Shrieking

The Smiths kept chickens in their back yard and all my brothers were envious of the family. The lads would watch the chickens, their mouths watering. Toshy would look over the dividing wall saying: “Here chicky, chicky.” The chickens stayed put. ”One day,” he’d say with lust in his voice, “one of them’ll fly over here. Yeah, one of those tasty bundles of grub’ll fly right into my arms…an’ when it does…yum, yum.”

Eventually it happened. We were playing in the yard and a chicken flew over. We all went quiet and looked at each other. Suddenly Toshy leapt at it, just missing. All the lads began shouting and making desperate attempts to grab it.

“Come on Ed, gerrit!”

Don finally got it and held it by its legs. It squawked and shrieked and flapped its wings.

“Someone get a chopper to shut it up. If Smithy hears it he’ll want it back. Quick!”

Someone got a knife but no one was keen to use it. It got passed around while the chicken squealed. In the end Eddie grabbed the knife and took its head off. I was horrified and began to cry.

Eddie must’ve been pretty scared too because he dropped the ‘carcass’ --which promptly began to run about the yard. Everybody scattered.

“It’s come back to haunt you for killin’ it,” I said, and was rewarded with a thump from one of my brothers. My mam came out, drawn by the chaos, and asked what was going on. When she found out she scooped up the chicken and ordered us to clear away the feathers.

It wasn’t long before Smithy was at the door asking if we had seen his missing chicken. “We don’t know nothin’,” my mam said. She shut the door and returned to basting the bird. He must have known because the smell of roast chicken didn’t often come from the Lewington kitchen.

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