Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Chicken Whisperer

I was very nearly attacked by a freakishly large Korean Death Bird.
It may have been a chicken.
Here's what happened.

Husband was in Vegas, leaving his wife and two young children under the age of 5 to fend for themselves in the wilds of South Korea.  Yes, I say wilds, because I have no Walmart, no BedHead products for my hair, and they have strange animals like barking fanged deer lurking in the shadows.

 I walked out to my car to get the Sprite that I'd left in the back seat.  As I rounded the corner to unlock the passenger door, a freakishly large Korean Death Bird stepped into my path.  Since I have issues with big birds, various other animals, fish, and wildlife in general, I paused and took stock of the situation:

I am alone.  
This chicken-like animal is at least 10 to 15 pounds.  
It appears to be having respiratory issues.  
It looks angry.

Now as many of you know, I am a nurse.  I also have an unfortunate habit of immediately thinking of the deadliest, skin-sloughing, most virulent and contagious diseases known to man and animal.  And since I really like microbiology, I know a lot of them.

As I stood there, trying to decide if a crisp, tasty, caffeine-free lemony-lime beverage was worth possible death and dismemberment, it croaked at me.  It did not cluck, it did not caw or crow - it croaked. Like a frog.  A reptilian crocodile frog.  Dear god.  It eats frogs.

I realize you might be laughing at me.  You're thinking it was probably just a pleasantly plump white Colonel Sanders candidate with a strange squawk.  I assure you, it was not.  It had beady bloodshot eyes.  It was grayish black, with strange feathers in a corona around its overly large head.  And there was some strange substance (is that blood?!?!?  Was it walking in BLOOD?!?!?!?) on its razor-sharp chicken feet.  This was no cute little Cornish game hen.  I was looking at the direct descendant of a carrier of the 1918 Spanish Flu; a.k.a. La Grippe... The Spanish Death.

Locking eyes with the Korean Death Bird (shit! you're not supposed to look them directly in the eye!) I tried to remember what to do when confronted with a very large and aggressive patient. Keep your voice at a conversational level.  Turn to the side, but do not step back. Do not raise your hands.  Say "Sir, if you will calm down, I will be happy to assist you." So I turned to the side and did not step back.  I did not raise my hands.  I said in a conversational tone, "Sir, if you calm down, I will be happy to assist you."

It growled at me.

At this point, my sympathetic nervous system launched itself into the fight-or-flight response.  My eyes dilated, my blood vessels constricted, heart rate and respirations skyrocketed, and I desperately needed to pee.  Since I had two young children under the age of 5 to take care of in the wilds of South Korea, I decided to run.  As I felt for the first step behind me while continuing to keep a non-confrontational eye on the Death Bird, a very tiny and wrinkled old Korean man came up the walk to my right.  Dammit. Now there are civilian lives at stake.
Me: "Sir, you may want to keep back. This bird might be dangerous."
Old Korean Man: "안녕하세요?"
 Me: "I have no idea what you just said. Have you ever heard of H1N1?"
Old Korean Man: "심각한 건가요?"
Me: "Dude, No comprende.  El dangerouso bird. El deadly."  (because like many monolingual Americans, when flustered and speaking with someone of another nationality, I lapse into very poor and grammatically incorrect Americanized Spanglish).

Old Korean Man then rolled his eyes at me, clucked something in a strange animal language at the Korean Death Bird, and proceeded to cajole it into a state of bliss-like subservient pet-hood.  If the thing would have had a tongue to loll out of its mouth, it would have.  Instead it puttered up to the old man's feet and leaned against his leg, gazing at him adoringly with its beady bloodshot little eyes.

Yeah, my jaw was on the ground.

With a final disdainful snort in my direction, the Chicken Whisperer collected his pet and walked into our building.

So now I have added chickens to the List of Things I Am Scared Of.

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