PETA resurfaced to rile the continental poultry? Was is the media's fault? She slammed on her brakes to avoid a group of children who had emerged from the rows of corn.

"Chicken nuggets!" they chanted, and waved corn husks woven into double arches. It was unsettling, uncanny, and even a little weird. Normally children wanted fries. It seemed as if it were yet another harbinger of the apocolypse.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

XIV. 2/20/08

The trail was long, and she missed her stool at Bmwhtly's Pb and Grb, and its lack of vowels except for the "sometimes y." Ol' Pappy probably missed her too, or not if the newbie in her stool tipped better. She missed Crispy's chatter.

Because Three had gotten his own tent after the Snake B. Bauer incident, she sat alone with her baster and lantern. On impulse, she grabbed her cell phone and dialed Crispy. His holograph popped up in her tent, holding a pint of ale.

"Tha's my girl," he grinned. "I got someone I wantcha to meet!" Crispy pulled a smiling brunette into the holograph. She was slightly bohemian and at least fifteen years his junior. "This is Paprika, Paprika Pink!" She waved. "Lovely, ain't she? She's my ghost-writer. Got a book deal yanno."

"You're kidding!"

"No ducklin'! A sweet deal too. I tell her about my life, and she's writin' it all down, all poetic and stuff."

Paprika laughed, "Really he's a great storyteller. I just take out the apostrophes and add "g's"." She did seem sweet.

"Good for you, Crispy."

He leaned in towards her, "Spicy little thing too, har, har! I'll letcha go. Why don'tcha go see what Three's doin'. Yanno, he ain't so bad, like I said."

She coughed, "Gotta go! 'kay thanks bye!" She thought about it: the tent next door and the golden boy within who was taut like turkey jerky on a stick. The roar of an engine brought her out of her reverie. She rushed outside with her baster raised.

"Son of a pullet!" she snarled. Snake B. Bauer was riding in circles around their camp. He threw popcorn kernals into the camp fire with explosive results. She aimed her baster and pulled the trigger, but he had swerved at the last minute and disappeared into the night. At least she hit his ATV; he'd smell like garlic for a week. She shared her expletives.

"Three motioned to his tent. "Will you come in? You want to talk?"

She dropped her head and entered his tent. It was very fancy; he had cable. "Why don't you tell me more about the chickens in your past?" she asked, more subdued than usual.

"No way," he said as he pulled out a bottle of Oolong spirits. She hadn't seen any of that since Crispy's last toga party. "Tell me about you. I want to know why you're such a cranky old hen."

She chuckled and sat down on a goose-down bolster. "It's a long, sad story. You've probably heard it before...
I was once the new hotshot in the hen house, reckless and cocky. All I thought about was glory back then." She took the snifter from Three. "Crispy took a liking to me, and we blasted through a ton of chickens. I was young and had no sense of mortality. I just wanted to make a name for myself to rival Grandpa Otto's."

"What changed?"

"It was a hot summer in southern Kansas. We were on a spree, racking up oven-stuffer-roasters as if there were no tomorrow. I still remember that day: ninety degrees, a hot wind from the South, and the smell of chicken feed. A rowdy flock of Death Chickens clucked in our path. We started on the perimeter, but I wanted more. I broke rank and dove into the center of the bunch. Marinade squirted in all directions; it was a slaughterhouse and I was the executioner. I lost sight of Crispy, but I paid no mind. Next thing I know I had them on the run- straight into Crispy. He fought and worked through them, but he was flanked by the two toughest, stringiest birds on the field. I tried to circle back to him, but it was sheer chaos. Wattles and claws blocked my path time and again. I saw it in slow motion. An enraged hen grabbed him by the leg and flicked him in the air. I can still hear the thud he made when he landed at my feet. He was unconscious, dripping blood. I fought off the Death Chickens in blind fury. If the rest of the team hadn't moved in for reinforcement, I would have lost him. Our best team sniper took out the last chicken as she plunged at Crispy. I had run out of marinade. Bad judgement, bad tactics: I was a bad partner. That was me. I was like a cheap chicken patty,all breading with no real meat inside. Crispy never blamed me for losing his leg. He should have." She finished off her snifter. Three poured her another.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

XIII. 2/19/08

Mongoose. The twin exhausts blew smoke like an all day smoker working on a pulled chicken feast. Three had suped up his ATV, and they tore across fields, heading northeast.

She thought she was hallucinating, but the sound grew louder:

“There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, Fernando!”

Ben Bradley? She looked to her right and saw the full Alpha Team converging on her path. Ben’s ATV stereo was on full blast. That meant only one thing: big chickens ahead. She nodded at Three to keep going.

The pack was on them in seconds. Manic, stampeding Death Chickens cried out in blood lust. Death Chickens. They put their name to the test.

Her baster was hot from rapid fire. Death Chicken after Death Chicken charged and then collapsed in a blast of garlic and olive oil. The Italian restaurant market would get a nice choice of cuts thanks to her work today. She skidded past Kate Thornton who was taking down bird after bird with her full-auto baster. Grimironie smelled a hint of rosemary; it was a subtle, but nice touch on the marinade.

Haskins had jumped on the back of a vicious hen and fired his baster into her back. She bucked, but he had wedged his heels into her feathers. Crispy was working two Death Chickens that were taunting him in tandem. She sped to his aid, and fired a fatal blast at one as he took the other. He doubled back for a high five.

No time to waste! An over-fed super sized Death Chicken waddled to her, snapping her beak hungrily. Grimironie fired twice. Fat absorbed the shots. The Death Chicken waddled faster, zesty with garlic and white wine. She aimed the final blast at the head. It was a waste of good marinade, but it was necessary; the Death Chicken was about to sit on her and her new ATV, Mongoose. The headless bird struck the ground. Her wings kept flapping like a chicken with her head cut off. She was a chicken with her head cut off. Okay.

