The punishment lasted four nights. The Monster is convinced he still has the scratches and scrapes from the chickens who ran roughshod over him. That perhaps he still retains a bit of the rank smell of chicken shit that permeated his skin for the whole of the week.
But, when that last sunrise peaked its head above the horizon, when at last the five thousand chickens were all safely ensconced in their new home, the six of us sat silently contemplating what we had accomplished.
And that’s when the old man cracked open a beer and started laughing. The Monster’s anger frothed over at his insolence. Hadn’t we been comrades in arms? Surely we too were deserving of one cold beer? And then, in a thick Brooklyn accent the old man told us how much fun he’d had watching us struggle. How it was actually more work for him to clean up our mess but the humor he found was worth the extra effort. How we were undoubtedly the worst he’d ever seen at working with chickens.
Shell-shocked he spoke English, and understood every unkind word The Monster and his mates had hurled his way, he amiably told us of moving to Israel thirty years earlier. Of his life on the kibbutz. Of providing for a family in a place where they had to raise their own livestock and plant their own fruits and vegetables.
And as the first call to prayer across the hill sounded he offered The Monster and his friends a beer.
The Monster doesn’t eat beef, pork, lamb, or veal. He does however remember with urgent lucidity the horrors of the beastly chickens and the nightmare of his time spent with them.
And that’s why The Monster still eats chicken.