Saturday, February 24, 2007

Me and Little Phil, A Sad Goodbye. Part 1

dinning with the chickens at Blue Heaven

(I teased this story, but I'm a slow writer and once given an assignment, I tend to shut down. So, I'll release it in parts.)

In January of 1999, I was finishing up my postgraduate studies in Slackology, with an emphasis in Beach-Bum lifestyles, down in Key West. To make ends meet I would wait tables on the breakfast/lunch shift at Blue Heaven.

Blue Heaven, unique breakfast place in KW

Blue Heaven was my Harvard. An outrageously successful place that served good food in a "real" Key West atmosphere. The staff was made up of a variety of eccentric souls. Most had thrown up their hands in disgust at whatever life they had led before, preferring happier times on the island.

When I say "real" Key West atmosphere, one of the things I mean is, there will be chicken's everywhere.

One day, during some down time on my shift, I noticed a small chicken moving about on it's own. It was bigger than a newborn, having lost it's yellow feathers for brown, but what was unusual was that it was alone. Most baby chickens stick very close to their mother hens, especially one as small is this. The more I watched, the more its isolation became obvious. Chickens are violent animals, as this one approached other chicks, or chickens, it would receive a brutal peck to the head from any nearby adult. It would wander from hen to hen, looking for food or a place to cuddle for warmth, but each trip became more dangerous. It eventually sat down, alone, and chirped loudly. Sadly.

I went into the kitchen, grabbed a bowl of potatoes and some bread. At the first offering, it scampered off, so I left a few crumbs on the ground. After I had backed-up, putting myself between it, the food, and the yard full of chickens, it came over and had a bite. Must of us have gone through this dance. A bond is formed as trust sets in. After eating from my hand, it jumped into my lap as I sat there, turned twice, fluffed his feathers and sat down. Cute.

We weren't very busy, but I had some work to do, so I scooted it off me, stood up, and wandered out onto the floor. Nothing going on, everyone good. I drift into the server station. My colleague Jeff, a gay, violent drunk, in his mid forties, missing parts of three fingers and given to inappropriate physical come-ons, brought my attention to the floor at my feet.

"Looks like you got a friend."

The chick had followed me and was now nestled between my shoes.

"I guess I do."


Flannery Alden said...

I always suspected that chicks dig you.

dirty said...


Jason said...

I love stories with violent drunk gays in them.

Dale said...

Potatoes, bread and chicken. Tasty. Now we need violent come on stories about Jeff. Unless they involve the chicken, then I don't want to know.