The first thing I do whenever I walk out of the house is to look at the sky. No it's not to know if the sky has already fallen so I'd have a good excuse to bail out in the office but it's my gauge how late it was. Today it was blue. Instinct tells me that for as long as there's not much heavy traffic, I can still arrive before 9.
So there I was opening the gate, getting out, then closing it again. When I turned around my morning nemesis was there, staring. It's the neighbors' chicken.
One of my other habits and a good way to start the day is to chase half heartedly the neighbor's chicken, that is if he's around. It's fun, no one hasn't scolded me yet and we both get a minute of exercise. They usually fly in panic anyway so I won't be bothered accidentally kicking it.
I'm not sure how he came to be in a subdivision property but I guess not owning too many it can pass off as a pet. And since he's allowed to roam I kind of think it's proper to give him a name. Let's settle for Roger.
It's not that i'm saying I know a Roger who is a coward and it doesn't mean that all Rogers are cowards. It also doesn't mean all chickens can be Rogers it's just that he look like a Roger. Whatever that means.
So anyway, there's Roger alright. Staring at me. I know i'm late but he looks like he's up for a challenge. I think he recognizes the girl who kept on chasing him whenever he's loitering. He's probably thinking i'm some hall monitor and there's a good chance he'd called me a Roger as well. I stood straight and looked at him. I accept. And since i'm the aggressive one, I took one step towards him. It was startling. He didn't move.
Usually, that act alone is enough for him to flinch. But he didn't this time and it's puzzling why. I took another step and he didn't move a muscle! What?! What sorcery is this?! Has Roger evolved?
Brain neurons run incredibly fast that we get to have flashbacks, memory surges and recollections faster than a snap. At that moment I remembered a graphic novel. The one about chickens. Elmer.
Elmer is a graphic novel by Mr. Gerry Alanguilan and one of the most unique ideas out there. I've seen a lot of him from local comic conventions and he's one of the popular ones here and abroad. One of his works is Elmer. A unique alternate world where chickens have learned intelligence and became one of us. On the book they were now regarded as humans. Good luck making a movie out of that Pinoys!
At that point I began to imagine Roger growing a brain. Well of course he does have a brain, but what i'm trying to say is that he's beginning to become more intelligent. He's standing up for his right of loitering without some nosy human chasing after him just for kicks. I was thrilled. A worthy opponent. So I stepped another. And another. He's still staring at me.
Sorry, our encounter have to wait, I can't shrug off why people relate cowardice and dumbness to chickens. Yeah based on experience their initial response to an encounter is flight but this is not the case for mommy chickens. They do fight back that's why I don't chase mom chickens because i'm so sure to be clawed. And what about cock fights huh? If they're so coward why are they even took out to fights?
And for the degrading 'chicken brains'. What? Chickens have more chance of living alone than your average domesticated pet. They're rare to find for a road kill, they can scavenge their food and they're a bit hard to catch since they can both run and fly.
Of course they fly! When in great fear they can fly as high to perch on a tree way above your head. By the time you're up there they're already down and clucking away and you're still figuring out how to get down from that tree. See? They have outwitted you already. How is that dumb now?
Back to Roger I wonder what he thinks. He's probably thinking 'oh I forgot my spur' or 'i'd make this long so she'd be late' or 'i'd reclaim my territory wooh' but then he's probably thinking of other things all together and he's so concentrated with his thought he didn't really notice me.
Inching more towards him he took a side step. Aha! So you've noticed me now, eh? I took one more just for luck and he started to move. I deliberately stomped my feet to increase his panic. Roger took his tiny feet and went on running, with me on his tail. I was fast closing in and Roger learning this without looking back his arms started to spread out...
Just how do they know how far you are from them without looking is a mystery to me. You can trick a person by just being too overly quiet and they won't notice your presence but it's a feat to do that with chickens. They know you're near, they know when you intend to catch. It's possibly a chicken radar of some sorts. Or we could smell weird to them. That's possible. We know how they smell but we must stank in their own standards. That's the closest I can think of anyway.
So Roger started to spread out. I can almost kick him but I didn't. I may injure or worse, kill him so I let him end our little encounter once more. He started to lift off the ground so I stopped on cue to not hit him. And although it's quite funny seeing his bottom making it hard to fly straight, I still marvel at their ability to just fly out of a difficult situation and wonder what he thinks. Cluck cluck cluck cluck?