Thursday, November 4, 2010

chicken crossing up ahead

A vagabond's take on how a few of my favorite authors would tackle that inscrutable, unanswerable, question:
Why did the chicken cross the road?


Ernest Hemingway...
It was cold in our short time traveling Switzerland. We had a fine hotel with a well-stocked pub. We had the best coffee ever. The heaviest snow fell the night before and unexpectedly warmed quick in the morning breeding an avalanche catching the village by surprise. Some could not move fast enough out of its path. It was as though someone fired one true shot echoing forever. I had seen this once before during the war. A chicken in the road unable to move fast enough, the powerful avalanche tearing its head away exposing only muscle and black eyes, helplessly darting every direction...

Joseph Conrad...
It was not about the chicken. He kept telling me that over and over. There was no horror, no physical pain in its suddenness. Two men in heavy black coats pulled up around their thin white Sea necks waited on the other side of the street; the small bundle strapped to the two-legged clucking terrorist half way in the narrow street sparked like a coal fire breaking glass and bending walls three blocks away.
It
was about the chicken.

William Faulkner...
He knowed, but I didn't knowed. It was dusk when they crossed. He wanted me to cross.
"No."
"Cross with them, boy."
"No."
I saw him remove his belt slow, his pants not falling.
"I'll beat you now you N."
I run for the sheriff but when we get back they was across. They was blood everywhere.


Ivan Turgenev...
"Is there a village near?"
I had been walking some time with my gun and dog, the purple clouds hinting a storm would soon arrive.
"Yes, Philka Yardanya, ahead!"
Following the friendly gesture, we arrived in good time. The village with its autumnal cheerful church bells tolling, a welcome invitation to bed down out of the rain, peace only shaken by a wayward chicken, chased by my barking companion, assisted by a little laughing girl, Tatyana, with a stick, the fleeing chicken crossing back and forth on the pebbled main, defiant and free as most living in The Steppes will never know.


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle...
It was the following morning, a Sunday, as I recall. Holmes kindly offered the extra soft bed as we arrived at Baker Street the previous night ducking out of a torrential rain. Mrs. Hudson had hot soup ready for these cold bones, bless her sweet heart. Strange - Holmes did not eat.
But the shock, the truth, upon waking that fateful morning needs to be stated here for one and all.
There was the sliver of light, then the door burst open.
'Watson!'
I sat bolt upright, startled, webs in my eyes and mouth.
'Holmes! What's wrong?'
'Bring your revolver!'
There I stood in my bedclothes, blue steel gun, Holmes hiding out of sight at the window, fearful.
'Watson! They are after me.' He could barely speak now, a hopeless wisp of his former voice, gesturing for me to come to the window.
I looked sleepy-eyed down into the morning mist. It was quiet, except a poultry wagon, with the insignia,
Moriarty's Fine Poultry and Vegetables, had lost a wheel and had spilled its contents into the street. A happy, patient dog, tail wagging, was devouring a free breakfast. My friend looked deathly pale as I turned to him.
'Those chickens, Watson. Running across the street over and over and over again. They are after me!'
'Calm yourself, Holmes,' I pleaded kindly. 'There are no chickens. Sit over here, old fellow.'
Then it dawned on me. As Holmes was hunched over, shivering, I walked over to the desk. Yes, it was there. The dreaded empty syringe.
'Oh, my dear Holmes.'


14 Comments:

Blogger Lane Savant said...

Love it. If I had a little less sense, I would try a Joyce version.

11/05/2010 1:08 AM  
Blogger willow said...

Phil, you are too damn clever. My favorite would have to be the Faulkner. This is so great.

11/05/2010 7:19 AM  
Blogger The Bug said...

Brilliant!! In retrospect maybe I like Hemingway better than I thought - but probably not.

11/05/2010 9:42 AM  
Blogger Helen said...

Turgenev gets my vote! Loved this!

11/05/2010 10:53 AM  
Blogger Kristen Haskell said...

Oh I do agree this is very clever and my vote is split between Turgenev and Doyle. I love it!

11/05/2010 12:30 PM  
Blogger Lyn said...

All are captivating! but Conan-Doyle..I'm living it! Moriarty's Fine Poulty and...
you really did it..

11/05/2010 1:40 PM  
Blogger Jinksy said...

Moriarty wins! LOL :)

11/05/2010 3:39 PM  
Blogger Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

This killed!
And I really enjoyed Conrad's interpretation.

11/05/2010 4:10 PM  
Blogger Berowne said...

Great quotes; very interesting.

11/05/2010 5:59 PM  
Blogger Tumblewords: said...

Doyle's my fave at this moment, but pretty soon, I'll come back, re-read and re-vote. ;)

11/05/2010 7:31 PM  
Blogger Brian Miller said...

you are freaking brilliant...these were awesome...

11/06/2010 12:08 AM  
Blogger Carrie Burtt said...

I can only say you are an amazing man Phil....i love this!!!

11/06/2010 3:08 PM  
Blogger Jingle said...

so organized stories.
well done.

11/06/2010 11:19 PM  
Blogger signed...bkm said...

Brillant love all the takes on chicken here...love Faulkner..the voice of the south...bkm

11/08/2010 7:46 PM  

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