The Bantam Conspiracy

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


Just a short, tall, tale of a little chicken and some golden eggs.

Submitted: March 26, 2018

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Submitted: March 26, 2018

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In order to tell this story I must first give some information to the readers.

The information is about a fable. The fable tells of a Mystical Bantam-Hen, (Your average Bantam-Hen is a small chicken which lays very small eggs.).

But this is no ordinary Bantam-Hen, no, she is a Mystical Bantam-Hen capable of lying, (You guessed it!), golden eggs.

As I recall the fable, it says that some deserving person shall receive a visit from the Mystical Bantam-Hen.

What makes that person "Deserving" is yet unknown.

Every farmer in this vast valley has some version of this fable, usually told about a distant relative and what happened when the Bantam-Hen visited.

The general story goes something like this. A Bantam-Hen with Distinctive plumage mysteriously appears in some person's kitchen, mudroom, enclosure, or chicken coop; somewhere safe from predators.

Then the Hen will lay a golden egg each night for an undetermined amount of time. When that time is up the Hen disappears again.

***Now that you know that, it is time for the story. ***

 

At the edge of this valley, and very near the town, lives Stan Blackburn, the local blacksmith, welder, and blade sharpener.

His specialty is the sharpening of all sorts of farm equipment.

Stan is good at his profession, taught by his father who retired about a year ago.

I hear Pop Blackburn sold his house and business to Stan and moved to Florida for the warmer weather. Others say he moved to get away from Stan's since-less jokes.

It is good thing that Stan is good at his profession and so close to the farms; there is no-one else that does this kind of work within a hundred miles. And it is due to those facts that everyone in this valley puts up with Stan's Practical Jokes; few of them are funny.

One afternoon, Stan noticed a Bantam-Hen trapped in a chicken coop.

Stan was supposed to do some repairs on the coupe for a guy named Willy Johnson. One of Johnson's sons dropped off the coupe yesterday and gave Stan a number to call when it was finished; he would pick it up then.

The poor bird was half squished and pinned by a loose board.

Stan noticed that the bird had some odd colored feathers, different than any Bantam-Hen that he had ever seen. And very different from the hens that Stan's nearest neighbor, Parker Gentry was breeding for sale.

Parker was an older man with a gentle and good nature. He had made a small fortune in real estate after getting out of the navy. Then he came back home to semi-retire.

He breeds various kinds of specialty chickens because he really enjoys it, and to keep himself active in his later years.

Well Stan had never been able to put one over on old Parker, but now he was sure he had a way to do it.

So he took the chicken and put it in a carry cage.

Then he covered a Bantam-Hen-egg, taken from his refrigerator, in leftover gold leaf paint.

After that, he went back to work until nightfall.

That night was the Town-hall meeting and it was common knowledge that Parker attended regularly.

So Stan waited until Parker left and he snuck up to Parker's Bantam-Hen enclosure. He placed the golden egg in a empty nest and left the Hen in the enclosure. Then Stan exited, latching the door behind him.

The next morning Stan got up extra early and took a couple of hand-axes and a butcher's knife to Parker.

Stan had stayed up late to sharpen them and get them ready to return. They were a side job he had been putting off, but now was the time to finish them.

So off Stan went. He took the route to Parker's house that would take him as close to the Bantam-Hen enclosure as possible. Then he waited behind a tree until he saw Parker come to gather eggs.

After Parker entered the enclosure Stan approach and said, "Hay Parker, I come to return your tools. They're all sharpened and ready to go."

"Oh, OK," replied Parker, "give me a minute and I'll come out to pay you."

"No problem," Stan stated.

"So where did you get the new chicken?" Stan asked. 

"What new chicken?" asked Parker, as he looked around.

Stan pointed at the bird and said, "The one that is colored differently than your breeding stock."

Parker finally saw the bird and replied, "Hmm, that isn't my bird. And I have no idea how she got in here."

"Maybe that bird is the Mystical Bantam-Hen that lays golden eggs," Stan said as he laughed. Then he added tauntingly, "You'd better check each nest very carefully, or a fortune may be lost."

When Parker finally came to the nest with the gold-colored egg, he asked, "What is this?" Then he held the egg up to the Sun and looked at it.

"Is that what I think it is?" Stan asks.

Parker bellowed out, "It sure the hell is! I got a gold laying chicken on my hands, and I do believe this is my lucky day!"

Parker came out of the enclosure and showed Stan the egg, saying, "Isn't that something? A real gold incrusted egg!"

Stan inquired, "You mean it isn't solid gold?"

"Oh No," Parker replied, "it is not heavy enough. Besides, if you hold it up to the sunlight you can see the shadow of a yoke inside. See? Just the shell must be gold."