The Death Chicken Watch choppers roared overhead, and then retreated.

“You can dance, you can jive
Having the time of your life!
See that girl, watch that scene
Dig in the dancing queen!”

Grimironie scanned the horizon on all sides, and saw only carcasses. They’d gotten them all. What had made them stampede in such a hen-pecked frenzy? She met with larger groups, but this flock descended upon them with extreme fury. The pieces were adding up to something; she just had to sort the white from the dark meat to make sense of it all.

Three strolled over to her. “It smells like the San Gennaro festival over here. I see you’re taking chances with you spices. Maybe you’re ready for something new.” He continued on past to the camera crew, and left her staring and perplexed.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

XII. 2/14/08

"Before I go back out in the field, there's something I've gotta do. I think you know what it is." Grimironie said.

Chief Kalel stopped shucking peanuts - he was making Peanutty Thai Kabobs for the company bake-off that evening, his specialty - and gave her a knowing look. "All right. I'll have to get clearance. Give me a few minutes"

* * * *

The pneumatic doors locked behind them. Chief Kalel led her down a series of corridors, and flashed a card in front of a sensor. She heard seven unseen bolts snap back, and the door opened. The room was vast and poorly lit.

"He's a deep sea lobster;" Kalel whispered, "he doesn't like bright light." They entered. Grimironie saw a mammoth tank on the far wall; it had to be at least forty feet wide and fifteen feet tall. As she neared, she saw the giant crustacean, a top secret relic from the Gulf war.


He wore computerized head gear, and lay immobile on the bottom of the tank.

"Over here," Kalel whispered. He motioned towards a wall-mounted computer unit. She saw the speaker, but jumped when something warm shook her leg. A small dog had his paws around her calf, and was attempting unspeakable things. "Be gentle. That's Burty, davids's dog." She squirmed away and approached the speaker.

"Good evening davids." she said. She knew she had to show paramount respect to such a graceful lobster.

"Goodifericus eve, nubile visitor," davids computerized voice responded, "the pleasurification is all Burty's, or should I say, mine. Turn a 360 please."

She did.

"Next time wear leather and bring me bounties of beautification from beyond, in so much as to say, bum, bum, sweet copies of Field and Stream, dear lady!"

She was astounded. He was wiser and more syllabic than she'd ever expected. Surely, davids would guide her in her quest.

"I am hunting Capon Frank. Can you give me any guidance?"

The pause made her nervous. Had she asked too much of this delicious prodigy? She was about to apologize for her impudence when he answered.

"I must respecticate my fellow non-humaesque personages," davids said, "but if such a woman-warrior who deservicates my help asks, I can not refuse, unless you know another giant lobster of the female persuasion who might abodeify my tank... okay. I, the great seer of sonambulating seafood delectibility confess: you shall find him, but to the prudifi- purified loverliness of your heart, shall set him free, if not to appease my lustrous and wealthy claws. He summers in Wisconsin."

Bingo! Time to hit the Wisconsin Trail.

* * * *

She didn't go home that night, didn't want to lose her focus. She set up the cot in her office, and pulled the spare rubber duck patterned jammies that she kept in her locker. The wall behind her desk was a mass of newspaper clippings and glossy photos of Death Chickens who met their ovens long ago. She clapped her hands twice. The lights shut off.

"Not joinin' the bake-off, duckling?" Crispy said. She snapped her head around.

"How'd you get in here?" Crispy hovered several inches off of the floor. It couldn't be. "Crispy," she gasped, "you're not... you haven't...?"

"It's nothin' like that," he smiled and held up his wrist, "got me a nice holograph phone! Pretty snazzy, eh? Now ya call me if yer missin' me out in the field. I'll be thinkin' aboutcha." He looked to his left and winked. "Gotta go. The Chief's got his kabobs out."

"Okay Crispy," she sighed.

* * * * *

She'd repacked, but she was stalling. The insurance company replaced Ole... gave her a new ATV, but she couldn't bear to see it yet.

Handy Manly stomped into the office and looked around. He approached after he spotted her in the corner. "New marinade. Special recipe." he grunted. "You get this capon, then use this." He shoved two-liter bottles into her hands and grinned vapidly.

"What is it?" she gaped.

"Beet-root! Tell no one!" He turned and pranced back into the kitchen.

"Beet-root," she mused, "exotic and unexpected!" She always had a soft spot for borscht. Maybe Crispy was right about him afterall.

She braced herself and opened the door. Three was fastening supplies onto his ATV. When he saw her, he stepped back to reveal Ole... her ATV's new replacement. It was slick with chili pepper red paint and gleaming chrome. On the side was airbrushed...
"What is that? A squashed gopher? A shadow ferret?"

"It's a mongoose," Three explained, "they kill snakes."

She smiled. "I like that. How about Death Chickens?"

"If they haven't before, they will now."


Monday, February 11, 2008

XI. 2/11/08

"He doubled back," Grimironie said as she jumped to her feet. She grabbed her tools and gave Three the signal. They ran full-throttle. The popcorn ball shed kernals as she slolemed around hay bales. Something metallic glinted ahead. As she closed the distance, she could see it was an RV, fully loaded, with a red python painted across its length. "No, no, no!" she yelled. A stainless steel behemoth of an ATV sped from behind the RV to block her path.

