Animal Tales of the
by Roy Peak
So last week was Peak Week and last week Music Editor Roy Peak took over the coop. And you might be sad because you think...dang! Peak Week is over.
But Time doesn't work that way around here! We have no respect for its strict boundaries and one-way time-flow nonsense. So here's an extension of Peak Week. We've bent time itself for your enjoyment.
Animal Tales of the Zombie Apocalypse
From his perch on the branch of the big oak tree that stood near the pond, the big black crow could see that the buzzards were circling again. They were doing that more frequently, ever since the humans had all gotten sick, and started dying in the streets. The weird part is some of the dead humans got back up and kept on going, eating other humans or whatever unfortunate creatures that got too close to them. Weird.
The crow knew better than to eat sick humans. That was a good way to get sick yourself, but the buzzards didn't care, and had been enjoying their feasts. Until they too started getting sick. Just yesterday he had seen four sick buzzards, no longer able to fly, attacking each other until there was nothing left but broken beaks and a lot of blood and feathers.
So the old crow stayed away from the sick humans, hunted the occasional frog or mouse, ate from the cornfields to the east, and scavenged nuts that fell from the trees in the park. He was an old crow, all his hatchling siblings were long gone, scattered like leaves in the wind, so he spent most of his days alone—eating, flying, watching. He used to enjoy watching the humans. They did the most interesting things: Walk their dog companions in the park. Race their metal boxes around the city streets. Spend hours in their nests, staring at their talking bright-light boxes. Coddle some of the plants in their yards, while chopping and killing others. Some of the things the humans did made no sense to the crow, maybe that’s what made them interesting.
by Nick Dunkenstein
Cain could feel his insides twitch the deeper he got into the winter abyss encompassing around him, the squelching under each foot seemed to echo against the naked trees that almost mocked him with their ability to stay still through the bitter chill, “I wish I stayed home.”
Looking behind him, he could see his little red car through the panorama of birch trees, mostly because it was the only colourful thing within miles. He sighed, his millionth sigh, and kept moving forward, “Damn, tires,” he mumbled. His roommate told him that he needed to look at replacing the doughnut he was riding on for weeks, “should’a listened…” he kicked what looked like a pile of snow, which turned out to be a branch rimed with hoarfrost.
This Other Me
by Roy Peak
Here's another original story by our friend and music editor, Roy Peak! Happy Peak Week Chickens!
Monday sucked. Kyle was late with the files I'd ordered which put me late for my meeting with Henderson which made me miss lunch which upset my stomach which caused me to spew all over Kolbinskie's shoes as he passed by my cube which made him order me to go home early. "Big meeting with Holpatrick and Ferguson tomorrow. Get some rest, Julia," and when I went outside to my car it was gone. Stolen.
I waited forty-five minutes in the coffee shop for an officer to fill out a report. My cell was in the car and my husband ignored the forty calls I made to his cell from the payphone at the coffee shop--he never answered unknown numbers--so I had to catch a cab home. Twenty-one dollars and fifty-cents plus tip. It was dark when I finally walked up the driveway. In the garage sat Dan's BMW--he was always forgetting to close the garage door--and my Volvo wagon sat in the drive. Had the police already recovered it? Weird.
As I walked toward the front steps I fished the house keys out of my purse. Something caught my eye as I passed by the window. I took two steps back and stared. There was a woman in my kitchen and she was washing the dishes. What the hell?
If you're new to the site, maybe you've missed the adventures of The Thin Hungry Man. Julie has kind of forgotten about him, bless his heart. Since we don't have a picture of the Thin Hungry Man, Morty let us use his picture, but with the understanding that Julie will get back to writing and get him back on his way in the next few weeks. In her defense, she's been working on another book which will hopefully be published soon! In the meantime, enjoy!
THM 1 - The Thin Hungry Man Has An Idea It Hurts
THM 2 - Into Nothing
THM 3 - Bright New World
THM 4 - Lunch at the End of the Tunnel
THM 5 - At Long Last Lunch
THM 6 - An Unwelcome Guest
A Short Story Feat.
by Jarad Johnson
“What’s wrong?” she asked. Wrong, he thought, doesn’t begin to cover it. Wrong implies that there is a way to fix said problem, but there was not a solution to dying.
“This wild beast decided to make an attempt at making me his dinner,” he replied, hold up his bleeding hand. She sighed, shooing the cat away, and went to grab a bandage. While he was being doctored, the mongrel kept rubbing his legs, and he couldn’t help but wonder if he was only making nice so that he could eat his face off later. Oh well, he was an adorable cat, and who can stay mad at that? Cats are supposed to be bastards, and he could forgive it.
A Sample of a Story
by Jarad Johnson
Jarad has been inspired to start writing a short story that features another Sacred Chickens employee, our Uncle Mortimer. Be sure to check back on the blog to see how it plays out (if he ever manages to finish it)! In the meantime, here's a sampling of what he's written so far!