Stan smiled, he wanted to burst out laughing, but he would wait until tomorrow at egg gathering time.

"Well I'm real happy for you Parker," Stan said, "You must be deserving, or the Mystical Bantam-Hen would have never come to your place."

Parker got a strange look on his face and replied, "You know, Stan, I never believed in such things. But this might be the exception to that rule.

Oh, here is the money for the sharpening job. And thanks!"

So Stan left, chuckling to himself. He could hardly wait until tomorrow and his chance to make Parker look like a fool.

 

Stan didn't sleep well; he was so filled with anticipation. He couldn't stop his mind from running all the scenarios about how he was going to spring the joke on Parker. This would be a good one to tell the gang down at the bar.

When morning did come Stan raced over to Parker's place as soon as he saw him heading to the enclosure.

"Good morning Parker!" Stan said as he approached. "I thought I'd come and see if you have another golden egg. That is, if you don't mind?"

Parker was just reaching into a nest as he replied, "Oh I don't mind at all. And here it is!"

To Stan's amazement Parker held a gold egg up to the sunlight!

"And this one is solid gold," Parker declared.

"What! Stan replied, "How can that be? Ah, I mean, the first egg was just a shell of gold, you said so yourself. So how could this one be all gold?"

Parker came out of the enclosure and handed the egg to Steve.

"Here, feel the weight of it," Parker insisted. "Heavy isn't it? Now hold it up to the sunlight, solid as a rock. Right?"

Stan looked puzzled, and then replied, "Yes, it is, but..."

Parker responded, "What's the matter Stan, cat got your tongue?"

Stan scratched his head and replied, "Oh, no. I'm OK.

Well I got to go into town, so I'll see you later," Parker stated as he attached a new lock on the enclosure door.

Stan was dumbfounded. "How could this happened?" he wondered.

Then questions started entering his brain, "Is that Hen a real Mystical Hen? And why did it come to my shop, could it be that I was supposed to get those eggs?'

That is when a look of horror came over Stan's face and a shocked look in his eyes, and then he said very loudly, "I gave the damned bird away! --- Shit, I gave a fortune to a guy that already has plenty!"

 

Stan went to Parker's enclosure every morning, for the next three days, and every morning Parker found a new gold egg.

Stan couldn't stand it any longer so he told Parker, "You know these eggs won't keep coming, at least the fable says that they are only temporary. Right?"

Parker thought for a moment and replied, "That's true, and that is what I've heard too. Oh well, I'm not a greedy man. I'll take what I can get."

"Exactly!" Stan agreed. "You could make a sure bet right now and you wouldn't have to worry about the Hen going away.

I'm a gambler by nature and I know you're not, Parker, so all you have to do is sell the bird to me. I'll take the risk for you!

I'll give you $3,000 for her, right now, today, and you keep the eggs that you already have."

"Hmm," Parker thought for some time, then said, "I never was a gambling man and now that you have brought up the fact that the hen will disappear, that will haunt me.

OK, meet me at the bank in a hour and well finalize the deal."

Stan was surprised, but agreed quickly.

Now Stan had no chicken coup of his own. So after a brief discussion Parker loaned him a small one that he had in his barn. After all, Stan wouldn't need a permanent coupe for a possible disappearing bird; he just needed something temporary.

 

That night Stan fed the bird well and made a nice nest for it to lay it's treasure in. Then he tied his guard-dog near it and went to bed.

The next morning he raced downstairs to retrieve his first gold egg, only to find the locked and guarded coupe empty.

"NOooo! Stan cried aloud, "It's not fare, not fare at all!"

 

At about the same time we find Parker Gentry driving along stretch of road that is on the other side of the valley. He is returning a Bantam-Hen to Willy Johnson, a fellow chicken breeder.

Right from the beginning Parker had recognized the Hen's color-markings as being one of Johnson's birds. So he thought he would turn the tables on Stan, and Stan's stupid little joke.

Parker made a mold of a real egg, then he melted a few old fishing sinkers and cast them into eggs. And after adding some gold leaf on the surface, (Wallah!), gold eggs.

Parker used to be in real-estate purchases and repossessions, so picking a lock is pretty easy when you have the right tools.

What about the dog? That lop-eared pooch mooches treats from Parker weekly, so he didn't make a sound when Parker approached him last night.

Now Parker is a pretty honest guy, so Stan will get his money back, eventually.

Stan will also get a "Heads-Up". No more Stan-jokes or everyone in the valley will hear about the $3,000 chicken.

 

 

D. Thurmond / JEF

03-25-2018


© Copyright 2018 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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