November 30, 2014 – “Happy!” Emaline hollered from her window in Coop #1. “They’re announcing the winner of the Sexiest Hen of 2014 in 3 minutes! Get in here!!”
I have been uneasy about this nomination since the day it came to my attention. I’m not sexy, and I know it! But my flock has received great joy out of this pseudo-celebrity folly, so I’ve decided to embrace the experience. Truth be told, after hearing Emaline’s announcement, my heart began to beat out of time and my breathing turned ragged. I almost asked Francis Drake if he had any brown paper bags left.
The interior of Coop #1 became crowded very quickly, as each feathered member of my family nudged his/her way into the henhouse for a good place to view the television set. The winner was being announced on Outside Edition as soon as they came back from commercial break.
“Happy, dear… sit right up front,” Lottie instructed. “There’s a chair set up for you next to the telly.”
The air was charged with excitement. I was slapped on the back a few times in good-natured celebration. Lottie kissed my head and Sawyer had a ridiculous, “my best friend is a super star” look on her face. Even Wilma seemed enthusiastic.
“I should have called Johnny Knuckles and slapped a Benjamin down on the outcome of this monkey rodeo,” she sighed.
“You think I have a chance, Wilma?” I asked modestly.
“Not one little iota of a bean’s butt hole,” she crudely replied. “My money is on Gypsy Stiletto from 3 1/2 Hens. She’s the highest paid dame in the business. But if this media circus was about choosing a sweet micro-brewing goofball, then my money would be on you.”
It was the best compliment Wilma had ever given me, and it came free of any peck to my body. Watching my family sitting on the edge of their seats, cheering for my name to be called, made my face flush with affection. I don’t need strangers to label me to know who I am and who I love.
“Hap!” Peaches called over the chanting. “Did you know that the winner gets an all expense paid trip to Italy? If you win, you could visit the Vespa factory where your scooter was built!”
I have to admit, the thought of traveling again is appealing.
“SHHHHH!” Addie hushed. “It’s back on!”
Suddenly, the room went quiet. Every chicken in the coop leaned forward to better hear Bobby Pinfeathers and Honey Mustard disclose what they had waited days to hear. Bobby snapped the results in his wings.
“Here we go!” Sawyer whispered excitedly.
“I think I may throw up,” Tim chuckled.
“Alright viewers,” Bobby, a handsome Vorwerk rooster with a dimpled wattle, announced. “This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. The top five nominations for the Sexiest Hen of 2014. Honey… are you ready for the countdown?”
The long-legged wheaten Malay smiled into the camera and said, “Let’s do this!”
My head began to spin and for a moment, I lost my hearing. Thankfully, my supporters repeated each proclamation.
“In fifth place, from Almosta Farm… the lovely, Henifer Aniston!”
A huge roar erupted around me.
“That just increased your chances!” Maisy exclaimed.
“In fourth place, from Belly Acres… the tantalizing, Raspberry Fluff!”
Raspberry Fluff? What kind of contest was I in?
“Our third place winner, from Fluffy Bottom Ranch… the sublime, Britt Eggland!”
“This is it, Hap!” Violet said squeezing my wing. “They’re down to the last two!”
I really needed fresh air at that point. The walls were closing in. Sure, it was an honor to be included in a list of notable gals with gams, but I felt uneasy being singled out for an attribute that I don’t feel that I have. Now if someone wanted to give me an award for capturing the perfect snowflake under the glass of my microscope, or playing a pleasant piece on my piccolo, that would be different.
“I’ve got the final two names in my wings,” Bobby Pinfeathers declared. “All of the nominations that we announced a few days ago are deserving to hold this title in their own right. But our voters have decided that one personality in particular, should be crowned the Sexiest Hen of 2014. I have not seen the results, so this will be as exciting for me, as it is for you.”
“Oh, dear!” cried Lottie. “I’m too old to take the suspense!”
Bobby tore open the silver envelope and pulled out a card.
“I am about to announce the runner-up. This beauty is not as well known perhaps as the others in the top 5, but she is a brilliant gem among hens. Your Sexiest Hen of 2014 Runner-Up is…. from Cluck, Cluck, Doo!… the irreplaceable and extremely talented, HAPPY FEET!”
I heard my name and nearly fainted dead away.
Once more Coop #1 erupted in applause, but this time, the din reverberated in my bones. I was hugged and kissed and squeezed and pecked on the back of the head. Why were they congratulating me? I hadn’t won.
Wilma noticed the confused look on my face.
“You did good, kid,” she remarked, flicking her head nonchalantly in the air. “This is going to put the Happy Chicken Brewing Company on the map.”
“I am so proud of you!” Sawyer gushed.
“I remember when you hatched,” Lottie uttered, wiping a tear from her eye.
“You’re the best, Hap!” said Dottie.
“Couldn’t happen to a better hen,” Merida the duck declared.
“But everyone,” I said, standing to address the crowd. “I didn’t do anything to deserve the nomination and I didn’t win the contest. How could you possibly be proud of me?”
“Happy,” said Addie stepping forward. “We celebrate every good thing that happens within our flock. You may not think that you’re worthy of being the Sexiest Hen of 2014 Runner-Up, but we do. And that’s all you need to know. Your accomplishments – however large or small, are noticed and appreciated… especially by us.”
“We love you,” Sawyer smiled.
I had no words, and merely nodded.
“Hey,” Wilma bellowed in her typical cranky affectation. “I hate to break up this love fest, but I want to hear who actually won this farce!”
I can’t describe how thrilled I was that I lost. A wave of pressure rolled off my back the second they announced my name.
“Ladies and Roos,” Honey Mustard cooed. “Your Sexiest Hen of 2014 is none other than the vivacious star of 3 1/2 Hens, Gypsy Stiletto!”
“Son of a fried banana tail!” Wilma cursed. “I knew it!!”
This caused the rest of us to break into uproarious laughter.
“Let’s celebrate!” Addie announced.
“There’s a buffet set up in the garage,” Lottie proclaimed. “Let’s eat and have ourselves a well-deserved hootenanny!”
Sawyer outdid herself with the pumpkin bread. I could have eaten the entire loaf by myself. Peaches cranked up the music and we danced away the afternoon. My heart is as full as my stomach. I have the best family in all of chickendom! It feels pretty darn good being a runner-up.
PS: Congratulations, Gypsy Stiletto.