A Deed Most Fowl


When a semi loaded with 35,000 pounds of raw chicken sits in a truck stop parking lot for several days in the heat of Missoula’s Indian summer, well, it ain’t how they make perfume, brother. And when putrid chicken juice begins streaming through the truck floor onto the hot asphalt, it creates a fowl situation that has local health department officials scratching around for a solution.

When the poultry hits the fan, there’s one name that comes to mind, one expert who can cut through the chicken feed and get to the meat of the problem. Shortly after this story broke, Mr. Foghorn Leghorn contacted me by phone from his home in Gizzard Heights, a gated community in rural Illinois. Here’s the conversation:

Bob Wire: Good morning, Mr. Leghorn. Thanks for calling me back. Have you had a chance to look at the link I sent you to the story about the rotting chicken situation in Missoula?

Foghorn Leghorn: Son, I tried to take a look at that dadburn thing, but I tell you, I’m a rooster. I have a pecker on my face. I can’t use a computer anymore than you can lay an egg. Am I gettin’ through to you, boy?

FoghornSunset (2)

“Now quit, I say, quit all this blubberin’ and pass the Teriyaki sauce!”

BW: Sure. Forget about the link. Here’s the story: a semi trailer carrying 17 tons of raw chicken was abandoned at a truck stop just west of Missoula earlier this week. There’s no refrigeration, and the chicken is rotting. Chicken juice is flowing out of the truck, and…

FL: Now hold, I say, just hold on there a dad-blamed minute, boy! These “chicken juices” you’re referrin’ to, it ain’t really juice, you know what I mean? It ain’t like some farm dog’s in the back of that trailer with all those poor chickens, twistin’, I say, twistin’ them over a juicing contraption to make a tasty breakfast drink! What you’re seeing dripping out of that truck is the life blood of these poor, poor chickens. Their essential fluids. Oh, the humanity!

BW: Yes, well…

FL (sotto voce): Boy’s about as sharp as a bag of wet mice.

BW: Uh, Mr. Leghorn? Who are you talking to?

FL: Why, the viewers, of course! Son, you sound like you’re about as sharp as a bowlin’ball.

BW: Let’s just move on. According to a newspaper report, the sheriff’s department is saying that the truck was stolen from an Idaho freight company by one of its employees. The trucker then sent a text to the company, demanding money in exchange for the return of the chicken.

FL: Why, that, I say, that’s bald-face extortion, son! What kind of man would put all those chickens in danger just to make some dirty money…

BW: Mr. Leghorn, the chickens in question were already dead. It’s a question of…

FL: The nerve of some people! Why, that fella is lower than a snake with a belly full of buckshot. That’s why I live out here in Illinois, son. Out there in the big city where you’re at, you gotta keep, I say, you gotta keep on your toes. Why’d it take the law so long to find out?

BW: Apparently the trailer wasn’t added to the database when the truck was stolen, so it wasn’t missed until it was discovered several days later in the Flying J truck stop.

FL: The Flying, I say, the Flying J, you say? Well…I’ve had my run-ins with those types of people, son. (starts singing) Smokin’ ganja all day long, doo dah, doo dah…

BW: It’s not that kind of Flying J. That’s just the name of the chain of truck stops.

FL: Well, Cheech my Chong, boy. You really, I say, you really gotta keep your eyes open so you know what you’re hearing, know what I mean?

BW: Sure. Say, are you still acquainted with that little farm hen, oh, what was her name..Miss Prissy! She was always pretty hot for you.

(Woman’s voice) Uh, YEEeeesss.

FL: Gimme that phone, girl! Now keep your beak shut and get back in the coop! Is any of this filterin’ through that little blue bonnet of yours, woman?

(Woman’s voice) Uh, YEEeeesss.

BW: Ah, so I’ll take that as a “yes.”

FL: Heh heh heh. Now don’t, I say, don’t go gettin’ your giblets in an uproar, son. If a full-grown rooster can’t get his beak wet now and again, well, what’s this world a-comin’ to?

BW: Back to the rotting chickens.

FL: Yes! Back to the subject at hand, as it were. Now, a man can’t just steal a truckload of unfortunate barnyard fowl and leave their plucked and processed carcasses festerin’ in the noonday sun in some godforsaken prairie! Did this numb skull actually think his little scheme would work? It’s like that time I dropped a stick of lit dynamite down the drainpipe to teach that little chicken hawk wannabe a lesson. Literally backfired on me. But to sacrifice 17 tons of beloved hen meat to try and weasel money out of his employer? Why, that boy, I say, that boy is about as subtle as a hand grenade in a barrel of oatmeal. So what’s the situation there, son? What are they gonna do?

BW: Well, the local health department is trying to work out a solution that will protect the public health. They’re afraid that the situation will be made worse if it’s moved around a lot. There are some citizens actually suggesting that they fire up the refrigeration unit, refreeze the chickens, and sell them to the public.

FL: Why, whoever said that, well, that boy is a mo-ron. Son let me tell you a little something about rotting chicken. Living, I say, living things do not simply fall apart like a house of cards in a breeze the moment their cells stop functioning. First off, there’s shrinkage due to water loss. Is any of this gettin’ through to you, boy? After that, decomposition sets in, a process brought on by the proliferation of bacteria. Bacteria is like a tattoo, boy. It gets under your skin.

BW: So all this chicken is a total loss, the perpetrator is still on the loose, and now we’re stuck with a smelly, hazardous, potential time bomb of disease and pestilence. What’s next? Any ideas?

FL: Of course you know, this means war. Now go away, boy. You bother me.


   Check out all of Bob Wire’s posts in his blog archive.


Have an off-white Christmas with Bob Wire.Think of it as Gonzo meets Hee Haw: Missoula honky tonker Bob Wire holds forth on a unique life filled with music, parenthood, drinking, sports, working, marriage, drinking, and just navigating the twisted wreckage of American culture. Plus occasional grooming tips. Like the best humor, it’s not for everyone. Sometimes silly, sometimes surreal, sometimes savage, Bob Wire demands that you possess a good sense of humor and an open mind.

Bob Wire has written more than 500 humor columns for a regional website over the last five years, and his writing has appeared in the Missoulian, the Missoula Independent, Montana Magazine, and his own Bob Wire Has a Point Blog. He is a prolific songwriter, and has recorded three CDs of original material with his Montana band, the Magnificent Bastards. His previous band, the Fencemenders, was a popular fixture at area clubs. They were voted Best Local Band twice by the Missoula Independent readers poll. Bob was voted the Trail 103.3/Missoulian Entertainer of the Year in 2007.

You can hear his music on his website, or download it at iTunes, Amazon, and other online music providers. Follow @Bob_Wire on Twitter.


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