duck-shaped pain


27 April 2001
Big Blue Chicken Lover

I don't think I've ever been so thankful to see a Friday before, at least not in recent memory. This week has been a killer, and looking back, it's hard to remember that, oh yeah, I had Monday off. Although, driving for five hours through the snow with big trucks on all sides of me does not count as a vacation of any sort. I won't even tell you about the thirteen hours I spent at work on Wednesday, because it's just not that interesting.

Whenever I don't have time to really write or read or do anything interesting, my mind makes up for it somehow by coming up with puzzling dreams.

Last night, I dreamed that I was a participant in a chicken auction. It took place in some sort of fancy chain hotel in some suburban business park that I'd never been to before. [1] It was in the big enormous "ballroom" all such places have for people to rent out for meetings, reunions, proms, etc. There were the requisite tables, all covered with an inoffensive color of polyester-blend tablecloth. It was like we were all there to talk about this month's sales projections or witness the launch of some new sort of toothpaste. Pitchers of water and breath mints on every table.

But, no, it was a chicken auction. Roosters and hens were lined up awaiting their turn on the podium. The line was long, snaking out of the room and even outside. They were all very well behaved, talking to themselves in low tones, no pecking or snapping at each other -- the class acts of the poultry world, I guess.

The bidding started. Proud fryers- and roasters-to-be climbed up on a stool and gave little presentations as to why we should all bid on them. PowerPoint was involved, I think. And there were diagrams and handouts. One presentation after another, and they all sort of blended in with each other after awhile (as presentations are apt to do). There was a lot of references to the meatiness of their breasts, the plumpness of their thighs, the holding capacity of their body cavities, but what else do you expect out of chickens?

People were really frantic over these chickens. Bidding started high and went through the roof, as chicken after chicken made their case, and then found themselves going home with someone new. Too much hubbub for a bunch of naked people, I thought, gazing around at the other auction enthusiasts. Yes, naked. Everyone there was naked.

I hadn't been able to successfully bid on a chicken yet. People were much more interested in them than I was. But, I felt like I should play along, since how often do you get a chance to go to a chicken auction? So a half-heartedly bid on some of the nicer-looking chickens, with no success.

Finally, some big blue chicken walked up on the stand. He addressed the group for awhile, nervously. He had to request a glass of water a couple of times and cleared his throat a whole lot. He hadn't had the time or the staff to put together an effective presentation, so all he did was point out his feet. "If you successfully bid on me, I promise that you will love my feet."

In my dream, I love chicken feet. [2] I decide that yes, this chicken will be mine. The Foot Chicken puts down his microphone and the bidding starts. Lots of other feet fans in the audience, for the competition here is frantic. One thousand…then two. Five. Oh, all right, ten. I bid something else, something much higher, say -- thirty thousand -- and all activity stops. All the other naked auctioneers turn around to look at me, the person who bid thirty thousand dollars on a big blue chicken. There's a spotlight, of course, previously unseen, which is now shining on me. I have a microphone in my hand, which was not there before.

The emcee, a skinny blonde woman [3] asks me to explain myself. I have no idea why, since much more has been paid for other chickens. "I don't know," I stammer. "He's just so likeable. And blue. And friendly. And he has such big eyelashes."

It's true. The blue chicken has eyelashes that Bambi would secretly covet in his heart. Or not so secretly. The chicken bats them at me. I think that if I win this auction, I'll make some sort of centerpiece out of the eyelashes when I eat the chicken for dinner. But how? What would make eyelashes attractive and festive?

The blonde woman says that this is not enough. I need to have a better answer, like tastiness or succulence or ratio of meat to gristle -- something that can be listed in professional-looking colors on a bulleted list on an overhead. "There is no place in this chicken auction for feelings and eyelashes!" she shouts.

Bidding starts over on the blue chicken. People have been touched by my statement of devotion to this chicken, and the bidding tops everyone's wildest expectations of what a chicken should go for. Finally, it's down to me and another unseen bidder. It’s frantic there for awhile, but I finally lose, as the unknown other bids a million, and I just can't go that high. I have rent to pay, you know.

I am disheartened. I am depressed. But a man in a six-foot wide white cowboy hat comes over to me as I slink out of the room. He is carrying the big blue chicken. "Little lade," he says to me, "here's your chicken. I was the one bidding against you, and after I saw your crushed expression, I knew I couldn't keep him. So, here you go."

I am overjoyed. I now own the chicken. The chicken is happy, and we kiss for a long time. He starts telling me jokes, and then we drive off. Since he can drive stick, I let him take me home.

[1] Or, I could have been there before. Who knows. Those sort of places all look alike, anyway.

[2] In real life, I'm sort of ambivalent about them.

[3] For part of the dream, I think she's just a standard-issue skinny blonde woman. For the other part, I think she's Kim Gordon. Which takes this dream in whole new directions of disturbing.

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