September 30, 2014 – I jumped in the pickup truck at first light to inform the FBI of the impending threat against our flock by an alien skunk ship. I was halfway down the road when I realized that I have no idea where to find the FBI. I pulled over to the side of the road to Google their address. Plenty of information came up, but not a location. One site mentioned that an office was in Boston, but provided no street or neighboring landmarks.
What am I going to do? I asked myself, resting my forehead against the steering wheel. Peaches’ life could be in my hands. I can’t let her down!
A second later, my cellphone buzzed. It was an incoming text message from Sawyer:
GET BACK AS SOON AS YOU CAN! CHARLOTTE JUST RECEIVED ANOTHER PACKAGE!! WAITING TO OPEN IT UNTIL YOU ARRIVE. – S.
My heart started to pound. I turned the truck around and raced back to the chicken yard. Violet ran up to me in the driveway and pulled me into the shed where the other members of the Chicken Citizens’ Patrol were meeting in secret.
“We can’t let the other hens know about this,” Bo stated sternly. “I’ll not have a terrified mutiny on my hands. We will face this danger as a team. All information regarding this investigation is to remain between the six of us. Understand?”
We nodded obediently.
“Happy, use your scientific gobbledygook to determine if this is safe to open,” he instructed handing me a small white box.
“Is this how it came?” I asked in curiosity.
“Yes,” Charlotte confirmed nervously. “I should open it,” she insisted, reaching for the box. “It was sent to me. There’s no sense in anyone else getting hurt if this turns out to be dangerous.”
I appreciated Lottie’s sacrifice, but I explained to her that I didn’t think it was necessary. I wasn’t sure there was anything inside.
“It’s as light as a feather,” I remarked placing the box on the scale I use to weigh shiny specs of mica.
“It has to be empty,” said Violet leaning over my shoulder.
“Maybe it contains a written message,” Sawyer suggested.
I put my ear to the box to listen for any ticking, knocking, peeping or other unusual sounds. Nothing. I was about to lift the lid on the mysterious package, when the shed door flew open and Peaches appeared in the doorway.
“Hi, everyone!” she greeted cheerfully. “Oooh! What’s that? A present? I love presents! Can I see what it is?”
Before any of us could stop her, Peaches took the box out of my wings and removed the top.
“Oooooh, these are so pretty! They smell like springtime!”
Then she pulled out a wingful of red poppies and tossed them into the air.
“They sure are beautiful, but I’m looking for apples. No apples in here!”
With that, she left the shed and closed the door behind her.
Bo picked a poppy petal from his comb. “Does this change the secret message?” he asked.
“I won’t know until I sit down with the letters,” I said stymied.
The doors to the shed opened again.
“Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, Lottie. Rick the mailman swung by when he finished his route. He forgot to tell you that tomorrow we are all in for a huge surprise! I’m so excited, aren’t you?! I wonder what it will be?!”
She closed the door on our clandestine meeting leaving each of us feeling more uncertain than ever.
“What should we do?” Sawyer uttered the breathless query.
“The only thing we can,” replied Bo. “Tonight we prepare for a hostile invasion. I didn’t want it to come to this, but we’ll need to notify the others… and the ducks. Violet, you and Sawyer take care of telling the youngsters. I don’t want to scare them. Happy, call our friends over at Mrs. Turner’s farm. We’re going to need backup. Then call NASA. I think they’ll have more luck stopping an alien skunk ship than the FBI. Addie, keep an eye on Peaches. Keep her close to you tonight. Make her sleep between you and Charlotte on the roost. I’ll fill Tim in on our plans. I want a full flock meeting in the garage before nightfall. This could be a defining moment for chickens everywhere. Let’s go. Be safe out there.”
I rushed to make the phone call to Rosemary, the dairy cow and asked her to relay our need of assistance to her barn mates. Then, I filled in Wilma before placing my next call to NASA.
“Am I the only one with half a brain around here?” Wilma argued. “Has the molt destroyed all sense of common sense and decorum in this flock? I think you’re all daft! You want to make another phone call? Here’s a nickel. Why don’t you tell everyone to line up so I can peck you all in the head!”
There was no time to respond to the auburn curmudgeon. I was on a mission and I would not be stopped.