Chicken Fight

Simone Fillion-Raff - Ecuador


December 4, 2013

It was Halloween and I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t have a costume or a source of candy corn. As it was the last day of the month, at my work, an organization for at-risk children, we celebrate the birthdays that occurred during that month. I had three slices of cake balanced on my arms as I walked carefully through the hoard of chickens roaming freely through the fresh green lawn where the children play. They were inside, feasting on cake, chips, popcorn, and soda. I walked slowly towards my boss’s house, which was attached to the building in which the organization operated. The cake slices were for my boss, the woman who helped clean the rooms where the kids played, and her son. I nimbly knocked on the door, minding the cake. After waiting for two minutes without response, I turned to walk back. I came face to face with a swarm of chickens staring at me.

Being a city kid, I never realized how funny chickens look. I finally saw the resemblance between them and dinosaurs. They stood on their two legs with beady eyes, swaying their head forward and backward as though they couldn’t decide whether to eat what was in front of them or not. They looked like less menacing t-rexes. I stared down the chicken who seemed to be leading the swarm but she ignored my glare and fixed her eyes on the slices of cake sitting vicariously on my arms. I lunged towards the pack but they moved only slightly, not enough to let me through. They circled closer, seemingly orchestrated by this head chicken.

I decided to make a daring and courageous escape; I ran at the chickens, making noises. Sure enough, they cleared a path and I scurried back to the kids’ room. A man walked by at the precise moment when I decided to run and he laughed.

“They weren’t there?” The teacher who I helped asked. I shook my head, laughing, my heart still beating fast.

On my short five minute walk home from work, I encountered a large rooster. He and I had a stare down just as I had had with the chickens earlier. I would have employed my tactic from earlier but people were staring. I simply lunged at the rooster and, without a large number to back him up he relented and walked away.

I lay in bed, thinking about how different my life in Ecuador was than my life in New York. First and foremost, there chickens never attacked me. Once again, I was struck with how lucky I was to be experiencing so many different things, such as a chicken mob, in a different country and language no less. I fell asleep feeling lucky and grateful for everyone who helped me get to this point.

The next day, I went to give the leftovers from the kids’ snacks to the chickens. As I opened the door that barred their area from the yard and watched the swarm, I smiled. I may be grateful and supposedly an adult, but I mumbled to the chickens, “yeah, that’s right. I own you now.” Laughing at their swarming, I threw the food in front of them and shut the door, satisfied with both my recurring revelation of luckiness and the ability to exact revenge on the chickens.

Simone Fillion-Raff