until suddenly all hell broke loose.
Spring comes to the Central Valley in February when the almond orchards bloom. It isn’t a lasting spring. It’s more like T.S. Eliot’s “April is the cruelest month…” Some days can be balmy seventies and then a storm moves in, the sun goes away, and it rains from all directions. The last few days have been the sunny variety.
We were in the backyard when suddenly from the alley behind the fence came a sound that seemed to be not of this earth. It was a series of ear piercing “squawk-blucks,” very loud and growing louder.
I should explain that in our city all of the houses built in the past 50 years have six-foot redwood board fences surrounding the backyards. It’s an ordinance or something. A house can’t close escrow until the fence is in place.
Of course the dogs went ballistic, running from crack to knothole, barking and yelping, trying to see what was back there. I climbed up and looked over to see strutting down the alley, flapping its wings was …a chicken, a very pissed off chicken.
He looked like an angry drum major in some poultry comic opera. After about fifteen minutes of strutting back and forth, he suddenly flew to the top of our fence, showing no fear, squawk-blucking at the dogs as they barked back at him.
Finally I had enough. I grabbed a broom to shoo him off the fence and restore the decibel level to the neighborhood. But as I got closer to him, he flapped his wings and flew up into a tree.
Oh, yeah, that worked well. Now Psycho Chicken was high up in the tree squawking at the dogs, and the dogs were furiously trying to climb the tree.
As God is my witness, I didn’t think chickens could fly.