E-mail from my brother: Chickens and other dead things

Hi Fay,

How's it going?

This week I've been mostly thinking about our chickens.  We've got new arrivals in the form of four new little chicks two white ones and two speckled grey ones- everyone say "awwwww".  We didn't really want four new little chicks but with the ability for the chickens to go and hide anywhere when they go broody we've got to keep an eye out and obviously this time we failed.  Those chicks should have been a decent omelette or two egg fried sandwiches, but no, Mother Nature has to thwart our culinary plans and deliver up four little cute chicks.  You make me sick Mother Nature.  So to cut a long story short we had a broody chicken that we needed to find out where she was and this explains why I went under the house.

Now our house is a hundred and two years old and made of wood.  The method of construction was to simply put in load of pad stones down and then put posts on them to which the rest of the house could be nailed onto.  You can (and some people do) move their houses by disconnecting the water and electricity, jacking the house up and moving it onto a giant flatbed truck leaving the pad stones in the ground.  But what this also means is that you have to have a good skirting board around the bottom of your building to stop chickens, children, dogs, killer clowns and other miscreants from getting under there and laying eggs, getting stuck, pooping dog poop, jumping out to murder us in our sleep and other undesirable things.  Our skirting boards are a bit patchy around the back (i.e. missing) and it's here where I believed the chicken had got in.  I deduced this by watching the other chickens skipping in and out of the gap like they were a bunch of scallies and the hole was the entrance to an Iceland on the last shopping day before Christmas.

So I put on my overalls, got a torch and slide in under there like a Vietnam Tunnel Rat hunting Charlie.  It's dark under there obviously, it's got cobwebs and it's got spiders, so it's not great to begin with.  It's kind of like sliding under a bed in search of something you've dropped; it's claustrophobic, difficult to move and breathe and has the added psychological horror of being underneath a whole house rather than just a piece of furniture that if you get stuck under you're semi-confident you can shift it off yourself.  So I'm under there for bit when I find the corpse of Sparkles, the speckled cockerel (father of the two grey chicks I'm sad to say).  I have to admit I wasn't expecting that and may have uttered a naughty word.  Normally I like my chicken coated in KFC batter but this one was rather inconsiderately coated in a thin film of chicken death and nightmare fuel.  He was lopped over on his side, his two eyes milky white zombie style and staring at me, some bugs crawling over his feathers, basically pretty horrible.  First thing I thought was could I leave him to decompose under there?  Sure he'd start to stink but the smell would go after a month or so.  Second thing I thought was that I was a man goddamit and I had to deal with this like a man.  So I did.  I crawled out, got some gardening gloves on, respirator, hard hat, goggles, sprayed on some Lynx and then got a metal rake just close enough to hook the corpse out without me being closer than four feet to ol' chicken-zombie-death .  Once out I heaved the body over into a paddock and buried it where it fell.  Well it happily fell into the ditch, so I didn't have to bury it at all.  Result!  It's almost as if I planned it that way.

I'm thinking the ditch might be the best place to dispose of all our animals.  Get some sort of air compressor and plastic pipe to shoot the guinea pig corpses into it when they die.  Maybe I'll set fire to them as they leave the muzzle for some added wow-factor.  Maybe I'll rig up some sort of collapsing ramp for the alpacas.  Hell, I'd even get dumped in there, I don't mind.  Actually I've given a lot of thought to how I want to go.  Basically have you ever seen a sci-fi film where some team of explorers find a derilict space ship and when they get to the bridge they find a skeleton of the pilot still clad in his spacesuit, grinning into the void?  See when I'm very very old (100 at least) and Juliette has (a) left me or (b) left me for dead, I'll have the house to myself. I'll set up some direct debits, dress the living room up to look like the bridge of a space ship, put on a space suit complete with helmet and then just sit in the captains chair and watch Deep Space Nine re-runs.  Then two years later when someone comes round to ask if I want the grass cut as it's getting a bit long, they'll call out the police who'll break down the door, come into the living room and find my skeleton in the space suit grinning into the void.  And they'll be like "What the f*ck!!?!?"

Maybe I can dress the rest of the house up too while I'm at it.  Hang some WWII gas masks in the hallway instead of pictures, put some pickled eyeballs in jars and stack them in the bathroom, hang hundreds of baby boots up from the ceiling using 8mm film roll showing 50s holiday camp footage,  build a little shrine to Tony Hart under the kitchen sink, you know, regular weird stuff.  The new owners will thank me because then, and only then, will going under the house seem not quite so scary when old Foghorn Leghorn checks out under there.

Take care,
Love Mark xxx

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