You might think that life here at Crooked Acres is nothing but work and drudgery and cleaning litter boxes and trudging through pig poop and stomping through chicken poop and dealing with dead things and cleaning up cat vomit interspersed with the occasional kitten snuggle or chick cuddle.
What you don’t know is that there are moments of pure glamour interspersed with all the drudgery. That’s right, I said it – flat-out glamour here on the farm. Who’d ever guess?
Friday evening after Flappy laid the mega-monster-mutant egg, Fred emailed a reporter at the local newspaper. Tuesday morning he got an email from the reporter that read “Fred, we’d like to do a story about your egg. Please call me as soon as possible.” We laughed about it, yelling “Stop the presses!” and “I wonder if we’ll be on the front page!”, then I promptly went about my business and forgot about it.
Later Tuesday morning, just as I was settling in for a couple of hours of reality TV, Fred called.
“Are you in a good mood?” he asked gleefully.
Whenever he asks if I’m in a good mood, I know it’s because he’s about to ask or tell me something that will put me in a bad mood, so I claim to already be in a bad mood to stop him. It never works.
“NO,” I said.
“Really, are you in a bad mood? Really?” he said, not sounding like he much cared if I was.
“What? What? WHAT DO YOU WANT?” I snapped, my Woohoo, reality TV! mood rapidly switching to a grumpy What is it now? mood.
“Well, I talked to the newspaper guy, and they’re going to do the story. They need a picture of Flappy, and they want a person in it with her.”
“I hate you,” I said.
Fred laughed. “I told him I could give him a picture of Flappy by herself ’cause I’ve got a ton of them, but he’s insistent that there needs to be a person in it, too.”
“I hate you. Why do you drag me into this sort of thing? I don’t WANT to be in the newspaper with Flappy!”
“They’ll be there tomorrow around 10,” he said.
“Did I mention that I hate you?”
Fred laughed again, and then in the background I could hear the sound of his cell phone ringing.
“Oh, that’s him!” he said. “I’ll call you right back!”
I hung up the phone and sat and pondered the depth and breadth of my hatred for my husband. A few minutes later, he called back.
“The bad news is, he wants to come right now!” he said.
“Well then, what’s the GOOD news? They don’t need me in the picture?”
“No, the good news is that you’ll get it over with and won’t have to stress about it for the next 24 hours!”
“Oh, you are TOO GOOD to me. Did I mention that I hate you?” I said.
“They’re on the way. Call me after they’re gone!”
I hung up the phone and went to change my shirt, comb my hair, and put on some makeup. Then I sat in front of my computer and tried to surf while obsessively looking out at the driveway for the reporter. He showed up about ten minutes after I’d last talked to Fred, and as soon as I saw his truck in the driveway, I went out to greet him with the intention of getting this all over with as quickly as possible.
He and the photographer greeted me.
“Hi, Miss Robyn!” the reporter said. “Now, before I forget – what’s the chicken’s name?”
“Flappy McGee,” I said, and blushed.
He chortled and asked me how to spell it. It’s a funny name ’til you have to spell it out for a reporter, let me tell you.
The photographer and I went into the chicken yard, and the chickens gathered around casting hopeful looks at my hands. I almost never step foot into the chicken yard without a treat for them (even if it’s just a handful of cracked corn), so they’ve come to expect that. I had nothing for them – it hadn’t occurred to me to grab something for them on my way out – and they figured that out pretty quickly and then scattered to scratch and peck at the ground.
Flappy McGee, skittish on the best of days, was as far from me as she could possibly get, casually scratching and pecking at the ground over near the back of the chicken yard.
“Chickchickchick,” I called, which is usually enough to get them to all come and gather around me. They all gathered around me again, except for Flappy, who shot me a knowing look and continued to scratch and peck.
I calmly walked in her general direction, and she high-tailed it for the other side of the chicken yard.
“Chickchickchick,” I said.
“Which one is it?” the photographer asked. I pointed her out.
“Your husband said it might be hard to get hold of her,” the reporter said.
“Yeah, she’s a little… high-strung,” I understated. I continued trying to get within grabbing distance of Flappy. She feinted left, I went left, she ran right. I chased her across the yard, and she ducked under the coop. “You… BRAT,” I said in exasperation. Flappy peeked out from under the coop, saw that I wasn’t close enough to grab her, and ran across the yard.
I walked over to the covered can sitting under the chicken rain shelter, and grabbed a handful of chicken feed.
“Chickchickchick,” I said. Chickens flocked around me hopefully. I scattered feed on the ground, and they went to work, grabbing it up as fast as I could scatter it. From the very edge of the flock, Flappy McGee glared suspiciously at me. I slowly, casually edged around the flock, and she ran back under the coop.
In my head I cursed her with every bad word I could think of. Twice. Out loud, I just shrugged at the photographer. Flappy peeked out from under the coop then zipped up the ramp and into the coop.
