Bonnie Thompson Enes of Bloomfield, CT, USA has poetry published in many anthologies and e’zines. She was Connecticut’s first town and South Windsor’s first Poet Laureate, and won first place awards in the The Windham Area Poetry Festival for 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002 and The Maine Poetry Fellowship Award.
The following work is copyright © 2010. All rights reserved. No distribution or reprinting in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Why Cassandra Chicken Crossed the Road
Dahlin’, it’s so nice we could meet for lunch! We haven’t done this in such a long while and, even though Cassandra can’t be with us, you and I should get together more often! The salmon encrusted with pecans is excellent here!
I’m sure you have heard ALL the ugly rumors, after the tragedy and might have been thinking’ Cassandra crossed the road to get to the other side, but I have it on the best authority, havin’ lunched with Hedda Gobbler just last week, who, as you know keeps up with all this stuff like no one else, and she said Cassandra HAD lived on the other side.
She started out as a gangly confused rooster, became a closet queen, then cross-dressed, had a sex change operation and finally felt complete for the first time in her fowl life. But she had the bad luck to land up in a dreary-lights-ablazin’-24-hours-a-day-hormonally-enhanced feeding establishment in the dusty Arizona desert with no way to get out to sales on designer feathers, have her talons done or, after sittin’ on them all day and night, have her weary skinny legs massaged. She had also been datin’ the lyin’ cheating rooster while he serviced every other chick on the farm, all the time tellin’ each, Of course, you’re my main squeeze!
NO! Cassandra hadn’t gone through all those years of confusion and then surgical agony to settle, and the way rumors flew around that coop, she knew in no time her ass would be grass, or more realistically, become rooster fodder once the main man found out just whom/who he had been servicin’.
Cassandra decided to get proactive and one day, while her cage was being sanitized, she booked across the road and just kept on truckin’, not once lookin’ back. And, after she had encountered enough rattlesnakes and homeless men and women with fry pans hooked to their belts or shopping carts, she found herself at a bus stop without fare. But, bein’ an ‘05 sort of chick and havin’ spent time in the pen, where she had learned more than a few cons, she told the bus driver the fare would be waitin’ for him at the other end.
For the first time in her confused life, Cassandra had the time for contemplation and realized she had been livin’ in what Dr. Phil would call a state-of-the-art-dysfunctional-situation—which all came out durin’ her appearance on his show.
Just then, Cassandra had an epiphany, realized she was an ecologically-forward-thinkin’-type chick and knew she was against layin’ any more anemic-lemon-yellow-yolk eggs sold in grocery stores. She needed to find a place where she could be a free-range chick, be able to lay eggs with brilliant golden yolks and fulfill her destiny.
Exhausted from her escape and escapades, Cassandra slept all the way to the last bus stop and, as she scurried down the steps, she gifted the driver with a peck on the cheek and an egg in the hand, which is worth more than two from the grocery store. She found herself in a little border town filled with darlin’ adobe houses and yucca plants.
Knockin’ on the first door she came to, she met Papa and Mama Garcia (Andy’s Mom and Dad), asked them if they would let her free range in their yard and in return they could have all the golden-full-of-vitamins-yolk eggs they wanted. The Garcia’s said, Sure, we were just talkin’ about getting’ a chicken or two. Papa Garcia whipped up a darlin’ adobe coop while Mama Garcia furnished it with lace curtains and fresh bales of hay.
Cassandra spent her days clackin’ away, layin’ healthy eggs, and feelin’ at peace for the first time in her colorful life. But as the universe would have it status quo is not the way it goes.
Carlos, the neighborhood peacock, after watchin’ Cassandra grub around for beetles and worms, sashayed up the driveway with his iridescent feathers fanned out. Cassandra had been feeling a tad lonely by then anyway and invited him and let him roost on the bale of hay next to hers.
WELL! One little ol’ thang just led to another little ol’ thang and Cassandra began layin’ designer eggs with purple shells and blue yolks and, when cooked, contained a hint of English muffin with Hollandaise sauce. Some of Cassandra’s fertilized eggs were left to hatch and out pecked little purple designer chicks.
What happened after that? First how ‘bout some desert another espresso. I’m havin’ the key lime pie. Where was I, oh yes, Cassandra and Carlos became rich and famous and, while I would like to be able to tell you they grew old together, retired in Sun City and remained blissfully happy, but, as we both know, when someone becomes rich famous...why, haven’t we just seen it happen over and over A-GAIN...their histories get flush into the present. Neon rumors reached people from People Magazine and they dug into the graves of their past lives, discovered juicy meat and bones and served them to the public on a tarnished silver platter.
Not only Cassandra’s history, come to find out Carlos wasn’t what he claimed to be either! Turns out Carlos wasn’t Carlos at all, but a smooth talkin’ lover boy. He was nothin’ but an-iridescent-toupee-&-feathered-red-cape-wearing chicken hawk—the toupee and cape havin’ been won off a casino drag queen while he fed his gamblin’ addiction.
When it all became public knowledge, Carlos, or rather Frank from Wichita, was bored by it all anyway, what with getting’ up in the middle of the night to tie-dye eggs, injectin’ them with a hint of English muffin and Hollandaise sauce and dippin’ the chicks in food coloring. He’d just been waitin’ for the right time to do Cassandra in so as to get their fortune all to himself—the gamblin’ tables had been calling to him all along. He and Cassandra ended up in a chicken-cock fight on the Jerry Springer Show.
After that the public didn’t want to be seen buyin’ or eatin’ Cassandra’s eggs. I mean, would you? Even state-of-the-art advertisin’ couldn’t cut it, and eggs just piled up in the nest of Cassandra’s darlin’ adobe coop in the Garcia’s backyard, stinkin’ up a storm.
But, it’s never over till the fat hen sings and Hedda reported it was over—Cassandra had been sideswiped tryin’ to cross the road again and, as the universe would have it, the story goes that her still-warm body was picked up by the same bus driver who she had scammed out of a fare. He quickly realized the value of Cassandra’s corpse and sold it on eBay to the Perdue family, even though the Colonel was a close secondin the biddin’. And is that Perdue Kid ever fast! He had Cassandra stuffed and mounted, quick as it takes a chicken to mature in one of their hatcheries. He placed her on the Perdue family mantle, along with all the Perdue trophies won for raisin’ tasteless chickens and, with state-of-the-art-cuttin’’-edge advertisin’, sellin’ them to a duped public.
As a lark, the Perdue Kid, took the stuffed Cassandra to the Antiques Road Show, where the Keno twins took one look at her and knew she wasn’t a real chicken, but one of those stuffed animals from a foreign country where the fur and feathers are taken off of dead animals and pasted on toy animals.
How did that happen? WELL, the bus driver didn’t really run her over and because she had paid her original fare with one of her golden yolk eggs, havin’ shown him how good a REAL egg is, he was forever grateful and helped her get away from the mob.
Where Is Cassandra? Why, she high tailed it back to the Garcia’s and, because they had a fondness for her, they contacted Andy who pulled strings and got her a job on a cruise ship, layin’ her golden yolk eggs for the chef and doing her old thang as a closet-queen-cross-dressing-sex-changed chicken by entertainin’ all the senior chicks and roosters on their way to visit the Islands.