|description ||"The Great Chicken Escape", short story by Sinbad|
|filename ||the great chicken escape.txt|
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THE GREAT CHICKEN ESCAPE
Dawn broke over the campus. Inside the dark, dusty, fowl-
smelling rooms of the Poultry Research building, the rows of
roosters stirred as much as possible within their cramped steel
cages. Unable to resist the time-worn instinctual urges they
felt as the sun trickled in through the grimy windows, heads
tilted back, beaks opened, and the obligitory crowings soon
filled the air.
Another day of eating, crapping and squawking; another day
of being poked and prodded; one more day of having blood and
tissue samples removed, and unknown, toxic substances injected
into the bloodstream lay ahead. This day was to be different,
Todd glanced through the dingy, metal bars of his cage into
the handful of desparate eyes across the aisle from him. The
brief nods that met his glance were all the information he
needed; this would be the day. He gazed briefly at the notepad
hanging alongside the door of his cage: "Neural Enzyme Test".
Todd didn't understand what the printing meant in any human
sense, but he knew that something was different... and it was
time for a change.
Feeding time arrived. The fat, smelly graduate student
rolled sluggishly between the rows of cages, doling out the small
helpings of "scientifically formulated" feed. This was the daily
high point; choking down sawdust-like, dry chunks to get enough
strength to survive another day of torture.
"Gunna be another taste-test tomorrow", the pig-student
slobbered. "Gunna be making some chicken-burgers this afternoon
I hear. A few of you boys'r gunna be losing yer heads, I
reckin'..." he broke off his ramblings to howl sadistic laughter
into the dusty air. Scarred and atrophied wings beat futilely
against the bars in the cages near him, but other beaks closed
tight in grim silence... waiting.
Closer and closer the drooling fat boy came, scooping out
the loads of grain. With one last glance across the aisle, Todd
let his lids droop to half-mast and settled down into the dung
which encrusted the floor of his cage.
The contrast between the flapping, crowing hoards and the
restful Todd penetrated even the thick skull of the feed boy as
he neared Todd's cage. "S'rong with you, chicken-head?", he
stammered, poking a finger through the bars and into Todd's side.
"Aww, hell, if yer sick again, they'll blame me fur shoor." The
sausage-like fingers twisted the cage lock a half-turn to the
right and opened the front door. Grubby hands reached into the
cage and pulled Todd into the dim light to be examined.
That's when he struck.
Carefully sharpened talons gouged home into astonished eyes,
wrenching and twisting through blubbery flesh. The fat boy spun
around and around shreiking and flailing his chubby arms, all
sense gone, as he tried to dislodge his feathery attacker. The
echoing screams died as the feed boy did when Todd's claws found
the soft pulp of his brain. The fat body slid to the floor like
a sack of dead beef as Todd pulled his dripping claws free and
cleaned them on the boy's "University Bong Team" shirt.
For the first time, the dusty air filled with the smell of
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