“Oh!” I said. “I bet I can get hold of her in the coop!”
I shut the door to the coop so she couldn’t get out, and then I opened the front door and stepped inside. The photographer hovered in the doorway. Flappy eyed me. I moved toward her. She feinted right. I moved right. She zipped around me and out the door.
“UGH!” I yelled. The photographer laughed.
I went back out and followed Flappy around the yard. I grabbed more feed. The other chickens gathered about, but Flappy wouldn’t come near me.
“If we could just get a picture where you and the hen are in the same frame,” the photographer said. “That would work.”
“Let me go in and get some cracked corn, they really like that,” I said. She nodded.
As I left the chicken yard, the reporter said “What did you think when your husband showed you that egg?”
I stopped and thought about it for a moment. “I think I said… That poor chicken! That egg was huge, I was worried about her!” And then I babbled some more and headed inside the house to get some cracked corn.
Back in the chicken yard with a cup of cracked corn, I crouched down and tried to coax Flappy closer. She’d have none of it. The other chickens thought they were in hog heaven, and gathered around me, eating the cracked corn as I sprinkled it on the ground.
I held out a hand full of cracked corn, and Frick ran over and started eating out of my hand.
“Is that the one?” the reporter called out.
“No, but it’s the same kind as the one who laid the egg!” I said back.
“So no one would know the difference?” he asked.
“No one but us!”
After a few more pictures, the photographer said she thought she had enough shots, and they thanked me and left.
“I hate you,” I said to Fred, having immediately called him when I got back inside the house.
“I’m sensing a theme here.”
“That chicken wouldn’t let me get ANYWHERE near her!”
Fred laughed. “I told him you probably wouldn’t be able to hold her.”
“Yeah, I called her ‘high-strung.'”
We talked for a few more minutes, and then I told him to let me know if he heard anything from the reporter.
This morning, I puttered around the house for most of the morning, clearing the junk off the dining room table (we tend to pile stuff up there, because we NEVER eat at the table anymore) and decluttering the computer room a little bit. Finally, around 11 I left the house to head for town to go to Big Lots and stop by the grocery store.
In the grocery store, I wandered around looking for the local newspaper. They were hiding it over by the pharmacy, and when I picked up the paper, I about fainted dead away.
ABOVE the fold, baby. Britney only WISHES she got coverage like THAT.
I grabbed several copies of the newspaper and went to stand in the checkout line. When it was my turn, the cashier grabbed the top paper and scanned it.
“Do you know you have two copies – well, more than that, I guess.” She counted the number of papers, then looked questioningly at me.
“That’s me on the front page,” I confessed, face glowing bright red. “You probably don’t recognize me with my eyes all the way open.”
She smiled and read the article. Then she called another cashier over, and then they called the manager over. They read the paper and then looked at me with approval.
“That’s pretty neat!” my cashier said. I smiled and nodded and paid and left before I actually burst into flames.
I read the paper, and then I called Fred.
“We sound like the biggest hicks on earth. We were sort of creeped out!” I quoted him, putting a thick redneck accent on it as I spoke. “I thought to myself, ‘Ouch!’ Oh my god, we sound like the biggest idiots.
Fred laughed. “Hey, this is the sort of thing the big news outlets pick up as a human interest story. Maybe CNN will call!”
“Yeah, I’ll let YOU pose for THAT picture,” I said. “I look like an idiot.”
As the day went on, I occasionally called Fred and read parts of the article to him. We quoted it to each other with thick southern country accents.
“We should totally record ourselves acting out the article,” I said. It took some convincing, but finally he agreed to it. After about thirty different takes, most of which I managed to mess up by laughing like a goon, we got a usable recording. Fred’s a much better redneck than I am – I started off okay in my quote, but then I veered off into the general voice I use when I’m imitating an idiot. Which I guess is still pretty apropos.
(Note from 2018: I took the wav file and put it in a video with random chicken pictures so I could upload it to YouTube. Also, we changed the name of our town (when reading it) to Smallville and the name of our road so that it would be a little harder to stalk us – not realizing that all you’d need to do to find the article was Google “Flappy McGee monster egg.”)
(Also, we recorded this using an old camcorder – remember, it was TEN YEARS AGO – so the sound isn’t the greatest.)
So, our 15 minutes of fame. Not quite how I expected it to go, really. I kind of expected a lot less chicken poop and a lot more Brad Pitt.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go fire the BB gun at some of the paparazzi camping out on the front lawn.
2007: No entry.
2006: That is an amazing and scintillating fact, right there.
2005: No entry.
2004: No entry.
2003: Y’know, sometimes I wonder how I make it through the world, clueless as I am.
2002: Her portly butt probably cut off the circulation to something important.
2001: I should have her arrested.
2000: Work was just heavenly today.