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Rebecca did not run her fingers along the chicken wire that formed the fence around the chicken coop. Instead, she ran her fingers shoulder high in mid-air just an inch or maybe seven-tenths of an inch from the chicken wire. She imagined that to do otherwise would disturb the serenity of the chickens.

Out of the 100 chickens, Rebecca did have her favorites. Lucy was a tall white leghorn chicken who usually laid her eggs on the upper loft of the small asymmetrical chicken coop away from the vengeful, impertinent eye of the local Chicken-Hawk family, the Wilsons, who spent their day in the air flying from one farm to another.  Additionally, the Chicken-Hawk family spent their time playing an old version of Grand Theft Auto and flying around from farm to farm looking for a tasty vulnerable chicken.

So where is Lucy?  I've never known her to run off because very few of the chickens could fly high enough to get over the chicken wire fence. And besides Rebecca was pretty sure that Lucy had a thing going with Ruth.  Ruth was one of the Rhode Island red hens that was very well thought of.

Rebecca could not find Lucy. She got her father's permission to go inside the chicken coop itself and look to see if Lucy was sitting in her usual spot which was not visible from the chicken coop yard. Lucy was nowhere to be found. Rebecca went to their Pony Lightning to ask him if he had seen Lucy. Lightning just shook his head up, with a sideways slant, as though to imitate the family parakeet "Lightning wants a carrot, Lightning wants a carrot!" 

Apparently, Rebecca's parents could not spell the word spade nor could they spell the word neutered because this little farm of  3.7 acres had 31 cats. Rebecca was more interested in animals that you could take to a 4-H competition but today with Lucy missing, Rebecca went into the house, got 5 extra cups of dry cat food in the tin cat bucket, and took it up to the barn.   Near the Crooked Chicken Coop, there was an old camper shell from Dad's 1953 Green International truck. Rebecca was hoping against hope that one of the cats who had free reign of the entire neighborhood, not just this one farm's property, would have seen Lucy.  Lucy was, after all, the only chicken in the bunch that had a pink ribbon around her neck at least most of the time if she didn't ask Ruth to peck it off for her.

As the day wore on, Rebecca, in between her ridiculous number of chores, worried, fretted, looked, planned, and pined about Lucy.   Even though the chicken hawks are a very formidable foe and predator …  they were not the only threat in the neighborhood. The neighbors' dogs were usually hungry because the guy next door, that is to say, three large township lots over didn't feed his dogs enough. He felt that if you didn't provide them enough feed they would be better bird dogs, which of course nobody could ever prove.

But also they were wild dogs in the area. I wouldn't call them wolves or coyotes but certainly, they were at the very least wild dogs. When Lucy got caught up with her chores it was usually about 3 or 3:15, she would go sit in the old Oldsmobile that was up on blocks back behind the barn technically on the next guy's property but nobody cared. She would pretend to drive the Oldsmobile and play with the radio. Today when she tried pretending to drive the Oldsmobile or play with the radio she just cried.

Rebecca's two mutt dogs, one dog part collie, and one dog part terrier cried in the backseat right along with her.  Finally Queenie the larger collie said to Spotty the part terrier hey let's go scout around near the woods and see if we can figure out where Lucy went. Otherwise, we're going to have to listen to Rebecca cry all day and all night; you know she loves that chicken.

Spotty, who was more tightly wound than Queenie, was also more cynical having been raised part of his life in the city. He looked at Queenie and said yeah whatever let's go look for the damn chicken. There is no way to describe what happened next but Queenie could bat her eyes so that Spotty would at least temporarily do exactly what she wanted.  In this way they scouted out the neighborhood; bear in mind this is a township out in the country so there's lots of open space.

Queenie and Spotty scouted the area most of the late afternoon and being that it was winter the sun went down pretty darn early.  Usually, both of the dogs would have gone into the house and slept with her in her bed. And tonight it was incredibly selfish of them not to do so but they knew that Rebecca would be crying all night. So they flipped a coin and Spotty lost the coin toss and went to sleep with Rebecca while Queenie snooped around in the sometimes heartless even ruthless night talking to the nocturnal animals and birds to see if she could scare up any information about Lucy.

In the morning when Rebecca was finally eating her flapjacks, having gotten up hours before slopping the hogs, milking the cows, and making sure that all the animals had fresh water, Queenie whispered to Spotty under the table I've got a couple of leads so let's go back in the woods again.

As Queenie and Spotty approached the vast woods that took up several miles in the area they saw a strange sight.  There were birds flying in a formation that Queenie and Spotty had never seen before. And not only that: the birds that were flying … were flying with many different kinds of birds all in the same formation. There were some white doves and starlings …  and to their utter amazement, two of the chicken hawks were in the group as well.

They went over to the tree where Betty the owl was sitting around doing a lot of nothing. What the hell's going on here Queenie said.  Haven't you heard?  It's a bridal shower for Lucy and Ruby. They're getting married. The bridal shower is today and the ceremony is tomorrow.

Queenie rushed back to the chicken coop as fast as she could with Spotty running his best to try to keep up.  She wanted to find Rebecca and give her the good news but Rebecca had gone into town with her Dad to get provisions. All there was to do now was to wait until the 1953 Green International Truck came back. As the overfilled truck pulled into the driveway Queenie said whoop whoop whoop whoop whoop, which was noticeably different from the usual woof woof woof. 

Really Rebecca said Lucy and Ruby are getting married? Tomorrow? Does that mean I already missed the bridal shower? Yes, Queenie said in her regular woof woof voice. Well, at least I won't miss the wedding. 

The next morning at a beautiful clearing deep inside the woods near a babbling creek, and we all know how much creeks like to babble, Lucy and Ruby tied the knot. Everyone cried happy and happy.


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