March 9, 2015 – My stomach is doing somersaults! In less than a day, I will learn if the good voters of this town elected me or my nemesis, Eunice Ignatia Tightklutcher, as the next Library Trustee. When I started this process a few weeks ago, I did it at Sawyer’s urging. Now, I find myself yearning for the coveted title, eager to take the swan dive into the churning waters of public service. Since I speak fluent Swan, it should be a no brainer. But I cannot take a victory for granted. I did a good job at the debate, and our meet-and-greet moments with the public have gone well, (with the exception of the man at the gas station who Wilma bombarded with donut holes. While I accept moral culpability, hiding behind the gas pump during the unexpected assault kept my campaign scandal-free).
Eunice is no schmuck. She didn’t get the position of head librarian by being a pushover. Just ask Lola. She and the other library workers are thrilled to have Eunice out of the building. Had it not been for her unfortunate incident in Paraguay, none of us would have to deal with the nasty woman. But alas, we do, and I must find a way to be kind to her in case I lose and she wins. Wilma said there is no way she will ever step foot in the library again if Eunice gets elected as Trustee. I’m guessing we won’t have a choice about that if she gets into office. I believe her campaign promise, that she will ban all poultry and livestock from library premises – including the parking lot! That’s excessive if you ask me.
I have to win. I have too many things left to learn to be excluded from our greatest public treasure. I don’t think Benjamin Franklin would be very happy with Eunice. He created the first library. After all, he was a great proponent for turkey rights, and chickens aren’t that far off. (We’re better looking, but we don’t like to brag.)
It’s off to sleep soon for me. Lottie is demanding it. This is after a full afternoon. She and Addie decided that I needed a complete makeover so that I would look my best at the polls in the morning.
“Most likely there will be television cameras,” she said, pouring a bag of white flour and peat moss over my head. “Now go roll around in that bucket of ash and Diatomaceous earth Addie set up for you,” she said turning me in the right direction. “And whatever you do, don’t inhale. In large doses, those fumes will kill you faster than liquid bat crap.”
I was about to further admonish the hen known for her grace and finery, but a puff of Lottie’s homemade bath powder caught in my throat and I blacked out. At least that’s what Tim told me when I came to. I awoke sometime later in a plastic patio chaise lounge, with a yellow terry cloth turban wrapped around my head and the chamois cloth Mom uses to polish the car tucked under my chin like a grownup bib. Kellie Pickler and Dollie Parton were at my feet, clipping and filing my toenails. Betty followed behind with a clear nail polish that looked respectable and neat. A quorum of bantams worked on each wing, holding them out to be fluffed and preened and polished with a shiny gum-based wax that Wilma was doling out from a small round tin.
“Get under the wings,” she instructed all business like. “Don’t forget the pits. The last thing we need is this one losing the contest because she sweats like a cigar-smoking pig in a Cadillac.”
Wilma next moved on to the ducks.
“Boys, get that excess dirt off of her with the hairdryer,” she instructed. Then she turned to address the entire flock.
“PUT ON YOUR FACE MASKS PEOPLE! THIS POWDER IS GOING TO FLY. WE DON’T WANT ANY CASUALTIES TODAY!”
Helplessly, I watched as the chickens and ducks donned their masks while continuing with their assigned duties. Everyone was protected except yours truly.
“What about ME and the dust?!” I squeaked to Peaches. She had been given the unflattering job of plucking my eyebrows and was in a desperate search to locate them.
“Do chickens even HAVE eyebrows?” she replied, oblivious to the fact that I was lying helpless in a fog of carcinogen-laden vapors swirling around my body.
My head began to spin and I felt at any moment I might swoon into a heap below the chair. An emery board shot through the haze and began attacking my beak in a feverish rasp. I heard someone say, “Don’t forget to brush her tongue,” seconds before a twig, clearly snapped from the smelly bush, found its way into my mouth. A quick gag and it was removed. I passed out when I felt a team with tools, (that had to include a toilet bowl brush by the feel of it), invade the private terrain around my egg chute. I think my brain felt sorry for me, for I fainted dead away.
I have no idea how much time passed, but when I finally awoke, I was in my nest box, in my duck pajamas, smelling like navel oranges with a hint of oregano. Coop #3 was dimly lit and soft music played in the background. Charlotte poked her head in to say goodnight before heading back to Coop #1 with the other Orpingtons.
“Off to sleep for you,” she instructed. “Finish up that journal entry and that’s it. You have a busy day tomorrow!”
“No worries,” Wilma piped up from her easy chair. “I have just the thing if she can’t sleep.”
As if that statement was going to make me want to close my eyes.
“Happy,” Addie leaned in and whispered softly before following Charlotte out the door. “Don’t dwell on the cleanup today. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. You’re not the only one with two of them.”
Then she was off, leaving me with a complete lack of clarity as to my own physiology and no time left to the day in which to investigate on my own. Two of what?!!! How on earth did they expect me to sleep?!
After everyone was tucked into their own coops for the night, our henhouse filled with the rhythmic breaths of slumbering chooks. Sawyer hopped down from the roost and settled into the nest box next to mine.
“Can’t sleep either?” I inquired.
“Not a wink,” she answered softly.
“Think we’ll win tomorrow,” I asked.
“Without a doubt.”
“I don’t remember seeing you earlier during the… um…” I wasn’t sure how to describe what transpired.
“You mean the SPA treatment?” she laughed. “That’s because I was in Coop #2 with a hose wand stuck up my… well, you get the idea, irrigating my chia seeds so I’ll look fervent and fresh. I am your campaign manager after all,” she mimicked sarcastically.
“Okay. First of all, we have something in us called, chia seeds?! And second… who’s idea was it to put us through all of that?!”
The answer clicked immediately. WILMA! We turned and watched her sleep, soundly nestled between Hattie and Waffles with Tim tucked under her left wing.
“She told the others that good hygiene is paramount when you are speaking in public, but I think it was just her way to stick it to us one last time before we have to face Eunice tomorrow. You know… hardening the armor for battle.”
“Hardening it? I’m not sure I can still walk!” I snorted.
Sawyer made us both a quick cup of chamomile tea. It did the trick. My eyes are getting heavy. I’m not sure about my eyebrows. I guess I’ll see tomorrow when I look in the mirror. Or not.
It’s going to be a big day. I wonder how Eunice is preparing?