Shortly after the birth of Hudson, Lucas had what I jokingly refer to as The Chickenman Dream. In his dream it was nighttime and he was standing in the backyard when a half-chicken, half-man creature appeared. This Chickenman bolted through our yard to the fence. Before scaling it he turned around and Lucas saw that it had the face of our precious newborn son, which startled him awake.
The next morning Lucas recanted it to me in all seriousness but I couldn’t help but laugh. It seems my family has some strange fascination with chickens. A long time ago Lucas had a job at a local restaurant, El Pollo Asada. (It means “The Roasted Chicken” in English.) When they started opening for breakfast it became his job to promote it by standing on the corner dressed in a chicken suit. At 6:00 am each morning he put on the suit and waved to traffic. One time a group of teenagers drove past and shouted some expletives. Another time a woman waved to him and kept yelling, “Hi!” Lucas, who wasn’t allowed to talk while wearing the chicken suit, waved back. Because he refused to audibly respond to her, she got mad and screamed “F**k you, chicken!”
The funniest experience was when Lucas visited the daycare center around the corner from El Pollo Asada. I guess for some reason they thought the kids would enjoy being visited by a guy in a chicken suit. Anyway, the costume had clear plastic bubbles covering the eyes and behind that were black screens so he could see out but you couldn’t see in. As soon as he walked into the warm daycare on that cold morning the bubbles clouded up on the inside and he couldn’t see a thing. Not wanting to ruin it for the kids by removing the head piece, he told the lady working there that he was blind. She just said, “That’s okay. I’ll lead you.” Not a good idea. The kids were so excited to see him that they mauled him and he wasn’t able to see it coming when he got “kicked in the chicken balls,” as he so eloquently puts it.
Recently I saw Lucas doodling something that looked oddly familiar. He likes to draw on occasion – he’s no illustrator but he far outdoes my chicken scratches. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.) I said, “Let me see that.” He gave me the paper and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. “Oh my gosh!” I said. “It’s a Chickenman!” There it was in front of me – a Chickenman doodle.
My daughter, Madison, has some strange subconscious chicken fascination too. She’s a picky eater who won’t eat eggs but when she was little she used to like to play with eggs. I have no idea how this got started but every once in awhile I’d let her take an egg out of the fridge. Sometimes she drew a face and hair on it. I thought it was funny… and harmless. Years later she admitted she used to take the eggs to her room, keep them warm with little blankets, and talk to them in hopes they would hatch into baby chicks.
Yesterday she told me about her own strange chicken dream she had the other night: Madison and I were together working on a chicken farm, dressed like farmers in overalls and straw hats. Our first task was to lop the heads off chickens as they came across on a conveyor belt. We did that for 3 hours and were paid a whopping 75¢ apiece for that work. Then we moved on to our second station. There were chickens hanging from rope – nooses around their poor little necks – and as they came around we’d slice off their bodies and dump them in a bucket while their heads were just carried off. We got paid 25¢ an hour for that too.
All I can say is: What the cluck?!