Yes.. I had an unhealthy fear of chickens. But to my defense, there are some pretty dangerous chickens out there. When I was a kid, sometime in the early to mid-80’s, I remember being somewhat poor. This was when I still had a curly white afro, and a bad habit of pooping my pants. But life was good.. Dukes of Hazard was a household name, cell phones were not yet conceived, and Budweiser was not consumed unless you peeled off the metal tab. Baseball was America’s sport.. and any kid without a two inch stack of ball cards mixed with a few Garbage Pail Kids was an idiot. We walked around like a bunch of badasses chewing half a pouch of Big League chewing gum… grape flavor. Russia was the bad guys, and China was where you would end up if and only if you dug a hole completely through the earth. Don’t even get me started…
Big things happened in those years life shaping years. …Big. In fact, We were taking a trip to my favorite uncle’s house, because we had to or because we wanted to, I have no idea.. but it was a big deal. ..because my uncle lived on Bear Mountain. Now, mind you, I had seen enough Ranger Rick magazines to know that anywhere named “Bear Mountain” was a place of serious consequences. 600 episodes of Scooby Doo just can’t be wrong about the inherent danger lurking in locations with similar names! But this was where my favorite uncle lived, and so, it couldn’t be THAT bad.
Bear Mountain was full of sharp red rocks, hot as the blazes, and embedded with a rattlesnake every few yards. The trees knew enough not to grow round these parts.. There wasn’t much aside from small evergreens, a few hard woods, and some shrubbery. It was basically a snake lover’s dream, and so I felt right at home.
My uncle, living at the top of a rattlesnake infested mountain, decided that fresh eggs was top priority, being that they can be both breakfast AND dinner. And it was thus decided hat chickens would run rampant on the top of Bear Mountain. My first impression was that they were cool.. like an exotic pet. All that had changed when I locked eyes with… THE DEATH CHICKEN.
Standing a good 2 feet tall and about 20 yards away from me was the devil incarnate. This chicken was mangy, and with a resting face casting a look of doubt. I made eye contact from a very far distance, which might seem strange, but as I stared walked out into the rocky landscape from my uncle’s house, all movement ceased.. which took me off guard! the ONLY movement was from Death Chicken. Naturally, my vision was directed at the first movement in the vicinity.. He took this as a challenge. There was a moment there where we stared each other down, because I was no chicken! I would not back down! But in he began slowly running at me. His momentum increased and he had a crazed look which terrified me. So I ran. I ran so hard.. and just when I was sure I had lost him, 8 turned my head, and he was much closer. WTF?? I panicked and threw a rock at him.. he only sidestepped and continued running. …his little head bobbed to and fro, and with such a serious look! It was at this moment I could tell that he was dangerous. He was out for blood.
That was my first run in with Death Chicken. The next time I came outside, I was cool and relaxed because I searched the yard before leaving the safety and security of the house. This calm displacement lasted precisely 6 seconds, when out of the only existing patch of shade Death Chicken emerged. If a chicken could smile… this chicken would eat that chicken. His look was cold calculation. And as he stared into my soul, he shat milky white liquid gravel, which appeared to steam after hitting the ground. I would later realize that it was very dusty and it simply disturbed some loose dust. His eyes were blood red and angry. My fear seemed to cue the chase. I suppose that scared me more than anything. He would wait until I was close to crying before beginning the actual terror.
The next day I stayed inside.. One does not walk around Bear Mountain. This, I learned is why transportation was invented.
Later, after several days, I. decided to travel by bike. This was no different. Death Chicken chased me. Not my sister, not my dad or mom.. Just me. When I would come home, he would be waiting.. When I tried leaving, he would peck me to death.. that is, if he ever caught me.. which he never did.
The realization dawned on me.. There was no bear, rattlesnake or any other predator on my uncle s property. They steered clear of the area. And not because of human activity! None could contend with the apex predator ..the Bear Mountain Death Chicken