“Are we going to be playing tic tac toe?” he asked, amused.
“No,” she said, sat down, and began drawing on the concrete porch, next to an old iron kettle full of red flowers that reminded him of a witch’s cauldron. While she concentrated, he picked up a piece of chalk, and for a reason unbeknownst to him, drew a pentagram on the table. And then another, followed by three more on the ground beside him. She saw what he was doing and inspiration from it.
It wasn't the concrete fountain that was magic, that's for sure. It simply stood in the center of the Church Park, slowly collecting long forgotten pennies, quarters, dimes, and discolored nickels. A girl with red hair tossed a nickel in once, probably wishing for a boy or a new top. Her father threw a coin in too, likely in the hopes that the boys of the future wouldn't be too much trouble. A widow dropped in a coin, maybe a single hope for a new life beyond her recent loss, closing her eyes as it clinked at the bottom of the pool. Whatever the wish may have been, the change fell to the bottom and snuggled in with the rest.
New Guard Vol. VII
by Julie Carpenter
What are we recommending this week? The New Guard Vol. VII, a collection of short pieces, poetry, and stories. There's something in this volume for everyone. And there's a special surprise! Julie has a piece in this volume, in the letters section. This year's theme is "Letters to Aliens." Julie's piece is entitled "Dear Essie" and you can find it in the very front of the book.
Tales from the Other Side
With Uncle Morty
Some of you have been asking about your Uncle Morty’s condition. How? You ask. Why?
No offense, but the flesh-covered are dense, stuck in the material world like flies buried in Jello. I’m not sure I can really explain my condition to you. As to how? It’s complicated, technical and a little boring when you get right down to it. Why?Let’s just say I might have crossed a few metaphysical boundaries here and there while I was embodied. I might have broken a teensy rule or two on the other side too. Anyhoo…my bad luck is your learning experience. I’ve decided to publish a few tidbits of conversations from the other side.
Here begins Morty’s transcription of messages from beyond.
By Julie Carpenter
So this was it. The Thin Hungry Man was finally going to get to eat. His quest was going to be fulfilled. He was so excited he hardly knew what to think. For one thing he could hardly believe that this was happening. Some part of his brain refused, point blank, to believe it at all, but since it had no better plan it decided to go along for the ride. Unfortunately, in its excitement, his brain had ceased to remember that it was in charge of his body. The Thin Hungry Man could hardly stand up. In fact, he soon found he couldn't stand up at all. He took two steps forward and then fell over backwards and lay there waving his arms and legs like some huge and hideous insect. His feet and legs were going opposite directions and his arms were so eager to be up and gone that they simply waved around his head instead of helping to push him off the ground.
Adelaide stood staring at this performance. It made her no more eager to bring the Thin Hungry Man in the house to feed him, certainly. She sighed and walked over to him and grabbed one of the excited waving hands and pulled him off the ground.
"Come on, you idiot!" she said roughly as he popped to his feet. "Do you want lunch or do you want to lay in that flower patch thrashing around like a lunatic?"
The Thin Hungry Man was happy to be on his feet, but he was a little afraid of falling down again so he held tightly to Adelaide's hand, smiling.
Adelaide jerked her hand out of his. "You're up aren't you?"
The Thin Hungry Man tottered this way and that, but held his position and as soon as he steadied himself he followed her towards the house.
Before he could reach the house, however, she turned and looked at him. She stared at the bloody shirt and dirty hair. He had, over the course of his wandering in search of food, acquired a lot of dirt and grime. Bathing is completely secondary to someone who is starving. Besides, he had no friends to tell him how stinky he was (a greatly underrated advantage of friendship). Adelaide wrinkled her nose. The thought of this grimy twit setting foot in her house was not appealing to her. But he was pitiful. From somewhere deep inside, sympathy welled up, a sympathy that surprised her and made her uncomfortable.
"Come here." she commanded the Thin Hungry Man and headed around the side of the house. He followed her with some concern, eyeing her suspiciously. He thought she had said lunch was inside. In the history of the universe, few people have been more ready for lunch than the Thin Hungry Man.
"You're going to eat, you silly man, just not until you're a little cleaner." Adelaide picked up the garden hose and looked at him. "What you really need is a bath of course, but I can't even put you in the bathtub looking like that. It would never come clean again. Just stand there while I clean you off with the hose. And take that horrible shirt off. And your shoes and socks while you're at it. Just take off everything." She went inside for a bottle of dish liquid.
When she returned, the Thin Humgry Man stood staring at her.
"Do you want lunch or don't you?" said Adelaide.
