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The Chicken
by Larry P. Thompson

Once upon a midnight dreary, I was thankin’ which makes me weary
‘Bout many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I’s noddin’, pert near nappin’, suddenly there came a tappin’
Sorta like someone gently rappin’, knockin’ at my trailer door.

"Must be some visitor," I muttered, "knockin’ at my trailer door;
Only this, and nothin’ more."

Now, extinctly I remember, it was nighttime in December
An’ my Coleman stove was burnin’, thow’n shadows on the floor.
In my long johns I was sitt’n; I’d been watch’n a TV Show
Watch’n wraslin’ to drown my sorrow, sorrow for my lost Lenore.

For that rare and radiant maiden, whom her momma named Lenore
Won’t come back here evermore.

The silken tights of the wraslers--red or purple, cain’t be certain--
Thrilled me, filled me with fantastic excitement never felt before;
So that now, to ease my heartbeat, I stood and heard the sound.
“It is some visitor beggin’ to get in through my trailer door,

Some dang fool interruptin’ my wrastlin’, knockin on my trailer door.
Dang, that’s it and nothin’ more."

Directly my urge grew stronger; I just couldn’t wait no longer,
"Buddy,” I said, “er, maybe lady, this had better be important;
Cause, fact is, I was busy, and so rudely you came knockin’,
And dang softly you was knockin’, knockin’ at my trailer door,

Weren’t sure I even heared you.” So I opened wide the door--
Only June bugs, nothing more.

Deep into the darkness looming, long I stood there, scratching, fuming,
Wonderin’, thinkin’ hard on who’d be out there in the dark.
But the silence was unbroken, could have been Mitch only jokin’
But the only sound acomin' was the whispered word, “Lenore?”

I had whispered, and an echo whispered back that same word, “Lenore!”
Freaked me out, and nothing more.

Back into the trailer turning, chips and dip within me burning,
In a minute I heard the knockin’, louder this time than before.
"Dang it,” said I, “I’m about to get pissed off at that knockin’,
I’ll just sneak up and snatch the handle of the luminum door.”

I set my Bud upon the TV, grabbed the handle of the door.
Must be the wind and nothing more.

Pullin’ now, I flung the door, when with many a cluck and flutter,
In there came a big old chicken, struttin’ cross my linoleum floor.
She’s a handsome full-grown pullet; one that I will never forget,
And as if it owned the place, without so much as a “por favor,”

Jumped upon a TV tray, just inside my trailer door,
Jumped and sat and not much more.

Then this big old chicken clucked, my eyes were wide, I was awestruck.
By the darn strangeness of a chicken coming in my trailer door.
"I’ll be dipped,” I said, “whoo wee! Where’d you come from, fricassee?
A bird like you must have a home, maybe from the lot next door.

Are you just my neighbor’s chicken? Tell me what’s your name, senor?”
Clucked the chicken, “Two-by-four.”

Hearing this, I was aghast, I have never been so sassed,
Specially never been harassed, by a talking bird before.
I looked around for my friends, thinking them at evil ends,
It would be just like them, to put this chicken in my door,

Make a chicken come inside after knockin’ on my door,
With such name as "Two-by-Four."

And the chicken, sitting silently on that TV tray, said only
That one word, and gave no clues or offered more.
Nothing further then it clucked, just left me to my own tough luck
As I whispered, “Course I’ve never heard a chicken talk before.”

I’m not sure what I ‘spected, guess I thought it’d say some more
Than just clucking, “Two-by-four.”

Started thinking, as I eyed it, how’d it taste if I fried it
With some taters right beside it, with some gravy that I’d pour.
But as I wiped away some drool, and I realized I’m no fool
A talkin’ chicken–now that’s cool! Folks’ll pay, and that’s for shore!

I tried to think of a payoff plan. This would be my big score!
Thanks to a chicken, Two-by-four.

As the chicken would sit and cluck, I pondered how I’d make a buck.
Suddenly lightening struck, I’d go down to the hardware store.
At first I’m sure that there'd be jokes, then that chicken would impress those folks
By ordering cuts of pine and oaks, and other items in the store.

I plumb forgot I’d heard no more
Than that chicken clucking–“Two-by-four.”

And so I grabbed it as it clucked, under my arm the chicken I tucked,
And ran out to my pickup truck, and headed to the hardware store.
My big V-8 engine was a-whining, and my speech I was refining,
The talking chicken was reclining, laying on the pickup’s floor.

I said, “The money it’ll be a hundred or more.”
And the chicken clucked again–“Two-by-four.”

I shifted down and squealed to a stop, grabbed the bird, jumped out with a hop,
Headed into the lumber shop, but here’s a sign never seen before:
"No pets allowed." Curse that sign. No one could dash this plan of mine.
But it seemed I was at the end of my line, standin’ there cursin’ at the door.

Gone was my fame and fortune; gone, just like the money that I’d hoped for,
I was left with this chicken, “Two-by-four.”

I headed back to my mobile home; my mind had begun to roam.
Through more ideas I began to comb, surely something good was in store.
Chicken that I heard a-talkin’, help me, don’t just sit there squawkin’
It looked at me, its eyes were mockin’. That chicken was to be no more.

The oven’s hot, that bird is through, he’ll mock and sass me nevermore--
It’s chicken cutlets – two-by-four.


Contact witty Larry Thompson at this address.

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