She'd seen his bio in the industry magazines, but never thought he'd surface in her domain. Snake B. Bauer, as slimy and vicious as they came, showed no regret about who he maimed to get his prize. He was a hairy tank of a baster-for-hire, as ruthless as habanero glaze on a chicken empanada and as wealthy as the C.E.O. for Butterball. Snake's Death Chicken leg-skin boots and pants glistened vermillion as his dismounted and swaggered towards her. In a shot she was off Ole Plucky. She looked him in the eye and eye patch.

"Where's your shirt? Did you just escape from New York?" Grimironie hissed.

"Go home, chicky," he sneered,"Take your pretty-boy sidekick and get back to your petting zoo."

"Frank is mine. This is my territory." She said.

Snake B. Bauer laughed, "Why don't you come inside my RV, and I'll give you a job you can handle."

"Who hired you?" Grimironie said without breaking her stare.

"Heh, heh. I'm here for the rooster. I don't need money."

"We're wasting time!" Three boomed. His urgency clipped her fighting wings.

"You're right," she said as she jumped on Ole Plucky and spun her tires.

Fifty yards down the field, a shocking "Crack!" jolted her. Ole Plucky flipped. As his tank exploded, she flew several feet before she hit the ground. Popcorn ball-bits and smoke enveloped her. She crawled towards the flames rising from Ole Plucky, but someone grabbed her and was pulled her backwards. It was Three.

"You gotta get out of here! Snap out of it!" he yelled.

"I can't leave a man behind!" she screamed.

"He's gone! On your feet, soldier!"

Her training took over. She grabbed her baster, and staggered out of the chaos and onto the back of Three's ATV.

She'd never lost a man before. Ole Plucky. The Pluckster. O.P.. Plucky Dawg. Plucky-poo. He was gone. Gone.

* * * *

"... and I don't know how I can go on without him," Grimironie concluded.

"Which one, Crispy or Ole Plucky?" Dr. C. asked.

She paused, taking in the weight of the question. "Either." she said.

"You do realize that Ole Plucky was an all terrain vehicle; he wasn't alive?" he prodded. She buried her head in her hands. Her support systems had failed. Like a poorly stuffed Thanksgiving turkey, her stuffing was falling into her drippings. "You could buy another ATV of the same model,and paint it the same," Dr. C. suggested, "'Ole Plucky Jr.' as an homage." He always made sense. But why? Oh why? It would never be the same. He could sense her inconsolability. He said, quietly, "W.W.O.V.F.D.?" That shook her. What Would Otto Von Farmer Do? What would he do indeed.

"Here's your copay, Dr." Grimironie smirked. "I've got to see a man about a capon."

"That's the spirit!" he smiled. She promised herself to save him one of the best filets from Capon Frank, and throw in some candied yams to boot.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

X. 2/7/08

The sun was rising, but there was still no sign on the radar. Rays glistened on the field like the golden crust of a Mrs. Budd's chicken pot pie, and the grasses swayed like Three's silky hair in the morning breeze- stop that! "Focus!" Grimironie thought. This stake-out was wrong from the start. It defied her first cardinal rule: go where the food is.

"Pack up, we're moving," Grimironie said into her walkie-talkie. The crows were descending on her bait already. She folded her camo-cover and locked her munitions onto Ole Plucky. Three appeared from his sniper position and loaded his supplies onto his ATV.

They rode down-wind for miles, scanning the country for likely food supplies. She slowed as she passed ravaged McMansions. Here and there lay pieces of granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. It was enough to make an HGTV host cry. Luckily, she was a seasoned DCDA, and knew how to shake it off.

Her radio had been silent all morning. There had been no new sightings of a rogue capon, but she trudged on. Ole Plucky was getting a workout. They investigated every odd radar blip, and stopped only long enough to admire the world's largest popcorn ball in Sac City, Iowa. "I wonder," thought Grimironie as she admired its sugar-glazed rotundness. With a little wheeling and dealing, and the use of a company expense account, she attached a hitch to Ole Plucky and hauled the ball away on a flatbed trailer. She doubted she'd ever be welcome in Sac City again, but it didn't matter. If all went well, she'dhave enough sponsorship to make a bigger ball.

* * * *

She was doing her best to be nice and pleasant to Three; she still felt guilty about her harsh outbursts. The problem was, nice and pleasant had been skills she'd long abandoned. Perhaps, "Your ATV is very shiny today" was lame, but it was the best she could do. They started setting up camp when a tremor reverberated through the field. They took to their ATVs right away. It was close to sundown, but she'd take Capon Frank after dark without hesitation. Even school children knew that roosters didn't lay eggs.

As they neared a copse of trees, another tremor shook them. Once she cleared the copse, she saw the damage: a farmhouse lay in a heap of rubble; its infrastructure was still collapsing. A tell-tale sign ran behind it: flattened rows of corn made a path toward the sunset, exactly like a crop circle, except it wasn't a circle, it was straight. And is wasn't made by aliens. It wouldn't make a cool picture in an arial view either. Nope.

She sped down the non-circle crop circle path with Three following closely. As the corn gave way to grassy plain, the trail disappeared. "Could it be?" she wondered, "Could Capon Frank have learned stealth tactics?" She'd never seen a big bird disappear like that, a snufflufagus maybe, but not a big bird.

Three was poised in a curious stance, sniffing the air. The wind had changed, and he shook his head in frustration. "It's a rooster all right," he whispered. "Sometimes he wears L'Air du Temps, but not today. I, for one, can not smell his pellets."

"Very impressive," said Grimironie, letting on that she was impressed. Three shook his head knowingly.

"It's a talent I have," he smiled, "I just need a few fava beans to clear my palate."


The sun set. They returned to camp and plotted their course for the morning.

