Why the Chicken Crossed the Kangaroo


I cannot accept credit (or blame, if you so attempt) for the kangaroo’s treatment of the chicken. Had the chicken not crossed the road, as it were, a roost for credit (or blame) needn’t be sought.

I simply was strolling about the city zoo admiring the oddities packed therein when the chicken wandered across the walkway between flamingoes and gnus.

The chicken was designed on an irregular pattern, perhaps as a pear. He wore black feathers splattered in white, and must have worried a great deal because his blue and red head was bald except for a tiny shark fin worn as a top hat. I supposed the chicken to have flown the coop (as expressions fly) from the petting barn in the Australian exhibit. Australia hangs upside down on the globe, undoubtedly causing a fair amount of mixing up.

I thought it best to bear the bird to his home before he worried away the rest of his feathers. Digging from my pocket chicken scratch kept there for emergencies, I lured the bird on such pretext, then scooped him up when he arrived. The chicken squawked and made a snatch at a sign marked “domestic guinea fowl,” but I held tightly for his own good.

“I know about these home spats,” I cooed, pushing through the gate to Australia. “It’s best to strut right back into the henhouse and deal with the matter at wing.”

A lady kangaroo (I assumed she was a she since she wore an apron) listened with mild curiosity. She appeared to be on the verge of making a suggestion but fell asleep. Kangaroos, as you know, rarely are invited to dinner parties as they cannot be depended upon as conversationalists.

The worried chicken suddenly kicked free and flapped furiously without much result (his wings seemingly having been constructed largely for decorative purposes). The flight ended abruptly against the dozing kangaroo. The chicken grabbed hold of the apron edge with his toes and tried to run, which merely popped open the pocket. While chicken legs churned, the rest of the bird slid slowly inside the built-in handbag until his head sunk to where his feet should be and his feet flailed in place of the head.

Now awake and a bit bulgier, the kangaroo undertook a mad bounding about the exhibit, crashing through bushes, bouncing into trees (shaking loose the odd koala) and doing her best to dislodge the hitchhiking chicken. The bird appeared to be doing all he could to assist that very ambition.

A herd of zoo staff rushed in our direction to consult in the deliberations. Since my further presence would create a classic too-many-cooks conundrum, I tipped my hat and ambled off.

I meant to file a complaint with the zoo about the boorish behavior of their birds but I didn’t want to cause the chicken any more worry. It wouldn’t be seemly to have a naked chicken picking fights with lady kangaroos.