Damned Chicken

I signed a contract for Bonfires this last week, a story I sort of adore, and I put a thing in that book that I got from real life.

My stepmom and my dad got chickens again in the past couple of years. They like the funky breeds with the feathers all over their eyes, the ones who look like Albert Einstein and Bach. (They had one they called Bach for years… you know, like the sound a chicken makes? Puns!)  But the reason they went and got more after their last batch died out had to do with innovation.
Seems there’s a thing now that closes chicken coop doors when the sun sets and opens them when it rises.
This is INGENIOUS because chickens naturally go into the coop in the evening and come out on their own in the morning. Most predators attack at night, so having a door that closes automatically keeps the chickens safe, but it means you don’t have to, say, hire a dumb kid to open and close your chicken door when you leave the house for a couple of days. Make sure they have food and water taken care of, and the chickens will be perfectly safe.
Anyway– stepmom and dad have chickens.
And this morning, at around 8:30 (when I got into bed at 2) my phone went off. 
I flailed around the bed for it–turns out, Mate put it above the window, so by the time I found it, the caller had hung up and now I was a little awake, and a lot confused.
Was mom– she wanted to take the kids clothes shopping (oh blessed, blessed stepmom and dad–I adore them so!!!)
We chatted for a few minutes, and I was given explicit instructions. Make sure the kids cleaned their rooms and went through their clothes. They needed to get rid of a lot of them so they could find their new ones. I was made to institute room cleaning procedures, STAT which I wasn’t ready for, because I have three edits on my desk and an Aug 31st deadline and a con next week, and a burning need to get my toes done and re-touch my roots. (And do some of the laundry from RWA.  Go figure.)
So, not going back to bed any time soon, but as the conversation was winding down, there was a moment that made it all worth it.
My stepmom (who had been outside doing stuff while I’d been trying to find my pants) said, “I gotta go. My chicken is thinking about crossing the road. Charlie, dammit, get back here!”
And then she hung up.
And I was left with “Why did the chicken cross the road?”
“To get out of cleaning it’s room and going back to school?”
And that was how I woke up.

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