The Trojan Chicken

by Kimmy Dee

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            The bitch wore orange.

            Erica gritted her teeth as she peered through the binoculars. She’d told her recruit to dress inconspicuously; she should’ve known better than to use such a big word.

            Know your audience, she scolded herself.

            Erica had met her brightly dressed, bumbling accomplice Naveah in state lockup. Her name, she had bragged, stood for heaven backwards, and Erica decided if she had made it twenty-two years without realizing her parents couldn’t spell for shit there was no point in explaining it now.

            Erica had only been in the minimum-security state prison because the sorry excuse for the Clark County clink was overfilled. Clark County wasn’t exactly a hotbed of crime, which is probably why they never expanded the jailhouse beyond the converted pig barn that still doubled as the bait and tackle shop. At the time of Erica’s sentencing the cells were occupied by the county’s most prize-winning cattle, which were paired up to mate.

            So Erica was shipped off to become a burden of the state in a wagon pulled behind a hay baling tractor, a pilgrimage of thirty miles that took roughly five hours.

            Naveah twirled her stringy yellow hair as she talked up the fair security guard, seductively deep throating her deep fried twinkie. Erica couldn’t make out what she was saying, but the hillbilly rent-a-cop wore a goofy grin as she slurped the grease from her snack on a stick. Naveah wore low riding jeans that were two sizes too small, her gut hanging over the waistband, with a hunter orange crop top that could’ve been spotted from a mile away.

            Inconspicuous or not, Erica had to hand it to her bunk buddy; the girl knew how to flirt.

            Naveah expertly slid the remaining hunk of artery-clogging carnival food through her lips and leaned into her prey, placing her hand on his chest as she whispered something into his ear. She tossed the scraped-clean stick over her shoulder and onto the ground, despite being two feet from a giant green garbage barrel, and bounded back to Erica’s perch behind the port-a-potties.

            “Aren’t the binoculars kind of overkill?” Naveah wiped her chin with the back of her hand, then the back of her hand on the front of her jeans. “I was just, like, right over there.”

            “Keep your voice down!” Erica ducked behind the poop booths, pulling Naveah down to a squat beside her. “Did you get the dirt?”

            “Sure did!” Naveah’s acne-scarred face was beaming. “When the festival closes for the night they wheel it into a stall in the llama barn. It’s padlocked, but not guarded.”

            “Fantastic,” Erica said. “And you didn’t give him your real name, right?”

            “I’m not an idiot,” Naveah said. “I told him my name is Erica.”

            Erica cringed. “Whatever. Just meet me in the eighth row of the fifth cornfield north of town on Podunk Road tomorrow at ten. I’ll have your cut.”

            “North?” Naveah’s face crinkled in confusion.

            “Yeah. You know, like, up.”

            “Cool. But make it noon; I’ve got a hot date in a haystack with that carnival cop that will hopefully run late.”

#

            Naveah had done time for armed robbery, although her sentence was lenient due to the weapon having been a garden hoe, the target a hay bale, and the only resulting injury had been to herself.

            Erica’s crime, though, had been one of passion. Despite living in Clark County her entire life, she didn’t know many people. For one thing, there weren’t all that many people living in Clark County to know. But she also hadn’t attended the high school that served the area, whose graduation rate was low but never officially released, on account of no one in town knowing how to calculate a percentage. Erica’s parents had opted instead to home school her and her brother, and she felt she’d certainly dodged a meth-filled bullet there.

            When she turned eighteen and got a job as a cashier at the local feed store she’d met Buck, the store’s stock boy and resident chicken nutrition expert, and was instantly smitten.

            Buck wasn’t like the other guys in the county; he had all of his teeth, dressed in non-flannel clothing, didn’t drive a jacked-up pickup truck, and dreamed of one day moving to the city to be an artist. So after their third date, during which he continued to spurn her physical advances, she thought she had him figured out.

            “Oh my God, you’re gay,” she said, still straddling his soft crotch.

            “I’m not,” Buck said, pushing her off his lap for the fourth time that night.

            “It’s okay, no judgment here,” Erica reassured her new gay bff. Visions of shopping together and decorating a shared trailer while jamming out to old-school Madonna danced through her mind.

            “Seriously, I’m not gay. I’m just not attracted to you. Like, at all.”

            Erica did the only logical thing; she stormed out, stole a Bobcat from the gravel pit down the road (“stole” being a harsh word, as the key had been hanging from the ignition) and ran over Buck’s Volkswagen Beetle.

            Eight times.

            Buck’s father, full-time farmer and the respected constable of Clark County, a job that ate up about two hours a month, had seen to it that the book of law had been thrown at her. And the book had been thrown quite literally, as its only real use in the courtroom (which was an empty corn silo) was as a projectile.

            They weren’t exactly readers in Clark County.

            Her sentence had been reduced from the precedent twelve months to only eight, on account of her victim being a German car, but aggravated automobile assault would forever be on her permanent record, making her virtually unhireable in a county that didn’t have any jobs anyway.

            So she’d decided to turn to a life of crime.

            Her target was the Clark Center Chicken, a three-cow tall (the standard local unit of measurement) fiberglass statue that for decades graced the main drag through the only real town in the county, which was inaptly named, as it was located in the southwestern corner.

            Although beloved by all, and Clark Center’s only real claim to fame (minus a mysterious bovine murder-suicide that had made the “WTF” segment of a national news program a few years earlier), the Clark Center Chicken had been removed from public view two years ago after an unfortunate string of events.

