For the life of me, I can’t figure out how I got here. A month ago, I was contently adjusting to my short stay in Purgatory, waiting for the bus to Heaven. Then, out of the blue – poof – I find myself standing in the middle of Mandelbaum’s Commercial Poultry Farm in Bakersfield, California. Both are a long way from Heaven.
My life came to an abrupt end during a fluke rock climbing accident in Yosemite National Park. Given my vile and contemptible life on earth, it came as no surprise that I’d be sent to Purgatory before I made it past the pearly gates. But, nobody told me about reincarnation. Granted, they said there was an outside chance I’d be forced to spend a little more time on earth before rising to the great beyond, but Mandelbaum’s Poultry Farm? C’mon. Give me a break. Even Bernie Madoff got to enjoy 3 weeks as a Burmese belly dancer before they shipped him off to Hell.
I was dropped into the middle of a chicken coop on a busy Friday afternoon in the form of a mature Rhode Island Red – eight and half pounds of pure Chicken McNuggets. Most of the management had already gone home for the Labor Day weekend, so there weren’t any humans around to complain to. Instead, I was left to my own devices to secure my spot in a pecking order of 8,000 other mature hens and roosters. Looking back, I suppose it could have been worse. If I had arrived a week earlier, I might have already been cut up and slathered with Bar-B-Que sauce on someone’s holiday party platter. Or, I might have woken to find my skewered carcass slowly circling the rotisserie grill in a Gelson’s Market. At least this way, I’d have a couple of days to get to know some of the locals before formulating an escape plan.