* * * *

The Death Chicken Watch team landed before they could make any ground toward Capon Frank. They followed them like a pack of fleas, but less itchy.

"Have you and Billy-Ray, ahem, made amends?" Maryn Stew grilled. "Is there a new love interest in the works?"

Grimironie did her best to ignore them. Three, to her delight, made an excellent statement, "Look out! Knoll!" The Death Chicken Watch crew promptly collided with the hill. She and Three lost them.

The last fields they had driven through were acres of plowed, hard dirt. Ole Plucky's shocks had taken a beating, and her posterior absorbed a good bit of damage. She turned off the engine after they found a long-awaited patch of grass; they could be miles off Capon Frank's trail. It would be better to regroup in the morning. The temperature had dropped to 45 degrees farenheit, and a damp wind blew. She hurried to set up her tent.

"You wouldn't mind sharing that tonight?" Three asked. "I have no body hair to keep me warm. I had croup when I was a baby. Don't remember it, but I hear it was awful. I'd hate to catch it again."

Grimironie couldn't begrudge him shelter. "Mmm," she grunted, "but no monkey business." She didn't reveal that she really liked monkeys: spider monkeys, rhesus monkeys and chimpanzees. They were all good, except for baboons. She didn't regret her decision; Three was so full of hot air that his snores warmed the tent nicely.

She woke at five AM, but left Three, who was spooning his baster, to sleep in. She set up her radar, GPS and seismograph. She had two choices: work hard or work smart.

Friday, February 1, 2008

IX. 2/1/08

An old friend once told her that if she had no expectations, she'd be happy. She tried to get her mind around that one while she packed for the mission. It was hard. She never questioned her drive to conquer Capon Frank, and she saw poultry in motion every night in her dreams, falling, with a choice of two sides. She saw the glory, with cole slaw, mashed potatos and classic biscuits surrounding the roasted capon. The resultant celebration pecked at her; she never thought past what would come next.

Her new partner loomed like stuffing in her chest. Ole Plucky had been waxed, "Much like Three's pectorals," she thought, and winced afterwards. Would her quick wit and biscuit supply keep him at bay? She zipped up the pop-tent and secured the ultra-harpoon.

* * * *

Grimironie's best guess was to camp on the west side of a large gully. They'd have the advantage at sunrise. Her thermal scope indicated that there were no mammals over five feet tall for miles, but she knew the motivation and speed of a hungry chicken; it didn't mean much. She baited the area down-wind and returned to camp. Three (spelled I I I) had set up her tent and made a campfire.

"Where's your tent?" she asked.

"Oh, don't have one. I'm on a rookie salary."

"This is no shake and bake," Grimironie steamed, "This could be history in the making! This ain't no party! This ain't no disco! This ain't no foolin' around!"

"Easy," Three insisted, "we're on the same side, and I'm no bantam."

"That's hard to believe. You're still moulting." Grimironie hadn't wanted to be condescending, but it had slipped out.

Three turned back to the kettle and dropped in a handful of tea bags. "No need to go General Tso's on me," he said, "I know you're anxious."

"Sorry," she grumbled and sat down in her nylon port-a-chair. "So, what's your story?"

Billy-Ray MacHaggis III settled into his chair and passed her a cup of black currant tea. "It all started when I was twelve," he said. "I was at the salon getting my hair styled when the report came in on the radio: Death Chickens had taken over my neighborhood. I ran home to find my parents huddled behind a vat of hollandaise -they were in the egg industry- and our entire house was flattened. The neighbors didn't get away that easy. That was when I knew what I had to do..."

"Where was that?"

"Marsala County." he said. She was shocked. She had heard of that massacre. "I can still hear the drum sticks' rhythm as the local police tried to stop them. It was horrible. I guess that's why I went wild on Marsala the next few years. My parents finally sent me to a juvie camp, Soccer Mom's Black Angus Ranch in Texas. That was bad news. The place was surrounded by hell-hounds. I found Jaycinth then, devious seductress like a blackened grill. She showed me how to tie a roaster, and how to tie a lot of other things. What a riding crop can do! I tell you. She went through me like a chicken tender, and broke my heart. Sometimes, at night,I can still hear the crack of a whip and see the red eyes of a mutant chihuahua piercing through me."

Grimironie had heard stories about that place, and none were pretty. She looked at Three a bit differently. "I had no idea..." she started.

"That's okay," he said, "I'd rather not talk about it anymore."

She sipped her tea. "Early morning. Up before sunrise," she murmured, and slipped into her tent. When she woke before sunrise, Three was still in his chair and the fire was still burning.

Friday, January 25, 2008

VIII. 1/25/08

She gave Chief Kalel her best attempt at an even stare. "So, am I voted off the island?"

"We're in the Great Plains."

"The Mississippi isn't that far off."

"C'mon, Von Farmer," Kalel grumbled, "cut the wise-acre for a minute."

"Then I am, huh?"

"'Course not. Not with that finale on the last episode."

"I missed it."

"Yeah, sure you did. That final shot at the great red hen? Your drop and roll, and jump back onto your vehicle?" He paused, not believing she missed the broadcast, "The gratuitous cleavage shot?!" Her look of horror convinced him that she had not seen it. "Fogeddaboudit."

"I thought you were from Georgia."

"I've got the classic Sopranos DVD collection. Don't get me off topic!Maestro Perks is out. It was a close call."

That was a hard blow. Though he was a coffee drinker, he did have irresistable chocolate pants and a charming grin. "Dang."

"Don't feel bad. He's not really out; he's just not on the show. In fact, he's taking a few weeks in Hawaii to use his roll-over minutes."


