The man’s son is coming back today. He has been away in Nairobi since the lock down.
The man’s family is bound to hold a small celebration for his return. Every time the humans celebrate, they pick one of us. They then kill and eat whomever they have picked. I’ve been waiting in anticipation all day. The atmosphere around me is dripping with anxiety and wretched suspense. Who will be chosen?
The others don’t want to die. They are very fearful. You should see their stupid beaks chattering.
Me, well, I don’t really care.
Anyway, the sun has already set and the moment I’ve been waiting for – the one the others have been dreading – is here. It’s dark in our house. My stupid eyes can’t see. Normally, there would be a clucking sound every now and then but today, you can hear an egg drop as it is laid.
It’s funny, really. The dames are letting this whole anxiety thing affect their egg laying. I don’t know how fear of death is related to laying an egg. But it is, apparently. Not one dame has laid an egg since noon. Yet normally, there would be like ten eggs by now. The whole thing just cracks me up.
I hear the man’s elder son sharpening his knife in the distance. After some time, the sound of knife against stone stops and the silence around me grows even more.
I cock my head to one side as I listen to his heavy footsteps approaching our small wooden home.
The boots stop and he starts fumbling with the door. He gets in and shines his flashlight at us. The flashlight wanders around, momentarily coming to a stop when any one of us catches his eye.
All this time, I’m thinking how brave we all are. I mean, we all know what is going to happen – one of us will die. You can practically feel the screams in the air that are just waiting for a play button to start. You would imagine that we would all be huddled in the furthest corner, as far away as possible from this enemy of ours. But no; we are all just sprawled around, waiting for fate to do her thing. Interesting, right?
If all these other fools were to be in a corner, it would be easy for me to move forward and be at a position where the son could easily pick me up. He would think, “This one may not be the fattest but he is not that bad and thanks to his stupidity, I don’t have to chase anyone around or waste any maize enticing them.”
The son takes his time, looking at each of us males carefully. His torch light lingers on me for a few hopeful seconds but goes away.
I’m just about to give up hope when it comes back. It then goes to another huge male to my right and just like that, there goes my chance.
I should have eaten even more. I should have eaten even the food on which some of us had done their business. I’ll have to reevaluate my fattening policy. If I don’t, I will be stuck in this measly existence for eternity.
The son gets into the room and before my mates can jump around and scream, he already has his prey. Someone hits the play button and all hell breaks loose.
Everyone jumps around. Some of us, the ones who are really clever, even jump towards the son. If he wanted to pick like two or three of us, they are making it so easy. The son leaves, with a wide smile on his stupid face.
It’s all such a racket.
The dames who had held in their eggs now start making the sounds they make when they want to lay. If the son were to come back in an hour, he would collect about ten eggs that weren’t there. It kills me with laughter, honestly.
However, the racket doesn’t last all that long. They get tired after some time. All the while, I’m just seated on one of the rafters, considering my bad fortune and shaking my head in sadness. I mean, this should have been my chance.
I really went all out to ensure I looked fat. I even held in all my shit since that afternoon; you know, in the hope of creating the illusion of a well-fed, meaty bird. But it seems that I’ll keep being in this hell hole.
The next morning finds all of us cocks crowing, as usual, at around three. Of late, I have been crowing with a lot of psych. There was always this intense sense of satisfaction that came with opening my beak wide and screaming methodically ever since I could crow. But lately, I’ve been opening my beak wider and giving the scream my all. I always tell myself that I must do it better than everyone else.
I guess it has to do with this chick, Kuku. When I say chick, don’t get me wrong: she is of legal age and all that.
See, Kuku is this really cool chick. I mean, her feathers are so sleek and smooth. She walks around with the grace of our distant cousins – the ducks, sort of like a queen or a princess. And her beak, I would so love to do things to it. I don’t know what kind of things exactly; I’ll have to really let my imagination run free on that sometime. But it’s a really attractive beak – that’s the point.
You’d agree if you saw it.
All in all, there’s something about Kuku that really attracts me. I don’t know how to explain it exactly. Just think of it this way: If I was a human and I had to pick a chicken, it would definitely be Kuku. Okay, I wouldn’t want to gut her and put her somewhere above a hot fire, but you get my point, right? My gizzard goes crazy for her.
