White Birds Can’t Jump

February 4, 2008 by
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

On Saturday, February 2, 2008 I wrote:

I suspect it is safe to speculate that a number of the people reading this post are busy getting ready for this weekend’s Superbowl festivities. While I think it is pretty neat that New York made it this year, I am not big on sports and will probably find some other way to amuse myself.

Well, as luck would have it, I didn’t have to try very hard to find a way to pass my time. Yesterday, while most people were tapping kegs, rolling out the crudites, ripping open bags of potato chips and prepping French onion dip, I was standing watch over a chicken.

Yes, you read me correctly: a chicken.

Larry Bird on Milton Street

This chicken — who somehow found her (?) way onto Milton Street.

As with most days when I get hit with a mindfuck a minute, it all started innocently enough: with an argument with Mr. Heather. At noon I arose to find him on the computer, as is his usual habit. I notice a take-out container on the coffee table. I open it: inside is one cubic inch of red velvet cake. Recognizing this confection as being the one we purchased at Kombit the evening before, I asked:

How was the cake?

Mr. Heather: It was terrible. Way too dry.

When I encounter a culinary item I find distasteful I rarely endeavor to eat all but one bite. If I do not like something I will cease eating it. Mr. Heather— for reasons known only to him— is not so easily deterred. I did not ask him why he left only one minuscule chunk of cake, that would have invited a lengthy explanation which I, having just awakened, was probably not prepared for. I go to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee instead.

Thereafter I proceeded to the bedroom to change clothes. Mr. Heather was busy preparing a load of laundry. Under the impression we were going for a walk (this was agreed upon the night before) I ask him what he is doing. He replies:

I am going to do a load of laundry.

Me: I thought we were going for a walk.
Mr. Heather: I thought you could help me do some laundry first.
Me: Um, no.
Mr. Heather: Well, can’t you wait?
Me: No.

I will spare you the gory details of what followed. Suffice it to say it involved a lot of passive-aggressive manipulation on the Mister’s part. Disgusted, I offered a compromise:

Fine, I will go to Williamsburg and cash out a gift certificate. You can meet me there later. I don’t want you going with me anyway. I am not in the mood to hear you curse about hipsters every fucking five feet.

And lo, a deal was made! I put on my coat and headed to Willy B on foot. When I reached Milton Street, this is what I found:

Tweeners and the chicken

A pack of tweeners and a woman looking at a chicken.

Having never seen a chicken before (save perhaps on their dinner plate) the children took great delight in chasing her. She was not as enthusiastic and elected to hide behind a dumpster.

Larry Bird behind the dumpster

When one of these gutter snipes shouted “Let’s put it on a raft and dump it in the East River!” I decided it was time for action: I called 311. Before I continue I’d like to say a few things about 311. Having the pleasure of living in Greenpoint, which can best be described as being in a state of (an over) development free for all, I have called them on numerous occasions. The operators, always courteous, vary wildly in regards to their ability to direct me to the proper agency. This time proved to be no exception.

Call #1

Me: Yes, I’d like to report that there is a chicken wandering around on Milton Street between Franklin and West.
Operator: What?
Me: There is a chicken loose on Milton Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. A number of young boys are tormenting it. Can you get someone down here to pick it up?
Operator: Is the chicken injured?
Me: I don’t know. It’s walking around but isn’t very happy.

After being put on hold with the Center for Animal Care and Control for over five minutes I got frustrated and hung up.

Call #2

Me: I know this is going to sound really strange, but there is a chicken at large on Milton Street between Franklin and West. A number of preteen boys are chasing it, can the C.A.C.C. please come by and retrieve it?
Operator: Is the chicken injured?
Me: Beats me, I don’t know anything about chickens.
Operator: I am going to forward your request to the local precinct and they’ll follow it up.

As I got off the phone I noticed the woman with me was engaged in a shouting match with the “parent” who was charged with “supervising” these pack of prepubescent p(h)ucks. Larry, in the meantime, had seen fit to enter the basketball court. Knowing that we had him cornered, the woman and I stood watch over him.

Five minutes go by. My fellow Samaritan calls the 94th Precinct directly* and reports Larry Bird. The operator assures her a police car is on the way.

Waiting for the police

We watch the chicken.

Fifteen minutes come to pass, she calls the 94th Precinct again. After informing the operator that she has been waiting fifteen minutes for the police to show up, she was told she has only been waiting for five minutes.

Larry Bird on the court

We (continue to) watch the chicken. Larry Bird— cornered, confused and cute— tries to keep warm.

Twenty minutes later the police arrived and with them came the crowning coup de grace: they were the same officers who detained me last December for taking photographs of Christmas Decorations. I had told the woman standing guard with me about this incident (people tend to engage in discussions when guarding a chicken, it makes the time go by faster when waiting for the 94th to arrive) and of all things, she happened to be a photographer.

Me: Aw shit.
Woman: What?
Me: Those are the cops who detained me. If you don’t mind, I’m getting out of here. I do not want to talk to these people. You can handle it, right?
Woman: Sure, go.

And go I did. FAST.

Wherever you are little Larry Bird, I hope you are safe and sound. Perhaps you’ll find your way to a nice animal sanctuary upstate where you can shoot hoops in peace.

Miss Heather

*Because I know the phone number for the 94th Precinct by rote memorization and gave it to her. Long story.


5 Comments on White Birds Can’t Jump

  1. bitchcakes on Mon, 4th Feb 2008 9:55 am
  2. I love that chicken! It’s so fluffy and cute! I imagine it somehow escaped the slaughter house that’s around there. What a beautiful creature. I just hope, like you said, its life was spared. But I doubt it. šŸ™

    Thank you for keeping those kids from tormenting it.

  3. rowan on Mon, 4th Feb 2008 12:07 pm
  4. good for you and your fellow chicken-protector. i’m glad you two intervened on the chicken’s behalf. kids like the ones you wrote about never seem to get the difference between harmless play and tormenting an animal. they also tend to be the ones who grow up to beat the crap out of homeless people (if you know what i mean).

  5. missheather on Mon, 4th Feb 2008 12:13 pm
  6. You should have met the “father” who was watching these kids. And these “concerned parents” have the temerity to wonder why their kids are assholes: they learn it at home from good ol’ mom and dad.

    I’m glad the other woman spoke to him because I would not have been so nice, that’s all I’m saying.

  7. rowan on Mon, 4th Feb 2008 1:43 pm
  8. I concur. I doubt I would have minced words in your situation. Nothing makes my blood boil more than deliberate animal cruelty.

  9. al oof on Tue, 5th Feb 2008 8:12 pm
  10. i saw a chicken on the median of the bronx river parkway in westchester once. and i know there aren’t any farms or live poultry stores anywhere near there. and how did it get across the highway?

    no one would do anything about it though. animal control, aspca. maybe it lived a nice life there. there were some trees.

    chickens, they are mysterious.

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