            As the main local attraction, in addition to there being little else to do, drunken residents of Clark Center often made the chicken the central focus of their shenanigans. And, like with most things, it was all fun and games until someone lost a limb.

            That fateful late summer night local sports hero and former homecoming king, Gus “Touchdown” Turdenberg, had ended up stark naked and chained to the chicken on the eve of his wedding, as one tends to do. Meanwhile Erica’s brother had been out cruising the Clark Center strip on his souped-up John Deere lawnmower, also as one tends to do.

            The resulting low-speed collision severed Gus’s left leg just below the knee, because nothing cuts like a Deere. His assumed future as a washed-up athlete spending the rest of his days perched atop a barstool recounting the tale of the great play that had almost won the team the state championship had been placed on permanent hold, as he could no longer balance his lopsided weight on barroom furniture after downing a few beers. His fee-on-say (as they spelled it in Clark County) Charlene, not wanting to be bound in holy matrimony to a cripple, ran off to Stevenson to live in sin with the former second-string quarterback.

            Meanwhile all charges against Eddie were dismissed, as public drunkenness was still an exonerating defense. But the chicken was yanked from its nest and placed in protective custody, only to be displayed during the annual Clark County Fried Food Festival.

            While its fame made it an incredibly risky acquisition, Erica believed (and Buck still needed to learn) that it’s what’s on the inside that truly matters…and, according to Eddie, that revered bird was packed to the plume with cocaine.

            The accident had busted a small hole through the gut of the chicken, and several plastic-bound bricks had fallen onto the front end of Eddie’s ride. He’d told Erica about it over an intense game of Go Fish when he’d visited her in jail, and the heist had been brewing in her brain ever since.

            Knowing that she’d need help to pull off her plan, she had recruited Neveah for intel and Clark Center’s rival football team, the Shartsville Sharks, for muscle.

            To the high school hard heads she’d proposed the poultry-napping as a mere pre-game prank. The town idol would inevitably be found, and Shartsville would suffer the blame. Erica would escape with the loot scot-free, only having to share a small portion of her haul with Naveah, and the cash she’d make from the stolen booger sugar would fund her move to the city. There she’d find Buck, who’d made his move from Clark County while she’d been wasting away in a cell, and force him to fall madly in love with her.

            She could practically smell her happily ever after as she waited for nightfall. That is, if her fairytale ending smelled like a methane-fogged manure field.

            Shortly after midnight she shepherded the Shartsville goons into the ungated fairgrounds. They had dressed in full football pads and helmets, because despite all their accumulated muscle, not a single one of them had ever grown a goddamn brain.

            They busted the padlock with little trouble, and the starting lineup of the state champion Sharks (who had won the contentious game despite Gus’s big play) wrapped ropes around the chicken and pulled it out of its stall, past the inattentive guard llamas, then hitched it to the back of a plow truck and paraded it straight through the center of the sleeping town. They tucked their bounty safely away in an abandoned barn close to the county line.

            The teenage conquistadors ran off to get black out drunk in a neighboring field, and Erica got to work gutting the farm fowl.

            First, though, she took a moment to revel in the rooster’s majesty. A lifelong resident of Clark County, she was not immune to the chicken’s charms. The crevices between its feathers were dark and deep…but she had promises to keep.

            And hours to go before she’d sleep.

            She retrieved the ice auger she’d snagged from the back of Eddie’s truck, which he insisted on hauling around during the dog days of summer just in case, and set to work.

            It didn’t take hours.

            Within minutes of penetrating the bird’s belly the whole thing blew apart, and bags upon bags of white powder dropped onto her head.

            Unphased by the avalanche, Erica swam through her loot like Scarface McDuck. She was unable to resist tearing open one bag, dipping her finger inside, and rubbing the snowy powder against her gums, as she’d seen in the movies.

            And immediately spat.

            Flour. It was fucking flour. She’d pinned her entire future on selling the most basic baking (and frying, or Clark County wouldn’t have bothered to stockpile it) ingredient on the planet.

            Although, her intended customers were idiots…

            As she contemplated her next move the swinging barn doors banged open and Buck’s dad came barging through, his two deputies close behind. He shone a flashlight in her face, despite the barn being fully lit.

            “Erica Dungle, you’re under arrest for the destruction of government property. And I’ve gotta warn you, the sacredness of said property could elevate this crime to a capital offense here in Clark County.” He tipped his hat to the desecrated chicken, and wiped a tear from his eye. “Are you at least drunk?”

            “No,” Erica said, shielding her eyes. She’d briefly considered lying, but her sober breath would never pass the legally binding sniff test. Although it might knock the constable out, considering the last thing she’d ate had been a carnival sausage.

            “Throw her in the barn,” the constable said.

            “Uh, we are in a barn, sir.” Deputy Dumb said as he cuffed her. Deputy Dipshit stood nearby, examining his fingertip that had just a moment before been digging around in his ear.

            “The jail. Take her to that barn.”

            The deputies pulled Erica to her feet and began dragging her toward the door. “Just a heads up, Miss Dungle…your trial will probably be delayed, on account of it being harvest season and all. I hope you enjoy wearing orange.”

            Erica groaned.

            “Oh, and Erica?” the constable called after her. “Stop calling my son. He’s just not into you.”

 

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Kimmy Dee is the author of Pussy Planet and Other Endearing Tales. When she isn't writing dick and fart jokes she can be found wrestling freshwater alligators and milking unicorns. She lives in a dark alley underneath a pile of stray cats, and would love to hear from you at Kimmydee.writer@gmail.com so that she can ask to borrow some money.