Anyway, and before we go on, let me tell you that I think I’m really stupid and all. I am not kidding. I should also probably mention that I am a coward.
Now that we are clear on those points, let me go on.
You want to believe just how stupid I am? See, I think I like Kuku. In fact, sometimes I just relax at night and think of how uniformly oval and good looking our eggs would be.
But how do I choose to express my affection for Kuku?
Well, for starters, I crow the hell out of my little lungs in the morning. I always think that she is somewhere noticing just how good I crow and getting madly attracted to me because of it. The stupidity behind that is baffling, I agree, but it’s what I do.
Another way in which I express my undying love for Kuku is I remain faithful to her. I don’t cheat on her. I mean, when other chicks, wait there’s no other hen I call chick – that would be cheating. So, when other hens go strutting their stuff in front of me, I just ignore them and pretend they are not there. I make it look like I don’t even notice them.
I don’t even talk to all those other hens much, unless I have to. In my head, I’m always thinking that my dear Kuku will notice how I don’t even have time for other hens; how I literally pay them no mind.
I always imagine that she also thinks of us, you know – me and her. I imagine that she dreams of the beautiful eggs that we could one day produce and how good we would look together and all that shit.
Oh! I almost forget one other way in which I show my love for Kuku. This one kills me, really, but I still do it. See, I show her respect. I think that’s the only acceptable way to put it.
To show you what I mean by respect, I’ll use those good for nothing humans as an example. They are good for nothing because they refused to pick me. Anyway, when important visitors come to a human’s home, a child should not open his or her mouth in the visitor’s presence. That is showing respect.
In the same way, whenever Kuku and I are close, I – respectfully of course – never look her in the eye for starters. Another thing: I’ve never formed a full word in her presence. My beak always seems to just want to remain shut.
There was this one time I really struggled and brought myself to open my beak. However, the moment I opened it, I suddenly felt like the most idiotic creature in the world. I mean, of all the things I could say, I chose to go with the ingenious “Can you give me this rafter space? I sort of feel cold at my current rafter and this place is sort of better aligned with the sun.”
She just calmly mumbled a yes and walked away.
Ah. Chest pains.
I was supposed to make her laugh, or give her a compliment or something. At the very least, I was supposed to take that opportunity to look deep into her one eye. But I never looked her in the eye the whole time I was talking to her. I cannot tell you where I was looking at.
I must have been so bloody nervous that I couldn’t even have appreciated the present. I don’t know why I always do that; fail to be in the present. I could be talking to a chick and I’m worrying about a thousand things or my brain is somewhere else. I could be worrying about whether the odor from under my feathers is getting to her or whether my beak is shiny enough.
Do you know how I know that I have problems being in the present?
After talking to a chick, I always think of about a million sensible and funny things I could have said. But when talking to a chick, like that time when I talked to Kuku, it is like my brain freezes, literally. Anybody present at that time would have a tremendous amount of trouble believing that I am actually a funny and interesting conversationalist, when not talking to chicks.
Anyway, ever since that time when I made an absolute fool of myself in front of Kuku, I have never dared to do it again. So all I do is crow loudly and take very good care of my image, hoping that she will notice me and get attracted to me.
I also believe in fate. Like, why was I not picked to be slaughtered the other day, huh? Tell me.
Most probably, fate has something beautiful in store for me. That beautiful something must include a beautiful chick, and I have a feeling that the chick is Kuku. I feel like we are meant to be.
You don’t believe me? Explain how Kuku, who is a KARI hybrid, ended up in a room full of traditional chicken like me. There is not another hybrid in our room. They are all supposed to be in the next room. In fact, Kuku had been taken there, but by a stroke of luck, the farmer just ended up bringing only her into our room. If that isn’t fate, then the sun will rise from the west tomorrow.
Cheers to those glorified animals who call themselves humans
A reward was promised last Sunday on this very platform. Unfortunately, nobody qualified for the reward on DeChat. Fortunately, we get to hold onto the reward.