The new neighbor
I knocked on the window twice.
A head popped up.
He was wearing one of those wife beater T-shirts.
“What’s up,” he said.
Not really a question.
“You seen a chicken, by any chance?”
He looked at me like I was from outer space.
“No chicken,” he said.
The window rolled back up.
I noticed a box of Danishes in the front seat and a pack of smokes in the middle console as I turned and walked away.
He’s been living at the end of the street now for at least a month, maybe two, in an old Suburban.
I was hoping he’d seen my chicken, which had gotten out and was wandering around the front yard, the neighbor’s yard and the city park.
But it’s pretty tough to spot a chicken if you’re asleep in the back seat, which he apparently was.
I figured the neighbor’s dog probably got the chicken. She is the smallest of the bunch and she’s always getting out, wandering off. The rest of the chickens stick tight. This girl is a renegade. If she could fly I’m sure she’d be in Florida by now, grabbing some sun on the beach, dropping an egg every once in awhile.
At first I was wondering if the guy at the end of the street was some undercover agent on a long-term surveillance detail. Maybe he is. Maybe the bust just hasn’t gone down yet.
Nah. Everyone has seen him and not only that, he turns his lights on when it gets dark.
What kind of undercover agent keeps their lights on?
I called the police after the chicken got out, not about the chicken, but about the new neighbor. There’s no city law against sleeping in your car, but there is a city law against living in a camper. He leaves at night. Not sure where he wanders off to.
Oh well, live and let live, though I gotta think that somewhere in that rig there’s an old orange juice jug that’s might look like orange juice, but is … Well, you get the picture.
As for the chicken, the dog didn’t get her. I didn’t see her all day, but the next morning, there she was, in the coop with the other gals, gabbing away.
I’m sure she had a story to tell. Probably tore into someone’s frozen flower bed. Chickens are good at that.
Chris Peterson is the editor of the Hungry Horse News.