He took off his shirt. And his shorts and underwear. Adelaide squirted the blue dish soap on him from as far away as she could, told him to close his eyes and keep them closed then turned the hose on him and did her best to clean him up. She squirted water behind his ears and over his head. She sprayed his feet and did her best to spray his legs. He needed scrubbing but she could barely stand to look at him, much less touch him. She turned the hose on full pressure. He toppled over and popped up covered with grass and wet dirt clinging to him. She turned down the hose. When all was said and done, she had completely emptied a half gallon bottle of dish soap and he was blinking one eye like a mad man from the soap but he stood comparatively clean, nude and angular in her soft, sweet green garden, like a strange little gargoyle on a forgotten corner of the church that makes you feel more sad than frightened.
“Better than before," she sighed. "Stand right there and don't move. I'll be right back."
Adelaide ran into the house to get some clean towels.
"He can’t put his dirty clothes back on," she muttered. "But what should he wear?"
She finally decided that he was certainly thin enough to wear some of her clothes and she found a pair of old shorts, shirt that she hated, and some rather itchy purple lace boy leg panties and took them out to him.
When Adelaide walked back outside she found the Thin Hungry Man standing firmly and stiffly where she had told him to. He had not come this far to lose out on lunch by angering the one person who had offered it to him. It felt strange to be standing there without his clothes although he wasn’t sure why.
Adelaide handed him the clothes. "Here are some towels and some clean clothes. Get dried off and then get dressed." She tried not to let her glance fall on him at all, but she couldn’t help stare. His starving body was riveting and revolting. Maybe a muumuu would have been better if she’d had one. She just wanted to do this one thing. This little thing. Then she wanted to send him on his way.
The Thin Hungry Man immediately obeyed, covering the skeletal body with the clothes she had given him, unfortunately initially interpreting the panties as a hat. After they had smoothed that over, Adelaide sighed and turned toward the house.
She did her best to remain angry with him. She felt more in control when she was angry. He stood barefoot and eager outside her door. What a dope.
"Come in," she said..
He walked into the kitchen and stood there smiling.
"Sit down," she said with a sigh and pulled out a chair.
He looked delightedly at the chair and sat down. She pushed him a little from behind.
"You have to sit up closer to the table stupid," she said. "It isn't like you're not entirely likely to make the world's biggest mess anyway."
He smiled at her. "Where's lunch?" he asked.
Adelaide glared at him. "Shut up and let me get it," she suggested.
So he shut up and waited eagerly at the table.
"Hmmm," Adelaide mumbled. She thought about what to give him. On the one hand, she really did feel a little sorry for him. On the other hand, she didn’t want to feed him so well that he kept coming back for food or something. She thought briefly about the ice cream and thought a bit about the lovely brie that had fallen out of the void. She looked at him and decided he wouldn’t properly appreciate the brie. She had already assuaged her guilt by telling herself that the filet mignon would take too long. Peanut butter. Adelaide didn’t care too much for peanut butter, but sometimes you just had to take whatever fell out of the void. She dug through the cabinet and found it.
There were two loaves of bread on the counter. She looked at them carefully to make sure she was picking out the oldest and stalest one. She spread the peanut butter on the bread and started to put the sandwich together. She turned and looked at her guest. He was smiling and rocking himself gently back and forth. His right hand had seemingly gotten out of control. It was moving around loosely on his wrist, fingers flexing madly. His left hand however was well under control and he smiled down at it frequently as if to reward it for its good behavior.
Adelaide sighed loudly. She went to the refrigerator, took out a jar of grape jelly and slammed the door. Thunk! The jelly smacked against the counter. She smeared about a teaspoon on the sandwich and smushed the pieces of bread together. Peanut butter oozed out the sides.
She slid the sandwich over to the Thin Hungry Man, and handed him a glass of milk. "Here you are. Go ahead. Eat."
The Thin Hungry Man picked up the messy, oozing sandwich and looked at it in awe.
"Food," he whispered reverently. He poked the sandwich at one side where peanut butter and jelly were oozing out the side. The index finger of that uncontrollable right hand jabbed itself between the bread and frolicked briefly in the goo. Convulsively, he jerked it out, as if he were having some difficulty stopping it. He lifted the index finger of his right hand to his mouth -- controlling it by lifting it with his left hand -- and popped it in.
A rather grotesque sucking noise followed, a look of sheer delight spread out over his face. And then his right hand lost control. It grabbed the sandwich, rather too hard because the bread smushed and the insides oozed out everywhere. He looked startled and darted out his left hand but it was too late. The right hand picked up the mushed sandwich and shoved it into his mouth. He gobbled the sandwich down in a few bites. Then he picked up the milk and took a delicate sip. And belched.
He smiled up beatifically at Adelaide, a great circle of peanut butter and jelly surrounding his mouth. A blob of jelly hung from the end of his nose and there was a little piece of peanut stuck in it, the last peanut butter to have fallen into the void having been of the chunky variety. He sipped his milk slowly now and again, exuding great sighs of pleasure.
Lunch. At last.
Catching up with the Thin Hungry Man
THM Chapter 1
THM Chapter 2
THM Chapter 3
THM Chapter 4