Chief debriefed her on the latest sightings. They were unusual indeed. It seemed a ferocious, giant rogue Death Chicken had been ravaging McMansions thirty miles north of base. If shaky, six eyewitness testimonies were true, however, it was no chicken; it was a rooster, a capon to be exact.

"Did you talk to Crispy?" Grimironie asked. She could barely contain herself.

"He's not doing anymore over-time. He took a deal with a sponsor; it would cut into his P.R. time."

"Say what?"

"I know he wanted to tell you first, but they've offered him a six figure deal. It turns out the over-fifty female demographic is obsessed with him."

Double dog dang. Was there no end to the insanity? No wonder he's been getting facials and electrolysis for the last two weeks.

"I'm sending you in with MacHaggis."

If someone had slapped her in the face, she would have slapped back twice as hard. Unfortunately, her brain had stopped. She knew it was there, but it kept sending back a busy signal. Maybe it had caller ID and didn't want to pick up. At some point, Kalel's pert secretary walked her out into the waiting area and kindly dabbed the drool from the corner of Grimironie's mouth which was reluctant to return from the agape setting.
* * * *

Crispy's stool was empty at the bar that night. He had finally gotten a date. Ole Pappy placed her usual order in front of her. He too sensed that she had not yet located her brain. Everything took on a surreal tone. Even her cup of Constant Comment seemed menacing.

Could it be that Capon Frank waited within scant miles of base? Crispy had abandoned her. He'd left her to go it alone, and Chief tacked Three onto her shoulder for the ride. Three, she actually thought "Three." He was a distraction. She'd never worked with anyone except Crispy, and now, near the culmination of her goals, she was stuck with a pretty boy out to prove himself.
* * * *

After she felled the last Death Chicken, she walked away, upwind of the fowl odors. Something in her head still hadn't clicked back into place. Her best assessment was that she was still in shock. Crispy patted her shoulder and walked off, sensing that she needed some time. She stopped under a lone pine and scanned the fields ahead of her. The clouds formed an endless gray blanket and grasses spread for miles beneath. She squinted at the horizon, searching for a sign.

The last thing she wanted to hear was the rustling step of Maryn Stew coming after her. "I've been thinking, Grimironie- can I call you Grimironie?- that it would be Fan-Tas-Tic if I could put a cordless mike on you for your next stint in the field. And you need a catch phrase, something kitchy, catchy! For example, "Reap the whirlwind!" or "I'll be back!" It would be great for your image; the fans would eat it up. Tell me, if it's okay, just between you and me, what's it like to be out there? To kill a monster?"

Grimironie peered at the horizon. This host was like Three: thrilled at the spectacle with no real understanding of the game. "It's a hell of a thing, killin' a Death Chicken" she said between clenched teeth, "you take away all she's got, and all she's ever gonna have."

"Well that ain't me, Grimironie," Maryn sputtered, "Not no more. I don't need no fancy basters or a state pension. You keep it."

"Of course I will. The state wouldn't give you a pension anyway. Ask your employer about IRAs." The wind murmered. Maryn Stew retreated quietly, and thankfully she had some time alone.

It was dark when she got back to her ATV. She was surprised to see Crispy parked next to her.

"Glory is for the young, duckling. You're ready to go it alone. I gotta cut the apron strings sometime."

She had many rehearsed quips to sling at him, but suddenly none were appropriate. She was glad it was dark. "You do what you gotta do," she croaked, "I know you deserve it."

"Thanks duckling. Come on, you be my date tonight. Make all the other women jealous."

She laughed, "All right Mr. Metro-sexy."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

VII. 1/23/08

It was their last rampage before the sun went down. They kept coming; it was the biggest flock she'd seen in years. Behind her, Crispy's ATV hummed as they circled through the center of the melee. The golden rays of light receeded from the cornfield, and Grimironie knew that if they didn't make a dent in the midst soon, they'd be in for another marathon in the morning. She reacted instinctively as the hen she was stalking turned, and she fired. She hit her in the sweet spot, cocked the wheel to the right and quickly straightened. They were about to stampede. If she didn't get the alpha Death Chicken now, they'd all have to turn and run, and hope that the Death Chickens bed down before they could inflict any more damage.

"Starboard!" Crispy yelled. Grimironie turned Ole' Plucky so fast that she nearly lost balance. A wiry Death Chicken was charging her. She grabbed her back-up baster and let off a deafening round. When she hit her mark, the flock panicked and dispersed at the sound of the blast. By the ringing in her ears, she knew her mistake before she noted the weapon in her hands. She hadn't grabbed the back-up baster; she had fired the ultra-harpoon. A cloud stole the sun's last rays, and the Death Chickens began to bed down. "Stow that thing fast, Grim." Crispy muttered. She did before the other DCDA'a were in sight. It was best to play dumb if anyone questioned her, and retrieve the harpoon before the Poultry Collectors arrived.

There had to be forty Death Chickens left in the flock. Damn egg industry! She could have them all dead within an hour, but she knew the rules: no killing after dark. The egg farmers were soon to arrive with their night-vision goggles and enormous recycled cardboard egg cartons.

A shower and change later, she grabbed her favorite bar stool and ordered a double darjeeling. Crispy stared at the tv behind the bar and said quietly, "You ever think about takin' time off? Yanno, to clear your head."

"You think I need it?" Grimironie accused.

"Not that. Maybe I'm sayin' you should hunt 'im down. Get it outta yer system."

"And would you go with me?"

"I'm gettin old, Grim." Crispy said, his voice much softer than usual.

"That's a load of pellets," Grimironie said in disbelief. "You're one of the best."

