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.