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The Chicken Coop
by Jerry Guarino

Well, Marley’s mom divorced his dad and joined a vegan commune. Still recovering from the loss of his paramour, he decided to quit the vegan revolution and embrace all things meat. Marley and Rachel were still quite in love, even thinking about a breed of Yorkshire/Westie pups, but there was no reason to rush, because Marley’s mom didn’t get him in the divorce.

Marley’s dad really missed eggs while being vegan, so he bought a chicken coop and set it up in the backyard, next to a six-foot fence. He bought 5 hens, but no rooster (he didn’t want baby birds, just an occasional fresh omelet). He didn’t just set up a chicken coop. He had individual rooms for each hen, in the middle of a simulated farm, with a barn and farmhouse for the family, represented by small plastic figures, a farmer and his wife, his son and daughter, a garden and a dirt path for supply deliveries. Apparently, his background as an engineer took over, so this was more than just a simple coop. He even set up some farm sounds to make the hens feel at home.

This became the talk of the neighborhood as all the animals were eager to see the display and meet the new tenants. Marley spread the word. Larry Bird and duck were the first to come over, sitting on the fence to inspect the mini farm.

“Duck, this is the greatest display of aviary love I’ve ever seen.”

“Larry, it’s unbelievable. He really captured the farm theme in this corner of his backyard. We have to tell Jeri and the chipmunks about this.”

But the new bachelor wasn’t finished. He used his engineering skills to create some tiny machines, powered by batteries: a tractor, a plow and even a mill pulling water from a stream and distributing into a tower. A flea circus for the countryside. He set up a little milk truck coming up the path to leave off bottles of milk. A figure of a man dressed in white completed the image. It was the 1950s again, a simpler time.

The hens seemed very happy. They began laying eggs each day. Soon, Marley’s dad had more than he could use, so he set up a little stand in the front yard. Fresh Eggs, $2.50 a Dozen. Before long, a pretty single mom came by.

“Hi, I’m Jennifer, this is my daughter Ellen.”

“I’m Jacob. Nice to meet you both.”

“So, these are fresh. Where do you get them?”

“I’ll show you. He took them to the backyard.”

Jennifer and her daughter were overwhelmed with the farm simulation.

“This is incredible. You could film a little movie back here.”

“Look mommy, the hens each have a little house. And this hen is going from his house across the dirt path to the water mill.” All the hens used the mill for daily hydration. “Can we have a little farm in our backyard?”

“If it’s ok with Jacob, I think we’ll just visit this one.”

Jacob smiled and nodded. Before long, Jacob and Jennifer began dating.


But all wasn’t nirvana at the coop. One of the hens was trying to escape, something about a mission. The hens had a meeting.

“Why are you trying to leave? We have a perfect home here.”

“Don’t you think there’s more to life than this little farm? A whole world to explore, others to meet, adventures.”

“Well, you’ll never get over that fence.”

They were right. Chickens could only fly in short spurts and rarely got up as high as six feet. It was a scientific fact. Their wings were too short and bodies too heavy to get enough lift. Leonardo, the hen on a mission, tried each day but found it impossible.

While that may be a story for another time, we are able to answer one of life’s little questions:

To get a drink of water.

The Chicken Coop by Jerry Guarino
Copyright July, 2020 – All Rights Reserved