"In this arena. When you start talkin' a sixty foot capon, I don't think I got it in me."

She couldn't believe what she was hearing, but she kept her mouth shut for once. He really meant it.

* * * *

Grimironie closed the blinds in her condo, put a large mug of chamomile tea on the end table and turned her tv on to Real-a-View. She prayed that no one would stop by to find her watching Death Chicken Watch.

The opening song rang out as stills of each DCDA popped onto the screen. Maestro Perks grinned seductively; Kate Thornton, bedecked in ammo, glimmered; Ben Bradley looked limber in his after-work disco togs, and Robie Ae and William Haskins glared menacingly. Then she winced. Grimironie Von Farmer looked like she just got audited; Tyson Crispy gave a weathered yet perky wink; Chief Kalel, arms folded, exuded confidence, and ... Billy Ray MacHaggis III dazzled all with his pearly whites. Yep. He was the star.

In a flash to the host, Maryn Stew, a pouty young brunette, strolled by a red silo which nicely accentuated her highlights. "This is week two of our stay with Dundee Precinct, Dundee, Kansas, and we've had no shortage of action. As Death Chickens rip through the heartland, only the most skilled Death Chicken Distribution Assistants dare to stop them. But before we share the bravery and terror," she smiled, "lets meet a few of our heroes, after our commercial break."

The interviews were corny. She watched Crispy's attentively. "Well, yanno, after leavin' the Bayou, my family settled inland on Holly Farms. Then I got my degree at Purdue University. Them days were different. We weren't famous an' bastin' techniques wern't so well developed." They cut off the rest of his interview because it was too informative. Her own face came on the screen next. She looked hesitant and wary, but her new conditioner turned out to be the best buy in months! Her hair no longer looked lifeless and dull.

"Is there anything you'd like to share with our viewers?" asked Maryn Stew.


Billy Ray MacHaggis III, she still couldn't bring herself to call him three, spewed truisms and gratitude like a professional ball player, smiling all the while. He managed to make it through the interview without one substantive comment. The footage from the Death Chicken melee was over-edited and sensational. Compared to a normal day at work, the show was actually boring. She started to channel surf before the show ended.

At 6:30 AM, a tremor jolted Grimironie from her couch. She paused, uncertain if it had been imagined, but a second shock wave left her without doubt. Her teacups began to rattle, and she ran to the aid of her curio cabinet. She could see the end of the street from her dining room window. Feathers swirled through the air like a ticker-tape parade. The Death Chickens were becoming more agressive; they had never chanced a gated community before. At that moment, she knew with perfect certainty that her life was about to change. The buffalo wings of destiny had arrived to carry her to uncharted lands, perhaps even Nebraska. In her heart, she knew she was ready.

Monday, January 7, 2008

VI. 1/7/08

Crispy's right foot perculated in the pedicure tub while his baster-leg combo rested on the magazine rack. "Givin' the whole Alpha Team off was a good ideer. Tha' Chief's got a soft spot yet."

"He's nervous about the ratings. They come out at 4:00." Grimironie looked at her feet in the bubbling, blue water. It had been too long since her last pedicure; her pinky-toes were shaped like wedges from her favorite Death Chicken killin' boots. "It's a good thing Death Chickens aren't nocturnal," she added, glad to relax.

"Why ya look so sour?"

"Me?" she laughed, "I'm sweet and sour." Crispy barked a hoarse laugh. They chatted happliy about cuticles as the pedicurists finished their work. When they got up to pay, Crispy looked over her shoulder with an odd expression that didn't suit him. She turned to follow his gaze; Billy-Ray MacHaggis III walked out of the waxing and tanning station. He waved and Crispy waved back.

"What are you doing?" Grimironie whispered through clenched teeth.

"'Es not so bad once you get to know 'em." Crispy had lost his mind.

"Hey there, two legends," Billy-Ray grinned as he walked to meet them. "How about joining me for an early dinner" He winked and added, "or an afternoon tea? I never got my chance to apologize to you, Ms. Von Farmer." Grimironie stared in disbelief. Crispy gave her a jab in the back.

"You kids go on. I'm stayin' for a facial -getting my metro-sexy on." Crispy stomped back to the hostess desk. Grimironie's feet felt so soft and comfortable in her complimentary flip-flops that she followed Billy-Ray out onto the sidewalk.

~FACT: Women may be in a good mood after a pedicure, and susceptible to forgiveness.

They headed for the off-the-beaten-track restaurant district, and Grimironie felt relieved. She didn't want any co-workers to see her with Billy-Ray MacHaggis III. Those coffee drinkers would never let her live it down. It had been ages since she'd been in Sebby's Bar and Eggplant Grill. The sparkly ambience reminded her of another time in her life, a time when she was young and trusting. "Strike that," she thought, "when I was younger and trusting, young-ER." They ordered a round of neurofizzes. She was still unsure of how to act toward Billy-Ray MacHaggis III.

"It was my fault," he started, "I was too eager and excited. You're the reason I lobbied for this position, and it wasn't an easy ride." Billy-Ray unbuttoned an extra button on his white, silk shirt before continuing. "You're a legend in the academy. I wanted to impress you."

"Giblets" Grimironie said.

"Scorn me if you like," he let out a deep breath. "I probably deserve it."

"I don't know you and don't know what you deserve, but I do know what can happen when a when a DCDA gets reckless." She swilled her neurofizz. "Look: I'm no legend, so get that out of your head, MacHaggis."

"Call me Three, please." He leaned forward quickly. "You don't understand! I want to get inside your head! I want to run my toes through your synapses and fondle your adrenal glands! I want to know what makes you tick, you sullen little vixen!"

