The Great Chicken Caper

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Published on: Aug. 2, 1997

Last revision: Oct. 27, 2010

It's 2 a.m. and George awakens to a noise in the chicken house - for the third night in a row. He jumps out of bed, slips on his clothes and quickly makes his way through the dark house. He grabs a flashlight and his .22 caliber rifle and rushes out the back door. The fully loaded ammunition clip for the rifle is already in his trousers pocket. He prepared well.

Last spring he bought three dozen baby chickens. Now, as the leaves on the sugar maple in the back yard turn crimson red, the chickens are fully mature and vigorous. Their numbers, reduced during the summer by Sunday dinners of fried chicken, were being further reduced by a late-night predator.

At the chicken house, George tastes the dust and hears the panic inside. He slides the ammunition clip into the rifle and chambers a shell. He quickly releases the latch on the chicken house door and jumps inside, closing the door behind him.

George's flashlight beam barely penetrates the thick dust and floating feathers. As he shines the light around the room, he makes out the vague image of a raccoon standing over a dead chicken.

George places the flashlight against the forearm of the rifle and raises it to fire, but the raccoon disappears. George's eyes burn from the dust as he swings the rifle and light inside the small chicken house, searching for the bandit.

He spots the raccoon running to the left against the outside walls, a full 2 feet above the floor. It reminds George of a trick motorcycle rider he saw at the state fair.

Blam! Blam! The .22 caliber bullets slam into the chicken house walls. The crack of the rifle inside the confined area is painfully loud.

All the chickens are on the move, flogging their protector as they fly around the room, hitting the walls and ceiling. Feathers suspend in the air; phantom chickens appear and disappear like ghosts in the thick dust.

George's light reflects off a storm of feathers but he gets a glimpse of the raccoon, still moving to the left.

Blam! Blam! More splinters.

The raccoon stops near the door. Blam! Blam! Blam!

The chicken house door slams open, and a thick cloud of dust, feathers and flying chickens boil out into the cool night air. A great pressure is released. George trips and sprawls on the

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