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Posted August 5, 2011


why writers need one weekday of rest

I have this love-hate relationship with food. I'm a choosy mother and buy the best product but sometimes, when I get to thinking about all of the rodent footprints in the vats of peanut butter and the hair/nut ratio in every jar of the chunky stuff, I take a sabbatical from eating the nutritious substance.

No matter what brand I buy, the rodents have test tasted the product before me.

Lately, the food fetish has been with chicken. I love those lemon peppered rotisserie chickens you buy at the grocery store. When they're hot, the meat falls off the leg bones and if I'm gonna eat a wing, the time to do it is when they're hot because when they're cold they're not worth foolin' with.

For the last couple of weeks though, I've been noticing something odd. There have been holes through the breasts of my chickens and I don't think nipple piercings with chain link have caught on at the coops yet.

And I have begun to wonder if my chickens were diseased chickens or perhaps something plugged a hole right through my hens.

And I recalled the time I purchased fried chicken from a certain fast food restaurant. It looked like that chicken had been fried with a wolf worm attached to its wing pit. Not the howling kind of wolves but the kind that are sort of related to gigantic grotesque worms sometimes called screw worms.

I couldn't eat fried chicken that came from Kentucky for a couple of years. After that, rat hair and other rat products in peanut butter didn't even faze me because I couldn't actually see the miniscule rat hairs and my body was craving protein and there wasn't a lima or a pinto in the cupboards or anything that moo'ed or clucked in the Frig.

So, I cut around those breast holes, feelin' like there was something odd about it all. Like my chickens had stood in a lineup and had been run through the gauntlet. Gunned down. Then I began wondering, if instead of wringing chickens' necks like my grandmother Mary Kate used to do, were they now shootin' chickens? And I began to worry about my chickens being all stressed out from watching the gun recoil...hearing the noise and all...and maybe not being in a healthy frame of mind at the point of expiration for me to eat.

Fear registers in the cells.

And those holes were about the size of a .38 Special bullet. Now that I've wrapped my brain around that conspiracy, it all made perfectly good sense.

Deciding that I needed to get out of the house because I was writing too much with imaginary characters talking in my head and thinking a bit too long about murdered chickens, I elected to go see Cowboys and Aliens to take my mind off of chicken matters. On the way to the theatre, I stopped at a red light and read a bumper sticker on the back of the van in front of me - "My Child Was Inmate Of The Month At The County Jail" - and thought, Who would be bragging about that? I wouldn't want the entire free world to know that my kid had camped out in the county jail during the school year."

And then it hit me. Big joke. It dawned on me that my brain was being affected by 1) either the 3-digit heat wave we'd been having or 2) I was having a brain drain from all of the writing I'd been cranking out lately. But here's what I really think. 3) Those parents didn't truly have kids in the county jail, Amazon was just sold out of the bumper stickers that said their kids had been to prison. Silly me!

Spoiler: Before you throw down hard cash to see Cowboys and Aliens - it wasn't anything like what I expected either. I was thinking perhaps it was about people not having their passports validated at Ellis Island before heading out West - when in reality, it was a SCI-FI *slash* Western flick with emphasis on the *slash.*

Should have watched the trailer before leaving the house. Live and learn.

However, sitting in the air conditioning and eating popcorn and watching all of those aliens attacking Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford et al, reminded me of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Which reminded me of coops. Chicken coops. Which brought me back to my fine feathered friends -- the lemon peppered rotiserrie chickens. Are you still with me on this? If not, go back to the beginning paragraph and get back up to speed.

An ark housed animals back in Noah's day and coops housed...you guessed it.

If you said aliens, the heat wave we're having down South is cooking your brain too long on the rotisserie as well. Like I said, go back and start at the first paragraph because you really want to process the back story before this next tidbit of information I'm about to lay on you. Pardon the pun.

So, that chicken revelation during Cowboys and Aliens took me back to researching on the web when I got home and writing about it after I found the exact photo I was looking for. You see, normally rotisserie chickens are skewered from the headless end of the chicken through the egg producing tail end. But AHA - I found a rare photo of chickens skewered through the breast to save space so they could get in at least one more chicken to a skewer. With a visual guestimation, the skewer rods looked to be the diameter of a .38 Special bullet.

I think I solved my chicken conspiracy.

Now, if only the heat wave would end, maybe my hot flashes would ease up and I wouldn't feel like there's a flash fire on the top of my head. And just so you'll know, this is a short story. Flash fiction is 500 words or less and for another article incorporating hot flashes.

But at least I feel confident about what's really happening with my lemon peppered chickens and don't have to go back to eating peanut butter. For now. Until I find the next latched-on wolf worm. And then I just may become a vegan since I'm terrified of mad cows and I've heard they are now in the States from across the Big Pond. And who knew cows really could fly?

And that my friends, is a day in the life of a writer burning the midnight oil and the reason why writers need at least one coveted weekday of rest.

"And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it." Genesis 2:2-3a

If you've ever had your own rotisserie chicken conspiracy, please email me: vmoss@livingwaterfiction.com

I'd love to hear your story!

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Email to....:vmoss@livingwaterfiction.com