Grimironie was shocked, flattered and embarassed. She didn't believe that she would ever share her past with this wild-eyed, yet devilishly handsome upstart. "Adrenal glands aren't in the head; they're above the kidneys." was the best answer she could offer.

He nodded slowly, "Even better."

She eased up on him a bit, and got him talking about himself and his time at the academy. By the time they finished their after-dinner biscuits, she actually felt sorry that the meal was ending. It was a pleasant change to hear an enthusiastic perspective on Death Chicken acquisition. Before he could ask her to talk about herself, she thanked him for dinner and caught a cab back home.

Morbid fascination and fear prompted her to turn on Death Chicken Watch to see the first episode at her precinct. She breathed easier afterwards. She had only been in the background brielfy in the episode, but next time she might not be so lucky.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

V. 1/2/08

An excess of tea indulgence left her antsy and dehydrated, but Grimironie made it into work on time only to find out that she had to see the Chief right away.
“There’s a new twist to the game,” Chief Kalel grumbled into a stack of files. “First, I need you to pose for some Death Chicken Watch PR photos, and second, you’ve got to up your attitude. The DCDA with the lowest viewer rating status gets voted off the precinct next Friday, and I don’t want to lose one of my best because she has a sour-puss 99% of the day.”

Unbelievable. “Are you out of your mind? You agreed to this? Why do you hate cats?” Grimironie reached for her hip, but she hadn’t had time to don her baster holster.

“Easy Grim,” Kalel said, finally looking her in the eye. “There was the usual loose talk in the coffee room, and if you want, you can blame Haskins for planting the seed in my head.”

“Everyone blames Haskins for everything. I at least want to be original.” Grimironie seethed.

“Nonetheless, I don’t know what the ratings will say when they come in, but I don’t want to take chances.”

She sulked for a moment until her frustration mounted. “But the world loves a curmudgeon! Look at House; it’s in its 80th season!”

“Maybe. Maybe you’ve been spending so much of your downtime preparing relish that you’ve gone and pickled your own brain. Go out and find yourself someone who’ll make you happy. Take the day off and get a pedicure or something, but lighten the heck up already and get out of my office!”

Grimironie slammed the door and muttered her way down the hallway, resplendent with expletives. She slowed as she neared the coffee room and stepped quietly. The door was ajar. She saw Billy-Ray MacHaggis III holding a low-fat soy mocha latte and chatting with Maestro.

“I gotta say, man” Billy-Ray MacHaggis III elbowed Maestro in the side, “those are some smokin’ chocolate pants you’ve got on.”

“Yeah,” Maestro laughed, “the chicks really dig ‘em.”

“I bet the women love ‘em too,” Billy-Ray nodded.

“Oh yeah,” Maestro smiled, “almost as much as those cute, furry little chicks down in the holding station!” They laughed and sipped their nasty, brown coffees. Grimironie skulked past the door and nearly bit through her lip. What could possibly happen to make things worse? To her relief, the Death Chicken Watch photographer told her that “angst-ridden and surly” was all the latest rage. She didn’t have to summon any happy thoughts for the photo shoot.

“But what are my happy thoughts?” Grimironie wondered as she walked back to her office. A nice, crunchy breading on a cordon bleu? Stealing into the garage and adding restrictor plates to Billy-Ray MacHaggis III’s ATV? That made her smile, but it didn’t feel like the pinnacle of happiness. She leaned against the cinder-block wall and closed her eyes. She saw a gargantuan, clawed and red foot stepping down amongst rows of corn, and looked up to a mass of white feathers. She’d imagined it many times, her secret obsession. “I will find him and take him down,” she thought. “I will conquer Capon Frank.”

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

IV. 12/19/07

Grimironie's low-carb, zero trans-fat beer was nice and cold. What normally would have been a high-fivin' and reckless celebration of terminated Death Chickens was considerably diminished, and she knew that she supplied the bitters in the Old Fashioned.

Ah yes! She had once been the obnoxious, hot, new rookie, but like Jeff Gordon, she mellowed into a humble and indisputably talented mid-career giant. Sigh! She shouldn't be so angry at Billy-Ray MacHaggis III, but she couldn't shake the twitch in her left eye. She didn't realize that she shouted "Poopy head!" until Ole' Pappy, her favorite barkeep, passed a laxative suppository to her with her next shot of Chai.

"A tea drinker. That's so suave," whispered an irksome voice in her ear. It was none other than the object of her greatest annoyance, Billy-Ray MacHaggis III.

"One relish comment, and I'll baste you where you stand," Grim muttered through clenched teeth.

"No offense meant," he said, "I'll catch you on the flip ... side."

Dang! He was smooth for an irritating, marinade seeking, green and waxed freshman. He skulked into the corner, and into the comfort of nubile fans.

Grimironie glanced at Pappy's calendar; it was December 18th, the anniversary of The Great Roast. That's what started it all, long before she was born.

flashback, most likely narrated by James Earl Jones

2017: The Great Roast. The Society of Genetic Food Engineers had long battled the political criticism of PETA. Years of petty arguments over milk made the geneticists complacent. They had no suspicions of PETA's new agenda: to free all genetically engineered poultry from laboratories worldwide. "Free Range Chickens - Yeah!" That was their cry of triumph after they infiltrated and sabotaged all of the facilities run by chicken geneticists. The rest is history. The engineered chickens took to the fields, and their evolution accelerated at an unprecedented rate to produce The Death Chickens, a species more deadly and tasty than had ever walked the Earth before. They were 30 foot monsters who roamed the world, ready to peck unsuspecting townsfolk. They also supplied low-fat and nutritious protein to all. They were a both a curse and a blessing, and Grimironie owed her livlihood to them.

