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The Chicken Incident, Ohio, or why raccoons are evil

At 2 AM last night, I woke to the sound of chickens screaming. I’m pretty sure my husband could sleep through an atomic bomb, so of course, he heard nothing. Because I apparently have not seen enough horror movies, I ran outside in my pajamas (no bra) with a flashlight, deserving to be killed by Leatherface.

As I neared our chicken coop, I at first saw nothing out of the ordinary. Then, I got closer. I saw what appeared to be a bloody stump of a chicken leg hanging halfway out the closed door. Yes, the chicken coop was still closed. Yes, half a chicken was sticking out of it. Yes, some fanged monster had tried to drag a large chicken through a tiny hole, and oh, dear God, what is life?

About five seconds later, a pair of glowing eyes crept into my yard. Ah-ha, the culprit: a skinny raccoon. I wasn’t sure how to proceed since wildlife should be scared of humans because we’re awful, but this raccoon just stood there like he wanted to shoot the shit.

How is your night, human?

Oh, fine, Mr. Raccoon. I just sort of wish you wouldn’t do scary stuff like disembowel my chickens at 2 AM.

Noted, human. I shall now depart.

Except he didn’t depart. He stood there staring at me until I made the rash decision to run directly at the raccoon. Well, he didn’t like that, so he left. The chickens continued screaming … Well, one in particular. You guessed it: the one with half a body torn off and hanging from the chicken coop door. Yeah, that guy? He was still alive.

We had now entered Jake territory.

I calmly cleared my throat and went back to the house. By the way, I was barefoot, so not only was I chasing a raccoon barefoot but I was also trying to avoid dog poop in the dark.

I got back to the bedroom and announced, “Jake. Wake up,” in the calmest voice possible, images of silver eyes and bloody stumps just ricocheting around my brain like ping pong balls.

Jake isn’t a good waker-upper. He startled and made a confused noise before I was like, “Dude, the chickens are being murdered.” Whelp, that got his attention.

I don’t know why I joined him outside. The chickens are my husband’s project, and although, yes, I was the earlier hero, they’re his babies. Jake was understandably not pleased at the state of things. I stayed there with him, holding the flashlight, until he tugged the half-eaten still alive chicken out into the open and said something about “sorry, buddy” and … Yeah, I fled inside at that point.

It took forever to fall back to sleep. I’m sore everywhere today and have a dozen times realized I’m staring at walls and not working.

I’m not upset about the chickens, not really. It sucks that we lost four last night to a hungry fanged beast, and I feel bad that my hubby puts so much work into raising these birds—for us—and then, they go and get their dumb asses killed. (Chickens are really dumb; trust me on this.)

Instead of being upset, I’m entertained today because, before I met my husband, I don’t think I’d ever met a chicken outside of a plate and yet, last night I wielded a massive flashlight and chased a monster from my yard. Most days, I write about monsters, but I don’t often stare one down and have an imaginary conversation at 2 AM.

Life is awkward and weird and sometimes horrible, and yeah, we rush around all the time. Days go so fast, and we’re like, “How did I get here?” But, man, sometimes life is just so dang funny with its metaphorical blood and guts hanging out for all to see. It’s a mess. Enjoy the mess. Now, go about your day and try not to hear the sound of screaming chickens.

(If you want to read about The Chicken Incident, Arizona, feel free, but it’s equally as alarming as what you just read. Cheers!)

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