As I write this, I’m drinking a beer. Not just an ordinary beer, I’ve got a Blue Moon wit beer. 10 minutes ago, I was asleep in my girlfriend’s bed, dreaming without care. Then, at 2 minutes past 5PM, Sally awoke me. She was obviously agitated.

“Joe! Wake up! There’s a chicken in the front yard!”

It took me a moment to evaluate that chilling statment, but I composed myself well enough to investigate with Sally. We hurried downstairs to meet our destiny.

Sally lives in North Cambridge, an area not reknown for its chicken population. Still, one bad apple was all that it would take to plummet the real estate prices. A few other neighbors had been roused into action by the rogue rooster. Together, the five of us, armed only with a towel, nerves of steel and talent on loan from God, approached the last known whereabouts of the bird: Sally’s backyard.

Most of my readers will never have a face down a full-grown rooster, whose engorged cockscomb bristles with beastly rage. And I pray that you never have to. On a good day, men loose their eyes to the firey tempers of these frenetic birds of prey. Who hasn’t heard of the illegal cock fights of Mexico and been fascinated by the lurid pleasure that such a spectacle promises? The beast that we were staring down was of that ilk. One look in its cold eye told me: this was a foul pushed to the breaking point.

The neighbor with the towel volunteered to capture the rooster. She had had all of her animal shots and wasn’t afraid of feathered death. The rest of us offered her encouragement from behind the wired fence.

She entered the yard with steely determination, but she needed direction. Roosters are masters of camouflage, but I fixed my eye on it. He had settled down into the mottled shade of low-growing weeds — a typical rooster ploy. The towel-wielder approached her target, but the bird was too crafty!
He skitted away towards the front of the house.

Quickly, Sally sprang to the front from the other side of the house to block his escape. But again, the rooster was too crafty to be trapped that easily. It doubled back, sneaking past us into another shadow-filled nook of the backyard. Again, we cornered the beast but before we could lay hands on it, the rooster squeezed through the fence and fled under a parked car!

I knew I had to act. I refused to let this, my adopted neighborhood, be held hostage to one bully cock. I grabbed a shovel and knelt on the ground beside the car and began to poke around in an effort to flush out the beast.

I knew that I had put myself right where the rooster wanted me: at eye level on his turf. I was looking death squarely in the eye, but who wants to live forever?

I thrust and shuffled, but still the bird didn’t move. I stepped back and took another quick recon beneath the car. The rooster had holed up behind the front right tire. Clever. But, not clever enough.

Steeling myself, I aimed the shovel carefully and with one final shove, I had finally spooked the rooster from his spot! In this game of chicken, the rooster had blinked. But the hunt wasn’t over yet. He was on the move and he wanted revenge.

I had lost sight of the bird for a moment. I assumed that the towel-wielder would catch him. My blood ran cold as I heard my team say: “Oh my God! It’s right behind you!” Indeed, I turned to see the gaping maw of our quarry barreling directly towards my left foot.

But the rooster had overplayed his hand. By trying to get me, he had exposed his flank — a fatal mistake of tactics. Without warning, the rooster found himself rapidly enfolded in a towel and summarily shoved into a chicken-proof wire cage. The crisis was over.

In the continuing struggle of survival, humans had once again emerged on top. For now.