She could have followed her father's footsteps and become a widget engineer, which would be a cozy and safe career. Something tugged at her to follow Grandfather Otto's lead, and she couldn't face the possibility of settling down and creating new and innovative widgets despite the great good it would do for small business owners. She felt that she failed her father, but she needed the adrenaline rush from full-frontal basting. Again: sigh.

"No more orange pekoe for you, young lady. I'm calling you a cab." That Ole' Pappy, he always cut her off too soon.

Monday, December 10, 2007

III. 12/10/07

Her ATV, Ole’ Plucky, was filled up with ethanol, detailed, and ready to go. Grimironie jumped on and raced Crispy down the street, sure that they’d be the first two at the site. They usually were; all the other Death Chicken Distribution Assistants (DCDAs) wasted precious time tracking the radar back on base. It was simple: the Death Chickens went where the grain was. They had been spotted twenty minutes ago heading West of Piccata City, just past the Colonel’s. There was only one granary for miles. Grimironie saw the red silo first, and then the tail feathers of a particularly large hen. She accelerated towards the field, but nearly spun herself when she saw another ATV fifty yards ahead that was already engaging the chickens. Crispy rolled past her, and took her out of her momentary shock. She rolled the baster over her shoulder and feinted to the left of the most ornery looking Death Chicken of the bunch. With a few well-aimed blasts, he was reduced to a large piece of marinating poultry.

The rest of the DCDAs arrived, and the feathers really began to fly. The situation had almost been contained when the media arrived in choppers. It was unbearable; after only three weeks, Death Chicken Watch had become the biggest reality show to hit the networks, and now they decided to film in Kansas. Grimirone slid the engine into neutral and stood as the ATV rolled. She had a clear shot at the last hen, straight at the wishbone. She cocked her baster, pulled the trigger and was knocked backwards ten feet as a sleek, black ATV smacked into her left front tire. As she pulled herself up from the husks, she noted the flame paint-job and name above the wheel well: Billy-Ray. She cocked her baster again, this time to prepare for Mr. Billy-Ray, who was either underneath or on the other side of the last felled Death Chicken. She walked around it.

“So, tell me, Billy-Ray MacHaggis…” the Death Chicken Watch host sputtered in front of a camera.

“That’s Billy-Ray MacHaggis III, babe. My friends call me Three. It’s spelled I I I.” He pulled off his helmet which let loose a long mane of well-conditioned blond hair, and unzipped the front of his leather jacket to expose a tanned and waxed torso.

“Damn rookie.” Grimironie glared and contemplated death by marinade on national tv.

“Let the chicken nugget have ‘is moment, Grim. Have ar drink wi’ me an we’ll give a little payback when he ain’t being watched.” Crispy had a lot more patience than she did.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Birth of a Serial: Capon Frank

Welcome to Capon Frank! This serial began as a post on the AW Silly Friday thread. I had the overwhelming urge to continue the story, and produced its second installment today. I'd like to thank davids for inspiring silliness with his lobsterly exhuberance!

I. 10/19/07

The pork-pie hats rustled as a light zephyr brought smells of methane and number two pencils. The enticing mixtures of odor and the snapping of rubber bands woke Grimironie, who flicked back her sassafras and noted, duly, that the Death Chickens were due to arrive in less than ten million milliseconds, or slightly later, depending on the price of cantaloupes in Brisbane.

"I have no use for this!" shouted Handy Manly, and he stomped across the relish cartons. Grimironie shook her head; he was always like this on Tuesdays. She took a few smelts out of her pocket and flicked them across the room and into Handy's mouth. He chewed, flipped his hands in delight, and skipped down the hall to disturb the next Death Chicken Distribution Assistant.

"Great Gatsby! I've been through a peck of smelts already?" Grimironie muttered. As the timer-button popped on her alarm turkey, she pulled out her automatic baster, turned off the safety, and made sure it was loaded and cocked. There would be some sweet and sour sauce for her tonight, "Oh, yes," she thought, “there would be sweet and sour sauce tonight.”

II. II. 11/16/07

“Haw, haw. Yer turnin’ into a freakshow usin’ that relish, duckling.” Tyson Crispy said in a gravelly voice. His clanking walk rattled the floorboards; as a practical amputee, he had long turned in the en vogue machine gun leg for a 50 calibre baster-leg combo. “All the other youngin’s are usin’ balsamic in the marinade.”

“Yeah, and you’re using single malt.” Grimironie shot back. She’d never wanted a partner, but Crispy and she were like an old guidance counselor and a well-used photocopier; she knew just what to do to prevent paper jams and adjust the toner. She was always comfortable in his presence, despite the snide gossip going around the coffee room. If only she drank coffee! Then she’d finally know what went on in there. “Tea Drinkers Not Allowed” read the sign on the coffee room door. Bah!

“What’s up with you? Did Manly ruffle yer feathers?”

“No, but he’s useless. They just keep him around here for eye candy.”

“You’d be surprised what he can do in the kitchen. The birdseed don’t mix itself yanno.”

They zipped their jackets in silence, and Grimironie grabbed the Ultra-harpoon. There was an unmentioned alliance between the two. They were the only Death Chicken Distribution Assistants who believed in the legend of Capon Frank, The Great Albino Rooster. The last man to see him vanished in the cornfields of North Southwestern Iowa forty years ago, and that man was Grimironie’s grandfather, Otto Von Farmer. By the time Crispy was a young intern, Otto had already achieved celebrity status as a Death Chicken Distribution Master.

“Come on. I gotcher back.” Crispy barked. She knew he did.