Chicken Legs and Incident Reports

“Sir, I need you to calm down.”
“How the hell am I supposed to calm down? Did you see what just happened to my house?”
“I understand, but I need to take your statement.”
“Officer…”
“Detective Reynolds.”
“Detective. Ma’am. I just watched my house stand up and walk away. You aint’ gettin’ calm for at least a month.”
“I understand. There are officials from a dozen different agencies out there trying to catch it right now.”
“Maybe you should recruit ranchers to catch it.”
“Ranchers?”
“My house is running around. They herd things. Maybe they can help?”
“They herd cattle.”
“And?”
“Your house has chicken feet.”
“They could still help.”
“Noted. For now, please have a seat. I obviously have some questions for you. Can I get you some coffee before we begin?”
“Whiskey?”
“No.”
“Coffee’s fine.”
“Please state your full name.”
“You’re recording this?”
“Yes, I imagine this is going to be of great interest to a large number of people. Your insurance company being one of them.”
“John Jacob Smith.”
“John Jacob Smith?”
“My parents weren’t creative people.”
“I see. And Mr. Smith, what is your occupation?”
“Waste Management Professional.”
“Waste what?”
“I’m a garbage man. Ya’ll need some sensitivity training.”
“Walk me through the events that led up to this incident.”
“Incident being my house growing chicken legs and running amok?”
“Yes.”
“I got home at five and settled down to watch some Wheel of Fortune with dinner. It’s the final round and this guy gets a doozy of a puzzle; fifteen letters long and all he’s got is an S.”
“Continue.”
“This dude is sweating bullets on national television, and all of a sudden my house started shaking.”
“Shaking?”
“Like an earthquake. We don’t have to worry about earthquakes here in Nebraska but the whole place is shaking and rattling around. I bolted out the door. Next thing I know the shaking stops and my damned house stands up on these weird chicken feet.”
“That must have been surprising.”
“That’s one way to put it.”
“What happened next?”
“I don’t know shit about chickens, and even less about houses with chicken legs so I did the only thing I could think of and started yelling at my house to sit down and act right. That was the wrong move cause the damned thing jumped over the fence and took off down the road. I think you know the rest.”
“Indeed. Now, Mr. Smith, you understand that this is a very strange occurrence for rural Nebraska. We get bewitched young lovers, women turning to salt, and devils living in the cornfields, but chicken footed houses are usually limited to Russia and Northern Minnesota. Do you know how this happened?”
“Nope. No ma’am. I, uh, I, uh… don’t have the slightest idea.”
“I hope you don’t go to Vegas with that face.”
“That’s not nice.”
“Sir, your house is scaring the devils out of the cornfields. That is gonna be a situation in a few hours. Why is your house ambulatory?”
“Like I said, I don’t…”
“Don’t lie, Mr. Smith. You can tell me, or I can call in our department’s truth sniffing bloodhound.”
“Ain’t no need to do me like that. Can’t get that kind of slobber out of clothes without a washing machine and I imagine mine is halfway to the next county by now.”
“Probably. Now one last time: why does your house have legs?”
“Alright, alright. So as a waste professional…”
“Garbage man, you said?”
“Yes. Waste. Management. Professional. As I was sayin’, people throw away some neat things, and I’ve accumulated something of a collection. Not saying I dig through people’s trash, but after twenty years on the job, you get a nose for these things.
“Today I was picking up cans over on 4th and someone had tossed a book called ‘Magical Russian Recipes’. Now I ain’t much of a chef, but I like to dabble.”
“A cookbook?”
“A cookbook. There’s a recipe called ‘Homestyle Chicken’. Sounded tasty so after work I set about collecting ingredients. I guess I shoulda known that dried snakeskin and powered cow eye aren’t exactly normal for some chicken, but ya know it’s Russian and I’m ain’t on to judge.”
“I see.”
“I finish up the rub and put the chicken in the oven. ‘bout five minutes later the door blows off. This is hardly the worst thing I’ve done while trying to cook, so I made some frank-and-beans and settled in for the night. Next thing ya know all hell is breaking loose.”
“Mr. Smith, you couldn’t tell the difference between a magic spell and a recipe for chicken rub?”
“Like I said ma’am; I ain’t that good a chef.”
“It seems so.”
“Anything else?”
“I don’t believe so. We’ll be in touch when we subdue your house.”

KB Baltz was born in a Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea, a month early and sideways. She has been doing things backward ever since. When she isn’t writing, KB can be found screaming into the void while applying to grad school. You can find some of her other work at Atlas and Alice, Gnashing Teeth, Trembling with Fear, and Burning House Press.

Categories: Fiction

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Shawn Berman runs The Daily Drunk. You can follow him on Twitter @Sbb_writer.

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