Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The verdict is in

Today was my day to go in front of the judge. I cleaned all the chickenshit off me, put on a demure flowered skirt and my best sad face for the occasion.

Just the fact that I'm writing this should tell you that I didn't get thrown into the hoosegow. Thanks to my tribe back in Alaska, I did not walk into the courtroom empty handed. The fine and court costs came to $1036. I had $1040. Whew!

Sadly, there will still be more costs on top of that. I got 30 days community service. Can you believe I have to pay $5 everytime I show up for community service? So that's another $150. Plus, in two weeks I have to go to some "court referral" where I'll pee in a cup and then get evaluated so they can figure out which re-education program to stick me in. The evaluation is $50 and the cupful of pee will set me back another $20. I'm sure re-education camp ain't free either.

And then, when I get my driver's license back in three months, I'll find out just how much more my car insurance is going to cost me. But, until April, I have to beg rides off people to the above court-mandated shit because it's all 15 to 30 miles away. Remember, I live in the boonies and there is no such thing as cabs or buses out here. I wouldn't be surprised if I find myself dusting off the old thumb before this is all over.

But this all could've been so much worse. I could've been smacked with a much larger fine. The actual fine I paid was a little more than eight hundred - very much on the low end of the scale. I could also be wearing the orange jumpsuit and sleeping in the county pokey again. There were people ahead of me who didn't have the money to pay their fines and the judge sent them to jail. There but for the grace of my Alaskan tribe...

And the grace of being plugged into the good-old-boy network. I don't want to go into details here but let's just say southern justice has a lot to do with who you know. I believe that had a lot to do with why my fine was on the low end of the scale. Didn't hurt either that, up until now, my record was clean.

As if all this court crap wasn't enough, Frankencoop is in utter chaos. Two of the roosters (Sanchez and Babyman) have viciously turned on the the third (Cornelius). Yesterday, I found a bloody Cornelius cowering in the brush behind the coop.

He had been attacked by Sanchez who has now claimed the title of top dog. This was surprising to me since Corny outweighs Sanchez by about ten pounds.

At the end of the day, I had no choice but to put everybody back into the coop. Any other day, I probably would've taken Corny back up to the house and kept him in a cage overnight for observation but I had a date with the judge the next day and wasn't 100% sure I was coming home after court. I put the warring factions in the coop together and hoped for the best.

This morning I went down to feed the chickens. I wasn't going to let them out for the day since I wasn't positive I'd be back to lock them up. I threw a bunch of feed into the pen I built onto the back of Frankencoop. Everybody came out to eat except Corny.

I stepped inside the pen and went through the backdoor into the coop where I found Corny covered in mud. I imagine that he got the shit beat out of him in the pen. Much of the pen floor is incredibly mucky. Not only has there been a lot of rain recently but the pen is on the north side of Frankencoop and sees very little sun this time of year. I expect it will be March before it dries out completely.

While I was setting extra food and water inside the coop, Corny went outside to the pen to join the other birds. Sanchez and Babyman immediately went on the attack. Oh, this was the last thing I needed today!

I pushed Corny out the pen door into the yard and proceeded to give Sanchez and Babyman a stern talking to. I explained that if they didn't knock it off at least one of them would be visiting the chopping block and I would share their meat with the cats, make soup from their bones and stuff my mattress with their feathers. But I don't think they understand English.

Poor muddy bloody Corny

Frankencoop is built from the corpse of the house my great-grandparents built. It was once a very modest four-room house that, back in the '30s and '40s, was home to nine people. I often visited this house as a child when my grandmother and her brother still lived there. Now, sixteen chickens share the two rooms that are still standing.

I couldn't leave Corny outside or put him in a cage. I couldn't take him up to yard outside my house because that's the domain of my fourth rooster, Caleb, and his two lady friends, Murray & Lillian (I let them outside for the day in hopes that the dog would offer some nocturnal protection should I not be home that evening).

The only option left was to segregate him in what used to be my grandma's kitchen. I put enough food and water in there for a few days and blocked the passageway between the two rooms (which was just a big hole I'd cut through the drywall).


I have two cleaning jobs tomorrow so whatever solution I come up with will have to wait until Thursday. I think there will be chicken curry on the menu this weekend. The question is who will be the unlucky soul who gets voted off the farm?

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